Stuff & Things

27 May

There’s been so much going on this May, that I haven’t been able to tell you about all the things I have wanted to.  So here we go!

First up: Eggplant Soup. Yes. Eggplant. Soup. If you thought squash soup was weird, you’re going to think eggplant soup is bonkers. But you’ll be wrong.  It is delicious.  I first tried it at Destino in Chatham, and then Mexican Radio in Hudson had a version of it, and then it was a special at Destino again.  And though it was different at the two Mexican restaurants, it was delicious at both.  It is silky and yummy and very, very easy to make at home.  Grill or roast a few eggplants, caramelize some onions, add some broth, puree and add creme fraiche, crema or heavy cream to your taste and garnish with a little salsa fresca and a squirt of lime.  Yum!

Next: Sifting. We’ve been doing a lot of this.  First I had to sift the compost pile.  Twice.  And then there was the tomato garden, which we’ve been sifting for weeks now. But it’s almost done, to the point where I was able to make some beds and plant some tomatoes (though I’m not sure they’re going to make it, they were all kind of weenie, and it has been hot Upstate this week). And then there was flour.  I made pancakes from scratch for the first time ever a few weekends ago, after an aerobic spate of dirt sifting.  I don’t know if I was just very hungry ofrif these really are the best pancakes ever, but I’m going with the latter.  Sadly, I left the recipe Upstate (it’s, naturally, from Amy Bess Miller’s The Best of Shaker Cooking) so if anyone has a copy laying around, email me the recipe for Apple Pancakes and I’ll post it here. *

In the Middle: Chicken. Kinderhook Farm has quickly become our favorite meat purveyor upstate.  Their steaks are the best, hands down.  I recently got an email from Georgia announcing that they were taking reservations for their pasture-raised Label Rouge Freedom Ranger chickens, ready sometime June. I jumped at the chance. I’ve never seen happier chickens or had more beautiful eggs than from Kinderhook Farms, so I’ve got to figure their chicken will be amazing, too. And what will I be doing with it?  Roasting it Thomas Keller style. If you haven’t tried this technique, you must. And if you can catch the “Technique” episode of No Reservations, TK offers a great tip that isn’t in any of the online recipes. He demonstrates how to remove the bird’s wishbone before roasting so that you can serve two complete halves of chicken.  Truly, this is a not-to-be-missed recipe, and Kinderhook is a not-to-be-missed farm. I’m predicting the intersection will be magic!  P.S. Lee tells us they’ll have pasture-raised lamb around the first of August.

Lastly: Dan’s Diner.  Northern Columbia County-ites!  You know that super-cool little diner that sits alongside Route 203 on the way between Chatham and Spencertown?  It’s open and it’s beautiful.  The food is pretty good, but trust me, that’s not what you’re going there for. You’re going to Dan’s Diner to experience a trip back in time.  Hours are short, I think only until 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays and breakfast only until 11am, but just gogogo. It’s really neat.

Phew! That felt good. I’ve been meaning to tell you about all those things for ages now, but along with being very busy and quite worried about some “developments” at work, I’ve had a nasty sinus infection for a week now.  So on top of being busy and stressed, I’m also spacey and tired.  Hopefully a three-day weekend is just what the doctor ordered.  We’ll be attending the Columbia Land Conservancy‘s annual Barbecue at Old Chatham Sheepherding on Sunday.  Last year was awesome.  Anyone else going?

P.S. The photos in this post are from an after-work walk Isaac and I took. Please excuse the light-trails that are evidence of my jumpy hand, but between you and me, I kind of like them.

————————————————————————————————————————————————

* Here’s the recipe!

Buttermilk Pancakes (adapted from a recipe for Apple Pancakes from the Hancock Shaker Village)

2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons butter + a bit more

Sift flour and other dry ingredients into a bowl.  Whisk together sugar, buttermilk and eggs.  Add to dry ingredients. Stir until smooth and set aside.  Melt butter in a skillet or nonstick frying pan.  Just before making the pancakes, add the melted butter to the batter and beat to incorporate

From the original recipe: “Grease a hot griddle for the first batch. Generally greasing is not necessary after that if a recipe contains 2 tablespoons or more of fat.  Griddle is at proper heat if when tested with drops of water, they do a lively dance. Serve with Mystery Syrup. Yields 10-12 cakes.”

If anyone has any idea what Mystery Syrup is, please let me know!

5 Responses to “Stuff & Things”

  1. Emily May 27, 2010 at 7:45 am #

    Your posts are worth the wait every time. Hope you feel better soon. =)

  2. heather May 27, 2010 at 8:14 am #

    yay – I love this post. We must be in sync ’cause I did my own local food shout out post last night.

    1. destino’s is our go-to when we arrive late on a friday night.

    2. I spent last weekend digging up the garden in preparation for our raised beds and could barely walk this week from the soreness. i don’t know what ‘sifting’ is but i’m intrigued.

    3. made pancakes from scratch two weeks for the first time as well, inspired by Molly Wizenberg’s post on waffles – you, too? I went with the Joy of Cooking recipe.

    4. Dan’s diner looks pretty rad. we’ve driven by a million times but never went in.

    5. we are big CLC fans. can’t make it this year but look forward to hearing about it.

    Go NoCoCo!

  3. Toni May 27, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    Eggplant soup is definitely different sounding, but that’s what appeals to me. Plus, I’ve never made anything that you’ve posted that I didn’t like.

    I’ve had to grow my tomatoes in pots, so I don’t understand the whole sifting thing. We never sifted our compost in New Mexico, either. We just used it as is. We figured anything organic added to that hard clay would be a good addition.

    And finally, I would say that they were probably the best pancakes in the world. Made from scratch always tastes better, even without aerobic sifting!

  4. ann May 28, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    Emily — Thank you! That’s so nice :-)

    Heather — Go NoCoCo indeed!
    1. Man I wish we could make it into town in time on Friday nights for anything to still be open! I always eat in the car.
    2. Sifting. I made a sifter out of an old elfa drawer (from Container Store) lined in mesh so that we can sift out all of the rocks and roots and stuff. Unfortunately it also sifts out the worms, so we’ve taken to putting them back into the dirt by hand. I’ll post pictures this weekend or Monday. It’s pretty dramatic.
    3. You know, maybe it was Molly’s post. I can’t quite remember what the nexus was, just that I was obsessed and needed pancakes! Which brings us to …
    4. We actually went to Dan’s to get me pancakes not knowing they only served brekkie until 11am
    5. Did you see CLC is doing a farm-to-table dinner in July at Katchkie Farms? We’re definitely going to go if we can get tix. Let me know if you guys go, too.

    Toni — I bet you will love Eggplant Soup. It is definitely up your alley! We’re sifting the soil for the tomatoes to get roots and rocks out. Their bed has been reclaimed from lawn, so it’s pretty rough and tumble. I sifted the compost b/c there were still lots of chunks in it of stuff that hadn’t composted yet. I’ve read that if you leave chunks in the compost it can actually tie up a lot of the nitrogen that should otherwise be usable for the plants. So I sift the chunks out and plop them back onto the pile to finish up. Plus it’s great exercise :-)

    • Lucy June 3, 2010 at 12:42 am #

      Nice to hear your update! Good luck with the tomato plants. I cross my fingers every week that everything will still be alive the next weekend. It will be worth it in the end.

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