Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shannon Houlihan: Using All Those Chives!

When I was a little kid, Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent at my grandparent’s house. The one memory that is crystal clear (other than opening presents part) was celery stuffed with cream cheese. My grandmother would make a platter or two, and it was my job to run around carrying said platter and offer it to the adults who were hanging around waiting for dinner to be done.

The reason I mention this is not to talk about holiday meals in the middle of May, or the delights of stuffed celery, but rather because on top of that celery were tiny tasteless dried green specks. These were chives. Freeze-dried and shaken out of a spice bottle, utterly devoid of flavor, they weren’t anything to write home about. Chives, by the time I was toddling around in the 1970’s were firmly entrenched in popular culture, along with paprika and curly parsley, as food stuffs that were “strictly for looks”. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Recipe Day!

Having conquered, or at least challenged, a fair number bars (80, to be exact) within an hour-and-a-half’s travel, most that remain involve overnight trips and both exhausting and exhaustive pub crawls. We have arrived at the beginning of the selection process as we continue the final push for finding the 46 best bars inside the Blue Line. For those of you who have recently begun following our bar reviews, there is indeed a purpose. Our goal is to find the 46 “High Peaks” from among the pubs and taverns located inside the Adirondack Park, as well as 46 Adirondack-themed cocktails for inclusion in our book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shannon Houlihan: Farm Fresh Eggs and Frittata

Adirondack Farm Fresh EggsTake a drive through any little town or along the back roads in the Adirondack Park and you are sure to encounter handmade signs bearing the words “FRESH EGGS HERE”. As people have become more interested in eating healthy locally-grown food, raising chickens for fresh eggs has exploded, and it is truly a welcome change to our food landscape.

I won’t launch into a diatribe here about the evils of factory-farm eggs, as I am sure most people are already aware of the horrific conditions in which large-scale producers keep their chickens, the nasty chemicals and antibiotics which these “farmers” use and the incredibly detrimental effects large-scale farming has on our environment. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Small Scale Woodlot and Sugarbush Workshop

Many maple producers and woodlot owners want or need to be more active in promoting good growth of trees in their woodlot. Learn how to manage your trees for better production and safety.

Cornell University Cooperative Extension in partnership with NYS Maple Producers Association, and the NY Forest Owners Association to host a small-scale woodlot and sugarbush management workshop on May 17, 2012 at the Valley Road Maple Farm in Thurman, NY.

For more information and registration details, contact, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Warren County at 623-3291.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Essex Inn, Essex

The town of Essex has a coastal New England charm, from the centuries old brick homes and diagonal street parking, to the waterfront buildings in colors to rival the Atlantic coast. The Essex Inn, grand in comparative scale to the federal and Greek revival style architecture that defines the hamlet, is the centerpiece of Essex. With a full-length front porch, imposing white columns and freshly painted yellow siding, the Essex Inn’s cheerful facade is warm and inviting.

Management of the 200-year-old Essex Inn was undertaken by Gladys and Josh Archer in 2010 after it was meticulously renovated and restored in a year-and-a-half-long process by Rick and Karen Dalton, who initially purchased it to house the College for Every Student (CFES) organization. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Adirondack Foods: Violet Jelly

Violet JellyLast Saturday we decided to make a stop at our friend and local young farmer Jack Leggett’s place to pick up some fresh eggs. Got myself a dozen beautiful brown speckled free range chicken eggs, and stayed for a bit to chat with Jack and his friends about our upcoming project, a half dozen piglets arriving in June.

As the guys stood there and debated the relative merits and disadvantages of various styles of sties (pigsties, that is), I was looking around, soaking up the bucolic environment. In other words, staring at my feet. Mid-stare, something caught my eye. Violets. There were violets everywhere! Parts of his sweeping front yard lawn were a carpet of the little purple flowers. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Shannon Houlihan: Using All That Maple Syrup

Adirondack Maple SyrupSince I have taken up the business of growing, canning, and preparing all kinds of food from scratch, I have found that life becomes hectic at certain times of the year. Summertime is just mayhem, with berries and summer fruits demanding attention, as well as the garden crops coming in.

In the fall there is pork and venison sausage making, and apples – we spend several weeks brewing hard cider every year. That’s followed by the fermented goods (sauerkraut, kimchi, and the like).

Then the holiday season comes, with its cookies, pies and feasting, followed shortly thereafter by citrus fruits which just scream “I need to be a marmalade!”. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Food Contributor Shannon Houlihan

Food Writer Shannon Houlihan Please join us in welcoming our newest contributor here at the Almanack, Shannon Houlihan. Shannon’s family was among the first settlers of a wide stretch of the Adirondacks from Warrensburg through Brant Lake and Bolton, and across Lake George to Hulett’s Landing. Shannon grew-up a city girl in Schenectady, but over the past 20 years she’s been exploring foods from all over the world. Her return to the Adirondacks 10 years ago sparked a new interest in raising and eating local foods from local gardens, forests, and waters.

Anyone who knows Shannon will tell you she’s an amazing kitchen raconteur and culinarian. I will tell you, (and I should know, Shannon and I have been together for 18 years) that she’s also an inventive cook without the pretense so common in today’s foodies. Her stock and trade is locally sourced foods using fresh ingredients, made from scratch. She makes the kind of food we all eat, but with an astoundingly fresh creativity, and an abiding interest in easily found local foods. Shannon is also a Warren County long-term care visiting nurse whose work brings her into contact with the food traditions of the old-timers she cares for – she’ll also be sharing some of those.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Adirondack Philosophy: The Landscape of Memory

My friend and I walked down a trail at the end of the afternoon, mindful that this day soon would slip from the present into memory. We had spent the last several hours on the side of a hill looking more often out at the Adirondacks in the distance, than at the near landscape where we whiled away.

In retrospect this was fitting since most of our recollections, all of our shared stories at least, had settled years ago between the rise of those mountains and the fall of their valleys. And here we were, older and perhaps better though surely in other ways lesser, versions of ourselves. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Adirondack Insects: Ants

Prior to the start of black fly season, and continuing for several weeks after the swarms of those tiny, biting demons have faded, there is another insect onslaught that impacts numerous people throughout the Adirondacks. Shortly after the soil has thawed in spring, ants begin to invade the living space of humans, especially kitchens and dining areas where bits of food are readily available.

Since there are so many types and species of ants in the North Country, it is impossible to say what kind of ant is appearing around countertops, near pantry closets, in garbage containers, and under tables where morsels of edibles lie undisturbed on the floor. However, it is easy to state that numerous ants readily welcome themselves indoors, as long as there is something worthwhile for them to collect and transport back to their colony. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Upcoming Workshops at The Battenkill Kitchen

Are you a farmer who has extra product year in the field or hanging on trees each growing season and want to maximize your businesses income by processing the product in to a value added product? Do you have a special recipe everyone tells you should bottle and sell? Food manufacturers, small-scale processors of specialty foods, and farmers interested in value added processing or any one interested in starting a small-scale food manufacturing business may want to attend these upcoming workshops.

On Friday, May 18, the Recipe to Market workshop will be held at 9:30 am. to 3:30 pm at Proudfit Hall on Route 22 in Salem, Washington County. The workshop will provide future food entrepreneurs with knowledge of critical issues needing consideration before launching a food manufacturing business. Participants will obtain a good grounding in food business basics, and a road map pointing to where you need to go before launching that business. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Native Foods: Adirondack Ramps

Following the maple run, ramps – also known as wild leeks – are one of the first harvests available from the our north country earth. Using a serving spoon or just your fingers, you can easily and gently loosen the bulb and roots from a ramp cluster in rich (and usually moist) forest soil.

You’ll find bright-green aromatic leaves around 4 to 6 inches high that look like those from a lily of the valley, as it’s of the lily family. Be careful not to remove an entire cluster, as you want the ramps to rejuvenate the following year. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Annette Nielsen: Wrapping up Winter Cooking

Every year since I’ve met my husband (that would be 19 years ago), I’ve prepared cassoulet. It’s a winter or cold weather dish. It’s heavy, filled with cannellini beans, pork, lamb, duck confit (duck cooked and preserved in duck fat), duck stock, herbs and garlic. It’s a great dish to eat when the winds are howling, the last blizzard of the season is in the making, and you’re still stoking the fire in the fireplace or woodstove.

Typically, I prepare this dinner at the end of March or the beginning of April. The origin of this dish is from the Toulouse-region of France, and I first tasted it when I worked for a Manhattan caterer. Our office manager had requested the chef make this dish for her birthday lunch. At first, I didn’t understand what the big deal was about a casserole of pork and beans. So while you may not want to engage in such a lengthy preparation, I think it’s worth the effort. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Forest to Fields: Champlain Valley Agriculture History

A short booklet, From Forest to Fields: A History of Agriculture in new York’s Champlain Valley published by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Essex County and the Lake to Locks Passage Scenic Byway highlights the rich history of the Champlain Valley with a focus on the region’s farms and fields.

From Forests to Fields is authored by Anita Deming, who has more than 30 years experience as an agricultural extension agent with CCE, and Andrew Alberti, Program Manager for Lakes to Locks Passage since 2008 (where he focuses on 21st century technology applications and local and regional interpretation and planning). Alberti is also editor for the Lakes to Locks Passage and National Geographic Geotourism website. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Mindful Carnivore: Veganism to Hunting

In The Mindful Carnivore (Pegasus Books, 2012), Tovar Cerulli traces the evolution of his dietary philosophy from veganism to hunting. As a boy, Cerulli spent his summers fishing for trout and hunting bullfrogs. While still in high school, he began to experiment with vegetarianism. By the age of twenty he was a vegan. A decade later, in the face of declining health, he returned to omnivory and within a few years found himself heading into the woods, rifle in hand.

Through his personal quest, Cerulli bridges these disparate worldviews and questions moral certainties. Are fishing and hunting barbaric, murderous anachronisms? Or can they be respectful ways for humans to connect with nature (and their food)? How harmless is vegetarianism? Can hunters and vegetarians be motivated by similar values and instincts? » Continue Reading.


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