chicken

Charlotte’s Restaurant in Millbrook

by Anne Maxfield on October 16, 2017

Accidental Locavore Charlotte Restaurant GardenThere are some restaurants that are classics, frozen in time–places that seem to have been around forever.

Stalwarts.

A gastronomic tweak here or there to make them seem relevant and business pours in year after year.

Charlotte’s in Millbrook is one of those places.

It’s a cozy combination of rooms, the general impression is of floral chintzes and fireplaces. In the summer there’s a quiet patio where you can enjoy a cocktail or dinner.

Accidental Locavore Charlotte Restaurant InteriorPatrons of a certain age who have been coming every Friday night with family and friends.

The food is good. There’s nothing that will send you running for the doors, and most likely, nothing that will make you swoon with joy.

If you’ve been missing plates garnished with stuffed tomatoes sporting an erect sprig of rosemary and green beans wrapped with a contrasting carrot ribbon, Charlotte’s will not disappoint. No matter whether they’re described on the menu as fresh, seasonal, harvest, or garden fresh, it’s always the same carefully crafted combination.

Accidental Locavore Charlotte Restaurant ChickenThe night we were there, my friend went for the pan roasted chicken with the Marsala sauce on the side. She got and enjoyed a nicely cooked chicken served over saffron risotto and accompanied by the aforementioned vegetables.

For whatever reason, I wanted duck that night and they were offering it with a blueberry sauce. That threw me for a loop until the waiter reminded me that duck usually comes with fruit sauce and my friend chimed in that, like her, I could always get it on the side.

Accidental Locavore Charlotte Restaurant DuckI went for it and got a fine serving of duck breast with the blueberry sauce (living dangerously—not on the side). It was also served over saffron risotto and vegetables but had a crunchy pile of fried onions topping it off. The duck was a little more well-done than I normally like, and the blueberry sauce added to the flavor of the duck.

The dessert menu offers standards like bread pudding, crème brûlée, lava cake and assorted house-made ice creams.

Charlotte’s is open for lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends. Check their website for events, like an upcoming comedy night.

 

 

 

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Barb the Butcher in Beacon

by Anne Maxfield on October 9, 2017

Accidental Locavore Barb the Butcher A butcher.

Not something you’d generally think–hmm, sounds interesting.

But never followed up with.

They say things happen for a reason.

Kismet.

Which is how, on a rare sunny day, I ended up in Beacon.

Ostensibly to try out a new burger joint –  Meyer’s Olde Dutch – and also to check out Barb’s Butchery shop.

As it turns out, my partner in HudsonValleyEATS.com sold Barb the store she has.

Accidental Locavore Barb the ButcherAnd a recent guest on the radio show, Jennifer Solow, the editor of edible hudson valley, had just featured Barb on the cover, striking a jaunty pose, a haunch of beef slung over her shoulder.

So now I had two good excuses/connections to meet Barb.

After burgers, we went down and met Barb and her team.

The shop is on a quiet corner in Beacon, lined with butcher cases filled with pristine looking meat.

Great looking sausages, perfectly cut steaks and short ribs, everything looks like something you’d be happy to cook and eat.

We watched them making a batch of what they call NAM North African Mint. It smelled wonderful and is their version of merguez—a little spicy, with pork replacing the traditional lamb. She set some aside for me to pick up a couple of days later and they quickly became a favorite.

You might want to keep an eye out for their monthly specials, especially if you have freezer space and/or are expecting a crowd. We got a great assortment of steaks, pork chops, a chicken etc. in ours and all the meat was delicious (and local).

My husband went down to pick it up (order in advance please) and discovered the lunch counter side of Barb’s.

He got what he considers to be one of the best brisket sandwiches ever—her own smoked brisket topped with slaw and her onion BBQ sauce—all made in-house and topped off with homemade potato chips, hot from the fryer!

Accidental Locavore Barbs Butcher Brisket SandwichIt was so good that after our second brunch at the Roundhouse, we went over so everyone could get one to take home for dinner (and they were yummy)!

While we like to support local businesses and especially women-owned ones, it’s great to want to go to Barb’s. Hang out, watch them making up batches of sausages, have a great sandwich and take some great local meats home with you.

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Butter Chicken

by Anne Maxfield on August 28, 2017

Accidental Locavore Butter Chicken PlatedChicken Tikka Masala is a big favorite in our house and lately I’ve come across a couple of recipes for Butter Chicken, a close relative (or the same dish depending on who to believe).

I think the big difference is that Tikka Massala is marinated in yogurt, while Butter Chicken can be made on the fly.

The two recipes I was looking at were from both ends of the time spectrum—one was ready in about 30 minutes, the other was in a slow cooker and took 5-6 hours. I opted for speed.

Butter Chicken

  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts cut into 1” chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 14 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lime and cilantro for garnish

Accidental Locavore Butter Chicken CookingIn a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons of butter. Working in batches, add the chicken and brown on all sides. It doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through. Set the browned chicken aside as it’s done.

Reduce the heat to medium and add another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften—about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, garam masala, ginger, chili powder, cumin and cayenne. Stir to combine and cook for about 45 seconds.

Add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes and add the cream.

Bring back to a simmer and add the chicken. Cook for 10-15 minutes on a low simmer.

Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Garnish with lime and cilantro, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Easy and delicious! Frank liked this so much, he requested that I make it again the other night.

Both times I’ve used boneless skinless chicken thighs since I’m not a white meat fan and served it over basmati rice. If you soak the rice before you start prepping everything, and start cooking it after the chicken has browned, your timing should be perfect.

We’ll have to start stocking cans of tomato sauce and pints of cream and soon I’ll have to figure out what a good veg would be to serve with it. Any ideas?

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Panera

by Anne Maxfield on July 31, 2017

My Panera PaniniWhat is it about Panera?
If you think you’re going for good food–fuggedaboutit!
Ditto an Internet connection.
Seriously, why does anyone eat at Panera?
The food is terrible.
The service is thoughtless.
It’s drab, if not dirty.
And the promised wifi is more of a concept than a reality.
Could I be the only person in America that’s never had a good experience at Panera?
The first time we went, it was in Connecticut for breakfast. I don’t even remember what I had, but Frank ordered a bagel with lox and cream cheese and got something that was unlike any bagel he’d ever seen (and not in a good way).
More recently, I met my partner in HudsonValleyEATS.com in the one in Poughkeepsie near Adams. There were three people standing behind the counter. One man helping a customer, the other two chatting.
I waited.
When the man was finished, I went up and asked for an iced tea. “$2.91.” I handed him the money, he handed me an empty plastic cup.
“It’s down on the end.”
“Nice profit margin.”
Took a walk down to the end, found the iced tea, ice, lemon and sugar. Grabbed a lid and a straw, did all the work. Took a sip.
Not happy.

Yesterday, I got suckered into another Panera rendezvous, this time at a different Poughkeepsie location.
The place is crowded and none of the vacant tables have been wiped down. Ugh.
Grab some napkins, wipe down a table, get in line to order food (none of which sounded appealing, but I’m really hungry).
The guy behind the register has to look up the Frontega Chicken panini I asked about.
Smoked chicken, mozzarella, tomatoes, onions, chipotle mayo, basil. This is from the photo on Panera’s site:
Sounded about as interesting as the others so I ordered it, “no onions,” and a cup for a drink (see, I’m learning).
The top photo is what I got.
A mud-grey plastic plate with cheese glued to a piece of corrugated paper, LOTS of onions and a couple pallid bits of chicken.
There were black stripes on the bread to make it look like it had been put in a panini press, but the corrugated paper made me think the panini press was more like a microwave…
Because I was hungry, I ate the half-sandwich, hating myself for putting this absolute junk in my mouth.
And the so-called wifi? The whole time I was trying to eat the sandwich, we could not pull up a single page from the web.
We left totally disgusted. The place was dirty. The food was inedible but I was starving. The iced tea once again needed a return trip for more ice, but I just dumped it.
Never again!
“Food as it should be.”
Please, let’s hope not!
If you are a Panera fan, please tell me what it is that you like about it. It won’t bring me back, but I am really curious.
Update: Found this in my bag afterwards:
Accidental Locavore Panera Check So sad that I missed my free treat…

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