Archive for March, 2009

a big step back

applebees

a new eating establishment opened up in the Hudson/Greenport area this week… Applebees.  I drove by earlier after checking out the new co-op in Chatham and the status of various farmstands – and the parking lot at Applebees was packed

sigh.

baking again…

peanut butter with chocolate stripes

peanut butter with chocolate stripes

oatmeal cranberry

oatmeal cranberry

poppyseed with blackberry jam

poppyseed with blackberry jam

a visit to a sugar shack – the sap is running!

 

maple-syrup-0061

50 gallons of maple sap go into 1 gallon of maple syrup.  That’s my factoid of the day.  Three of us went on an adventure in the Catskills today to find a sugar shack and learn the process of making maple syrup.  We were lucky enough to find Oliverea Maple – and I say lucky because our maple syrup man used to be a science teacher and  was pretty good at explaining things.  I drove right by the place first, since there are tubes attached to all the maple trees, and the place is tiny:

maple-syrup-0011

 

A forest of tubes is a little weird.  Except when you compare it to the effort of emptying each tree’s bucket once a day during season, then it makes sense.  The sap is collected, put through a reverse osmosis thingy to clean it up, then boiled down into syrup.  Maple syrup man said he started as a hobbyist in the house, but then it sounds like his wife bought him his first equipment to work outside in the shack (take it outside, honey). The batch today was super dark, which in NY State is not known as Grade B but is instead labeled Grade A Dark Amber:

maple-syrup-0041

 

This was our beautiful maple shot – no dipping in of fingers but drinking it straight down.  Yummy!  As you might imagine, I now own 1000 mililiters of beautiful dark amber maple syrup.

maple-syrup-0171

first day of spring! and a big step forward

Spring is here!  Nevermind that it’s snowing…

On Sunday I had watched the 60 Minutes interview with Alice Waters and the ever timely local site The 12534 posted it earlier this week.  I’m not sure why she is called the mother of Slow Food – what about Carlo Petrini who started the movement in Italy in the late 1980′s??? - although she has been the force in the US.  Regardless.  I recently finished the book Alice Waters and Chez Panisse on her history and her attempts, starting with the Clinton administration, to get the White House to plant an organic garden to help send the message that we need to eat clean food now.  I believe the Clintons planted a garden on the roof – but Ms. Waters wants it visible to the public.  I heard on NPR this morning that Michelle Obama is breaking ground on the South Lawn - a giant step for organic gardening.  You can also read about it in the NY Times.

Now if I could only get it together to break ground on my little garden…

finally

apple-cider-donuts4

I am obsessed.

It started with the simple Sugar Rush posting on Serious Eats NY: apple cider donuts.  Yes, I usually think about these glorious cake donuts with the cinnamon sugar coating in the fall when the air is starting to get crisp and apples are our (only) fruit of choice.  The farmers start selling hot apple cider and if you’re lucky, the donuts.  I’ve been commenting for the past couple of years that while we have many apples available at the Hudson Farmers Market in the fall there are no donuts.  For that, you have to travel to the Kinderhook.  Or maybe Rhinebeck.

But, the posting mentioned that Migliorelli Farm, located in nearby Tivoli with seasonal farm stands in Red Hook and near the Kingston Bridge, had the best tasting ones at the Union Square Farmers Market in NYC.  I’m in NYC at the moment and went 3 times (!) but no donuts.  Sold out.

The fourth time was the charm.

So forget all the pining for the first foods of spring.  Think instead: Mmmm, donuts…

This weekend the obsession will be maple syrup, since it is Maple Syrup weekend in NY State.  I’m hoping to come away with some (Grade B) syrup if not some candy or other goodies.

I’m going to need to exercise off all these obsessions.  sigh.

perhaps we need silliness instead

comfort

chocolate-from-oaxaca

Chocolate from Oaxaca

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

 

It was a very Monday-ish Monday and we needed comfort food.  After a lentil soup with kale that was more like kale with lentils (my OH called it hot salad), we had Mexican chocolate ice cream. Yum!  A good friend who is very understanding of my food obsession had brought me chocolate from her trip to Oaxaca.  I managed to chop it up without losing any fingers, then melted it down with cream and milk and eggs and into the freezer it went.  I love my ice cream machine.

 I’ve also been baking away my troubles lately: brownie love, black sesame peanut butter cookies, ginger goodies both chewy and crisp, and chocolate covered almonds.   

brownie love

brownie love

I’m not sure what’s next, or how to not eat all of these…

Slowly crawling toward spring…

kitchen-garden

“Think Spring” signs and other such hopeful notices have been popping up, and the “spring forward” time change yesterday as well as temperatures in the 60s help as well.  But I’m still only dreaming of gardening… My little herb garden that usually lives in pots on my back porch has been wintering on the kitchen counter and except for the basil the survival rate has been great.   The parsley plant above is a transplant from the garden last fall, after being chomped down to the stalks by Chuck the Woodchuck twice and then living through a couple of frosts.  It has now also survived my indoor gardening.

Since I don’t dare start gardening yet (there isn’t a lot of prep to do with my tiny plot), I went for a drive to check out the return of our one and only health food store in Hudson, closed for the past 1+ years after a fire.  Kaaterskill Farms Health Food Store  is back and expanded but I have a feeling it’s not quite done yet.  The bulk food section is probably my favorite part with all sorts of things I can’t find in the grocery stores - and hopefully they will expand the selection of local foods.  Welcome back!

Also while wandering, I found the building across from the train station is mid-renovation.  I think this might be the coffee roastery I’ve heard rumor of -  I spied one coffee roasting maching in the back.  A local coffee producer would be a great addition to the area as well as for my taste buds.

Until it’s open, I will have to continue to dream of gardening and farmers markets and other things yummy.

a first hint of spring

The first sign of spring for me is the self-serve spinach at the Egers farmstand.  I gorge on spinach for weeks.  March has just begun so I am trying to not get spring fever yet - especially since we’ve gotten a fresh pile of snow today.

But.  I got an email update, the first in months, from the Hudson Farmers Market about their opening on May 9th.  The best way to stay up to date is to sign up for emails at www.hudsonfarmersmarketny.com

maple-diy-1

In the meantime, winter is not quite over and there are two Maple Weekends later this month.  The website www.mapleweekend.com lists no producers in Columbia or Greene Counties, and only one in Dutchess and one in Rensselaer Counties.  A roadtrip in pursuit of sugar.

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