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Posts Tagged ‘Redland Mediterranean Organic’

Hani Khouri and his ice cream scooper ready to go!

I first met Hani Khouri at a farmers market set up in a parking lot in front of a grocery store off US1. The market was a motley bunch of tents and vendors selling all manner of locally grown produce, flowers and treats. Hani had his table set up next to Bee Heaven Farm’s sprawling tent, and he was offering tastes of his artisanal farmer’s cheese made from goat milk. He was enthusiastic about the health benefits of goat milk, how it differs from cow’s milk, and how his cheese was the best. I was reluctant to try, because I had never liked the tang of soft goat cheese, and have problems with cow’s milk.

 

Hani invited me to try a bite, and cautiously, I did. The farmers cheese was firm, a lttle crumbly, and sweet. No goaty tang. It was delicious! I asked him his secret, and he told me, but now as I write this, I can’t remember what it was. I do recall that he had a cooler loaded with containers of cheese and milk on ice. For some time he didn’t have a tent for market, and relied on shade from his trademark Panama hat.

 

Hani expanded sales to other farmers markets, and provided cheese to several local restaurants. He created goat milk ice cream – yes, ice cream! It had some of that traditional goat cheese funk and tang, and was flavored with tropical fruits and fresh sugar from local growers. All local, all organic. It was hard to choose a favorite. They were all very good, including the one made with tart cas guava.

 

Hani expanded into preparing various Lebanese dishes, and hosted several dinners around the Redland area. The food was tasty and the dinners were popular. Of course Hani teamed up with Margie Pikarsky to provide his cooked food and cheese as add-on shares for her weekly CSA veggie boxes. Occassionally he would drop off something different for Margie to try. This is how I learned about ful mudamas (fava bean dish) and namoura (sweet semolina cake). It was all scrumptious, and again, hard to choose my favorite.

 

Hani also introduced me to his kids – his Nubian goats’ offspring, that is. I visited a few weeks after they were born. The front yard had been transformed into a goats’ playground, as the young kids bounced, leaped, trotted, skipped and climbed on top of anything. They were in constant motion and very entertaining to watch. Hani explained that goats like to climb on top of things. One kid would climb on top of an old stump, then the next would push him off and climb up. They also liked to climb on top of an old white plastic toy igloo then leap off, or nap inside it. The older goats were friendly, and came up to the fence to nibble on my clothes.

 

Years later, Hani and I were sitting on a log at a bonfire one evening at Bee Heaven Farm. His wife Mary Lee and two of his children were there, along with a number of Margie’s friends and neighbors. Occasionally she would have a fire, usually on a cold night, and would invite people over. Hani and I were watching the flames, and chatting about life. My heart had been broken recently, and I was feeling blue. “How do you know it’s the one?” I asked Hani. “You just know,” he told me. “I married my best friend.” His one true love Mary Lee smiled at him across the flickering fire. Hani would do anything for her. He moved heaven and earth to buy goats and a farm so she could have good milk and cheese; and he went through great lengths to find and prepare organic, clean, fresh food so she could recover her health. And she thrived for many years from his loving care. Hani’s entrepreneurship began because of love, and he made his food with love. You could taste it in every bite.

 

Further reading about Hani Khouri:

 

Obituary published in Edible South Florida

https://ediblesouthflorida.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/memoriam-hani-khouri-businessman-chef-goatherd

 

GoFundMe fundraiser for the Khouri family

https://www.gofundme.com/f/hanikhouristroke

 

Best cheese 2013

https://www.miaminewtimes.com/best-of/2013/food-and-drink/best-cheese-6403651

Goatherd and cheesemaker Hani Khouri rolls a bale of alfalfa to the goat’s pen at dinner time.

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photo by Sara @ Culinerapy

Featuring local Redland ice cream specialists:

Gabrielle Berrier, Gaby’s Farm
Hani Khouri, Hani’s Mediterranean Organics
Robert Barnum, Possum Trot Tropical Fruit Nursery

When: Sunday, July 4th
11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Where: Bee Heaven Farm

Family fun! Sample ice cream and sorbet creations and tropical fruit pies from Redland farm producers. Vote for your favorite flavors during our ‘fun tasting’.

Stroll around the farm during this informal gathering. The kids (and adults, too) can check out the chickens, see how the avocados are growing, how the planting areas rest with the summer cover crops, and enjoy the birds, the bees and the butterflies.

Afterward, want to take your favorite flavors home? Bring cash and a cooler, with (preferably) dry ice, to keep your ice cream frozen solid.

BUY TICKETS FOR THE EVENT

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/115231

Adult (10+): $10
Child (4-9): $5
Child (0-3): free

Attendance limited – Advance purchase required by July 1

Sponsored by Whole Foods.

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If you have been reading the local food blogs, then you knew goatherd-cheesemaker-chef Hani Khouri’s kids started arriving in March. No, not his children home for spring break. His kids, as in baby goats.

These kids have been been the focus of a small media frenzy. They must be the most famous goats in the area. Hani is very excited about it. Celebrity kids, imagine that!

Laurie Jennings introduces The Goat Herder.

Most recently, Jonathan Vigliotti did a story on Hani’s transition from businessman to goatherd, which aired on Local 10 WPLG on May 11. If you missed it, the story and video are posted online here.

Mary Lee Khouri and Clark Gable

In their latest issue, Edible South Florida has a great cover picture of Hani’s wife Mary Lee, holding one of the kids, accompanying a nice article. The article is by Gretchen Schmidt and photos by Alfredo Añez. Look for the magazine this month at Whole Foods and other locations.

If you look carefully, Mary Lee and Hani autographed their pictures. Want my copy? Be the fifth (5th) person to comment on this post as to which is your favorite flavor of HANI’S ice cream and why, and the autographed magazine is yours! Only one comment per person allowed. Offer expires Thursday May 20 Saturday May 22 at midnight.

Back in March, two local food blogs have also posted about the goats. Genuine Kitchen featured the pregnant does, including the very huge Cleopatra.

Shortly after, Mango & Lime came out and took pictures of Cleo’s kids, including the very pregnant doe Maria. Paula’s post about the goats and Hani was featured as Blog Post of the Week on the South Florida Daily Blog.

The kids are growing up. They are cute and friendly, and better yet, they are weaned. That means that Hani is back in full production with goat cheese and goat milk ice cream, and it’s as good as you remember. You can get some from Hani’s Mediterranean Organics at the Pinecrest Gardens Green Market this Sunday. Yes, it’s still going strong through the end of this month.

5855 S.W. 111th Street, Pinecrest, 33156
Open Sundays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hani signed his name in Arabic.

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The two best farmers markets on the weekend — and you can feel free to debate this with me — are the Pinecrest Gardens Green Market on Sundays from 9 am to 2 pm, and the Coral Gables Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm.

Coral Gables Farmers Market
405 Biltmore Way
(in front of City Hall, at Biltmore Way and LeJeune Ave.)

Hurry over to the Gables Market because this Saturday March 27 is the last day. Several members of Redland Organics are selling their wares there.

Jad, Jessie, Leah and Mary Lee at Hani's Mediterranean Organics

One recent weekend I stopped by to chat with the crew at Hani’s Mediterranean Organics. Everybody who walked up to the tent asked if cheese was available. “The goat cheese is in limited production and sells out fast. You got to get here early,” Hani’s wife Mary Lee patiently explained. She offered mussels cooked in white wine sauce with garlic, or maybe some lupini beans to snack on. Their son Jad was making falafel, and volunteers Jessie and Leah from Ohio State University helped out. (Hani is also at the Pinecrest Market.)

Paradise Farms, the only certified organic farmer at Gables market.

Across the street you’ll find Paradise Farms selling various fruits, vegetables and herbs. Paradise is certified organic, unlike other growers at the market. You have to get there early for their famous oyster mushrooms. The recent cool, dry weather slowed down mushroom growth, so there have been some weeks where they have been in short supply. (Paradise is not at Pinecrest Market, but you might find the mushrooms at Redland Organics.)

You’ll find Miguel Bode selling honey and pollen at his tent set up at the end of Biltmore Way right by LeJeune. Miguel’s wife was there last Saturday while Miguel was down in Redland checking his hives. He keeps bees at Bee Heaven Farm and at Paradise Farms. His wildflower honey is my favorite, and is a real taste of the local area.

Miguel Bode's local honey and bee pollen

Pinecrest Gardens Green Market
5855 S.W. 111th Street
(in parking lot in front of Pinecrest Gardens)

If you want Miguel’s honey but missed the Gables Market, you can also find it here, sold by Redland Organics. Everything is local, either grown on Bee Heaven Farm or sourced from organic growers within 150 miles of Miami. No telling what interesting things you’ll discover under the sprawling tent. In addition to honey, you can find certified organic fruits, vegetables and herbs, along with bunches of flowers and dried fruits, and Paradise Farms oyster mushrooms (subject to availability).

Word up to CSA members — the produce in your Saturday box is also available at market, so if you want more of something but didn’t find it in the extras box, go to Pinecrest. You can also find things at market which never make it into your CSA box, particularly fruit and herbs. On one recent Sunday, I saw rangpur limes, which look like small oranges but are not quite as tart as the familiar green limes.

The Pinecrest Market will run through April.

An assortment of familiar and unusual fruit at Redland Organics.

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Hani Khouri of Redland Mediterranean Organics and Sous Chef 2 Go announce the start of their cooking classes at Sous Chef 2 Go location in the Greenery Mall in Kendall.

The first series of three classes begins on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. The objective of the classes is to: increase cooking skills, develop a healthier lifestyle, and learn to budget food better. You will also enjoy the fruits of your labor!

The fees for the series include all class ingredients and food. Wine and other beverages will be provided and are included in the cost. Series fee: $400. Book early, as each series is limited to 10 people.

Make your reservations online at Sous Chef 2 Go then click on 1st 2010 Cooking Classes, or register in person at the store. Hours are Monday – Saturday 9 am – 8 pm.

Cooking Classes

Cooking Basics (2 sessions)

Basic cooking utensils
1) Measuring cups/spoons, timer, thermometer, strainer, pastry brushes
2) Mixing bowl/mixing spoon, wire whisk, rubber scraper, spatula, tongs,
3) Rolling pin, paring knife, French knife, turner, cutting board,

Basic cooking terminology
1) Boil, beat, chop, core, cream, cut in, fold, grate, grease, knead
2) Pare, sauté, simmer, stir, toss

Tricks of the trade-substitutions
1) Allspice, baking powder, honey, milk, sugar
2) Spices, herbs

Food Safety
1) Personal hygiene
2) Adequate temperature control
3) Cross contamination
4) Proper final cooking temperature

Food Preparation (2 sessions)

Cooking organic
1) What is organic?
2) Where and how to buy
3) Meal preparation

Mediterranean culinary basics
1) Salads – tabouleh, fattoush
2) Dips – hommos, baba ghanouj
3) Grape leaves, kibbeh

Sous Chef 2 Go, “Recipe in a bag” demonstrations

Fresh falafel making

Location:

Sous Chef 2 Go
7758 SW 88 St.
Miami, FL, 33156
305.595.8010 or contact@souschef2go.com

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A very pregnant doe

Hani Khouri of Redland Mediterranean Organics is waiting for his kids to arrive. Actually, his does (female goats) are pregnant and due to deliver their kids (baby goats) in mid-February or early March. Giving birth to a baby goat is called kidding, I was told. Really, I’m not kidding.

Cleopatra takes a sip of water

Hani keeps a small herd of Nubian goats, six pregnant does and one buck, and they’re all about one to two years old. This is the first kidding for the goats. This is also Hani’s first kidding and he’s excited, nervous and watchful of his herd. One doe named Cleopatra (whose picture you might have seen in the CSA newsletter last Saturday) is huge and very round. She started standing off to one side and went off her feed, which goats do when they’re sick, and that gave Hani the worries. But the vet checked out Cleo and said she’s ok, that’s also what pregnant goats do. So it’s watch and wait for now.

All this family excitement means no cheese and no ice cream in the CSA shares and at market. Too bad for us humans! The does need to save their milk for their kids. Hani can start milking three to four days after the births, after the kids get the colostrum. But even then he can’t milk as frequently or as much, until the kids are weaned at about two months age. Only then will Hani be back into full production.

Can all you hungry cheese fans wait until April or May? Looks like you’ll have to. Hani checked with other goat cheese producers in the state, and all their does are pregnant too. No fresh, local goat cheese to be had anywhere. Eating with the seasons — including goat seasons — is part of eating local food supplied by local growers, so you’ll have to be patient!

Goats love alfalfa

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Hani Khouri and Martha Montes de Oca

Chef and goat cheese maker Hani Khouri of Redland Mediterranean Organics has joined forces with Martha Montes de Oca, owner of Sous Chef 2 Go, to offer ready-made takeout lunches during the week. You get a choice of one of Hani’s Lebanese dishes or one of Martha’s Hispanic creations. Prices range around $7-9 for the meal.

Right now the prepared lunch is strictly takeout. Bistro tables will be set outside when the weather is cooler. Also, fresh local produce will be for sale at the store in a few weeks as the season picks up.

I dropped by a few days ago to check things out. Hani’s special of the day was lamb kofta. He was busy in the kitchen patting ground lamb between his hands and shaping it into oval kebabs, then cooking them on the grill. Lunch was two generous sized kebabs topped with chopped parsley and ripe tomato, resting on a pita. The lamb was cooked through, seasoned with minced onion, a dash of chipotle and other spices. A generous dollop of hummus topped with a puddle of olive oil was served on the side. Humble hummus, I’ve had it a million times, but Hani’s actually tastes like chickpeas!

Lamb kofta with hummus and pita

Martha’s lunches are Hispanic in flavor. Her daily special was chicken fricassee simmering in a crock pot. Its delicious aroma filled the kitchen and made my mouth water. She explained that all her ingredients are organic except for the meats. The customer has the option of organic (more expensive) or natural (less expensive). She also said, with a proud smile, that she deciphered the familiar favorite Sazón Goya, and created a similar blend with all-organic seasonings minus MSG.

To find out what the lunch of the day is, go to the Sous Chef 2 Go web site and click on the picture of the take-out bag. That will lead you to the lunch/takeout menu. Drop in for lunch, or call ahead to order a recipe that you can cook at home.

Sous Chef 2 Go
7758 SW 88 St.
Miami, FL 33156
305.595.8010
contact[at]souschef2go.com

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