Culinary Breeding Network’s annual Winter Vegetable Sagra goes virtual
Culinary Breeding Network, founded by agricultural researcher and assistant professor Lane Selman of Oregon State University, is a Portland nonprofit that brings together farmers, seed growers, plant breeders, agriculture researchers, chefs, and consumers to develop better-tasting consumer and kitchen-friendly fruits, veggies, and grains. For the past three years, its Winter Vegetable Sagra and Variety Showcase has drawn veggie enthusiasts and eaters from all over the world to Portland every December. This year, however, the celebrations are virtual and extend through March, with a different vegetable taking center stage each week. Check out Culinary Breeding Network’s YouTube channel for video demonstrations, which will be live-streamed and available to watch later. This week’s theme is radicchio, including a radicchio pizza demo earlier this week with Cathy Whims of Nostrana; next week’s theme is collards, including a presentation from food writer and author of James Beard award-winning book The Cooking Gene Michael Twitty.
Learn to make Haitian soup joumou
You may have heard about the backlash that the supposedly-reformed Bon Appetit received last week after advisor and winter issue guest editor Marcus Samuelsson published a so-called soup joumou recipe that, in reality, was a pumpkin and spiced pecan soup rather than real-deal soup joumou, a squash soup that holds so much cultural significance for Haitians. Now, Portlanders (and beyond!) have the opportunity to virtually learn to make joumou the way it's meant to be.
“This is the soup that Haitian slaves used to make for their French masters, but were forbidden to eat,” Creole Me Up founder Elsy Dinvil writes about soup joumou in an Instagram post. “After Haitians kicked the French out of the island and gain[ed] their independence, the slaves celebrated their newly-found freedom by cooking and eating that same pumpkin soup. Every January 1st, Haitians everywhere on the face of the earth make pumpkin soup to commemorate the anniversary of Haiti’s independence. January 1st, 2020 will mark Haiti’s 218th independence anniversary.”
On December 30 and 31 at 5 p.m., Dinvil is offering a two-day cooking course, where participants will learn to make soup joumou (vegan and non-vegan versions) and kremas (coconut-rum elixir). The class is $20; stay tuned on Creole Me Up's Instagram page for a link to purchase tickets.
A new Community-Supported Deli box
While many CSA (community-supported agriculture) produce boxes have sold out due to the pandemic, check out this new monthly CSD (community-supported deli) box featuring items from four Portland food businesses, all launched during the pandemic. The first of the boxes—available for online preorder for $44 until December 12 for pickup December 16-18—is based on the theme of keeping warm. Montavilla charcoal grill restaurant Lazy Susan is providing a pound of house-stuffed sausage links made with Calabrian chile; Pearl District Italian food hall Cooperativa is adding a pound of housemade dried pasta and Abruzzo sauce; Grandpa Guero's is contributing a bottle of serrano hot sauce; and Sebastiano’s is providing a container of grated Pecorino and a sleeve of Sicilian cookies for dessert.
Two veteran Portland food businesses are in danger of permanent closure
This winter has promised to be difficult for many restaurants, food carts, bars, and coffee shops, and just weeks after colder temperatures have set in, we're seeing even more restaurants in danger of closing permanently. In recent days, two longtime Portland food businesses have reached out to community members asking for help. Longtime customers of Rimsky-Korsakoffee House, a 40-year-old quirky, offbeat evening coffeehouse and dessert shop in a Buckman Craftsman house, put out a call for help via a GoFundMe page last week. “Rimsky’s is more than just a business—for many of us, it’s our second home. Portland wouldn’t be the same without it, and neither would we,” the page reads. As of press time, the page had already reached its $20,000 goal. Important note: you can also order takeout desserts to help Rimsky’s stay afloat.
Meanwhile, the 113-year-old Old Town restaurant Dan & Louis Oyster Bar has started its own GoFundMe in an attempt to stay afloat. The fifth-generation business claims to be the oldest family-run restaurant in Portland. “We have seen two world wars, the Great Depression, two major floods, the Korean War, and Vietnam, but Covid-19 is what might actually close our business forever,” the GoFundMe states.