Haddad’s Middle Eastern Grocery

by Anne Maxfield on December 10, 2018

Accidental Locavore Middle Eastern Take OutHow nice to have a Middle Eastern grocery close by and how nice to now have them serving food to go!

Haddad’s is on a non-descript block of Poughkeepsie’s Main Street and has been there for a couple of years. Recently, they started serving up falafel, shawarma and other Middle Eastern specialties.

It’s a family run operation, with Maurice and Mona manning the store and the stove.

The menu is small but covers most of what you’d expect—falafel, shawarma hot off the spit—chicken during the week and meat (a mix of lamb and beef) on Saturdays. There are various kebabs and side dishes of grape leaves, hummus etc.

Accidental Locavore Middle Eastern SpitWe were first there on a Saturday so decided to take advantage of the meat shawarma. We ordered two plates (everything is available on a pita or as a plate) to go. Maurice expertly carved the meat off the spit and layered it over two full dishes of rice. With an “I dare you” look, he asked if we wanted hot sauce on the meat. Feeling brave (and challenged) we said sure and he spooned a generous amount over the meat and sauce.

It was delicious, and the two servings ended up being dinner for two people for two nights. The hot sauce isn’t killer hot, so go for it.

We got some grape leaves (served warm and stuffed with rice and spices) and hummus to go with the shawarma, and everything was great!

Later that week, we went back to try the kebabs and get some more grape leaves. The lamb kufta (a mix of ground spiced lamb) and the beef kabab were both tasty although I think I preferred the kufta. The plates come with rice and a side salad of chopped tomatoes and vegetables.

Besides the prepared food, Haddad’s is well stocked with (previously hard to find) Middle Eastern groceries. You’ll find spices, grape leaves, labne, cheeses olives and sweets among the aisles.

Accidental Locavore Middle Eastern ShopIf you’re pressed for time, order on their Facebook page or call 845-849-0161, otherwise shop and chat with Maurice and Mona while they’re preparing your food.

Haddad’s

782 Main Street

Poughkeepsie

 

Share

{ 0 comments }

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

by Anne Maxfield on December 3, 2018

Accidental Locavore Cranberry Upside Down CakeThis cranberry upside-down cake appeared on David Lebovitz’s website just before Thanksgiving.

It was just the dessert I needed to bring to friends. He says it’s best served warm, and made in a cast iron pan, so I tried to erase memories of one of my biggest cooking disasters ever (a tarte tartin made and cemented into a cast iron pan) and just go for it.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Topping

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Batter

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup coarse cornmeal or polenta
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature

In a 9- to 10”cast iron skillet, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter and the brown sugar together, stirring frequently, until the sugar is moistened and liquefied. When the mixture starts to bubble, remove from heat and set the pan aside.

Accidental Locavore Cranberry Cake PrepPreheat the oven to 350º.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal or polenta, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand in a mixing bowl with a spatula, beat the ½ cup of butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest at medium high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs one at a time, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides. Mix in the vanilla extract.

At low speed, add half of the flour mixture, then the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just enough so that they’re all combined. Do not overmix.

Distribute the cranberries in the prepared pan over the brown sugar mixture and shake the pan so they are in a relatively even layer. Spoon the batter over the cranberries in four mounds, then use a spatula to spread the batter evenly over the fruit.

Bake the cake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, wait 10 minutes, then run a knife around the cake. Place a serving platter overturned on top of the cake in the skillet, then using oven mitts to cover your hands, flip the two over simultaneously, until the cake releases from the pan. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore CranberryMy Verdict: Phew! Came out of the pan beautifully and tasted great! Frank thought it could use a few more cranberries, so the next time I make it, I’ll just pour the whole bag in.

In a moment of pre-baking terror, I did give the cast iron pan a quick spray of butter, but I’m not sure if it needed it.

The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the cornmeal. It does add a crunch which Lebovitz says he likes in his baking, which Frank liked, but I’m not sure I was a huge fan. Maybe next time, I’ll try it with all flour.

The other thing I would probably do differently would be to cream the butter and sugar together using my stand mixer. I used a hand beater and while it worked fine, it took longer and was not as creamy as when I’ve pulled out the big mixer.

If cranberries aren’t in season, a mess of blueberries or other fruit would probably work just as well.

 

Share

{ 2 comments }

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Chorizo and Cheese

by Anne Maxfield on November 26, 2018

Accidental Locavore Peppers Stuffed With ChorizoOne of the best parts of being in a CSA (besides the farm-fresh veggies) is the chance to try different veggies. Not that poblano peppers are so “weird,” but on an average day  I’d probably only pick up a couple for a specific dish. When they were part of our share a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was time to see what I could do with them.

Stuffing them seemed like the thing to do and this interesting recipe from Rick Bayliss—his take on chile rellenos – was my starting point. Serves 4.

Accidental Locavore Peppers Stuffed and FinishedStuffed Poblano Peppers with Chorizo and Cheese

For the peppers:

  • 4 large poblano peppers, as smooth as possible
  • 1 pound chorizo
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • Salt
  • 6 ounces goat cheese

For the topping: 

  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

Make the peppers: 

Accidental Locavore Peppers for RoastingRoast the chiles directly over a gas flame or on a baking sheet 4” below a very hot broiler, turning regularly to make sure all the surfaces are well blackened and blistered.

Place in a bowl, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Rub the skins off the peppers and then cut a slit starting ½” from the top and going to the tip of the pepper. At the top, make a ½” cut on either side of the opening.

Open up the chiles and remove the seeds. Rinse the insides and place them cut side down on a paper towel to drain.

Remove the chorizo from the casings and crumble into a 12” non-stick skillet over high heat. Cook for 5 minutes, using a spoon to break up any large chunks, until the sausage is nicely browned.

Lower the temperature to medium, add the onions and salt. Stir to combine, then cover and cook until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

Once cooled, crumble the goat cheese over the mixture and stir to combine.

Stuff each pepper with ¼ of the mixture. Fold the chile around the stuffing, leaving a gap in the center (see top photo).

Place the stuffed chiles in a 13×9” casserole and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

To bake the chiles, heat the oven to 375°. Place the foil covered dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Make the topping:

Heat the olive oil in a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the bread crumbs and nuts. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring until the mixture is golden brown. Remove from heat, add the cilantro and set aside.

When the chiles are cooked, remove the dish from the oven, sprinkle the topping over the dish, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Peppers PlatedMy verdict: These were good, but not great and I’m not sure why. It could have been that I was too cautious about the potential for heat from the peppers and the chorizo and neither of them were hot at all.

The poblanos I got from the farm were small, so I used 9 of them and had some filling left. We had some lovely Argentinian chorizo from Barb’s Butchery and it was good with the goat cheese. The original recipe called for chayote or zucchini to be cooked with the onion, but we didn’t have any, so I left it out.

What’s good about this recipe is that you can stuff the peppers and make the breadcrumb mix ahead of time and bake them at your convenience, which is what I did.

While the chiles were baking, I made a batch of green rice to serve with them. When I had them as leftovers the next day for lunch, I chopped up the peppers and mixed them in with the rice and liked that just as much as the original dish.

 

 

 

 

Share

{ 0 comments }

Thanksgiving Disasters, Have You Ever Lost a Turkey?

by Anne Maxfield on November 19, 2018

Accidental Locavore Thanksgiving Turkey Carved

A few years ago, we had a most interesting Thanksgiving and it all had to do with my family’s love of dark meat.

While most Americans prefer white meat turkey, the Accidental Locavore’s family is primarily a dark meat gang.

One year at Thanksgiving we had about a dozen people for dinner. When we were done, the back of the turkey looked like it had been dipped in acid with not a morsel left.  However, the breast was almost totally intact.

The following year I thought I was being smart by ordering a turkey and four extra legs–plenty of dark meat for all. Went to the store, and picked up two enormous (and expensive) bags with the turkey in them.

Thanksgiving morning we took the bags out to see how big the bird was.

One giant turkey leg.

Two giant legs.

Three giant legs.

Four giant legs…oops, no turkey.

Even in New York City, have you ever tried buying a turkey on Thanksgiving day?

We finally ended up with a frozen kosher bird. My father and I worked to defrost it, alternating between a hair-dryer, and water bath.

Don’t even start with “you’re never supposed to defrost anything that way” comments.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Finally, after a couple of hours we got it defrosted, stuffed and put it and the giant legs in the oven.

If you’re wondering why we felt the need for a whole bird, two word–inside stuffing. It’s just so much better when it’s cooked in the bird (and I know the same people who are against speed defrosting are probably anti-inside stuffing too…tough).

Accidental Locavore Thanksgiving Turkey Leg EatenDinner was only delayed by about four hours, we were getting low on wine, so everyone was pretty wasted, not to mention hungry, by the time we sat down for dinner.

But we knew we had a story for the family history book. Ever since then, we just buy a whole turkey, and if someone wants extra legs, it’s strictly BYO.

What was your most memorable or disaster ridden Thanksgiving?

Share

{ 10 comments }