Archive for March, 2012

dandelion season…

…has just begun.  Now is the time to forage for dandelion greens, if you are so inclined.  Pick the greens before the blooms pop up (and you know they will) which is when the greens turn bitter.  As I was cleaning the back yard yesterday I harvested a small salad.  I made a quick vinaigrette of lemon juice, dijon mustard and olive oil, tossed the greens quickly, then heaped them on toasted bread smeared with ricotta.

Yum!  Dandelion is a great source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as various minerals.  A great source to find out more about dandelions (even recipes!) is Wild Man Steve Brill.

As long as you have an organic yard (no pesticides, ideally no fertilizer) and no loose running dog, you have the potential for a great harvest!

irish soda bread

There are a million recipes floating around this week, all with Guinness or corned beef.  While I definitely want to make Nigella’s Chocolate Guinness cake (here’s the original UK version) – because who wouldn’t? – I’m going simple this St. Patrick’s Day.  I’m making Irish Soda Bread.  Simple, fast, makes great toast.

Start with good wheat flour:

Look at how this whole wheat bread flour from Wild Hive Farm compares to unbleached all-purpose flour (on the right):

Whisk in baking soda and salt.  Add buttermilk:

Mix together, shape on a well-floured board, then transfer to a floured baking sheet.  You can find this recipe for whole wheat Irish Soda Bread on Eating Well.

Make the bread today and have fabulous toast tomorrow.  Enjoy!

this & that in food up here these days

I’m making polenta at the moment.  Here is a great little piece by the man who grinds the local wheat and corn at Wild Hive Farm/Stone/Bakery down in Clinton Corners.  If you haven’t tried his ground polenta yet, march down to Lick the Market or the Indoor Farmers Market (find the cheese guy) and buy some.  Then, make creamy cheesy polenta using this recipe.  I swear it’s better than mashed potatoes, and those words do not come lightly.

So what about the somewhat huge new restaurant, The Crimson Sparrow, that will open on upper Warren?  It’s a new project by two chefs that worked with Wylie Dufresne at WD-50 in NYC.  That’s going to be a new twist on Farm to Table for us.  I hope to sit at the bar and have fabulous snacks – how I always enjoy a classy restaurant.  I’ll be waiting for the complaints to come in about the pricepoint but I’d much rather focus on how Hudson and the whole Hudson Valley continues to grow as an eating destination.  We have room for all eaters!

And I see that I have some more eating to do…  Note our very local James Beard 2012 Restaurant & Chef Awards finalists:

  • Best Chef: Northeast – Jeffrey Gimmel, Swoon Kitchenbar, Hudson, NY
  • Best Chef: Northeast – Serge Madikians, Serevan, Amenia, NY
  • Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional – Neal Rosenthal, Mad Rose Group, Pine Plains, NY
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year – Sara Lukasiewicz, Red Devon, Bangall, NY
  • This doesn’t even touch nominees very close in the Berkshires or CT.

Grazin’ Diner was up for the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s Crystal Apple award and it would have been great!  However, Camphill Ghent won the award Friday night – a worthy winner.

How cool is this?  Chef Hugh Horner of Restaurant Helsinki hosts a monthly podcast in cooperation with WGXC where he talks to those involved in our local food system: Eat Food or Die: Food Conversations for a Better World.  You can play it from the Helsinki site. I think of it as food dudes (and a dudette or two) talking food.  And I really think that we don’t talk about the food at Restaurant Helsinki enough.

If you’re a weird foodie like me and dream of new refrigerators, now might be the time. New York State seems to be offering a high efficiency appliance rebate program to encourage the purchase of new energy efficient refrigerators (and washers).  More information next week.  I know I left that pot of gold around here somewhere…

Finally, as I look into my obsession with all things food (even serious junk food…), here’s a piece on how technology is changing our eating.  Yikes.  But hasn’t that always been the case?

maple weekend(s) – 2012

Mark your calendars!  New York maple weekends are coming up March 17-18 and 24-25, 2012, 10am-4pm each day.  This is a great opportunity to watch sugaring in action.  To find participating maple producers visit the NY State site,  If you are organized enough first thing in the morning you can attend a pancake breakfast – yum!

Pictured is an old-fashioned bucket set up that I found in Rhinebeck this year; more common is the miles of tubing that you might see out in the woods.  It’s kinda cool either way.

Support the maple sugar producers!