I made the lemon tart from Alice Water's The Art of Simple Foodlast 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)
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:
it's better to have a slightly tacky (or wet) dough since you can add flour
use a tapered rolling pin with a clockwise rotation
chill rolled out bottom crust while rolling out the top crust
Here are my great tips
use about 3/4 the apples any recipe calls for - it's always too much
use a lot of "table" flour to keep your dough from sticking
replace water with apple juice concentrate (learned this from someone talking about Alton Brown)
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:
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.
Gorilla Coffee @ GORILLA - Somehow, the iced coffee tastes better when at Gorilla.
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).
Blue Sky Bakery - they simply do everything very well.
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?)
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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:
under $1.50 per beer at the grocery store
under 40 IBUs
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.