ITHACA FARMERS MARKET

 

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Waid’s Honey and Candles

 

The Ithaca Farmers Market is in full swing! It’s a true feast for all the senses: beautiful kaleidoscopes of tulips and lilacs, wonderful sounds of laughter and music and exotic smells from all the world’s best street food. The competing aromas beckon you to their stalls, and you are left with grueling choices to make. The first vegetable crops are sold in wonderful displays: baby lettuce, spinach and other greens. Wineries and cheese makers, jam and honey vendors proudly display their wares and offer samples. And foods from Cuba, Tibet, Nepal, Greece, South America, Japan, India and China, Thailand and Laos are a representation of the feasting on hand for hungry customers. Everyone has their favorites and many vendors attract long lines of repeat customers. Over the years I have many favorites and I’ll touch on just a few here. Some of the newer offerings such as French crepes and Greek Gyros looked and smelled wonderful and are quickly attracting loyal followers. If I need to sustain my weekly craving for healthy gourmet food I’ll wait in line at Macro Mamas. There you don’t need to make a choice. They’ll sell you a platter with all their salads and hot items loaded together. Many people (and I am one of them) bring containers to bring home Macro Mamas for the rest of the week. It’s worth the visit just to feast your eyes on the huge bowls of salad and the mile high cakes and luscious desserts. My recommendation is to bring some friends and buy an assortment of goodies to be eaten in communal picnic style. That way you can sample a variety of cuisines.

 Here are some of the highlights to try:

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Asparagus and Chives

      

 

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                      HERALDING THE BEGINNING OF SPRING CROPS!!!!!

 

Our first crops are ready to harvest!  Last night I made my first asparagus and chive meal of the season.  They compliment each other beautifully and so we had to choose between chive and asparagus omelet or pasta with chives and asparagus.  Both are simple to prepare and because I also had some mushrooms on hand I chose the pasta dish and threw in some mushrooms.  I checked what pasta we had on hand.  Fresh pasta is the best, but since we didn’t have any in the fridge, I used the campanelle instead.  I quickly cooked the freshly picked and cut up asparagus in some olive oil and butter:  frying them, and then adding some water to steam them for a few minutes.  I put the cooked asparagus aside to cook up the mushrooms.  (I’m hoping to make the same dish next week with morels but haven’t found any yet).  While the pasta cooked, I added the mushrooms and asparagus together in the frying pan with some cream and salt and pepper, cooked it up quickly and then added the cooked pasta.  Add the chopped chives, toss it all with loads of parmesan, asiago or romano cheese and you’ve got the first meal cooked with fresh spring crops.  I can’t wait for the beginning of June when Full Plate Farm Collective will start offering their CSA shares!!!

KEUKA WINE TRAIL EVENT

 

Alsatian Tart, Ravine’s Wine Cellars

(From Keuka Lake Food and Wine Tour Event:  REVIEWED BELOW)

 

 

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                          Alsatian Tart, Ravine’s Wine Cellars
 
 
 

The pastry is a lazy girl’s version of Julia Child’s butter pastry recipe
 Crust:

1 and ¾ sticks unsalted butter, diced and frozen
2 cups flour
1 t salt
½ cup ice water (more if needed)

Mix flour & salt in a food processor, add frozen butter and pulse 3 times.  Add ice water and turn on processor for approx. 7 seconds or when dough comes together as a clump on the blade.  Remove and separate into 2 flat balls, working quickly so butter stays cold.  Refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling.

Work quickly when rolling out the pastry so the butter stays cold and then put it back into the fridge until you are ready to fill it.

Filling:

3 cups chopped sweet onion
½ pound bacon, diced* see note
2 eggs
½ cup cream
½ cup Swiss or gruyere cheese* see note
3 sprigs fresh thyme ( leaves only)
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion until brown and sweet, season with s & p. and sauté bacon until crisp.  Let both cool and then sprinkle at the bottom of a tart pan.  Add grated cheese & thyme. Lastly, spoon on mixture of egg & cream seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme leaves.  Put into the oven immediately so the pastry stays cold until it hits the hot oven.  Bake at 450 degrees for appx. 20 mins.  It pairs nicely with Ravines Dry Riesling.  Lisa Hallgren, Ravines Wine CellarsCelia’s notes:

  • I used 6 slices of apple smoked bacon which I first cooked in strips, drained on a paper towel, and then cut into pieces. 
  • I used a fondue mix of gruyere and ementhaller which was already shredded.
  • I used a 9 inch removable rim tart pan and added ¼ cup of 1/ & ½ and some extra cheese to adequately fill the tart. You will have extra dough.
  • To make sure the bottom crust is cooked, place the pan on the bottom rack of the oven.
  • This tart is good, reheated the next day also. 

 

 

CHECK OUT THE WORLD TOUR OF FOOD AND WINE EVENT A

ON THE KEUKA WINE TRAIL 

Keuka Lake wineries are hosting a special “World Tour of Food and Wine” event for two weekends.  Last weekend we enjoyed the first round of this event and it was a great success.  If you missed it, you can still enjoy the same tour on the weekend of April 19th and 20th.  Nine wineries participate in this event and many have exceptional views of Keuka Lake which is probably the most picturesque of the winery lakes. 

 

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ABBY’S WILD MUSHROOM LASAGNA RECIPE

 

 

Many of us Ithaca old timers remember Abby’s, a restaurant in the Motor Vehicles Plaza that was run by Abby Nash from 1984 to 1990.   It was a sad day for Ithaca diners when Abby’s closed its doors because it was a consistently wonderful place to eat and we all had our favorites.  My favorite dish was Abby’s mushroom lasagna and I was lucky enough to run into Abby the other day. He was hosting a cooking demonstration of his mushroom lasagna.  This is the original recipe for his mushroom lasagna and it really is a delicacy.   It takes a lot of time to make and you need a pasta maker.  But it really is worth the effort.  Abby uses freshly grated parmesan, the highest quality he can find such as Reggiano.  If you want to truly appreciate the different grades of parmesan, set up a blind tasting.  My hands down favorite is the Reggiano. When selecting the variety of mushrooms,; the more exotic the types of mushroom, the better.  You can re-hydrate dry mushrooms such as porcini.  I also like to use porcini powder.  Morels, shitake, oyster, and chanterelles are a great mixture along with some regular brown mushrooms.     If you’ve never made homemade pasta with a pasta maker before, the important thing is not to have the dough be too wet.  Have flour on hand and when you put the sheets of dough through the pasta maker dust them first with flour if needed.  The dough should be smooth so if it gets rough or has holes or is sticky, it probably needs more flour.  Making pasta from scratch does take practice.  ABBY’S MUSHROOM LASAGNA  yield 6 med. servings  Continue Reading…

Wine and Food Pairing Dinner at Dano’s Heuriger – 4/20


Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca Spring Wine and Food Pairing Dinner
Celebrating New York Wine Month

 

Join Dano’s and David Pohl and Jason Wentworth
our guest Someliers from North Side Licquors in Ithaca for a themed dinner
” Austria and the Fingerlakes Meet on the Plate and In the Glass”
Sunday April 20 4:00
75.00 not including tax and gratuity

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Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding with Fudge Sauce

Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding with fudge sauce:  serves 8-10 people 

This is a great recipe that uses those really ripe bananas that are beginning to perfume the whole house. Next time you are on the verge of throwing out those brown bananas… don’t!  This is a really quick and easy recipe which can be adjusted easily to suit your wishes

 

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FOOD ART

     

 Carrot Rat

CARROT RAT 

    This is the site where you can send me links or pictures of art      creations.  I’m starting with this carrot that grew just as it is in this  picture.  I added the ears (parsnips) and the body (quince).  I also have a wonderful link to a site called:  “What Chefs do when they’re bored.”  Click on the link, scroll down and check out all the whimsical chef creations. 

JAPANESE NOODLE SOUP

Japanese Noodle Soup:  Serves 6   This soup is the ultimate comfort food.  If any of the ingredients are not on your “favorite food list”, you can omit them.  Once you have all the ingredients, this soup comes together easily and you only need a salad to have a wonderful meal.  It also has many healthy ingredients and can be entirely vegetarian if you use vegetable broth and omit the dashi.        

                                                                            Jpanese Noodle Soup

Ingredients                

 

   The dashi is in the center and the shichimi togarashi is to the right. *  Note about ingredients:  Dashi, wakame, napa cabbage, shichimi togarashi and edaname can all be purchased at Wegmans and other grocery stores with good Asian sections.  I have posted a picture of all these ingredients so you know what you’re looking for.  The edaname are often found in the frozen section in their pods.  But at the Asian grocers you can find them frozen and already out of the pods which is much more convenient.  The noodles are found fresh in the refrigerator section of the Asian grocery store but you can use any noodle that you’d like including dry noodles such as soba or even spaghetti.  FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THESE INGREDIENTS CLICK ON THE LINK AT THE LEFT SIDE OF THIS PAGE:  "FOOD THESAURUS"

[recipe difficiulty=”easy”]

Japanese Noodle Soup:  Serves 6

 

Ingredients: 

8 cups( 2-  32 ounce cartons) chicken or vegetable broth

3 tsp. instant dashi *

1 heaping Tbs. dried wakame (seaweed)*

5 dried shitake mushrooms

1 14 ounce block extra firm tofu, cut into one inch by one inch strips

1 small head napa cabbage, cut into slices*

5 scallions, chopped

1 16 oz. bag Pan fried noodle Hong Kong style or any dried noodle*

1 cup shelled edaname (soy beans)

1 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped

2 Tbs. miso

Shichimi Togarashi (red pepper and sesame seed spice blend)*

 Cooking Instructions

1.     Heat the broth to boiling in a large pot and add the dashi.

2.     Meanwhile, soak the mushrooms for 15 minutes in a bowl of ½ cup hot water placing a smaller bowl on top of the mushrooms, to make sure they are immersed.

3.     Soak the wakame also in a bowl of 1 cup hot water for 15 minutes. It will expand to about 1 cup.

4.     When the broth has come to a boil add the ginger, tofu,edamame and cabbage and simmer for 10-15 minutes until cabbage is just cooked.

5.     Once the mushrooms have soaked, slice them and add them to the broth along with the soaking liquid which has been strained of particles.  Also, add the reconstituted wakame which has been rinsed and coarsely chopped. Discard soaking liquid.

6.     Meanwhile, as the soup is cooking, either cook the noodles according to directions or, if you are using the pan fried noodles, fry them in a little oil and add ½ cup water and cover to allow them to steam for 5 minutes.  Then remove the lid and continue frying until lightly brown and crispy, stirring frequently. I do this in two batches.

7.     Mix the miso with a little hot broth until free of lumps and add to soup for the last 2 minutes of cooking.  Miso should not be boiled.

8.     To serve:  Ladle soup in a large bowls, sprinkle each serving with scallion and serve the noodles, and shichimi togarashi separately for people to serve themselves.

 

Feel free to use your culinary expression to add or omit any ingredients.  This is a very free form dish which you can tailor make to your taste.

 

 Note about ingredients:  Dashi, wakame, napa cabbage, shichimi togarashi and edaname can all be purchased at Wegmans and other grocery stores with good Asian sections.  I have posted a picture of all these ingredients so you know what you’re looking for.  The edaname are often found in the frozen section in their pods.  But at the Asian grocers you can find them frozen and already out of the pods which is much more convenient.  The noodles are found fresh in the refrigerator section of the Asian grocery store but you can use any noodle that you’d like including dry noodles such as soba or even spaghetti.  FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THESE INGREDIENTS CLICK ON THE LINK AT THE LEFT SIDE OF THIS PAGE:  "FOOD THESAURUS"

[/recipe]

 

 

 

A Great Gingerbread Recipe

Gingerbread has a homey and wonderful smell as it’s baking.  This recipe is from Bon Appetit May 2004 and it was passed on to me by my friend Meggin who loves to cook and share recipes as much as I do.  It’s called: 

RICH AND STICKY GINGERBREAD WITH MARMALADE and that describes it pretty well except for the crystallized ginger and raisins that add some great flavor and texture.  This is a must try recipe if you love gingerbread.  Meggin likes it with applesauce the way her mother served it.  I love it plain and my family prefers it with whipped cream.  If you’re interested in trying it, click on the link and you’ll find the epicurious.com recipe. Let me know how you like it.  This recipe takes self-rising flour but I use regular all purpose flour and add 1 Tablespoon baking soda and a little salt.

Turback’s Curried Pumpkin Mushroom Soup

Years ago when Turbacks was the first restaurant that served locally produced foods, I managed to get their signature Curried Pumpkin Mushroom Soup recipe. It’s been a favorite with all of us and friends ask for it when they come to visit from out of town. This fall my share from Full Plate CSA included some beautiful and delicious cooking pumpkins. These pumpkins are just the right size to function as serving bowls for this great soup.

½ lb. sliced mushrooms½ cup chopped onions

2 Tbs. butter or oil 1 Tbs. curry powder or to taste

3 cups vegetarian or chicken broth

1 lb. canned pumpkin (or fresh: cooked and pureed)

½-1 Tbs. honey

1 cup evaporated milk

Dash of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.

If you decide to use fresh pumpkin, cut off the top first. Then bake for 30-45 minutes until soft (with seeds still inside). When cool enough peel off skin and discard seeds. If you decide to use the shell as a container, then scrape out the seeds and discard (or roast) and scrape out some of the pulp to use in the soup leaving enough to make a sturdy bowl for the soup.

  1. Sauté onions until translucent.
  2. Add mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until just cooked.
  3. Add curry powder and cook for 2 more minutes stirring.
  4. Add broth, bring to bowl and add pumpkin, honey and seasoning.
  5. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add evaporated milk and heat without boiling.
  7. Adjust for seasoning adding more salt or honey or pepper as you like.
  8. It’s ready to serve.