locavore

Drink More Good–Soda Syrup

by Anne Maxfield on May 22, 2017

Doing good and soda syrup don’t usually come to mind as a perfect pairing.

And trying to get people to drink more soda these days is a little like tilting at windmills.

Just don’t tell that to the guys at More Good.

They know that we’re all suckers for carbonated water flavored with something sweet – they’re just trying to make that something sweet a little better for you.

More Good uses locally sourced and organic ingredients to make concentrated syrups for sodas and cocktails.

If you own a SodaStream or you drink soda, you’ll want to check them out.

The flavors of the soda syrups are really interesting and range from classics, like their take on ginger ale and cola, to some unique flavors like Jalapeno Black tea.

It’s a premium product, but once you start using it you’ll be hooked (in a good way). Wouldn’t you rather pay a little more for ginger ale with organic sugar, ginger and citrus than the “fountain style” ginger ale whose list of “naturally flavored” ingredients do not contain any mention of actual ginger?

You control the flavor so you can give your seltzer a hint of flavor or go all out and create your own soda flavors. By doing this, you also control the sugar content (and it’s all organic cane sugar), making More Good more good for you.

Their headquarters is a small shop in Beacon, part coffee house, part apothecary.

Jars of herbs, spices, bitters, teas and bottles of More Good syrup line the walls and all of which are for sale. I actually bought a genius pepper grinder, but that’s probably for another post.

There’s a small coffee bar and space to hang out with your laptop or one of the local publications.

Behind the wall of spices is where the magic happens. Besides being the place where all the More Good soda syrups are made, the partners, Jason and Scott, also rent out the commercial kitchen for other entrepreneurs.

Their goal is to have the space be a collaborative effort, to help the community and to surround themselves with good people and to do good.

Enjoy!

 

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Chef’s Tasting Table at Mohonk Mountain House

by Anne Maxfield on May 15, 2017

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House Fois GrasMohonk Mountain House is one of the Hudson Valley’s iconic hotels and has been a favorite place to stay for almost 150 years.

There’s plenty to do to build up an appetite and a massive dining room to enjoy a meal.

But everyone knows that.

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House OysterWhat you don’t know is that there’s a secret staircase in the back of the dining room leading to the massive kitchen that regularly puts out 500-600 meals every evening.

In the middle of that, is the space that only puts out 10 very special meals.

I was one of those lucky diners recently and was invited to experience the eleven-course Chef’s Tasting Table menu with wines, designed by Executive Chef Jim Palmeri.

It’s offered on Friday and Saturday nights at 6:30 with a six-person minimum. You can take your chances on an available spot (or two), or be a big spender and reserve the whole table for a very special occasion.  If you like wine, you might want to consider spending the night – the wines are lovely and well matched to the food, and the road home from Mohonk is not one you want to mess with.

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House RisottoThe menu changes depending on the season and what’s good locally. While Chef Palmeri and his team use local ingredients wherever possible, they do stretch the boundaries to include luxuries like black truffles and, for our dinner, mainly French wines.

If you think eleven courses sounds daunting, most of them are just a mouthful or two. The exceptions are the entrée (the only choice you have to make for the evening) and the dessert – so extraordinary it deserves and is getting its own post.

Mohonk Mountain House SashimiOne of the big treats for me as a diner has always been those meals where you just sit back and let the chefs do what they do best – cook. I love the combination of not having to make a choice and the surprise that each course and every mouthful brings!

To have something to refer to, I was given a menu at the beginning, but it got folded it up and hidden in my purse so as not to ruin the surprises to come.

Mohonk Mountain House DuckAnd, to not ruin your surprise, because you truly need to go there (I know you’ve got a birthday coming up), I’m just going to highlight some of my favorite bites and let you drool over the photos.

To book your own dining adventure (and don’t forget about a room) call: 845-883-3798.

My thanks to Chef Jim Palmeri, Executive Sous Chef Steve Anson, Robert Leduc and the amazing staff at the Mohonk Mountain House for a memorable dinner!

For more photos, check out HudsonValleyEats.com. Mohonk Mountain House Cheese Course

 

 

 

 

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Water from Trees: Asarasi

by Anne Maxfield on May 8, 2017

Accidental Locavore Maple Tree for WaterTrees.

We think of them for lots of things.

Shade, landscaping, climbing, fall foliage.

But…water?

Yes.

Those same sugar maple trees that give you maple syrup now give you water.

If you’re from the Northeast, you know that the ratio of sap to syrup can be as much as 90:1

That’s a lot of waste.

What happens to all that “waste” water?

Turns out the guys at Asarasi Sparkling Tree Water have found a way to turn that waste into water.

Not only drinkable water, but renewable, sustainable, organic water that they carbonate and bottle.

Accidental Locavore Asarasi Tree WaterThe Accidental Locavore met them at the recent Restaurant Show and was intrigued by the idea.

I was inclined to like it simply because there was very little plain water to drink at the show.

After downing countless “shots” of BBQ sauce and other condiments, all I wanted was water.

It was great because it tasted like…water. Nothing sweet or maple flavored.

Just a nice, sparkling water.

And they have a great story to go with it.

Accidental Locavore Sparkling WaterFooling around at home, I decided to see how it stacked up against what sparkling water there was in the house.

Not much.

I made a bottle of sparkling water with the Soda Stream and water from the sink.

Then I found a vintage bottle of Vintage Seltzer.

All three were at room temperature.

I poured all three into glasses with two ice cubes.

Accidental Locavore Sparkling Water TestThe Vintage was clearly past its prime (and expiration date of 3/30/11) and tasted flat, in that way that previously carbonated beverages do. Deflated

The DIY was fine. Sparkling, essentially tasteless, good bubbles.

And the Asarasi? If you were looking for it, you might detect a hint of maple, both in the nose and in the finish. But trust me, you’d really have to be looking for it.

Frank thought the bottled water (Asarasi) had finer carbonation and a more neutral “flavor” than the Soda Stream. He thought that if I had used the filtered water there might have been a difference in the Soda Stream, but I’m not sure I agree with him.

Asarasi is priced about the same as bottled water and currently available around New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Check their website for availability.

What do you think? Would you try it?

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K’s Mini Cookies: Edible Art

by Anne Maxfield on May 1, 2017

Accidental Locavore K's Mini Cookies EasterCookies as beautiful hand-painted tiny works of art.

Bunnies, chicks, ducks all looking like spring.

I had tasted a couple of K’s mini cookies before we started the Accidental Locavore’s radio show recently, and they were delicious!

Butter and sugar, the perfect sugar cookie.

And then, the ride home from the station was torturous.

Accidental Locavore K's Mini Cookies WrappedWrapped up next to me was a selection of beautiful hand-painted cookies.

They had that distinctive smell of butter and sugar, which is somehow different from the butter smell of a box of croissants.

Both good, but not while you’re driving.

I had been talking with Sue Radon on my radio show, the Accidental Locavore Live! about her burgeoning cookie business.

She and her daughter started it in the fall, partly as an afterschool project and looking towards building a college fund.

Accidental Locavore K's Mini Cookies on a PlateThey’re both very artistic and it shows in each and every handcrafted cookie. For Easter a bunny sports tiny carrots, another a border of red tulips, a third is a gilded duck with matching bow tie.

While they’re looking towards selling at local farmers’ markets in the summer, currently it’s custom work only. That way they can control the quality, while building the business one cookie at a time.

If you’ve got a minimum of a week and an idea, they can make it come to life in cookie form. Parties, showers, weddings, holidays—they’ve got it covered. With Mother’s Day just around the corner you might want to give them a call!

Accidental Locavore K's Mini Cookies Mother's DayAnd while classic sugar cookies are generally the base, if it can be decorated, you can pick a different flavor (like gingerbread).

They’re playing a little hard to get when it comes to finding them. No website yet and if you’re not on Facebook (K’s mini cookie), you’re almost out of luck, but you can email Sue at: sueradom7@gmail.com.

Not to worry, a website is coming soon.

Thanks to Sue for the cookies (delicious!) and the photo of the Mother’s Day Cookie.

 

 

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