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Nibbles and Sips Around Town – October 28, 2014

Jordan Wright
October 28, 2014
all photo credit to Jordan Wright
Special to  DC Metro Theater Arts

Something for Moms to Cheer About, Willowsford Farm Lunch, Winos Take Over the Kennedy Center, Daniel Boulud Storms the Capitol 

Hooray Puree Adds Nutrition, Covertly 

We pick our vegetables at the peak of ripeness, puree them and package them without adding preservatives, dyes or even ascorbic acid

Hooray Purees have no added preservatives, dyes or even ascorbic acid

Sneaky moms just got approval from Hooray Puree – a new pureed vegetable product that can be slipped undetected into mac n’ cheese, used to bump up the nutritional value of soups and stews, and added to smoothies.  It even replaces all baking fats and oils in cakes, brownies and pies.  All on the Q.T.  In fact there are so many ways to have it over on your finicky kids, that you’re only limited by your imagination.  Did I mention it’s convenient, organic, shelf-stable and comes in a nifty box?

Mango-Carrot Smoothie

Mango-Carrot Smoothie

I came across this pureed vegetables product through Timothy Cipriano, a chef who had worked to institute nutritional food programs for the Connecticut school system.  Several years ago I had dinner with Cipriano after his first trip to the White House where he had met First Lady Michelle Obama and toured her famous kitchen garden.

Colorful Quinoa Salad

Colorful Quinoa Salad

His efforts had been recognized by Mrs. Obama and she invited him to work with her office, Congress and the USDA in the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act that teaches kids where their food comes from.  Surprisingly many kids, whether from the suburbs or the inner city, have never been on a farm or spent time in a vegetable garden.  But by working together with the food service industry and community partners, the program Chefs Move to Schools began in earnest to change the scope of school food allowing kids to make better, more nutritious, and more informed choices about their everyday school breakfasts and lunches.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Raisin Bars

No-Bake Peanut Butter Raisin Bars

Not long ago Chef Cipriano discovered Hooray Puree and found it dovetailed nicely into his message of amping up the nutritional value and flavor of popular recipes.  He is now the Vice President of Brand Development for the company and spends his time education school children and school nutrition professionals.  You can follow him on Twitter @localfooddude.  For dozens of great recipes check out www.HoorayPuree.com.  Order online through www.AbesMarket.com.

Willowsford Farm Luncheon 

In September I toured Willowsford Farm, a 4,000-acre community in Loudoun County, Virginia that enjoys two zip codes – from the quaint town of Aldie to nearby Ashburn.  The vast property with a 300+-acre working farm that produces more than 150 varieties of fruits and vegetables, has a clutch of chickens and a herd of goats, truly celebrates the farm and all its bounty.

Preparing the weekly CSA baskets at the farm

Preparing the weekly CSA baskets at the farm

Hunt country homes line the winding lanes leading to two magnificently appointed community centers.  Outfitted with both indoor and outdoor teaching kitchens, noted chefs like Bryan Voltaggio of Range cook for homeowners at frequently arranged pop-up restaurants within the community center.

Willowsford Farm Executive Chef Bonnie Moore

Willowsford Farm Executive Chef Bonnie Moore

In addition to the kitchens, farm and a farmers market with a CSA program, the property has a Culinary Director.  Chef Bonnie Moore, formerly of the Inn at Little Washington, teaches ongoing cooking classes and provides recipes for residents.  Children can volunteer to help at the farm and this summer they had a kids’ camp that took full advantage of the seven-acre lake where families enjoy canoeing and kayaking.

Last of the season tomato salad // Harvest Apple Pie with Buttermilk Ice Cream

Last of the season tomato salad // Harvest Apple Pie with Buttermilk Ice Cream

On the day I visited Moore oversaw the end-of-summer luncheon in the grand Sycamore House, a stunning building whose receiving rooms have beautiful paneled walls milled from trees on the property. 

Mike Snow at the farm market at Willowsford

Mike Snow at the farm market at Willowsford

Led by Farm Manager Mike Snow we visited the farm stand and clambered over one of the 40-miles of trails to check out the barns, coming upon a friendly Border Collie and a few hitchhiking praying mantises.

The visionary of this unique property is Brian Cullen, who saw fit to build in all the amenities from swimming pools and formal gardens to parks and camping areas for the residents before the homes had even been finished – a rare commitment from a developer.  To learn more about the community visit www.Willowsford.com.

Winebow Performs at Kennedy Center 

From the terrace at Kennedy Center at the Winebow Vintner's Harvest event

From the terrace at Kennedy Center at the Winebow Vintner’s Harvest event

Usually when I’m at the Kennedy Center I am watching a theatrical production of some sort – ballet, play, musical, opera.  But this time I was there by invitation from major wholesaler Winebow who used the enormous dining room for its 1st Annual Vintner’s Harvest DC.  There enhanced by a spectacular view overlooking the Washington Monument, they presented their import and distribution portfolio of over 200 producers and their wines, spirits and sakes.

So many wines. So little time.

So many wines. So little time.

It was cheek-to-jowl as buyers, beverage managers, sommeliers and restaurateurs packed the vast room searching for that elusive bottle.  For some of us it was a chance to catch up with those in the biz, sample what’s new and make a few friends.  For the earnest buyers in the crush, it was a serious exercise in sampling.

I confess I was a bit overwhelmed by the magnitude of the offerings – imagine over a thousand bottles at your reach!  But it wasn’t long before an impossibly tall stranger in a cowboy hat broke through the scrum, saw my dilemma and took me by the hand to some lovely Bordeaux and a few well-aged sakes.  All in the name of research, of course… 

Daniel Boulud Storms the Capitol 

Daniel Boulud greets guests at his DBGB opening party

Daniel Boulud greets guests at his DBGB opening party

Famed chef Daniel Boulud has charged onto the DC restaurant scene with DBGB Kitchen + Bar.  And last month’s opening party was epic.  Famed chefs Carla Hall, Jose Andres and Patrick O’Connell swooned along with the rest of us including Countess Elisabeth de Kergolay, Founder of Babeth’s Feast who has worked with Boulud who has created recipes for her NYC-based frozen food line.  Boulud graciously posed for selfies with any guest that asked nicely.

The splendid charcuterie // The popular Maryland crab topped burgers at DBGB

The splendid charcuterie // The popular Maryland crab topped burgers at DBGB

The stylish spot is in the glamorous new City Center Building.  Already Boulud has felt the love from the 100+ celebrity chef signed plates used as wall décor from none other than Grant Aschatz, Alice Waters, Thomas Keller, White House chef Crista Comerford, Anthony Bourdain, and Martha Stewart?  Yes, the Domestic Goddess herself!  The list is impressive.  It’s like Sardi’s for chefs!

Best nibbles:  Coq au vin and Baked Alaska.

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