May there be peace.
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.
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.
The next little tragedy of the week? No pierogies!
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Have you tried the smoked trout available at the Hudson Farmers’ Market?
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.
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.
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?
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.
Basilica 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.
Ramps are about to become an endangered species:
The 3rd Annual Ramp Fest is happening Saturday, May 4, 2013 from 12 – 4pm. Chefs from Hudson, the Hudson Valley and NYC will participate by making all sorts of lovely tastes featuring ramps. Don’t be crazy and show up at 3pm – you will not eat. I am devastated that I will be out-of-town that day. Since at the previous two fests I seemed to try everything at least twice, that means that there is more food for you.
I will have to do my own foraging. I once thought I had found *a* ramp under a tree in our yard – but I am quite sure that whatever I found was not edible. We can usually find ramps at the Hudson Farmers’ Market, but they’re not out yet (it’s too cold). However, I consistently find dandelion greens in my ever-so-organic lawn (meaning, I don’t do anything more than mow it). Last year I tossed dandelion greens with a simple vinaigrette and it made a great crostini.
This year I think I may try a dandelion soup with chives from a recipe I found on Chefs Consortium – it looks lovely and sophisticated. Once I uncover my garden from its lasagna garden layering and let the sun shine through, I will surely have purslane and that often makes a nice little side salad.
The anticipation that accompanies Spring is sometimes overwhelming, no?
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…
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!!!).
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
And in the world of food art…
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???
Call me crazy nostalgic, but I love the annual Winter Walk in Hudson. What’s not to love? There’s beautiful decorations, and usually a tall guy on stilts, and both good and strange musical delights (I’m partial to the bagpipe myself) and of course, treats! This year’s walk is Saturday, December 1st, 5pm – 8pm.
I always like to find the table selling homemade cookies to benefit someone, perhaps the high school, but I always skip the various hot dog/hamburger tables. Restaurants and bars are always quite lively (and quite packed) this evening – so grab your seat early! Also:
Truck Pizza will re-open for WinterWalk at 347 Warren.
Hudson Farm Box will be offering Taste of the Valley in the Alley – a tapas party on Cherry Alley (just off Warren).
The highlight (snack-wise) for Winter Walk has to be the Belo3rd Eggnog challenge. I’m not even a huge fan of eggnog, but spike a drink and I’m there.
There are enough great eateries showing up uptown that perhaps there needs to be an equivalent Above7th (Hudson’s East End) challenge?
Layer on the long johns and grab your gloves! I don’t want to hear any complaining about how it’s too cold to wander about being festive.
I’ve been a refugee upstate the past couple of days, as earlier in the week I was stuck in the darkness for a couple of days in NYC… What a lovely time to be upstate!
Saturday was a day for foodie fieldtrips, and what a fun time. I started, of course, at the Hudson Farmers Market. I picked up some staples for the week, trying to not get carried away and buying more than I will realistically cook. It’s an ongoing battle.
Early afternoon I joined a neighbor to visit Omi International Arts Center in Ghent for a book signing and marmalade tasting by Elizabeth Field for her first book, Marmalade: Sweet and Savory Spreads for a Sophisticated Taste. As a baker, the unpredictability of marmalade, jellies and jams makes my hair stand up on end, but the recipes are compelling and I’m always willing to try some new recipes. And who better to inspire me than a woman who did her Master’s dissertation on marmalade??? Ms. Field also has an article in the New York Times today on – you guessed it – marmalade.
Since it was such a lovely day and I didn’t feel like working on the garden anymore, my OH and I jumped in the car and drove down to Ancram for the opening of Hillrock Estate Distillery. Located in the beautiful hills in the Ancram area, this beautiful distillery was built in the past couple of years to take advantage of the terroir – they grown their own barley and rye. They hope to have their official organic designation next year, and pride themselves on being the only field to bottle bourbon. Our informative tour was led by Tim Welly, who is in charge of the bourbon production under the guidance of master distiller David Pickerell (formerly of Makers Mark). While I’m sure it’s incredibly challenging, it sounds like a cool job! The tour of this gorgeous facility ended with a tasting, and since I like just about any bourbon that’s in front of me, it was tasty. However, at $80-85 a bottle, I’ll have to save my pennies to have a bottle of my own… They estimated that they may have had a thousand visitors yesterday, their first day, so it’s a great start for our latest local producer.
The weather has turned chilly so I’ve been baking and cooking warm comforting autumn-y foods. I might recommend these delicious recipes:
Autumn Lasagne with Butternut Squash, Sage and Kale from Handpicked Nation
Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese from The Kitchn (this dish was going into the oven as the lights went out)
Couscous with Chickpeas, Fennel & Citrus from The Kitchn (I fed this to the friends who had offered the escape from NYC)
Parmesan-Rosemary Crackers from A Little Saffron – every bite is cheesy deliciousness.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Eating Well – every once in awhile I have a flareup of “healthy” eating…
Pumpkin Spice Cookies from The Kitchen – cake-y goodness
Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness cake from The Kitchn – Make. This. Cake.