A new era of alcoholic beverage production is dawning in the Adirondacks. You can drink locally-brewed beer from any one of several micro-breweries, or imbibe vodka distilled from potatoes grown in Gabriels and filtered through the high-quality quartz crystals known as Herkimer diamonds. “Drinking local” has a long tradition within the Blue Line. Today, let’s consider the honorable history of Adirondack beer. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’
A new edition of the trail and camp food classic The Hungry Hiker’s Book of Good Cooking by Gretchen McHugh has been published by McHugh’s husband John Sullivan of Chestertown. Hungry Hiker was first published in 1982 by Alfred A. Knopf, who assigned Judith Jones its editor (Jones was also editor for Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and before that The Diary of Anne Frank). The book was in Knopf’s catalog for 25 years. It sold 50,000 copies in 13 printings, inspired multitudes of back-country meals, and many imitators.
“When Knopf dropped the book in 2007, we started making plans to revise and republish it,” John Sullivan told me recently (he’s a neighbor, across the valley on Kipp Mountain). “We were barely under way when Gretchen was diagnosed with Frontal-Temporal Dementia.” She moved to a nursing home last spring and John decided to go ahead with the new edition in time for its 30th anniversary. A new generation of readers, now schooled in the kind of 1970s self-sufficiency that served as background to this classic when it was published, will be glad he did. » Continue Reading.
After years of kitchen drudgery and dishpan hands, all of a sudden everyone wants us to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. Provided, of course, WE BRING THE DRINKS! Pammy’s no Julia Child but she can do a throwdown cocktail that’ll make Bobby Flay take notice! Creativity is all you need to shake up the traditional feast. Just keep the menu in mind. Compatibility with the flavors of the meal is important. Compatibility with family members or other guests is something we’re not qualified to help you with, but a few tasty beverages might not hurt.
We’re not sure how it goes at your house, but we always have a plethora of snacks and appetizers, serving no other purpose than to keep the hungry guests from whining and the kids out of the kitchen. The unfortunate result, once dinner is ready, is a roomful of gluttonous guests too stuffed to engage in the carnage that is Thanksgiving Dinner!
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With Thanksgiving looming on the horizon, my thoughts the past few days have been centered on my favorite part of the holiday preparations- pie making. I’ll admit, I can spend hours upon hours in the “pie zone”- slowly but carefully making the pastry, rolling it out, crimping the edges and then finally filling the pie and baking it up.
There is just something that is so satisfying about baking a pie from scratch. The taste and flavor of a homemade pie are one bonus, but I think the best part is taking the pie out of the oven and beholding the beautiful creation you have spent hours making. » Continue Reading.
This past spring I was making the rounds of some local garage sales when I stumbled on a great find- a barrel meat smoker in pristine condition for only 20 bucks. This particular smoker is a really basic, just a metal barrel with three racks, a pan for water to keep the meat tender, and an electric element at the bottom on top of which you place the wood chips.
Serious barbeque enthusiasts out there would probably scoff at my little smoker, but given the the dirt cheap price and the fact that I had never smoked anything in my life, I figured it was a good way to get started. I followed this purchase by buying a copy of The Joy of Smoking and Salt Curing by Monte Burch. If you have any interest in tackling the art of smoking meat and fish, I highly recommend this little book. The instructions are very clear and concise, and it covers all the most basic points of the science of meat preservation.
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Last weekend I stopped in at a little roadside vegetable stand down the road. I was hoping to get a couple of end-of-season bushels of tomatoes to can for this winter’s tomato sauce. Unfortunately, I was a little too late for the larger saucing tomatoes. Luckily, there were still a few long rows full of cherry tomatoes on their last legs – and free for the gleaning!
Thirty minutes later I walked away with a bushel of beautiful red cherry tomatoes. After the excitement of having acquired so many tomatoes for free wore off, I was suddenly struck with the cold, hard reality of a full bushel of cherries needing to be used quickly. » Continue Reading.
Fourteen volunteers bravely responded to the first drink tasting at Pammy’s Pub, official drink lab of Happy Hour in the High Peaks. Representing a broad age range, from 21 to 70, equal numbers of male and female participants* were asked to rate five different samples of beverages for possible inclusion in our book.
More primate than lab rat, these subjects, when let out of their cages, exhibited animated enthusiasm rather than fear and complacency. Male respondents were observed to be less inclined to consume fruity or complicated beverages, while females participated in all trials. We’re not quite willing to share the formulas for each trial, but will try to convey the overall theme with a description of our intended impression. » Continue Reading.
For the past few weeks I just simply have not been in the mood for cooking. It has been hot and sunny, and sitting in the kitchen and standing over a stove – much less turning on the oven - holds about zero appeal. A lot of salads have been hitting the table, as we’ve had a bumper crop of lettuce this year. Herbs have also been plentiful, which makes for fun experimentation with different types of dressings.
Mostly I have been spending a lot of time outdoors with friends and family, bringing along a variety of Oscar’s ready-made salads, smoked meats and cheeses for picnicking. Ready-made has held a lot more appeal than actually whipping up my own potato salad or barbeque after a long hard day of relaxing. » Continue Reading.
Ever notice that during the period of May through mid-June there is a blitz of food articles, expounding upon the wonders the rhubarb? These stories make plentiful use of words like “abundant” “grandmother” “delightful” and “cherry red”. Words like this about a food make me feel pretty excited. Particularly when the food in question practically grows wild all around me. So I was pretty excited to really dive right into some rhubarby adventures this year. » Continue Reading.
For hard core backpackers pack weight is a serious game, especially in challenging and endurance-taxing terrain like the Adirondacks. Every pound you take on the trail is additional effort. Every extra handful of ounces somehow magnifies the inevitable crushing drain on personal will that, after an extended day with miles yet to go, can cause you to feel as Jacob Marley must have, shambling on through eternity.
For some, saving weight elevates to a competitive and expensive sport, with ultra-light this and featherweight that. Lemme tell you, that gear costs. For the most extreme disciples of light-weight backpacking the quest becomes quasi-religious (and I can arguably drop the “quasi” part). I’ve known people to cut down pencils to save a tenth of an ounce.
We all join the faithful at one time or another: who among we Adirondack hikers has not at least once felt a surge of joy and self-congratulatory satisfaction all out of keeping with the situation when we drained our last water, feeling and hearing our bottles jiggling around oh-so empty, oh-so mercifully airy? “Ha! I’m light now, thank God,” we say to ourselves. » Continue Reading.
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.
Take 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.
Since 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.
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.
Editor’s Note: This will be Annette’s last post here at Adirondack Almanack. She’s headed with her family to Washington, DC where she’s taken a job at a community newspaper. We wish her all the best in her new adventures.
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.
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.
Fourth generation Adirondacker Nancy Pulling Best has written a short book of Adirondack food stories and recipes. Learning to Cook Adirondack recalls the friends and family who taught her to cook and bake. This little book is a treasure of nearly 50 local recipes with profiles of the men and women who contributed them from around the Old Forge region.
Nancy Pulling Best will lead a free lecture on Sunday, March 11, 2012 at View from 1-3 pm at 3273 State Route 28 in Old Forge. Participants will sample recipes from her new cookbook and signed copies will be available for purchase. Call 315.369.6411 for more information or visit www.viewarts.org.
The book can also be purchased online at nancydidit.com in addition to Adirondack book stores.
Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.
Georgia Pellegrini isn’t the typical image of a hunter. She was once more accustomed to martini on Wall Street than a back woods duck hunt, but after a stint at Wellesley and Harvard she enrolled in the French Culinary Institute and discovered a love for local, sustainable, farm to table cuisine that led her down an unexpected path.
While cooking with top chefs at Blue Hill at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York, Pellegrini was sent outside to kill five turkeys for that night’s dinner. Suddenly face-to-face with the meat she was preparing, she says she was forced to reevaluate her relationship with food. The result is Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time (Da Capo Press, 2011).
The book chronicles Pellegrini’s evolution from buying plastic-wrapped meat at a supermarket to killing a wild boar with a .22-250 caliber rifle, a journey, she says, toward understanding not only where our food comes from, but what kind of life it lived before it reached the table. » Continue Reading.
Like many others in the Adirondacks, I grew up with venison incorporated into many meals. In sausage form, we had it prepared with peppers, the ground version made meat sauce for spaghetti, steaks were cooked on the grill no matter the time of year, and various cubed cuts made kebobs, sauerbraten and various stews. As a child, I can remember trading half of my daily peanut butter and jelly sandwich for half of a friend’s venison sandwich.
As I slipped into adulthood and urban living, I found that many of my friends weren’t sold on the idea of eating game of any sort – even found the idea foreign. While at that point, I realized that I didn’t know anyone in these circles who had grown up with family members that hunted, I also realized that part of the reason my family enjoyed so much venison throughout the year was because of the positive impact it had on the weekly grocery bill. » Continue Reading.
Every year over the last decade, I’ve compiled a list of cookbooks or food-focused books for holiday gift-giving. This past holiday season, ‘Ancient Grains for Modern Meals’ by Maria Speck was one of my favorites (subsequently listed as the Washington Post’s 2011 Top Ten, as well as the New York Times’ 2011 notable cookbooks) – a real gem of a cookbook. While many might think of cooking with grains as a healthful focus, Speck tempts us to try her rustic and creative recipes because of exquisite flavor and taste.
Those in the upstate New York region are lucky to be able to meet Speck in person and take a cooking class with her on Saturday, January 28th at the Battenkill Kitchen in Salem, New York. Speck will teach a hands-on cooking class inspired by her best-selling cookbook (for further information visit www.battenkillkitchen.org or call 518.854.3032; email at firstname.lastname@example.org). » Continue Reading.