Posts Tagged ‘Redland Mediterranean Organic’

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

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Arazá! What a wonderful name! Too bad the fruit is so tart…. But Farmer Margie told me that Hani Khouri of Redland Mediterranean Organics was going to make ice cream with it. Robert Barnum confirmed he had sold some fruit. Hot on the trail, I spoke with Hani and he promised that arazá ice cream would be available at the Edible Garden Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Arazá ice cream

Arazá ice cream

So I braved sporadic rain showers on Saturday, sidled up to Hani’s tent and asked, “Got arazá?” Yes, he said, and his son Jad handed me a container from the cooler. The only ingredients are arazá, agave nectar, and fresh goat milk. The ice cream is pale yellow in color, sweet and tart at the same time, with a “yogurt-like flavor in the back as a finish,” as Hani described. From the first spoonful I was in a swoon, lost in the blend of sweet-tart-tangy flavors and the smooth, creamy texture. Almost forgot to photograph it, that’s why there’s some missing in the picture. It’s now my new favorite flavor. Sorry, mango-orchid. Sorry, papaya.

Hani started heating organic safflower oil in the big fry pan to make falafel, and I realized that a) I hadn’t had lunch and b) I hadn’t eaten his falafel in ages. Time to remedy that.

First came the flatbread, smeared with a dab of tahini sauce green with mint. Then three golden nuggets of falafel were topped with amba, fermented pickled green mango flavored with fenugreek and mustard seeds. “It’s spicy,” Hani warned, adding a small amount. (He claims that Farmers Margie and Gabriele are addicted to his amba.) I like how it added an exotic bite. Then came pickled turnips (bright pink from beets), thinly sliced cucumber and chopped tomato. Uniquely flavorful, this style of falafel is lighter than what I’ve tried elsewhere, and was told those particular toppings are quite popular in Israel.

Making falafel

Assembling falafel with pickled turnips

Redland Mediterranean Organics has teamed up with Sous Chef 2 Go and is sharing a tent at the Jackson Memorial Hospital farmers market. It happens on Thursdays in front of the Alamo building. Go look for their tent at lunchtime. The arazá ice cream is waiting to meet your taste buds. Also new on the menu is chicken roll — chicken seasoned with sumac (which gives it a cinnamon-like taste), rolled in dough and baked. And don’t forget the goat cheese!

[Note: Hani Khouri called me on Nov. 11 to tell me that he’s no longer selling at this market due to a sharp increase in vendor fees. He and Sous Chef 2 Go are partnering in a new lunch menu at the shop in Kendall. Look for my review coming soon.]

The Jackson Memorial Foundation Green Market @ Alamo Park
1611 NW 12th Ave., Miami
Inside the JMH Campus
Open Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Hani Khouri says "Cheese!"

Hani Khouri says "Cheese!"

Hani Khouri, owner of Redland Mediterranean Organics (and the latest grower to join Redland Organics), makes cheese and ice cream from goat milk. Wait a minute… what’s that… goat milk ice cream? Um, how does it taste? Like really, really good ice cream. And when was the last time that you experienced a flavor like papaya-wild orchid or mango-wild orchid, fruity and sweet with a perfume-y finish. No goat flavors in the ice cream, no worries. How Hani does it is a secret, he says, and I’ve tried to find out.

The ice cream flavors run towards the tropical. There’s jakfruit, mamey, and plain mango, from fruits sourced locally in Redland and subject to availability. For traditionalists there’s vanilla bean, chocolate (to die for), peach, raspberry and strawberry. All flavors are sweetened with agave.

Hani also makes two kinds of cheeses. One is a firm cheese with texture like feta but less salt and no goat-y flavor. It’s

Labneh with olive oil

Labneh with olive oil

one of my favorites. I’ve put it in sandwiches and salads, goes great with arugula. Last Saturday I sampled Hani’s latest offering — labneh, a soft cheese with the spreadability of cream cheese, and with the familiar tang of goat (but not too much). Labneh, Hani explained to me, begins as goat milk yoghurt that is drained and salted. No fan of typical goat cheese, I hesitated before sampling the it with olive oil on whole wheat pita — and was pleasantly surprised by its flavor — a mild goat presence, but not too overwhelming — nice!

Also on the Redland Mediterranean Organics menu is hummus, tabouli, falafel and baba ganoush. They’re all super fresh. When I dropped by Hani’s tent last on a rainy Saturday afternoon at the Coconut Grove Organic Farmers Market, he was finely chopping organic mint to stir into the tabouli. (The mint was picked at Bee Heaven Farm just the day before, and so were the scallions.) The invigorating aroma of mint floated into the air and drew people to the tent. “What’s that you’re making,” they asked, and hung around waiting for him to finish.

Stirring mint into fresh tabouli

Stirring mint into fresh tabouli

“So what is local food?” Hani asked as he chopped and stirred. “How far do you go to get locally produced food?” The boundaries of a local food area could be set at 100 miles. Or it could be 400 miles. Hani quoted the Farm Bureau as saying local for Miami is anywhere from Florida. Or it could be 7 hours by truck or plane — now wait a minute, that’s pushing it! But where does local food come from — a warehouse, or the field or orchard? And how does it get to the market — airplane, truck, goat cart or walking? Hani asked again, “How far can local food travel and stay local?” I replied, “Redland Organics CSA sources food from 150 miles or less.” Hani gets his goat milk even closer than that — about 50 feet from his kitchen door to the Nubian goats that he raises. He laughed and said proudly, “I’m a local producer who’s also a chef.” He also sells what he makes, and eats what he sells.

Hungry yet? Find Hani Khouri and goodies from Redland Mediterranean Organics at the Saturday farmer’s market in Coconut Grove on Grand Ave. and Margaret St. (just west of 32 Ave.), or at the new greenmarket by The Alamo at the Jackson Memorial complex on Thursdays around lunchtime. Enjoy!

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