On Saturday, October 4, we braved the cold and were treated to a tour of one of Madison’s newer Asian markets, A Mart in the Whitney Square Shopping Center. Our tour guide, Vu, took us down every aisle and explained what many of the products are used for, and pointed out many of his favorite brands. I was curious what brand of fish sauce he recommended—his personal preference is for the Squid brand—but said that many choose the Three Crabs brand as well.
Vu himself drives down to Chicago early Friday morning to bring back a wide variety of produce, including Thai bananas, purple yams, durian, and green mangos. Fresh seafood comes in on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Not only does A Mart have a wide assortment of Asian groceries, but also a good selection of kitchen and housewares, and well stocked African and Middle Eastern sections.
If you make it to A Mart, don’t leave without visiting the dessert and deli section—just past the checkout counters on the front wall—where they keep a stack of freshly made Bahn Mi sandwiches everyday, and several house-made desserts on weekends. The sandwiches are ready to eat as is– just add the fresh veggies bagged on the side– or warm in an oven until crisp and warm throughout.
If you missed the tour, don’t despair. Vu and his co-workers are on hand and willing to answer questions about products and how to cook with them.
Slow Food Madison is getting ready to kick off a new series of beginner-level cooking classes, and we need volunteers! The class, which meets once a month from June through October, is being developed in partnership with the Goodman Community Center and is supported by a SEED grant. We are looking for volunteers with basic cooking knowledge and an interest in teaching others how to cook simple yet delicious meals at home. Our first class is Saturday, June 14 from 9 until noon, and we are still looking for a couple of volunteers. If you would like to help out at any or all of the classes, please send Trevor a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn how to prepare simple, fresh, delicious meals at home in this five-part cooking series. Each class will cover kitchen basics, tips for shopping economically, and an overview of healthy food preparation techniques. Sign up for all five classes or pick and choose the topics that most appeal to you! No prior cooking experience is necessary. All participants will receive a home pantry “starter kit”.
June 14 – Salads: learn how to turn beautiful spring greens into a quick, flavorful meal with simple homemade salad dressings.
July 12 – Side dishes: seasonal veggies + inexpensive pantry staples = an endless variety of delicious, easy-to-prepare sides. Great for potlucks, lunch boxes, or a light dinner!
August 9 – Main courses: combine easy-to-find ingredients like beans and lentils with fresh summer veggies and–if desired–a bit of meat to create memorable meals that will feed a crowd! Also, tips for pleasing picky eaters.
September 6 – Desserts: a sweet end to your meal doesn’t have to be loaded with sugar, salt, and fat. Learn how to feature local fruits and vegetables in a number of quick preparations that are bound to impress your friends and family.
October 11 – Appetizers & snacks: learn how to prepare a variety of flavor-packed snacks that are significantly better for you–not to mention tastier–than their supermarket counterparts.
A heartfelt ‘Thank You‘ goes out to all the vendors who came to our Annual Meeting this past Sunday and served up a slice (or sip) of what they do so well!
And a Thank You as well to everyone who attended.
On March 9th, Urban Market Forage participants were treated to a hands-on queso fresco making afternoon with Dave Potter and his daughter Kate, of Get Culture/The Dairy Connection. www.GetCulture.com
The afternoon started with a quick look around the store and the cheese making classroom. Get Culture is the retail location of Dairy Connection, a mail order supplier that works with amateur and professional cheese makers all over the country.
After making the queso fresco, participants were treated to a variety of cheeses, including an unusual (and very tasty) canned cheddar from Washington State!
Dave teaches a several classes around Madison and loves to share his knowledge, including the science behind the making of different cheese types. If you have ever been curious about making yogurt or cheese at home, this is the place to go!
On February 9th, 14 people gathered at the Conscious Carnivore (http://www.conscious-carnivore.com/) on University Avenue in Madison to learn about the history and practices of the business from owner Bartlett Durand.
We were greeted at the large community table, next to a sunny window, with fruit, croissants, coffee, and seasonal cheddar cheese (Spring and Winter) from Otter Creek Organic Farm (http://www.ottercreekorganicfarm.com/).
The cheeses started off the discussion. Otter Creek is owned and operated by Bartlett’s father-in-law, Gary Zimmer. It is a sustainable, organic, pastured dairy farm. We discussed the nuances of flavor that change with the seasons, the grasses, the fat content of the milk.
The philosophy behind Conscious Carnivore is “Respect for every animal, on four feet or two”. CC sources meat from small Wisconsin and Iowa farms. They are rated as Organic, Grass fed, or Grandpa’s Way—relating back to how family farms were run before industrialization. Bartlett doesn’t shy away from any questions or discussions. Many regular customers stopped in during our visit. It is a convivial atmosphere that harkens back to when shopkeepers knew all their customers by name. The large table serves as a gathering space as well. Beer and wine are available, as is coffee. You can sit and sip and talk with friends. There are baskets of toys and coloring books for children as well.
Another tenet of the business is that nothing goes to waste. A popular sausage from Black Earth Meats (http://www.blackearthmeats.com/), the Offal Tasty is also available at the shop. There are meats brined and ready for crockpots as well, but no prepared foods. The shop offers a variety of classes, and always has recipes on hand or advice on how to prepare the different cuts of meat.