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Friday, December 25, 2009

APAW 3 - Apple Pie

Same pie as APAW 1 but my crust was even better. I may have been too generous with the egg wash.

The 3 pounds of apples this time were:
1 lb. Stayman Winesap
1 lb. Pink Lady
1 lb. Honeycrisp
this ended up a little mealier - just a little, but more fragrant that APAW 1.

APAW 2 - Lemon Tart

I made the lemon tart from Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food last week. The curd is excellent. You can tell the crust recipe is meant to try and make it sound simple, but it didn't taste that great and had texture issues. But it was simple.

My changes were few:
1) Meyer Lemons instead of regular Eureka lemons (aka grocery store lemons)
2) 2/3 of the recipe's sugar

Monday, December 14, 2009

APAW 1 - Apple Pie

I made an apple pie yesterday. I rolled out my first pie crust in 4 years. And making crust is stressful. there are millions of recipes and like with most 'commodity' recipes, i look to Cooks' Illustrated. I won't print an apple pie recipe since those are also easily found.

They had a couple great tips:
  1. it's better to have a slightly tacky (or wet) dough since you can add flour
  2. use a tapered rolling pin with a clockwise rotation
  3. chill rolled out bottom crust while rolling out the top crust
Here are my great tips
  1. use about 3/4 the apples any recipe calls for - it's always too much
  2. use a lot of "table" flour to keep your dough from sticking
  3. replace water with apple juice concentrate (learned this from someone talking about Alton Brown)
  4. allow your pie to cool for 6 hours!
I chose the apples I like the best:
  1. 1 1/2 pounds Honeycrisp
  2. 1/2 pound Pink Lady
  3. 1/2 pound Mutsu

After eating a slice, my wife (also my harshest critic) found me cleaning the bathroom and said, "That is the best pie I've ever eaten. Any pie. Anywhere."

So far - APAW is a success. Next MEYER LEMON TART. Hopefully less stress.

APAW - Winter 2009/10 begins

APAW - A Pie A Week - begins.

the fourteen-week pie making journey mimics Evan Kleiman's "a pie a day." (see here).

the schedule will be something like:
  1. apple pie
  2. lemon tart
  3. sweet potato pie
  4. pecan pie
  5. pear and almond tart
  6. coconut cream pie
  7. cherry jam crostata
and then we'll fill out the rest...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thai Chicken Broth

This isn't the most local or authentic recipe you'll find here. But perhaps the most delicious.

Thai Chicken Broth
shopping = difficult
difficulty = low
expense = low

1 lb carrots, chopped coarsely
1" ginger, sliced
1 leek, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic
6 chicken thighs, on the bone without skin
2 lemongrass stalks
2 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 t. coriander seeds
1/8 t. turmeric
1 cinnamon (real stuff) piece
2 T. coconut milk
4 QT boiling water
  1. heat large dutch oven or stock pot to medium high heat
  2. add 1 T. canola oil
  3. add leeks and onion with little bit of salt
  4. toss together and cover for 3-5 minutes until edges of leeks brown
  5. add carrots, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic clove
  6. add salt and cover for 3-5 minutes
  7. add chicken thighs, coriander, cinnamom, coconut milk, turmeric
  8. lower heat to medium-low and cover for 3-5 minutes
  9. add boiling water and turn heat to medium
  10. bring soup to lazy boil for 1 hour, skimming the top of soup if/when possible.
  11. remove from heat
  12. remove chicken
  13. let soup stand for 1 hour
  14. strain soup and serve with jasmine rice, add chopped, cooked chicken on top

Thursday, October 22, 2009

5 BEST New York City - Lattes

For a few reasons, I've been traversing Brooklyn & Manhattan over the last three weeks. In that time, there have been many lattes.

2 quick rules:
the cleaner the barista's workspace, the better the coffee.
gentrified Brooklyn serves much better coffee than Manhattan

  1. Cafe Grumpy - no surprise here - all three locations are special (uses Ronnybrook Milk)
  2. Ninth Street Espresso (Chelsea, not East Village) - The micro-foam in Chelsea is superior, in the EV, it's just average
  3. Cafe Pedlar - with no bitterness or acidity at all
  4. Sit & Wonder - morning guy takes a lot of pride in pulling a great shot and somehow this latte "keeps" well for 10-20 minutes whether other ones do not
  5. Stumptown - in the ACE hotel - delicious (and uses Hudson Valley Milk)
Honorable Mention
- Kaffe 1668 - precise and accurate every time
- Gorilla

Just not very good
- Pret a Manger - all of them
- Bouchon Bakery
- Ost

Numbers 2-5 all use Stumptown coffee

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cannelloni Beans

Simple and fresh - this is a basic side

Fresh Beans
shopping = mildly difficult
difficulty = low
expense = low

2 lbs fresh beans in pod (could be anything - Cannelloni, Garbanzo)
1 heirloom tomato, seeds removed and rough chop
5 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. sea salt
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic smashed
  1. remove beans from pod (this took me about 30 minutes)
  2. boil in UNSALTED water for 10 minutes and drain
  3. in clean (& dry) pot add olive oil, bay, garlic
  4. heat to medium high until garlic fragrance is evident
  5. add drained beans and tomato
  6. reduce heat to low and partially cover
  7. cook for 30 minutes

Sunday, August 23, 2009

lamb chops - quicky and tasty

Broiled Lamb Chops
(serves 4)
time = little
expense = high
difficulty = low

8 lamb loin chops, grass-fed, room temperature
4 cloves garlic
2 branches of rosemary
4 T. olive oil, best you can afford (not local)
1 T. dijon mustard
1 t. Sea salt
  1. Mince the garlic as small as you can. Add rosemary and continue mincing
  2. Mix oil and mustard.
  3. Add garlic/rosemary paste to oil/mustard
  4. Coat all lamb chops with paste
  5. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes
  6. Put chops on foil-lined cookie sheet
  7. Broil for 3 minutes
  8. Turn over each chop
  9. Broil for 5 more minutes
  10. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
It's delicious and super fast. Goes great with any side local veg.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Corn Chowdah!

Corn Chowder was decisively bland. Next time, I'll need to add more salt at more frequent points and then use paprika or cumin.

Corn Chowder
shopping: easy
technique: easy
time: time consuming

5 strips bacon
8 ears of corn
6 cups milk
1 bell pepper
2 fresh onions
1 sprig thyme
1 T. butter

shuck corn
take all the kernels off all the corn
throw away 3 cobs
cut other 5 cobs in half
cut bacon into strips
dice - as small as possible - the bell pepper and onion

heat large dutch oven to medium high heat
toss in bacon and sweat for 12 minutes. this is longer than you think. the bacon will be crispy.
pull all the bacon out
add onion, bell, thyme, and butter. stir
cover and reduce heat to medium for 5 minutes
stir thoroughly
meanwhile, heat 6 cups of milk
add corn, cobs and milk
boil for 5 minutes
simmer for 20 more
throw away cobs
puree 1/3 of the soup then add back in
add salt & pepper
serve with bacon garnish

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


So, coffee isn't local. Or is it. the LOCALVORE uses the 80% by weight rule. And a coffee is nearly 97% water. So as long as the water isn't imported, then coffee is local.

So here's my list of the best iced coffees. No, I have not been to each and every coffee shop in New York City. No, I didn't hermetically seal 20 iced coffees, rush to my lab and taste them blindly.

What did I taste? Well, all drinks are ICED LATTES and the smallest size. Why a latte? Well, it ensures that an espresso is pulled fresh and thus the concerns over how long as the iced coffee been in the fridge, how often is the tupperware container washed, what detergent was used to wash the container - all are moot.

Here we go:
  1. Cafe Grumpy - I believe that they are the only place that uses a specific coffee roast for iced beverage drinks. It takes a LONG time, but is worth the wait.
  2. Gorilla Coffee @ GORILLA - Somehow, the iced coffee tastes better when at Gorilla.
  3. Taralucci Y Vino - TyV uses a very mild coffee and noticeably fresh/clean equipment INSIDE (at 18th street - note the little kiosk is not very good).
  4. Blue Sky Bakery - they simply do everything very well.
  5. Ciao For Now - A newcomer and the MOST expensive iced latte at 4.50, but the use of Hudson Valley Fresh (also at Blue Sky) gives this coffee a nice mouthfeel. The morning barista does a slightly LONGER pull for the iced coffee.
Notables that were left off: Cafe Regular, Sit & Wonder, Mojo, 9th Street, Joe - the art of coffee (btw, the 23rd street location feels very dirty, no?)
Still to try : Cafe Pedlar, Clover, Simon Sips, Abracao

Sunday, July 12, 2009

a dinner gone right!

cocina alla casa - cooking at our house - has been, well, not great for the last month. We've been uninspired to make anything really tasty.

All that ended yesterday as the farmer's market inspired some creativity.

"Fricassee of scallops & black fish"
Serves 2
Prep time = short
Cooking time = short
Ingredient procurement = moderately difficult
  1. 1/2 pound of Long Island Sea Scallops
  2. 1/2 pound of Long Island Black Fish Fillet
  3. 1 pint non-greenhouse cherry tomatoes (heirloom preferably)
  4. 1 fresh, local white onion
  5. 1 lb. haricot vert, blanched
  6. 1/2 pound Israeli Cous Cous (non-Local alert), cooked like pasta
  7. salt / pepper
  8. Best Olive Oil you can afford
Slice the onions as thin as you can
Quarter the tomatoes
WASH the scallops
Pat Dry the fish and cut into three
Heat Non-stick pan to medium high
Add sliced onions and more olive oil than you think
Just before they burn, add 4 oz water and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt
When there's no more water, add all the tomatoes and a 1/2 teaspoon of oil
stir occasionally and let cook 10 minutes
toss fish/scallops with salt and pepper
add fish to pan
2 minutes later add scallops and 2 oz water
add a little salt and olive oil
after 2 minutes, turn off heat and leave pan alone for 4 minutes

To plate:
mound cous cous
surround with haricot verts
add a piece of fish, 2-3 scallops and some onion-tomato sauce onto the mound

Sunday, June 21, 2009

letting Strawberries well just be strawberries

the weekend has come and gone. The home front ate a 1/2 gallon of strawberries and a pint of blueberries (Jersey blueberries already, hmm?).

Now, I saw lovely kohlrabi but didn't buy any. I saw it made once with love and taste. Each year I buy some and proceed to make something inedible.

any ideas for this vegetable?

Monday, June 15, 2009

local vinegar

everywhere i turn (not physically, but to podcasts, blogosphere, magazines), people are stating just how easy it is to make vinegar.

if that's the case, can anyone point to a source of good, local vinegar? with the apples and grapes in our region, we should have some quality choices...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas

Dinner was a hit. The primi was Tagliatelle with Sugar Snap Peas. Aside from the pasta and olives, it was all locally sourced.

Recipe Info
shopping = moderate
time = significant
technique = easy

Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas
1 lb dried tagliatelle (bionature brand)
1 lb sugar snap peas
1 garlic scape
3 scallions
1 to 3 T butter
handful oil-cured olives
salt / pepper

  1. wash and clean peas
  2. snap each pea at the end and pull out the string
  3. cut each sugar snap pea on the bias, about 1/4 inch wide (this will take a long time)
  4. cut the scape into the thinnest discs you can
  5. cut the scallions into thin discs
  6. heat large pot of water with fistful of salt
  7. heat large saute pan with 1T butter on medium-high
  8. when butter stops sizzling, add scallions and pinch of salt
  9. saute 2-4 minutes
  10. add scape and saute 1 minute
  11. add sugar snap peas all at once and toss well
  12. [put pasta in boiling water]
  13. saute 5-7 minutes
  14. add olives
  15. turn heat low
  16. add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta water
  17. toss and toss and toss
  18. add more butter for more deliciousness
  19. add salt and pepper as you see fit
  20. turn out into large bowl

Saturday, June 13, 2009

farmer's market log - Saturday June 11th

Yes, I liked Star Trek: The Next Generation (the TV show that is). No, I'm not writing this like Jean-Luc Picard.

Today's bounty was tremendous:
Milk Thistle just released their slow-process yogurt - we have a pint
Maxwell Farm's strawberries are too tiny and delicious not to buy, by the quart
Farmer Ray insisted I take a bag of sugar snap peas
And the fishing family had the greatest surprise - LOBSTERS that are fiery mad. We took 2 of them along with these tiny, sardine-like fish called SPEARLING (small fish = low, low mercury and better for the ecosystem).

Dinner will be DIVINE!

local food COMING bigger and tastier than before

May passed. Early June passed. And not until Friday - June 11th, did we have a nasty HOT day. Just plain hot and sticky. Which then made me turn around and think about our great produce coming in from Jersey farmlands and the Hudson Valley.

I verified this at the food co-op last night. Finally, we're way beyond kohlrabi, turnips, & hothouse lettuces.

So I promise you the vast LOCALVORE-NATION that 2009 will be a bloggy-hot summer.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

the nearly local sandwich

Strange enough, but this combination is delicious.
  1. 2 pieces Matthews Whole Wheat Bread, toasted
  2. Hawthorney Valley Lacto-fermented kim chee
  3. Sprout Creek Farm Goat Cheese
  4. Remembrance Farm Arugula
let's call it the Localvore-4!  

Friday, April 10, 2009

Vermont - it stays with you..

I was fortunate to visit an excellent client in Vermont this week.  During the trip, we ate at The Alchemist in Waterbury.  I arrived at 5:45 and the place was hopping; truly, just buzzing with good cheer.  It's rare to walk into a new establishment in a never-seen-before town and just feel comfortable.  We had housemade pickles, from local fall cukes and burgers from local cattle.  Just great food. Oh, and the beer is all made downstairs with fine, mineral-rich VT water.

Then, the next morning, we headed over to The Red Hen and had fresh out of the oven croissants made with butter from a dairy 40 miles away!  Honestly, it may have been the finest "thing" I've ever eaten.  

I don't think I eat as well anywhere in the world, like I do along I-89.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Glen Fiona was just OVERPOWERING

For a syrah, the Glen Fiona '97 Bacchus Vineyard Syrah was just big and fruity.  Any complexity and interesting characters were lost in the last ten years.  Too bad.  Interestingly, this is a wine that Glen Fiona no longer makes due to the sale of the vineyard.  

We enjoyed the wine over two days with a selection of fresh breads, local cheeses, and not-so-local olives. In any set, the syrah was neither delicious nor off-putting.  Too bad again - I'm looking forward to the first TRULY oxidized wine from our vault.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Heron Hill 1998 even better

Last week, we opened the Heron Hill Eclipse from 1999. That wine was delicious but somehow the 1998 tasted even better. We had it with good but standard pizza tonight and the wine and sauce sung together.  

Heron Hill had a deep black cherry taste and winy, in a good way.

Alban Vineyards amazed us!

Everything you hope for when cellaring a wine for 10 years came true with the Alban Reva Estate Syrah.  The wine was tasty. I could use strange terms, but all that really happens was "wow, this wine tastes really winy in a great way and has no discernible flaws."

Faith was restored earlier this week.  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

a rare local FEBRUARY dish

cabbage, pear cider, onion, (olive oil, salt, pepper) and a long, low steady heat makes something ethereal.

wine #2 - heron hill eclipse

We opened the 1999 Heron Hill Eclipse and found a fantastic, balanced, and chewy meritage.  It went really well with some delicious bread, local cheeses and not-so-local olives.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

wine 1 of 8

Wife and I opened the WEINGUT KNOLL (kuh-nohl) 2000 KABINETT RIESLING.  After 8 + years, it was delicious.  This is a wine from one of Austria's most celebrated wine makers and didn't disappoint.  

Paired with a black pepper crusted roast chicken and roasted beets, this was both mouthful and cleansing. 

a case of wine comes home

i brought home a case of our wine and though little of it is local, i plan to discuss and describe teh wines here.  so prepare yourself.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

a rabbit is no chicken

i made the Times rabbit recipe. it was tasty.  the addition of coriander was lovely - both earthy and bright. but the dish would have been better with a good chicken. oh, and about 40% of the cost. 

rabbit, it was fun, and another 10-11 months will transpire before i convince myself to give you another go in the pot.

until then, it's chicken, chicken, and a little pork!

daddy all done with Winter

ok, the smell of our fresh douglas fir is a memory.  the luxurious risotto for new year's is said and done.  now, it's just cold and the foodstuffs are coming from FAR AWAY.

we're still buying local onions, potatoes and surprisingly delicious apples.  and then meat and eggs - but that's it!

it's grim!

so spring, let's go. heck, i'm ready to skip right to the local asparagus and strawberries of June.

Friday, January 16, 2009

found a local session beer

I've been on the hunt for a good, no scratch that, a fantastic session beer for a long time.  My search is for something made within 200 miles.  And while the Brooklyn Brewery standard beers are fine, I've never really taken to them (aside from blanche de Brooklyn).  And Blue Point is pretty so-so.  

My rules for a session beer:
  1. easily procured
  2. under $1.50 per beer at the grocery store
  3. under 6%
  4. under 40 IBUs
  5. Made within 200 miles of NYC
Well enter SLY FOX DUNKEL LAGER! It's definitely got 2-5!  I had my first one tonight and it has a similar profile to many of the great Bavarian beers, but a little fresher.  And it comes in an aluminum can. After drinking this beer, I lifted the can and forgot just how much LIGHTER cans are than bottles.  That's gotta factor into the carbon contest.

Winter Eggs

winter eggs really taste so blah!  anyone else finding this?  once eating eggs from the farmer's market, going back to factory eggs is mighty hard.

Spring?  Paging spring?  You out there?