Category Archives: Food.

Crushed for my crush

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Image: timesunion.com

I was absolutely heartbroken yesterday to learn that Sentinel Butchery had closed their doors after a valiant attempt to provide best quality, local meats to the Capital District. Maybe you never had a chance to get to Emily Peterson’s shop or consume the products she brought from farm to table, but I assure it was special and the loss is real.¬†Although the store was open for far too short of a time, it was long enough to demonstrate that what we eat is better when it is personal.

Emily and I opened our businesses within days of one another. When I was putting the finishing touches on the guest list for my Ladies First event, I saw a post on Table Hopping about Sentinel Butchery and was impressed by the rack of lamb pictured (from Washington County!) and Steve Barnes’ positive words about the store. When he stopped in to my place a few days later, I asked him if he thought Emily might be interested in joining my gathering of women who impress, inspiration and influence. He shared her contact information with me and the rest is history – she was the came to the party and knocked everyone’s socks off with her enthusiasm and personality. Steve was right – Emily and I got along famously, to the point that Steve and I “argued” over which of us had the larger crush on her.

Since that first event, Emily and I forged a friendship based upon mutual respect, passion for our work and laughter. Lark + Lily sourced all of our meats from her for our super successful New Year’s Day Open House and had looked forward to further collaboration in the future. The loss of Sentinel Butchery is, of course, a loss to Emily and her family, but it is also a loss to countless others, people who understand that knowing that the person who is selling you your roast or sausage or chops is the very same person who selected and butchered the animal from which those meats came from, is an entirely different level of sourcing ingredients.

Sentinel Butchery may no longer be open, but I’m confident that Emily will move forward and continue on a path which is true and real and genuine. She’s just that kind of woman and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next. You should be, too.

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Filed under favorites, Food., friends, Local, Observations, Restaurants, Troy, Uncategorized

My Saturday night!

My latest SEEN gallery over at the TU. Check out all the smiling happy people.

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Filed under Albany, Dinner, drinking, Eating, Events, Food., Local, Recommendations

DelSo Cookies!

Did you see this over on All Over Albany?  Geesh – leave town for a week and miss all kinds of exciting stuff!  You get excited about cookies, right?  There’s a contest to come up with the perfect cookie to celebrate All Good Bakers‘ impending arrival in the DelSo.  I’ve been thinking about what would be the perfect representation of our neighborhood in a cookie form, and I’ve got some ideas…
Although the Wine n Diner didn’t survive, something Mikey, the owner, said stuck with me.  I agree with his (co-opted) statement that Delaware Avenue is where Lark Street goes to grow up and believe the DelSo cookie needs to have some adult qualities…dark chocolate chunks,  Really dark chocolate with a bitter note. I’d say.  There’s also the fact that Delaware Avenue was known as an Italian enclave so maybe toss in some toasted pignoli nuts to show proper respect to the family.  And then we’d need something to sweeten them up a bit – maybe some dark brown sugar?  Lastly – a little spiciness is present in our ‘hood and I think a little ginger would add just the right touch.  
What do you think?  Get to Facebook and share your thoughts asap.  Contest is open until Monday only!!

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Filed under Albany, baking, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Events, favorites, Food., Recommendations

Roast Beast

While I wouldn’t consider myself to be overly impressed by beefcake, I do enjoy a good piece of meat.  Last night I treated the Lilly boys/princes to a beautiful roast beef dinner.  Or roast beast, as I said to Quinn.

I prepared the beef simply,  with salt and pepper, and placed the roast on a meat rack in my magic roasting pan.  Below the beef in the pan was a combination of red wine, beef stock and sliced onions adding some steamy richness to the oven.  Confession: I don’t know what I do wrong, but I struggle to slice roast beef as thinly as I would like.  Yes, my knife is sharp.  Any hints?

After spending the day in the crockpot
Dinner was tasty and there were unsliced leftovers of the 2.5 lb roast despite Griffin’s best efforts. I only had to threaten Quinn with discipline twice, both times related to the mashed yellow and sweet orange potatoes.  As if beef and mashed potatoes aren’t the ultimate pairing! 

This morning I placed the beef, the au jus/onion liquid and a couple of canned chipotles in adobo, into the crock pot and let things simmer all day.  Tonight, I removed the meat and shredded/sliced it, adding my leftover mashed potatoes from the previous night to the juices in the pot.  This step worked to both thicken things up a bit and to take the edge off my enthusiasm with the chilis. Delicious.  Like a spicy beef stew that would only have been more wonderful with some sliced avocado and a cheese quesadilla.  Maybe tomorrow. 

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Filed under Boys, Cooking, Dinner, Food., Recipes, Recommendations

Savory Bread Pudding

I’m not a vegetarian, but every once in a while I have a dish that tells me I could be without missing meat at all.  Like this fabulous mushroom dish prepared by Jason Baker, the chef at the Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark – where I am lucky enough to work a couple of nights a week. Damn, that was tasty!
King Oyster Mushroom small plate – by Jason Baker
Thanks to another guy, Jonathan, at the bistro, I experienced my first savory bread pudding recently.  It isn’t often that I request a recipe from someone, but this bread pudding was unlike anything I’ve ever eaten – earthy, cheesy, and a touch squashy sweet – delicious comfort food perfect for a potluck, brunch or Super Bowl party.  I made mine with a molasses sweetened multi-grain bread, which I think added a nice dark richness to the finished product.  Next time I make it (and there most certainly will be a next time), I will be a bit less enthusiastic about the amount of bread I use.  It was a tad drier than I would have liked.  Nonetheless, the kale released a bit of juice which prevented things from being too dry and the 5th period lunch crew really seemed to enjoy my Monday offering.
Bubbly, hot veggies, cheese and bread – oh, my!
There were some leftovers to contend with and, in my opinion, this dish screamed for a fried egg or two to take it to a whole ‘nother time of the day – breakfast.  I’m a big fan of getting some fruit and/or veggies servings in early in the day and this recipe does the trick.  Don’t be shy – add some ham or smoked salmon, maybe mix things up with spinach or a variety of squashes.  Remember – it’s your meal!  Or meals, as the case may be.
The breakfast version.  You know I like me a fried egg.  Or two.

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Filed under breakfast, Brunch, Cooking, Food., Recipes, Recommendations, Restaurants

Beef Stir-fry

Do you ever buy those really thin cuts of beef at the grocery store?  They’re done in minutes and the boys love them – and there are never any leftovers when I cook with these inexpensive pieces of beef.  I think some folks may use them for steak sandwiches or something along those lines, but at my house they scream “stir-fry!”  So that’s what we did…

I sliced the “steaks” into thin strips and tossed them into a mixture of kecap menis, soy sauce and freshly squeezed orange juice.  Into the wok they went with a little sesame oil and chopped scallions.  This dish lends itself to your creativity – maybe add some matchstick carrots or sugar snap peas.  How about some par-cooked sweet potato rounds or water chestnuts?  A quick minute or 3 and they’re done.  On this particular evening, I served them with some sesame ginger rice, and sliced orange peppers and avocado – making an appealing, colorful meal in less than 30 minutes.  Take that, Racheal Ray!

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Filed under Cooking, Dinner, Food., Recipes, Recommendations

Turkey Pot Pie, sort of

While my appreciation for Thanksgiving is boundless, I was at the end of the line with bountiful leftovers. Inventorying my fridge, I came up with a few chunks of sweet potatoes, some mashed potatoes, a small amount of saut√©ed mushrooms from Saturday’s strip steak meal and some gravy. I thought I had some turkey, but other than a lonely drumstick, that had all been consumed by my “good eater” friend, Peter. Since I was mentally committed to preparing some comfort food, and I am master of the creative use of leftovers, I decided to make use of a couple of chicken breasts instead. The end result of my ridiculously easy efforts may have been the best pot pie ever!

Here’s my technique: Unroll a crust and place it into a deep pie dish – or be all overachieving and make your own dough for a two-crust pie. Combine an assortment of vegetables, meat and liquid (more about this in a minute) and place in pie crust. The amount of liquid varies and unfortunately, I didn’t make any attempt at measuring. I generally try to balance the liquid (gravy or broth) with the mashed potatoes to create a balance between moist, yet able to retain its form when cut into. In addition to using my gravy for inside the pot pie, I made use of it as a kind of “poaching” liquid, cooking a couple of chicken breasts in it due to my lack of turkey. I can’t say how long I let them simmer in the gravy…maybe 20 minutes or so? Once they cooled off a little, I cut them up into bite-sized pieces and added them to the vegetables already in the crust, along with some par cooked some baby carrots. I checked my ratio of solid to liquid, thinking that the gravy should reach about the halfway point in the pie dish to ensure a steamy deliciousness when cut into. Check.

At this point, I showed my oldest son what I was making and he immediately dubbed it “Thanksgiving Pie.” Fine. If that’s what you want to call it, go right ahead. I topped the gorgeousness with the second crust and rolled the edges together and did my best to make it look presentable. I’ve mentioned before that crust is not my thing, right? I cut a couple of slits in the top to allow some steam to release during baking, and placed my pie in the oven at 375 degrees. I again remembered to place a baking sheet on the rack below my pie to catch any errant drips – yeah, me! After about 30 minutes, I increased the temperature to 400 and gave the pie another 15 or 20 minutes to finish getting all brown and pretty. I then called my neighbors and asked if they were hungry…

While I took a quick shower, I let the pot pie cool a bit and settle. Freshly washed, I grabbed my pie, some arugula and a lemon, and headed next door for an impromptu Sunday DelSo dinner with Ken and Lori. Their wine, my pot pie and salad, and another satisfying weekend drew to a close. Life, my friends, is good. Get some!

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Filed under Cooking, DelSo, Dinner, drinking, Eating, Food., friends, ideas, Recipes, Recommendations