Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Making A Day Of It: Food Camp 2013

Describing making homemade limoncello (Italian lemon liqueur).
A couple weeks ago I went to an educational event called Food Camp.  I think it was the second annual event and I was glad I found it.  I registered early and it was only $10 for the whole day.  You sign up to attend but you don't know what any of the sessions are going to be until later.  The presenters are supposedly made up from other attendees, so it's a community concept.

The schedule was posted a few days before the event and when you arrive they have the room assignments figured out so you know where you're going for each session. The presentations are varied, there were sessions foraging for wild mushrooms, to preserving vegetables, making yogurt, making bacon, backyard chickens and honeybees, etc.

Tasting limoncello at 10 a.m.!

Session 1: Limoncello 

The original class I had picked (making spring rolls) was replaced with this one.  It wouldn't have been my first choice, but none of the other sessions interested me much, so I decided this was good as any.  The instructor talked about filtering cheap vodka through a Brita pitcher to make good vodka, using organic lemons, letting it steep, etc. It didn't take long, so the next thing we did was taste his homemade limoncello.  Nice! It was smooth and not as harsh as the store-bought limoncello I've had.  It was inspiring, but I don't know if I want to go through all the steps to make my own.  It think I'll stick with trying to make my own vanilla extract and maybe cherry bounce (cherries soaked in brandy).

Explaining the process for making short-term
sourdough that doesn't come from a starter.

Class 2: Eastern Sourdough Traditions

The instructors of this class are hard-core sourdough enthusiasts.  They have been maintaining and perfecting their sourdough starter for eight years.  They explained some methods and options for quicker sourdough options of Indian dosas and Ethiopian injeera.  Both of these are flatter than what we think of as normal bread, more like crepes.  They cooked up some Indian dosas without fillings and we all sampled it.  These options are naturally gluten-free.  Dosas are made from rice and lentils.

Explanation of fermented cabbage

Class 3: Sauerkraut & Kimchi

I found out that making sauerkraut is much quicker than I had thought.  I thought it was a huge long process, filled with months of babysitting a crazy container of fermenting chopped cabbage, but this session showed me that it's shorter.  I think you can have some good results in only a week or two.  And it's simple!  Chop up some cabbage, add some salt.  Make sure the cabbage stays under the natural water that leaches out from the chopped veggie pieces.  And the naturally fermented and unprocessed cabbage is good for you, it gives you the same sort of probiotics you might get from yogurt. 

We tasted homemade feta cheese

Class 4: Cheese Making

Making pear-chardonnay jelly.
This class was perfect for the dairy state.  The ingredients (lypase, rennet) and process seem pretty scientific but I think it's not really that complicated.  If you buy a cheesemaking kit, follow the instructions and you should end up with something pretty tasty.  I was reminded that it takes a LOT of milk to make a small amount of cheese.  But if you're playing around to make some cheese for your family, you should have enough.  The feta we tasted at the end of the presentation was salty and tangy.

Class 5: Jellies and Jams

The overall topic was jellies and jams, but the teacher likes to particularly focus on making these products with wine as a main ingredient. He wanted to get us involved, so we all washed up and did a part of the recipe.  He even went so far as to can the jars of jelly.  I loved the spiced zinfandel jelly he made some I'm going to look into making that.  But canning scares me, so I want to only make small batches that you can use up in a month and share them with people, that way you avoid canning. 


When is the next one??

I loved the whole event and can't wait until next year's food camp.  It was fun hanging out with people who are as interested in food topics as I am.  It was an inspiring day, exciting me to try new food things that I haven't done before.  

There will be a mini version of food camp at the REAP Food for Thought Festival on September 21. 

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) gmail.com. It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!