locavore

What’s a Lemon LuLu Cake?

by Anne Maxfield on June 19, 2017

Accidental Locavore Lemon LuLu CakeI’d never heard of a Lemon LuLu Cake, but happily, that changed recently.

To me, there’s nothing better than a surprise package arriving on my doorstep with something delicious inside!

Sweet or savory, packages bearing food are always welcome!

Also great is finding out about something yummy that you didn’t even know existed.

Mother Myrick’s, of Manchester, Vermont, happily filled both those roles recently.

HudsonValleyEATS was contacted by Taylor, their PR person, who countered our (slight) objections that it wasn’t actually something from the Hudson Valley by saying, “but we ship to the Hudson Valley all the time.”

Keep him!

The goodies arrived the next day, perfectly packaged and in pristine shape—not a crumb out of place.

Accidental Locavore Lemon LuLu Cake PackagedThere was their signature Lemon LuLu Cake and a box of Buttercrunch.

It came with a lovely, hand-written card that turned out to be from a place I know up in Maine, so I was already inclined to like it.

The Lulu cake is a lemon pound cake. It’s a lovely, light, moist cake, with a lemon glaze and a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar. I’m sure it would be great with some fresh berries and/or ice cream, but ours disappeared before it could be paired with anything except a fork.

If you were ever in need of an “emergency cake,” Lemon Lulu cake can be frozen, or you can just order one for next-day delivery. No need to turn on the oven all summer!

The Buttercrunch, another signature item, looked and smelled amazing.

Accidental Locavore ButtercrunchI say that because, sadly, I couldn’t taste them, so we have to take Janet’s word that they were really buttery and she liked it a lot!

There are lots of other goodies in their catalog or online, so if you have a hankering for something sweet and don’t feel like heating up the kitchen, just relax, shop and enjoy!

 

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Pea Guacamole Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on June 5, 2017

Yes, you’re right. Pea guacamole?

I succumbed.

But there’s a reason. A story.

I needed something to take to a Mexican themed party.

The hostess and I have had an ongoing thing about peas.

She’s pro-, I consider them generally superfluous.

She also has a great sense of humor.

This is a tweaked version of the NY Times piece that caused quite a furor last year.

Pea Guacamole

  • ½ pound frozen peas, thawed (about 1 cup)
  • 2 small jalapenos
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped (or more for taste)
  • Salt
  • 3 small very ripe avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 scallions, whites only, sliced very thin
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime (or more for taste)

In a microwave-safe bowl, cook the peas with about 1 tablespoon of water for about 2 minutes, until they are just tender. Drain peas and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Reserve a small handful for garnish.

Halve, seed and de-vein the jalapenos. Cut into small chunks.

In a blender or food processor, chop the jalapenos. Add the peas, cilantro and ½ teaspoon salt. Process until the peas are almost smooth, but still have a little texture.

In a medium bowl, mash the avocados. Add the scallions, lime zest, juice, ½ teaspoon salt and the pea mixture. Mix well. Taste and add additional cilantro, salt and lime juice as needed. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

My verdict: Everyone at the party thought it was great (and finished it off)! I thought it was pretty good, but a little sweet because of the peas.

Would I make it again? No, too much work and too many dirty dishes.

The original recipe called for roasting one of the jalapenos and peeling it. I tossed one on the grill (only because the grill was going) and charred it, but didn’t peel it. If you wanted to toss one or more in a small skillet, you could do that, but I don’t think it’s going to matter in the end result.

The Times also had you shucking fresh peas, a cute idea if you’re making peas for dinner for two, but a huge time suck if you’re making guacamole for a crowd.

When I make guacamole, it’s seven ingredients, a knife and a bowl.

10 minutes, no grill, no Cuisinart, no microplane (zester).

Would or have you made guacamole with peas?

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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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