Our Slow Food Dinner: good, clean and family food!

On Sunday afternoon we hosted half a dozen families (about 14 adults and that many kids) for a local slow food dinner. Everyone made his or her own dishes (including some home brewed hard (local) apple cider and Kombucha) and used as many local ingredients as possible. The spread covered everything from home baked Artesian breads and freshly made Queso to massaged kale salad (delicious!), cantaloupe salsa, beet salad, roasted corn and Colorado grown beans and tortillas.

The motivation for this dinner came from our small organic co-op organizer (otherwise know as Nature Deva) who has been lamenting the fact that our local Slow Food organization does not welcome children to their dinners. And what could emphasize the values of Slow Food more than taking the time to break bread and savor it with both friends and family? In our view teaching everyone, children included, about the pleasures and history of our vast food heritage is of utmost importance.  Indeed, we all had a wonderful meal and, the highlight of the evening was enjoying our children eat, play, sing, run and be silly. My husband (a self proclaimed foodie) said that it was the best party weve ever had and with out the kids it just would not have been the same.

As a group we are compiling recipes and pictures for the evening. I will post links to other blog posts about the event as they are published. In the meantime here are the recipes for the dishes that I prepared:

Simple Madagascar Style Beans (made from a Colorado cousin of a pinto bean):

To start:
-2 tbsp canola oil in bottom of crockpot
– 1 large or several small onions diced (I used fresh small red onions from the Farmers Market)
– several cloves of garlic chopped (also local from market)
– 2 to 5 bay leaves
– 2+ cups beans (2 cups dry, soaked over night in water)
– 1 tsp allspice
– water to cover beans plus an inch
Cook beans in crock pot until tender about 3 to 5 hours depending on your pot.

Add when beans are cooked:
– 1 to 2 tsps salt (depends on taste preference)
– 1 tsp ground coriander
– 2 large or 4 to 6 small potatoes chopped
Cook an additional 2 to 4 hours until potatoes are tender and soup is starting to thicken

When I was in Madagascar I stayed at a reserve where the Malagasy cook made salty beans cooked until almost mushy with onions. This recipe is about as close as I can replicate you can make it with any type of bean and I think it tastes delicious over a bowl of rice. When our beans were too salty one night at the Reserve, the Malagasy researches that I was staying with said that it meant the cook was in love! So, if your beans come out too salty, it just might be good news! Simple, but satisfying!

Tortillas (I found my recipe here, but altered as seen below):

– 4 cups fine whole wheat flour (we are lucky to have a great source for locally milled flour!)
– 3 teaspoons of baking powder
– 2 teaspoons of salt
– 2 tbsp canola oil
– 2 tbsp melted Earth Balance Spread
– 1 tsp local honey
– 1.5 cups warm coconut milk

As the recipe at Home Sick Texan recommends, knead the sticky dough for two minutes on a floured board. I covered mine with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. I then pinched off small balls and rolled them out flat (about 6 inch tortillas) and cooked in a skillet.

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