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Recipe

This is a recipe for a crosnes, smoked trout, and sunchoke salad. Who says that just because it is Fall everything has to be heavy? This salad is like a party in your mouth, and all of the ingredients (except for the dressing) are local. For added flavor we serve the salad atop a sunchoke puree. That is an optional step, but it is highly recommended. Crosnes are small little tubers that are Asian in origin, but prized in France, where they get their name. If you can't find crosnes, add another vegetable you find at the market, or some diced up sunchokes. The idea is to be creative, and try something new.

½ cup crosnes (small tubers)
1 large sunchoke, or two small ones, well rinsed
1 small watermelon radish, peeled and sliced in half
1 carrot, peeled
1 small filet of smoked trout (you will use one side only)
1 small handful fresh cilantro, rinsed and dried
1 lemon

For the Lemon Flaxseed dressing:
1 tablespoon flax seeds
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons flaxseed oil
1 teaspoon honey
Salt to taste

Chop up the sunchokes and cover with water and a pinch of salt in pot. Bring to a boil and cook through until completely soft. Drain and set aside to cool. Puree the flesh in a food processor with the juice of the lemon and some salt. You can also simply fork mash the ‘chokes as well.
Meanwhile, cover the crosnes with water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes and drain. They should still have a little bit of crunch to them.
Slice one half of the watermelon radish in thin slices horizontally, so that you get thin half circles. You will only need about ¼ of the radish. Reserve the rest for another use.
Grate the carrot using a cheese grater or a food processor.
Combine the crosnes, radish, and carrots together in a bowl.
Take the smoked trout and slice out one side. Flake the meat and add to the bowl.
Toss with 1-2 tablespoons of dressing and store the rest in the fridge for another salad.
Roughly chop up the cilantro and add to the salad.
Divide the sunchoke puree onto two plates and smooth it out into a circle.
Divide up the salad atop the puree and serve.
Serves 2.

For the Lemon Flaxseed Dressing:
Blend together the flaxseeds and lemon juice. Add the flaxseed oil and honey and blend until thick. Season to taste with salt.

This salad is a party in the mouth. The Lemon Flaxseed dressing really brightens up all of the flavors of these Fall vegetables, turning it into a light dish. All of the salad ingredients were bought in the same trip to the Union Square Greenmarket.
November 21, 2008   |   1 comments
Tags: Fall, Fish, Flax seeds, Fusion, Healthy, Local, Salads & Dressings
Food for Thought

By Emma Piper-Burket

Recently, mainstream media has experienced a growth spurt in its awareness of how food choices impact the health of our planet and our bodies. An illustration of this is the public (and publicized) return of the Victory Garden.

The modern Victory Garden takes many forms: rooftop gardens in inner city schools; public arts projects like WORK Architecture Company’s functioning farm- smartly title PF1- installed on the grounds of PS1 (the farm supplied eggs and produce to the museum café during the summer of 2008); and Slow Food Nation and San Francisco Victory Garden’s temporary garden in front of the City Hall that donated 1,000 pounds of produce to area food banks.

This time around the Victory Garden is grown in the name of environmentalism, education, health, and increased quality of life. Michael Pollan writes of, “a new Victory Garden movement, this one seeking ‘victory’ over three critical challenges we face today: high food prices, poor diets, and a sedentary population.” Though patriotism might not be a word to toss around at liberal dinner parties these days, Victory Gardens might still be a relevant way of helping our country.

For many Americans erratic gas prices or the occasional news headline are the only noticeable indications that our nation is at war. With a seeming abundance of wealth and resources, the vast majority of Americans have not had to alter their daily routine in any way during the past 7 years of war.

Contrast this with World War II when all around the country citizens were encouraged to save scraps of metal to be converted into bullets, to “Eat less bread” in order to save grains for the troops, and of course to grow a Victory Garden.

Providing up to 40% of the country’s food needs during World War II, towns, schools and families across the United States took part in the production of their food by way of these Victory Gardens. The Department of Defense produced pamphlets and films teaching children and adults how to grow the necessary varieties and quantities of vegetables to sustain them throughout the year. People were encouraged to can and preserve vegetables for the barren winter months and no one was to take more than they needed. Growing one’s own food was seen as a way of helping the country and everyone took part.

Today, while we may not need to grow our own food to support the troops, growing victory gardens could help us avoid future wars. Industrial farming techniques and transporting food to markets consumes vast quantities of petroleum. The war in Iraq and much of America's strategic interests abroad are linked to oil. Michael Pollan has said the removal of petroleum from our food system could help improve our national security, but perhaps more importantly, it would contribute to the survival of our planet.

Growing a garden in your backyard or neighborhood and taking an active role in the food production process is the best way to do your part.

Sources & Resources for Victory Gardens:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/magazine/12policy-t.html
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/24/HOFK13LPVD.DTL
http://www.thewhofarm.org
http://www.eattheview.org/
http://www.futurefarmers.com/
http://www.gardenfortheenvironment.org/
http://www.sfvictorygardens.org/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/victorygarden/
http://sidewalksprouts.wordpress.com/history/vg/

November 11, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Environment, Farm, Food Production, Local
Blog entry

     The other day I made a really delicious stew. No, I mean REALLY delicious stew. I had been thinking about it for a while before I made it, ever since I rediscovered the hyssop that I had bought at Kalustyan's a long time ago. I had read up on the Mediterranean herb and learned that it was often used as a rub for lamb, as it helps with the digestion of fatty meats. And then I saw my first quinces of the season at the Greenmarket- those wonderful fruits so full of mythology. I kept thinking about a lamb stew with quince and hyssop. I wanted to make the stew before I left for Rome, where I am now, so I went to the market early last week to get all of my ingredients.Partly becuase of the NY Times article on Bill Niman's switch to sustainable goat meat, and partly because there was no lamb, I decided to use goat meat instead. I bought 1 lb of cubes from Patches of Star Goat Dairy and moved on. I wanted to marinate the meat, so I got some garlic, onions, carrots, and celery for my aromatics. And some rosemary and thyme to compliment the hyssop. What would I marinate it in? Red wine did not so like a good pairing with the quince, and white wine did not seem seasonally appropriate for some reason. Then I remembered that I had a bottle of Eve's Cidery Bittersweet in the fridge at home. Cider sounded great with quince, as apples and quinces are feminine fruit friends. It also sounded right for the season. Maybe red wine would be better for the deeper Winter months, but not for an October/November stew. I got sweet potato (the Japanese white kind), parsnips, and more carrots for the stew garnish.
Below you will find the approximate recipe, but if you want to make a stew, you can really trust your instincts for the quantities and specifics. That is the whole fun of stew- the personal nuances of flavor that only you can bring out. For now, let me just skip to the end result. The stew was delicious, 98% local, and very Autumnal. It was a repeat times 10. What I really liked about it was that it was sweet, not because of sweetners, but because of the naturally sweet cider, sweet potato, and quince. Their mellow sweetness further brought out flavors in carrots in parnsips that I had never tasted before. There is a lot of preparation work, but the technique and presentation is a no brainer.Here are the basics for my Goat, Quince, and Hyssop Stew:

1 lb goat meat, cubed
1/2 carrot, sliced in large rounds
1/2 onion, large dice
1/2 celery stalk, large chunks
Few sprigs of Rosemary
Few sprigs of thyme
Pinch of hyssop
1 clove garlic
Hard Cider (about 1 cup, enough to cover the meat)
Splash of olive oil or canola oil
Salt and Pepper

Season the meat generously with the salt and pepper. Put it in a medium-large container. Add all of the ingredients, pouring over enough cider to cover the meat, as well as a dash of oil. Marinate for 8 hours or overnight. If you can, turn the meat over in the marinade, to make sure it is all coated well.

For the stew:
2 tablespoons butter or oil or a combination of the two (you will need more, so keep it on hand)
1/2 quince, peeled and cut into medium sized chunks
1/2 carrot, peeled and cut into medium sized chunks
1/2 sweet potato (depending on size), rinsed and cut into med. chunks
1/2 parsnip, same as carrot
Goat meat drained from marinade
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Hard Cider (about 1 1/2 cups)
Rosemary, Thyme, Bay leaf
Pinch of hyssop (about 1 teaspoon)

Heat the butter/oil in a heavy bottomed pot. I love Le Creuset pots for making stews. Every woman must have one in life.  Add the quince, carrot, sweet potato, and parsnip, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they gain some color. Transfer to a plate or bowl.
Toss the goat cubes with the flour and coat evenly.
Heat up more fat in the pot until very hot and add the meat. You only want to add enough meat to cover the bottom of the pan, so that you can brown each side well. Don't poke at it or turn it over too soon, or it won't gain that nice browned edge and create as much flavor for the stew. You can do this in a few rounds. Each time, wipe out the pan and add more fat. You want those little brown specks in the bottom of you pot, because those are caramelized proteins and have a lot of flavor. If you do not wipe out the pot between rounds, those can burn and ruin the overall flavor of the dish. What I do is after each round, I pour off the oil and add a few drops of cider, and quickly scrape up the protein bits (this is called "deglazing"). I pour the liquid over the vegetables or already cooked meat off to the side, and then wipe out the pan to continue cooking the meat. That way you do not waste those extra bits of flavor in between rounds.
Once you have browned all of the meat, deglaze the pot with a drop or two of cider, just enough to wet the bottom. Scrape up the brown bits and then add all of the meat and vegetables back into the pot. Pour in enough cider to just barely cover the ingredients. Add the herbs. Bring the liquid to a bare boil, and then let it simmer quietly for 1- 1/2 hours, or until the meat is falling apart at the touch. Take off the heat and serve with warm crusty bread.
Enjoy your seasonal stew!
This serves 2 people well, with enough for leftovers, but might not be enough for 4 people.

For other recipes using quince, like Quince Jam and Membrillo, check out Simply Recipes.

November 11, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Entrees, Fall, Local, Meat
Blog entry

Our new blogger friend, Marie-Claude, otherwise known as Banette, writes mainly about breads and baked goods on her blog: http://www.bombance.net. Although she is French, she has worked in New York for almost 20 years, and currently divides her time between New York state and Connecticut. One of her recent blogs was about Beltane Farm, where she bought fresh chevre and made a Rustic Tart with Chevre, Rosemary and Lemon. We were not lucky enough to try it ourselves, but it looks delicious! Her blog is in French, so if you would like to brush up on your language skills, it is a great opportunity. If you don't speak French, just enjoy the photos, they are pretty self explanatory!

October 17, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Appetizers, Cheese, Local
Blog entry

I feel like cauliflower slips under the radar sometimes. It is not an appealing vegetable- as its pale white color cannot compete with its seasonal peers the crimson beets, verdant broccoli, and flame-colored squash. But the other day I found purple cauliflower at the farmers market. I love white cauliflower too, but the purple variety just looked so much more enticing to me that day, so I had to take some home. Because of its versatility, I knew that I would be making it into soups, roasting it, or even eating it raw.

Cauliflower definitely has its merits, especially when it comes to health. It is a great source of vitamins C (think immunity) and K (think healthy bones), as well as dietary fiber. It is related to broccoli, kale, and cabbage, and like them, is known to play a role in cancer prevention. Its cruciferous compounds inhibit the mitosis of tumor cells, and its antioxidants disarm free radicals. It is also a detoxifier, and helps the liver do its difficult job of neutralizing toxic substances that come into the body.

What I love about cauliflower is the way it tastes. My favorite way to eat it is slow roasted over a long period of time. I simply cut the florets from their "tree", and then toss them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast for an hour at 300F. That is what you see in the photo of this post. Slowly roasted purple cauliflower, which is subtly sweet and nutty.

October 6, 2008   |   2 comments
Tags: Antioxidant, Fall, Local
Food for Thought

By Sophia Brittan

Last week I invited some friends over for a local cheese tasting to be accompanied by Eve’s Cidery Bittersweet Cider. I selected six cheeses from different farms around the Northeast. We tried Lively Run Goat Dairy’s Cayuga Blue, Bobolink’s Aged Cheddar, Patches of Star’s Lightly Salted Fresh Chèvre, Twig Farm’s Goat Tomme, and 3 Corner Field Farm’s Frère Fumant and Shushan Snow. The point of the cheese tasting was to delve more in depth into the flavors of the artesian cheeses of our region, exploring their textures and variations according to where they are from. My friends are fromage fanatics, so it was great to have their seasoned palates tasting along with me. The end result was that we got to know 6 cheeses that we might not have tried before. And the cheeses that we had tried, we explored their flavors more closely. To accompany the cheeses I served Bread Alone’s Multigrain Baguette (a new favorite), along with fresh slices of Golden Russet apples, Concord grapes, husk cherries, quince compote, and almonds mixed with honey. I have to say that I might have a thing or two to learn about putting together a cheese plate, as it could have been a bit more diverse- so I look forward to learning even more about that part of it.
We set it up so that everyone wrote notes on the same sheet for each cheese. We tried each cheese with the different accompaniments and the cider. We were open about sharing notes and talking about why or why not we liked the different cheeses. The chèvre was well liked- it was mild and creamy, almost as if it were a cream cheese/chèvre. The next mildest was definitely the Goat Tomme. It went well with all of the accompaniments, and seemed like a nice cheese that would incorporate well with fall recipes. The Cayuga Blue was one of the favorites. The “blue” flavor does not dominate the palate, and has a medium sharpness that gives it great flavor without being too strong. Even those among us who don’t like blue cheese easily fell in love. The Bobolink Aged Cheddar was an interesting one. Everyone agreed that it was “really sharp”, and had a strong aftertaste, but loved the way it paired with the fruit and the cider. The last two were the Fumant and the Shushan Snow. The Frère Fumant was applauded all around. It has a great smoked flavor, similar to the type of Spanish Basque cheese it takes after. However, the Shushan Snow was the all around winner. People said it was one of the best cheeses they had ever tasted. They loved its “incredible creaminess” and subtle taste. It did not go well with the grapes at all, but was a great match for the cider.
The cheese tasting was a great way to spend the afternoon together. We are not professional cheese-tasters or conosseurs of any high degree, but we love cheese. It was great to introduce my friends to more regional cheeses and to learn what they liked and disliked. I encourage you all to buy a bunch of cheeses and some cider and do your own tasting as well.

Here are short descriptions of the cheeses and the farms where they come from:
Lively Run Goat Dairy is a family farm located in Interlaken, NY, in the heart of the Finger Lakes. Their Cayuga Blue is a great blue cheese for beginners to try, as the texture is perfectly creamy, and the blue does not dominate the flavor.

Twig Farm is a goat dairy farm located in West Cornwall, VT. They specialize in raw aged goats milk cheeses using traditional methods and equipment. Their Tomme is aged for 80 days, and is semi-hard in texture.

Bobolink Dairy produces 100% grass-fed, raw cow’s milk cheeses in New Jersey. Their cheeses are strong and robust. The cheddar was considered “really sharp”, and paired very well with all of the accompaniments.

Patches of Star is another goat dairy located in Nazareth, PA. They have fresh chevres, fetas, and halloumi cheese, as well as yogurts.

3 Corner Field Farm is a Sheep Dairy located in Northeastern New York, near the Vermont Border in the Green Mountains. They practice organic farming methods, and the sheep feed on grass, clover, and alfalfa exclusively.

October 5, 2008   |   3 comments
Tags: Cheese, Fall, Farm, Local
Blog entry

The other day I had a few girlfriends over for some local cheeses that I picked up from Murray's Cheese and the Greenmarket. I was going to only have five cheeses, but then I got to the 3 Corner Field Farm booth at Union Square's Saturday market. Emma had told me about their smoked cheese, which was a must in the cheese plate. Then the woman convinced me to try the Shushan Snow. That was the beginning of the end. I fell head over heels, crazy in love with this creamy dreamy cheese. It has the form and consistency similar to a brie, but the flavor is so light and creamy that it would never be confused with anything but itself. I could not have possibly returned home without the Shushan Snow, so the cheese tasting became six instead of the perfect number of five. I served all of the cheeses with a quince compote and Conchord grapes. This is just a preview of the whole event; I will be putting up more information about the tasting tomorrow!

October 2, 2008   |   0 comments
Tags: Cheese, Fall, Local
Recipe

Buckwheat crepes, or Crêpes de Blé, are filled with savory ingredients and widely eaten across France. Hard cider is the drink of choice to go with these thin pancakes, and we would not want to stray from that tradition. This recipe is for buckwheat crepes filled with a mixture of goat cheese and goat milk yogurt, topped with smoked trout and chives. All of these ingredients can be sourced from the Northeast region, and are to be paired with some local hard cider. Our pick is the Autumn’s Gold from Eve’s Cidery.

For the Crepes:
1 cup unbleached white flour
½ cup buckwheat flour
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups milk (divided)
½ cup butter (1 stick), melted
½ cup cold water

Mix together the flour, eggs, salt, and ½ cup of the milk in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, adding the water last until the batter is quite thin. If you need to, use a blender to get the batter completely smooth. However, a few little lumps will do no harm.

Heat up a skillet on a medium high flame to be hot, and pour in some batter. Tilt the pan immediately to spread the batter all around in a thin layer. Once the edges are cooked through and there are little bubbles everywhere, use a spatula to flip the crepe over in the pan. It takes a few sacrificial crepes to get the hang of what you are doing, so do not get discouraged if your first ones are not perfect circles. The dough makes enough for about 12 crepes.

For the Filling and Garnish:
1 log of fresh chêvre (if you can get one with chives, even better)
4 tablespoons of goat milk yogurt
Fresh chives
1 filet smoked trout
1 tomato or roasted red pepper, medium dice

Mix the cheese and yogurt together, along with some freshly chopped chives, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. This mixture should be thick, but easily spreadable.
Spread a dollop of the yogurt/cheese mixture in the center of the crepe. Fold it over in half, then in half again. Repeat for the remaining crepes. Use a fork to flake the trout filet, and then top the crepes with the diced tomato and fresh chives.

This is a great recipe for crepes using buckwheat flour, just how they do it in France. They are filled with a goat cheese spread and topped with flaked smoked trout and chives.
September 30, 2008   |   2 comments
Tags: Entrees, Europe, Fall, Fish, Healthy, high-fiber, Local, Whole grain
Recipe

This recipe comes from Autumn Stoscheck of Eve's Cidery in Ithaca, New York. As a cider maker, she is perpetually surrounded by apples, and always coming up with creative ways to use them in the kitchen. We love these flat breads that not only use hard cider to make the base, but also showcase crisp apples in the topping. Make this one night in the Fall or Winter for a rustic casual dinner.

Ingredients:
Basic Pizza Crust (usually enough for 2 medium pies)
Olive oil
Yellow onion, thinly sliced
Shallot, thinly sliced
Hard cider
Smoked Cheddar Cheese
Tart green apples, cored and thinly sliced

Prepare the basic pizza crust.

Saute the sliced onion and shallot in oil until they smell really good.
Add enough cider to cover the onions and shallots and reduce.
Blend to a puree when cool. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread cider/shallot puree on stretched pizza dough, like you would tomato sauce.
Top with thinly sliced apples and grated smoked cheddar cheese.

Bake until the pizzas are cooked through.
Slice and serve.
Serves about 8 as an appetizer or 2 individual pies for a full meal.

Autumn Stoscheck of Eve's Cidery gave us this recipe. She is constantly using apples in creative ways in her kitchen, and we were lucky enough to be there for this one. She makes a puree of shallots and onion cooked down with cider, which then serves as the base for a apple and cheddar flat bread.
September 30, 2008   |   3 comments
Tags: Appetizers, Entrees, Fall, Healthy, Local, Vegetarian
Cooking Show Video

Artisan cider making is a small but growing craft in the modern-day United States. Eve's Cidery in New York's Finger Lakes region is run by husband and wife team Autumn Stoscheck and Ezra Sherman and their partner James, who comes from a long line of orchardists.  Though there are only a small number of commercial cider makers in the US today, it has deep roots in traditional American culture. On the Eve's Cidery website they write: "In the Finger Lakes region during
the 1700’s and 1800’s there was a cidery nearly every ten miles. Before prohibition the fermented juice of apples (called simply cider) was the most popular beverage in America with estimated per capita consumption as high as one barrel per year."

In early September we visited Autumn and Ezra, who showed us around their orchard and let us watch the cider pressing process. Part of eating locally is staying connected to the traditions and history of where we live.  Be it cider, putting up for winter or gardening, explore your landscape and find those lost traditions.  You can start whereever you are. 

Find where to buy from Eve's Cidery at www.evescidery.com or if you live in New York City, visit them at the Union Square Greenmarket on Fridays and Saturdays.

September 30, 2008   |   1 comments
Tags: Drinks, Food Production, History, Local