Posts Tagged ‘slow food’

Eat it to save it – Beaver Dam Pepper Celebration 2013

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

The Beaver Dam Pepper Celebration is here again! In collaboration with Slow Food Chicago and Slow Food WiSE we are happy to present an extravaganza of menu specials, tastings and community potlucks in Milwaukee and Chicago.

The pepper is a rare heirloom varietal, brought to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, in 1912 by Joe Hussli, an Hungarian immigrant. It needs to be trellised cause the fruit grows 9 inches long, hence it is more labor intensive than modern varieties. It is on the Slow Food Ark of Taste as an almost extinct varietal. But - as with everything heirloom - the flavor is SO MUCH BETTER than that of hybrid peppers. They have an amazing flavorful heat that slowly builds up and then mingles. Read the story of the pepper here!



We are honored that the following great Chicago chefs are showcasing the Beaver Dam Pepper in a menu special from September 19 – 22 . From a Beaver Dam Pepper infused drink, to a cauliflower dish w. pickled peppers and a chocolate truffle with the Beaver Dam Pepper & Michigan cherries, you will be able to enjoy this rare local heirloom in many delicious variations!

PLUS: Beaver Dam Pepper Celebration FAN CARD: if you Eat It To Save It at five of these participating restaurants from 09/19-22, you will receive a FREE jar of Scrumptious Pantry's Heirloom Pickle Beaver Dam Pepper!

The following Chicago-area restaurants will offer menu specials:

Big Jones w. Heirloom tomato salad, Anson Mills Farro Verde, Prairie Fruits Chèvre, Pickled Beaver Dam Peppers

Billy Sunday w. Atlantic Crab fondue with pickled Beaver Dam Peppers and herbed flatbread

Green Zebra w. Beaver Dam Pepper Hash with salt roasted Red Thumb fingerlings, fried egg, and an apple shallot jam

Katherine Anne Confections  w. Beaver Dam Pepper truffle with Michigan Cherries, FEW bourbon, local wildflower honey, and bittersweet chocolate

Marion Street Cheese Market w. Beaver Dam pepper relleno, goat milk ricotta,  sweet corn grits and pepper consommé

Uncommon Ground Devon w. Beaver Dam Pepper grilled cheese: brioche bread, butterkaese & chihuahua cheese, Beaver Dam Pepper jam & roasted Beaver Dam Depper sausage

Uncommon Ground Clark w. Beaver Dam Pepper stuffed with a local wild mushroom risotto and a garlic parmesan sauce

Standard Market w. Beaver Dam Pepper Slaw: a crisp symphony of peppers, cucumbers, carrots, snap peas, and Scrumptious Pantry Beaver Dam Peppers, marinated in a sweet and tangy mustard vinaigrette.


In-Store Samplings

The Beaver Dam Pepper will be available to taste the weekend of 09/22 &22 in the following Chicago area retailers

City Olive

Dill Pickle

Green Grocer

Marcels Culinary Experience



Plus, join us at various Whole Foods locations the following days and times

South Loop, Chicago                                       09/19  from 4  to 7 pm


3640 N. Halsted Street, Chicago                 09/20    from 5 to 7 pm

1550 N. Kingsbury Street, Chicago             09/20    from 5 to 7 pm


30 West Huron Street, Chicago                   09/21     form 11 to 2 pm

500 E. Ogden Ave, Hinsdale                        09/21    from 12  to 3 pm


201 63rd Street, Willowbrook                       09/22    from 11 to 2 pm

760 Waukegan Rd, Deerfield                        09/22    from 11 to 2 pm

1640 Chicago Ave., Evanston                       09/22    from 4  to 7 pm


20281 N. Rand Road, Kildeer                      09/28     from 11 to 2 pm



Heirloom Flavors Potluck, September 22

If you are inspired to play with the pepper in your own kitchen, you can purchase fresh peppers at Green City Market and Logan Square Farmers' Market at the booths of Radical Root Organic FarmMajestics Nursery and Montalbano Farms, as well as at the Dill Pickle Food Coop in Logan Square. Scrumptious Pantry’s pickled Beaver Dam Pepper is available at all Whole Foods Stores and other selected retailers around Chicago.

We’d love to taste your Beaver Dam Pepper creation at the Community Potluck on September 22 – if you do not have a chance to bring a Beaver Dam Peppers dish, fear not! The theme is “Heirloom Flavors”, so every dish that either incorporates any heirloom variety or showcases a family recipe, is more than welcome. The event is BYOB.  In the spirit of environmental sustainability, please bring a plate and silverware! Glasses are provided.


Scrumptious Pantry, 3230 W. Fullerton Ave (Logan Square)



Tour de Menu, September 21 (& Milwaukee Cocktail Week, September 22)

The following Milwaukee-area restaurants will be offering menu specials


Bavette La Boucherie  w. Pickled mustard seed, sauerkraut and oktoberfest beer brat with a pickled beaver dam pepper relish

Glorioso's Italian Market w. Orrechiette pasta with the BDP, brunelli sausage, arugula and caramelized onions with a light tomato broth


Great Lakes Distillery   will craft a Beaver Dam Pepper Cocktail for Milwaukee Cocktail week's launch event on 09/22
In Store Tastings 09/21
Glorioso's Italian Market                                                                12.30 - 3.00pm
Whole Foods Milwaukee                                                                  4pm - 7pm


These beautiful Beaver Dam Peppers are growing strong in Marye's garden. Are you growing the Beaver Dam Pepper, too? You should join the Beaver Dam Pepper Championship! All you need to do to participate is to tweet or post pictures of your plants & peppers growing on Scrumptious Pantry's or Slow Food Chicago's Facebook or twitter using the hashtags #BeaverDamPepper #Pepperazzi. If you grows the largest Beaver Dam Pepper you will win a Scrumptious Pantry gift basket valued at $100, and the title of "Beaver Dam Pepper Champion". The Beaver Dam Pepper Champion will be announced at the Chicago Community Potluck on September 22.



Meet the team – Seul Ki

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Hello, I am Seulki Go. I am working as a marketing intern at the Scrumptious Pantry through an exchange program sponsored by the Korean government. I am 22 years old and a senior in Ewha Woman’s University in Korea. I came here to the USA for one year to learn about American culture, especially American business culture.  Fortunately, I got the chance to work in this great company with nice co-workers.  From working here at Scrumptious Pantry, I have learned not only about cultural differences but also about healthy foods. 

During the internship, I participated in many festivals such as the SlowFood Chicago Annual Meeting, the Good Food Festival and the Green Festival. It was very impressive for me to see that lots of people are interested in healthy and organic products. Actually, I thought that Americans like fast food and junk food. But, many people care about what they put in their belly and how they nourish their body - many more people than I thought.

Similarly, in Korea, people are also concerned about “well-being” which is a new lifestyle making health in body and mind the top priority. Because of that, Korean consumers are growing more and more interested in organic and healthy food, too.

Hence, I learned that “healthy” is the key word all over the world at present. I didn’t know much about heirlooms and was not that much interested in healthy food before I came to work at the Scrumptious Pantry. But, now, I am pretty much interested in that and I want to educate my Korean friends and American friends who don’t know well about heirloom, organic, and healthy foods.

So, I am enjoying the opportunities to introduce people to the healthy products of  the Scrumptious Pantry, which are heirloom and organic foods from family farmers. Hopefully, I can get more chances to talk about healthy food and introducing our products. I look forward to participating in the Farmer’s Market, and lots of other upcoming events. I hope to see you at the Farmer’s Market soon!

Cooking with pickles part 2 – Beaver Dam Pepper tater skins

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Our pickled Beaver Dam Pepper is super versatile for many tasty appetizers and snacks - in a bloody mary, with polenta cakes for an elegant finger food or try it in this recipe mixed with gooey cheddar cheese and Italian sausage on a potato skin!

Grow it to save it – Who will be the Beaver Dam Pepper Champion 2013?

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

The time has come for you to join Slow Food Chicago, Slow Food WiSE and Scrumptious Pantry in the Beaver Dam Pepper Celebration this year, and if you’re wondering how you can participate then you came to the right place. Join our Beaver Dam Pepper Championship! Who will grow the largest Beaver Dam Pepper this year and become the Beaver Dam Pepper Champion 2013?

Participating is easy - First you need to obtain a Beaver Dam Pepper seedling! If you are in Chicago take advantage of the Peterson Garden Project's plant sale May 10th – 12th. In Milwaukee, you will find Beaver Dam Pepper seedlings at Webers Garden Center, 4215 North Green Bay Avenue or at the Village Green Street Fair in Wauwatosa on June 1 at the booth of Slow Food WiSE.

Seedlings will give you a kick start, but  if you don't have a chance to get your hands on one, planting a seed should hopefully still work - though you will get less peppers and get them later (order seeds at Seed Savers Exchange).

Then, find the perfect place to plant your Beaver Dam Pepper. You will need a 1 ft. square plot in your garden. Even a large planter on your sunny front porch would work. The pepper takes about 80 days to come to fruit and may require trellises, as the peppers can grow up to 9 inches long!

And finally, the last step to participate in the Beaver Dam Pepper Championship is to watch your pepper grow and report its progress by posting photo updates of your growing peppers on our Facebook page or on twitter using the hashtags #BeaverDamPepper #pepperazzi. We also hope you will be sharing recipes you come up with. And if you have questions and need growing tips, our farmer team will give answers on Facebook and twitter, too.

The Beaver Dam Pepper Celebration will culminate in a weeklong extravaganza from September 16-22nd: we'll have awesome Chefs in Milwaukee and Chicago preparing special dishes with the Beaver Dam Pepper for our Tour de Menu, pop up at Farmers Markets with our roadshow - and we're organizing a huge & fun Beaver Dam Pepper Community Potluck in Chicago. The winner of the Beaver Dam Pepper Growing Competition will be announced at the potluck on September 22 - up for grabs is a Scrumptious Pantry gift basket valued at $100.

Will you be the 2013 Beaver Dam Pepper Champion?



Be part of the Beaver Dam Centennial Celebration – Eat it to save it!

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

This September, it has been 100 years that Joe Hussli brought the pepper seeds with him, when he came over to the new world from Hungary. He settled in Beaver Dam , Wisconsin, and started cultivating the pepper that must have meant so much to him. If you were to pack two bags only and move to the other part of the world - what would you pack!?

Joe passed the seeds to neighbors and friends and the pepper became known as the Beaver Dam Pepper. Unfortunately today, when you meet someone from Beaver Dam, chances are they have never heard about it, because most farmers abandoned the pepper's cultivation as hybrid varieties became widely available. The new peppers did not require trellises and were much easier to grow, so over time, the Beaver Dam Pepper was forgotten.

To change that, we started pickling the Beaver Dam Pepper last year and we have been very happy about the great success our pepper has had. It's just too tasty not to fall in love with the warm, flavorful heat.

For September, we have teamed up with Slow Food to organize the "Beaver Dam Pepper Centennial Celebration" in Chicago and Milwaukee. For two weekends (Sept 21-23 in Chicago, Sept 28-30 in Milwaukee), some of the cities' best local restaurants will be creating special menu items to showcase the Beaver Dam Pepper to share the story of the pepper. We also have scheduled a number of tastings in retail stores where we will pass out samples, recipes, and seed packets,  and in Chicago will be popping up at select Farmer’s Markets, to boot.

Be part of the Beaver Dam Pepper Centennial Celebration - and eat it to save it!


Beaver Dam Pepper Tour de Menu September 28-30

Braise (closed Sundays) with Tea and Crumpets featuring a Beaver Dam Pepper Jam, Tea Smoked Chicken with an Herbed Crumpet

Glorioso's Italian Market (1011 E. Brady St.) -- with Gamberi e linguini con banane pepe in salamoia (tiger shrimp, beaver dam pickled peppers, oil cured black olives, leeks, goat cheese and olive oil)

G. Groppi Food Market (1441 E. Russell Ave.) -- with Beaver Dam Pepper Pizza with ricotta, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, red onions and pickled Beaver Dam Peppers

Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub (222 Erie St., closed Sundays)

The Rumpus Room (1030 N. Water St.) -- with Beaver Dam Pepper Hash

Demos and in-store tastings

Friday, Sept 28

Groppi's Food Market, 5pm -7pm


Saturday, Sept 29

Glorioso's 11am - 3pm

Sendik's on Oakland, 4pm -6pm

Putting the heirloom in pickle

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

I believe in canning, putting up the glory of summer for winter. I always loved the fresh tasting flavors of the quick refrigerator, but could not get around liking the store bought ones. Even the fancy brands seemed to be tasting too much like vinegar, salt and spices. To my palate that is. Hence I got my mind set on a line of pickles very soon - especially as here at The Scrumptious Pantry it is all about making foods that are connected with the culinary heritage of a region. If not pickles made in the Midwest, then where? All those immigrants from Germany, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe - pickling was their preferred choice of preserving the summer bounty.

And that is the keyword PRESERVE. We wanted to make pickles that preserve the flavor of the ingredients, accentuate the character of the veggies - not alter it to a point that if you took out the texture component and taste a pickle blindfolded you would be unable to identify the veggie.

Today, we are launching our first two products in the new line of pickles. It has been in the works for two years now. Our obsession with authenticity led us to put up jars and jars of pickles, trying every pickle recipe we could find in historic recipe books. Just for the fun of it, I just counted the open jars in my fridge that represent the various stages of testing (and which I am eating no matter how they taste cause I cannot throw food away. A salty dill pickle for example is great in an omelette w. potatoes) - 38 jars. I still have 38 open jars in my fridge, and 47 jars that have already been cleaned and stored away for the next round of testing. That equals 85 different test batches on four products. Now, surely that is not a lot of R&D for big food companies. It is a lot for us.

Besides canning batch after batch in the test kitchen, this project  led us to browse seed catalogues and speak with agricultural historians, in our quest to identify vegetables that have a history in the Midwest. With all the Polish & German immigration patterns beets made it onto our list pretty early in the process. The Giardiniera was decided on without much discussion, too, because this vegetable medley is the signature "vegetable preserve" of Chicago. The Lemon Cucumber we fell in love with at local Farmer's Markets. And then the Beaver Dam Pepper jumped out at us, when we were researching the Slow Food Arch of Taste – a listing of culturally significant varietals at the brink of extinction. The Beaver Dam Pepper was introduced to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, around 1913 by an Hungarian immigrant. It has a mildly spicy flavor and is just delicious. But it is very difficult to grow – the peppers can get enormous, requiring to put up trellises. So although it was a great tasting pepper, it was abandoned in favor of the easier to grow varieties


                                                                                       John of Stone Circle Farm with a small (!) Beaver Dam Pepper

Luckily by word of mouth we found a farm in Reeseville – Stone Circle Farm – that had been growing some experimental Beaver Dam Pepper plants last year. And how excited we were to hear that John would be willing to give the Beaver Dam Pepper a try on a larger scale. He brought on another Farm close to Beaver Dam – Good Earth Farm- and we were ready to go. We had some setbacks and we had some great successes. Some beautiful peppers and some pretty ugly ones, scarred up with sunburn. The spice profile for brine we developed for the Beaver Dam Pepper was reminiscent of the flavors of Hungary, and we are pretty excited about what we think is a greatly balanced flavor, supporting the characteristic taste of the Beaver Dam Pepper.

Today, we are launching the Beaver Dam Pepper and the Lemon Cucumber. Giardiniera and beets should follow before Thanksgiving. We want to thank our Farmers - John, Nicole, Rink, Jenny, Alison, Alex, Andy and Dirk - for trusting us with their beautiful veggies. A special thank you also to all our taste testers, that might not have tasted through all 85 batches, but still ate a considerable amount of pickled veggies. I personally want to thank Andy Fair, my partner in the kitchen, for not giving up on me and my quest for the perfect preserved pickle.

All our pickles make great additions to a Cheese plate or as an antipasto, but my favorite match so far are slow cooked beans with pulled pork over rice and a Beaver Dam Pepper on the side. How do you like to eat our pickles? Have a taste and let us know! They are available in our online store and moving to your trusted retailers in these days, too.


Day 52 – Value Eating on 05/04/2010

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Breakfast was my last croissant w. French Lentil Jam- I will never get over the fact that someone invented something as delicious as lentil jam and it took me 35 years to find it. Actually, it took me 33 years to find it, and then another two to open the jar…. That is what you get when you buy food in every occasion… you stuff it in your pantry and stumble upon it years later. Anyways, delicious. Made in France with lentils that are actually a Slow Food Convivium. Better that Nutella, Crème de marron and Peanut butter together. Ridiculously good. Now, honestly, I do not remember how much I paid for a glass of jam two years ago. It was at the Salone del Gusto, the bi-annual Slow Food event in Turin. That is for sure. Funnily enough the price on almost every item was 5 Eur. Want real vanilla from Madagaskar – 5 eur. Dried figs from Tuscany? 5 Eur. A bag of dried beans? 5 Eur. So would you agree that we put the price tag of 5 Eur also on the jam? That would bring my breakfast to 3.40 for croissant & jam, plus 90 cents for my cappuccino.

Lunch was the continuation of my fridge clean out. I just want to get rid off all these root veggies, potatoes, chard, kale, onions – IT IS SPRING NOW! Bring out the asparagus, the rhubarb, the peas…. So I just threw a wild combination of root veggies, potatoes and chard into a pot, briefly sautéed in olive oil and turned it into a soup with a little of Fabio’s & Nicoletta’s Originario Rice from The Scrumptious Pantry. The whole pot holds 7$ of food and from what I have been eating today, I got at least seven portions in that pot. So that would equal 1$ for lunch.

For dinner, the quest to empty my fridge continued. Some chorizo sausage I found after friends that I had lent my place to had left behind, some EVOO, the last of the fresh chives – all over some pasta: 1$ pasta, 0.3$ chorizo (not local, not sustainable, comes in some weird plastic wrap. But cannot convince myself to throw it away. It is some sort of food, somehow. And other people are starving…), 0.25$ EVOO, 0.3$ chives = 1.85$.

Total food cost for today= 7.15$

Day 10 – Value Eating on 01/29/10

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Another weekend, so the following three days might be a bit mixed up. Luckily, weekends are about meeting friends, cooking together, sharing meals and possibly going out for dinner. On the one hand that makes this exercise of keeping an online expense account a bit difficult (no matter how worthy the cause, it is rude to ask the host’s or hostess’s recipe and grocery receipts in order to calculate you share of expenses). But then again what happier moments can there be than those of a shared meal: Sitting around a table, talking, laughing, telling stories. Nibbling on a cheese plate, while the delicious smell of food simmering on the stove and roasting in the oven is rising from the kitchen, waltzing into the dining room and making you feel warm, cosy and happy?

It is such an important thing to do: eating together. And it is so sad to read that there are so many families out there that do not share their meals, although they have the opportunity. Gosh, I am so jealous, sitting here all alone in my little kitchen every evening, cooking for myself (still enjoying it tremendously, though). But how much more fun if there was company. And 41% of families in the US have this opportunity and throw it away (59% of families have shared dinners five times a week according to a 2006 study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse by California University). That makes me sad. Maybe they do not even know what they are missing? Is this the “Generation Microwave” that is just doing what it saw their parents doing? Where did this start? And how can we stop it?

Maybe we should commit to cooking for friends twice a month. Not always the same group of friends that are the “slow food types”, but those we usually meet in a restaurant, café or bar. Let’s create experiences of eating together and reach out to those friends we know that do not cook for themselves, cause they are alone, or too busy and stressed with work, or traveling too much. Let’s reach out with a shared meal, share the experience and hopefully that experience will be appreciated and remembered.

But I am being carried away here. So let’s get back to food costs: Friday’s eating! Somehow I have developed the two meals a day habit over the last weeks, why I do not know. But it is a late breakfast and early dinner and a snack in the afternoon for most days of the week. Same today:

Brunch: three sautéed organic carrots (60c) with a little organic kale (75c) and organic onions (25c), a slice of pumpernickel (16c) and artisan blue cheese (32c) and a cup of organic green tea (6c) = 2.14$

Dinner was a delicious meal at a friend’s house, composed of beautiful cheeses for an appetizer, stuffed cabbage and gravy over potatoes and then some artisan patisserie for dessert. All accompanied by an organic French wine. Based on the costing of the last ten days, I approximate my share of the cost of this feast with all organic ingredients to sum up to 11$, mostly because of the ridiculous amount of cheeses that I ate!

Total Food Cost for Today: 13.14$

What I do not understand at all though, is that according to the CRONoMeter I was not eating enough, I am supposedly only at 70% of the necessary calorie intake. Now, that seems just ridiculous to me. I am wondering if there might be a bug of some sort in this program…

For further reading I recommend a very information rich TIME article from 2006 “The Magic of a Family Meal” online at,9171,1200760,00.html