Archive for May, 2012

vegetables of the moment, green and red

I am gorging myself at the moment on spinach and rhubarb.  The Eger Bros. farmstand at the corner of 9 and 23 and 31 always starts off the season with self-service spinach.  It’s the honor system so bring singles and of course, honesty.

I haven’t felt the need to get particularly creative with the bags of spinach I’ve been buying each week.  Nothing makes me happier than to saute a huge pile of spinach with a load of garlic and heap on top of creamy cheesy polenta (Wild Hive polenta, ideally).  I’ve also made enchiladas with lots of cooked down spinach (if you try the enchiladas with raw spinach they will get very watery.  Trust me.).  I needed something different today and since I started my long weekend early (yea!), I had the time to cook lunch.

We had spinach and eggs and some random cheeses.  Frittata!   I dug around until I found this recipe for Spinach Frittata (for 1) by Martha Stewart.  Unlike many of her baking recipes, it does not require an assistant.  And, I love that the recipe is for one – it’s so difficult to find those and it’s easy enough to double if there are two of you.  This recipe is easy and quick and it was delicious.  A keeper.

*Remember to always clean your spinach in at least two changes of water (float the spinach in a huge bowl of water for 10-15 minutes, lift the spinach out and rest it in a colander, dump the water (and dirt), rinse the bowl and repeat).

The other vegetable I’ve been a bit obsessed with lately is rhubarb.  Why?  Because it makes some awesome desserts.

Every year I make a couple of jars of rhubarb compote.  A large spoonful or so is great on vanilla ice cream or plain greek yogurt.  A couple of weekends ago I was feeling rather British so I made a Rhubarb Fool.  Whip up some cream into stiff peaks and add rhubarb compote to taste.  It’s a fabulous excuse to eat a bowl of whipped cream (but call it a light, seasonal dessert).

Rhubarb Compote (I think this is from City Cook, several years ago…)

6 cups rhubarb cut into ½-inch slices
1 ½ cup sugar (I usually use less)
Optional: 1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest

  1. In a non-reactive, large saucepan off the heat, combine the rhubarb pieces with the sugar and toss or stir to combine. While still off the heat, let the pan sit for about 15 minutes until the rhubarb begins to throw off liquid. Stir occasionally to help the rhubarb become wet.
  2. When the pan has developed some sugary rhubarb juice, place the pan on a medium-low heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the fruit becomes soft and falls apart, forming a jam-like consistency. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and transfer the compote to a bowl. Let cool.

The compote can be used either warm or cold. It can be made in advance and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days (note: I keep mine longer and it hasn’t killed me yet).

Tip: For a more complex flavor you can add a tablespoon or two of ruby port or two teaspoons of an orange-flavored liquor such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau. Use less liqueur than port because the flavors are more concentrated.

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I also tried Rhubarb Sorbet this year – but the verdict is still out.  The suggestion in the recipe is to add corn syrup to give a creamier texture, but it was a really odd texture.  Try it with less or leave out the corn syrup altogether.

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Finally, while I’m not the hugest coffee cake fan, I will eat this one any day of the week. The Rhubarb ‘Big Crumb’ Coffee Cake is just that good.  Rhubarb + crumb = yum.

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Spinach we’ll have for awhile but the Hudson Farmers’ market newsletter tells us that we won’t have rhubarb much longer.  I may follow their suggestion and freeze some for later!

so many options…

When we talk about food in Hudson I tend to think immediately of farm-to-tableslashlocalslashseasonal etc. etc.  But, in the half dozen years that I’ve been eating in Hudson, our options have grown exponentially, giving us so many places to buy our food when cooking or to eat out when we’re lazy (or starving NOW).  We’ve had delicious Italian, yummy American, Mexican, Chinese and even Japanese options, but that’s just not enough anymore.  Our little town might be proof that the more choices there are, the more eaters we will attract.

Build it and they will come?

I tend to look for quick options for lunches, and I don’t often like to eat the same thing twice, and I don’t have the time or the budget to sit and dine.  There are choices for all palates and all price points in Hudson – and I have to say that I especially love all the cultures that are represented – and many of them are not expensive.  I’ve been checking out little storefronts, trucks and carts for some of the newest options in town.  But first, new on the groceries front: 

Hannaford is opening up in Livingston this weekend.  They don’t show up on the store locator yet so go to Bell’s Pond, near the intersection of 9 and 23 and 82.  It’s out of town but I’m a sucker for a brand new grocery store.

Closer to home, Acres Co-op Market just announced last week that they have a home on the 200 block of Warren.  Happily they will have bike racks which is a good thing for those of us who might be a little too lazy to walk.  Acres is shooting for a summer 2012 opening so if you’re a member, they need your help.

Now to our dining options:

Brazilian:

Ponto Brasil is the food cart  that popped up on the 500 block of Warren Street but now has settled into the garden behind the lovely Lili & Loo at 3rd and Warren during the day and in front of Spotty Dog some evenings.  I like to think of him as “Steve Brazil”,  and while I haven’t yet tried the cheese bread, the feijoada was a yummy full meal deal.  Sam Pratt is following the politics that are following this cart.

Indian food:

Saffron Indian Food is no longer here (it’s at the Chatham Co-op) but we still have options.

You can find veggie samosas at Kennedy Fried Chicken on Warren Street (300 block) and they’re not bad.

It used to be Sohan’s Food Market and now it’s Nazma – a normal (dodgy-looking) corner deli at North 3rd and State Streets, but if you go all the way to the back there’s basmati rice, all sorts of spices, many in bulk, and bhel poori – use these along with in-season veggies to create a great Indian recipe at home.

And the newest  and probably classiest addition to our Indian food choices opened up just recently, The Chai Shop at Lillie K Traders (400 block of Warren):

Jamaican:

Winnie’s is back with their truck serving Jamaican food, Tuesday through Fridays (depending on their festival schedule) on upper State Street near the old train depot.  Like them on Facebook to keep up with their schedule.  Two of us split a jerk fish platter + plantains and my half looked like this:

Or when Winnie’s isn’t open, try Taste of Caribbean (on Columbia & Green):

Don’t forget about West Indies Natural Food & Grocery (200 block of Warren) for food supplies:

And:

3FortySeven Warren is going to morph into an outdoor eating emporium (“bar and food garden”) and there’s a rumor that there will be a Thai/noodle truck???  Follow 3FortySeven on Facebook to stay up to date with plans.  In the meantime  at this location we have the first food cart of Hudson, Tortillaville – it’s always good.  And surely you’ve tried Truck Pizza?

Hudson will be destination dining.  I have a feeling that The Crimson Sparrow will open first – I’m excited about that debut.  Then there’s the news that Zak Pelaccio is opening a restaurant in our little town of Hudson.  What kind of combination of Malaysian/barbecue/? will we get???

Be still my little cosmopolitan eating /beating heart.

ramped-up

…and ready for a nap.

A food coma nap, that is.  After making several rounds of the Ramp Festival, because sometimes I had to try something 2 or 3 times to make sure I liked it,  we come away sated.

We started out with a shot of Hudson Rye whiskey and ramp pickle back from Zak Pelaccio + Lady Jayne.  Ended with that too.  They had a killer spit-roasted lamb/pickled ramp/sheep’s milk yogurt dish as well.

Loved the beer-battered fried oysters with pickled ramp remoulade from The Red Onion in Woodstock.

Same with the offerings from Loaf: Brioche lardon toast points with farmers cheese & ramp jelly, beer-battered whole ramps with malt vinegar & coarse sea salt, smoked pork jowl confit with dandelions & ramps, and the grilled ramp & potato crostini.

There was delicious seafood from Another Fork in the Road in Milan.

Hundred Acres in NYC brought these lovely little ramp & Carolina rice custard with ramp pesto concoctions.  Their table soon looked like this:

Truck Pizza had an amazing white cheddar grits, ricotta, leeks, ramps & lemon pizza.  The line prevented me from having more than one piece…

Panzur in Tivoli served pig belly bocadillos – onion seed brioche, ramp mustard, pickled ramp, carmelized onion gastrique.

Swoon Kitchen Bar served juicy chicken ramp meatballs along with these grilled ramp leaves & romesco sauce.

Da|Ba offered precious spoonfuls of ramp lime sorbet.  More please!

Miss Lucy’s Kitchen in Saugerties had a great ramp pancake with ramp kimchi and pulled pork.

Another incredible offering was from The Farmer’s Wife in Ancramdale: slow-roasted beef brisket, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms & ramp salsa verde on baguette.  This got the blue ribbon from my OH.

The musicians kept the kids dancing…

and Red Bull & beer kept the chefs (and the crowd) going.  I’m afraid I might have missed someone – sorry!

I was a terrible vegetarian today.

Bravo chefs!

it’s that time

Hudson Farmers’ Market opens Saturday May 5th, 9am – 1pm and runs Saturdays through November.

Like them on Facebook or sign up for their emails to learn more about vendors, or even better, what’s coming to market.

This is one happy food muse!  :)  I’m excited about rhubarb.  Are you?

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