Monthly Archives

July 2013

Madison County Open Farm Day

bannerYesterday The Husband and I traveled an hour south-east to take part in Madison County Agriculture’s 6th Annual Open Farm Day. The schedule of events showed thirty-six farms participating – 36! – offering free samples, educational interactions, door prizes, and fresh food. We trekked out across some of the most beautiful territory in New York determined to experience as much as we could take in.
Fruit of the Fungi

 On their farm in Lebanon, Fruit of the Fungi owners Kristi and KC Mangine chatted with visitors, answered questions about the mushroom-growing process, and took us on a walk-and-talk through the woods to see their inoculated logs curing in stacks. We bought fresh-picked shiitakes and a bottle of mushroom power that purports to “add a swift and intense wild mushroom flavor to your dish” which curiously possesses the distinct aroma of dark chocolate. Let the possibility-pondering commence…



Fruit of the Fungi Shiitake


Fruit of the Fungi Open House, July 27, 2013

Fruit of the Fungi Open House, July 27, 2013

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Pewter Spoon Café & Eatery

Jasmin honey tea

Jasmin honey tea

Road Trip Food is an ordeal for us on account of our aversion to places that serve prefabricated-food-like-products — which is most of them — but hunger drove us into Cazenovia. Turns out the village is home to a dumbfounding number of eateries. Eventually The Husband spotted a noteworthy sign: Pewter Spoon Café. A place, maybe, to grab a sandwich for the road. 

Once inside our plan to eat on the fly was forgotten. We were hooked by the jazz on the stereo, the list of nicely thought-out lunch specials written on butcher paper, and the engaging young woman behind the counter. The place was nearly at capacity but we found a fortuitous table by the window overlooking the main drag. We people-watched and sipped iced jasmine and honey tea while we waited. Our order was a pair of paninis, mine a pear, arugula, caramelized onion and brie affair, The Husband’s stuffed with caprese salad. 

Pewter Spoon Cafe & Eatery

Pewter Spoon Cafe & Eatery

A single bite. That was all it took to transform the place from an unknown dot on the map into a destination. Our food was fresh, inventive, delicious. I began assembling a mental list of friends I’d bring with me the next time I visited. When one accidentally stumbles upon the rare gem of an eating establishment the only appropriate thing to do is sing its praises: the Pewter Spoon Café & Eatery is charming and delicious. A MUST if you find yourself in the vicinity.  The Husband and I, quite possibly two of the fussiest fresh-food snobs in all the kingdom, left full and happy.


Follow Pewter Spoon on Facebook.


Meadowood Farms


We’ve greatly missed Meadowood Farms at our Skaneateles Farmer’s Market. We haven’t found a replacement for the wonderful meats we used to get from them but also can’t argue with the inconvenience of distance. It was a treat to tour the farm and get our hands on delicious lamb sausage again.

Plus also there were baby lambs.


Thorp Apiary

It probably will surprise no one that my favorite part of the day was the fresh food samples. The best and most surprising sample came from Thorp Apiary in the form of their basswood honey which contains a rich, lemon flavor. Upon returning home we drizzled copious amounts of Thorp Apiary Basswood Honey over The Husbands fluffy, golden biscuits.  Enough said.


Lucky Moon Farm

We spent more than our fair allotment of time at Lucky MoonFarm. I mean we freaking lingered. I fell in love and would have moved in had it not been for The Husband’s gentle reminder that we have lives requiring our attentions. Plus a child.

The family-owned farm produces vegetables, maple syrup, eggs, garlic and hay, and they employ a philosophy of land stewardship using sustainable farming practices … Oh never mind, I’ll just show you:











Chicken Feet


When Susan Underwood of October Rose Farms gifted me a bag of chicken feet at the farmer’s market on Saturday I wondered what I could possibly have done to offend her. The feet of chickens?  Did she really dislike me so much?  “Trust me,” she said, “these make the most delicious broth. Google it if you don’t believe me.”
I took a deep breath. I accepted her gift. And I Googled the heck out of it.
Chicken feet, I’ve learned, have an ironic presence in our world: they are regarded as a delicacy in some parts, discarded offal in others, and serve as a standard, everyday ingredient in too many ethnic culinary circles to count. The American food culture, me included, seems to have forgotten our long-standing relationship with the lowly chicken foot. Pre-WWII Americans were probably unaware of the unique micronutrients found only in that part of the bird but clearly understood that the collagen, gelatin and high flavor profile made this an essential ingredient for every-day cooking.


In “the olden days” chicken feet were the standard thickener and flavor enhancer of American soups, stews, and gravies; just after the Second World War the food industry figured out how to hydrolyze proteins to a base containing free glutamic acids, and MSG was born. With the resulting explosion of the convenience-food industry along with the disappearance of back-yard chickens, chicken feet as a matter of daily life were forgotten. Americans began gorging on hotdogs and pre-packaged chicken patties made from chemical infused this-and-that pieces-parts and turned our noses up at the very idea of cooking with something so gruesome.


The stock we made from October Rose Farms’ chicken feet was rich in body and flavor, worlds better by far than any store-bought product, mercy yes, and superior even to our carcass and vegetable stock-making method which, until now, has been our gold standard.
This week we learned to connect with a culinary tradition that goes back hundreds of years: utilizing all the parts of the animal, evenespecially the highly nutritious and flavorful feet.


2 pounds of chicken feet
1 bay leaf
Vegetables: Tomatoes, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, etc: use the vegetables you have on hand, course chopped and thrown into a large stockpot.
Water (enough to cover all ingredients in the pot)
1) Rinse the chicken feet under running water to wash away any surface debris.
2) Scald the chicken feet for 15-20 seconds in a pot of salted boiling water, then immediately quench in a bowl of ice water to cool.
3) Peel the yellow membrane entirely from each foot.
4) Chop off the tops of the claws at the first knuckle using a sharp knife.
5) Place the feet in a large stockpot and add vegetables and herbs as desired. We used: tomatoes, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaf and thyme
6) Cover stockpot contents completely with water.
7) Bring to a boil, then reduce to a very low simmer.
8) Simmer for at least 4 hours.
9) Allow liquid to cool completely, then strain.
10) Freeze or can. Yield: approximately 1.5 gallons.

Wild Card Wednesdays

Truth in advertising: eating seasonally requires an attitude adjustment.

Truth in advertising: eating seasonally requires an attitude adjustment.

A lot of people think eating only local, seasonal food means sacrifice, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Oh heck, this isn’t Pinterest, this is reality, so I’ll come clean: the uneven spacing of our Thursday/ Saturday farmer’s market lends itself to rather dicey Wednesday meals. Let’s just say we aren’t very good a pacing ourselves. By mid-week we’ve concocted every recipe we can think of using the best of our weekend haul and the limp, left-over, non sequitur veg laying around can be difficult to assemble into something that meets the minimum standard of ‘a meal.’

This rather odd assembly would be spinach, scape pesto, & an over easy egg. You probably should avoid dinner at our house on Wednesdays.

This rather odd assembly would be spinach, scape pesto,
& an over easy egg. You probably should avoid dinner
at our house on Wednesdays.

We call our situation “Wild Card Wednesday.” We just never know what the heck we’re going to come up with.

Local Living Reality #1: Creativity, resourcefulness, and good humor are essential traits for local living.
Local Living Reality #2: Adventure is always on the menu.
Local Living Reality #3: Meat will not necessarily always be on the menu.
At the heart of our 10-mile challenge is the ambition to live deliciously and joyfully at the local level and share the experience with anyone curious enough to wonder. Even Especially on Wild Card Wednesdays. So instead of glossing over these seasonal and local living challenges, I’ve decided to spotlight them.

Helpful Tips To Keep In Mind: 1) Nearly anything wrapped in pastry crust becomes instantly delicious. 2) If all else fails, dice up whatever leftover veg you have and throw it together with an egg. Meal accomplished.

July 3rd Wild Card Wednesday Meal: Potato and Onion Tart with Roasted Veg (also with onion)
Wild Card Wednesday meals may include onions. With a side of onions.

Wild Card Wednesday meals may include onions. With a side of onions.

What we had on hand: four small (wrinkly) red potatoes, 1 small tomato, a handful of asparagus and snap peas, a small red onion, a small white onion, locally-made Wake Robin Farm Mona Lisa cheese, eggs, milk, our herb garden. On-hand, Non-local ingredients used: flower, sugar, butter, salt, olive oil

The Roasted Veg
Clean and chop whatever available veg you have, toss in olive oil, salt lightly, and broil about 10 minutes, turning frequently.

The Tart Dough
 1 ½ cup of flour
¼ cup of sugar
1 cup cold butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp cold water
pinch of salt
1.     Put flour and a pinch of salt in a mixer with a paddle attachment.
2.     Turn mixer on low and slowly add the butter cubes until thoroughly incorporated.
3.     Add one egg yolk.
4.     Slowly drip in cold water, just enough to form a dough.
5.     Wrap dough and refrigerate for 15 minutes
6.     Roll the dough out until it forms a large, thin circle. Place on a flat cookie sheet.

The Tart Filling
 4 potatoes
1 small onion
½ cup of cheese
1 egg yolk
splash of milk
stalk of rosemary
1.     Preheat oven to 360 degrees F
2.     Thin slice the potatoes, put in a pan, and add water until they are just covered. Boil until just soft.
3.     Slice the onion and chop the rosemary. Set aside.
4.     In a bowl, mix cheese, egg yolk, rosemary, and a splash of milk.
5.     Arrange potatoes on the rolled-out dough, leaving about an inch all the way around.
6.     Pinch the dough edges together all the way around to form a wide, shallow “bowl”.
7.     Gently pour the liquid mixture evenly over the potatoes.
8.     Arrange the onions on top.
–> Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.