Archive for August, 2011

locavores are everywhere

The New York State Locavore Challenge starts Thursday for the entire month of September 2011.  Columbia County is a fantastic place to try this, and you can sign up for as little as the “bite sized” challenge.

Of course it would be so much easier if Grazin’ Diner were open already!  The local blogs are a-buzz (here, here and here) about the Grazin’ Angus family opening a local-sourced type diner.  I’m already a sorry excuse for a vegetarian (there’s that bacon problem, you see) – and this can only make it worse…

Until our ownAcres Co-op Market opens in Hudson for (more) local shopping, we have (local, biodynamic) Hawthorne Valley Farm in Hillsdale, featured recently in the NY Times.

The locavore movement seems to have revived an interest in foraging – you can’t get more local than that!  And we’re talking about more than ramps and fiddleheads.  I’ve got a full-blown purslane explosion in my garden (doing much better than the heirloom tomatoes) and heaven knows we are a master of dandelion in our yard in the spring.  The vestiges of the late, great Gourmet even did a piece earlier this summer: Eat Your Weeds.  I know I should be inspired, but I haven’t quite caught on yet…

Obviously I haven’t read enough books on the subject yet…

Good grief – it’s September already.  When did that happen???

preparing for the storm

Beer – check.

I needed a break from the news – pulling away from the TV/Radio helps lower the agita levels I’m finding.  I don’t want to find myself eating peanut butter and crackers for days on end, so I’ve been thinking about what I could make that I wouldn’t mind eating more than once in a 48 hour period (I’m fussy that way).

Ratatouille!  It’s a perfect easy dish using veggies that are all in season now, and it tastes decent room temperature as well as warm.  So, this together with some couscous will be my dinner tonight, and possibly a meal or two tomorrow.  Plus, there’s the added bonus of the excuse to say Ratatouille! a lot.

Ratatouillerecipe courtesy of the City Cook

2 large red peppers
1 large yellow pepper
4 medium tomatoes or 6 plum tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, cut into a medium dice
2 medium zucchini, cut into half-inch slices
1 eggplant or 2 small Japanese eggplants, left unpeeled and cut into one-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400º F.
  2. Place the cubed eggplant on a rimmed sheet pan and roast until softened, about 15 minutes.  They will shrink in size as they cook.
  3. Rinse and dry each pepper and place on a rimmed sheet pan and place in the oven.  Roast the peppers until they have charred and blistered and the flesh is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.  These can cook alongside the eggplant, either on the same pan (push each to one end of the pan because some moisture will be thrown off) or on a separate sheet pan.
  4. Remove from the oven and place the peppers in a large bowl and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap to seal.  Let the peppers sit in the bowl for about 15 minutes; this steaming helps the skin loosen.  Remove the skin from the peppers, as well as the cores and inner seeds and fibers.  Cut the peppers into large squares.  Do not use water to rinse off the charred skins as this will remove much of the peppers’ wonderful roasted flavor.
  5. Peel each tomato by first submerging it in a pot of boiling water for about 10 seconds until the skin loosens.  Plunge the tomatoes into a bowl of iced water to stop any cooking.  Remove the peels and chop roughly, saving the seeds and juice.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet.  Add the onion and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent.  Add the garlic slices and cook until softened and just beginning to take on color (do not brown).  Remove from the pan and hold aside.
  7. Using the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and place over medium high heat.  Add the zucchini slices and cook until soft and browned.  Return the onion and garlic to the pan and combine.

Add the chopped tomatoes with their juices, peppers, cubes of eggplant, thyme, a pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper.  Gently combine so that everything is mixed but the elements don’t get mushed together.  Cover, lower the heat to medium low, and gently simmer for about 15 minutes.

You can vary the vegetables a little according to taste (I usually use fewer peppers) and again, this can be eaten warm (lovely) or room temperature (equally lovely).

Bon Appetit!


I had the inspiration to make chocolate chip cookies, because everything (including stormy weather) goes better with chocolate chip cookies.  However, I may end up just eating chocolate chips.

The Storm - Edvard Munch

Stay dry!

dog days of summer

It wasn’t even noon, and yet he was done.

I know the feeling.

an ode to Loaf

No, they’re not new.  But Loaf is good.

a Loaf loaf

In the summer I’m willing to pay people for bread – anything to not have the oven on. Of course, I’m willing to pay for food that I can’t make (as it is frowned upon to just take it…) or for food that looks crazy yummy.  Alright alright, declarative statement, I’ll pay for good food (being especially partial to baked goods…).

Back to Loaf.  Now headquartered at Swallow at 433 Warren, this is a great lunch option.  Swallow is not really an early morning breakfast place, and the Loaf side doesn’t open up until 11am.  So make it lunch, or an afternoon snack.

Loaf lunch

You can also find Loaf at the Hudson Farmers’ Market. Not at 9am.  Maybe 9:30.  But you know what?  It’s worth waiting for.  Grab a loaf for later or whichever smaller baked good that they’re featuring that day.   One Saturday we got these seedy pretzels and they made our lunch magnificent.

Loaf pretzel

I would be so sad if I were gluten-intolerant.

*If you want to get technical, here is the definition of ode.

*Update November 2012: Loaf is now Bonfiglio & Bread, located at 748 Warren Street.

I am so sad I missed this…

The 5th Annual Edible Sculpture Contest happened recently in Tivoli.  Find the photo of the “watermelon” – that’s my kind of rice krispie treat!  It was covered in, of all places, The Huffington Post.