Tag Archives: Local Products

Happy National S’mores Day!

S'more2The Classic S’more

Happy National S’mores Day everyone!!!  The invention of these campfire treats are attributed to the Girl Scouts and date from publication of theirs from 1927, according to Wikipedia.  In a post back in 2006 that I wrote about making s’mores when I was at my parents’ house, I mentioned that I couldn’t recall when I’d eaten my first one of these.  They just seemed to be part of the fabric of camping and having bonfires.

My mother bought this – I’m not sure why

Like Red Velvet Cake, a few years ago, S’mores seemed to take on a new lease in life.  Bars and restaurants had mini burners so that you could custom make s’mores as dessert or snack at your table.  My mother bought a s’mores kit and a rotating marshmallow fork for toasting (really).  I haven’t seen those things back again in the house, although I suspect that maybe one of the kits escaped and is lurking in the back of a refrigerator somewhere.

S’more Bakery – making s’mores

Then, when I was at Smorgasburg last year I came upon the table for S’more Bakery.  They do several different combinations of marshmallows and cookies, bruléed to order if you want to feed your childhood-inspired craving on the spot or packaged up in take-away form so that you can make them at home, which in my case would mean toasting the marshmallows over the open flame of a gas stove rather than over smoldering charcoal.  Each time I see them, I really, really want one, but I’ve just never been a die-hard, fanatical fan of s’mores, as many of them as I’ve had over the years.

My faith in s’more-dom was restored however, at the Pie Party Live food blogger gathering last year.  Nestled among the piles of fruit pies, tarts, empanadas (hand pies), British meat pies, quiches, and other pie-like creations, was a pie that had people raving about it.  Allison Kave of First Prize Pies had worked her baking wizardry on the classic campfire treat and presented to everyone the S’mores Pie.  For me, it was love at first bite.

A bite of S’mores Pie

Every taste that you remember from those childhood treats is there but somehow made better.  Underneath the toasted top of the pie is a layer of gooey, melted marshmallow.  Breaking through that browned layer reveals a rich, velvety chocolate interior all supported by a graham cracker crust.  It’s sort of like s’mores grew up but still wants to keep a bit of that same impish spirit that made you try to get the younger campers to go on snipe hunts in the dark.  These new entries to the s’mores family might not make me long for days swatting off blood-thirsty mosquitoes or fearing bumping into water moccasins or copperheads, but First Prize Pies‘ or S’more Bakery‘s confections would be fantastic ways to salute National S’mores Day.

Buon appetito!

Paper Magazine’s Super (Duper) Market at Chelsea Market

Paper Magazine's Super (Duper) Market at Chelsea MarketWhen the information about the Super (Duper) Market being put on by Paper Magazine this weekend in Chelsea Market (in the space that was formerly Frank’s Restaurant) came up on my Twitter feed on Wednesday, I knew that I was going to carve out time to drop by to visit this pop-up venue.  Just look at this list of participating local (as well as a handful West Coast) food vendors.  Yesterday, I was able to get a preview of this well-curated, diverse collection of culinary and artistic folks.

Anarchy in A Jar with Magpies Bakeshop tarts

If you peer into my fridge, you’ll find at least one if not several flavors of Anarchy in A Jar‘s fantastic fruit spreads on the shelves.  The Blackberry Lavender, which was on the display table yesterday, is a seasonal favorite of mine, bursting with plump, ripe berries bathed in a light, floral perfume.  If you’d like to consume something sweet on the spot, pick up one of Magpies Bakery‘s tarts, filled with these spreads.

Brooklyn Grange

Highlighting some of the wonderful work that they do and the crops that they bring to life working on their rooftop plot, the folks at Brooklyn Grange had some of their truly local honey available at this market.

Casey of The Brooklyn Salsa Company

I’ve been a big fan of The Brooklyn Salsa Company and their creative, flavorful products.  These are wonderful as stand-alone dips, but I enjoy them more as a base from which to make tasty dishes.  Their brand new Mole is no exception.  Popping the jar open and inhaling the complex aromas, I dipped my finger into it to see what incredible combination these guys had developed.  My tongue picked up a touch of heat, a mild sweetness, ribbons of smoke, layers of velvety cacao, and sharp coffee notes.  They use chocolate from NuNu and coffee from Brooklyn Roasting Company.

Brooklyn Soda Works

To keep you hydrated during your walk-around of all the vendor tables, why not pick up one of Brooklyn Soda Works‘ refreshing beverages.  The Apple-Ginger is crisp and cool and is a reminder that fall will soon be around.  My eye was also on the Sour Cherry & Thai Basil, for a more seasonal pairing.

Brucie

The list of menu selections that Brucie posted for this market made me very sad that they were already closed by the time I got to their table.  This means I need to add their restaurant (which I see has some rave reviews) on my to-try list for the next time I’m in their part of Brooklyn.

Danny Macaroons

My stand-by macaroon when I drop by to see Danny Macaroons is his unparalleled Sea Salt Caramel one; however, I also enjoy seeing what new thing he’s come up with each time I see him at the market.  You can see his intense Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout concoction and his ooey-gooey S’mores macaroon on the table yesterday.

Empire Mayonnaise

When I first saw Empire Mayonnaise at one of the local food markets, I wasn’t quite sure about it.  I’m not particularly a mayonnaise lover, actually, I really don’t like it at all, so I just have not been able to get the appeal of multiple, flavored versions of this condiment.  Still, as a supporter of local food entrepreneurs, I have to applaud them as they have made the jump from market stall to brick-and-mortar location.

Allison Kave of First Prize Pies

What is there not to like about pie, really?  Allison Kave’s pies in particular are indulgent, worthy sweet treats.  I first had her S’mores Pie at Pie Party Live last year.  There was barely a crumb of it left by the end of the gathering.  Yesterday, I convinced a fellow attendee to taste a sample of it.  “Oh, boy, we’re in trouble now!” he said.  “Uh huh,” I agreed.  She’s selling pies by the slice as well at this event.  Try her Strawberry-Basil one, too, which brings together Italian sweet-tart influences (balsamic vinegar, lemon) with this fleeting summer fruit.

Gefilteria

Gefilte fish is one of those food items that entered my vocabulary only when I moved up here and would see it as grey-ish blobs swimming in some liquid or other behind a deli case.  The folks at Gefilteria have been determined to rescue it from that watery fate.  Sourcing sustainable fish (salmon, pike), they make loaves of gefilte fish and then dress it up with delicious, flavorful condiments of their own making like Russell Beets and Horseradish with Spicy Carrots.  I would just buy a jar of the latter to dress up any dull dish in my house, with its sweetness and nasal-tingling freshness.

Gefilteria

Also, be sure to check out their Black & White Cookie Sticks, which solve the age-old dilemma of how to get a bit of the white topping with the black one in each bite.  You will also really want to savor the cookie part, too, with its delicate crumb.

Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls

When you duck inside the market this weekend to escape the heat, you should stop by this table to pick up an Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Ball.  Just looking at the list of flavors makes me want to head over there and pick up one for some sweet relief from this humidity.

Jessica and Sabrina of The Jam Stand

Yesterday, I sampled a new flavor from the ladies behind The Jam Stand, makers of fantastic-tasting fruit spreads.  Tea-rrific Strawberry, features sweet, ripe local berries and dark, enchanting Pu-erh tea from China.  This combination pulls out another dimension to the strawberries’ personality, making each bite rich and luscious with a hint of smoke and exotic lands.  There’s definitely room on my refrigerator shelves for this jam.

KingLeche Creams

Last year, at the New Amsterdam Market’s Ice Cream Sunday, I had my first bite of KingLeche Creams.  I’m always interested to see how local food vendors grow and develop with their products, so I was eager to see what the owner would be bringing to this market.  He wasn’t there yesterday so I’ll need to wait until the next time we cross paths to see what new flavors he’s created.

Kings County Jerky

Kings County Jerkys grass-fed jerky is galaxies away from those plastic-wrapped tubes of stuff that you might have bought as a kid.  This tastes like well-crafted, lovingly-seasoned strips of steak, without needing a knife and fork to eat it.  Pack some up for a picnic, bring it along for a road trip, or even keep a stash in your desk for those mid-afternoon blues.

Fany Gerson of La Newyorkina

For a light, refreshing, burst of flavor, stop by La Newyorkina‘s stand at the market.  Fany has whipped up mini versions of her incredibly popular Mexican paletas (or ice pops) for this event.  For this weekend, she’s serving up Grapefruit, Strawberry, Coconut, Mango-Chili, Hibiscus, Pineapple-Jalapeno, Cucumber-Lime, and a refreshingly-mouth-puckering Pink Limeade (in the photo above).

Liddabit Sweets

One of the cookbooks I’m really looking forward to this fall is the one by Jen and Liz of Liddabit Sweets.  After having bought lots of bags of their popcorn, stacks of candy bars, piles of caramels, and a few lollipops for my nieces and nephews, I am interested in finding out the secrets as to how they make butter, sugar, chocolate, and other simple ingredients into their terrific-tasting treats.  In the meantime, I’ll just need to stock up on their sweets.

Mile End Delicatessen

This is the first public viewing of Mile End‘s bagels, soon to take their place on every must-eat food list in town.  The exterior had a nice crust studded generously with sesame seeds while the interior was light and pillowy.  There was just the right proportion of outside to inside, which will hopefully appease those who have bagel places scoop out the insides of their bagels before they are filled.  They also brought along an array of toppings, including a spicy horseradish, smoked mackerel, and a delicious salt code with tobiko.  This weekend, they’ll be adding lox as an option to have with these other toppings to push the taste envelope even further.  I might just have to find an excuse to drop by to eat another bagel or to stock up on them to have at home.

Morris Kitchen

The flavored syrups from Morris Kitchen are rich and intense, lending themselves very well to cocktails, sodas, and just as drizzles over desserts.  Their Ginger one is probably still my favorite of their products.  They do some amazing seasonal flavors as well, including their Boiled Apple Cider Syrup, which appears in the fall.

Nordic Breads

If you look in my freezer, you’ll usually find a bag of the small rye bread rounds from this producer.  These nutty, hearty breads are the perfect platform for sliced meats, butter and jam (see above at Anarchy in a Jar), or any other food items you might want to use to make a sandwich or snacktime nibble.

Norma Kamali Olive Oils

Fashion designer Norma Kamali also produces a line of olive oils that are available to try and to purchase at this market.  The aesthetics of the packaging with the gorgeous, robust color of the oils (Provence, Tuscany, and La Mancha in that order in the photo) is reason enough to want to pick some of this up for your kitchen, but the real pleasure lies in tasting these oils.  The light Italian one is perfect as an every day oil while the dark, peppery Spanish variety would be an amazing last touch to a dish.  I picked up a sample of the French oil with its grassy, sunny notes to try out on some summer salads.

Ovenly

The golden cookies at the bottom of this photo hide their seductive, dark kick.  Created using two different types of Stumptown Coffee plus burnt sugar pieces, this is a cookie that makes you say, “wow,” as one of the S’more Bakery folks did when he tried it.  The top cookie is a Black Caraway, Dark Chocolate, Smoked Sea Salt one, which I need to make sure to track down again at their retail location.

Pipcorn

The brother-sister duo behind Pipcorn are bringing a new breed of small-kerneled popcorn to our snack tables.  With flavors like White Truffle, Kettle, Sea Salt, Crabby, and Rosemary, this treat becomes sophisticated enough to put out at your summertime cocktail party, too.

Red Rooster

It was interesting to see a few local eateries that are also forging new pathways in New York’s culinary landscape represented at this event.  I haven’t yet made it to Red Rooster in Harlem, but it is another place on my list of restaurants to try.

S’more Bakery

I’m not sure that you can ever be too old to enjoy that sensation of biting into a crisp graham cracker, through a slightly melted bar of chocolate and into an oozing, gooey marshmallow.  S’more Bakery has captured this summer camp and sleepover weekend treat in a variety of flavor combinations.

Salty Road

Summertime at the beach always meant bringing back home a bucket of chewy, sweet, multi-hued salt water taffy.  My mom even used to make the real thing from time to time, having us kids stretch out the sugar until it was in smooth ribbons.  Salty Road has recreated these treats, cutting out those artificial colors and flavors.  Chomping down on a piece brings back all those summer memories, with a kick of salt on the palate that might make you think you are by the ocean once again.

Shorty Tang & Sons

Unfortunately, I made it to this table after it had already shut up shop for the day.  That gives me an incentive to track these folks down at one of the markets where they have built up an avid fan base for their cold sesame noodles.

Sour Puss Pickles

If you can pickle it, they probably have done so at Sour Puss Pickles, with jars of carrots, cauliflower, garlic scapes, and, of course cucumbers on display at their table.  I was told, too, that they are also going to be offering Shrubs (vinegar-based drinks) for this market.

Soy Hound

When I first saw these bottles of flavored soy milk from Soy Hound, I thought that this was really innovative.  These are perfect to have on hand as a quick refreshment and are easily portable, unlike bulky cartons.  With several flavors to choose from like Thai Tea, Green Tea, Ginger, and Vanilla these are delicious as a beverage on their own or to blend into other drinks.

Taste of Ethiopia

Could Ethiopian food finally be taking hold in New York City?  Will Injera become the new cupcake?  The answer to that last question is “probably not,” but I would really like to see a positive answer to the first query, as I said to Hiyaw Gebreyohannes, owner of Taste of Ethiopia.  For years, I’ve opined (and been supported by many) that Washington, DC has better examples of this cuisine than we do here.  It would be nice to see that change, especially with how healthy and flavorful these dishes are.

Whimsy & Spice

Another great maker of confectionery, Whimsy & Spice was also at this market, with packages of cookies, marshmallows, and biscotti for sale.  These are really nice to have on hand to enjoy with an afternoon cup of tea or to serve to guests as a light dessert after a delicious meal.

Tables at Super (Duper) Market

The Super (Duper) Market is open for a couple of more days until it disappears forever.  This is a wonderful selection of food vendors from New York and the West Coast along with a smattering of craft folks thrown in as well.  Many of these people also sell at local markets around the city on other weekends, too, so if you can’t support them at this event, there will be other opportunities to check out their products while the outdoor markets are still in season.

Buon appetito!

Cook Out NYC 2012

Cook Out NYC signageYesterday’s soaring temperatures (reaching almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 35+ Centigrade) did not diminish any of the fun being had at Cook Out NYC (put together by Food Karma Projects) a featured event for July’s Good Beer Month.  With plenty of beer, water, and sangria on hand to keep them hydrated, attendees chowed down on hotdogs, burgers, other grilled meats, ice cream, and kimchi and relaxed on the lawn in front of Colonel’s Row on Governors Island while several local bands took the stage throughout the afternoon.  The day was capped off by the Mama O’s Super Spicy Kimchi-Eating Contest, or Second Annual Kimchipalooza, as it was billed.

Waiting for the start

I attended Cook Out NYC courtesy of a press pass from Food Karma Projects and was also asked by Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s No. 43 to be one of the judges for the hot dog and burger topping competitions.  Knowing from past events the amazing combinations that the guest chefs pull together for these gatherings, I was more that happy to lend my tastebuds to this effort.  My tour of the food stations was organized around getting to every competitor’s table to give each dish a try.

Hot dog Competition votes for People’s Choice 

Sabrett’s Hot & Spicy Hot Dogs Toppings Competition

Local manufacturer Sabrett’s (they have a production facility in the Bronx) has introduced a new Hot & Spicy Beef Frankfurter to their line up, which features red pepper and jalapeno mixed into the hot dog meat.  These had a great kick to them and were a terrific platform for competing chefs to show of their expertise at creating complementary toppings.  I also felt that for some of the participants, the extra seasoning provided a bit of a challenge, compared to what they might have been used to working with in the regular version of this product.

Sabrett’s

Event sponsor Sabrett’s brought out the traditional toppings to showcase their Hot & Spicy hotdogs, loading them up with Sauerkraut and Classic Onion Sauce.  While I loved the trademark snap of the casing when I bit into the meat, I was less won over by the balance between the hot dog and the balance with the sauerkraut and onions.  It felt as though the sweet-and-sour profile of the toppings clashed with the fiery seasonings.

Lucky 777 Chili

Greenwich Village-based Lucky 777 Chili entered another classic flavor combination – hot dogs and chili – into the competition.  Using a slight variation on the theme with their Turkey Chili, they created a super-meaty, loaded Chili Dog.  I enjoyed it, although it was a bit too heavy of a dish to really dig into with yesterday’s steamy weather.  I saw several folks walking away with separate cups of their hearty chili to enjoy on its own.

My Friend’s Mustard – 3rd Place Winner

Using Sixpoint Brewerys products (also a sponsor of Cook Out NYC), My Friend’s Mustard has united mustard and beer to create some unique and dynamic condiments that deserve a place in everyone’s refrigerators.  Their Hotdog with Tomatillo-Radish Slaw & Agave-Sixpoint IPA Mustard worked harmoniously together with some heat, a bit of sweet, a slight tanginess, and a nice pop from the mustard seeds.

Chef Josetth Gordon – 2nd Place and People’s Choice Winner

The vibrant colors of the Piquant Celery Slaw and Currant topping for this hotdog made a dramatic visual presentation for this entry.  The cool, crunchy slaw and sweet currants were a favorite of several of the judges, and it seems the event participants.  A few other folks I ran into, as well as myself, weren’t completely won over by it.  I found that the toppings were overwhelmed by and got lost in the spiciness of the meat.

Rich Pinto Catering – 1st Place Winner

A favorite of the judges and my personal #1 pick for the hotdog consumption portion of the day were these Vietnamese-inspired, almost Banh Mi-like creations, by Rich Pinto Catering.  The cool, creamy, spicy mayo and crispy pickled vegetables (carrots, cucumber, dill, Thai basil) provided the perfect balance of flavors, heat, and freshness for the seasoned meat.

High Point Farms grilling up burgers

Burger Toppings Competition

Alobar

Using meat from Fossil FarmsAlobar dished up a Wild Boar Burger with a savory herb salsa.  The boar was very tender, but several of the folks I talked to (and several fellow judges) felt that it lacked a punch of seasoning that they would have liked to see and that it was a bit bland overall.  “I wanted tusks,” commented one person.  “I wanted it to do more, maybe gore me a little bit,” was the reaction of another.

STK Out

Before I even had a chance to try this burger entry, I could smell the perfume of the truffle oil that was used in these Kobe Burgers with Truffle Aioli and see quite a few folks really enjoying eating it.  A sturdy bun held this perfectly-cooked, medium rare burger dressed with a pungent mayonnaise and a sliver of cheese.  The pickle and tomato cut through the richness to pull it all together.

Blind Tiger Ale House – 3rd Place Winner

Several entrants into the competition took the non-traditional route for burgers, like the Salmon Burger with Kimchi and an Asian Relish in this photo.  I saw people coming back for seconds on these and with one bite I understood why.  This dish took salmon from the water to the land, bringing out its meaty heart.  The tart, sour, hot toppings worked really well together to make this a completely unified dish.

Zio – 2nd Place Winner

Unfortunately, I was not able to get a sample of the Lamb Burger with Goats Cheese and Red Onion Marmalade which was the entry for Zio.  The photo above is the other dish that they were giving out yesterday, a grilled Pork Belly with Figs. These seemed to fly off of the table the minute they were set down.

High Point Farms – 1st Place Winner

With a grass-fed burger, perfectly cooked to a tender medium-rare, dressed with just a bit of pepperjack cheese and a squeeze of ketchup, the Classic Burger by High Point Farms came in as the clear winner in this category.  This was a great example of top-quality, locally-sourced meat that needed little dressing up at all to make a delicious dish.

Best in Show – Jimmy’s No. 43

As competition announcer Mike Edison of the Mike & Judy Show on Heritage Radio Network clarified when he gave out this award, there was no fixing involved.  The judges were nearly unanimous in giving the overall, non-hotdog, non-burger Best in Show nod to the Sirloin with Chimichurri Sauce put together by the team at Jimmy’s No. 43.  This is one of my favorite nibbles that I’ve eaten at the food events that Jimmy’s has put together.  The richness of the thinly-sliced, tender grilled meat pairs nicely with fresh, herbally, slightly-acidic sauce.  A thin, crunchy bread round soaks up all the extra juices making it a great treat at the end of every bite.

Mama O’s Super Spicy Kimchi-Eating ContestSecond Annual Kimchipalooza

The Second Annual Kimchipalooza took place towards the end of the afternoon on Saturday, with a fearless group of contestants battling for iron-clad stomach and spice-tolerance supremacy.  Kheedim Oh, the founder of Mama O’s Premium Kimchee, gathered up the group to test their kimchi-eating prowess.

Kimchi eating contest in process

Each contestant was given three jars of the super-spicy version of Mama O’s Premium Kimchee, made with the fiery ghost pepper (which Kheedim says he can only handle while wearing gloves the heat it gives off is so intense).  They had three minutes to see how much they could consume.  One competitor left the stage after about 30 seconds.

The Winner

With 2 1/3 jars of the super-spicy kimchi finished in three minutes, Graham “G-Man” won the day’s contest.  “My face is on fire right now,” he said after he’d been declared the victor, beaming as he held his trophy.

John Brown Smokehouse – Skirt Steak with Vinegary Slaw and Jalapeno Relish

Cook Out NYC continues today, too, with more chefs, lots of other grilled meat dishes, hot sauce tastings, drinks, and music.  Check out some of my other favorite things to eat at this event, like the Kimchi Taco from Bar Bruno or the Skirt Steak with Vinegary Slaw and Jalapeno Relish from John Brown Smokehouse (winners of the 2012 Brisket King of NYC).

The Lex by Melt Bakery (Brown Sugar & Cornmeal Cookie with Maker’s Mark Bourbon Ice Cream)

To cool down and treat yourself, why not pick up one of the ice cream sandwiches from Melt Bakery or the shaved ice concoctions from Wooly’s Ice (note that these items are for separate purchase at the event).

Pat and his wife Vivian manning event sponsor Sixpoint Brewery‘s tent

Thank you to  Food Karma Projects and Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43 for providing me with a press pass to attend this event and for inviting me to be one of the hot dog and burger toppings judges.  Thanks so much to all the volunteers and vendors as well for toughing it out under sweltering conditions yesterday to keep us all well-fed and hydrated.  All opinions in this article (unless otherwise stated) are mine and my responsibility alone.

Tickets for the Third Annual Pig Island festival to be held on Saturday, September 1st, also put on by Food Karma Projects, are now on sale.  The special price of $55.00 is good through July 13th.  If you are a fan of pork in all its forms, you will not want to miss this feast.

Buon appetito!

Queens County Market

Queens County Market - SunnysideDespite the raging heat outside, it was nice and cool on Saturday at Sunnyside Community Services where the third Queens County Market was held.  This was a terrific collection of local food entrepreneurs all in one space, along with demonstrations in pasta making and butchery.  The market’s schedule is still being ironed out, so the best way to find out when the next one will be held is to sign up on their website for email updates.

Veda’s Cakes

I first saw Veda’s Cakes beautiful treats at the Taste of 5 Boros Expo during the IACP Conference.  For the market, she also brought with her a couple of hot dishes, including one with long beans and a Guyanese Chicken Roti.  I picked up a soft, buttery Almond Cookie for the trip home.

Fatty Sundays & Co. Happy Pretzels

For those who love salty-sweet pairings, these Fatty Sundays & Co. Happy Pretzels might be just up your alley.  They had nuggets of the PB&J and Berry Granola varieties available for tasting.  I tried the latter, which I found to be too sweet for me with a strong dried berry-ish backnote.  Their site also lists several other flavors that they have, so maybe I just haven’t found the combination that suits my tastebuds as yet.

Gustavo’s Salsa

My first savory sampling of the day was a dip into Gustavo’s Salsa.  His Chipotle salsa starts out smoky and tomato-y and then builds with heat and spice that lingers lightly on the palate, delivering just the right amount of each sensation to make you want to go back for another bite.  This would be perfect to cook with or to eat on its own.  I picked up a container to use at home and haven’t quite decided which of those two routes I’ll be taking with it.

DeLIFEful Foods

One sip of the Sweet Sweet P&P by DeLIFEful Foods and I could feel the power of the ginger coursing through my veins and the antioxidants in the pineapple and pomegranate doing their work, as well.  I tried their Kickin’ Ginger flavor, too, which had a much milder hit of spice, but was still nicely refreshing.  These raw, cold-pressed juices could be the perfect drink for a hot summer’s day.

I Heart Keenwah

Quinoa is one of those ingredients that I know is really good for me, but that I don’t have that many chances to incorporate in to my diet on a regular basis.  The folks at I Heart Keenwah have taken away all of my excuses for this with their bite-sized, quinoa-based treats.  With several flavors to choose from, I went right for the Chocolate Sea Salt variety, which will make snack time healthy as well as a bit indulgent.

Mommy’s Yummies

This company started out of a mother’s interest in feeding her toddler child food without preservatives and additives.  Now, she delivers to many areas in Manhattan as well as Brooklyn and Queens.  Mommy’s Yummies brings food to your door twice a week geared towards the nutrients that growing, active younger children need.  While I’m not in the demographic for this meal service, I can see how useful this would be to parents trying to start their kids off on a healthy lifestyle from the beginning.

Spicy ‘n Sweet

One of my new-ish favorite products has got to be Nonna’s Red Pesto from Spicy ‘n Sweet.  I use it to dress up poached or fried eggs, to add depth to tomato sauce or to give a boost to a panino with mozzarella and grilled vegetables.  Its rich, acidic bite and pop of heat along with a layer of sweetness makes it the ideal foil for so many dishes.  Their pasta sauces are also delicious.  I had the pleasure of meeting Nonna Carolina, who was there giving a pasta making demonstration at the market.  They told me that they’ll be giving a tomato canning demonstration at the New Amsterdam Market (where you can also find them on Sundays) on August 26 for the Tomato Festival.

2 Penz

These adorable miniature Bundt cakes, or Gugelhupfi, were bursting with candied fruit surrounded by moist, delicate cake.  Sandra and Hans, the owners of 2 Penz, told me that they hadn’t seen anything quite like it in the markets, so they decided to turn to their roots and bring a bit of Germany to New York.  The savory version of these cakes, made with speck, was no less tasty.  Look out for them, too, in the holiday markets around the city later on this year, where they are hoping to be selling their traditional German Christmas cookies called “keksies.”

Malu

Fortunately, the market’s organizers knew to have an ice cream vendor selling cool treats there, which was more than welcome with the balmy temperatures outside.  Located in Long Island City, Malu seems to be a neighborhood favorite.  One bite of the smooth, creamy Caramel Clodhopper (photo above) with its crunchy, salty, chocolate-covered crisped rice morsels and I could see why.  I ran into a friend and her boyfriend there who opted to go for the Blueberry Honey Graham flavor, which they said was delicious (click the link for a photo).

Northern Rye

Rye bread in several forms seems to be popping up lately, although these are a far cry from the caraway-seed studded sliced loaves with which I grew up.  These versions have more nutty, complex flavors, and, I have been told, great health benefits.  The products from Northern Rye were not only visually appealing with their bold, bright colors, but also had a nice flavor with the rye bread providing a harmonious base.  I really enjoyed the Sweet Potato-Onion-Rosemary variety with savory, herbal notes and big chunks of delicate, roasted vegetable.  These would be great as a snack, a quick lunch or an appetizer.

Sabba’s Spicery

I probably could have listened all day to Sabba’s Spicery‘s owner talking about how he gets his inspiration for his spice blends by researching culinary history and pulling together the tastes and smells from the different regions of the world at certain points in time.  His By The Sea Blend is still not powerful enough to tear the can of Old Bay from my fingers, which he understood completely, but his other combinations like the Southwestern Blend, with the essence of dusty deserts and hot, dry climates, and the Powder Forte Blend, with hints of medieval spice trades and Middle Eastern fragrances, had deeply evocative aromas.  We talked about several recipe possibilities for each of these products; however, he added, they are all also just really good sprinkled on popcorn.

Rainforest Beer

The folks at Rainforest Beer were at the market with bottles of their Citrus “Farm Ale” and Jaguar Stout.  Unfortunately, samples of these beverages were not available to try today, as they function as a non-profit that combines their interest in brewing with contributing to forestry projects through Camino Verde.  They are currently working on a distribution model so that more of us can enjoy their creations.

Buenos Angies

Even though I’d had several sweet treats already, it was really difficult for me to pass up these delectable Argentine Alfajores by Buenos Angies.  Crumbly, buttery cookies with a swath of dark, toffee-like dulce de leche nestled between them.  Sweet and salty at the same time, these just melted in my mouth, like they promised.

Mel’s Melting Pot

“Ketchup” as referred to here, in the Canadian way, is a little closer to what we would call chutney, I was told by the owners of Mel’s Melting Pot.  No matter what you call it, this sweet, condiment with notes of cinnamon and other spices would be ideal served with roasted or boiled meats or on a cheese platter.  I think I preferred the spicy version a bit more to the regular one as there was the taste of fruit up front followed by heat with a long, layered finish.

Lovebug Kitchen

The menu for Lovebug Kitchen sounded amazing, but I was pretty full by the time I got to her table.  I did take a peek at the Chocolate Coconut Cornbread and make a promise to myself that, next time, I’d make sure to start my food tour on that side of the room first.  The website says that she’ll be at Hester Nights as well this week, so maybe I’ll head over there to check out what other dishes she’ll have for sale.

Cookie Fairy Sweets

Aside from ice cream, one of my other favorite sweets is cookies, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to resist these ones from Cookie Fairy Sweets.  Besides, my friend whom I’d run into earlier at the market told me that I had to try them.  The Lil’ Devils started off with rich cocoa, followed by spice notes, and followed at the end by even more chocolatey flavor.  These are the kind of carefully-nuanced baked good that I long to be able to create in my own kitchen.  Fortunately, these treats come already baked and are available in the refrigerated section of several stores, so you can keep them on hand for when you have that cookie craving but are too lazy to whip up a whole batch of them.

Chai Mookie

The fragrant, spiced tea from Chai Mookie was the right finish to the afternoon.  The healing and digestive properties of the spices that go into these blends hit the right spot in my stomach after all the snacking and noshing.  I picked up a bag of the Wake Up! Mookie, which has black tea combined with their signature spice blend, to have on hand for an afternoon break.

Queens County Market

There were so many wonderful vendors to discover with a wide variety of food items to sample as well as to take away at this market on Saturday.  It seemed as though several of those selling there were newer to the market scene in New York, which was exciting to see as that means that there will be many fantastic new products for all of us to try in the future.  As I mentioned above, the next date for Queens County Market has not yet been fixed, so the best way to find out when the next one will be held is to sign up on their site for updates.

Buon appetito!

Preview of Cook Out NYC with Kimchi-Making Demo by Mama O’s Premium Kimchee

Have you been out to Governors Island yet this year?  If not, here’s another terrific reason to plan a day out of the city (sort of) to check out this bucolic spot just a short ferry ride away from Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Cook Out NYC will be taking place July 7-8 from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  This event will feature delicious dishes prepared by fantastic local chefs, refreshing brews by Sixpoint Brewery, and for all you kimchi lovers, a Spicy Kimchi Eating Contest to be held on Saturday.  I’m pleased to be able to offer you a $5.00 discount on tickets to this event, courtesy the sponsors.  Enter the code “BlogOutNYC” at check-out.

Kheedim Oh of Mama O’s Premium Kimchee

As part of the press launch for this event, several fellow bloggers, local media folks, and I gathered at Jimmy’s No. 43 last night for a kimchi making demonstration by Kheedim Oh, the founder of Mama O’s Premium Kimchee. Both Jimmy and Kheedim met when they each had stands at the New Amsterdam Market.  Kheedim started off by explaining the origins of his four-year-old company.  After relocating from Maryland, he missed his mother’s kimchi and hadn’t been able to find any store-bought version that stacked up to her homemade one.  After convincing her to teach him how to make it, he would travel to and from New York with coolers full of it.

Ingredients for Kimchi

Not able to eat all of it himself, he offered it to friends who told him that he should be selling it.  A butcher in his Lower East Side neighborhood fell in love with it and started to carry it.  Things grew from there, and now his product can be found in many Whole Foods stores in the region as well as at Murray’s Cheese Shop and other specialty food retailers.  He said he goes through about 500 pounds of cabbage a week making kimchi.  He treated us to a brief explanation of how it all comes together:

Explaining how to prep the cabbage for brining – slice it lengthwise

After 24 hours – unbrined (left) vs. brined (right) cabbage

Making the spicy paste – pounding garlic by hand (he did most of this by machine)

Making the spicy paste – slicing ginger

Making the spicy paste – pulverizing ginger

Making the spicy paste – juicing a few limes (with help from the audience)

Making the spicy paste – adding dried red pepper

Making the spicy paste – adding more dried red pepper

Making the spicy paste – oh, let’s just add a little bit more dried red pepper

Spicy Red Pepper Paste

Cutting up the brined cabbage (cut out the core at the bottom and discard it)

Slice a few scallions

Chop up a pile of cilantro

Give it all a good toss together

Guests were able to pack it up to take home with them

My own personal jar of kimchi, ready to go home

Thanks so much to Kheedim for his highly-entertaining demonstration of how to make kimchi.  I’m not sure I’m going to try doing this in my own kitchen, but I’m looking forward to tasting the results of last night’s event when they are ready.  Remember, Cook Out NYC will be taking place July 7-8 from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  There’s a $5.00 discount on tickets to this event when you enter the code “BlogOutNYC” at check-out.  I’ll be there as well, covering this event for my website courtesy of Food Karma Projects.

Buon appetito!

Mad Sq Eats Is Back!

With the arrival of some more consistently gorgeous weather, it is the perfect season for Mad Sq Eats to come back to town.  You can still catch this food-centric pop-up market for another couple of weeks.  I’ve passed through it a few times when errands and appointments have put me over in that part of town.

List of Vendors

There’s some vendors who have sold there in the past as well as a few different ones, bringing new and delicious flavors to this gathering.  The bright colorful Marimekko tabletop decorations and umbrellas add an extra air of festivity to the area and make this an almost vacation-like oasis at the meeting point of busy downtown several streets.

Mighty Balls – Pork Slider with Spicy Feta and Jalapeno Jam

Looking for a quick, hearty, spicy snack?  This photo was taken at the Dekalb Market, but I’ve had these at quite a few food events since I discovered how tasty their combinations are.  Definitely stop by the stand for Mighty Balls and grab one of their sliders.

Arancini Bros. selection

Another great quick bite to have is the crunchy, pillowy, filled rice balls from Arancini Bros.  These Sicilian street snacks come in sweet and savory flavors and are easily eaten on the go.

LaSonrisa – Coconut Curry Chicken Empanada

LaSonrisa empanadas are other delicious portable edibles to check out.  I’m a fan of their pulled pork one, however, the vendor there encouraged me to try out their popular Coconut Curry Chicken.  Tender chunks of meat dressed in a juicy, tropical-scented, lightly spiced sauce all stuffed inside of a crispy shell.  I think this one might be my new favorite of their product line.

Asia Dog – Slow-cooked Pork Slider with Ginger BBQ Sauce and Slaw

Usually when I stop by Asia Dog‘s stand at any market, I pick up the Vinh, a combination of heat and tanginess sort of like a mock banh mi in hotdog form.  This time, however, I decided to go with something different: the pork slider.  It somehow felt a bit more like barbecue weather.  Tender pork with spicy, zippy sauce and topped with crunchy pickled cabbage.  This hit all the right flavor notes.  Why not grab a beverage from Brooklyn Soda Works, which they are also selling at Asia Dog, to go along with it?

Red Hook Lobster Pound – Maine-style Lobster Roll

Sweet, briny chunks of Maine lobster, dressed in mayonnaise placed on a grilled, top-split roll with a bed of cool, crunchy lettuce.  This is an ideal summertime meal, capturing the essence of the seaside in every bite.  I could have almost been at the beach, if not for the honking horns and screeching brakes in the background.

Roberta’s Pizza – Kale and Ramp Pizza

I’m almost embarrassed to confess that I’ve never been out to Greenpoint to Roberta’s to try their amazing pizzas.  Part of the reason why is that I’ve been able to sample them elsewhere when they fire up the portable ovens and bring their pies to other parts of the city.  This Kale and Ramp one combined two of the “it” farmers’ market products of the season for a pizza that had a garlicky kick with a carpet of green over dollops of creamy, sharp pecorino.

Danny Macaroons – Sea Salt Caramel Macaroon

While doing my initial pass through the food stalls, my eye spied a display of Danny Macaroons‘ sweet treats.  The folks at Birch Coffee have trays filled with several of Danny’s flavors.  They also sell their cold-brewed coffee in growlers (jugs) for those who would like to stock up for the warmer season.

People’s Pops – Shaved Ice with Red Plum Syrup

Did you have a Snoopy Sno Cone machine growing up?  Yeah, neither did I.  So, seeing the folks at People’s Pops shaving the ice by hand and then drizzling them with syrups made from locally-sourced fruits and herbs.  I went with the sweet-tart Red Plum version to cleanse my palate.

Steve’s Ice Cream – Strawberry-Ricotta

Last summer, I discovered Steve’s Ice Cream.  They’ve closed up their shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan, so I was thrilled to see them here.  As it’s just turned into strawberry season, I went with the tart-tangy Strawberry-Ricotta which was like eating the berriest, strawberry milkshake ever.

Umbrellas at MadSqEats

This is just a small sample of all the terrific food items at Mad Sq Eats.  It’s a great spot to drop by for lunch (plan to go before or after the rush of office workers), a late afternoon snack, or even a quick dinner.  It closes on June 1, so you only have a few more weeks to get over there.

Buon appetito!