Archive for July, 2011

still feeling kinda artsy?

NADA blew in and out of town this past weekend – a harbinger of good changes to come for our little town of Hudson.

Caren Alpert, Terra Cibus No.1, Blueberry, 19x Magnification

I’m partial to photography myself, and I find these works by Caren Alpert to be amazing.  Did you see any blueberries like this at the Austerlitz Blueberry Festival today?  Personally, I would love a blow-up of Table Salt on my wall:

Caren Alpert, Terra Cibus No.5, Table Salt, 45x Magnification

And I think Ms. Alpert makes a sun-dried tomato look like the fiery gates of hell, no?  Rather Dante’s Inferno and gorgeous.

Caren Alpert, Terra Cibus No.35, Sun-Dried Tomato 3, 250x Magnification

do you have a favorite farmstand?

Mine happens to be the one that we pass each time we drive into Hudson: Eger Bros. Farms.

Eger Bros. starts the season by putting out self-service spinach as we are thawing out from winter.  For me it’s always a sign of hope – the first sign that there will be fresh veggies again.

So what am I cooking right now?

I started with a cucumber gimlet.   I like to make my own gin (no, I don’t have a still in my shack – it’s kitchen gin) but we rarely get beyond G & Ts.  Because they’re easy and tasty.  And easy.  Finding cucumbers reminded me of a post that I’d seen on cucumber gimlet.  Why how light and refreshing!  Recipe for cucumber gimlet here.

Beets make me want roasted beet salad.  There’s nothing simpler or yummier to eat on hot days.  The only challenge is when to roast the beets in the summer.  I have to be judicious in when I turn on the oven this time of year.  I find it works best to roast the beets first thing in the morning, with the fan on to suck the heat out of the house as much as possible.  Once they are roasted they are easy-peasy to work with – just slip off the skin and cut into wedges.  You could fake it of course, but the following is my favorite recipe, from the Gourmet Cookbook.

Roasted Beet Salad

  • 1 bunch beets (1 1/4 pounds with greens or 3/4 pound without), trimmed
  • 1/4 c sliced almonds
  • 3 T olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 T minced shallot
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1 large Asian pear (to be honest, I always skip the pear)
  • 3 oz baby arugula (you want greens with an edge, not just leaf lettuce)

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Tightly wrap beets in double layers of foil, making two packages.  Roast on a baking sheet until tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.  Cool until warm in foil packages (the steam makes beets easier to peel), about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook almonds in oil in a small skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden. (Do NOT multitask during this step). Cool almonds in oil (nuts will darken as they cool). With a slotted spoon, transfer almonds to a small bowl, and season with salt.

Stir together shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, 1/2 t salt, and oil from almonds in a large bowl.

Slip skins from beets and halve large beets. Cut beets into 1/4 inch thick slices. Add to dressing, tossing to coat.

If using: Quarter and core pear.  Cut crosswise into matchsticks.

Arrange beets on a platter and drizzle with any dressing remaining in bowl.  Top with arugula (and pear if using), then sprinkle with almonds.

Yum!

***

We had cherries, inhaling the first half straight out of the container then using the other half for one of my favorite easy dessert dishes in the summer: clafouti. If you haven’t made a clafouti before, try it this second if you can still find sour cherries. Or use regular cherries.  And I don’t bother to pit the cherries – just make sure to remind people!  No one needs an emergency trip to the dentist.

up close & personal with a clafouti

Cherry Clafouti (from The Gourmet Cookbook)

  • 1 1/4 pounds fresh (sour) cherries
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 T granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk (I use whatever milk I  have in the house)
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 T kirsch (I never managed to have this so cassis has been interesting)
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/8 t almond extract

Put rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a shallow 2 quart baking dish.

Toss cherries with 1 tablespoon sugar and spread evenly in baking dish.

Combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, butter, kirsch, extracts and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a blender and blend until smooth (or whisk furiously). Pour batter over cherries.

Bake clafouti until puffed and golden, 35 to 45 minutes.

Cool slightly on a rack (clafouti will sink as it cools) and serve warm, dusted with confectioner’s sugar if  you like.

Bon Appetit!

***

So we had red currants left.  Boy, those things are so sour!

I dug around for a recipe but there aren’t a lot for fresh currants – I obviously do not have enough UK cookbooks.  I was going to try a clafouti, but then had an inspiration when I read someone’s comment that  cooked currants are like candy.  I made a currant crisp.

Red currents are still sour once cooked, but less so.  I hacked together a simple crisp – rolled oats, brown sugar, wheat flour, salt and butter.  Use a favorite recipe for a crisp, although I recommend adding oats AND nuts if the recipe doesn’t call for them.  Great for dessert, but also very nice with yogurt in the morning.  Yummy!

What do you create from your favorite farmstand?

friends of the farmer unite!

I saw a bumper sticker yesterday, not new but still true: No Farms, No Food.

In the true spirit of farm to table there are two Farm On! events on July 30, 2011 – the Friends of the Farmer Festival and the Taste of Hudson Valley Bounty dinner.  Both events are happening at the Copake  Country Club – tickets can be bought separately or for both events online.  After tax profits from the festival will benefit the Friends of the Farmer Scholarship for students to continue studies in agricultural science.

If you’re really just in the mood to drink, head on over to New Paltz for the Bounty of the Hudson Wine Festival, also on the 30th.

Hmmm…  Hudson – bounty – festival – love the food & drink theme!

hot enough for you?

The menu today is blueberries (picked this morning at Greig Farm) and vanilla ice cream. 

This is the easiest possible ice cream you could make, because it’s not a proper ice cream, more like a simple gelato.  I would have make it last night only I came home to find some guests had used the ice cream bowl in the freezer as an ice bowl which had melted into a solid rock – rendering the bowl useless last night.  My OH took me to Lick for dinner last night ( yes, dinner) before I had a true heat-induced meltdown.

Basic Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 1 cup whole milk, well chilled (I never have whole milk around, so I use what I have)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, to taste (I only use 1 teaspoon)

In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer or a whisk to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1-2 minutes.  Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla to taste.  Turn ice cream machine on, pour mixture into freezer bowl through ingredient spout and let mix until thickened, about 25-30 minutes (longer in heat wave weather).

national ice cream day – today

image courtesy of all4myspace.com

What a lovely day to celebrate.  If you do not make your own ice cream (although an ice cream maker is the best $50 you could spend), we have Lick, serving Jane’s ice cream, located at 253 Warren Street. Go now.

out and about

In case you need an excuse to get away from your garden, or from Warren Street eating…

Coming up rapidly is a benefit dinner in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, “celebrating local farms and community”.  Cocktails and music followed by dinner in the fields.  The dinner is Saturday July 16 starting at 5pm.  Tickets are $125/person. For tickets go to farmtotableinthefields.eventbrite.com or call 518.758.2170 for more details.

Come back to  Hudson for a moment for the Acres Co-op Market community meeting on Wednesday, July 20 at 6:30 pm at Christ Church Episcopal, 431 Union Street, Hudson, NY.  Find out what’s going on, offer your input! ***UPDATE: meeting has been postponed.***

Every year on Tivoli Yard Sale Day (last Saturday of July), Tivoli Bread & Baking Co. sponsors the Annual Tivoli Pie Contest. Check at the bakery for a signup sheet. It’s a no-canned-fruit-filling sorta pie contest.  After the winner is announced you can use your plastic fork and dig in.  It’s a small town mob scene – get there at noon…  Tivoli Bread & Baking is at 75 Broadway. 845.757.2253.

BeerFEST – 5th Anniversary!  August 6, 2011 from 2pm-8pm at the Dinsmore Golf course in Staatsburg.

Tickets  available at Terrapin Restaurant (6426 Montgomery Street, Rhinebeck, NY) or by calling 845-876-3330. Advance ticket prices are $35/person or $19/designated driver (no beer tasting included); day-of tickets will cost more and will be based on availability.  There will be 100+ beers from NY State brewers.  Count. me. in. 

County Fair time is coming up quick!  These are the largest in the area:

Ulster County Fair - August 2-7, 2011 – New Paltz, NY

Dutchess County Fair – August 23-28, 2011 – Rhinebeck NY

Columbia County Fair – August 31- September 5, 2011 – Chatham NY

What happened to the lazy days of summer?

we’re not in Kansas anymore…

There are so many eating decisions to make these days!  We never used to have such choices.

Italian Market + Deli – do you not love the simplicity and obviousness of the name?  I need to peruse the offerings further, but it seems simply like an old school Italian store as you can easily get used to in NYC (I still love Raffetto’s on West Houston)… Italian Market + Deli is holding down a corner of the 7th Street Park – yet another improvement for that area, and it leads one right to Vasilow’s

Bruno’s has opened up on the 200 block of Warren – more falafel!  Can you believe we have falafel choices in Hudson???  As a friend said, all we need now is a Dojo’s and life upstate will be complete.

What about American Glory opening up a truck at 5th and Warren?  I didn’t see that one coming.  I think we have room for all of these businesses in town, love food trucks and I’m all about tasty and not sooo expensive lunch options but maybe the sign could be a little classier?  (Really? Duct tape?)

Hmmm…

And finally, there’s the jerk truck at State and 7th-ish.  I haven’t been able to get there when they’re open so this photo is courtesy of my OH – I want to see what kind of operation they have in this huge truck!  One of the signs on the truck says “Eat Fish, Live Longer” or something along those lines so I figure they must be good.

HA.

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