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Posts tagged ‘Organic’

A Sad Goodbye to my Second-Home: Planet Bliss Closes After 10 Seasons on SI

The Planet.

It has been a while since I last posted, as these days most of my food related resources are being put to use at Everyday Food Magazine, or working in the restaurant at L’Ecole… but this weekend a very bittersweet occasion took place that I absolutely had to make time to write about.

After almost 11 years– at least 8 of which I spent working there– Planet Bliss restaurant on Shelter Island has announced it will be closing it’s doors, and invited everyone to be a part of celebrating the past decade last Saturday.

While many things shape who we are, and who we become– those of us who are a part of the Bliss family had a mutualistic relationship with the restaurant. The personalities of owners Julie and Sebastian, the staff throughout the years, and all of the regulars made bliss what it was. Even the Zagat caught on to the “eclectic” vibe of the staff several years in a row. The atmosphere at Bliss offered something much different from any restaurant in the Hamptons, or anywhere, that I have experienced. While it offered comfort, and that warm, weight-lifting feeling of being at home, it also had an incredible energy that will be difficult if not impossible to ever duplicate.

How has it effected me? Well, first and foremost, I think it is pretty obvious that I would have never chosen food as a career path had I not been amongst Sebastian and his relentless passion for cooking. So thank you Baz, for not only teaching me so much, but keeping me interested, and inspired after 10 years in your restaurant. With so much experience to pass on, I was always paying more attention than you probably thought. It was great watching a chef cooking exactly what he wanted, using fresh ingredients, and always experimenting without the rigidness and downright coldness of most kitchens. You always made it look fun (except on those days Rem would hold the thermometer over his head and it read what, 160?) Your skill, creativity, love for food, patience, and of course your sense of humor through it all will always mean so much to me, and I hope to some day be half the chef you are (I’m one burn closer to being there).

Opie and Baz (Thanks for the pic Nika)

There is also Remmey, who I miss every single day. If it wasn’t for PB I wouldn’t have become so instantly close with him. Even if it was only for a short time, we probably knew each other better than most people will ever hope. So many of the best Bliss memories I have are from the summer Remmey worked in our kitchen. That big, red, sweaty kid who put a smile on my face the second I walked through the screen door in the back. Whether it was entertaining a bachelorette party, rescuing baby bunnies from Jezebel the cat, or making a flame-kissed steak– Rem will always be remembered as a big part of Bliss.

And to Julie, and the rest of the front-of-house: Vee, Mimi, Opie, Chop, Chris, Nicole, Erica, Kathy, Ali, Julie F, Kara, Ian, Karen, Selina, Lolo, Remy, Sam, Xange, Leah… There are too many memories, most of which I feel we wouldn’t want written anywhere, especially on the internet, no? There were late nights at Sunset, sometimes with the cash out locked in the glove box– how many years ago was that? Later nights at the bar, like Cory’s jungle-themed birthday party… “Damuck, you were my ride, and I can’t sleep here!” “Staff meetings,” and God only knows how many margaritas. Endless literary discussions with Opie, after all these margaritas. Can a stripper juice even be classified as a margarita? Bingo night. “Just One Drink at The Chequit.” All the late night, no A/C, tequila driven dance parties to Madonna and any other DJ Mimi choice hit. The Gerbil Box. The ritual we all openly shared that would get us through doubles on Saturdays and Sundays. Brunch. Staff parties. BCD’s (boozy coffee drinks). It’s goddamn impossible to list them all, but there really is no need any way. Some of my most unforgettable, well–… most amazing nights, have been spent at Bliss. Though I’m sure the party will continue whenever and wherever we end up together, only a place like PB could have gotten us together in a first place. And how it ever functioned or how Julie and Baz put up with such a staff I will never know, but I will always be grateful.

Sunset Beach with Vee, Amanda, and Mimi (circa 2005)

And of course there are the regulars, most of them I will miss, some I will be relieved not to see again– I can’t lie about that. Always an interesting crowd behind the bar, or out on the porch, you were all obviously a huge part in shaping Bliss as well.

Saturday night seemed like any other wild evening at Bliss, but if one looked closely, I think the underlying sadness could easily be sensed. I know it wasn’t just me looking around the glowing orange walls, down at the worn wooden floors, and everywhere in-between suddenly becoming nostalgic over EVERYTHING. The nappy-haired Barbie doll on the bathroom door, the two toilets in the woman’s bathroom– the hanging lock on the door, worn from one too many customers pulling on it despite the clear typed warning not to do so. The ever-present scent of sticky parsley spray. The bamboo benches, and millions of flurry pillows– round, long, brown, white, orange. The liquor cabinets eerily empty. The ancient cash register, God how many late nights were spent hunched over that thing, desperately trying to do math, sober up, or both. Tables and chairs with wobbly legs– am I being melodramatic now? Perhaps, but I really felt at that moment like one of the mismatched pieces of silverware housed above the bread warmer. It stung in my heart that I would never again write on the chalk-board, put a ticket on the line, or slam the walk-in door behind me again. But between the dances on the counter, sweaty hugs, kisses, and numerous cocktails, I know we were all feeling the same way. The unsettling effect of being up-rooted, displaced.

But I can’t forget about the happiness in this ending as well. Julie and Baz have welcomed two truly amazing children into their (and all of our) lives. Phoenix and Tola are going to get to spend a lot more time with their parents, and who could be sad about that? Especially when they are the coolest, most loving, fun, smart, inspiring people I can think of? I personally couldn’t have asked for a better second Mom and Dad if I tried.

Tola and Phoenix Bliss

So again, thank you Julie and Sebastian, and to my extended Bliss family. Please share any wonderful memories of Bliss you have here, (or e-mail me any photos to share at foodequalslovenyc@gmail.com) as my words alone could never sum up everything that was PB, and all that it meant to me.

Julie and Baz

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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!

Candle Cafe: Vegan Farm to Table on the Upper East Side

Soba Noodle Salad with sprouts, shiitakes, edamame, carrots, daikon, snap peas, red cabbage, and sesame seeds with a creamy wasabi dressing

Sandwiched between Le Steak on one end of the block, and J.G. Melon (home to arguably the best burgers in Manhattan) on the other, is the Candle Cafe one of my favorite vegan restaurants in the city. The cafe is always very crowded, and pretty noisy (the constantly running juicer in front of the restaurant accounts for most of this), but the healthy, tasty dishes in this casual dining spot are well worth a few minute wait.

There is one menu for both lunch and dinner that changes seasonally at this farm-to-table restaurant, but some items are staples year round like the delicious Mezze Plate with hummus, quinoa tabouli, olives, warm parata bread and homemade wonderfully tart and sweet lemon-date chutney. Daily specials are always offered, including one or more soups, a salad, and a wrap (these specials are updated everyday on the website if you’re ordering take-out or delivery).

BBQ Tempeh & Sweet Potato Sandwich with wilted kale, grilled red onion, and a shallot sage aioli

There is a great selection of salads ranging from a vegan take on the classic caesar salad, to Asian-inspired flavors in the Soba Noodle Salad pictured at the beginning of the post. There are also several sandwiches, including my favorite, the BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potato Sandwich. This savory sandwich is served warm, and has a great blend of texture and flavor. The shallot sage aioli complements without overpowering, and I always find myself using all of it, probably counteracting anything that was healthy about the dish.

Heartier entrees such as a stir fry, veggie lasagna, and pomegranate Grilled Tofu with garlic-shallot-potato mash, sautéed greens and crispy sage with roasted vegetable gravy and parsley oil are available and are all priced under $20.

The juice bar also serves up several different varieties of fresh juices and smoothies which are available to-go. Wine and beer is served at the cafe as well.

While this type of cuisine is not for everyone, even many skeptical friends of mine have really enjoyed the creative use of vegetarian proteins. The chefs have done an amazing job of giving the soy products on the menu texture and flavor beyond your average tofu– but the veggie-centric selection may be a bit daunting for a date with your burger-loving boyfriend (right Annie and Billy?) The smell of wheat-grass and ginger when you enter may turn some off from the start.

If you are interested in the Candle Cafe’s cuisine but are looking for a more upscale dining experience, try their sister restaurant Candle 79 just around the corner. Worlds apart from the bright lights, chatter, close tables, and hum of the juicer, Candle 79 offers a quiet, elegant atmosphere, with many more menu choices (still 100% vegan).

Candle Cafe
1307 Third Ave (Between 74th & 75th st)
(212) 472-0970

Candle 79
154 e. 79th st (at Lexington)
(212) 537-7179

Food For Thought…

Vegetables are the New Meat?

Photo: NYMag

Sunchokes are everywhere, black kale is all the rage, and even plain old broccoli—never mind boutique brassicas like spigarello and Romanesco—is hot. Vegetables, you see, are newly and increasingly fashionable, at least among a certain segment of fine-dining, CSA-belonging, Michael Pollan–reading, rooftop-garden-crazed New Yorkers.

Read the article here at New York Magazine.

Food For Thought: Farm to Table Thanksgiving

Photo: NYMag

Read New York Magazine’s list of farms in the New York City Area to call now to reserve your Thanksgiving turkey, here.

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.

So Long, Sweet Summer.

It is a bittersweet thing to say goodbye to summer, but there is nothing like a colorful bounty of late August produce straight from the farm to bring the season to an end. John decided this would be exactly the way our summer should come to a close, by enjoying all our local community could offer us before I had to depart back to city life–and the French Culinary Institute! Oh, yeah, and… work– full-time.

While I had been anxiously awaiting John’s party all week, myself and the rest of the Island were also just as anxiously anticipating Hurricane Earl. Determined that the show must go on, John ventured to the East Hampton farmer’s market early Friday morning before the storm could get really bad (which it never did, excluding our very wet entrance, and a brown-out that killed our melancholy mix of music for a brief moment).

John had picked up a diverse and mouth-watering wealth of produce– from red, orange, yellow, green, and deep purple heirloom tomatoes of varying shapes and sizes, scallions, vibrant (and incredibly fragrant) basil, and of course no meal would be complete without some of David Falkowski’s mushrooms (this time they were oyster, which John had been telling us all summer, are the absolute best). He had also picked up some mozzarella cheese, made that morning in East Hampton town. And Vanessa and Conor had brought over a selection of veggies from their garden as well, including carrots, plum tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.

Straight from Vee's Garden

While sipping Campari and Sodas (though we agreed given the weather, Dark and Stormys may have been more appropriate), John prepared our first course, a really simple dish that he promised would really surprise us. Sautéed Scallions with a little ground black pepper and sea salt– it doesn’t get easier than that, yet I had really never thought about serving them alone. The fresh scallions were so flavorful, and incredibly delicious.

For our next course, I prepared stacks of heirloom tomato slices, the FRESH (did I mention it was made that morning?) mozzarella cheese, and basil, topped with a little extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and just a fine drizzle of a really beautiful bottle of balsamic. We soaked up the tomatoes’ juice, oil, salt and vinegar with some fresh baguette.

Now with the flavors of this mild, sweet, airy cheese, the occasional salty bite, or zesty and herbal from the basil, we moved on to our fourth bottle of wine, and the main dish.

The Impossible-to-Describe-How-Good-They-Are Oyster Mushrooms

The main course would really be a showcase for the beautiful oyster mushrooms. Sautéed lightly in butter and garlic, he served the mushrooms over fregola, with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley and shaved parmesan.

Our conversation, the music, our wine, and most of all our food was spectacular. The mushrooms stole the show– we dedicated a solid five minutes to trying to put together some words to describe just how amazing they are. If we came up with anything, that thought out definition must have gotten lost in the wine.

For Dessert I baked a really simple Kutchen with some sugar plums I had bought on the North Fork. Not too sweet, with just a hint of cinnamon, topped with some vanilla frozen yogurt, and of course, paired with some more wine, it made for a pretty fabulous finish to an incredible meal.

We held toasts to many things that night. To great friends, great food, and some new and exciting things happening this Fall. Outside, it no longer seemed like summer, but we were full and warm from wine and the comforting of the season. Autumn will arrive soon with new ingredients for another dinner party, and the promise of more fond memories to come.

About the Wine (Thanks for helping me remember John).

With Appetizers:
Chateau Le Thil Comte Clary Pessac Leognan 2004 White Bordeaux. We loved this. Great light wine with a beautiful lychee finish.

With Mozzarella:
Domus Vitae
Brunello di Montalcino 2004. Started great but faded quickly. Started with a smoke and cherry front, after breathing a bit flavor became less complex and more fruity.

Then…
Clos Del Conde
PRIORAT 2004 Spanish Grenache/Carignan/Cabernet/Syrah Blend. We loved this.

With Dinner:
Patrick Lesec
Chateauneuf Du pape “Galets Blonds” 2006. We really loved this. With a higher alcohol content, this flavor quickly hit the back of the tongue. Full-bodied and complex, we tasted fruit flavors and a sweet tannin along with a hint of richer, darker flavors like espresso.

Thank you again John for being a wonderful host, and to Vanessa, Conor, and Jim as well for being the best company!

What’s in Season? August on Long Island.

Hayground1

Some of the selection at Open-Minded Organics at the Hayground School's Farmer's Market


With August quickly coming to an end, summer flavors are still plentiful at farm-stands and farmer’s markets on the East End of Long Island. Harvests this week offer a wide selection of fruit and vegetables that will be in season for the next few weeks.

Bayview Farm and Market in Aquebogue on the North Fork, had huge quantities of tomatoes. Plum and Beefsteak were available in bulk for canning, they also had plenty of heirlooms, and cherries. Giant Summer Squash, Zucchini, and Cucumbers were piled up in buckets, as well as Eggplant, Red and Yellow Onions, Beets, Carrots, and Green Beans. Inside they had local Peaches, Blackberries, and Raspberries, along with their selection of freshly baked breads and pies.

In Bridgehampton, the Hayground School holds a farmer’s market every Friday from 3-6:30pm. Though this is a fairly small market, the vendors offer a really great selection, and have plenty of variety. Eli Zabar (of Manhattan and Amagansett) sells their artisanal breads, Dayboat Fish and Seafood of Shinnecock has very reasonably priced straight-off-the-boat seafood, Wolffer Estate has their renowned selection of local wines, Mecox Bay Dairy had artisanal cow’s milk cheeses, several vendors had sweets, jams, and spreads, and the Hayground School Garden, Balsam Farms of East Hampton, and Open-Minded Organics of Bridgehampton sold produce.

If you haven’t tried Open-Minded Organics Mushrooms, you really must make it a priority over these next couple of weeks. David Falkowski is extremely friendly, informative, and visibly passionate about his food. My friend John introduced me to Falkowski’s mushrooms earlier in the summer, and they are nothing short of outrageous. Earthy, mild, with a wonderful meaty texture, they really could be a dish all by themselves. Open-Minded Organics Participates in farmers’ markets in Sag Harbor (Saturdays), Bridgehampton (Fridays), East Hampton (Fridays), Southampton (Sundays) and Montauk (Thursdays).

Here is what I came home with last Friday:

Baguette, Eli’s
Shiitake Mushroom, Black Cherry Tomatoes, Variety of Hot Peppers,
and Masala Tomato Spread, Open-Minded Organics
Striped Bass, Day-Boat
Yellow Onion, Garlic, Kale, Balsam
Rose Table Wine 2009, Wolffer
Hayground 2

and here’s what I made…

Grilled Bruschetta

Brushed Eli’s Baguette with Olive Oil and crushed garlic. Placed on grill about 10 minutes. Spread a thin layer of Catapano’s chevre. Topped with chopped heirloom tomatoes (Sylvester Manor farms) and some cherry tomatoes, and some fresh basil from the garden. Sprinkled with kosher salt.

Grilled Striped Bass with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes, and Shiitake Mushrooms in a Garlic White-Wine Sauce

In a pan over medium heat I simmered the fresh garlic and onions in a bit of butter. I added black and golden cherry tomatoes, as well as some chopped heirloom’s, and cooked until the tomatoes began to burst. I prepared the fish with kosher salt, crushed black pepper, and olive oil, and placed on the grill until cooked through. When fish was almost done I added shiitakes to the tomatoes, as well as some parsley from the garden. After a few minutes I deglazed the pan with a splash of dry white wine. I served the fish over some of the steamed local kale and some wild rice.

Father’s Day Granola

Jay enjoying his granola Sunday morning

My dad is a big eater. He really likes just about anything when it comes to food, but there are a few things he has said he couldn’t live without. The first is peanut butter. When there was a salmonella scare last year, and peanut butter was declared the source, he could only go three days without it. Crunchy is his favorite, and he usually buys it in bulk. The second is walnuts, which he also buys in bulk. He usually eats walnuts and blueberries over yogurt as a snack everyday. Anything like granola, trail mix, or any sort of nuts and berries, he considers “bird food,” and thinks it doesn’t matter how much he eats because it’s so healthy. Needless to say, he eats quite a bit of it.

So, I thought for Father’s Day, I’d keep him prepared for the next couple weeks of kayaking in the summer heat (my dad is the owner of a kayak touring company on Shelter Island, Shelter Island Kayak), I would make him a few batches of granola using his favorite ingredients. I made a Maple Walnut Cinnamon Blueberry batch, and a sweeter Peanut Butter Banana Honey batch for a great grab-and-go snack.

My dad loved both, and I’m guessing both 1.25 gallon bags will be empty in about two weeks tops. We’ll see. But the granola is easy to make and absolutely delicious, here are my recipes so you can make them for your dad, friends, family, or just yourself! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, and especially you dad! Love you!

Maple-Walnut-Cinnamon-Blueberry Granola

3 cups oats
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup grade A Vermont maple syrup
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 container dried Michigan blueberries (I got mine from Whole Foods)
1/2 cup flax seed oil (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds

Peanut Butter-Banana-Honey Granola

3 cups oats
6 to 8 heaping tablespoons crunchy natural peanut butter
1 package banana chips
1/2 cup honey (I used local honey from the Hamptons Honey Co.)
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup flax oil (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

for both recipes, preheat oven at 300 degrees, and cook for approximately 45 minutes, stirring about every 10-15 minutes to ensure it’s equally toasted.

Saturday Farmer’s Market at Union Square

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard from Eckerton Hill Farm

Though the forecast for the day predicted scattered thunderstorms, around noon the skies were clear, and it was a balmy 85 degrees in Union Square. Probably not the best day to have a Seafood Cooking Demonstration in the center of the market… But no one seemed to mind as they browsed the huge selection of produce, dairy, meat and poultry, and preserves, baked goods, and plants and flowers.

Varieties of new potatoes

The Saturday market has the largest number of venders, and the selection of products is much greater. While it was mostly the same things in season, today there were several seafood vendors, tomatoes were available from hydroponic farm vendors, and there was an incredible bounty of fresh sweet strawberries from New York and New Jersey.

Shiitake Mushrooms from Bulich Mushrooms

My first stop was at Red Jacket Orchards where I picked up a 32oz bottle of Joe’s Summer Blend juice ($3), a mix of fresh pressed apple and lemon juices. Red Jacket is known for their high-quality natural juices and ciders which are made from whole fruits that have been pressed using traditional methods, and no sugar, water, or flavors are added.

Next I stopped at S&So Produce, a farm from Orange Co., NY, that offers an incredible selection of lettuces, greens and herbs. I picked up some Baby Arugala ($2).

Bounty of Radishes at S&SO Produce

Beth’s Farm Kitchen offers some of the best jams, preserves, and chutneys I have tasted, with yummy flavor combinations like Gingered Rhubarb Jam, Neachycot Jam (nectarines, peaches, and apricots), as well as “Zany Jellies” like their Garlic-Rosemary Jelly and Mighty Hot Pepper Jelly. They also offer “Fulla Fruits,” a selection of no sugar added spreads. I asked one of the friendly older women to recommend a savory chutney. They offer about 20 varieties of chutneys ranging from the sweet Plum Chutney, to the spicy Zapricot Chutney with chipotle, apricots, and tamarind. I went with the Blazing Tomato Chutney ($8), which she recommended, and after a sample I too was sold. With tomato, apple, vinegar, sugar, onion, red pepper, jalapeno, ginger root, mustard seed, garlic, almonds, and allspice– it offers a little heat combined with a tart sweetness that would pair well with any summer grilled meats or fish.

At Hawthorne Farms they offer a huge selection of breads, baked goods, and artesian cheese. The vendor suggested I try one of their healthy protein-rich spelt breads, so I chose the Spelt Sourdough ($4), a dense and crusty loaf great for toast or sandwiches.

Bread

Breads at Hawthorne Farms

I also picked up a log of Chevre ($6) at Lynnhaven Farms, some Hydroponic Tomatoes and Basil from Shushan Valley Hydro farm, and Jumbo Eggs ($2.50 for half-dozen) and Wheat Pasta ($4.50) at Knoll Krest.

When I came home I made a delicious sandwich with some of the ingredients. See the recipe below.


Summer Saturday Sandwich

2 Slices Bread, Toasted (I used Hawthorne Farm’s Spelt Sourdough)
Plain Chevre
Beth’s Farm Kitchen’s Blazing Tomato Chutney
Baby Arugala
2 eggs, Poached
Siracha Hot Sauce (to taste)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

I left the sandwich open-faced and paired it with some simple grilled vegetable salad from Whole Foods Market.

Sandwich

Summer Saturday Sandwich