Sproutfest! offers organic culinary delights
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September 19, 2008
Stephanie Blennerhassett serves up flat bread at Sproutfest!
"I just try to go by color and texture and what´s seasonal, of course," said Blennerhassett, wiping her hands dry inside the Earth House kitchen, her hair wrapped neatly in a headscarf.
Inside the Earth House living room - a hodge-podge of colorfully painted walls, re-purposed furniture and autumn d?cor - students, faculty and staff helped themselves to such flavorful delights as "amaranth and arugula salad with goat cheese" and "gazpacho with watermelon and pomegranate and mint."
Blennerhassett was the mistress behind the culinary delicacies at this year´s fourth annual Sproutfest!, held inside Earth House, a small residential house on the Connecticut College campus for students dedicated to earth-friendly living. Sprout!, the Connecticut College sustainable food initiative group that runs the College´s organic garden, hosted the evening - an hors d´oeuvre event for faculty and staff of the College - using as many ingredients as possible from the garden.
Using her eclectic culinary expertise, Blennerhassett used an array of organic fruits and vegetables as her canvas.
A warming pumpkin soup proved to be a popular choice. Palming a bowl on the front porch of Earth House, Environmental Coordinator Amy Cabaniss attempted to describe the unique combination of flavors.
"Rich, spicy, earthy," Cabaniss said, taking in a generous spoonful, "and full of fall abundance."
Blennerhassett said she had a very small amount of gardening experience before she came to Connecticut College. Today, she works in the Sprout! garden just about every day and says her culinary abilities stem from the connection she has to the food she uses in her dishes. Between her junior and senior years in high school, Blennerhassett, a vegetarian, spent two weeks at a cooking school in France where she learned to cook everything from frog´s legs to pastries.
The dishes she creates are "an evolution," she said. Caitlin Scott ´10, who also lives in Earth House, called Blennerhassett an "artist." Most of her measurements are "to taste." The recipe for her bowl-you-over pumpkin soup? Pumpkin, apple juice, cream, roasted apples, onions and ginger "to taste."
"I really love food so much," Blennerhassett said.
She said plans to create her own major, focusing on the environmental rights of indigenous people.