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Posts from the ‘Farms’ Category

Not So Plump Dumpling

Dumplings with Winter Farmer's Market Veggies (and Siracha of Course)

Everyone loves a good dumpling, but if you’re just ordering from the Chinese place around the corner, chances are their veggie dumplings will be made with thick dough, and filled with little more than cabbage. This appitizer is suprisingly easy to make at home with store-bought wonton wrappers, and it’s possible you can even have a healthy, flavor-filled batch ready before take out could arrive at your door.

You can get pretty creative with how you stuff your dumplings, just decide if the ingredients need to be cooked prior to filling (steaming only takes about 5 minutes, and you want the filling to be soft… so if it won’t be soft (or for a protein, cooked) in 5 minutes give it a quick saute), and then give them a quick chop in the food processor. Even in the winter you can find amazing greens and root vegetables that are in season, and incredibly nutritious (and of course, delicious).

For my dumplings I used some of the amazing produce I got yesterday at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. I got Shiitake and Pioppini Mushrooms from John D. Madura Farm. The Pioppini have a great peppery flavor, and are an excellent addition to stir-frys as well.

Shiitake and Pioppini Mushrooms from John D. Madura Farms at the Union Square Greenmarket

I also diced, and sautéed some Sweet Potato. I also quickly sautéed the Baby Bok Choy, even though it was super tender, I just wanted to make sure the bottoms of the leaves had no crunch in the dumpling.

Baby Bok Choy

While the ingredients cooked, I made a sauce based on a Mark Bittman recipe for Steamed Shrimp and Cilantro Shu Mai . A simple mixture of Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Rice Wine, Scallions, and Fresh Ginger this sauce will hold the ingredients together in the dumpling, as well as serve as a dipping sauce later.

I gave the cooked ingredients a quick pulse in the food processor along with a few tablespoons of the sauce.

Fill the won-ton wrappers with about a teaspoon of the mixture. Moisten the edges with water, fold in half to make a triangle, and crimp the edges just like a pie crust. To make a Shu-Mai shape, just gather the edges around the center instead of folding, pleating the edges, but leaving some filling exposed.

Steam for about 5 minutes (until wrapper is completely tender), or give a quick pan sear like I did.

For Sauce:

1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1 T Rice Wine
1 T Sesame oil
1 T Minced Ginger (or more… to taste)*
1/4 Cup Chopped Scallions (White only)

*To peel ginger try using a spoon, much easier!


Burlington, VT pt II: A Tiny House and a Big Farm (A Perfect Sunday).

Photo: Dan Kirk

Sundays in the Fall in Vermont now always remind me of my friend Jess, and our long drives while up at school, through the “country;” peeping leaves, admiring houses, and of course stopping for snacks along the way. Though Jess wasn’t with me this trip, I really had the perfect lazy Sunday in Vermont. The air was crisp, and there was a light breeze throughout the morning. Being out of the city, just breathing seemed like a vacation in itself. It was a beautiful day in Burlington, but it was the quick drive to Charlotte that was really the perfect picture of an autumn afternoon.

Dan’s Microhouse is located on an amazing piece of property, on a dirt road, set way back from the street in Charlotte. All the leaves were really in their peak, a fantastic background splattering lit by the bright sun of brilliant reds, and warm orange and yellow hues. Everyone had already been working on the house for several hours by the time I arrived (I did afterall, say this was a lazy Sunday) and we couldn’t stay long if we were to make it to brunch on time– but we got the full tour of the project, and it was great to finally get to see the real thing!

Mike & Mr. Kirk, hard at work on the Microhouse.

We were all really impressed by what the guys have done so far, especially my dad who still has not stopped talking about it. I look foward to watching the project progress, and can’t wait to see it when it’s all done! You can get additional information, and follow Dan’s Microhouse on his blog.

It was a lazy Sunday for Wyatt too.

After our quick visit at the Microhouse, we headed to Shelburne Farms for brunch. Shelburne Farms is a membership-supported, nonprofit environmental education center, as well as a 1,400-acre working farm, and a National Historic Landmark all right on the lake. The estate, built in 1886, is now home to the Inn at Shelburne Farms, and an incredible restaurant that uses produce from the farm’s market garden, as well as their own dairy, meats from other local farms, and items from Vermont food purveyors.

The Inn at Shelburne Farms

All the fresh ingredients of the day are displayed at the entrance of the dining room:

We had a really amazing meal. I of course started with a bloody mary (which was a little thick for my liking, but still pretty delicious). Both my parents had the Maple Sausage, Apple, and Cheddar Omlette, and I had the Market Garden Fritatta, with sunchokes, foraged mushrooms, and other tasty veggies. The eggs were light, fluffy, and really delicious, and the vegetables were all very mild in flavor, but cooked perfectly, and worked very well texturally. The house-made sausage was really amazing– tender, juicy, and seasoned to perfection.

After our meals we walked around some of the expansive grounds, stopping down at the farm to see all the animals, and the numerous Dutch Brown Dairy Cows.

The farm was crowded with families, and there were a lot of little kids very happy to be around the animals, and having the opportunity to pet them, feed them, and even milk them. The farm is not only a really beautiful place, but the educational programs offered for children and adults are really incredible. The farm has a huge impact on the local community, and is a really big part of organizations such as VT FEED, a group that links Vermont farms to schools throughout the area that has done some really inspiring work.

After spending a few hours at Shelburne Farms, we ventured down the road to another favorite spot, Shelburne Orchards. While we usually go apple picking, this time we opted for some apple pie, and hot cider instead. We sipped our warm drinks, and sat at picnic tables on the top of the hill listening to bluegrass music taking in the view. The pie was delicious, and the sight was spectacular, I’m not sure I could have asked for a more perfect day. And though I love living in NYC, I can honestly say in that moment I didn’t miss the subways, sidewalks, or smells, the attitudes, or the people that posess them. I didn’t even really miss the food.

Burlington, VT: Slow-Food Burgers at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill

Misty Knoll Free Range Turkey Burger at the Farmhouse

If you turn onto Bank Street, off of the pedestrian-only cobblestone Church Street– where you once could find a McDonald’s tucked behind the shops and restaurants– you will stand before The Farmhouse Tap & Grill: a gastropub “dedicated to showcasing and supporting local farms and food producers.” A clear victory for the local food movement, and a perfect example of just how progressive Vermont is, I was excited to see what the menu had to offer.

We travelled down from Mike’s house to meet his parents, and Dan, who were in the outdoor beer garden. While it was quite a bit colder than NYC, there were still quite a few people outside enjoying beers from the extensive selection. We sat inside quickly, and our drink order was taken immediately. I took Dan’s advice and tried the Victory/Stone/Dogfish Head DeBuff, a collaboration between Victory Brewing Co, Stone Brewing Co, and Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales. With a hoppy front, and an herbal finish, the crisp beer is infused with (cue the Simon & Garfunkel) parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

Photo: Dan Kirk

We started with a selection of Vermont Cheeses, served with local Red Hen bakery bread, Vermont apple butter, and maple candied walnuts. Favorites included the Jasper Hill/Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Peaked Mountain Farm VT Dandy, and the Consider Bardwell Farm Equinox, a hard, sharp, raw goat’s milk cheese. Mrs. Kirk shared the interesting story of Consider Bardwell’s farmer Angela Miller, and how she ended up in West Pawlet Vermont (after spending many years on Shelter Island).

The restaurant is known for its burgers, which are all composed of local meats. Their beef burgers are made with Maple Wind Farm Grass Fed Beed, from Huntington, VT– and are topped with Landaff Creamery cheese, VS&C bacon, and house pickled red onion (other toppings are available for all burgers such as Laughing Lotus Farm Kimchi, House Pickled Jalapenos, and Wilted Lacinato Kale. They serve a Pork burger with a sunny side up local egg, Vermont Cheddar, and tomato (the pork is farm pasture raised at Winding Brook Farm in Morrisville), and I had the Misty Knoll Free Range Turkey Burger with Taylor Farm smoked gouda, grilled local apple, charred onions, and arugula. They also had several specials (Dan had the special Venison burger), as well as vegetarian options (Farmhouse Veggie Burger, and Portobello White Bean Burger).

Photo: Dan Kirk

My burger was moist and flavorful, which is not always a given with turkey burgers. The toppings offered the perfect blend of sweet and savory, without over-powering the mild taste of the turkey. The fries were hot, crispy, and served with a variety of condiments brought out to the table (the garlic aioli was a favorite).

Photo: Dan Kirk

The Farmhouse was very crowded, almost all of the tables seemed to be full, and the bar was pretty packed by the time we left. Like it’s sister restaurant American Flatbread (which we ordered take out from the night before, see menu here,) it seems to be quickly becoming a Burlington favorite. The atmosphere wasn’t amazing, the room was large and fairly impersonal (it was after-all, a McDonald’s) but we had a great table of people, interesting conversations, and plenty of beer, all of which allowed one to easily ignore their surroundings. With it’s impressive locavore (or as Dan might prefer it, localvore) menu, and not to mention it’s beer list– it’s not difficult to see why this is such a popular spot.

Billy Goats Not So Gruff: The Friendly Goats and Fantastic Cheeses of Catapano Dairy Farm

Some of the goats at Catapano's Dairy Farm in Peconic, NY

“I don’t like goats.” My mother said, as I put my turn signal on, heading towards Catapano Dairy Farm. “Don’t they have slits in their eyes? and those little horns, and beards…” She continued. “I think they look like the devil!” Not liking goats, it is strange she chose to accompany me to the farm, which is home to just under one-hundred goats of different shapes, sizes, and breeds.

The Catapanos bought the farm on the Main Road in Peconic in 2003, which houses a steel barn and all new machinery for producing cheese in great quantities. Husband and wife team Dr. Michael and Karen bought goats in 2001 as a hobby (Michael works at a very busy walk-in clinic in Wainscott), and by 2005 the couples chevre was awarded #1 by the American Cheese Society.

The male and female goats are kept separately, as well as the kids. Their fenced enclosures are spacious, and extremely clean. The goats are fed a strict diet of alfalfa from a supplier upstate to maintain a consistent flavor in their cheeses, yogurt, and milks.

To my moms surprise, the goats were friendly, and because the mother’s were being milked at the time, the smaller kids, she had to admit, were actually pretty cute. They stuck their heads out of the fence to be rubbed, and tried to gnaw on any loose-fitting clothing. They were friendly and playful, and the Catapano’s are frequently quoted saying they truly are happy goats.

In the small store at the farm you can purchase a variety of cheeses, chevre comes in several different favors, they also make feta, and gouda. Goat’s milk yogurt, and fudge can also be found, along with house-made Hot Pepper Jelly, and Lavender Honey from The Taste of the North Fork.

Karen also makes a line of goat milk body products, including handmade soaps, lotions, lip balms, and more. Goat milk is incredibly beneficial to the skin containing many nutrients including vitamins A, C, B1, B6, B12, and E, minerals, citric acid, amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, enzymes, and she adds almond oil, shea butter, silk, and scents to the products which can also be purchased on their website.

The Farm's selection of flavored chevre

If the friendly kids, and bath products didn’t change my moms opinion on goats, the chevre certainly did. Extremely smooth, creamy, and mildly tart, this cheese is one that must be tried by any fan of goat cheese. Perfect for salads, pastas, sandwiches, or eaten alone on a fresh baguette, the plain flavored batch is delicious enough, but there are many flavors including hot pepper, basil and parsley, sun-dried tomato, and lavender honey. To learn more about the Catapano’s Dairy Farm or to order bath products visit their website here. Or stop by the farm at 33705 North Rd, in Peconic, NY 10am-5pm everyday by Tuesday.

Subscribe to this blog or check back soon for recipes featuring the Catapano’s delicious chevre!

Pick from a Bounty of Island Farm Stands

“Ripe red tomatoes. Bright yellow squash. Sweet melons that perfume the air around them. The bounty of summer is ripe for the picking here on Shelter Island at a farm stand near you.”

For the full article in the Shelter Island Reporter, click here.

August Harvest on Shelter Island

Wildflowers for Sale on Shelter Island

Three weeks after my shoulder surgery, I am finally back in the kitchen–just in time to take advantage of the summer season’s peak harvest. August has so much to offer, and warm weather dishes practically cook themselves with ingredients straight from the farm-stand.

Cooking with one arm in a sling has proved to be quite challenging, so I’ve been sticking mainly to simple dishes, and lots of salads. Heirloom tomatoes are available and are tasty enough to sprinkle with salt and pepper and eat alone, or paired with basil and mozzarella cheese. Also, chopped with cucumbers, red onion, parsley, mint, with a little lemon juice and olive oil, a tomato salad is a great cold veggie side dish for grilled meats, or fish.

Sylvestor Manor Farm on Shelter Island has had some of the sweetest yellow cherry tomatoes I have ever tasted. They are so ripe and flavorful they make a delicious snack by themselves, or could be tossed into any salad or pasta dish. I roasted some with a bit of ground pepper, kosher salt, and olive oil just until they burst. Mixed with a tablespoon or so of fresh pesto, I put the mixture over chedder-dill buttermilk scones, and a poached egg (from Sylvestor Manor’s variety of chickens). Who needs hollandaise when you have pesto straight from the garden? For the scone recipe for this sweet and savory brunch dish, see the bottom of this post.

Carla shopping for squash and peppers at the Manor farm-stand

Besides tomatoes and cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, summer squash, zucchini, green beans, potatoes, onions, carrots, radishes, beets, corn, watermelon, and peaches are all in season.

I bought two baskets of peaches from Davis Peach Farm on the North Fork of Long Island (561 Hulse Landing Road, Wading River, NY) and have experimenting with different peach-berry crisps and pies. I have also been making simple salsa, and hope to jar a few bottles of chutney while the peaches are so amazingly ripe and widely available. I have never tasted peaches as sweet and juicy as those from Davis Peach Farm, and they were great for cooking with– they were so ripe the skin peeled right off (with less ripe peaches you can always boil them for about 30 seconds to make this easier).

Now that I am feeling much better, expect many more updates!

For the scones:
(Yields 8 ) (Unless you’re cooking for a large group, scones get stale very quickly, and I prefer making them in small batches to ensure freshness)

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks cold diced butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 lb extra-sharp cheddar cheese (I used a 2 yr Vermont cheese)
1/2 cup minced fresh dill

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine dry ingredients, and with a mixer add butter and mix on low-speed until the butter is pea-sized. Mix buttermilk and eggs separately, then add to dry mixture. Add cheddar and dill to dough. Knead for about one minute on well floured surface, and roll until dough is just less than 1 inch thick. Cut into triangles, brush tops with egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water). Bake on baking sheet for 20 to 25 minutes. Line sheet with parchment paper for easy removal.

Also try this recipe with other savory ingredients (cheddar and chives, basil and sun-dried tomato…) and enjoy!

What’s in Season: July in NYC (Union Square)

Carrots, Sugar Plums, Peaches, Beets, Radishes, Corn, Garlic Scapes, Fresh Herbs, Lettuces,Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Kale, Fava Beans, Green Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, Summer Squash, Zuccini, Cucumbers… just waiting on the Heirloom Tomatoes. Tomatoes were available but most were hydroponic– but it is clearly the height of the season at local farmers markets, so go out and enjoy the harvest!

Amy Cotler: The Locavore Way


Last Tuesday (sorry for the delay) I had the amazing oppurtunity of meeting author/blogger/chef/local food enthusiast Amy Colter. As part of the summer culinary class series sponsering Just Food, Amy held a two hour cooking demonstration at Whole Foods Market on Bowery and Houston sharing some recipes that could be adapted to every seasons harvests.

She started with a Fresh Fruit Kutchen, showing how strawberries and rhubarb or cherries could be used in the summer, and how later blue berry and maple syrup or apples make a great treat for the fall. She also made a Farmer’s Market Salad utilizing whatever could be found at farmstands now, including some delicious crispy red and blue potatoes. She also made a fall risotto with butternut squash, shiitake mushrooms, and sage– but had numerous suggestions of how the dish could be changed seasonally, such as using fresh peas, corn, and peppers in the summer.

Amy had a great energy, she noted that she is an “anarchist in the kitchen” which she encouraged everyone in the class to be also. Her cooking approach was very much freestyle though she was classically trained, and she put a great emphasis on how when you use really fresh ingredients they practically cook themselves. She seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil, butter, and fresh herbs, and said she rarely spends time making fancy sauces, glazes, etc.

After the demonstration I talked to Amy for a few minutes while she signed my copy of The Locavore Way. I found her extremely pleasant, and discussed by blog a bit, as she has had her own for a few years now. I really recommend her book to anyone interested in eating locally and seasonally, it is an easy to read guide to how to get started, and a great resource to veterans of the concept.

Also check out the Whole Foods website for their other classes this summer sponsoring Just Food, and more importantly, check out Just Food’s website. It’s a great organization that helps get fresh local organic foods to everyone, and has a great deal of information on CSA’s and farmers markets.

Lavender By The Bay

Lazy Sunday at Lavender By the Bay in East Marion, NY

This Sunday my mom and I made a trip to East Marion to visit Lavender By the Bay‘s Lavender fields. Besides being breathtakingly beautiful, as soon as you step outside, the wonderful calming scent of lavender surrounds you.
The Lavender Fields

There are several varieties of lavender available for both picking, and purchasing. Pre-packaged bags are full of sweet English Lavender for baking or brewing tea.


Fresh Cut Lavender

The flowers are abundant and hang from the ceilings in the rustic wood barn, making for a very quaint and charming retail spot.

The woman working at the store was incredibly helpful. She answered all of my questions about baking, cooking, and infusing with lavender, and had me taste each variety as well as offering suggestions. She also informed me that Lavender by the Bay travels into New York City every Monday and Friday to sell their products at the GreenMarket in Union Square.

I look forward to visiting the farm again in late July when they harvest their Lavender Honey. Until then, I hope to experiment with the lavender I purchased, and make some tasty treats and cocktails.

Food for Thought

Source: NYMag

Read “My Store Made a Change Just for Locovores” from this week’s New York Magazine, here.