I'd much rather read than write so it's not much of a blog...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beer Week

Oh the hell with the diet.

nys farm & empire beer dinner
monday, nov 2nd @ 6:30pm
$45 per person (tax and tip included)

amuse-bouche:
applewood smoked trout
w/ dill & lemon infused Meadowood Farms sheep’s milk brebis cheese,
chive blini & caviar
beer pairing: cream ale

course 1:
kobe beef tenderloin carpaccio
shaved Meadows Farm kobe beef served w/ Lucky Moon Farm roasted
garlic & hardcooked free range egg, frisee, olive oil, caper & lemon
beer pairing: brown ale

course 2:
roasted local quail
stuffed w/ herbed cous cous & dates,
served w/ roasted root vegetables,
topped w/ an espagnole “brown” sauce
beer pairing: critz farms pumpkin ale

course 3:
profiterole of duck confit
puff pastry filled w/ Hudson Valley duck confit,
accompanied w/ Liehs & Steigerwald slab bacon
braised in Raindrop Farm maple syrup
beer pairing: smoked maple porter

course 4:
braised short ribs
Maple Ave Farm prime black angus beef short ribs
served w/ pureed Frosty Morning parsnips
& barley wine demi-glace
beer pairing: barley wine

course 5:
organic pecan pie
served w/ Kimberly’s dark chocolate stout ice cream
beer pairing: black magic stout


eat where you live

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Food Inc.


We saw "Food Inc." last night and even though I've read Eric Schlosser ("Fast Food Nation" ) and Michael Pollan ("The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals" ) the images in the film made their arguments even more compelling.

More than the tragic story of a mother who lost her preschooler to E. coli O157:H7, I was moved by the mother of the poor family who asked how she is supposed to feed her family a healthy diet when fast food hamburgers are cheaper than fresh vegetables. That about sums it up and it explains so much.

But the overarching image that I took away from the film was one in which people, human beings, have become just like the pitiful cattle in the dreadful CAFOs, the contained animal feeding operations: overfed on unnatural diets with resultant health problems by a system increasingly in danger of collapse.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing


What happened? How did I gain almost 10lbs.? The short answer is that they were giving away ice cream. Or almost. Often this year a local supermarket has had Ben & Jerry’s on sale for $2.50, often when I’ve had a coupon to bring down the price to $2.00. If I hadn’t felt guilty about the dairy farmers getting screwed out of a decent price for their milk I probably would have gained another 10.

To make matters worse–or better–this supermarket is the only one in town that carries my favorite B&J’s flavor, Dave Matthews Band’s Magic Brownies. Lordy, I love this stuff and the fact that my indulgence supports a good cause:

“As the main course in our ongoing Lick Global Warming campaign, Dave Matthews Band’s Magic Brownies™ combines the spirit of Dave Matthews Band, the razzle of chocolate and [the dazzle of ] raspberries and the conscience of Mother Earth in one place. A portion of every sale of Dave Matthews Band’s Magic Brownies™ goes to Dave Matthews Band’s Bama Works Fund to support the work of nonprofit groups taking action against global warming. In 2007, this flavor produced royalties of $35,471 for Bama Works.”

$35,471 in 2007 alone and I didn’t eat much that year! How much ice cream would that represent and how much have they raised this year when I’ve been eating my fair share and then some?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dinner After the First Hard Freeze

Frost is one thing and not unexpected mid October but this is way too early for the first hard freeze. We haven't put up all the hoses, emptied birdbaths, etc. If we don't get an Indian Summer it's going to be a dreadfully long winter.

Jacques Pépin's Corn and Hominy Chowder
Serves: 6

• 3 tablespoons good olive oil
• 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1/2 cup minced scallion
• 1/2 cup Green Hot Salsa or less for a milder soup
• 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes in sauce
• 1 (28-ounce) can white hominy (about 3 cups kernels and juice)
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
• 4 cups chicken stock, homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth
• About 1/2 teaspoon salt (less if using canned chicken broth)
• 1 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 2 ears of corn)
• 1/2 cup (lightly packed) fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic, onion, and scallions.
Cook for 3 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients, except for the corn and cilantro.
Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes.
Stir in the corn and cilantro, return to a boil, and serve.

from Jacques Pépin: "Fast Food My Way"

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Frost is On the Pumpkins

It's cold this morning after the first, light frost. I didn't want to leave my cozy comforter here on the chilly porch to go get the camera and take a picture of the two white pumpkins I bought this weekend so I did a google image search. My god there are a amazing number of stupid white pumpkin photos out there. Fortunately Waldo Jaquith has this fine image at Flickr. Grazie Waldo.

Several years ago I read Marlena de Blasi’s “A Thousand Days In Venice” and couldn't wait to try her recipe for stuffed pumpkin. As with so many recipes these days, especially those that have been translated from metric to imperial, this one needed adjustments. In order to avoid any uncertainty about procuring fresh truffle, one change I make in my version is to use Boschetto.

This year I'm going to enjoy my first white pumpkins for awhile as they sit on the floor in the kitchen and then I'm gonna stuff 'em.

Whole Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed with Porcini and Truffles
(Zucca al Forno Ripena con Porcini e Tartufi)
Serves 8

1 large pumpkin, approximately 4-5 lbs., stalk end cut to form a cap,
seeds and strings removed from cavity

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
1 ounce dried porcini, softened in 1/2 cup of warm water

1 egg, beaten
1 cup mascarpone
4 ounces Boschetto al Tartufo Bianchetto cheese, grated
(or another cheese and 1 truffle, thinly sliced or 1.5 ounces truffle paste)
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon white pepper
sea salt
4 slices firm-textured day old white bread, cut into 1 inch squares

1. Place the pumpkin in a heavy baking dish and bake for 1 hour at 350°.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the onion. Add the mushrooms and sauté until both soften.

3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients one at a time. Add the mushrooms and onions and stir until well mixed.

4. Spoon the mushroom mixture into the pumpkin, replace the pumpkin cap and roast for 45 minutes or until the pumpkin flesh is very soft.

5. Carry the pumpkin immediately to the table, remove its cap and spoon out portions of the flesh with the stuffing.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sun!

After days and days and days of much-needed rain we have some sun this morning. It's gonna hurt but I'm doing a bike ride this afternoon before I head to Ohio tomorrow.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Boschetto al Tartufo

I like all the pecorinos from il Forteto but there's also a lovely soft cheese made with sheep's and cow's milk and truffles. My favorite way to eat eggs is in a simple cheese omelet with Boschetto. That's it for foodie indulgences for a while.

update:
In an e-mail today from iGoumet:
"Boschetto al Tartufo Bianchetto is about as amazing as a cheese gets. Our friends at Il Forteto in Mugello have now created another outstanding version, aged for four months. Instead of a blend of sheep and cow milk, Stagionato is made from pure sheep's milk. The master cheese maker at Il Forteto has still maintained a precious harmony between the pronounced, pungent taste of the extremely scarce (and expensive) white truffle and pure sheep's milk. The scent and flavor will still bowl you over with delight. The base is firmer and drier, so it's easier to add a dash of truffle flavor to your favorite dishes. If you love our original Boschetto as much as we do, the Stagionato version is a must try."

I'm very tempted but I'll wait to see if it shows up at Wegmans...

Oro Antico

For me, food blogging has become a lot less enjoyable in light of the economic distress so many people are experiencing these days. Fortunately I don't get much traffic here so any excess on my part isn't likely to be noticed. I think.

Anyway, I am cutting back on some things to allow us to give more particularly to organizations that are losing state funding but I don't believe anyone's fate is going to be made better if the purveyors of specialty foods go belly-up. While I can I'm continuing to purchase my favorites especially from those who operate with practices I support.

Il Forteto, a cooperativa agricola in the countryside near Florence, got its start three decades ago with a group of idealistic university students and 40 sheep. Today the property supports more than 2,000 sheep and a large, modern creamery producing a variety of superb sheep's milk cheeses.

What's equally impressive is il Forteto's philanthropic mission to provide a haven and a productive future for children with physical, mental or emotional disabilities. Those who are capable assume jobs on the property and contribute to the farm economy.

My pecorino of choice is il Forteto's Oro Antico Riserva del Casaro. Wegmans often has it, and when they don't iGourmet always has, but this summer I'd gone through what I had and I couldn't fine it anywhere.

Then last week, there it was in the case at Wegmans in several uncut wheels! I bought one, an entire small wheel of Oro Antico. It turns out that Wegmans is promoting several of the wonderful cheeses made by il Forteto this fall.

For the moment I'm getting an inordinate amount of pleasure just looking at this uncut cheese while I finish the much saltier pecorino Romano I bought to tide me over.