I’m still abuzz from all of the new experiences I had last weekend at the Hazon Food Conference.
Over the course of four jampacked days, I met passionate, articulate and inspiring food, social and environmental activists, Rabbis, educators and students, chefs and home cooks, gardeners, farmers and food producers, writers and filmmakers.
We ate meals together, prayed and learned together, and shared perspectives on all things pertaining to “building Jewish identity and community, renewing ancient Jewish ecological, agricultural and spiritual wisdom, and producing healthy organic kosher food products.”
Hazon is best explained in last weekend’s programming catalogue as “ standing at the forefront of a new Jewish Food Movement, leading Jews to think more broadly and deeply about our own food choices. We’re using food as a platform to create innovative Jewish educational programs to touch people’s lives directly, to strengthen Jewish institutions, and, in the broadest sense, to create healthier, richer and more sustainable Jewish communities.”
A lofty and inspiring mission, for sure.
With 260 participants attending, we bonded over shared experiences, like gathering after dinner on the first night to braid 144 loaves of challah for Shabbat the next evening. How to divide up the deep vat of organic and whole wheat dough that had been mixed in the kitchen?
We pressed olives to extract their oils in order to experience the labor and miracle of oil production as we were about to celebrate Chanukah the next evening.
We headed down to the goats’ pasture each morning to watch the Adamah fellows milking the females. We brought along steaming mugs of black coffee to lighten with fresh, hot milk.
The path from goat to goatgurt is a direct one. Feta and “Holy Chevre” are made on site with milk from the farm’s goats.
“Goatgurt”, the farm’s nutritious and bright yogurt, was served with breakfast each morning. It tasted clean, a tad tart and grassy.
Talk about farm to table!
The Adamah farm created a value- added program to help support their farming and educational efforts by growing all of the ingredients for their line of kosher, organic, lacto-fermented and preserved products.
Season-extending methods are employed by using greenhouses and hoop-house growing. The pickling, freezing, canning and drying efforts have brought kimchi, crunchy pickles, and snappy sauerkraut to the table.
Over the course of sharing nine meals and numerous snacks with other participants, I eagerly read the informative and inspiring labels placed by each dish on the buffet tables. Ingredients were listed for those with restrictions. Farm sources was noted.
With many ingredients coming from the on-site farm or other neighboring farms, we enjoyed lots of frost -sweetened sauteed kale and collards, braises with plenty of onions, and loads of reddish yellow kabocha, and naturally sweet butternut and delicata squash.
We were welcomed to the opening night dinner by a vegetarian, Indian themed feast. The collard greens had been picked early that week and feta from the farm’s goats combined to make a spicy and nutrient packed Sag Paneer.
Golden, folded samosas included spuds from a neighboring farm and desserts throughout the weekend were simple, homestyle trays of moist honey cake , pumpkin bread and apple crisp.
And because we arrived before Chanukah and celebrated the beginning of our eight day holiday as a new community, there was a hands-on cooking session taught by Leah Koenig, author of the fascinating and user friendly cookbook, The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook.
Koenig’s collection of recipes span the culinary globe including Mexican, Asian, French, Middle Eastern and Italian inspired dishes.
In honor of Chanukah, when we get creative with all things fried, Koenig taught us how to make Bukharian potato turnovers.
My favorite new dish is the Italian Rice Fritters (Frittelle de Riso per Hanukkah). Enjoy this sweet and citrusy twist on more familiar American fried treats. Scroll down to check out this easy recipe.
And a HUGE thank you to Chef Adam SaNogueira who masterfully cooked 2250 servings for our appreciative and passionate group of Kosher foodies over the course of nine meals, multiple and much appreciated late afternoon snacks and Chanukah treats.
I gained deeper insight into the process of growing, planning, sourcing and preparing farm to table meals as a result of sharing some precious quiet moments with him as he was winding down towards the end of the conference.
To learn more about where you can buy Adamah’s cheeses, pickled veggies and sweet jams, click here.
Thank you to Leah Koenig, author of The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook, for providing this recipe. It is slightly adapted from Gil Marks' Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. Ingredients Instructions Notes The fritters can be kept warm in a 250 degree oven while preparing the remainder.
Thank you to Leah Koenig, author of The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook, for providing this recipe. It is slightly adapted from Gil Marks' Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.
The fritters can be kept warm in a 250 degree oven while preparing the remainder.