Santo Niño de Atocha Tortilleria: A Local Tortilla Bakery in Gallatin

alice 3If you’ve visited one of the many farmers markets scattered throughout the city this summer, you may have noticed a slight figure in an oversized jacket, asking if you’d like to try some salsa. Her voice barely carries over the giant cellophane bags of corn chips with a South-of-the-Border accent as authentic as it gets.  Her name is Alice, or the tortilla lady here at the East Nashville Farmers Market and interacting with her feels more like a visit with your grandmother rather than a casual stop at a farmers market booth. I had purchased and quickly devoured a stack of her tortillas months prior, so I was eager to learn more about her background and the story behind her business.  As I approach her booth, she is warm and friendly, as always, and invites me to take a seat beside her. After the initial exchange of polite introductions, I jump right into my first question: “Miss Alice, did you grow up making tortillas with your mother?” Like a silly gringa, I was expecting a story filled with tradition and childhood memories to unfold. Instead, Miss Alice digs a pointy index finger into my knee, leans right in, and spouts, “Hell, NO!”

Spoken like a true Southerner.  We were only on the first question of our interview, yet I was already masa dough in her hands. I was hooked on Alice’s sparkling personality as much as I was her tortillas. And though the story behind Alice’s beginnings  may not be what the typical gringo would expect, it is a story rich with love, family, and togetherness, coupled with an honest desire to provide Nashville with supremely delicious traditional fare.

Alice Heffernan Salazar is actually not from a place south of the border, but from San Antonio, TX, where her family has lived for many generations. (Heffernan is her husband’s name of Irish/German decent, and Salazar is for her father, she lovingly says with her hand over her heart.) Like many Southwestern native Americans and Northern Mexicans, Alice was raised eating flour tortillas instead of the traditional corn, since flour became a foundation to the regional cuisine due to a climate favorable to wheat production and the product’s solid shelf life and shipping abilities. She was 9 years old when she left the Southwest and moved to Chicago, IL, where she and her husband, John, worked in the printing business. And although her trade was not in tortillas, she never forgot her father’s dream of starting a tortilleria of his own. That dream would be forgotten until after their retirement, when  Alice and John came to Nashville to be closer to her daughter, Carole, and son-in-law, Colby. tortilla chips

It was Colby’s idea to initiate the bakery, she admits. He wanted his energetic mother-in-law to have something to keep her busy, so he bought the equipment himself and together they launched the company 4 years ago. The entire family pitched in to help, and together they work side-by-side in the tortilleria. Jokingly, I ask, “So, you learned to make tortillas from your son-in-law, Miss Alice?”  “Yep, ” She replies.  “And guess what? He’s Jewish!” Her sense of humor is devilish and she has everyone around her in stitches. She is adored by all. Plain and simple.

The Santos de Atocha Tortilleria is located at 720 Nashville Pike in Gallatin, TN, in a modest store front in the Sumner Shopping Center. She arrives every morning by 8am and runs the machines until around 10:15am. Piping hot tortillas are ready to be devoured by customers at 10:30am every morning, she says. “Those babies are hot and ready. Just a little salt and salsa, and you’re ready to go.” And thought her story may be a tad nontraditional, her tortillas are anything but. They are made with 3 basic ingredients: corn, water, and lime, and are sold in a variety of sizes, stacked high in warm bundles. The way corn tortillas should be. The corn is local and ground in her store and can be purchased by customers who want to make their own tortillas at home. She also sells a prepared masa for tamale-making, dried corn husks, her addictive crunchy fried corn chips, and fresh  cans of homemade salsa made by her husband, the gringo, she says. Her products can also be found in many stores, such as the Turnip Truck and the Produce Place. More information, including products, prices and where to buy, can be found on her website at www. santostortillas.com.

If you are unable to visit her bakery in Gallatin, Miss Alice is always at the East Nashville Farmers Market (as well as other markets in the area), ready to place a warm bundle of tortillas in your hand that you won’t be able to refuse. You’ll be hooked. Plain and simple.

Submitted by Rebecah Boynton

Waste Not, Want Not

recycling logo

Waste not, want not.  Few would argue with the wisdom of such a principle, but even fewer fully understand the extent to which it can be carried out in household, much less kitchen management. The idea of low to no household commodities waste is sometimes dismissed as a quaint, antiquated holdover from grandparents and great-grandparents who survived the economic depression that hit the US between World Wars.  To many, it has been rebranded. Gramma’s frugality now bears the shiny new title, “sustainable living.”

Is this a bad thing?  Absolutely not. In fact, to cadge a phrase from Martha Stewart, it is a very good thing.

Like organic food production, upcycling/recycling/using every bit of everything from snout to tail is a shiny new concept surrounding older ways that have been kept alive by choice and circumstance.  Those who live in less developed parts of the United States, citizens of aboriginal North American reservations, urban dwellers who understand the need for commodities to be used up of because of the lack of space and resources for disposal, and yes, many college students.

Think you’re already using everything in every way possible?  Here’s a quick way to tell if that is the case:  What does your curb look like on the days the garbage truck rolls through?  If you’re doing everything you should be doing, your average household waste for that week should fit into one, maybe two t-shirt bags.

No? Are you still screaming (on the inside, where it counts) “Hefty! Hefty! Hefty!” as you trudge to the sidewalk?   It’s okay.  We all do it sometimes. If you’re doing it every week, you need to know that it is possible to wean your wastebaskets and trash cans from a steady diet of stuff that could be recycled into rugs, clothing, planters and even fashionable vegan shoes. Keep in mind this kind of change does not have to be a zero sum proposition.  You can start small.  Just start!

Let me help you out with this.  Do you eat Annie’s Mac ‘n Cheese?  The next time you’re in the mood for comfort food and you tear open a package, ad you’re waiting for the water to boil, take a look at the box. Yes, the bunny is cute and the bumper sticker offer that has been open since I was an undergraduate is still on the side. What you’ll also find are tips on how to reuse that box before it finally ends up in your recycling bin.

Low to no waste isn’t limited to paper and plastic.  Take a look at that pretty yellow oval in your CSA box.  For those of you who have never tried spaghetti squash, you’re missing out.  It has the texture and taste of a good veggie pasta prepared al dente the way the school cafeteria ladies never intended. Don’t let this tasty, healthy treat go to waste.

I consulted with my friends and fellow veggie fans, Sylvia and Bill Red Eagle, on the best ways to use every bit of a spaghetti squash.  Starting from the inside out:

Seeds: The tangle of seeds and mushy, fibrous stuff needs to be removed before the rest of it can be cooked.   Once you’ve scooped it out, begin to knead it and you’ll find the seeds will start to fall out.  Rinse them off, buff them barely dry with a clean dishtowel and then spread them out on a cookie sheet.

They’re great plain or you can season them with any of the following: cayenne, chili powder, garlic salt, grated parm or asiago, or cinnamon and a little sugar or (a tiny, tiny amount of) stevia if prefer a sweet snack.  Once you’ve seasoned them or not, pop the tray in an oven set at 275 degrees for five to ten minutes or until the seeds are dry, crisp, and slide around.

This recipe works with any squash or pumpkin seed and those seeds, called pepitas by my father’s people (who also refer to corn as maiz, go figure…) are a great source of protein and fiber.  One cautionary note:  they are very rich in Omega-6, which do weird things to Omega-3s, which you and I and everyone we know  needs.  So, as Cookie Monster might say, they’re probably best eaten as a sometimes snack when you happen to be cooking a winter squash.

Flesh:  Some people boil it, some steam it, the Red Eagles like to cut it in half and bake it flesh side down until the fibers pull away into “noodles”.  They like it as a side with butter, salt and a little sauteed garlic or garlic scapes when they’re in season or as a “chili mac” when the weather in Ft. Worth gets a little colder.  I like it topped with a good “tom ‘n three plus” marinara ( tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers plus herbs and wine).

The Skin, Stem and Seed Muck:  All of it composts beautifully.  If you have established a place for birds and other neighbor critters to visit and grab a bite, you’ll find that they see the seed muck is like, the best snack ever to squirrels, titmice and black capped chickadees.

So, let’s review.  You started with this ornery hard thing that you wondered if you could use as part of a centerpiece or a decoration for the guest book table at church and now you have a tasty snack, a great meal that is light on the carbs, and some good karma from feeding your fellow earthlings.  Best of all, none of that ended up in the trash.

Hungry for more?  Talk to your local farmer about their favorite ways to use winter squash.  You might want to check out these recipes by two of my favorite chefs/foodways preservation advocates:

Emeril Lagasse’s herbed spaghetti squash is an easy dish after a rushed day.
Rick Bayless’ “Worlds Greatest Chili” includes winter squash as part of his refit of a home kitchen classic.
Bon appetit and keep green!

by Jas Faulkner 

 

Brad Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys

Southern native Bradford Lee Folk works hard and plays hard. By day he’s out on a John Deere tractor on an organic farm in Tennessee, tilling the land for a living. By night he’s back home in Nashville, tearing it up on stage with his Bluegrass Playboys, playing the rough-edged blend of bluegrass tradition and true country grit that’s his stock-in-trade. After years heading up the seminal young bluegrass band Open Road and then running a rural honky-tonk in Colorado, Brad Folk came back to Nashville determined to make his own music his own way. On his new album Somewhere Far Away, wIth burning fiddles and hard-picked banjo behind him, his new music flows out of the Americana bedrock of Music City, but bubbles with the intensity of modern life. Songs reference East Nashville street violence in one breath and soul-searching isolation in the next. These are the kind of songs whose thoughtful, literate lyrics pull you into the story. Plus there’s an instant charisma to Bradford Lee Folk’s voice, something there that makes you sit up and listen. At the Pickathon Festival last year, Folk got two standing ovations from a simple interview! Now he’s channeling that intensity into granite-hard bluegrass roots, beholden to no tradition but the long-held American tradition of making music with deep knowledge of its own roots and great hope for a fresh future.’

Brad Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys join the East Nashville Farmers Market on Wednesday, September 25th from 4pm-7pm.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PIZZA RECIPE

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PIZZA RECIPE
(serves 2)
1 cup very thinly sliced peeled and seeded butternut squash
EVOO for drizzling
Coarse salt
1/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
Pizza dough
6-10 small fresh sage (or basil) leaves (torn if larger)
at least 1-2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 500 F. Drizzle squash with oil in a bowl and season with salt.
2. Spread cornmeal on baking sheet. Stretch dough into 9.5 inch round; transfer to baking sheet. Drizzle dough with oil, and arrange squash on top, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Bake 10 minutes. In the bowl you used for the squash, toss herbs with garlic, & drizzle with oil to coat. Sprinkle herb mixture over pizza & continue to bake until crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
*Cheese / Tomato Sauce : One can also add mozzarella cheese or another white cheese or your choice, like Romano or even tomato sauce, making this a bit more traditional. Top the crust with these additions, after baking the dough, but before adding the squash. Of course, you can always add more cheese on top too!
Submitted by Magda Underdown-Dubois

Slocal: Yes, It’s Local and So Much More

The Slow Food Movement might be new to you, but it has been around since the late eighties, first as a SLOCALgrassroots effort to move away from the increasing presence of fast food in the diets of working Italians and eventually in the US, where prominent localtarian proponents such as Michael Pollan and Alice Waters took up the cause of promoting a way of eating that was smarter and gentler on us and the planet.  

Slow Food promotes the idea that local, sustainably grown and homemade are always the best choices. If Nashville Master Gardeners Jami Anderson and Russell Kirchner have their way, it could be the approach we all take towards filling our plates and pantries.

Educating themselves about the true nature of mainstream corporate food production in this country inspired them to start producing their own food five years ago. As they learned how much of the value of real food is lost in the process, they began see the importance of local food production.

“Learning from many illuminating documentaries about the food industry (and reading enormous amounts about it as well) reinforced our desire to grow healthy fruits and vegetables that are pesticide-free, fresh, and have as much of their full complement of original nutrients as possible. Likewise, learning about the triggers of a fast-food diet to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease piqued our dedication to the slow-food movement. The continuing depletion of fossil fuels and air quality due to the transportation of food from far-off places to the table made us even more aware of the importance of growing food that is local.”

This was also the inspiration for the name and mission of their company. Slocal Foods is more than just a pretty herb stand situated among the vendors at the East Nashville Farmers Market. Of course you can get basil that will make your kitchen (not to mention your pesto,) smell like a little bit of culinary Nirvana and move on to the rest of your visit. Before you do, take a few minutes and look around. You’ll see herbs you might not recognize. You’ll see plants that, if you let them, will help turn your home into a greener and maybe tastier sanctuary. All that from a fresh sprig or a live plant?  Really?  

For you salt and pepper cooks, Anderson will attest that expanding your taste vocabulary can be daunting.  “…cooking with herbs can be intimidating to people who aren’t chefs and may not have even heard of some of them. That’s why we offer free recipes with the purchase of any herb that uses that herb as a main ingredient, fresh, dried, or live at our Farmers Market booth.” Still need some convincing? Take a look at one of the many recipes you’ll find this season at Slocal Foods. 

Aside from their interesting history and the sensory delight herbs offer, Anderson went on to explain why and Kirchner focused on herbs as part of their life work as teachers and activists for Slow Food: “Farmers markets are great resources for fruits and vegetables that are local but we noticed a gap in the supply of fresh herbs. You can buy some herbs at chain groceries but often they come in plastic (yuck) clamshells and sell for around $3 for just a few (often moldy) sprigs. Neither freshness nor quality is guaranteed in most instances. Selection is also limited to a few mainstream herbs as well. Our herbs are raised organically from seed in rich, composted soil right in our own backyard and we offer many herbs you won’t find for sale in a store.

See what they are offering each week at http://slocalfoods.com. Call Slocal at 615-480-5347 for restaurant herb supply accounts.

– Jas Faulkner

Homemade Seasoned French Fries

Homemade Seasoned French Fries
Serves: 2french fries

Ingredients

  • 1 large Potato
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425˚.
  2. Before cutting potato, rinse well under water. From there, cut the ends off the potato, stand up on end, and cut slices from the potato that are 1/4\” thick (depending on how thick you want your fries- cut accordingly) Take slices and cut fries out of the potato-using 1/4 ” as the measurement.
  3. Once all fries are cut, place in medium bowl and add the remaining ingredients, tossing until every piece is covered. Spread out onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes, flip the fries, and bake for a remaining 10-15 until fries are crispy (35-45 minutes total.) Make sure to not over crowed the pan- this may result in uneven baking.

HOW TO STORE & USE VARIETIES OF FALL SQUASH

They are so versatile and tasty. Here are some tips for navigating the kitchen with fall vegetables including butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash.butternut squash
-Use a sharp knife. Cutting through the peel can be difficult!
-You may steam them, boil them, bake in a water pan, cook in the crock pot, roast or grill them. There are many different ways to cook squash
-Baking them in the oven with no water will make for a less “water logged” squash. It can make a difference in recipes!
-Spaghetti squash, as the name indicates, is a great noodle replacement but can also try it as crust in an egg breakfast or pizza.
-You can store these squashes in a cool dark place for a year or longer. As long as they don’t show signs of mold or soft spots, they’re made to store.
– Tips by Stacy Geny of Paradise Produce – East Nashville Farmers Market

Website Return

We Have our Website Back !website

Great News!  After 3 weeks of negotiating and demonstrating that we are the rightful owners of the domain registration, we have control over our website again! For those of you following the story, and may have seen it on Channel 4 news or in the Tennessean, our domain registration was stolen and moved to an address in Moscow, Russia.  The breach occurred when my GoDaddy account was compromised and the thief moved my registration out of GoDaddy to a registrar in India.

Note that our website files were never compromised as they were not hosted on GoDaddy computers.  Email addresses were not compromised.  All of our website files were fine and site was back up and running when we “repointed” the registration information.  Our website files are and have been completely secure.

So, Hurrah! Our market pictures are back.  Our Blogs are back. Be sure to click and see what has been going on at your favorite community farmers market, http://eastnashvillemarket.com/  .  If you haven’t seen our website in a while, you’d be surprised.  We have a great new snazzy look,  over a thousand wonderful pictures from the market, vendor information, recipe ideas and weekly news.

Thank you for visiting our market and supporting our local farmers who grow the food we love to eat. See you all on Wednesdays, 3:30 to 7:00 p.m.   Our market is open through end of October.

Hank Delvin
Market Organizer

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