Things I Love: Apple Cider Vinegar

November 19, 2016

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Just back from the holiday farmers market in Great Barrington. Many fantastic finds, but my favorite is this fantastic apple cider vinegar from Carr’s Cider House; I bought an entire case, which just might last me through the year. Faintly sweet, it has a strong apple flavor; I think it’s the perfect vinegar for Roquefort salad dressing.

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I’m also a big fan of their cider syrup; pour it on roasted carrots, and they really start to sing. (I also bought a whole slew of bright red carrots.)  And you will never have a more perfect taste of autumn than this cider poured over pumpkin pancakes.

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Comfort in a Bowl

November 14, 2016

068_reic_9781400069989_art_r1In the mood to cook? I think this tart soup might be the perfect dish for this particular moment in time. If anything can comfort you, this is it.

Avgolemono 

Shopping list: 6 cups chicken stock, 1/3 cup rice, 1 lemon.

Staples: 4 eggs, salt.

Serves 6.

Bring about six cups of good rich chicken stock to a boil. Add a third of a cup of raw rice, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes..

Meanwhile, grate the rind from one lemon into a bowl. Squeeze the naked lemon, and add the juice to the rind.

Separate four eggs, dropping the yolks into the lemon juice. (Save the whites for another use.) Add a pinch of salt and beat the yolks into the lemon juice and rind.

When the rice is tender, whisk about half a cup of the hot stock into the yolks, then slowly pour the yolks into the soup, stirring constantly. Cook gently for about five minutes, or until the soup is slightly thickened. Pour into bowls and eat slowly. 

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Even Smart People Get it Wrong….

November 12, 2016

Just found this letter Bertrand Russell wrote to my mother in 1950, telling her to cancel her proposed trip to visit him in England. (He was a longtime friend.) Appalled by the bomb, he was certain the next world war was about to begin.

Things turned out not to be as dire as he anticipated.

On this day, that gives me some consolation.

I’m giving myself the rest of the weekend to mourn. After that, it’s time to move on.  We have a lot of work to do. We have to make sure the America we believe in, the America we fought so hard for, does not die.

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This May be the Best Hot Dog I’ve Ever Eaten

November 8, 2016

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As a New Yorker, I’m very loyal to Gray’s Papaya hotdogs, so a couple days ago, when I was in Providence doing a  Goat Hill Writers talk with Michael Ruhlman and Ann Hood, I wasn’t too enthusiastic  when Michael insisted I try the hotdog at Chez Pascal.  They’re house-made with local ingredients, so how could I refuse? I took a bite…. and swooned just a little. That’s some hotdog.

Truth is I loved all the sausages that Matt Gennuso is making at The Wurst Kitchen (which occupies the front room of the charmingly cozy restaurant he and his wife Kristin run).  I loved the kielbasa – but not as much as Michael did. Cleveland man that he is, he ordered a second plate.  The sausage infused with fennel and locally grown paprika (it’s the one in the middle), was really swell. And I appreciated the weisswurst with its curried onion sauce. (Although honestly, shouldn’t weisswurst be white? It’s the one on the end, and as you can clearly see it’s more like pinkwurst).

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Then the pork butt pastrami sandwich arrived, smothered in sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and mustard.  I can understand why some people – Ann Hood for instance – can’t live without it. 

img_9169Ann asked for seconds.  As for me?  More hotdogs please.

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Another Fantastic Meal with the BBQ Pitmaster

November 1, 2016

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Every time I go to dinner at John Markus‘ house, he seems to up the ante.

Sunday night was no exception.  In addition to his own super-fine ‘que, there was Chef Chad Brauze concocting an extraordinary array of dishes.  It was, as everyone agreed, a completely spectacular feast.

It began with Chef Chad’s array of homemade charcuterie (made with mangalitsa pork from Mosefund Farms.) Those pickled carrots were also off the charts.

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Speaking of carrots… these roasted Kyoto Reds were so good I ate half of them before anyone else had discovered how delicious they were

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Slow roasted tomatoes with burrata

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Sweet and sour cauliflower…

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Charred Brussels sprouts with hits of sweet, salt, nut, savory….

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an autumn salad

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John’s unbeatable ribs….

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and his slowly smoked beef

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Because there simply wasn’t enough meat on the table, Chef Chad felt compelled to stuff a cabbage with lamb for this chou farci

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That may seem like a lot, but there were a number of dishes I neglected to photograph. Oysters on the half shell. Beets with goat yogurt. A second salad. By the time we got to dessert I was in such a food fog I forgot to get a shot of the stunning deep dish apple pie and the enormous cheese board.

Happily, I stopped eating long enough to take a shot of this amazing cheese: Chef Chad laced it with white truffles, making a perfect coda to a memorable meal.

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