Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spotlight: Colleen Levine of Foodie Tots

Meet Colleen.  She is currently a government affairs consultant by day, and mom to an almost 4-year-old budding foodie with another on the way. 

Tell us about your blog.

FoodieTots highlights local, seasonal food with family-friendly recipes and an emphasis on DC-area farms and farmers markets. (I also co-write a cheese-focused blog,
How did you get into blogging?
When I was pregnant with my son, I started learning more about sustainable eating. After a while, I started the blog to share local food discoveries and the recipes I created to use up all the great food I was bringing home from the farmers markets. 
Favorite ingredient?
Fresh summer fruit! Especially rhubarb, cherries and peaches. 

How would you describe DC Cuisine?
It's very diverse, obviously, but I'm particularly excited about all our local chefs who have embraced the "farm-to-table" movement and are leading the way in sourcing locally and ethically-produced ingredients. 
How long have you lived in DC and how did you end up here?
It's coming up on 11 years. The typical story: I was a government major and came to DC to find work after college.  

Who are your culinary inspirations?
People like Alice Waters and Jose Andres of course, but also Chef Allison of DC Central Kitchen and others who are working to teach children to appreciate real food.  
What is your favorite local restaurant and why?
Is that a trick question? For an all-purpose, anything from family-friendly brunch to happy hour with girlfriends spot, Jaleo.  
What is your favorite Food Network Show?
I prefer shows that show actual cooking, like Barefoot Contessa or Nigella. I'm less interested in food as competition, though of course I'll be watching Top Chef DC. 
Do you have a favorite cookbook?
In the summer, Jack Bishop's "Vegetables Every Day" is my go-to book on how to cook all the produce we get in our CSA share. 

What are your most exciting challenges right now?
We just planted our first garden, so I'd have to say attempting to keep things alive long enough to harvest something.

Any recipes to share?

Peaches, tomatoes and corn will be arriving at the markets soon, so here's one of my favorite simple summer recipes:

Tomato Peach Panzanella
4 slices day-old hearty Italian bread or corn bread
2 large very ripe tomatoes
2 large very ripe peaches
2 ears corn, shucked
several basil leaves, thinly sliced
4 ounces aged white cheddar, cubed (can also use feta or mozzarella)
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions: Toast the bread slices and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Cut the tomatoes and peaches into 1/2-inch cubes as well. Cut the corn kernels off the cobs. In a bowl, layer the bread, tomatoes, peaches and corn. Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to make vinaigrette. Sprinkle vinaigrette and basil over salad and toss gently. Stir in cheese and let stand for 10 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

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