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From Farm to Table: The Terra Momo Cooking Class, Part 2

June 25, 2010

The Witherspoon Bread Company is part of the Terra MoMo Restaurant Group located in Princeton, NJ. This artisan bakery is known for its handmade breads and baked goods, and Master Baker Denis Granarolo, who hails from France, continues with the old world tradition of the slow process. Continuing the series “Cooking with Local Ingredients” at the Princeton Public Library, he was assisted by Eno Terra’s Chef Christopher Albrecht in making sweet and savory crepes. Recipes were available as print-outs for everyone to follow.

All of the produce used was locally grown, and most came from organic farms. The farm to table movement is growing stronger with an increase in farmer’s markets. When you buy local, the fruits and vegetables are picked when they’re ripe and delivered quickly to area markets and restaurants who demand the best.  There’s nothing better than knowing where your produce comes from. At the farmer’s market, you can actually ask the grower about the crop. When you find a favorite, you can continue to purchase from that farm to insure fairly consistent quality.

Granarolo demonstrated how to make a crêpe batter with the simple ingredients of milk, eggs, water, oil, flour and salt. He emphasized that it should be allowed to rest refrigerated for 30 minutes to overnight. Albrecht explained how to season a stainless steel or cast iron pan to make it a non-stick surface while Granarolo prepared some crepes. A ladle of batter was poured into the middle of the pan and then swirled around to completely cover the bottom. A few minutes later it was flipped over, and after a total cooking time of about 4 – 6 minutes it was done. Albrecht shared his strawberry jam recipe, and made an herbed ricotta cheese filling for the crepes. He stressed the importance of not cutting herbs when adding them at the end of a recipe to keep all of the oils in tact, allowing for concentrated bursts of flavor in your mouth.

The master baker showed us how to make a quiche dough, and talked about the importance of using chilled butter. The custard was prepared with half and half and eggs. Due to time constraints, he couldn’t actually bake the quiche, so he had plenty of mini ones available for tasting. He pre-baked three varieties: onion, mushroom and ham. I asked him about the prep of the mushrooms, and he said they must be cooked and drained before adding to the custard, otherwise all the liquid will be released into the egg mixture and make it a runny mess. We were all given half each of a mini quiche, a savory herbed ricotta and a sweet strawberry jam filled crêpe, as well as some cherries grown on a small farm just over the Delaware River to sample. Talk about good eats!

Attendees asked the chefs questions, conversed amongst themselves, and sampled great food made with attention to detail. The portion was just enough for a small meal, so I left the event with a more informed brain, and a fuller tummy thanks to Terra Momo and the Princeton Public Library. I am absolutely loving this series! It has truly been an inspiration to me. A special thanks goes to Janie Hermann, The Princeton Public Library Program Coordinator. I don’t know she pulled this off, but she rocks!

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