and so it goes.

I wish this were my stairwell

I wish this were my stairwell

Summer has flown by.

The first TedxHudson is coming up Saturday September 27, and the guest of honor is no less than Alice Waters.  I swoon, and sob that I will not be able to attend.  Go, and listen to her for me.

I can’t believe I will miss this.

***

Isn’t it amazing how much food and eating have changed in Hudson, and Columbia County, in the past 5+ years?  The seeds of a food scene were always here, but our options have exploded.  Now we don’t just have several restaurants and a couple of local cheeses to call our own.  Instead, we have dozens of local products coming out each year, and people traveling to Hudson to eat (thank you, Bon Appetit) and Ruth Reichl shopping at the Hudson Farmers’ Market (and tweeting her loot).  I can’t keep up.  But I no longer have to – as we have Rural Intelligence talking about (upstate / Columbia County / Hudson) food practically every week, and Chronogram, and Susan Simon in the Register-Star, never mind the New York Times.

It is  not just in our little city that we have turned our focus on what we eat – some might argue that it is a societal change.  Every generation may be making the change for a different reason. I’ve discovered that I want to eat good food, and the more I learn, the more that I want to know where my food comes from. Except for those delicious strips of bacon.  I just want to eat bacon.

Hudson is a good place to live ( / visit / linger) but most importantly it is a great place to eat.

***

I am moving and will not be back to Hudson for a while.  And when I do come back for a visit, you know I will be busy eating.  This is my last post.

Please keep supporting all of our fantastic local producers.

April showers

After a gorgeous day yesterday, and a sunny start this morning, it is now gray and rainy.  Luckily I got the bulk of my yard-tidying accomplished before the rain – although I had grand delusions of much more mulching and trimming.

Ah, spring.

I’ve definitely turned to spring eating – I just don’t want heavy food anymore.  Instead, I’m thinking salads.  We don’t have a lot of local supplies, yet, but I am starting to see micro greens and pea shoots as a welcome garnish on dishes.  As we wander through this season of transition, I’ve tried the following recipes which use pretty seasonal ingredients but feel lighter in taste:

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 Tahini Beets

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Spring Green Risotto

(and, no photo but this dish was really delicious)

Crispy Coconut Kale with Roasted Salmon and Coconut Rice

With the holidays coming up, I think I may back-track a little on my (lighter) spring eating so I can try some new recipes and enjoy some old favorites.

Someone was thinking what I’ve been thinking – I’m definitely trying this recipe for Bacon Matzo Brei.  I don’t think The Professor will mind this addition to our matzo brei tradition.  I will also make Matzo Brittle (or matzo crack…).  There will be nothing light about these Passover dishes.

I haven’t figured out my Easter eating, but it will include eggs.  Perhaps I will try a twist on eggs benedict (here or here) or head back to spring eating with this delicious-sounding Asparagus with Eggs and Parmesan.

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If you’re not up to cooking, you could just eat somewhere in town.

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Poached eggs over avocado  at Bonfiglio & Bread – I still do not tire of this dish.

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Or perhaps a simple hard-boiled egg and gougere at Swallow?

Obviously I’m into eggs.

***

There are some interesting goings-on over the next month, in case you get tired of gardening or eating:

Saturday April 12 – Chocolate tasting of (Hudson local) Christopher Norman Chocolates, and wine from Fairview Wines at Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar, located at Warren & 2nd in Hudson NY.  5pm – 7pm. Taste.

Saturday April 12 – Dine/Art Gallery Stroll on Warren Street below 3rd Street.  Wander and enjoy art and tastes.  5pm – 8pm.  Taste again.

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Saturday April 19 – ThinkFOOD Conference: Culture / Studies / Sourcing at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington MA.  9:30am – 3pm. Think.

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Saturday April 26 or May 3? – Opening of Hudson Valley Distillers.  Applejack and vodka and (eventually) more! Check it out on Route 9 just south of Clermont. Tasting room hours to be announced.  Thirst.

Saturday April 26 and Sunday April 27 – TAP New York, a craft beer and food festival happens at Hunter Mountain in the Catskills. 1pm – 5pm on Saturday and 12pm – 4pm on Sunday.  Thirst again.

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Saturday May 3 – 4th Annual Ramp Fest Hudson 2014 at Basilica Hudson.  12pm – 4pm.  Trample.

***

It’s still raining.  I’m just going to keep repeating: April Shower = May Flowers, April Shower = May Flowers, April Shower = May Flowers…

Springing about

photoSurely we’re done with this, right?

I have been hibernating this winter, and have the belly to prove it.  The Professor asked me if I was on sabbatical.  Funny.  A friend who loves all things Italian asked if I had joined the Slow Blogging movement (see: Slow Food).  All right, all right.  I haven’t been writing, but I have been eating. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel a bit this winter to warmer climes, which has meant lots of avocados and Cuban bread and this:

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While it may snow in Hudson this weekend (again), the bleak-looking lawns peeking out from the snow/ice and the light that we have gained with the time change point to SPRING.

I may even go for a walk (no snow shoes required).

But I’ve sworn to myself that I will sit all weekend in my new Modern Farmer pig T-shirt and catch up on reading.  We’ll see how long that resolve lasts.

I wish I had learned about this restaurant a couple of years ago because then maybe I could be eating dinner here this weekend.  Luckily the Indoor Hudson Farmers’ Market will be open Saturday 10am – 1pm so I can stock up on supplies to cook my own meal.

maple buckets

It’s Maple Weekend 2014 this weekend March 22-23 and next, March 29-30.  This is your chance to take a little road trip to visit a sugar house and learn how maple syrup and other products are made.  Some  are little shacks that are a man’s backyard hobby (always a man – why?) and some are 25,000 square foot sophisticated operations.  Somehow, there are no sugar shacks listed in Columbia County, so you will just have to stumble upon our (very) local producers, or again, take a little road trip.  At any rate, it’s a great way to buy your maple syrup directly from the producer.

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CORRECTION:  The Farm at Miller’s Crossing is open today for maple syrup!

The 3rd Annual Hudson Valley Beer & Cheese Festival is happening in Kingston on Sunday March 23 from 1 – 4pm.  In addition to Keegan Ales, our local brewers Crossroads Brewing and Chatham Brewing will be there along with Ommegang.  And there’s cheese!

This weekend I will probably end up just wandering around my backyard, wondering if any of my plants will revive.  We had transplanted a bunch of shade plants last year during our big house project, and they had lived quite happily in a random assortment of pots and sometimes just clumps of dirt in the back yard.  We transplanted them back to the shade spot last fall where they then spent the winter under a foot or two of ice.  That spot really never sees the sun so I’m not sure if the ice will disappear before April.  I wonder if the plants will come back…  I have to check on my garlic as well.  That was the only food thing that I managed to grow last year, and it might be the same this year, although I would love to grow some tomatoes and herbs.  Margaret the Gardener pointed me to a post by Hudson Valley Seed Library, makers of the loveliest seed packets around, about the silver linings of a long hard winter.  It’s good to keep things in perspective.

And if I feel overwhelmed in my garden, I’ve just learned there’s an app to help me figure out what to plant when.  Of course there is.

***

Next week:

I’m not the biggest chocolate fanatic but I do love a good dark chocolate – it just makes everything ok.  And this latest study proves me right! So take care of that gut bacteria at Verdigris next Saturday, March 29 from 5 – 7pm.  The Wine & Chocolate Tasting this month will focus on chocolate from Grenada, which I’m guessing you haven’t tasted before.  I haven’t.

***

Mark your Calendars!

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If you missed the Pierogi and bake sale at St. Michael’s today, your next chance is at the Ukrainian Easter Food Sale on Saturday April 12th, 10am – 2pm.  The Ukrainians need some support right now, no?  But be smart and call ahead to reserve your food or you will leave empty-handed.

The Ramp Festival returns to Hudson for its 4th year on Saturday May 3rd.

The Beer, Bourbon & Bacon Festival appears at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds (Rhinebeck) on Saturday June 21st.  This could be interesting.

***

Happy eating!

Merry Christmas!

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May there be peace.

And cookies.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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May you have a day with friends or family that is filled with abundance (mashed potatoes wouldn’t hurt either).

Such a week!

Some little tragedies…

…The biggest and most devastating one being the fire at Love Apple Farm out on 9H earlier this week.  I was very sorry to learn that the farm stand was destroyed and that they are now closed (early) for the winter.  No farmer can afford to lose 2 weeks of sales!  Hopefully they will be able to recover and rebuild, and we will seem them again next summer.

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That makes my personal tragedy this week seem so petty.

I came home on Thursday night to find a dead mouse in my kitchen.  Yes, this was my personal tragedy –  this former farm girl does NOT do well with mice. As in, I was near hysteria. Cockroaches – fine, spiders – fine. I am not fine with mice.  And it was late at night and there was no one I could disturb at that hour to remove the thing. Luckily the next morning the cavalry came, and I worked all day to “re-claim” my kitchen space.  While several people in Hudson now know one of my serious issues and think I’m a lunatic, I survived.

Having my favorite breakfast helped too.

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The next little tragedy of the week?  No pierogies!

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We were talking just this morning about the pierogi sale we had stumbled upon, quite happily, last winter and so today I wandered – and lo and behold I found this sign.  However, only those smart enough to pre-order were getting food since at that point they were pretty much sold out.  The next sale will be at Easter; mark your calendars!

This little bump in the road (as far as my weekend eating is concerned) was balanced out by my fabulous finds at the latest Trash & Treasure sale at St. Mary’s, which continues on today and tomorrow.  I often find a little this or that at the sales, and usually (if my wallet is lucky) it’s only a game being sold for 50 cents.  Today, however, I acquired a new Pyrex pie dish for $1 and this lovely new cookbook for only $2!

Image 2Everyone can use this kind of positive affirmation.

***

On to the real purpose of the moment: cooking and eating, of course!

This morning was the final outdoor market of the season for the Hudson Farmers’ Market.  The sun was gorgeous but that wind was cutting, no?  I shopped for the upcoming week which will include an entire meal consisting of latkes (Thanksgivukkah!), a huge Thanksgiving meal with friends as well as lots of baking and comfort food.  I think I bought a little of everything.  I was in denial of the changing of the season for so long, and now I’m embracing it with lots of potatoes, squash, kale, apples, etc.

***

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This weekend is dedicated to making pie crusts and testing new recipes for nibbles and all sorts of scandalous treats.  Last night, as part of my “re-claiming”, I tried a new recipe for Whiskey Pecan Caramel Corn – it’s a keeper.  A couple of notes in case you decided that you also need this treat and you haven’t made lots of caramel corn in the past.  1. The caramel really needs to get to 300 degrees, which is hard-crack stage.  You have to be brave and know that while the caramel at the edges is quickly becoming very dark brown and you’re thinking you will have burnt nothingness, if you take it off the heat as soon as it reaches 300 degrees you’ll be fine.  2. Rather than use 2 baking pans, I prefer to use a huge roasting pan (so big that it never fit in my NYC oven…).  My pan has 2-3 inch sides which makes it much easier to turn the caramel corn as you bake it.  And finally, 3.  When you take it out of the oven, keep stirring!  Stir the caramel corn every couple of minutes as it cools as you can break it into smaller clumps more easily this way.  You could always let it cool as a big clump and then break it up, but you would have naked non-caramel-covered popcorn bits, and who wants that?

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Thinking ahead…

farm and flea

Next weekend there is no farmers’ market – they are taking a (well-deserved!) one-weekend break  and opening up again indoors at the church on Union and North 4th December 7th.  But we have a new gathering this one weekend only: Basilica Farm & Flea.  It promises to be big and fun. You will need to walk off all those latkes and turkey sandwiches, and why not do it while supporting more of our local area producers?  I’m hoping to find delectable food things, and maybe even a Christmas present for Mom.

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And then that brings us to Winter Walk 2013 on Saturday December 7th from 5pm – 8pm .  Winter Walk is always lovely and festive, and crowded, and usually the coldest day of the year.  Bundle up, and make sure you don’t miss the eggnog challenge.

Good grief, that means it’s winter.

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Happy cooking and eating as we celebrate the festival of lights and the feast of abundance. Enjoy!

how quickly things change

We had a beautiful full harvest moon on Wednesday.  Which means harvest (duh) and that means it’s fall.  I love this time of year!

I’m still busy eating salads with the amazing produce we have available at our market.  One day our salad was sliced heirloom tomatoes, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper and topped with a lovely burrata (from Vermont, and purchased at Samascott’s Garden Market).  Milky cheese and tomatoes – perfect on a hot sunny day.

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Have you tried the smoked trout available at the Hudson Farmers’ Market?
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I love it!  I’ve used it to make Smoked Trout dip which is rich and creamy and very more-ish.  Local Valatie gardener/man of taste Kevin Lee Jacobs from A Garden for the House suggests a similar sounding Smoked Trout on Toast.  Both of these dishes are great for a chilly evening.  But one of my favorite uses so far has been in a smoked trout salad.  It is simple, allowing all the ingredients to just taste delicious, using a recipe like this.

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As I do at this time every year, I am avoiding winter squashes and roasting roots and potatoes.  And I have yet to buy apples.  We have soooooo much time for that, and it’s right around the corner.  So eat your plums and nectarines and tomatoes before we bid adieu for another season.

***

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Are you going to Olanafest?  It’s happening tonight, September 21st from 5 – 7pm: a celebration of food, art and farming.  I think we are getting the schmancy kind of fancy up here, don’t you?

eat the farm

If you really want to taste farm to table, more than what is available at so many of the restaurants in Hudson,  you should look into Eat the Farm #2 next month.  It’s at the farm.  Chef Hugh Horner of Restaurant Helsinki cooks a meal entirely from the offerings of Holmquest Farms on Spook Rock Road.  The first one sold out in July; the October 10th happening will likely be the last for the season.  You can’t get more local than that.

But just when I think that there will be no more food events for the season in our area, along comes Basilica Hudson.

farm and fleaBasilica Farm & Flea is happening over Thanksgiving weekend, and they promise FOOD, vintage, art, design, culture.  I think this will be worth a look-see.

***

Autumnal Equinox is tomorrow.  So, enough with the distractions – go back to your cooking and your gardening.  There is so much to do this time of year, and so much to eat!  Put away some ratatouille, and tomato sauce and maybe a fruit jam or two.  You’ll thank yourself later.

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