Tag Archives: slow food

i8tonite with Food and Music Writer Mama Bullock & Recipe for Simple Black Bean, Corn, & Tomato Ensalada

i8tonite with Food and Music Writer Jessica Bullock & Recipe for Simple Black Bean, Corn, & Tomato Ensalada
Jessica Bullock

Imagine your life filled with music – and good food. Doesn’t it sound like the perfect day, home, mealtime? For food and music writer Jessica Bullock, those two subjects go hand in hand. Her website, MamaBullock.com, is one of the most interesting food sites I’ve seen in a long time – not only for the delicious recipes, but the creativity involved with her music pairings. I had a chance to talk with Jessica, and was simultaneously inspired and amazed by the way she lives music and good food.

i8tonite with Food and Music Writer Jess Bullock & Recipe for Simple Black Bean, Corn, & Tomato Ensalada
Banana bread

Jessica notes:
I’m a post-production producer by day and a food & music blogger by night. I live in Chicagoland, and I have a husband and three sons, 6, 4, and 1 month. My blog, mamabullock.com, is where you’ll find inspired food and music, good for the soul. If music is the language of love, food is the manifestation of love. No matter where you come from, food and music remind us that we are universally creative and loving human beings. That’s why I pair a piece of music with every recipe on the site. You can listen while you cook.

i8tonite with Food and Music Writer Jess Bullock & Recipe for Simple Black Bean, Corn, & Tomato Ensalada
Fruit Pizza

Mama Bullock is for foodies who don’t have a lot of time for meal prep but enjoy cooking and listening to great music. As a working mom, I know how difficult (impossible) it is to have delicious and healthy meals ready for the family every night. Mama Bullock is all about creating delicious food without having to make everything from scratch, while avoiding the packaged, full-of-crap meals you find in boxes in the middle of the grocery store.

In addition to creating recipes, the site is also about sharing products, ideas, and healthy eating tips. One of my most important goals is to educate as many people as possible about how both food and music can be used as medicine. I cook. I eat. I listen. I share.

i8tonite with Food and Music Writer Jess Bullock & Recipe for Simple Black Bean, Corn, & Tomato Ensalada
Tangy arugula with crispy lemon chicken

See? She’s amazing! I asked Jessica about how she decided to pair music with food. Her answer was longer – and more interesting – than I expected. Are you surprised to discover that music is a big part of her life? She grew up exposed to a variety of music, from church to jug bands. What? I know! I listened carefully as she said that her parents had a jug band for years – and that her dad can play the 1812 overture on his jug (and he was named best jug player in the world)! She loved going to blues clubs, and then started in orchestra, playing the viola.

As you can imagine, when Jessica said that music has been the common thread throughout her life, I nodded. I could see this even more so when she talked about her kids and gave tips on how to get kids to love music. Her husband was a professional DJ (see where I’m going with this?), and they always have music in their house, from playing the piano to a variety of music to listen and dance to. Perhaps the best part was when she said her 6 year old’s favorite composer is John Williams, because of all his incredible superhero movie soundtracks (genius kid!). Talking with Jessica has inspired me to incorporate more music into our lives – and my teen is one happy listener! She’s now the house DJ, following in Jessica’s footsteps, pairing music with our meals.

i8tonite with Food and Music Writer Jess Bullock & Recipe for Simple Black Bean, Corn, & Tomato Ensalada
Glazed carrots

And on to the food that Jessica shares on Mama Bullock. She noted that buying good food is really important – and advises people to look for locally grown, sustainable food. But there’s not just great recipes (and great music) on her site. She also includes gourmet hacks, such as making things from scratch easily. Through her work, she tries to educate about the health benefits of certain foods, and help others. For, as she says, “not only is food medicine (there’s evidence of preventive health care and reversing ailments through food), but musical therapy can also help people. Music therapy (music as medicine) is helping people with Alzheimer’s and stroke patients, as well as people in nursing homes. Life gets better when you have music. Music should be important to our whole life – and it’s good for our health!

Food People Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):

What is your favorite food to cook at home?
One-pot meals of any kind.

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
Forgotten celery. Wine. Lemon juice. Did I mention wine?

i8tonite with Food and Music Writer Jess Bullock & Recipe for Simple Black Bean, Corn, & Tomato Ensalada
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – the everything cookie.

What marked characteristic do you love in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
Witty banter.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
Criticism.

i8tonite with Food and Music Writer Jess Bullock & Recipe for Simple Black Bean, Corn, & Tomato Ensalada
Vermonter sandwich

Beer, wine, or cocktail?
Cocktail-y wine.

Your favorite cookbook author?
Lidia Bastianich or Spike Mendelsohn. I like laid back, gracious writing and simple food made delicious.

Your favorite kitchen tool?
A good sound system.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
Mediterranean for its simplicity and use of fresh herbs.

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?
Depends. What are we drinking?

Favorite vegetable?
Avocado

i8tonite with Food and Music Writer Jess Bullock & Recipe for Simple Black Bean, Corn, & Tomato Ensalada
Detox Smoothie

Chef you most admire?
All of them. It’s a tough gig. My hometown favorite is Rick Bayless. The food is inspired, delicious, and healthy.

Food you like the most to eat?
Anything made with tender loving care is usually wonderful.

Food you dislike the most?
I really hate boiled zucchini.

What is your favorite non-food thing to do?
Walk in the woods and be musical.

Who do you most admire in food?
People who are taking the time to feed and educate lower-income communities with urban gardens. Also doctors who are committed to the proliferation of using food as medicine.

Where is your favorite place to eat?
At my dining table with friends and family.

i8tonite with Food and Music Writer Jess Bullock & Recipe for Simple Black Bean, Corn, & Tomato Ensalada
Crispy Peaches

What is your favorite restaurant?
I pretty much stick to the West Loop in Chicago. I really like La Serina Clandestina mostly because I can’t get enough of Chef John Manion’s kale salad and daily empanada creation, but also it’s just a cool place with a cool vibe and great cocktails. I also love a place called La Luce. It’s super yummy Italian with a great staff. It’s the kind of place you take your grandparents to and visit for hours.

Do you have any tattoos?
No, I’m not that cool.

 

Recipe: Simple Black Bean, Corn, & Tomato Ensalada

i8tonite with Food and Music Writer Jess Bullock & Recipe for Simple Black Bean, Corn, & Tomato Ensalada
Simple Black Bean, Corn, & Tomato Ensalada

6 oz cherry tomatoes
6 oz sweet corn
6 oz cooked black beans
1 palmfull chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp course sea salt
1/2 tbsp agave syrup
1/2 tsp lime juice

Wash and cut cherry tomatoes in half, length-wise. Combine tomatoes, corn and beans into a large bowl. Add 1/2 the cilantro, salt, agave syrup and lime juice. Mix well. Garnish with remaining cilantro. Serve chilled as a salad or with chips as a salsa. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Music Pairing:

This recipe lets the vegetables speak for themselves. The only thing added is salt, lime, cilantro, and syrup. Today’s music pairing is a duo who lets the music speak for itself. No frills. Just two guitars. These two are from Mexico City but got their start in Dublin, Ireland during an eight-year stint playing pubs. They’re what I’d call “flamenco rock.” Both on acoustic guitar, they grew up with flamenco, jazz, and rock – but also love heavy metal, which comes through in their sound. They’ve been performing together since 1999, and have released five studio albums together. They’ve collaborated on movie soundtracks, performed at the White House, and continue to tour around the world. They’re also vegan, so I thought it a good pairing for today’s recipe, which is clearly Mexican-inspired, like the music. Please enjoy Rodrigo y Gabriela, performing live at the 2014 Montreux Jazz Festival.

HAPPY EATING + HAPPY LISTENING!

 

Note: All the gorgeous food photos? Discover the recipes on her site!

The End. Go Eat.

i8tonite with Rancho Gordo Founder Steve Sando & Recipe for Posole Verde

i8tonite with Rancho Gordo Founder Steve Sando & Recipe for Posole VerdeRancho Gordo’s founder Steve Sando is the embodiment of an i8tonite food person. In under two decades, he has revitalized a New World food, something so grubby that it was taken for granted by most Americans – beans. Prior to Rancho Gordo’s revival of legume culture, beans were found on the lower level of supermarket shelves, holding back the dust bunnies. Thankfully, dried beans have a long shelf life – but like all things hidden in dark corners, and subjected to fluorescent lighting (besides the horrible music), commodity beans will eventually lose some flavor and become stale.

i8tonite with Rancho Gordo Founder Steve Sando & Recipe for Posole Verde
Beautiful heirloom beans from the Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Project

Rancho Gordo’s beans are heirloom varieties, meaning that the origin (seed) is largely unmodified by technology or genetic science. In essence, the varieties of beans Rancho Gordo grows are dictated by the adage “let nature takes its course.” To the eater, this means more flavor, essence, and character.

Sando was based in Napa Valley, arguably one of the world’s best agriculture regions and home to The French Laundry. Subsequently, it was only a matter of time before his products made it onto North America’s most illustrious dining menu. “Thomas Keller gave us his blessing,” states Sando…and he’s been thriving with great beans and products since.

 i8tonite with Rancho Gordo Founder Steve Sando & Recipe for Posole Verde
Poached egg broth over a bed of Sta Maria Pinquitos

Rancho Gordo produces almost 35 varieties of heirloom beans, using a selection of farmers from California, Oregon, and Washington – and they almost always sell out. His customers are mostly home-cooks, but there are quite a few chefs who use Rancho Gordo but don’t understand heirloom varietals. “Chefs are the worst,” Sando chuckles. “We sell heirloom beans, which means our farms produce a low yield. We run out of varieties, yet (chefs) expect them to always be available. It takes about six months to develop each crop. So when we are out, we have to reseed, replant, and re-harvest.” (Stock up, chefs!)

Recently, Sando named one of his heirloom finds the Marcella, named after the famed Italian cookbook author Marcella Hazan. The story about their friendship and the eponymously named bean made it into the New York Times. “It killed us,” he says. “But in a good way.” His mail order business is robust, with sixty-five percent of his business coming from on-line but he also has two outlets: Napa, where Rancho Gordo is based, and in San Francisco’s legendary food emporium, the Ferry Building.

At the end of the day, Sando, a farmer with all the accolades and outpouring of goodwill about his beans, is a normal food person like the rest of us. And he eats beans, every day.

i8tonite with Rancho Gordo Founder Steve Sando & Recipe for Posole Verde

Food People Questions (with a nod to Proust):

What is your favorite food to cook at home?
Obviously, it would be beans. But I poach a chicken every week and use the meat in other meals and the broth becomes soup. Then I tend to improvise with vegetables.

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
Chipotle en vinagre. It’s one of the best relishes I know. One day I’d love to make them commerically.

What marked characteristic do you love in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
I love when they react to the food, the music, the table, the other people. It’s so easy to eat alone. I would hope they know how to express the joy of breaking bread with others.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
My first reaction would be to say someone who talks with their mouth full, but really, I can forgive that if they’re enthusiastic. I think people who drone on and are not aware of the rhythm of the conversation. I sometimes am guilty and stop myself if I’m hearing my own voice too much.

Beer, wine, or cocktail?
I love a single cocktail before dinner. A nice round, ready as your guests come in the door, is welcome. But put it away and switch to wine ASAP. My crowd tends to be wine and beer people and they don’t remember how to pace themselves with cocktails. You want your guests loose, not sloppy.
Beer or wine with dinner, depending on what is served.

Your favorite cookbook author?
I can read Diana Kennedy’s books like novels. But I have to add Paula Wolfert, Georgeanne Brennan, and Marcella Hazan. All strong women from an era when cookbooks weren’t just extended magazine articles.

 i8tonite with Rancho Gordo Founder Steve Sando & Recipe for Posole VerdeYour favorite kitchen tool?
I have a huge collection of clay pots. I don’t think I could single one out.

 

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
Mexican is my obsession. The more I go, I realize am strictly a tourist with this cuisine. We haven’t even scratched the surface.

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?
Pork. Then Chicken.

Favorite vegetable?
Beans would be too obvious, so i’ll say nopales. I love harvesting green cactus paddles and eating them as a vegetable. I understand they’re healthy, too, but that doesn’t interest me much.

Chef you most admire?
I think Frances Mallmann. He seems to understand that you are cooking to enjoy it with friends and good wine, not just cooking to cook or be clever. I’m also loving Sean Brock these days. He’s so clearly passionate about ingredients and I think he’s presenting southern food in a really appealing way. I’ve never met either of them but I’d like to.

i8tonite with Rancho Gordo Founder Steve Sando & Recipe for Posole Verde

Food you like the most to eat?
I think our local crab. It’s a workout and there’s a pay off.

Food you dislike the most?
I wish there were one. I love it all, to different degrees. And if I say I hate rutabagas (which is close to true), I’ll still keep an open mind and I bet there’s a chef who could turn me around.

What is your favorite non-food thing to do?
Road trips in rural Mexico.

i8tonite with Rancho Gordo Founder Steve Sando & Recipe for Posole Verde

Who do you most admire in food?
I think the indigenous women who I’ve met in Mexico. They’re the real thing. They have no concept of food trends and just make delicious food.

Where is your favorite place to eat?
I think a beach with cold beers and a bucket of perfectly steamed shrimp.

What is your favorite restaurant?
I don’t really have one, but if pushed, I’d say Contrmar in Mexico City.

Do you have any tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?
Nope! One aspect of me is still virginal.

Recipe: Posole Verde

i8tonite with Rancho Gordo Founder Steve Sando & Recipe for Posole Verde

Serves 6

• 1/4 pound Rancho Gordo White Posole (prepared hominy)
• 1 1/2 onions, white or red, peeled and halved
• Salt
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled
• 15 to 20 tomatillos, paper skins removed
• 2 poblano chiles
• 1 serrano chile
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
• 2 teaspoons Rancho Gordo Mexican Oregano
• 1 1/2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth
• Freshly ground black pepper

1. Soak posole overnight in water to cover generously. Drain.

2. Place it in a saucepan with fresh water to cover generously.

3. Add 1/2 onion, bring to a simmer, cover partially and cook at a gentle simmer until the corn kernels are tender, 2 to 3 hours; many will split open. Season with salt and cool in the liquid.

4. On a hot, dry griddle or skillet, roast the remaining halved onions, garlic, tomatillos and chiles, turning occasionally, until they are charred and slightly softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Work in batches if necessary.

5. Put the roasted poblano chiles in a paper bag to steam until cool.

6. Transfer the other vegetables to a bowl and let cool, collecting their juices.

7. Skin the poblanos, discarding seeds and stems. Discard the serrano chile stem but don’t skin or seed.

8. Put all the roasted vegetables in a blender, in batches if necessary, and puree until smooth.

9. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over moderate heat.

10. Add the vegetable puree and adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

11. In the blender, puree the cilantro, oregano and 1 cup of the broth. Add to the vegetable mixture along with 4 cups additional broth.

12. Drain the posole and add it to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and return to a simmer. Thin with additional broth if necessary. Serve in warm bowls.

 

The End. Go Eat.