Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How Did Your Kitchen Design Get That Way? Psst - Find Out at MoMa


You’d think with all the kitchen photography for the Homegrown book, not to mention my own obsession with cooking, that I’d be less than eager to visit the New York Museum of Modern Art - MoMa’s “Frankfurt Kitchen.”
But nothing could be further than the truth.

The description in the Arts’ section of The New York Times noted the exhibit is “a point of reference,” and explained the show “explores the 20th –century kitchen and its relationship to food, labor, consumerism and female identify.”

I couldn’t wait to see what was cookin' at the museum about this unique topic.  

So right after it opened in September, I eagerly made it an afternoon at MoMa and a respite in the musuem's unparalleled sculpture garden.

By today’s McMansion uber designs, the kitchen dynamic curated in this exhibit might seem puny.
Long before the kitchen became the center of many homes with “aspirational” kitchen technology that rivals industrial kitchens, there was the kitchen that was buried down below for the kitchen staff to maneuver, or tucked away where women toiled. 
(I say aspirational for today’s kitchens because so many homes are outfitted with amazing culinary gadgets only to sit idle.  People too often eat out or order in or use processed food.)

That phenomena is changing, right?!




I learned that standardization after World War II was a defining feature of modern kitchens. 
There was a hopefulness about the promise of technology.
Adjustable stools allowed women to sit and peel vegetables without standing. 
Progress is glacial J 
The kitchen was also moved closer to the living quarters to Mom could keep her eye on the children while working in the kitchen.
Architects aimed to show the admiration for scientific reason and the desire for a more utopian society as well as transform daily life.
Generally, government and society looked to improve the collective social well-being.


I observed so many of the exhibit-goers pointing out kitchen items and images on the scrims that reminded them of their childhoods spent in the kitchen.
Squealing, some were elbowing others in their group, saying, “I should’ve saved Mom’s ___, fill in the blank; whether it was the blender, Tupperware or Melmac.

I got a mixed message reading the goal at that time was that “every available piece of land must be cultivated.”   That's good. (And I loved the show's posters.)


But I couldn't help think this also led to the Levitt-towning of America with all those cookie-cutter tract houses along with ripping the heart out of our small, local farms...

I recommend visiting the exhibit. It explores food culture – it helps explain a lot of what one of my book’s Homegrown chefs described as a food generation lost to Betty Crocker!

In many ways, the mid century kitchen did indeed become the heart of the home.
It did accomplish the goal of transforming society. 
With the benefit of hindsight, not all that change made life better though.
I could see the timeline of processed foods, diabetes, and fast food, just, well, fast-forward before my eyes. 
But for the time it takes to view the exhibit, you can’t help feel the happy promise that the new kitchen and “liberated” Moms and food technology would not only fuel prosperity but also imbue the “Kitchen Debates” of Nixon and Khrushchev and the entire culture.


MoMa curator Juliet Kinchin and Davin Stowell, founder and CEO of the design consultancy Smart Design were both on the Leonard Lopate, WNYC radio show discussing the exhibit.
Kinchin’s curated a show that produced a combination of a heretofore-unexplored issue fusing history, feminism, architecture, and food.

MoMa’s description of the exhibit is as follows:

Counter Space explores the twentieth-century transformation of the kitchen and highlights MoMA’s recent acquisition of an unusually complete example of the iconic “Frankfurt Kitchen,” designed in 1926–27 by the architect Grete Schütte-Lihotzky. In the aftermath of World War I, thousands of these kitchens were manufactured for public-housing estates being built around the city of Frankfurt-am-Main in Germany. Schütte-Lihotzky’s compact and ergonomic design, with its integrated approach to storage, appliances, and work surfaces, reflected a commitment to transforming the lives of ordinary people on an ambitious scale. Previously hidden from view in a basement or annex, the kitchen became a bridgehead of modern thinking in the domestic sphere—a testing ground for new materials, technologies, and power sources, and a spring board for the rational reorganization of space and domestic labor within the home. Since the innovations of Schütte-Lihotzky and her contemporaries in the 1920s, kitchens have continued to articulate, and at times actively challenge, our relationship to the food we eat, popular attitudes toward the domestic role of women, family life, consumerism, and even political ideology in the case of the celebrated 1959 “Kitchen Debate” that took place between Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. 

Featured alongside the Frankfurt Kitchen is a 1968 mobile fold-out unit manufactured by the Italian company Snaidero. These two complete kitchens are complemented by a wide variety of design objects, architectural plans, posters, archival photographs, and selected artworks, all drawn from MoMA’s collection. Prominence is given to the contribution of women throughout the exhibition, not only as the primary consumers and users of the domestic kitchen, but also as reformers, architects, designers, and as artists who have critically addressed kitchen culture and myths.

The MoMa kitchen exhibit runs through March14th.  212-708-9400

After touring the exhibit, I visited the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller sculpture garden, naturally. 
It is a quintessential urban garden, punctuated by all those sensual Picasso and Giacometti.


Designed by Philip Johnson in 1953 on the same site as Ms. Rockefeller’s town house, it is an outdoor room. 










(As an aside, recently I read, "Angeology," a thriller of a story where Abby Rockefeller's guiding help and the garden at MoMa play a critical role.  A great read.)













In 2004   architect, Yoshio Tanaguchi redesigned the garden, expanding it yet again.
The garden area is sunken with water reflecting pool or ‘canals” as Johnson called them, weeping birch and beech trees.


It is a peaceful place.  A contemplative garden where one can think about and reflect upon the fine art exhibit one has just experienced.

On this day, I saw that Yoko Ono had placed her Wish Tree where visitors could write their wish and place it on a tree branch; with the “promise” the wish would come true.
That was too irresistible and I made a wish for my father…

 





Next up “must see” at the MoMa is Paula Hayes, Nocturne of the Limax maximus now through February 28, 2011.  It features incredible work of landscape designer artist Hayes.  Curious and gorgeous living gardens in glass!
According to MoMa:
Since the 1990s, New York–based artist and landscape designer Paula Hayes (b. 1958) has produced botanical sculptures—organically shaped vessels made from blown glass, silicone, or acrylic and filled with a rich variety of plant life—that expand upon the classic terrarium, both through their imaginative containers and the microcosmic universes within. Hayes has conceived an installation for the Museum lobby that includes a fifteen-foot-long, wall-mounted horizontal sculpture for the west wall, and a free-standing, egg-shaped, floor-to-ceiling structure nearby. Organic in form and containing a variety of living plants, the vessels will add a joyful vitality to the lobby, enlivening the space during the winter season.

And Garden Design magazine just wrote about the exhibit too.  Kudos for spreading the good word about beautiful gardens.
http://www.gardendesign.com

Friday, December 3, 2010

Great Grain Lecture at The New School

Great Grains 

I was excited to see the invitation to The New School lecture in New York City for three reasons:  it featured Gramercy Tavern restaurant Executive Chef Michael Anthony, who is a featured master chef in my book, New York City Homegrown that celebrates Gotham’s culinary revolutionaries and leaders of the farm to table movement. 

Second, the topic was “The Educated Eater: Regionally Grown Grain.”
Now, a grain may be just a tiny thing, but, hey, size is not everything.
The fact is grains are Big news. They are important.
I can’t make my breads without them, after all. 

I have written about Cayuga Pure Organics, a local grain grower in upstate New York.  (http://celebritychefsandtheirgardens.blogspot.com
 -- February 4, 2010)
The Cayuga Pure Organics miller was on the panel for the evening. So that was another plus. 
My curiosity to learn more about grains is unabated. I wanted to learn more.
And lastly, the New School is a mere half a block from the apartment.
Perhaps that is four reasons…

In any event, as Eloise would say, I “skibbled” down the street on a lovely late autumn evening, past the movie-set Gothic beauty of the First Presbyterian church across the street and on the way down the block.
There was lots going on at the New School.  I found I had to cross back over the courtyard and up to the top floor

Signing in, I could see the panel discussion drew a fairly good-sized audience.  

And the session was being videotaped.  www.youtube.com/thenewschoolnyc
















It was disappointing Chef Michael was not able to make it, according to the New School registration.  
The good food news though was Registration provided flyers announcing Food Studies at The New School: A Cutting Edge Discipline.  Citing "Food as a subject of study is becoming increasingly popular... from TV to blogs :) to food-related issues from safety scares to environmental concerns, to Mrs. Obama's campaign about obesity, Food Studies at The New School will include courses on food history, food policy and politics, the environment, sustainable food systems and media...
For more information visit: 


The panel was composed of inspired experts, moderated by June Russell

June’s bio on the handout says she joined Greenmarket in 2004 and learned the market system through managing neighborhood-based markets across the City. For the last four years she has been the organizations Farm Inspections Manager and has traveled extensively within the region, visitor producer farms and production facilities.  These experiences have given her background and insight to think strategically on behalf of growers and about steps to rebuild or local food system. Her recent work on facilitating the production of grains and processing in the region highlights Greenmarket’s capacity to be a progressive force in driving farm viability in the Northeast.

She demonstrated her acumen and passion for the subject – and for the panelists’ participation and devotion to their craft.
The discussion was a high point – part of Greenmarket’s Grains Week, November 14-21, 2010.
The moderator, June, provided an overview of grains; how we got to where we are today with pretty much a monoculture of grains used for food production. 

Soon, she introduced the three panelists, 




starting with Alston Earnhardt, Grower, Lightning Tree Farm, Dutchess County, NY.

After raising bee, pork, lamb and chickens and growing the grain to feed his animals, Alston “realized there was more interest in the organic feed he was producing than the livestock.” He was soon “committed to growing organic grains for animal feed.” 
Seems Alston was consumed with grains. 
So it wasn’t too much of a stretch when he started “growing food grade grains for his own consumption!
In 2003 he started he started working with Don Lewis of Wild Hive Farm Bakery to scale up this production.” 
2010 is the first year the sales of food grade grains have surpassed the sales of grains for livestock, according to The New School material.
Alston pointed out the most common grains used are oats, wheat, barley, and rye. 
He saved seeds to grow and clean. He replanted the seeds himself.

Describing his first challenge, Alston said he was told,  ‘You can’t grow hard wheat in the east,’
“But that’s what I wanted to do!” he chortled
“For home baked bread, most seed varieties are still for arid Midwest, whereas the east is humid.”
He learned he had to get seeds to work with the climate here in the Northeast. 
Now, the varieties of hard and soft wheat he grows are most likely what would have been what was grown here in the 1700’s.

Next up was Greg Moll, the head Miller for Farmed Ground Flower, the “local business that mills grain grown by Cayuga Pure Organics. 
Greg told the rapt listeners what grains he’s been milling.  “It’s a challenge with spelt, rye, buckwheat, saffron, and hard wheat.  I’m still figuring out oats,” he said.  Greg went on to explain that oats need to steam and, presently, they don’t have the money to invest in the equipment to be able to do that. He doesn’t have any infrastructure to remove the hulls.  “The cost is to truck and have work done, so consequently many growers and millers don’t explore ancient varieties. 

The good news is he reports demand is up for greater/more grain varieties.  “People feel passionate about new, rediscovered grains.  So he is bullish the infrastructure will come.

Moll described how moisture makes modern milling tough to do.
He said milling wheat is most complicated.  “Rye and buckwheat are so easy to mill- and they are sustainable. “Eat more buckwheat!” the panelists admonished.

I found it interesting when Greg pointed out that grain growing involves multiple constituencies, including farming and agriculture, millers, and the baking sciences. 
“Whatever bakers ask us for, we’ll work with them,” he said, with what sounded like a lot of respect and artisanal pride.

Moll pointed out that the Greenmarket has been “totally instrumental” in making it possible to expand and provide the flours that bakers and chefs and the public are now asking for.  Plus, he was able to migrate from part time to full time Miller!  He now has the tools at his disposal to offer a greater variety of milled grains and flours. 
http://www.cporganics.com/live/

Panelist Nathan Leamy, Baker and Grains Specialist, provided the International perspective. 
He looks at how people study food. He works for Slow Food USA, teaches bread-baking classes and has traveled the world studying and reporting on food science and agriculture policy.
He first got interested in grains while in college. 
At that time he was keen to learn how alfalfa and Ag policy were changing what we eat in the States.
He was also focused on food consumption and production around the world. 
Eventually he transitioned to home baking. 
And he’s been spreading the word on grains and bread ever since

According to the literature, Leamy studied politics and managed 152 acres of organically grown alfalfa.
He then attended Oberlin College where he worked with the student cooperative association to develop a housing and dining coop, which focused on educating students to eat well.  Upon graduation, Nathan completed a Watson Fellowship studying how global changes in agricultural and economic policy have altered the consumption of traditional breads in Mexico, India, France, Italy and Egypt. 
He currently works as the Associate Director of Operations and Human Resources for Slow Food USA. 
Leamy emphasized how unique grains are. Using an apple as an example, he said all apples basically have the same genetic makeup, whereas grains change a lot with soil, moisture, etc.
On top of that, grains have to be turned into powder stuff then take to another expert.
There were expert bakers and chefs in attendance :) 

“You eat what you have locally. Eat what’s local” were statements echoed by all the panelists.
And now that there is more of a variety of grains being grown locally, there is a choice.  
We don’t have to settle for just more white flour. .
And as growers, these leaders know they can set themselves apart in a crowded, overused white-flour world.

So many variables. 
Bread today is very different from 100 years ago, the panelists pointed out.
Most notable, they commented that breads today are not heavy breads.

Except for my bread.



Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks

The Foreword:  Much To Be Thankful For


I am so thankful, honored – and downright thrilled that Brian Halweil has agreed to write the Foreword for my book, “Long Island Homegrown.”

Brian is the perfect candidate and was my number one, preferred choice from the get-go.
Brian wears the Long Island food chain like his very own ID bracelet. 

He is the editor of Edible East End Magazine, http://www.edibleeastend.com the “local food magazine of Long Island.”
As the editor of the food magazine that is the bible of the farming, fishing, artisanal food makers, vineyards, and the restaurants of “Pleasure” Island, he intimately knows the kitchens and wine cellars and farm stands and dairies that comprise the food culture that is Long Island.

Brian is also an author, Eat Here: Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket

From the Worldwatch Institute Brian's profile reads:

Brian Halweil is a senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute covering issues of food and agriculture and is currently Co-Director of Nourishing the Planet. He joined Worldwatch in 1997 as the John Gardner Public Service Fellow from Stanford University, where he had established a student-run farm on campus. In addition, Brian has helped set up community-supported farms throughout California and New York, as well as in Mexico, and assisted farmers who were making the shift to organic agriculture. As a food and agriculture expert, Brian has testified before the U.S. Senate on biotechnology, poverty, and hunger, and his research and writing have been featured in national media.

I admire his steadfast commitment to the local, Long Island food community. 
To producing a sustainable food economy and foodie culture. 
And his work in the broader, worldwide effort to provide safe, sustainable, delicious food to all of earth’s citizens. 

I know Brian’s contribution will be invaluable. It will certainly add to the integrity of the book.

Master Chefs in Homegrown Long Island

I also give thanks to the 16 chefs and the gardeners or farmers that inspire these locavore culinary artists. 

A special Thanksgiving thanks go to:
North Shore
Bistro M, Chef Mitchell SuDock Glen Head
18 Bay, Chefs Elizabeth Ronzetti and Adam Kopels, Oyster Bay/Bayville


South Shore
The Lake House, Chef Matt Connors, Bayshore
The Grey Horse Tavern, Chef Meredith Machemer, Bayport

North Fork
North Fork Table & Inn, Chefs Claudia Fleming and Gerry Hayden, Southold
Jedediah Hawkins Inn, Chef Keith Luce, Jamesport
Satur Farms, Chef Eberhard Mueller, Cutchogue
Amarelle, Chef Lia Fallon


South Fork
Nick & Toni’s, Chef Joe Realmuto, East Hampton
Della Femina, Chef Michael Rozzi, East Hampton
Loaves & Fishes, Chef Anna Pump, Sagaponick
The American Hotel, Chef Jonathan Parker, Sag Harbor
Almond, Chef Jason Weiner, Bridgehampton
Foody’s, Chef Bryan Futerman, Water Mill

Hampton Bays
Starr Boggs, Chef Starr Boggs, West Hampton
OSO Restaurant, South Hampton Inn, South Hampton,


The chefs, gardeners and farmers gave so generously of their time. 
I always cringed a little when sending a follow up email request or reminder because I know they don’t have a salty second to spare. 
However, they managed somehow to carve out time for the interviews and the photos shoots. 
I knew every chef had a unique story.  I wanted to honor that.
At the same time, I want the reader to get as excited as I am about each and every chef. 
I want them to read every story. Not read two or three profiles and come to the conclusion: “I get it, they are good chefs and use local ingredients.” 
I was compelled to write the profile chronicling the chef’s personal story of how they came to be a chef. 
Most importantly, I wanted to write what drives them to secure the best ingredients.  When it could simply be so much easier to pick up the phone and order from a purveyor’s list, why do these chefs insist on getting to know their farmers? 
And visit the docks when the fishermen haul in the catch? 
Or why they labor to produce their own gardens brimming with sultry herbs and tempestuous tomatoes and languid lettuces?  It’s hot, it’s buggy and it’s hard work. 

I want the reader to know these chefs more than care about where their food comes from.  They possess a reverence for the food source.  They never bite the hand that feeds them!

In addition, the inspired gardens and artisanal food makers infuse the chefs’ culinary creativity. 
These master chefs continually create sometimes curious and always innovative recipes using local food sources on the path to taste nirvana.  
By nature, chefs want to share their art.  I find this is in contrast to many fine artists.

I give thanks for the generosity of their culinary art.

I thank the chefs for the time they shared for the photo sessions. 
There were two sessions on the same day.  One of them was in the kitchen preparing the food and the other one showcased the chef in the garden or on the farm visually narrating the relationship linking the chef, the farmer/gardener and the land…

And I thank them for their culinary talent – assembling the amazing food ingredients to ignite astonishing flavors and combined textures that leave you feeling giddy from the first mouthful. 

Each chef has generously provided four recipes for the book too. 

The only guidelines I provided or suggested were these: 
A seasonal recipe – not just from summer’s bounty, either. 
Preferably from the winter or shoulder seasons. 
And one that uses local, fresh ingredients.
Perhaps they could provide a family or cultural recipe – such as that prized stuffed peppers dish from Aunt Imaculata (18 Bay). 
Another suggestion was to provide a signature dish – something their diners have come to embrace on the menu and that they just can’t live without.   Like the pistachio crusted halibut with asparagus, fava beans, oyster mushroom and a lemon beurre blanc (Bistro M).
And finally, a brand new recipe, created just for the book. 

Seeing the chefs’ email with Recipes attachment arrive in the In-Box created a happy anticipation every time one cycled in – not unlike that sparkly-wrapped surprise gift from your new love.
Opening each recipe and scanning the ingredients was an exercise in orchestrated joy.

I can’t wait to try them out. 

I am committed to preparing one recipe a week for the next year – and two a week for two months (I’m thinking June and July of 2011) in order to cook all 64 recipes that will be offered in the book.  This schedule should allow me to thoughtfully and respectfully preview and write about the extraordinary recipes prior to the book’s launch date next year.

This will be very exciting.  And fun.
I will share my cooking adventures with you here.  The good, the bad and the triumphant. 

I also give thanks to my photographer, Jennifer Calais Smith.   .  www.jennifercalais.com
Her photographic art is outstanding. 

We worked very hard together to produce enduring photographs that amplify the profile I wrote about each chef.  
I often said, “We need to tell the story about the relationship the chefs have with their gardens and farmers -- in pictures.  We need to visually illustrate how the relationship and commitment drives their culinary art and fuels their creative imagination.”

It’s a lot to ask of a photographer, I know. 
And while we storyboarded out the shots as a team, Jennifer was the one that was “on” for the shoot.
She had to jump through garden beds, dodge flying pizzas and hot oil, not to mention knife-wielding prep teams, hot, hot gardens and steaming kitchens. 
The food stylists and me could indulge in the just-picked vegetables and fruit.  Jennifer  couldn’t. 
For me, a Sun Gold cherry tomato is just this side better than candy.  Sweet and juicy.  Perfect for snacking.
I am captivated by oh-so-many of the Long Island gardens’ heirloom cherry tomatoes, whether a Black Plum, Isis Candy or local variety.
In a paradox of epic garden proportions, Jennifer does not like/eat tomatoes!

Along with her camera, Jennifer sprinted and crouched and scampered, staying ahead of the sun and shadows and sometimes the rain. 
Chef Matt Connor, The Lake House, Bayshore

Chef Frank Lucas on the rooftop garden of Starr Boggs restaurant, Westhampton
Chef Matt & Jennifer at St. Peter's Farm

Chefs Elizabeth Ronzetti & Adam Kopels with Karen Lee, Sang Lee farmer
























Chef Bryan Futerman, Foody's

She shot waaayyy too many photos J all in an effort to honor the chefs and the gardeners. 
But don’t think it was all tough labor. It was fun too.  And we ate like sultans.
Our story was chronicled by Sarah Kinbar on the blog, Good Garden Ideas:
http://www.goodgardenideas.com/?p=3390

I am also thankful for my editor, Kari.  She is smart and creative – and most supportive. 
I cannot thank her enough for being in my corner during last year’s change in book direction to focus the first book on Long Island.
She’s been a peach negotiating, revising and finalizing artist contracts – even when it got crazy, dodgy at times!
Mostly, I am thankful for her unwavering support after the hard drive crash in June. 
She massaged the schedule and modified the deadline so I could rewrite the book’s manuscript that was destroyed in the crash.  I am eternally grateful. 

I am thankful to the farmers for their noble work. 
I am grateful for the time they took away from their tractors and farm stands and planting and harvesting to graciously pose for the photos. They did so with shyness but much integrity. 
The farmers are: 
Ian Calder-Piedmonte and Alex Balsam - Balsam Farms
Scott Chaskey - Peconic Land Trust’s Quail Hill Farm
Jennifer and Jim Pike, Pike Farms, Sagaponick
Karen Lee – Sang Lee Farms, Peconic
Rottkamp Farms, Glen Head
Bob and Denise Andrews Family Farm, Wading River

The Gardeners are:
Chef Frank Lucas, Starr Boggs Restaurant, Westhampton
Stephanie Evanitsky, Mastic Beach
Anna Pump, Sagaponick and Bridgehampton
Peter Garnham, American Hotel
Eberhard Mueller and Paulette Satur, Satur Farms
Linda & Irene, Grey Horse Tavern, Bayport
Jon Snow, Hayground School, Bridgehampton
Chef Keith Luce, Jedediah Hawkins Inn, Jamesport

A special thanks to Rob Salvatico, Hotel Indigo, Riverhead (www.indigoeastend.com), who had just opened his refurbished and fabulous new hotel and restaurant.  (I had a dream about the hotel last night!  Must be good karma). 
Rob’s opening week hospitality was generous and very much appreciated. 
I could see him working even as he sat and talked to me for an interview. 
His attention to detail was omnipresent. 
He is sincerely ambitious. His vision is transparent.  I will write more about his hotel soon.  His hotel’s restaurant, Bistro, recently celebrated its formal opening. 
Menu and operations were managed by Lia Fallon, executive chef, Amarelle, and contributing food stylist for the Homegrown Long Island book.

You can see how talented and passionate everyone associated with the Homegrown Long Island book is.

I am most thankful to each and every one of those who touched the book in their own special way.
And of course, to my cousin Maryann.  She lovingly read and critiqued each chef profile as I raced to complete the second/rewrite of the manuscript following the crash.  Her academy-award winning aesthetic and opinion meant more to me than I can summon the gravitas to say...
She is an angel. Writing can be a solitary endeavor and her contribution on the other end of the email communication kept me grounded and in touch with some small part of the world!

Merci, gracias, and molto grazie. 

But on this most American holiday, Thanksgiving, allow me to just simply say, Thank you.
From the bottom of my garden-loving, food-passionate heart....
 






Sunday, November 21, 2010

Greenmarket's Nevia No, Bodhitree Farm, Returns From Terra Madre Slow Food Conference

Bodhitree Farm’s Nevia No is back from the Slow Food international organization’s bi annual Terra Madre conference, held in Turin Italy, October 21 through 25th.


As previously reported here, Nevia is one of two Greenmarket farmers from New York City nominated to represent the Union Square Greenmarket.  The other nominee is a Vermont maple syrup farmer.

I adore Nevia’s farm fresh vegetables.  They are exquisitely pristine.
She takes extraordinary care with the growing – and the presentation. 
The produce is clean, clean, clean.  It is arranged with the care of a Saks Fifth Avenue fashion window, beckoning to the keen passerby and seasoned restaurant staff alike.
Every greenmarket and food book signing or culinary benefit I attend where the top chefs provide food tastings invariably note Bodhitree Farm as the preferred farmer.

The chefs’ reverence for her produce is not a surprise. 

The care and love she invests in farming, growing the tastiest, most flavorful veggies results in the best produce.  www.bodhitreefarm.com
Did you know the word Bodhi-Tree is a wisdom or world tree and is a symbol of enlightenment?  How perfect.

She – and her associate, Debbie – are unfailingly helpful and nice. Always smiling.
There is usually a cooking demo going on too. 
This way, once you’ve been seduced by the day’s neat-as-a-pin, colorful display, you can test drive the sweet potato curiosity you’ve never heard of. 
Or the purple cauliflower you didn’t think was real.
The variety of vegetables and herb is the tatsoi, red mizuna, Tuscan kale,
Delicious, tempting treats are made by Nevia or most often, Alissa Dicker Schrieber from The Kitchenista (www.thekitchenista.com). 

It’s always a food adventure at the Bodhitree farm stand at the Greenmarket.

I asked Nevia how the trip to Turin, Italy for the Terra Madre international network of food was for her. 
She described an extraordinary experience. 
I could see it in her eyes.  She looked like she’d been to the “other side.”  Transformed.
Just being in a place where everyone has the same passionate devotion to food must be a religious experience of sorts.

Nevia attended the lectures and panel discussions to learn more about the next generation of sustainable food producers of which she is one.

She also learned that while most small farm laborers are women; very, very few women actually own the land they work…
She said she was most impressed by a group of Asian women who risked prison and death over many years in order to claim their farm land.
Coincidentally and timely, I was just introduced to the “Women Wearing the Pants” (WWTP) organization that is dedicated to supporting the work of the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women and the commitment to Free Trade Zones and Fair Trade. The Asian women who fought for the farm could have used this support.
I was particularly intrigued with Experimental Gardens.  According to their website. http://tiny.cc/ibpf “In December 2010, WWTP will help research and finance 15 experimental subsistence gardens for impoverished women headed households in Nicaragua through affiliations with ww.IDEORG.org.  The International Development Enterprise.

Following a discussion about fair trade, gender issues in food production and indigenous food, I asked Nevia what was the most interesting food she experienced at the conference. 
She said she was so busy attending all the scheduled events that the food item that really captivated her was the bread she discovered the local Italians use.

Nevia brought out a shrink-wrapped bread from her truck cab to show me.


Soon, others were marveling at the unique, stylish bread design.  Leave it to those fashionable Italians! 





Slow Food International was founded 30 years ago as a non-profit organization that promotes the preservation and growth of environmentally sustainable and socially responsible food worldwide.  www.slowfood.com

It’s crazy that we have to even have such an organization as a watchdog and promoter – or reminder – of what “real” food is. Sigh. But we must.
And I for one, am most sincerely grateful for their amazing work, given the topsy-turvy world of industrialized, corporate food production that purports to provide “food” while delivering no less than laboratory-created “nutrients” rather than safe, pure, food. 
Don’t get me started.

As noted in the Introduction to my book, “Long Island Homegrown” to be published next year (working hard to complete the last details now J)

Much of the effort was launched as a reaction, nay – a rebellion against the industrialization of food production and food offerings as presented by restaurant chains and supermarkets.  The Slow Food movement was started in Italy – not surprisingly – by Carlo Petrini --to combat fast food. In 1986, Petrini was resisting a McDonald’s planned near the Spanish Steps in Rome.  His Slow Food movement claims to preserve the cultural cuisine and the associated food plants and seeds, domestic animals, and farming within an eco region. It was the first established part of the broader Slow movement. The movement has since expanded globally to hundreds of thousands of members all over the world, and the biannual food conference is a coveted invitation

Coveted indeed is an invitation to the Slow Food conference.
So raise your glass and let’s toast Nevia No, Bodhitree Farm, for representing Greenmarket. For making us so proud. 
For all the crazy hard work that she does with such integrity – and making it all look so elegant.
To continue to provide us outstanding leadership, sustainable “veggies with spirit” as she notes on her business card. – And unmatched, flavorful food.

We love you, Nevia.  The USPS needs to start issuing a series of stamps that celebrate Farmers as heroes and leaders. 
And I vote for you to be the first cover girl stamp!


You can learn more here about Slow Food Movement:



Friday, November 5, 2010

Cookbooks2

Cookbooks2

I saw the invitation with the double billing and was so keen to attend the double-feature cookbook signing with food writers  Amanda Hesser and Melissa Clark.
It was like the old Doublemint commercial: “Double your pleasure, Double your fun!”
I guess I never looked at the actual tickets I purchased online nor the event’s scheduled agenda because as I approached the book signing venue at Chelsea Piers in NYC, I was not surprised to see growing crowd tag-teaming the check in staff positioned on both sides of the line.
But I was surprised to step inside to find a food and beverage tasting! 
I thought it would be the usual – a talk by the authors, followed by the actual book signings.
But this was a delightful amuse bouche!

(In fact, I saw more food tastings than book signings...)

First, I attended to business and purchased the two books so I’d be ready when the authors actually pulled out their autograph pens, poised mid-air to ask, “Who do I make it out to?”
I am developing quite a nice culinary library of autographed books that will soon rival my autographed garden books. 
The only problem with buying the two books right off the bat was Amanda Hesser’s revision of the classic New York Times cookbook is very heavy.

I wasn’t thinking of that as I confidently took the book-filled bag from the two nice lads writing up the sales.

It was an exuberant crowd that filled the candle-lit, two-tiered venue. A DJ was already laying down the music tracks. Camera-toting Papparazzi.  But here, the stars are the food!

Now this was a book party!  Barnes & Noble – take note.

Food related merchants from Edible Manhattan and East End magazines










to the incomparable Van Leeuwen’s artisanal ice cream to
Russ Daughters egg cream








and other spirits lined the sides of the cavernous room. The center and back were punctuated every few feet like those traffic cones - with those high cocktail tables.
Here, the master chefs were greeting the attendees and chatting it up while staff scurried platters of their hor d’ouevres, pop in your mouth sized food creations.
It was one giant pu pu platter!

I thought I’d be methodical about it. Down one side and up the other. 
However, I am easily seduced. So my strategy ended up a bit more like a pin ball – traversing the room when something caught my myopic eye. Or when the crowd parted like schools of fish at a chef table.

I missed two of “my’ Chefs from the Homegrown book:  Chef Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, and Chef Dan Barber, Blue Hill. 
But I did get to see and talk to the amazing, ubiquitous Chef Bill Telepan who was standing guard enjoying everyone enjoying his pork shoulder served on the teeniest bun you’ve ever seen – more like serving the delicious strands of pork on a macaroon.


I got to meet some wonderful new chefs that I can consider for the New York City Homegrown book:  Chef Dan Silverman from the Standard Hotel. 


That hotel has some of the sexiest views in town – over the High Line and the Hudson River.  Love the rooftop.  Chef Dan offered Mondrian-looking Heirloom carrot and Goat Cheese Terrine.  Beautiful and tasty.





I also met the adorable Sisha Ortuzar, Riverpark restaurant, one of Tom Collicheo’s latest.

“What kind of name is that, I can’t help ask, while finishing a surging pop of sweet/sour flavor from his Pickled Shrimp creation.  I am startled it’s so good.  I learned he made a brittle of the pickling spices and crowned the tops!
Chef says,  My name is Chilean. But I am not.”  Oh, how did you get the name then, I ask while trying his other offering, mackerel and cod balls coated with spice crumbs. 
“My name is Sanskrit.”
Huh?
We practically both nod in unison and say in stereo, “hippie parents.”  
Chef Sisha says Riverpark restaurant will soon have its own garden.  They even gave out cute little seed packets at the event.




It wasn't long before Columbia University TV journalism students were interviewing chef:







I will surely go and visit these two chefs at their restaurants for follow up.

Meanwhile, there is the Apple Picker Punch from Cienfuegos to be refreshed (made with lime, ginger, Ron Zacapa Centernario 23-year, allspice dram and apple butter, and topped with soda);













vegetable sushi from Blue Ribbon Sushi to try, along with Marc Murphy’s Shrimp Toast.  Heading for the Luchy’s Whey center table featuring cheese from Cellars at Jasper Hill,


I see Nora Ephron.  I love her!
 


I had to tell her I loved her feature article in the December issue of Town & Country.
She smiles and says a sincere “thank you.”  She looks great in person too. (No neck thing whatsoever!)  The T&C story is a Q&A with Ina Garten.  (BTW, Ina’s publicist won’t return my emails anymore – I asked her to be in the Long Island Homegrown Cookbook about master chefs and their inspired gardens but I give up.  I have the best Long Island chefs included and I think she will be noticed by her absence... So Ina’s not on my favs list. But Nora is.)
And I will make point to attend Nora’s latest play, “Love, Loss & What I Wore."

*Also, in the same issue is the T&C List, highlighting “The Quietest Restaurants in  the World.”  The New York (City) list features eight restaurants – half of which are in my New York Homegrown book about culinary artists and their inspired gardens and farms!  A big "Shout Out" for the restaurants Annisa  www.annisa.com, I Trulli, www.itrulli.com, Marea, www.marea.com, and Savoy www.savoy.com  

Shhhhhh.

The old-fashioned, homemade egg creams served by Russ & Daughters was sinfully delicious- made with Fox’s chocolate syrup.

I tasted my way back to the front of the room hoping to get my now slightly burdensome books signed by the authors. 
The two book lads told me Melissa was to have done her books first but Melissa deferred to Amanda, saying she could do hers first.  But no sign of either of them…

At the next table was the Van Leeuwen artisanal ice cream tastings.  Uh oh.  I know and love their ice cream and visit their truck that is parked on Fifth Avenue and 16th street too often.  Before I knew it, the very confident and pretty woman was handing me their egg nog and pumpkin pie ice cream confection. 

It gave meaning to waiting for the books to be signed.  Ahhhh..
With her charming Australian accent, she told me Van Leeuwen is owned by her -- Laura  -- and her husband, Ben and his brother, Peter.  They have a few trucks and have started to stock their this-side-of -heaven ice cream in some Whole Foods stores. She pointed out not yet at the Whole Foods in Union Square, which is too bad as that is my local store.  But I have the truck to visit and get the goods. 

In the time it takes to finish off a Dixie cup-size sundae, Amanda was there to sign books.


She is so very petite – almost elfin.  The contrast with her hefty tome couldn’t have been more pronounced.  Laughing, I asked her how she stays so thin producing such a weighty, recipe-filled cookbook.  “It’s a secret,” she giggled back.



Here I am with author, Amanda after she signed my book!






Amanda is a New York Times columnist and former editor.  She also runs the popular cooking site:  www.food52.com


Be sure to purchase this once in a lifetime, must-have classic cookbook:  “The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century.”  


You can’t call yourself a real cook without this guide. Amanda solicited readers’ input on favorite recipes to include in the book’s more than 1,000 offerings.  It’s fun to see which ones made it and how they reflect a period of time. It’s also a history of great American cooking.

Food defines a culture and this labor of love cookbook is a cultural touchstone.

Amanda cheerfully signed my book.  And then like a sprite was off.

Joined by Melissa and Amanda,
I soon heard Chef Bill Telepan speaking with microphone to the entire room about childhood diabetes, the fact that now, more than 40% of New Yorkers are obese. He is a tireless crusader to secure healthy, fresh, unprocessed food and meals for all our citizens, especially those in underserved neighborhoods.  Chef Bill is to be applauded for his generosity and devotion, making appearances seemingly everywhere: from the Martha Stewart radio show to NPR to Greenmarket events.  I told him his is ubiquitous!
The two food writers also addressed the guests, thanking the chefs and their publishers and all who helped put the evening together.




Following Chef Bill’s remarks, Melissa made her way to the book-signing table.  She too is a thin pipsqueak!  See, there is something to eating –and writing about good food – that must keep foodies healthy and thin…
Melissa is a food writer for the New York Times, a James Beard Foundation Award winner, has written nearly 30 cookbooks and runs her popular web site and blog: www.melissaclark.net
And her daughter’s name is Dahlia!  I love that she is named for a flower.  How charming J 

Melissa cheerfully posed for a picture with me








and autographed the book, “In The Kitchen With a Good Appetite” that is a synthesis or curated compilation of her New York Times’ column. 





I was the first to secure Melissa's autograph.  Soon a line was at the table






Soon it seemed that “half-time” was over. An announcement was made that the second shift of chefs and their tastings would be coming out soon for the second half.  A quick run down of the roster, if you will, told me I’d recently seen and tasted the fantastic food from these chefs.  It was getting later and since I wasn’t really dressed for the occasion, I decided to scoot home – with my goody bag and my signed books.

A delightful, delicious evening!

Thank you Ladies, for a wonderful food surprise.
   

Thursday, October 21, 2010

GrowNYC Greenmarket Nominated Local Farmers to Attend Slow Food Conference in Terra Madre



From the city that never sleeps and where things get done in a “New York Minute,” the Greenmarket delegates will be immersed in the Slowww way of life…

For the next few days, at least.

Applause, Applause! 
What greater honor could there be for a dedicated, local farmer and artisanal food producer than to be acknowledged as a representative for the Greenmarket at the biannual Slow Food Conference? 
It makes all those early mornings setting up in Union Square, endless hours of washing the baby lettuces, tapping the maple trees and boiling the sap, fretting over the storms and heat and water count for something. 
It’s not just the trip to Torino, Italy, nor the opportunity to mix and network with food artists from around the globe, or even all the great food tastings and samplings.
I think it’s also the recognition that all the hard work, dedication and standards of excellence in honor of fresh, local food matters.
This is important, noble work and just like the Oscar or the Emmy or the Tony, foody peers will forever have respect that you were selected.

I was admiring the pristine lettuces and sassy greens at one of my favorite Greenmarket “boutiques” yesterday when I learned from Bodhitree Farms (www.bodhitreefarm.com)
owner, Nevia No, aka the Greenmarket Goddess, that she was leaving for Terra Madre later that day.  Wowsy!
I was so excited for Nevia.  Questions spilled out of me along with the kudos.

Nevia explained that she is one of two farmers selected to attend the Slow Food conference by GrowNYC Greenmarket Farmers Market (www.grownyc.org/greenmarket.org
The other delegate is Howie and Stephen Cantor of Deep Mountain Maple, Vermont – because “the Italians don’t have maple syrup.”  No said. 
The exotic, sexy elixir is sure to cause a scene in Italy…
The Greenmarket Goddess didn’t have to explain to me why her Bodhitree Farms was chosen.   
No is usually eager to explain that Bodhi means enlightenment in Sanskrit.  A visit to her Greenmarket display with its pure, clean, variety of colorful and delicious vegetables will elevate anyone to a higher consciousness.

Greenmarket Goddess Nevia No’s Bodhitree Farms is located in the Garden State, naturally. She grows hundreds of varieties on 70 acres in Burlington County.  The Farm is a darling of all the New York City Master Chefs and Bodhitree was noted on most of the menu cards at the recent GrowNYC Greenmarket benefits.
The Farm is famous for green and hard to find Asian vegetables including baby lettuces pea shoots, mustard greens, tatsoi, mizuna and some of my favorites too are love her Hawaiian sweet potatoes grown from seed here, and shisito peppers.






  








I went back to take Nevia’s picture and Debbie said I just missed her L  She was on her way to JFK. 
So here is Debbie!  She is there every day of the market along with Nevia.











The theme of this conference is indigenous food and what we can learn from them.
Both Bodhitree and Deep Mountain Maple will have the other delegates swooning. 
I feel like I’m rooting for the home team!
Deep Mountain Maple was hailed as home town heroes in their local news:


The biannual Slow Food conference is called Terra Madre held in Torino, Italy from October 21st – October 25th.
This is the Fourth conference.

Delegates attend events, sample indigenous food, cheese, bread, vegetables, they also attend workshops,  -- brings together small food producers, farmers chefs,

Carlo Petrini started the Slow Food movement as a resistance to a McDonalds going up in Rome and as a backlash to fast food and bad food and the erosion of convivial dining. He has celebrated the importance of real, wholesome food, saying that to regain sovereignty we must rebuild it through an alliance of fisherman, farmers, livestock breeders, chefs, and academics from around the world.
Petrini recently visited the Union Square Greenmarket – and American universities as president of the Slow Food Organization and to promote his new book that highlights the future of food and biodiversity.
The new book is a follow up to Slow Food Nation (2005).  “Terra Madre – Foraging a New Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities” is available now.

 No usually offers cooking demos for Greenmarket buyers to sample the delicious and sometimes new and curious vegetables.  She often does the cooking herself.  Sometime she features a guest cook.

I can’t wait to see what gastronomic surprises she will bring home with her, along with the great stories and learning.  

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Taste of Greenmarket

Sweet Taste of Success


This year’s Taste of Greenmarket was a delicious triumph! 

They say the third time’s a charm and it proved true last night for this, the third annual food tasting event to benefit GrowNYC.  
The rain that had been showering New York City for the better part of two weeks stopped.
The location of the event in the Altman building on 18th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue allowed me to walk to and from the event, which made it all that much nicer. 
But only slightly more important, J  it allowed our host, Grow NYC, to present the entire Menu’s tasting and imbibing stations  all in one room. 

It made for a dazzlingly dramatic stage for the real stars. The Food.




I counted 24-plus chefs who were working very hard – while making it look so fun and easy – creating mini masterpieces from local farm-fresh food. 

And I caught up with one of my favorite Greenmarket farmers, Morse Pitts from Windfall Farms who told me it was a wonderful summer for the crops this year, especially compared to last year’s rainy season.  We enjoyed our photo shoot for the Homegrown book at the farm last Harvest Season when we were privileged to photograph Chef Peter Hoffman there as the site of his inspired farm.  That day was also the Farm’s annual, magical Harvest event, (that I wrote about last autumn.)
Be sure to visit the farm this Sunday: (www.windfallfarm.com)
And don’t miss them at the Union Square Greenmarket every week. They still have beautiful squash and pretty pea blossoms! 

I attend the Greenmarket event to support the cause. And “my” chefs that are featured in my “Homegrown New York City” book about chefs inspired by their gardens and/or farms. 
The chefs in the book that were there last night include Chef Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, Chef Dan Barber, Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Chef Peter Hoffman, Savoy and Back Forty, Chef Patti Jackson, I Trulli, Chef Marc Meyer, Cookshop, Hundred Acres, Five Points.
Since I got the good news a few weeks ago that the Homegrown New York City book, which will be published after the Homegrown Long Island book comes out next year, is to be expanded to include more chefs, I wanted to meet new-to-me, master chef candidates who are inspired by the farm-fresh local ingredients. 
Sweet success never tasted so good! 
I met a clutch of inspiring chefs.  Their calling card was the delicious sample food, presented like bijou in a jewelry store window.








The finger food was served on compostable plates or as shooters in tiny glasses.













Executive Chef James Tracey from Craft (www.craftrestaurant.com) composed a crazy good hot Jerusalem artichoke soup with lamb sausage and pumpernickel croutons (how did they get the squares so perfectly cubed and sooo small?!) using ingredients from Paffenroth Gardens and 3-Corner Field Farm (went back for seconds!) It was spicy and crunchy first impression, followed by the delicately seasoned soup.


Marco Canora, from restaurants Hearth and Terroir, (www.restauranthearth.com) created a silky-smooth panna cotta with teeny, tiny diced autumn vegetables and crunchy, nutty spiced pumpkin seeds from Paffenroth Gardens, Bodhitree Farms, and Migliorelli Farm. 

I couldn’t admire him more: Chef Peter Hoffman, (www.savoynyc.com) was there to support the Greenmarket, naturally. 

Chef Peter was one of the culinary pioneer’s in establishing the city’s farmers markets way back when.  And today, all who see him peddling on his custom-crafted bicycle to the Greenmarket in Union Square know there will be great food served later at his two restaurants Savoy and Back Forty. 
Last night, Chef Peter served a hearty and tasty cranberry bean stew with seared squid and Trinidad pepper salsa from Maxell’s Farm, Berried Treasures, Eckerton Hill Farm, and Blue Moon Fish.  What a lineup!  See the variety of food and farms he combines into a “simple” recipe. Fantastic.

Chef Patti Jackson from I Trulli (www.itrulli.com) was busy sassily shaving fresh cheese for her Grano e fagioli with autumn greens from Cayuga Pure Organics (I love their stone ground flour for baking bread), Berried Treasures, Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, Paffenroth Gardens, and Dancing Ewe Farms.  
  





I always like to meet woman chefs – I still don’t know why there are so few of them.  In the New York City book there were only two: Chef Patti and Chef Anita Lo, Annisa restaurant (www.annisarestaurant.com)
But I am hoping to add to that category with Julia Jaksie, chef at Employees Only restaurant (www.EmployeesOnlyNYC.com)
She is so engaging; while serving up the melt-in-your-mouth short rib terrine with red Russian kale and tomato jam, she told me she grew up cooking – her father was a butcher.   She also said there is a tribe of female chefs she is happy to be a part of.  Albeit a small tribe: with herself, April Bloomfield from the Spotted Pig, The Breslin and The John Dory Oyster Bar, and a few others, it’s a good club.  I’ll say exclusive, rather than small…
The ingredients in her menu sample was from Grazin’ Angus Acres, and Migliorelli Farm. 


And while we’re on the subject, I was delighted to meet two glamorous farmers: 
Erina and Melissa (I hope I got their names right.   I thought the names would be on the business card but alas… and I can’t read my writing of course.)  Melissa is from Coach Farm where they make goat’s milk, cheese and yogurt (www.coachfarm.com)  Yes, the same Coach who inhabit my closet-full of handbags and boots and sunglasses!  This is a great story how they got into the farm business and I will tell that one on another day.  Erina had wanted to be a veterinarian and now works on the family-owned farm – not too far from the Coach farm in Columbia county, New York.
Last night these two smart farmers told me how much they support each other’s farms, how dedicated they are to making small, independent farms successful and how it’s a good career choice.

I met the playful and talented Chef Marc Forgione, Marc Forgione restaurant 


(www.marcforgione.com)  He served an amazing sopes de gallina – bean stuffed tortillas with stewed hen from Tello’s Green Farm.  It was a fabulous mix of texture and taste. 


Chef Marc just received an excellent two-star New York Times’ restaurant review from Sam Sifton, October 5, 2010 Dining In column (http://tiny.cc/ezsay)
Chef Marc comes from good stock too: his father is Larry Forgione, arguably the pioneer in creating American cuisine from fresh, local food at his aptly named restaurant, An American Place.



I missed seeing Chef Dan Barber.  But his menu creation was monitored by a dedicated team of professionals behind and in front of the table.  Before you could stop to wonder what is in those perfectly poised little glasses, you are courteously told it is Blue Hill V7 with green tomatoes and faro.  It is deceptively light and oh-so-good. The farro toast is so ephemeral.  I took another glass to taste.  Ingredients were from Blue Hill, Migliorelli Farm, Paffenroth Gardens, ad Cherry Lane Farms of Roadstown.  
Oh, and at the Silent Auction I had to buy the dinner for two and the tour of Blue Hill at Stone Barns (www.bluehillfarm.com).  I’m fortunate to have been there several times, but who could resist the kind offer and the chance to go back? And all for such a good cause.

Chef Marc Meyer served up a succulent spit-roasted pork with fresh and dried beans and kabocha squash.  It was tooo good. Ingredients were from Norwich Meadows Farm, Bodhitree Farm, Paffenroth Gardens and Cayuga Pure Organics.  

You will always enjoy a complex layer of flavors in the simply prepared meal at any of Chef Marc’s restaurants.
We especially love Hundred Acres – for the food and the variety of the perfectly appointed décor.  (Gossip Girl thought so too and shot a segment there last year!)

I was also thrilled to meet and talk to Chef Bill Telepan, Telepan restaurant (www.telepan-ny.com)
I follow Chef Bill on Twitter and on his frequent appearances on the Martha Stewart Sirius radio show.   I knew I would like him right away. 

I was also keen to meet Chef Bill because he played a leading, mentoring role for one of my Long Island Homegrown chefs: Bistro M’s Chef Mitchell SuDock, who worked with Chef Bill at Gotham Bar and Grill and JUdson Grill restaurant.
Chef Bill is all smiles and when I say I listen to him on the radio, he jumps right in to explain how much fun the segments were to do.
When I describe my book’s format of gardens inspiring chefs, he doesn’t miss a beat – telling me and the book’s photographer, Jennifer Calais Smith, who had joined me at this point, about his daughter’s harvest in their little garden! 
His food offering was apple pie with apple butter compote.  Yummm.  And the only dessert of the evening, that I could tell.  The fresh ingredients were from Locust Grove Farms, Breezy Hill Orchard and Flying Pigs Farm.

I was coming back around to the front of the room, having completed the full circle or “Ring of Food” and was heading for the wine tasting, when a chef came up to me, took my program, asked me my name and proceeded to autograph my evening’s playbill next to his thumbnail head shot. 
Like a sprightly gnome, he was off. I looked at what he wrote, addressed to me: “Enjoy the Market,” and saw that he was Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner, Wallse, Café Sabarsky, Blaue Gans (www.KG-NY.com)
So I went over to where he now was by the Silent Auction and properly introduced myself and then told him about the book.  I haven’t been to Wallse since we went for a Valentine’s Day dinner some years ago.  I told him I remember the restaurant was very romantic. He advised me to come back for a visit soon. I will do that.










I put down the $20 for a chance to win the bike knowing I wouldn’t win. But here’s Chef Mary Cleaver, The Green Table, The Cleavor Co. making it all so fun and helping to sell a few tickets perhaps.









I don’t usually sample the cocktails at events like this but the offerings were too good to pass up.  I’m a traditionalist and have a pure and simple martini every night.  However, having tasted the fresh herbal and fruit concoctions dreamed up by these alchemists, I may have to revisit that habit.
“The Almanac” featured Farmer’s Gin (a botanical, organic gin) and fresh thyme from Stokes Farm.  A tad spicy and sooo refreshing.

Leo Robitschek, Eleven Madison Park created the “Red Delicious” combining Michter’s Bourbon and apple cider from my favorite, Red Jacket Orchards. (we love the Tart Cherry Stomp!  www.redjacketorchards.com)

But hands down for taste and pure excitement was the “Prospect Park Sour” from the Clover Club (www.cloverclubny.com
 
It was quite a show watching head bartender Brad Farran and his associate, Tom Macy shake up the Michter’s Rye, Luxardo Amaro Abano and maple syrup. 

I had to ask for Brad’s autograph! 

He says he researches old time cocktail recipes and updates them using fresh and artisanal ingredients.  It’s worth it! 
This one was based on an old Ward 8 cocktail he discovered.  After two of them, I could’ve ended up in a ward too!

I can’t wait to tell my cousin Missy, who along with her husband Dallas and his family, tap their Minnesota trees and make the world’s best maple syrup: Ole’s (for Olson) that I discovered this sinful new recipe for their maple syrup. 
I could toss the amber gold straight back of course, but the addition of the rye and ingredients make it more socially acceptable….




Thank you, Greenmarket. Especially Nicole. She’s a peach.  Sorry I missed Michael Hurwitz, Director.

A bit of a commercial for Grow NYC. http://www.grownyc.org/tasteofgreenmarket2010

From their literature: Greenmarket was founded in 1976 with a two-fold mission: to promote regional agriculture by providing small family farms the opportunity to sell their locally grown, caught, foraged and baked products directly to consumers, and to ensure that ALL New Yorkers have access to the freshest, most nutritious locally grown food the region has to offer.
Greenmarket is a program of GrowNYC, a 40-year-old environmental nonprofit organization that operated Greemarkets, builds and maintains community and school gardens, provides recycling education, and offers hands-on environmental education programs.

The event partners need to be thanked too:  Edible Manhattan.  Applause, applause for a fantastic Eat, Drink, Local week, too.
The sponsors are wonderful:  from benefactors Empire Merchants, Green Mountain Energy, and Anolon to patrons, The Durst Organization, American Express, and Animal Welfare Approved to supporters: Community Energy and Natural Gourmet Institute.  And there were many donors too. 

The Greenmarket canvas goody bag is filled with really cool things including spicy popcorn from The Cleaver Co., a set of whimsical lollipop-colored “Squirrel Whisk” from Kikkerland, an Animal Welfare Approved glazed cookie that is too pretty to eat, (www.animalwelfareapproved.org), a say Yes to carrots lip balm, an Edible Manhattan magazine and lots of literature.  And a secret envelope pouch for valuables…

Thanks for a wonderful, important event.