Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Annette Nielsen: A Roasted Squash Bisque

For most of us, the growing season is fairly defined by months benefiting from late spring to early autumn sun, unless we have a green house set up for year-round growing. So for vegetables and fruits, we might can, freeze or dry them to use during the winter, or store varieties like winter squash in an appropriate cool and dry place, keeping them fresh for many months. After reading Peter Brinckley’s recent piece on the Adirondack brand, I started to think more about how we cook here, and what the flavors taste like sourced near home.

During the winter, our meals are often marked by stews and soups, using various cuts of meat and vegetables that benefit from slow cooking. I could probably make a soup a day during the winter, content to enjoy the slow-simmering aromatics on the stove. Sourcing from my pantry instead of my garden, I typically prepare soups with dry beans, grains and also root vegetables and squashes. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: 2011 Annual Report

What began as an offhanded remark while on a Tennessee road trip has culminated in our quest for the best bars in the Adirondack Park.

Pam innocently inquired whether the Adirondack mudslide, her own creation, actually already existed. Kim, chief navigator, fact-finder and Google junkie, immediately launched a search. When her query yielded no valid results, we began the crusade to put it on the map, so to speak. Before we reached our destination, the idea had grown from one tasty cocktail to a year-long (and continuing indefinitely) pub crawl. Happy Hour in the High Peaks was born. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Spirited Adirondack New Year Beverages

Often you’ll find bartenders creating inspired cocktails – using seasonal ingredients, herbs from the garden, and from-scratch syrups that range from the simple sugar to berry purees – usually a nice complement to the restaurant’s menu offerings.

While this isn’t a post to encourage drinking, it is one to think about flavors we associate with the region and the season – like cider, maple, cinnamon, nutmeg – in the form of beverages, non-alcoholic and hi-test, warmed or refreshingly cold.

A raised glass to all Adirondack Almanack readers and safe travels – and many thanks to our designated drivers! » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 26, 2011

BurkeBeaner Coffee to Benefit Dewey Mountain

Home on holiday break from the World Cup circuit, Olympic biathlete Tim Burke has launched a limited-edition coffee with the Adirondack Bean-To. Proceeds from each bag of BurkeBeaner Hammer Roast sold this ski season will be donated to the campaign to build a new lodge at Dewey Mountain, where Burke learned to cross-country-ski race as a kid.

Burke went on to compete in two Olympics and to become the first American to lead the biathlon World Cup, in 2009.

“I support Dewey because of all the great opportunities it provided me,” Burke said. “This was the place I could come not only to ski but to be with friends, meet new people and live a healthy, active lifestyle. That was important to my childhood, and I’d like other kids to have that opportunity as well.” » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Adirondacks Waited Decades for Mercury Limits

It was immensely satisfying to watch EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson announce today that power-plant mercury emissions will be reduced 90 percent.

We in the Adirondacks have waited more than two decades for this. You would think limiting a toxin such as mercury, which harms the nervous systems of children exposed in the womb, would not be subject to protracted debate. But coal- and oil-fired power plants resisted the regulation shamelessly for decades.
» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Friends Lake Inn, Chestertown

We pulled into the gravel parking lot on this sunny winter Saturday, not sure what to expect from the Wine Bar at Friends Lake Inn. The first sight to greet us was a stream tumbling gently over rocks just outside a tiny structure we later learned was the sauna. A tiny footbridge traversed the waterfall where the stream began a steeper descent. Approaching the main building, screened balconies and seven gabled dormers emerging from the cedar shake roof of the inn’s modest grey clapboard exterior, we were greeted by one of the inn’s arriving employees who entered with us and pointed the way to the bar. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Local Food: An Inspired Adirondack Holiday

Holiday gift giving offers many opportunities to support locally owned and run businesses – maybe tickets to a show or an annual membership to your local arts organization, a contribution to your local library in someone’s name, public radio station, or even a subscription to a regional publication. A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share works here, too, in that your local farmer benefits as well as the receiver. In addition, you might need some last minute ideas for the teacher, mail delivery person, or the relative on your gift list who seems to have everything. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Annette Nielsen: Lofty Thanksgiving Leftovers

Tamar Adler’s op ed piece in the New York Times last week struck a chord – eating like we eat during Thanksgiving all year round: “Thanksgiving Thrift: The Holiday as a Model for Sustainable Cooking” (November 22, 2011). Her premise is simple – we prepare a nice holiday dinner (typically with lots of leftovers), and spend many days eating and recreating turkey and many side dishes, ‘shopping’ our refrigerator for breakfast, lunch and dinner options.

So while we’re inspired on Thanksgiving, as well as other upcoming holidays, to eat with enthusiasm from our leftovers, we can use that mindset throughout the year – each week, in fact, if we’re creative. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Local Food: Adirondack Cranberry Compote

While most people associate Massachusetts as cranberry bog haven, wild cranberries can be found on low-lying bushes throughout the Adirondacks up through to Canada near streams and ponds. Harvested in the fall, this vibrant fruit is a rich source of vitamin C and a welcome staple at many holiday tables.

Native Americans were probably the first in our region to use cranberries as food, especially in their preparation of high-energy pemmican, made by drying a mixture of venison (or other meats) and fruit. Now, we not only see cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, but bake with the fruit, adding them to cakes or muffins, and snack on the dried, sweetened variety. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Third Adirondack Youth Climate Summit This Week

As preparations for the third Adirondack Youth Climate Summit, on November 9th and 10th, are reaching a crescendo, science centers around the country and the world are in touch with The Wild Center in Tupper Lake to talk about using the Youth Summit model to create a shared summit platform that would allow students in different locations to share ideas and successes. The Summit will bring together more than 170 participants from 30 high schools and colleges across the Adirondacks and ultimately effect more than 25,000 students.

The Summit is the only one of its kind in the country and has already led to financial savings and shifts in mindsets across the Park. Students who participated last year returned to their schools implementing change – creating school gardens to provide food for their cafeterias, expanding recycling and composting programs, replacing power strips with energy smart strips, examining energy saving opportunities by conducting carbon audits for their schools and presenting to school boards about their activities and financial savings. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Adirondack Kale: Last Vegetable Standing

Each winter, I start perusing the seed catalogs, dreaming about what will be planted when the snow recedes and the sunlight lingers longer. While I’ve planted kale over the past few seasons, this year I strayed from my favorite Tuscan or ‘dinosauer’ kale and put in some lovely Russian Red kale. I’ve been using the harvest throughout the summer and fall, adding to fresh vegetable soups, sauteed with garlic and other leafy greens as a nutritious side, and sometimes added raw to a vibrant garden salad. The warm weather gave me a bounty, but kales, in general, end up being the most flavorful and tender during the colder months.

And then the snow. Luckily, most of the garden had been put to bed, but there were plenty of hardy greens remaining, curly leaves and light purple stems holding up clumps of white slushy stuff. I rescued more than a few bunches this past weekend prior to the next snowy onslaught and heavy frost, and decided to use a portion making ‘chips’ — brought along to a dinner party hosted by our friends Charlie Burd and Suvir Saran. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Adirondack Nuts: The Time for Beechnuts

For many Adirondack trees and shrubs, this past growing season was exceptional, as is evident by the quantity of fruits and seeds which our woody plants have produced. While many of these reproductive vessels have already matured and fallen to the ground, a few like the nuts of the beech have only recently finished ripening and are being shaken loose from their twigs by the winds that occur around the opening of deer season.

Beech is one of the most common components in stands of mature hardwoods across northern New York, especially in our wilderness regions. While the buds and bark of this stately looking tree are avoided by nearly all forms of wildlife, the small, 3-sided nuts that it yields in October are among the most nutritious wild edibles produced in our forests. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Summer’s Last Gasp: All Those Tomatoes

Each year for close to three decades, I’ve canned tomatoes. Even while living in a fifth floor walk-up in Manhattan (without air conditioning), I’d hop the subway down to the Union Square farmers’ market and load up with about 40 pounds of tomatoes and huge bunches of basil. My subway ride back to my apartment was pleasantly aromatic during those hot August days – more than can be said for my trip out to market.

I’d ‘put up’ many jars of cooked tomatoes, sauce, and puree, and this process always signaled the easing into summer’s end. The benefit of this heat-filled project has always been the bright red-orange glass jars sitting on the pantry shelves, especially during a bleak day in February, when it feels as if the summer sun ran away for good. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Absolutely Adirondack Apple Season

Pairing a crisp autumn day with the first crunch of a freshly-picked apple is my idea of perfection. During my teen years good times with friends might include a drive up from Van Nostrand’s Orchard in Mayfield (now Lake View Orchards, 518.661.5017), munching on crisp and sweet Macs while taking in the foliage.

While the rain of the past weekend dampened my enthusiasm to go out apple picking, I was invited to be a judge at the Cambridge Valley Apple Pie Bake-Off at the Cambridge Hotel, said to be the home of pie à la mode. The cast of judges included the hotel’s own Chef Rich, Sara Kelly as representative of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, Sally King, a decades-long baker and former owner of the King Bakery in Cambridge, and Chloe, an 11 year-old pie aficionado. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Almanack Welcomes Local Food Writer Annette Nielsen

Please join us in welcoming our newest contributor to Adirondack Almanack, Annette Nielsen. Nielsen is a noted local food writer, editor, community organizer and activist on behalf of regional agriculture. She recently edited Northern Comfort and Northern Bounty, two seasonally-based cookbooks for Adirondack Life.

A native of Northville, (she now lives in Salem, Washington County with her husband and son), Nielsen will be writing about Adirondack foodie culture with an eye toward locally sourced foods from forest, orchard, and farm. Her first post will run shortly. Annette Nielsen can be reached on Twitter and Facebook.


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