KAYTE YOUNG: Production support comes from: Bloomingfoods Coop Market, providing residents with locally sourced food since 1976. Owned by over 12,000 residents in Monroe County and beyond. More at Bloomingfoods.Coop. And Elizabeth Ruh, Enrolled Agent, providing customized financial services for individuals, businesses, disabled adults including tax planning, bill paying, and estate services. More at Personal Financial Services dot net.
(Earth Eats theme music)
From WFIU in Bloomington Indiana, I'm Kayte Young and this is Earth Eats.
BRANDI WILLIAMS: Make the caramel from raw soaked cashews. It's a very nontraditional caramel but it's really great.
KAYTE YOUNG:This week on our show we revisit Primally Inspired Eats, a bakery catering to those with food allergies and restrictive diets. And Josephine McRobbie takes us on a nature walk, in search of wild edibles. That's all coming up, stay with us.
KAYTE YOUNG: The piedmont picnic project wants you to know your roots, both literally and figuratively. On their wild food excursions, the group teaches both regional history and local food skills, and sometimes the reward for all that learning is a truly wild pizza party. Producer Josephine McRobbie has the story.
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: Finding fresh local foods in late winter and early spring can be challenging. But a closer look at our backyards and walking paths reveals edible wild weeds everywhere. They can be pickled, added to smoothies, pesto and tea, and used as toppings for pizza, pasta, and salads.
ELIZABETH WEICHEL: All of these spring greens are little nutritional power houses right now, cause they're storing up so many nutrients right before they got to flower.
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: It's two days after a rare February snow fall in Raleigh North Carolina and I'm standing with about 20 other people at Well Fed Community Garden.
ELIZABETH WEICHEL: We're going to learn about some of the edible plants that grow all around us here in this mostly urban environment we live in. And we're going to combine it with a little culturally and social and geographic and natural history, and just kind of really get closer to our food. Get a deeper connection to where our food comes from and what we where we eat.
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: Elizabeth Weichel is a public historian and along with self-described homesteader light Amanda Matson, she runs Piedmont Picnic Project. Their classes cover things like mixology, gardening, and fermentation, and are grounded in local history. As we walk Elizabeth will share how major snowfalls impacted the state capital as it developed into an agricultural powerhouse. While Amanda will show us how to identify edible plants. We start off with safety and etiquette. The first rule is know thy plant, a skill one can develop with plant ID books, guides like Amanda or Elizabeth or even phone apps or YouTube videos.
AMANDA MATSON: You don't eat anything that you're unsure of what it is. Make sure that you positively identify any plant before you eat it. And then...
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: Amanda recommends getting permission from home and property owners to pick plants and to be mindful of how one forages them.
AMANDA MATSON: We never want to move or harvest plants from a particular area and there are some plants that are actively at risk or endangered because people have overharvested them. So it's..
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: We take off across a busy intersection walking past a local high school and stopping to examine the grass by the parking lot. Amanda says that common environmental hazards can include poison ivy, fire ants, pollutants near industrial zones, and railroad tracks that are heavily sprayed with herbicides.
AMANDA MATSON: If the grass is a polyculture like we're seeing around here, right there are a lot of different feeds growing, then they're probably a pretty good sign that they're not spraying or at least haven't sprayed anytime recently. So...
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: We spy our first plant, doc. This variety has fat leaves that curl like fried bacon.
AMANDA MATSON: So, there are several parts of doc that are edible. The leafy greens are one thing that you can eat. The best tasting ones are gonna be the youngest leaves, and so those are the ones that are gonna be the lightest, brightest green growing in the center of the plant when you cook doc it tastes kind of like a slightly lemony spinach I would say. If you pull some of the outer and more mature leaves, some of them will get this long, this wide, so you can even make something similar to a great leave raft.
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: We pick a few tall tubes of field garlic, also known as onion grass.
AMANDA MATSON: Hallow inside, and then the other big thing is that smell. As you get that very strong onion or garlicky smell, kind of in your face, and they're one of our favorite pesto ingredients because you get this really kind of green, garlicky, taste or smell. They make really good pickles, so you can pickle the whole bulb, but you have to leave a little bit of stem on them, and they're really cute in like a little wild martini. If you're into that kind of thing.
(atmospheric noises of digging)
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: As we head into the mouth of the green wave, we see a little clump of edible weeds including horry bitter grass.
AMANDA MATSON: This is one of my absolute favorite wild greens, and it tastes to me almost exactly like arugula. So, I'm gonna pass it around and if you feel comfortable, go ahead and take off a leaf and taste it. It's in the mustard family, so that's why you get that kind of peppery spicy arugula taste.
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: ONe of the easiest plants to identify is dandelion.
AMANDA MATSON: My grandmother used to talk about how this time of year right as spring was breaking they would go into the fields and gather dandelion greens, bring them home and kind of similar to collards, you cook them some sort of pork fat and some vinegar to try to cut that kind of bitter taste to it. And that was kind of...
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: By the end of the half mile walk we've also found chickweed, wild geranium, purple dennedle, and hembed.
VOICE IN BACKGROUND: Is anybody gluten free?
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: We head back to Wellfed Garden where we prepared pizzas with some special ingredients from Piedmont Picnic Project. Wild greens, pesto, hen of the woods mushrooms, pickled pine tips, and muscadine marinara sauce.Tammy, one of the well-fed farmers, entertains us as we put our bespoke pizzas into the outdoor wood fired oven.
TAMMY: When we first moved in it was thanksgiving and we were told we could cook a turkey in there. It takes 4 hours to heat up but once it's heated up it'll be like two days the space is warm. So we took the turkey put it in there, 18 lb. turkey was done in 1 hour, 1 hour.
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: As a final activity we try our hand at foraging pizza toppings from the weeds in the garden beds.
WORKSHOP PARTICIPANT: This is garlic. What did she call it? Wild garlic.
AMANDA MATSON: It's called field garlic actually. But also as....
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: Amanda and Elizabeth want Piedmont Picnic Project to live up to its motto of knowing your roots and using them.
ELIZABETH WEICHEL: And so we do that in a number of ways that try to build more food skills with people so they can have kind of more independence from that industrial food system. Connect them more with their local food system, especially ??? so they can make, grow or forage themselves.
(Aesthetic transition music)
KAYTE YOUNG: That was producer Josephine McRobbie. Find out more about the Piedmont Picnic Project on our website, EarthEats.org
(Aesthetic piano transition music)
BRANDI WILLIAMS: All of our items are wheat free. Most of our items are dairy free, wheat free, gluten free and then on the pastry side grain free.
KAYTE YOUNG: BrandI Williams bakes for everyone. But she caters especially to those on Restricted diets of one kind or another. Sometimes it's due to allergies or sensitivities, sometimes it's a choice. So if you're gluten free, grain free, keto, paleo, dairy free, or even vegan, Primally Inspired Eats might be the bakery for you.
BRANDI WILLIAMS: Got maple here, and then this is our food work inspired Toby Loaf that we created in memory and in honor of Toby Stout, the former director of Middle Way House, and then of course the infamous seduction loaf, the dense, seedy, crunch loaf. Got a few of the pastries here. The double chocolate brownie is the newest addition to our pastry selection. The raspberry tart, and then the chocolate caramel cake which is great. And then our lavender vanilla bundt. So we've got all of our breads that are gluten free, but all of our pastries are actually not just gluten free but they're grain free as well, and most of them are dairy free, but they're all refined sugar free because sweeten only with local honey, local maple, date paste, those sort of sweeteners, and therefore sort of keto and paleo friendly too.
ELEANOR: All of these eggs?
BRANDI WILLIAMS: Yes
KAYTE YOUNG: That's Brandi Williams offering a guided tour of some of the goodies offered at her bakery. I went with Eoban Binder so he could take some photos. And Brandy had her daughter at the shop with her helping out. We also took a taste test tour. I landed on the chocolate caramel cake. It's just got such a deep dark chocolate flavor.
BRANDI WILLIAMS: If we use raw cacao powder as our chocolate base for that. So, it's an almond flour-based cake, so it's grain free. And then there's raw cacao powder in the dry mix, lots of local free-range eggs, it's sweetened with local maple. So, there's no processed sugar.
KAYTE YOUNG: But the flour is mostly almond?
BRANDI WILLIAMS: Yeah just almond flour and the raw cacao powder, local free-range eggs, sea salt, baking soda, very basic ingredients and then the chocolate ganache on top you're getting a good dose of that raw cacao powder too. It's just the raw cacao powder, local maple, and coconut oil. We make the caramel from raw soaped cashews, it's a very nontraditional caramel but it's really great and we can thin it down to even be an ice cream sauce, we'll just add a little more maple to it to thin it down, or if we want it a little thicker we might add some date paste with the maple, like for the cake. But yeah, it's completely dairy free too.
KAYTE YOUNG: Brandy started baking this way due to her own diet choices. She started experimenting with avoiding gluten and grain products about 15 years ago.
BRANDI WILLIAMS: It struck a really good balance for me, I felt great, all those things. And then it was expensive to eat that way though too. You know if I was buying packaged items, which at the time I still was doing that a bit, so I just started testing recipes that I could do at home that would be less expensive and I could save at that sort of eating habits. And then I have children and my focus then was I wanted to them of course to eat nutrient dense as well but I didn't want them to necessarily feel like they were missing out on these kind of experiences especially with like sweet pastries, and then maybe like go to a friend's house and binge on ding dongs because they don’t, they didn’t get to indulge in things because we were too strict with our diet or something. So, I challenged myself to just bake these items that when someone tasted them, they would taste just as good as it's conventional counterpart. They wouldn't say "Oh well that's good for gluten free" or "Oh well that's really..." I really challenged myself in that way and that took a really long time because that was about texture and different combinations of flours. But I feel like, I definitely feel like that's why our business has continued to grow because we have, we've tailored it to people who have allergy sensitives, but when we just anybody that comes by and samples our items they're usually just really blown away by the fact that it's just really good.
KAYTE YOUNG: We talked about the difficulties in making breads that are gluten free. Since gluten is so crucial to the structure of yeasted breads. We talked about the toby loaf in particular.
BRANDI WILLIAMS: Kind of crusty on the outside and it's airy and light on the inside with nice pockets and slices just like regular sandwich bread.
KAYTE YOUNG: So how does she do it?
BRANDI WILLIAMS: One of the replacement items that we use in replacement of gluten is silian sea husk. Silian will become when you add it to wet ingredients it gets jelly and kind of stretchy too. Do you know what I mean? it will perform that way, so if you can get the ratio right on that then I think it does a good job along with the eggs of just mimicking, it really, it's almost like magic, really because I can't point to the one thing that’s making that loaf work. It was just getting the ratios exactly right on that specific day.
KAYTE YOUNG: Why is that loaf called the Toby loaf?
BRANDI WILLIAMS: Toby, it's in honor of Toby Strout, the former director of the Middle Way House. And Toby's family came to me, they've been customers of mine from the beginning and they used to do Middle Way, the women used to produce the Food Works Loaf, the gluten free Food Works Loaf, and that was Toby's brain child and they packaged it and sold it at Bloomingfoods, and then the pot, whatever they made went back into the whole production. And toby felt very passionately about it, and it wasn't long after she passed that her family just came to me and said, if we give this recipe to you would you be willing to rework it a bit? because at the time it had soy and corn as part of the flour mix and they, her daughter especially wasn't eating those ingredients and we didn't bake with those ingredients. so that's why it took upwards of almost a year to really finalize that loaf. And a portion of each loaf goes back to the middle way house.
KAYTE YOUNG: Next I asked Brandi about the specific types of diets she's catering to.
BRANDI WILLIAMS: Definitely people who have a gluten, because there's a difference, some people just have gluten sensitivity, some people have full blown celiac disease, and we have those, both of those kinds of customers. We have the customer who’s just avoiding gluten, kind of like what I did early on, and then we have the people that are completely removing gluten and grains. And some people are doing that as an allergy issue, sensitive to gluten, dairy, soy, corn, all those things, so even the allergy sensitive person we cater to. We get a lot of happy faces when they come by our booth and they'll say "Oh is everything gluten free?" and you say "Yes, everything is gluten free" and their eyes kind of light up and then they say "Well do you use processed sugar? is anything paleo friendly? or keto?" and I'll direct them to the items that are, and then a lot of times those questions lead to conversations. and we develop, we have very strong relationships with our customers because of that, it becomes very personal. Or you'll have someone that comes and says "Oh my elderly dad that just got diagnosed with celiac, and he just, eh loves, he wants bread and I bought your toby loaf and he's like so excited cause he can have toast now, and have that experience" so we develop really strong relationships based on that. That wasn't something that I was actually expecting when I went into this but it's one of th3 things that I value the most about our business now.
KAYTE YOUNG: That's Brandy Williams talking about her bakery, Primally Inspired Eats. After a short break Brandy will walk us through the steps of her sweet potato feta frittata. Say that five times fast.
(Earth Eats Production Support Theme)
Production support comes from:Bill Brown at Griffy Creek Studio, architectural design and consulting for residential, commercial and community projects. Sustainable, energy positive and resilient design for a rapidly changing world. Bill at griffy creek dot studio.And Insurance agent Dan Williamson of Bill Resch Insurance. Offering comprehensive auto, business and home coverage, in affiliation with Pekin Insurance. Beyond the expected. More at 812-336-6838.
Bloomingfoods Coop Market, providing residents with locally sourced food since 1976. Owned by over 12,000 residents in Monroe County and beyond. More at Bloomingfoods.Coop.
(Guitar aesthetic music)
KAYTE YOUNG: Brandi invited us back into the kitchen to share a recipe. Primally Inspired Eats started as a home-based vendor, using their home kitchen based on Indiana Cottage Food laws, under that classification they could sell their products at farmer's markets, but as their customer base grew, they were looking to expand.
BRANDI WILLIAMS: We started looking at packaging some of our items so that we could sell wholesale at Bloomingfoods, but once you make that leap then you have to be baking out of a certified kitchen space. They moved into the kitchen and tea shop at downtown Bloomington called Cup and Kettle. Their space was certified but underused. Primally Inspired Eats rented the kitchen, baked there, and sold at farmer's markets, to Bloomingfoods, and had a few items in the bakery case at Cup and Kettle. Recently Brandy went into full partnership with Jessica Mesmer of Cup and Kettle. They expanded the bakery case, and they'll soon have their signage out front.
JOSEPHINE MCROBBIE: It just made sense, we're both female business owners, we share a lot of the same challenges, we're both mothers, and so we were both I think looking to share some of the overhead and responsibilities of owning a business. Just so that we could actually free up some of our time to spend with our families once in a while or just read a book or do normal human being things. Or watch a movie, exactly. Yeah, we're just like full steam ahead now, so. This is my daughter Eleanor.
KAYTE YOUNG: Hi Eleanor
In the kitchen at the back of the shop, Brandi's daughter Eleanor had her apron on and was standing on a step stool cracking brown eggs into a large metal bowl. She needs to crack a total 30 eggs for the recipe we're making today.
ELEANOR WILLIAMS: and like this whole thing and it's like this one and this one...
BRANDI WILLIAMS: That's right
KAYTE YOUNG: And where do your eggs come from?
BRANDI WILLIAMS: They come from Rising Moon Acres, Steven Stool, they're local farmers that currently set up and sell at the east side farmer's market, so we purchase probably 15,
ELEANOR WILLIAMS: (talking in the background)
BRANDI WILLIAMS: I know.
We probably purchase 15 dozen eggs or more a week from him, just for all of our baking purposes. We use local free-range eggs in all of our baking.
KAYTE YOUNG: So, what are we making here today?
BRANDI WILLIAMS: So we are going to make a version we started out by making a sweet potato feta and rosemary quiche with a crust, and then we figured out that it is a little more versatile if we went crustless, and so we're, we did a frittata version of it. And I'm a huge fan of rosemary, I love putting it in anything I possibly can, and sweet potato and rosemary just seem to pair beautifully. We try to use as many local ingredients as we possibly can, I consciously try to find ways to do that because we do gluten free baking and grain free baking, a lot of our flour bases and things like that we have to order in bulk that aren't locally available. And so, this is a way that we can get in a lot of local ingredients so today with the sweet potato, feta, and rosemary quiche we use local free-range eggs from Rising Moon Acres. And then the sweet potato is from our friend Rising Moon Acres as well, so you can get those still through the winter. And the rosemary depending on the time of year we will get locally, and then this feta, which is one of our favorites is from Caprini Creamery, so we use that. And a lot of our frittatas and quiche we love being able to do that as much as possible. We do large trays for our purposes but you can really scale this down to we have, we're prepping probably an 8 by 12, 16 pan, but you could do half that size pan as well and just half the recipe if you're just doing it for a small family of four or something, or you can do the big tray honestly and if you're feeding a crowd, or if you want to slice and you like to do food prep and wrap them individually and even put them in the freezer. You know for your kiddos, they just grab them, put them in your toaster oven and they're ready to go for breakfast. So those are the sorts of things that I try to do because that's how I know that they're eating healthy. Otherwise, yeah, they might be grabbing one of our brownies or something for breakfast.
The first thing we do is dice the local sweet potatoes, and they're just half inch, one-inch size, whatever, however chunky you prefer, it's a very forgiving recipe. We dice those, put them on a little sheet to roast, and then we use coconut oil, but you can use olive oil, you can use yee, bacon grease, if you like that kind of fat. And we just drizzle it a bit on the sweet potatoes, so then just follow it with a little bit of salt. And pepper. Very simple. And just you can toss it around a bit, again very forgiving, and then we put them in about... about 400 to 450-degree oven, and they'll roast within about 12 minutes, they'll get fork tender. So those go in the oven here. And we'll let those be.
And then we get to to the fun part, which is you can either use parchment, I just use heavily some sort of fat and then we'll start transitioning the sweet potatoes and the feta and stuff in there. So, I'll grab that, and I just take those sweet potatoes, and we go... I'm all about trying to use as few dishes and pans as possible. So I just use the same exact pan, toss the sweet potatoes on there, and then just distribute them evenly all over the pan, very simple, very easy, and a great thing about this is if you don't like sweet potato, replace them with whatever is on hand, whatever you like, we do a spinach and goat cheese when asparagus is in season, it's a really beautiful display. Of course, broccoli, and or you can or just do plain. Add a little bit of cheese or you can go dairy free too. Speaking of the cheese we will grab the feta, so we should tell everyone that we're cutting the feta, cutting it into just cubes again, bite size pieces, if you like them a little chunkier, go chunkier. If you want them a little smaller you can dice them a little smaller. So that was just a six ounce cube, an entire cube that we diced up and we're just gonna take it back over to the pan where the sweet potatoes are and again, just kind of distribute it evenly, very simple, low maintenance, but super nutrient dense, that's always our motto. As many simple, clean ingredients as we can do. And then we're gonna take the next step is the rosemary. And again, really forgiving recipe so if you're not a big fan of rosemary, add another herb that you like.
KAYTE YOUNG: So you're just getting that off the stem.
BRANDI WILLIAMS: I'm just pulling it off, yeah. I do about three sprigs, full sprigs of rosemary, and we're just pulling it off the stem, and then we're just going to roughly drop those, and we'll do the same thing, sprinkle it over the feta and sweet potato. Alright, so that's just, just roughly chopped. We're just sprinkling it over, time to add our cream base to our eggs.
ELEANOR WILLIAMS: Time to do it
BRANDI WILLIAMS: Yeah. So, this is 30 eggs. So, it's a lot of eggs, but it's a lot of servings too that young get out of that frittata. So, this is the only thing we add to it is organic half and half. It's really versatile if you have to be dairy free you can also use an organic heavy coconut cream, that works great. Even just regular coconut milk would work well too, and we are doing about a cup and a quarter. Do you want to pour that in Eleanor?
ELEANOR WILLIAMS: Yeah
BRANDI WILLIAMS: (laughs) so this one is going to be loud and heavy duty mixer, but you can use your hand mixer, if you want an arm workout, you can also use just a regular old whisk, but it's gonna take you a little longer. Okay, ready? Here we go. Whee! (loud machine whirring) Alright. We just give that a good mix until it's completely combined and then that's all of our egg mixture so bring that over, we're just gonna pour it evenly and carefully,
KAYTE YOUNG: So, I think that’s a, they call it a half sheet?
BRANDI WILLIAMS: This is a half sheet yes, so this would be a half sheet pan.
KAYTE YOUNG: And about how many, how much of the sweet potato did you put in there?
BRANDI WILLIAMS: About three, maybe medium sized sweet potatoes, I just peel them first then dice them into cubes and that's it. And so, this just going in a 350 oven for approximately forty minutes, and that's about it. And then this is the hardest part of this recipe is getting it in. Not spilling it.
ELEANOR WILLIAMS: Not spilling it.
BRANDI WILLIAMS: That's right! That’s right Eleanor. Getting it in the oven without spilling any. Yes. Goes in the oven. And then you set your timer. You're all set.
KAYTE YOUNG: And what are you looking for to see if it's done.
BRANDI WILLIAMS: It just becomes, it won't be liquid, and it'll be firm to the touch in the center.
KAYTE YOUNG: Brandy had a prebaked pan of her sweet potato feta frittata ready for me to sample.
BRANDI WILLIAMS: You can eat this obviously warm, but it can be completely at room temperature, you can grab, there are times when I'm in a hurry and I just grab one square out of the refrigerator and I'm headed out the door with my coffee, you know, to get where I need to be so, that's one reason I love it so much because it is so so versatile and just takes so many boxes for us when we're feeding our family and feeding our customers.
KAYTE YOUNG: Yeah that rosemary is nice, I like how, you know like you were saying with the simple ingredient list. You really can taste every element. So, you're got, rosemary's coming through strong but then you get that sweet hit with
BRANDI WILLIAMS: the sweet potatoes with a little bit of saltiness from the cheese, and yeah, it just hits, yeah. I love all of the, all that combination it's wonderful.
KAYTE YOUNG:That was Brandi Williams, with her daughter Eleanor, of Primally Inspired Eats, These days you can find their baked goods at Bloomingfoods, or on Saturdays at the People’s Cooperative Market in the old K-Mart parking lot on east Third street, or, order from their online store for Saturday pick up at Cup and Kettle Tea Company in downtown Bloomington. You can find links and the frittata recipe on our website, Earth Eats dot org.
RENEE REED: The Earth Eats team includes Eobon Binder, Chad Bouchard, Mark Chilla, Abraham Hill, Taylor Killough, Josephine McRobbie, Daniel Orr, The IU Food Institute, Harvest Public Media and me, Renee Reed. Our theme music is composed by Erin Tobey and performed by Erin and Matt Tobey. Earth Eats is produced and edited by Kayte Young and our executive producer is John Bailey.
KAYTE YOUNG: Special thanks this week to Amanda Matson, Elizabeth Weichel, Brandi Williams, Eleanor Williams, and everyone at Primally Inspired Eats and Cup & Kettle Tea Company. Production support comes from:Elizabeth Ruh, Enrolled Agent, providing customized financial services for individuals, businesses, disabled adults including tax planning, bill paying, and estate services. More at Personal Financial Services dot net. Bill Brown at Griffy Creek Studio, architectural design and consulting for residential, commercial and community projects. Sustainable, energy positive and resilient design for a rapidly changing world. Bill at griffy creek dot studio.And Insurance agent Dan Williamson of Bill Resch Insurance. Offering comprehensive auto, business and home coverage, in affiliation with Pekin Insurance. Beyond the expected. More at 812-336-6838.