Posts Tagged ‘food’

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.

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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.

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

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.

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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.

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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.

trying to unitask

I’m currently making my way through Michael Pollan’s latest book, Cooked, as he explores the 4 basic elements (fire, water, air, earth) that humans utilize when cooking in order to nourish themselves.  I find myself particularly inspired by something he says toward the end of the water section:

“…the opportunity to work with my hands – with all my senses, in fact – is always a welcome change of pace, whether in the kitchen or in the garden.  There’s something about such work that seems to alter the experience of time, helps me to reoccupy the present tense.  I don’t want you to get the idea it’s made a Buddhist of me, but in the kitchen, maybe a little bit.  When stirring the pot, just stir the pot…. Unitasking.”

How very Ram Dass.

But it spoke to me because my head was still spinning from yesterday’s conference call where I was trying to talk about the importance of social media to engage (my work) community, only to be told several times that this or that was against policy, and that I couldn’t use images or connect with certain people and there’s this policy, etc.  When I finally suggested that it would be more helpful to tell me what I could do, I got my own words spun back at me, but nothing more.  Essentially, I was speaking to people who do not exist in our current social society.

Which made this Dilbert cartoon that a colleague had given me several years ago resonate even more – even though my name isn’t Beth, and the person who kept telling me everything was against policy is named Beth…

I digress.

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2a8955900cca11e3855722000aa800e1_7I decided to practice being present by baking, which is always good for my soul.  I wanted to try a recipe for chocolate zucchini bread – as I’ve been intrigued by the combination since I found Clotilde and her blog, Chocolate & Zucchini.  Just try to look at her site and not get sucked in for hours dreaming of future meals…  But this recipe did not come from Clotilde but instead from (gasp) Better Homes & Gardens.  Yet another sign that I’m becoming old.

b029e4ce0ccc11e3a39822000a9e0344_7And so I measured and chopped and shredded and mixed.   Everything went according to plan (meaning, according to the recipe) and out of the oven came 3 gorgeous little loaves.  And then I went to melt the chocolate to drizzle on top of the loaves.  I was obviously no longer present, as I put chocolate in a pan, over high heat, and left the room.

I worked all afternoon to get the smell of burnt chocolate out of the house.

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Inspired by the idea of going to Hudson Food Studio tonight, but then too lazy to go, I decided it had to be summer rolls for dinner.

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they did not actually look this green in real life

I’ve decided the whole purpose of summer rolls is really just to serve as a conveyance for peanut sauce.  Yum. There are a million recipes out there (I seem to have half of them on one of my Pinterest boards) but I used this recipe as a loose (very loose) guideline.  I used tamari in my peanut sauce because that’s what I had, but I would suggest using a low sodium soy sauce instead.  I thought I wouldn’t be able to find rice paper in our little town, but Olde Hudson has that as well as a number of other Asian cooking necessities.  And you can find all the vegetables you need at the Hudson Farmers’ Market.  Or, you could just go to Hudson Food Studio and have a tasty meal prepared by someone else.

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I’m not sure that I’m feeling any more centered.  I may have to try more baking tomorrow.

eating elsewhere

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the rooftops of Jerusalem

I was out of town for a couple of weeks, and as usual, eating. While we went to some gorgeous places for dinners, the lunches were my favorite.

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a spread at a restaurant in the Muslim quarter

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fish at a restaurant in Jaffa

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I always love dessert

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goats milk yogurt and cheeses at Nataf, in the hills outside of Jerusalem

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falafel with pesto and goat cheese

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eggplant and garlic pizza in Tivron, north of Haifa

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borekas

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more borekas, and some turkish delight

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The Levinski market in Tel Aviv on Fridays was fantastic

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dried fruit

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favorite garenim: sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

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spices

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more nuts and seeds

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a corner shop at the Levinski Market

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We definitely should have spent more time here…

As beautiful as all of this was, I am happy to be back in my kitchen again.  What are you cooking these days?

reading and eating

Officially it’s Spring but it’s still cold outside, and I haven’t seen the self-serve spinach stand pop up at Eger Brothers (corner of 23rd/9/10 just outside of Hudson).  However, it feels like things are really heating up, at least online.

This weekend the thing to do is go to Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar for their latest chocolate tasting – and this is a chocolate and chocolate tea tasting!  Hmmm….  curious.  The tasting is Saturday 3/30 at 5pm at Verdigris, 135 Warren Street.  Call ahead, just in case – I would hate to steer you wrong.

If you haven’t yet bought your Easter candy, head now to Vasilow’s Confectionery, who recently had a nice feature in the Daily Freeman.  I’m always torn between the malt balls and the great variety of licorice…

Haven’t you been curious about Verdigris’ former space at South 3rd?  Michael Davis of 3FortySeven gives us the scoop on what’s been happening inside the future Fish & Game.

And while Zak Pelaccio and Lady Jayne are working out the details on Fish & Game restaurant, he wrote a great guide to eating and doing in Hudson.

The Crimson Sparrow has gotten a couple of great mentions lately, in the Times Union and in Chronogram.  And they’re involved in a friendly face-off with Berkshire chefs in the ChefX Dinners, happening April 7 at Crimson Sparrow with Berkshire chefs, and April 29 in Great Barrington featuring Hudson restuarants The Crimson Sparrow, Helsinki Hudson, Grazin Diner, Swoon Kitchenbar and Local 111 (from Philmont and YAY for a female chef!!!).

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I’ve eaten my matzo brie and matzo crack, and it’s about time for hot cross buns and way too much Easter candy…

Maple Weekend(s) 2013

maple bucket

Woo-hoo!  It’s maple syrup season again and it is time to stock up on my year’s supply of maple syrup…

We have not one, but TWO weekends to visit area sugar shacks and buy way too much maple syrup.  As the owner of a gallon, I can talk.  Get into your car either March 16-17 or March 23-24 and head out to learn more about maple syrup production and buy direct from the producer.  Information can be found about the NY State Maple Weekends online and on Facebook, but you’ll have to dig a bit to find producers in Columbia County.  They’re here, just not on the list.

Be sure to check out Black Berry Hill Farm out in the Bell’s Pond area (call first please!).

And the Register-Star recently highlighted the production by a Hudson Farmers’ Market favorite Farm at Millers Crossing.

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And then what?

Sometimes I boil a couple of brand-new empty bottles (I like ones that looks like flasks) and then fill them with liquid love to share.  People in warmer climes are appreciative.  However, you know me – I like to eat.

I can recommend the healthy Maple Scones for breakfast or tea.  They’re almost savory, and a co-worker suggested that a glass of bourbon might complement them well.  My thoughts exactly.  I can also strongly recommend this Maple Parsnip cake.  You need to buy almond meal, but between that and the parnips practically melting in the cake, it’s almost better than carrot cake – no cream cheese frosting required.  I served it with whipped cream slightly sweetened with a bit of maple syrup.  Of course.  Olive Oil granola is also a great favorite, as the sweetener is – you guessed it – maple syrup.

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You know what else goes with maple syrup?  BACON.  Have you tried the bacon from Swoon available at Lick the Market?  Good grief, get yourself down there (253 Warren, Friday/Saturday/Sunday) and buy some Swoon Bacon.  Then cook all of it.  And eat.  Don’t even try to save any for later… (Er, no picture available because we ate it all).

still hibernating…

I have a mild cold this cold weekend, so I’ve stayed home with my box of kleenix, catching up on reading when I’m not napping.

Or planning what I’m up to next.

occupy farm

Next weekend, the 2nd Farming our Future gathering is happening at Taconic Hills High School on Saturday, 2/23/2013 from 9am – 4:30pm.  I went last year.  This is a good community of local people talking about food.  And we must keep talking.

Chef Hugh Horner (The Restaurant at Helsinki) will host his next Eat Food or Die podcast rescheduled for Monday 2/25 at 2:00pm.  This month he will be talking about Hudson Valley farms and the food community – how timely!  If you can’t catch it live, go to WGXC.org for replay.

Want to support WGXC but feel you have no money to give?  Every Monday is Macchiato Monday at Swallow Espresso & Coffee.  Donate at least $3 to WGXC at Swallow on a Monday *in the month of February and get a free macchiato.  Caffeination and crazy community radio – it’s win-win!

Not local but still pertinent: have you kept up on the case of the 75 year old farmer against Monsanto regarding the ownership of seed?  It’s reaching the Supreme Court this season – you can catch up on details here.  While the case started with soybeans, it will have far-reaching consequences for our whole food chain.

Hopefully by March I will be willing to spend more than mere minutes outside.  Maple Syrup weekend(s) are coming up this year March 16-17 and March 23-24, 2013.  We have no producers in Columbia County willing to open up to the public (in a way, I don’t blame them) although I’ve seen the tell-tale tubing in the forests in the Ancram area.  Maple Syrup Road-trip!

In the meantime, I’m staying warmly inside.  This morning I made popovers – nothing like eggy bread with butter and very strong coffee on a cold winter morning.

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this and that

I am seriously in hibernation mode these days.  I go to work,  I come home, I intend to read, I cook comfort food and I eat.

chocolate bar

If you are getting out of the house today (Saturday 2/9), head down to Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar at 5pm.  From there you’ll walk to the Christopher Norman Chocolate Factory for a tour, then back to Verdigris for a wine and chocolate tasting.  Chocolate and wine = comfort food.

* Sadly the tour was cancelled…

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tedx

Next weekend, gather around your computer for a TEDx talk, Changing the Way We Eat on Saturday February 16.  I know my attention span will not allow me to watch/listen all day, but I’ll try to tune in at least for Anna Lappe.  Her mom’s book provided one of  my early food awakenings.

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Did you see that NY State is the “Silicon Valley of Greek Yogurt“?  Who knew???  I see some spoons in our neck of the woods, so that must include Maple Hill Creamery (you can find at Otto’s in Germantown or the Co-op in Chatham), Old Chatham Sheepherding (at the farm) and of course, Ronnybrook Farm.

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And in the world of food art…

Image by Andy Ellison

Andy Ellison gets the prize for creative thinking.  Who else thinks of putting fruit and vegetables in an MRI machine?  Frankly, those are the only things that really fit in those claustrophobia machines.  Check out the animations here.  Can something be black & white AND psychedelic at the same time???

look at the light

Painting by Dennis Wojtkiewicz

Painting by Dennis Wojtkiewicz

Even though I bought a million books over the holidays with great intentions to amp up my reading, I’m here at my computer gazing at images.  Of food.  Of course.

You can find more from this artist here and here.

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