All posts by The Experimental Gourmand

Brooklyn Uncorked 2012 by Edible Magazine

Wednesday evening, the hallowed halls of the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower, an event space now known as Skylight One Hanson, rung with the clicking of glasses at Brooklyn Uncorked.  This annual wine and food event features vintages from New York State producers paired with dishes created by local chefs.  Having been to it last year, I knew that there would be much delicious wine to drink and many tasty dishes to sample.

This was the crowd at one point

My methodology was to experience the wines through the various small plates that the participating restaurants had prepared.  In speaking to several of the folks at the food tables, they told me that they worked with the vintners to create dishes that would work well with the wines that would be available for sipping at the event.

Les Trois Petits Cochons

Before embarking on my first tasting, I visited the booth at the front of the hall to have a few bites of the products by Les Trois Petits Cochons.  The smooth, earthy Mousse Truffée, luscious Smoked Salmon Terrine, and woodsy Venison Pâté were a perfect way to get my tastebuds geared up for all the other wonderful things to come.  These incredible, locally-made products shared a stand at the front of the hall with Orwasher’s Bakery hearty breads, Schoolhouse Kitchen‘s fragrant spreadable fruits.

iCi

Grilled Spring Vegetable Salad with Sopressata & Asparagus & Whipped Goat Cheese

One Woman Wines

2010 Grüner Veltliner

The schmear of tangy goat cheese spread worked well with the rough, crunchy salad and sweet carrots piled high on the plate while the crisp, acidic wine finished cleanly on the palate.  The Grüner Veltliner provided a nice pairing with the peppery flavor of the greens and the zing of the cheese.  This beverage would match well with lots of summer fare.

Palo Santo

Grilled Liver, Heart, Kidney of Rabbit with Aioli & Greens

Roanoke Vineyards Wines

2009 Marco Tulio (Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend)

Grilled to order on the spot, this meaty skewer was not to everyone’s taste, not even to mine.  I did sample it (possibly the liver part?) along with the creamy aioli and crisp scallions and herbs.  The Marco Tulio was more than a match for the richness of the meat with its bold berry flavors.  At the same time, this wine was not overbearing at all, and I could see it as an ideal companion for many a grilled dish.

Northeast Kingdom

Poached Mussel with Ramp Aioli, Lemon Jam, Trout Roe, and Dill

Lieb Cellars

2011 Bridge Lane Rosé

I love the fact that Rosés are getting so much attention on this side of the Atlantic in recent years.  Lieb Cellars also has a special place in my heart because their light, crisp, very food-friendly Pinot Blanc is available on tap (yes, on tap) at one of the places in my neighborhood.  Their Bridge Lane Rosé with notes of ripe, luscious summertime berries (I think I caught some white raspberry flavor in there.) and a barely fizzy texture, complemented the briny mussel and the sharp, salty trout roe that topped the buttered toast round.

Five Points & Hundred Acres

Low-Country Pickled Shrimp with Cornbread-Fennel Biscotti & Yogurt

Dr Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars

2009 Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli

As with the pairing above, this one, too, had a lovely balance to it between the intense flavor components of the food and the wine’s ability to cut through it and harmonize all the different tastes going on in my mouth.  The floral notes and acidity of the wine were an ample partner for the plump, tangy shrimp nestled on a crunchy, licorice-perfumed base.

The Chocolate Room

Single-origin Flourless Chocolate Cake

Bloomer Creek Vineyard

2008 Pinot Noir

When I first encountered Bloomer Creek wines a couple of years ago, I got to know them via their lush, fruit-and-honey-scented Rieslings.  Their ruby-red Pinot Noir, full of the taste of cherries and other berries, proved to be ideal to cut through the dense, decadent flourless chocolate cake.

Gwynnett St.

Sweet Shrimp, Preserved Lemon, Daikon, and Dulse

Bedell Cellars

2011 Taste Rosé

This lightly fruity Rosé was a crisp, clean partner for the sweet, succulent shrimp dressed with sharp radish greens and salty dulse.  This beverage would be an ideal companion for those seafood platters that you might be dreaming up for casual summer get-togethers.

The Good Fork

Mung Bean & Kimchi Pancake with Gochujang-braised Berkshire Pork

Red Tail Ridge Winery

2009 Dry Riesling

Just looking at this photo of the above dish with a crunchy, fried mung bean and kimchi cake piled high with spicy, tender pulled pork and topped with thinly-sliced, salty pickles makes me wish I could come up with another plate of it right this minute.  This pairing was probably my favorite of the evening, with the crisp fall fruit taste of the Riesling melding beautifully with the velvety texture of the pork and the punch of heat from the kimchi and the gochujang.

Blaue Gans

Pork Belly with White Cabbage Salad and Spring Carrots

Wölffer Estate

Classic White Table Wine 2010

Silken slices of pork laid delicately over a bright, crunchy white cabbage slaw and decorated with at sliver of sweet carrot were a refined presentation of a classic Central European dish.  The wine was no less elegant with a nice acidity that paired well with the richness of the meat and the tang of the slaw and ended with a light, clean finish.

Trestle on Tenth

Smoked and Roasted Pork Shoulder with Red Onion Jam on Ciabatta

McCall Wines of Cutchogue

2011 Pinot Noir Marjorie’s Rosé

A hefty dollop of sweet red onion jam made a wonderful foil for the smoky, roasted pork in this slider.  I saw folks going back for a few of these nibbles.  For me, the wine pairing was more so-so.  I enjoyed the wine, but I just wasn’t completely won over by this match.

Allswell

Lamb Belly Toast with Citrus Yogurt & Black Mint

Brooklyn Winery

2010 Zinfandel

The buttery, rich lamb belly with yogurt dressing fell apart gorgeously and just melted in my mouth.  A sip of the sweet, fruity zinfandel went with it perfectly, working with all the fattiness to enhance the flavor of the lamb.  I could have enjoyed several more helpings of this combination.

Gramercy Tavern

House-made Chicken “Mortadella” on Thyme Cracker with Caramelized Onions and Candied Pistachios

Channing Daughters Winery

2010 Blaufränkisch – Sylvanus Vineyard

Another pairing that I wasn’t completely charmed by was this one.  I enjoyed the big, hearty bold berry, cherry, and spice notes of the wine, but I wasn’t completely sure that it went with the mortadella-style chicken creation.  I felt that the food was somewhat overshadowed by the wine.

Tanoreen Restaurant

Mediterranean Baked Eggplant with Tomatoes, Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, and Spices

Paired with a 2009 Merlot from Merliance (no photo available)

Merliance is an alliance of Long Island Merlot producers who blend their wines together to produce a vintage that encompasses the characteristics of all of the vineyards of the region.  I picked up notes of purple plums and earthiness with a hint of spice and vanilla.  This was a terrific partner for the sun-kissed Southern European influence of the eggplant dish which had sweet, savory, and acidic flavors to contend with in every bite.

The Cleaver Co. & The Green Table

Savory Spring Bread Pudding

Shinn Estate Vineyards

2011 Rosé

This bread pudding captured the essence of what the word “savory” means: part salty, part buttery, part nutty-cheesy-dairy.  The herbs dotting the bread, the slivers of smoky bacon, and the brightness of the vegetables helped to balance out the richness of the other ingredients in the dish itself.  This summer-fruit-filled, light textured Rosé was the ideal partner for this plate.  I was tempted to go back for another go-around and end my tasting adventures at this table.

Osteria il Paiolo

Fave Beans with Pecorino

Osteria il Paiolo

Ricotta & Spinach Gnocchi with baby heirloom Tomato Sauce

After passing by several empty tables that had been completely wiped out of food for the evening, I came upon this one that had two Italian-inspired dishes for folks to try.  Meaty, freshly-peeled fava beans are a springtime staple.  The creamy-tangy pecorino is a great foil for the hearty beans.  My favorite of the two dishes was the pillowy-light gnocchi that just seemed to melt in my mouth with a pop of sweet-acidic tomatoes and an earthy backnote of truffle oil.  I could have consumed several platefuls of this dish, and I was so taken with all the incredible flavors working together that I forgot to get a glass of wine with which to eat it.

Colonie

Another table that was empty of plates by the time I arrived at it was that for Colonie.  I was so disappointed as I’d been intrigued to see what this Brooklyn Heights locale was going to present.  Next year, I will need to plan a bit better so as not to miss out on their delicious fare.

Rose Water Restaurant

Meyer Lemon Crudot, Spring Onion, Spinach, Curry Cream

Ravines Wine Cellars

2011 Dry Riesling

The perfumed spice of the curry dressing combined with the dry, crisp finish of the Riesling made a delicious match for the ample slice of buttery tuna crudo in this dish.  This was the ideal cocktail hors d’oeuvre and one I’d like to try to replicate for one of my next parties.

PRINT Restaurant

Roast Strawberry Parfait

One Woman Wines

2010 Sauvignon Blanc

Although dubbed a parfait, by the time I made it to the table to PRINT for dessert, they were offering more of a Roast Strawberry Crumble instead.  After having eaten several heavier dishes throughout the evening, I actually welcomed this intense sweet-tart fruit with toffee-like crumbs just as it was.  The refreshing lightness of the wine was a terrific way to wrap up the evening’s tastings…or so I thought.

Brooklyn Oenology

2010 Riesling “Friend”

I realized that I hadn’t stopped by to chat with the folks I know at Brooklyn Oenology.  They still seemed very busy helping people sample their New York State made, New York State sourced wines.  I was offered a glass of their Riesling and then mused over what I could pair with this honey-scented wine.  I went back for the pork dish from The Good Fork.  At this point, there were no pancakes left so it was just plates filled with mounds of tender, shredded pork dressed with spicy sauce.  The Reisling’s luxurious fruit feel and slight sweetness was a perfect match for the bold meat.  That ended my eating adventures for this year’s episode of Brooklyn Uncorked on a very, full, completely satisfying note.

Buon appetito!

Thank you to Edible Manhattan for providing me with a press pass so that I could attend this event and cover it for this website.  The opinions and tasting notes are mine, as unrefined as they may be, and were not influenced by any of the food or beverage partners or by the magazine and its staff.

Eat, Write, Retreat 2012 Conference Recap

For a few months now, you’ve seen this graphic in the sidebar of the front page of this site.  This past weekend, it was finally here, the second annual Eat, Write, Retreat conference in Washington, DC!  Last year, I had found this gathering of food bloggers, writers, PR folks, brands, and others involved in the culinary media industry to be eye-opening and inspirational.  This year, I walked away with my head and my heart full of all the wonderful things I had learned and the amazing people that I had met during a few short days.


Monica Bhide

I will not fall for Monica’s joke at conference next year; I will not fall for Monica’s joke at conference next year; I will not fall for Monica’s joke at conference next year! 

Having really enjoyed her presentation last year, I was eager to see what valuable insights Monica would have for us.  For me, she pried open those creaky wheels in my brain that have gotten stuck in terms of my writing and this website and made me shine a light on why I started doing this in the first place.  What is the driver?  What is the motivation?  Why me?  In our group exercise, we had to turn to the person next to us and come up with One Word – ONE – that describes our websites.  Try this.  It isn’t as easy as it sounds to distill the essence of what you do, what makes you passionate, in just One Word.

I’m still mulling over my word – GUIDE.  Kathy Hester of Healthy Slow Cooking was my partner for this exercise.  For her, it means that I try to help people discover resources, recipes, things going on in the food-oriented space around them.  I like to encourage folks to learn more about their culinary environment through visiting area markets, eating locally-grown seasonal produce, and enjoying food festivals, so I guess in a way I do see this website and the information that I try to communicate through it as a guide to exploring all of these activities.  Let me know.  What do you think?  Does it fit?

Andy Schloss

Andy Schloss of Chef Salt spoke to us more about the business side of food writing and blogging.  For the most part this site has been a hobby for me, an extension of my longtime interest in food, travel, and the recipes I’ve collected along the way.  On the other hand, I would welcome the opportunity to be able to support myself doing what I love.  Andy’s words of wisdom are that, at this point, you need to build several lines of business in order to survive in the culinary world.  Ads on websites are only a small part of this.  Teaching, affiliates, consulting, recipe development, brand spokespersonship, writing, and other avenues are also necessary to generate enough revenue to be self-sustaining.

Styling Carrots

Food Styling Prop Table (see carrots in background)

One of my favorite parts of the conference from last year was back as well.  We had a hands-on food styling and food photography workshop with Lisa Cherkasky and Renee Comet.  Lisa and Renee took several photos, let us see how lighting and angles have an impact on the final shot, and showed us how they do post-production editing using Lightroom.  They then let us get our own hands in the mix working with beans, carrots, watermelon, and other food props trying to create tantalizing pictures.  I don’t use any extra props in my own photos other than to try to avoid glares on the food and the plate and trying to capture those extra drops of goodness that might drip down the sides of an assembled dish, so it was fascinating to me to see how the pros do it.

Green Juice Shooters (apple, spinach, parsley)

Aside from the opportunity to sharpen our skills and to pick up new ideas for our website, we, of course, had a chance to eat during the conference.  One of our lunches was at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw in Northwest, Washington, DC.  For us, they prepared a special Organic, Raw-Vegan Menu, which we were told takes a week to come together.  Before you turn away, just look at these photos and tell me that some of these dishes don’t look just amazing.  We were told that Elizabeth was inspired to embark on a raw-vegan diet after being diagnosed with breast cancer.  She has been able to heal her body through food.

Lunch plate at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw

Kale chips with spicy coating; vegan “sushi” made with shredded jicama and wasabi sauce; red pepper hummus; a “cracker” made of nut flour; and a cashew mousse “pastry boat” with shaved fennel, red onion, spinach, and truffle oil

Mock “Millionaires Shortbread”

The hit of this lunch was probably the cashew mousse creation, which was creamy and soul-satisfying with the earthy aroma of truffles and delicate anise tones from the shaved fennel.  The “pastry boat” was made from nuts and held everything together with a hearty, crunchy backnote.  While we were munching away, Casey Benedict, one of the conference organizers, interviewed Michael Natkin about his new book Herbivoracious, based upon his exploration of vegetarian cuisine on his own blog.  Then, we all flocked to the table again to enjoy some more of this delicious food.

Guinness Beef Stew

Dinner that evening was what one person termed the antidote to our healthy lunch.  We headed over to AGAINN, a contemporary gastro-pub in Washington, DC that works to source ingredients from local farms as well as organically.  This was hearty pub food at its best, with some of my favorites on the menu including Bangers & Mash with caramelized onions and this dark, rich Guinness Beef Stew.  We even had little jars of Banoffee Pie for dessert, which were gobbled up before I could even get a photo of them.

12-year old Scotch Whisky by The Balvenie

Part of that evening was also spent tasting scotch whisky from The Balvenie.  We were able to sample the 12-year and the 15-year varieties.  The smooth, caramel-like liquid slid down my throat with a slight burn, leaving a warming sensation in my stomach.  I’ve never been a whisky drinker, much as I try, but I can appreciate the care and craft that goes into making these beverages.

Barboursville Cabernet Franc (opening night dinner)

This is a conference that keeps you on your toes, literally in the case of the square dancing exertions from the opening night gathering; tests all your senses between the food, workshops, and exercises; and builds strong bonds among its participants.  What is unique among conferences is that it is a smaller event where bloggers, brands, and media folks interact and get to know each other over several days of exchanging ideas, personal cooking stories, and points of view about what is going on in the culinary world.  We leave the conference with new friends, re-energized spirits, and lots of great new tools to try out in our kitchens, courtesy sponsors like Oxo and Calphalon.  I can’t wait to see what the program will be like in 2013!

Buon appetito!

Here’s some post from the other attendees from this year’s conference, too:

52 Kitchen Adventures

(a)Musing Foodie

Comet Photo

Cooking By Design

Canadian Coupon Mom

Cupcakes for Breakfast

Em-i-lis

Food Musings

I’ll Have What She’s Having

Maroc Mama

My Halal Kitchen

Penny Pinching Epicure

Sarafina’s Kitchen

The Wicked Noodle

The Experimental Gourmand now on Gojee.com

UPDATE: Due to the editorial changes that took place at Gojee.com in 2013, I decided to remove my recipes from their website, as my content no longer fit with their website’s mission.

For those who follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you’ve already seen my exciting news, but I wanted to share this with everyone who drops by this site, too.  Thursday, I announced that I’ve published some of my recipes on Gojee.com, a site that lets you search for dishes to make based upon entering the ingredients you have in your cupboard.  For those who are based in the New York City area, you can also link your Gojee.com account to a D’Agostino loyalty card to make this an even better way to maximize those grocery-store dollars.  Hopefully, this service will be available for other stores’ cards soon.

Here’s what I’ve uploaded to the site so far:

 

Quinoa with Broccoli – super simple to whip up for a quick weeknight dinner or for lunch

 

 

 

 

 

Salad with Balsamic Vinegar-Fig Reductionfull of greens and goodness, this is a unique way to use up that bottle of balsamic vinegar that’s been lurking the bottom of your kitchen cupboards

 

 

 

No-Mayonnaise Carrot Salad – light, refreshing, and with a hint of smokiness from the cumin-scented dressing, this is a perfect salad for summertime picnics or barbecues

 

 

 

 

Seared Scallops with Parsley Salad and Bacon – this dish was the hit of a luncheon that I hosted for some friends.  The original post also walks you through a step-by-step tutorial on cooking scallops

 

 

 

 

Smoked Salmon Hash – I’ve reposted this recipe several times in round-ups for entertaining, holidays, and brunch.  It is super easy to make and is so delicious

 

 

 

I hope that you go to Gojee.com and check out the recipes from the amazing food writers who are listed there.  I’m honored to be in such great company and am looking forward to posting many more great meal ideas on their site.  One word about my profile picture on the site, it was taken by my friend Kim Elphinstone.  I had brought him a half a batch his favorite cookies, Chocolate Chip with Sea Salt, for his time and photographic skills.  After several hours of shooting, I was ready for a snack so I started to dive into them.  Turned out that they were the perfect prop!  (Yes, I did eat that cookie when we were done.)

Buon appetito!

Cinco de Mayo Entertaining & Menu Ideas

Chilaquiles for Brunch

I’m still in a bit of denial that May is really here already, so wrapping my head around what to pull together to acknowledge Cinco de Mayo has been daunting.  This year, I’ll actually be in Washington, DC at Eat, Write, Retreat with several dozen other food bloggers and writers.  With the day itself falling on a Saturday, this is a perfect opportunity to gather your friends around to eat and drink and to celebrate being together.  Maybe a few of these American-Mexican hybrid dishes could be on the menu to get things rolling.

Tomatillo Salsa

This Tomatillo Salsa is a good base for any one of a number of dishes, the Chilaquiles, enchiladas, nachos.  My favorite way to eat it is just drizzled over eggs folded over gooey melted cheddar cheese.  It really perks up the morning, and gets the day started on just the right note.

Fork Tacos for DIY entertaining

My sister-in-law will groan at seeing this dish, but it’s not a bad option for a Weeknight Dinner for the gang.  I’m speaking from first-hand experience on this one, as growing up we had Fork Tacos at least a few times a month, and I was the person who was usually tasked with putting it together.

7-Layer Dip

Or maybe you’d like to start with the leftovers first?  When I originally posted this recipe for 7-Layer Dip, I was using up those Fork Taco dinner extras.  You could even start off by making this dish instead of the tacos.  I might even add a layer of the Tomatillo Salsa to the beans, making it an 8-Layer Dip.

Family-flexibile Fajitas

I wish I had a better photo from this post for Family-flexible Fajitas, but the truth is that my siblings and their kids and spouses descended upon all the dishes before I even had a chance to make my first fajita.  That’s the reality of living in a large family.  Seriously, they were all eating the Guacamole as fast as I could mash up the avocados, even using the little ones to sneak chips in underneath my arms to grab a bite.  That should be recommendation enough that this dish is a real crowd-pleaser and would be a great way to entertain your friends for Cinco de Mayo.

Buon appetito!

New Amsterdam Market – Opening Day 2012

Yesterday marked the opening of what is probably my favorite local market in New York City: New Amsterdam Market.  To kick off their 2012 season, they featured breads made with locally-grown grains.  I love to eat good bread, especially ones with personality and heft, so this was a wonderful edible exploration for me.  It was so difficult to choose only a few loaves to bring home at the end of the day, especially as I also had to make room in my shopping bag for the other fantastic-tasting items that were also for sale in the market.

 Local grains on display

For those bakers and chefs who are interested in finding out more about working with locally-grown grains and in learning additional details about how to source these products, there was a table at the market by Greenmarket Regional Grains Project and Organic Growers Research & Information Network.  Also check out the stand that Cayuga Pure Organics has at the Union Square Greenmarket.

Bakeri Baguettes

How cute would your bike look all decked out with one of these French baguettes from Bakeri in Brooklyn nestled in the basket?  A nibble of this bread might even make you feel as though you’d skipped off to Paris, albeit without the jet lag.

Bien Cuit Display

I haven’t yet made it over to this Brooklyn bakery, but I keep hearing rave reviews about it from the Twitterverse and others.  This was probably one of the most intricate baked displays that I saw all day.

BR Guest Rosemary-Raisin Rye Sourdough

One bite of this slightly tangy, deeply flavorful bread with woodsy and sweet notes combined, and my brain cells were musing, “So, could I really fit another loaf of bread in the freezer to have on standby?”  Alas, I couldn’t figure out how to do that just yet, but this bread is high on my list of ones to try to cram in there the next time I find it.

Lovely loaves from Bread Alone

I’ve long been a fan of the array of products made by Bread Alone, which I can find at the Greenmarkets, so I was glad to see them yesterday.  This Apple Cider Levain (made with local cider as well as locally-grown grains), would be idea for bringing along on a picnic.  I also encourage you to track down their other fantastic products as well.

Dean & Deluca Baguette Du Perche

Made of barley flour, this baguette had the perfect crisp exterior and fluffy interior.  It was light and delicate-tasting inside, and I never would have known that it wasn’t made with regular wheat.

Pane Integrale Regionale by Grandaisy Bakery

Hands down, one of my favorite, portable snacks to have when I’m on the go is a slice of potato, mushroom or zucchini pizza from Grandaisy Bakery in Soho.  Their whole wheat bread is tasty as well, so it was hard to resist picking up a loaf to tuck away in my freezer.

Fresh Tortillas from Hot Bread Kitchen

Almost every week, I stop by and pick up a Multi-grain Boule from Hot Bread Kitchen to keep on hand for toast and sandwiches.  They also have other kinds of breads, including another favorite of mine, the M’smen, and packets of tortillas, which would be a key ingredient to help celebrate Cinco de Mayo this weekend.

Ciabatta loaves from Il Buco Alimentari

Just looking at these incredible loaves of Ciabatta from Il Buco Alimentari, and I was whisked back to my life in Italy where a simple panino could be the tastiest of creations, especially when made on bread that looks as amazing as this.

Janet’s Quality Baked Goods Country Pain d’Oro

If I heard correctly when she was talking to one of my friends, Janet will be at New Amsterdam Market on other Sundays as well.  This is fantastic news as her soft, crispy loaves were another of the ones that I just wanted to pick up and stash away for later.  She said she also makes croissants and focaccia and other breads to sell at the markets.

Nordic Breads Finnish Rye Bread

This is another staple for my freezer, and I was badly in need of stocking up on some of the hearty and tangy Finnish Rye Bread by Nordic Breads.  Perfect with cheese, butter and jam, or smoked fish, these are a great platform for many culinary creations.  I used them as the base for the Smoked Salmon with Mustard Crème Fraîche appetizers for my holiday party last year.

Levain Locale by Orwasher’s Bakery

Would you look at these beauties?  Just seeing these incredible loaves made me stop in my tracks, even after I’d snapped this photo, to gaze at their loveliness.  It was a bit embarrassing as the person behind the table at Orwasher’s knows me from many a food event where they so graciously supply their rich, dense breads.  Eating locally?  This bread is made about 16 blocks from where I live, which is pretty local in this day and age.

Le Pain Quotidien‘s Sunflower Seed-Rye Fougasse

Perfect for grabbing a breakfast pastry or for having an afternoon coffee meeting, I’ve long enjoyed visiting Le Pain Quotidien‘s many locations in the city.  This is one bread I’ve never seen there, but after tasting it at the market, I’m going to be keeping my eyes peeled to find it again.  For those looking to learn how to make their breads at home, they are now offering baking classes.

Whole Wheat Olive Oil Brioche by Roberta’s 

I know it probably sounds as though I enjoyed all the breads that were at the market yesterday, and the truth is that every one I tried was pretty great.  That said, however, this Whole Wheat Olive Oil Brioche was in a league of its own.  It was phenomenal!  What didn’t hurt, of course, was that the samples of this fragrant, light, supple loaf were served alongside Anarchy in a Jar fruit spread.  What a perfect marriage of sweet and savory flavors!

Runner & Stone‘s Roasted Potato & Garlic Chive Levain

Dense and hearty, this bread didn’t have the super strong garlicy-chive taste I was expecting, which would make it a great all-around bread to keep on hand.  I’ve been tasting this company’s products at a few markets lately, so I was glad to see that New Amsterdam Market will be a regular location for them.  It will be interesting to see what they come up with next to tempt our tastebuds.

Pizza by Co. coming out of the oven

Remember the No-Knead Pizza Dough recipe I tested out several weeks back?  The creator of it, as well as the No-Knead Bread Recipe, Jim Lahey was at the market yesterday doing a pizza-making demo.  Looking at my photos now and comparing it to what was pulled out of their portable oven, I can see a real difference that technique makes in pulling together this dish.  It would probably also help if my home oven could get up to the 800 degrees Fahrenheit (no, that is not a typo) that the one they used yesterday can generate to get that perfect char on the crust.

As much as I love baked things, even I cannot live on bread alone. The market yesterday was also filled with local produce, jams, preserves, meats, fish, sweets, and other edible delights. It was so much that I created a photostream in Flickr so that I could share my excursion with you.

Buon appetito!

Ramp Pesto

I might have gotten a bit overly excited last week about the arrival of Ramps in the Greenmarket, but I don’ t think that I was the only one.  This green-stained table at Mountain Sweet Berry Farm’s stand is evidence of what the farmer there called a Ramp-age over this seasonal green (o.k. so we had a giggle about this).  By a little bit after 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday of this week, they were clean out of them.  No matter.  I was there buying potatoes anyway, I have plenty of Ramps for this week.  So many, in fact, that I decided to make Ramp Pesto.

Ramp Pesto

Ramps are pretty pungent, so a little bit goes a long way, as I mentioned in the recipe for Sautéed Asparagus and Ramps.  Like a traditional Pesto, this is very green and herbal in taste and texture.  It also has a strong flavor, so it is definitely for the garlic lovers among you.  It is perfect to mix with mashed potatoes, goats cheese, or into eggs for an omelette or fritatta for that punch of garlic-ness.  The flavor does mellow somewhat when you combine with other things, but there’s still plenty of zing left in it to spice up a dish.

Ingredients

Ramp Pesto

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Serving Size:  1/2-2/3 cup pesto

Ingredients:

1/3 c. Walnuts

10 Ramps

1/4 c. grated Parmesan Cheese

1/3 c. grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

1/4 tsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Put walnuts in single layer on baking sheet.  Put baking sheet in oven and let cook for 10 minutes, until lightly toasted.  In the meantime, wash ramps, cut off the hairy ends, and remove the filmy outer layer.

Cleaning Ramps

Then, cut off the white end part from the leafy green part of the ramps.  Cut the whites and tough stems into about 1- to 2-inch pieces.  Do the same with the green part.

Cutting up white, stems, and green of ramps

When the walnuts have toasted, remove them from the oven to cool for one minute.  Put the walnuts and the whites and stems of the ramps in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to chop finely.

Walnuts, ramp whites, and ramp stems in food processor

Processed walnuts with ramp greens and whites

Add the Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses and the black pepper and pulse the food processor to combine the ingredients.  The mixture will start to resemble a coarse paste.

Walnuts, cheese, ramps processed

Now add the ramp leaves and 1 Tbsp of the olive oil to the food processor and pulse the ingredients to chop them finely.

Add ramp greens and olive oil

Add another Tbsp of olive oil and continue to process the mixture until it becomes a fine paste.

Ramp Pesto

The result of all this pulsing and chopping is a beautiful lime green colored creation flecked with kelly green pieces of the ramp leaves.  The finished pesto blended perfectly with the mashed potatoes that I made to test it with, giving the potatoes a garlicy lift with a back note of a grassy aroma, sort of like that from running one’s toes through a freshly mowed, damp lawn.

Mashed Potatoes with Ramp Pesto

Buon appetito!