Monday, June 30, 2008

More Fun Playing with Slow Food

Last night, the Northeast Ohio Convivium of Slow Food held its first "From Page to Plate" potluck supper. We were asked to each make a dish from a favorite cookbook, and to bring the book (and the dish) to dinner. We had a grand time, and learned a little something too.

First - the prep. One of my favorite cookbooks is China Moon Cookbook by Barbara Tropp. And one of my "go to" recipes from there is for "Light-Style Peanut-Lime Noodles." One reason that this seemed appropriate for a Slow Food event is that the recipe asks you to create a number of pantry items from scratch to use in the final dish. Previously, I had cheated on some of them, but this time, I made all but two of them prior to assembling the salad (and I had one on hand, so I only "cheated" on one).

China Moon Chili Oil Bubbling on the Stove

The oil contains red chili flakes (I used several varieties we had in the house, including Thai hots, piquin, and generic Chinese red), Fermented Black Beans, Garlic, Ginger, Peanut Oil, Sesame Oil.

China Moon Five Flavor Oil

Seasonings for this batch of peanut/sesame oil included chili flakes, scallions, Sichuan Peppercorn, Black Peppercorn, and ginger.

China Moon Serrano-Lemongrass Vinegar

This rice vinegar was heated with ginger, Serrano Chilies and lemongrass.

Finished Chili Oil (the "Goop" at the bottom is the best part!)

Finished Five Flavor Oil

Sunday was a mad dash to put the whole salad together - I had decided to replace the Daikon Radish with fresh waterchestnuts I found at CAM Supermarket (21200 Miles Rd., N.Randall OH (216) 518-1600). Waterchestnuts are sublime, but a pain in the tuchus to prep!

Anyway, having gotten everything together, we headed for the home of our hosts. Though I will try to describe the dishes accurately, I am doing this from memory, so I offer no warranties!

Arriving in a pouring rain at our destination, this lovely punchbowl awaited us:

Garlic & Onion Dip (served with home-made Pita chips)

Mister Brisket's Thai Veal Sausage with JalapeƱo Jelly

Beet Salad Topped With Shaved Horseradish

Pretty enough for a second picture, don't you think?

Quinoa Salad

Assorted Salad

The salad started with a bowl of carrots and olives to the left, then the mushrooms, then the greens (most of which came from the contributor's garden) and dressings.

Papaya, Corn, Tomato, Red Onion Salad

Smoked Pulled Pork, Served with BBQ Sauce (but delicious without!)

Russian/Uzbeck Rice Pilaf

That is a stack of white napkins de-composing my photo. This dish was intriguingly spiced. I think the meat was lamb.

Roasted Portobello Mushroom and Rosemary Salad

Smoked Brisket, also served with a homemade BBQ Sauce

Cheesy Onion Bake (this was simply amazing!)

Three Pasta Pesto

Grilled Chicken Skewers from Miller Livestock Company

Assorted Peppers (and Mushroom) Bake


Corn Muffin w/Ohio Honey (Made by Ohio Honey - Lucy Wellhausen!)

Oh yes - my contribution - the Light-Style Peanut-Lime Noodles. The white things are the waterchestnuts. There is also carrot, bell pepper, scallion and lime zest mixed into the noodles, as well as the spicy-lime-peanut dressing.

I think that there was only one entree I did not get a photo of - a lovely pasta-tomato bake. I apologize for that, and if there were any other items I missed.

Since the desserts were in another room, I neglected to photograph them (shame on me!). We enjoyed flourless brownies, Banana Cake, Pistachio Cake and Pineapple Cobbler. They were all delicious!

This blog is in part an outgrowth of my participation in Slow Food - learning where our food comes from and how to make it better both for us and the Earth has also led to opportunities to play with some wonderful food and fabulous people. Looking forward to the next Slow Food event, which I hear is going to involve some powerhouse local chefs and take place at Bar Cento on Bastille Day (Monday, July 14). It will be a benefit to fund our Terra Madre representatives' trip to Italy in October.


  1. Everything looks great! I wanted to attend but I just couldn't blow off a Coit Rd. Market board meeting this time of year. Oh well, maybe next year.

  2. Wow, a pot luck dinner with Slow Food folks. I wish I'd been able to attend. Everything looks very tasty!

    I love the China Moon cookbook, especially the Pantry section. The ma-la oil and Szechuan peppercorn oil were the first things I made from Tropp's recipes.

    If I'd been able to attend I might have made something from a recent cookbook, since the gathering was inspired by an article about the current wave of really interesting books.

    Maybe something from Izakaya - the Japanese Pub Cookbook, or a dessert drink from My Bombay Kitchen (A book about Parsi cuisine). If the latter, the basil seeds wouldn't be local, though everything else could be.

  3. Thank you both for your comments - we missed you both and hope to see you July 14 at Bar Cento!

    Sadly, Barbara Tropp passed away several years ago from cancer - another reminder for us to all use whatever screening is out there to help us avoid the "big C.