Working for Good, Clean, Fair Food for All - Slow Food Urban San Diego Convivium of Slow Food International

Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Recipe

The holidays are upon us. Often this time of year inspires weeks of personal reflection and heartfelt nostalgia while simultaneously evoking a need to scribble out a long list of resolutions. The top of my list for 2013? A juicing cleanse to kick off a healthy new year! But who am I kidding? Now is not the time to start said cleanse- there is still a whole week left in 2012 to indulge in sugar-toned gluttony and deep-fried tastiness!

Here is a recipe from Coronado-based author Jill O’Connor to get you through the holidays with a bit of chocolatey, liquor-laced cheer!

Grown-Up S’mores from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor

Serves: Makes 15 S’mores


For the chocolate filling:
8 large egg yolks
1-½ cups confectioners sugar sifted
2 tablespoons white crème de cacao
2 tablespoons Kahlua
2 teaspoons Cognac
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Dutch-Processed cocoa power
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ½ cups heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

For the marshmallow fluff meringue:
3 Large egg whites
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup of marshmallow fluff

For the graham cracker crust:
3 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
½ cup (1stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

To make the crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and granulated sugar until will combined.  Press into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan.  Bake the crest until starts to brown and become crisp, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

To make the filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and confectioners’ sugar together in a large bowl until they are thick and the color of butter.  Beat in the Cognac, crème de cacao, Kahlúa, vanilla, and salt.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat and whisk in cocoa powder until smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Let cool slightly, then gradually beat into the egg mixture.

Fold the softly beaten heavy cream into the chocolate mixture just until combined.  Spoon the chocolate cream over the graham cracker curst, smoothing it evenly with a spatula.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

When ready to serve, make the meringue: Using an electric mixer set at low speed, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until soft peaks form.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add the marshmallow Fluff to the egg whites a little at a time, beating constantly until stiff peaks form.

Carefully cut the S’mores into 15 large squares.  Place each S’mores on a dessert plate.  Top each with ½ cup of the meringue in a large dollop.  Use a small kitchen torch to carefully burnish the meringue until tipped with golden brown.  Serve immediately.

Food and the City

“At some point, this industrial tack that we’ve been on, we’re going to fondly remember the end point of that and realize ‘you can’t eat that.’ And that little green square, as seen from the air, to me is the first space, the first move. As soon as we can get that back to green, that’s going to have a huge ripple effect. When we get it back green, it’s going to accelerate everything.” ~John Quigley, Environmental Activist and supporter of South Central Farmers

I have to admit that I am only half way through Jennifer Cockrall-King’s book, Food in the City. I have been stuffing it into my farming bag, on top of my pruners and gloves, next to my compost-stained notebook documenting volunteer To-Do tasks at the urban farm where I work. With this book in dirty hands, I actually wish the bus ride to and from downtown was longer! Cockrall-King has gathered information from many recent publications about the urban farming movement as well as documented her own visitations to city-bound plots across the northern hemisphere and synthesized her findings in this highly informative book.

Often optimistic but sometimes heartbreaking, she paints a green-tinted picture of the incredible potential of urban farming to change our food system, our politics, our lives. She also illustrates the challenges that have been faced, such as the plight of the South Central Farmers in Los Angeles: After the 1992 race riots the community built an amazing garden on public land. In 2007 the government quietly sold it off to a new owner who bulldozed the farm and has not “improved” it since the destruction five years ago. The land sits empty, a chain link fence preventing farmers from growing food for their families. It is stories like this that makes one shake their head in bewilderment among all of the otherwise inspiring examples of community cohesion and fortitude.

This mixture of hope and call to action engages the reader as Cockrall-King wanders through the farms and gardens of cities such as Detroit, LA, Chicago,London, and Toronto. My bus rides have been full of scribbled notes in the margins, sighing (South Central Farmers), and smiling (farms surviving and championed in urban centers across the globe) as I adventure with her, vicariously sampling peas and amaranth on my way to my own urban oasis and living classroom. This book is a journey into literal urban jungles well worth taking.

Join Slow Food Urban San Diego and the Food Justice Committee from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Price Building in City Heights room 640 to meet Jennifer Cockrall King, author of Food an the City: Urban Agriculture and The New Food Revolution. Following a discussion including local food advocacy and justice groups, the author will be available for book signing.

For more information about this event, click here.

Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook

The tomatoes of summer are among us: the deep pink Brandywines and green shouldered Black Krims, the sunny orange Valencias and norm-defying Green Zebras! We stroll through farmers markets with an abundance of choice for flavor, size, sauce-ability. We savor each bite, nothing more than a little salt needed.

But come winter? The heirlooms we cherish are absent from our favorite farmer’s stall and we must ask ourselves: Do I dare try a supermarket tomato?

Barry Estabrook’s Tomatoland could help you decide but it may mean going tomatoless through the darker months.

Estabrook delves into the the history of the multi-billion dollar, year-round tomato industry and explores the decline in taste of the ancient fruit as well as the increase in human trafficking to work in pesticide drenched fields. From green tomatoes bouncing off the asphalt (and frighteningly surviving) in front of him, to the brave work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, to the optimistic future of better tasting supermarket tomatoes, Estabrook paints a picture of the industry through personal experience and in-depth interviews with those at the heart of the issues.

So savor those heirlooms while you can because once you know the true price of a Florida winter tomato, you’ll most likely pass on the Caprese salad come January. That is until we win the battle for better tasting, more humanely grown and harvested, not so perfect blushing fruits. It’s worth the fight!