Sunday, December 28, 2014

Forest Products: Wood, Whiskey and Wine

Wood Whiskey WineBarrels – we rarely acknowledge their importance, but without them we would be missing out on some of the world’s finest beverages – most notably whiskies and wines – and of course for over two thousand years they’ve been used to store, transport, and age an incredibly diverse array of provisions around the globe.

In the new wide-ranging book Wood, Whiskey and Wine (Reaktion, 2014), Henry Work tells the intriguing story of the significant and ever-evolving role wooden barrels have played during the last two millennia, revealing how the history of the barrel parallels that of technology at large. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Stock Up: Local Vegetables in Soups and Stews

winter vegetablesCookie baking season is here, but before I bring out the sugar and butter, I’m going to cook up some healthy soups and stews for the freezer. My garden potatoes are starting to sprout so I plan to make a potato soup using my own onions and garlic, as well as the corn I froze in September.

I’m busy, so I like to make a big batch of soup or stew and then freeze it in pint-sized canning jars to get a lot of meals out of the one effort. These single-serving sizes are easy to grab on my way out the door in the morning and then heat in the microwave for a warm lunch at work. » Continue Reading.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

High Peaks Happy Hour: BARRED!

IMG_9512“You’ve been Barred!” – the dread phrase contestants at the first ever BARRED! Bartender Challenge did not want to hear. Twelve bartenders from near and far showcased their talents at Basil & Wick’s in North Creek on November 15, hoping to bring trophy and bragging rights back to their bar.

The best ideas are often born when least expected. A casual Happy Hour in the High Peaks board meeting agenda listed the question: Can we do something interactive with an upcoming book reading gig? Whether through inspiration or by blatant theft, we were not surprised when the concept of a Chopped style competition materialized. Based on the Food Network’s popular reality series in which chefs are given a mystery basket of ingredients that they must incorporate into a finished dish, BARRED! would do the same with cocktails. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Supporting Food Pantries: The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

IMG_7718We have taken our family to the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train since my children were little tykes. Not only is the event a fun way to dance off that Thanksgiving meal, it is a community-wide opportunity to give back.

It is always important for my kids to remember while making that second turkey sandwich; some families may not have had enough food for firsts.

Since 1999 the Holiday Train has offered free concerts and a festively decorated train to help raise food and cash donations to local food banks. This year Tracey Brown, formerly of award winning country bank The Family Brown, has taken on the US section of the tour. Each stop is about 45-minutes where communities can put on their own unique twist. » Continue Reading.

Monday, November 24, 2014

This Thanksgiving Pass the Crickets

TOS_cricket_pieAs you put together a dinner plan for this Thanksgiving, perhaps you’re looking for something to add a little variety to the traditional holiday meal, or ways to eat healthy food while supporting good environmental practices. How about adding insects to the menu?

Along with crackers and cheese, grasshopper fritters make excellent appetizers. Or consider adding sautéed crickets and greens as a side to your potatoes, turkey, and gravy. What about cricket flour fruitcake instead of the typical pumpkin pie? » Continue Reading.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Homestead: The New Coop

The New CoopThe sound of the furnace startles me a little every time it fires up.  It sounds like a car pulling in the driveway or something like that, and I am still not quite used to the sound and commotion.  Not that it’s not welcome.  We’ve got about six inches of snow on the ground, not terrible, but it did seem kind of sudden.

Last week it was warm and nice out, and even though we know it’s inevitable, the snow just sort of seemed to come out of nowhere.  After moving an old set of tires into the garage and digging out and picking up a few other things that were out in the yard, I feel like our outside stuff is all set.  Except for the huge new chicken coop that is sitting in the middle of the driveway.  Audrey’s not all that happy about the current location of our new coop, and with the temperatures dropping, it would be nice to move the girls into the new coop. » Continue Reading.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Culinary Tradition Continues At Friends Lake Inn

Friends Lake Inn ChestertownOne of the more venerable establishments in the Adirondacks, Friends Lake Inn was built in the early 1860’s as a boarding house for workers in the local tannery.  Originally known as Murphy’s Friends Lake Inn, by the time of prohibition it was a summer retreat easily reached by horse-drawn carriage from the Glen Station on the Saratoga to North Creek rail line.

Like many local hotels and motels in the area Friends Lake Inn fell on hard times with the construction of the Northway (Interstate I-87) nearby and closed in 1969.  After 15 years Greg and Sharon Taylor purchased the building and transformed it into in the luxury country inn it remains today, with a focus on fine food and an exceptional wine cellar of more than 2,000 bottles from around the world.  Recently the Inn was purchased by John and Tammy Breymaier of Fredericksburg, Virginia who plan to modernize the guest rooms, and have already added local craft beers and new wines. » Continue Reading.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Adirondack Bartender Competition To Test Local Talent

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKim and Pam Ladd of Happy Hour in the High Peaks, along with Basil & Wick’s will present the BARRED Adirondack Bartender Competition on Saturday November 15, 2014 from 3 to 5 pm at Basil & Wick’s, 3195 Route 28 in North Creek.  The event is free and open to the public.

Based on the popular reality show “Chopped,” and representing regional bars, local bartenders will be given a mystery basket of ingredients and face off in a race to concoct award-winning creative cocktails.

Contestants will be judged based on style, originality, presentation and most importantly, taste. Local celebrity judges will determine the winners.
» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Donate That Excess Halloween Candy

IMG_4472Right now I have three oversized bags of candy hidden on a shelf in my kitchen, waiting to be opened on Halloween. I’m sure my children are thinking that they will be eating everything that remains after I pass out most of it to the waves of tiny princesses, goblins and super heroes on Friday night. My kids don’t get a lot of candy, but they aren’t feeling neglected either. I’ve always asked my kids to divide their candy into a pile to keep and a pile to give away.

I understand the logic that there is no such thing as “leftover candy.” I do think there is something as too much. I also understand that Halloween candy seems to have an infinite shelf life. Even though every event doesn’t have to be a lesson, I feel that when my children are faced with an obscene amount of treats, it is exactly the time to make sure something is given back. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

High Peaks Happy Hour: Trashed & Treasure

WLGS2014 sofaHappy Hour in the High Peaks was off the wagon (in a manner of speaking) as Warrensburg’s World’s Largest Garage Sale rolled into town. Rain or shine, good cheer follows wherever we go. This time it was in the form of a Radio Flyer Town & Country wagon, converted to a portable pub carrying a cargo of Garage Sale Punch. We will neither confirm nor deny its potency. Costermongers with innocent grins, we towed our little contraption from one end of town to the other and back again. Self-declared “Yard Sale Crashers”, we pursued the Garage Sale party. Despite our attempts to blend in, the three-gallon cooler jug and plastic cups aroused suspicions. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

North Country Junior Iron Chef Competition Planned

Super Chefs-ActionMy daughter has brought the same sandwich to school everyday since the 1st grade: turkey on 12-grain, with an occasional side salad. My son not only brings his lunch, but sometimes manages to eat a second school lunch. His school food isn’t the stereotypical cafeteria lunch however, but part of the Adirondack Farm to School Initiative that is making quality food while supporting local farms and local food.

The North Country Jr. Iron Chef competition is another resource that is bringing students and commercial cafeterias together in a fun, educational environment that mimics the television show “Iron Chef” with a local twist.

Inspired by Jr. Iron Chef VT, middle and high school students in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, create healthy recipes using a combination of local and USDA commodity foods that could be realistically prepared in a school cafeteria. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Garden Work Now Makes Spring Chores Easier

d2678-1.ARScomposttrial3005You might think that by mid-October in northern New York there would be little left to do in the garden. I don’t blame weary gardeners for wanting to take a break from tending to their plants and soil, but don’t put down that shovel quite yet.

During the growing season there’s a sense of urgency: pull that weed before it goes to seed, squash that bug before it lays any eggs, water that row before it wilts. In fall, that pressure of time has eased. Now it’s a matter of getting things done before the ground freezes, and that is still several weeks away. So it’s understandable for gardeners to want to escape from their chores and climb a mountain or hike a trail while the fall color is so gorgeous. That’s wonderful, but save a little energy for your garden, too. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Essex County Cheese Tour Offers Local Dairy Treats

asgaardfarm_newI’ve made my own yogurt for years and recently started experimenting with fermented food. I’m now struggling to produce Kefir without a grainy taste.

I just can’t seem to get the balance right. With a cupboard full of sourdough starter and ginger beer plant grains, my pantry looks like a science experiment.

With everything else bubbling and brewing, the one product I have no desire to make is cheese. » Continue Reading.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Laurie Davis: 2014 Farm Bill Funding

adirondack harvest logoEvery 5 years the United States reviews and signs into law a new Farm Bill. We were due for a new bill starting in 2012, but it took until this past February for Congress to sort through what didn’t work in the past, add new things for the future, and generally agree enough on everything to have the President sign the bill into law.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a column about the intricacies of government legislation, but the Farm Bill is something we all should pay attention to because it largely governs our food systems. I’ve always thought that it should be called the “Farm and Food Bill” – then maybe we would take more of an interest. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Laurie Davis: The Farm Bill, Local Foods, And You

adirondack harvest logoIt’s been a few months now since President Obama signed into law the Agricultural Act of 2014. You probably remember hearing about it under another name: the (long overdue) Farm Bill. There was much hoopla in the press when, after a delay of over a year, it finally became a law. OK, I can sense your eyes glazing over or darting to the next article. But wait! Just bear with me.

The Farm Bill (as we shall refer to it from here on out) is chock full of some good news for the local food movement and, whether or not you realize it, many parts of this legislation will affect you. I’m going to break this article up into two parts to address all the positives that will be supported by this Farm Bill, so let’s begin part 1! » Continue Reading.

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