Tag Archives: Nassau Community College

Setting the Global Table: NCC lecture series on food

20 Apr

Here’s what I’ve been doing while I have been away from you: organizing a speaker series on global food issues as co-chair of the International Education Committee’s Spring Speaker Series subcommittee at Nassau Community College. Which is to say, I have been super-busy and having loads of fun (but getting a bit anxious too).

The series is in full swing now, so here is the schedule (I’m afraid you missed the first day, but there are two more days of events). Featured speakers are my dear friend, Zarela Martinez, whose eponymous restaurant, PBS shows and excellent cookbooks have made her a James Beard Who’s Who honoree, and sustainable food activist and social entrepreneur Ellen Gustafson, who pioneered fashion to benefit the hungry with FEED bags, an idea she made successful with Lauren Bush. Ellen is a veteran TED lecturer…I am so excited!!!

ZarelaAcademic Senate’s International Education Committee

Spring Speaker Series

Setting the Global Table

April 20, 21 and 23, 2015

Subcommittee Co-Chairs:  Natalia de Cuba and Maryanne Kildare (LINCC)

 

Monday, April 20, 2015 – Tower 11

 

11:00-12:15
Can the Sweet Potato Save the World?
One million hectares of land worldwide are planted with potato varieties developed by or obtained through the International Potato Center whose mission is to work with partners to achieve food security, well-being, and gender equity for poor people in root and tuber farming and food systems in the developing world. Joel Ranck, head of the Communications and Public Affairs Department at the Peru-based International Potato Center will Skype in to the college to explain the role of his not-for-profit agency in defeating poverty and world hunger and answer questions on how scientific and genetic research can further these goals.
Moderated by Natalia de Cuba Romero (LINCC)
 
12:30-1:45
The Effects of Climate Change on Food: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Professor Carolyn Monastra will be using photographs and stories from her project The WItness Tree in a discussion about the effects of climate change on global food production. The negative impacts of extreme storms, sea level rise, drought, water rights, and global land grabs will be discussed along with positive solutions like permaculture, WOOFING, CSAs, and food-coops.
Presented by Carolyn Monastra (Art)

 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 – CCB 252-53
9:45-11:15
What We Eat and What It Means: The Global Food Traditions of NCC students (Plus: LINCC students share their top picks for the Long Island and NYC restaurants which serve their national cuisine)
LINCC Student panel, coordinated and moderated by Maryanne Kildare (LINCC)

 

11:30-12:45
FEATURED GUEST SPEAKER
Zarela Martinez Talks Mexican Food and Culture: The James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage honoree, PBS food personality, cookbook author, historian and restaurateur who pioneered real Mexican cuisine in New York discusses her career, her journeys and her varied national cuisine.
Zarela Martinez’ appearance is sponsored by The NCC Foundation and The Latin American Studies Project

 

2:30-3:45
FEATURED GUEST SPEAKER

Zarela Martinez returns to discuss Latino-Americans: Re-branding Ourselves in the New U.S. Landscape, covering career and business outlooks for Latino entrepreneurs and those who want to understand the growing Latino market.
Zarela Martinez’ appearance is sponsored by The NCC Foundation and The Latin American Studies Project
 
4:00-5:15
The Sacred Morsel: Sanctity and Ritual in Cultural Foodways
NCC students present their exploration and research into the many ways different cultures and religions find spiritual nourishment through food.
Panel coordinated and moderated by Linda Hittleman (Hospitality)

 

 

Thursday, April 23, 2015 – Tower 11
  9:45-11:15
FEATURED GUEST SPEAKER

Obesity and World Hunger: Two Sides of the Same Global Problem
Ellen Gustafson is a sustainable food system activist, author, innovator and social entrepreneur. Her first book, “We the Eaters: If We Change Dinner, We Can Change the World” was published by Rodale Press in May 2014. She is the Co-Founder of Food Tank: the Food Think Tank, with Danielle Nierenberg. She is also founder of a small sustainable home goods company called the Apron Project. Before the launch of Food Tank, Ellen founded the 30 Project, a campaign that has helped to change the conversation about the global food system by connecting hunger and obesity. She is also the creator of the ChangeDinner campaign and HealthClass2.0, which are helping individuals change the food system at dinner tables and in schools.
This lecture is sponsored by the Student Activities Office
11:30-12:45
Global Agriculture – Challenges and Visions
The top problems for humanity for the next 50 years will be energy, water and food. Professor Birgit Woelker says agriculture and the way we produce food provides hope for a clean and sustainable future.
Presented by Birgit Woelker (Biology)

 

1:00-2:15
FEATURED GUEST SPEAKER
Social Entrepreneurship
Ellen Gustafson, veteran of three TED lectures and founder, with Lauren Bush, of the FEED bag project, returns in the afternoon for a second lecture, this time on Social Entrepreneurship.
This lecture is sponsored by the Student Activities Office
 
All programs are free and open to the public

4 Effortless Yet Elegant Party Appetizers for Busy People

20 Dec

I was recently invited to do a cooking demonstration at Nassau Community College (where my more usual role is as a full-time ESL lecturer in a language immersion program) for the Mom’s Club, a campus club for student-parents where they get support in their struggle to complete their college education while raising children and often simultaneously holding a full-time job!

So these are women who needed a fun mini-workshop that would include some nifty snacks, some honest conversation and maybe even a few ideas for inexpensive and easy appetizers they can easily prepare for their families. I think this line-up delivered.

All hands on deck!

All hands on deck!

It was a pleasure to cook for this small group — thanks to professors Beth Goering and Molly Phelps Ludmar for inviting me and also providing an electric skillet, bread and soft drinks.

Happy holidays ladies!

Happy holidays ladies!

Together — I put everyone to work, of course — we made Spanish-style garlic mushrooms, cilantro-sunflower seed pesto, black olive and walnut paste, and white cheese and red grape skewers. Everything was done within a half hour, so we had time to sit and eat, which is a rare treat for busy moms!

Not my best images ever, but you get the idea!

Not my best images ever, but you get the idea!

Here are the recipes:

White Cheese and Red Grapes (requires toothpicks!)

Cut Latin style white cheese into cubes about the size of the grapes. Skewer a single grape and a single cube of cheese onto each toothpick (this is a job kids love! and it keeps them busy while you are trying to do other things.) and arrange on a serving platter. The cubed cheese is the base.

Cilantro-Sunflower Seed Pesto (sunflower seeds are a terrific alternative to pine nuts or walnuts for those with nut allergies)

One bunch cilantro, rinsed and chopped (YES you can use the stems)

2-3-4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1/2 Cup sunflower seeds (roasted and salted seeds add a lot of flavor)

Squeeze of freeze lemon

pinch of hot red pepper flakes (optional)

extra virgin olive oil

abundant grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano or Locatelli cheese

salt to taste

Place cilantro, garlic, sunflower seeds, lemon, and optional pepper flakes in a food processor or blender and whirr until chopped. Add olive oil bit by bit (in a thin stream if you can pour while blending) until you achieve a thick paste. Add cheese to taste (start with about 1/4 Cup) and serve over pasta or as a spread for bruschetta, crackers or sliced bread.

For an easy basil pesto (my second grader makes it!) click here.

Black Olive and Walnut Paste (Tapenade)

1 can pitted black olives (or one cup good seedless black olives if you can afford them), drained indifferently

1/4 Cup walnuts (but add them Tbs by Tbs)

1 tsp capers drained indifferently

2-3 anchovies from a jar, rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel

leaves from 3-4 thyme sprigs

optional extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients (except optional olive oil) in a food processor and blend till smooth, adding olive oil as necessary. Serve as a spread for toast or crackers.

For another version heavier on the anchovies, click here.

Spanish style Garlic Mushrooms

2-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

12 oz white or Cremini mushrooms, stems removed (and saved in the freezer for stock) and wiped clean with paper towel.

3 Tbs dry red wine (I took some mushrooms out at this point to accommodate someone who doesn’t consume alcohol)

1 Tbs chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan, heat the oil until loose and fragrant. Lower heat to medium low garlic and cook gently until golden brown.

Add mushrooms and stir to coat., Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms start to brown deeply and release their juices. Add wine and raise hand eat to a fast simmer for about 5 minutes, until alcohol has cooked off but there is still liquid. Sprinkle with parsley salt and serve with crusty bread.

For a more complex version of these mushrooms that includes butter, click here.

The Best International Potluck Dance Party. Ever!

29 Apr

Regular readers know that in my other life I am a full time college instructor of English as a Second Language. This is a very good profession to be in if you like to adventure with food; immigrant and international students tend to be very proud of their national cuisines and more than happy to bring in samples in order to convert you to their way of eating.

I don’t travel as much as I did when I was a full time food, wine, and travel journalist, but since I started this teaching gig, I have covered thousands of miles of previously uncharted gastronomic territory.

We love when our students bring us special treats. But once a semester, they go all out, all at the same time. The most anticipated event of each semester at Language Immersion at Nassau Community College (LINCC) is the End-of-Semester Party – which might be better called “The Best International Potluck Dance Party on Long Island.”

A table groaning under the weight of fabulous international food!

A table groaning under the weight of fabulous international food!

Continue reading

Food and NCC: Oran Hesterman, Fair Food, and a Trip to Restoration Farm

22 Apr
(Update from Natalia: please see comments for a response from Dr. Hesterman!)

Spring has sprung upon me with flurry of all good things. Reunions, gardening, visits from family, coursework, channeling my inner drama queen for my film student cousin’s movies (!), learning opportunities, parties…It has been a terrific few weeks. However, it has left my blog community rather neglected! I have missed you too.

Dr. Hesterman and students (and me, bottom left)

Dr. Hesterman and students (and me, bottom left)

Mind you, I have been cooking, but some of it has been experimentation that hasn’t quite worked out yet (falafel comes to mind). Other stuff has been tried and true recipes that you have read about before. And well, yes, I have been out to eat, ordered in, skipped meals, eaten a lot of salad (in anticipation of the shorts and T-shirt season), fed my son pizza (even for breakfast! oh, the shame…) and scavenged from my parent’s leftovers. So I don’t have as much as usual to report on the actual making-of-food front.

I do, however, want to share a few tidbits with you and happily, they involve a unification of my food world and my teaching world! (But if my students tell you I made them shovel shit, it is simply not true! Well, not entirely. Read on for details) Continue reading

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