Jeanie Bean and Family

by Anne Maxfield on September 18, 2017

Accidental Locavore Jeanie Beans InteriorEveryone should have a place like Jeanie Bean’s in their neighborhood. A casual place where you can always grab some lunch to go, or catch up with friends at one of the charming mismatched tables.

The food is always good and the welcome is warm.

They’ve aimed and succeeded in making it a spot for locals. Michael Korda said in his book about the area, Country Matters, that the best place to run into a missing-in-action contractor was the local Dunkin Donuts, but these days I’d put my bet on Jeanie Beans.

People drop in for breakfast or lunch and to drop off the latest batch of birdhouses made from reclaimed barnwood and there’s always someone running into someone they’ve not seen in ages.

Accidental Locavore Birdhouses at Jeanie BeansThere’s a leaning towards all things British, since the owners hail from there, and while fish and chips are always on the menu, it doesn’t keep them from making a good burger or embracing Taco Tuesdays. During the week, there are daily specials and on weekends you’ve got the whole menu to choose from.

Accidental Locavore Candy at Jeanie BeansIn front, there’s a case full of house-made pastries, cookies and recently, good bagels “imported” from da Bronx.  Along the walls are boxes of British essentials – crisps, biscuits, jams, etc. and some local Hudson Valley products. In the freezer there are packages of bangers, containers of soups and other entrees all ready to go home with you.

My go-to is generally the fish and chips. Even when I think about ordering something else, a batch will come out of the fryer and I’ll change my mind (but I usually ask for skinny fries in place of the larger chips). You get 3 pieces of golden fried fish and a pile of fries with tartar sauce and good (recently great) house-made coleslaw on the side and of course, there’s real malt vinegar.

Accidental Locavore Jeanie Beans Fish and ChipsMy friend who hails from the UK always adds a chip butty to her order. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a piece of buttered, soft white bread that you use to make a sandwich with the chips and ketchup.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide if it’s an add-on you’re partial to.

Since it’s been getting cooler out, I’ve been leaning towards more comfort food, like their grilled cheese. There are lots of cheeses to pick from and they’re happy to mix and match. Adding some of their local bacon is never a bad idea either.

Burgers are big and tasty, and like the grilled cheese come with your choice of cheese and bacon if you’d like.

Accidental Locavore Jeanie Beans SandwichThere’s a menu full of classic sandwiches, including some specialties like meatball heroes and a Thanksgiving sandwich with turkey and all the fixings.

If you’re up and out early, there are lots of breakfast options. So far, I haven’t made it there before the breakfast cut-off point at 11:00, so I can’t give you the low-down on exactly what you might find there, but I’ve heard there’s a breakfast wrap that includes all the meaty essentials wrapped around eggs.

As Jeanie Bean says, “this is a deli, not a restaurant” so don’t expect tweezer-plated portions, just good solid food served in a cheerful neighborhood spot (and if she’s taking your order, just go with the flow – she knows what you want before you do).

Jeanie Bean and Family, 2411 Salt Point Turnpike, Clinton Corners, New York, NY 12514. Open daily 7-4.

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Clafoutis, An Easy Fruit Dessert

by Anne Maxfield on September 11, 2017

Accidental Locavore ClafoutisThink of clafoutis as being French equivalent to a cobbler, but being French, a little more elegant.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s one of those desserts you have to fuss over. It’s actually easier than a cobbler—all you do is pop a few ingredients in a blender and pour them over some fruit.

Traditionally the fruit is cherries, but any fruit that can be baked can be used.

I had some cherries, peaches and blueberries, on their own, not enough to make a pie or anything and a few too many to eat before they went bad, so clafoutis seemed like the way to go.

Accidental Locavore Cherries for ClafoutisClafoutis

  • 1 ¼ pounds (570 grams) sweet cherries
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar (mixed use)
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • Softened butter for greasing the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Liberally grease a shallow 2-quart baking dish with butter.

Stem and pit the cherries. Place them in a single layer in the baking dish.

In a blender, mix the eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extracts, ½ cup sugar and milk together until smooth.

Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake about 45 minutes until it is just set. A knife or toothpick poked in the center should come out relatively clean.

Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Clafoutis BatterMy verdict: It’s super easy and delicious. We served it warm, but you can serve it warm, room temperature or cold—all good.

I used a mix of cherries, blueberries and a peach that I cut into small chunks (but didn’t peel).

Since I’ve had nut allergies in the past, I didn’t use any almond extract, which probably made it really non-traditional, but it didn’t take away from the taste.

Another added bonus is that it’s really good for breakfast the next day, whether you bother to warm it up or not.

It’s a versatile recipe to know about, you can switch up the fruit or take the sugar out, substitute some cheese, add veggies and make it a savory dish.

 

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Apple Cake Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on September 4, 2017

accidental-locavore-slice-of-apple-cakeNow that we’re moving into apple season, it seemed like a good time to revisit this great apple cake.

Originally the idea of a fruit CSA had its appeal.

Apples and other fresh fruit, weekly when we picked up our regular CSA share at Poughkeepsie Farm Project.

Shared with friends since the Accidental Locavore knew 8 pounds of fruit was going to be too much.

Even 4 pounds is a lot of fruit, but this delicious apple cake will take six of them off your hands.

I’d seen this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and then my cousin called raving about this great apple cake she’d made. She was right!

accidental locavore apple cakeApple Cake Recipe

For the apples:

  • 6 apples, McIntosh or whatever looks good
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons white or light brown sugar

For the cake:

  • 2 3/4 cups (360 grams) flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon fine salt
    1 cup vegetable oil (or mix of butter, olive oil etc.)
    2 cups sugar
    1/4 cup orange juice
    2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    4 large eggs

accidental-locavore apples-for apple cakeHeat oven to 350°. Butter a tube pan (angel food, bundt).

Peel, core and chop apples into 1-inch chunks. Toss with cinnamon and 5 tablespoons sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar, vanilla and eggs.

Mix wet ingredients into dry ones; scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

accidental-locavore apple cake-assemblyPour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples (and their juices) over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top.

Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Great apple cake! After we devoured a couple of slices of it, I cut it in quarters and stuck most of it in the freezer. Two days later, most of it has already been pulled from the freezer (not to worry, got more apples from the CSA). Slightly warmed up, it makes a great breakfast too! Now I’ve made it twice and it still hasn’t lasted a week.

I used a combo of McIntosh and Macon’s which worked well, you probably want to avoid the mushier apples like Delicious. Since we’re not an orange juice drinking household, I just bought an orange and juiced half of it.

The recipe calls for a cup of vegetable oil and suggests that you can use olive or coconut oil and/or butter. Because butter makes everything better, I used one stick of butter, melted and topped it off with vegetable oil. Might try an olive oil-butter mix the next time.

Update: Because of the plethora of apples, I ended up making this about five times. Olive oil was the least successful batch so I went back to butter and vegetable oil. Everyone who has made this or tasted it loves it. Give it a shot.

 

 

 

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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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