Pieconic: Pies and More at Main Street Goodness

by Anne Maxfield on May 21, 2018

Accidental Locavore Pie at PieconicPies.
Isn’t that the first thing that comes to mind when you’re a globe-trotting executive looking for a new career?
Pies.
It was one of the first things that came to Christopher Knable’s mind when he was far from home. In fact, he started baking pies overseas when he got homesick.
He got such satisfaction from baking pies and such a good reception for them that he decided to start his own bakery when he came back state-side.
Accidental Locavore Pie at Main Street GoodnessThat morphed into Pieconic, his bakery and Main Street Goodness, the café he started in Chatham, so people would have a spot to sit down and enjoy the pies and other goodies.
The café, a cute stop on Chatham’s Main Street, is open 6 days a week from 8 AM to 7 PM for all-day breakfast, lunch and of course, pies. The menu caters to all tastes and food tolerances, so you can bring your gluten-free, vegans and carnivores and they’ll all find something yummy to eat.
Christopher and his team are constantly tweaking the menu to reflect what’s fresh from local farms, but you can always depend on a few staples. I had a chance to try some of the pies and bakery items and they were all delicious!
Accidental Locavore Pies and MoreEven though I’d had a big lunch, somehow the piece of Thor’s Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate pie disappeared—bite after tasty bite. It’s a terrific combination of oatmeal, coconut and chocolate in a classic crust. The website touts it as being “the coziest pie on our menu” and on a cold, rainy day, it was!
Being appetite challenged, Christopher and his staff stocked me up with a big bag of treats. We happily ate our way through the selection which included their signature pasties (hand pies), both apple and a savory “BLP” with scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes and cheese and both delicious.
Hot out of the oven, a savory breakfast buttermilk biscuit with bacon, was flaky and a perfect way to start any morning.
Accidental Locavore Pies and MoreIf you think Chatham might be off your beaten track, you’ll be surprised to see that besides Main Street Goodness, there are a number of new (to me) and interesting shops that have opened up, making it a nice place to spend an afternoon.
If you really think Chatham is off the beaten track, not to fret, there’s always the Internet and Christopher would be happy to ship you off a pie or two.Accidental Locavore Pies and Christopher

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Lemon Chicken Thighs

by Anne Maxfield on May 14, 2018

Accidental Locavore Chicken Thighs With LemonI love chicken thighs and this recipe from bon appétit looked easy and delicious. Serves 2-4 depending on appetite and size of thighs.

• 4 chicken thighs (bone-in and skin-on)
• Salt & pepper
• ¼ cup white wine vinegar
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
• 2 lemons, halved
• 1 ½ teaspoons honey
• ½ teaspoon Aleppo style pepper
• 3 tablespoons olive oil

Pat chicken thighs dry and season well with salt and black pepper. Place in a large resealable plastic bag and add vinegar. Seal bag and gently massage chicken to ensure all thighs are coated in vinegar. Chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°. Remove chicken thighs from bag and pat dry with paper towels; the drier the skin, the crispier it will be when cooked.
Place chicken thighs, skin side down, in a dry large cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook undisturbed until they easily release from the pan, about 4 minutes. Continue to cook, moving chicken around occasionally to ensure the skin is cooking evenly, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and transfer skillet to oven. Bake until chicken is cooked through, 10–12 minutes. Transfer chicken and garlic to a plate.
Set skillet over medium-high heat and cook lemons, cut side down, until edges are deeply charred (they should be almost black), about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate with chicken and garlic and let cool slightly.
Squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl; add garlic, honey, and Aleppo-style pepper and whisk to combine. Whisk in oil and any accumulated juices on plate with chicken. Season vinaigrette with salt and black pepper.
Drizzle half of vinaigrette on a platter and set chicken on top. Serve with remaining vinaigrette alongside and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lemons for Chicken ThighsMy verdict: This was good, tasty, but not one of the best (or easiest) chicken thigh recipes I’ve made. One of the major issues I had was that you’ve got a pan full of great browned chicken bits (fond, if you want to get technical) and there’s no call to do anything with them.
I couldn’t let all that great flavor go to waste so after cooking the lemons, I deglazed the pan with a little white wine (chicken stock or water would work fine), scraping up the browned bits. Once that was done, I added the vinaigrette, let it cook down a bit (smashing up the garlic as it cooked) and served that as a sauce over the chicken.
The other problem came juicing the lemons. They were slippery from being in a greasy pan and I ended up picking countless pits out of the bowl, so using a juicer or reamer might be a better idea than just juicing them into a bowl.
I’m thinking this might be just as good (and easier) done on a sheet pan in a 400° oven and roasting the lemons and garlic along with the chicken. What do you think?

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Chicken With Mustard and Bacon

by Anne Maxfield on May 7, 2018

Accidental Locavore Mustard Chicken With AsparagusFrank requested chicken with mustard “like the pork chops you make” last night.

I had just enough bandwidth to get it done (being in the throes of putting the house on the market) and thought it would be a good recipe to remind you of.

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of David Lebovitz’s new book My Paris Kitchen. 

The recipes look great and the first one I put to the test was this one for poulet à la moutarde. It was one of those “what’s not to like?” recipes, with bacon and so much mustard I actually ran out of Dijon – something I wouldn’t have thought possible! This serves 4.

Chicken With Mustard and Bacon

  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • Black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (Kosher or sea salt)
  • 4 chicken legs and 4 thighs
  • 1 cup bacon, thick cut and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds or grainy mustard
  • 2-3 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • Chopped parsley or chives for garnish

In a bowl big enough to hold the chicken, mix ½ cup of the Dijon with the paprika, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken in the mustard, coating the pieces well, and rubbing some of it under the skin.

Heat a big skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until the bacon is just starting to brown. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Leave about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pan and discard the rest.

Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the thyme, cook for another few minutes and scrape everything into a medium-sized bowl.

Accidental Locavore Mustard ChickenIncrease the heat to medium-high, add a little olive oil if needed and the chicken pieces in one layer. Don’t crowd them and cook in two batches if necessary. Brown them well on one side and then flip them over and brown the other side. Give it time as you want the chicken to be really browned as this is where the flavor comes from.

Remove the chicken from the pan and put it in the bowl with the onions. Add the wine to the pan and scrape off the bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the chicken, onions and bacon back to the pan. Cover and cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes (165° on an instant-read thermometer). While the chicken is cooking, stir it a couple of times, to coat with the sauce.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard seeds or grainy mustard and the crème fraîche into the sauce. Sprinkle the parsley over the top, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Wonderful! An important lesson I learned from Gabriel Rucker and again, making this recipe, is that you really have to have some patience (something I have in terribly short supply) and let the meat really brown – it makes a world of difference! This is a pretty classic recipe and I’ve done a variation of it with rabbit – also delicious! Since Frank isn’t fond of chicken legs, I just used thighs and that worked fine. As you read in the intro, I ran out of smooth Dijon, so added in about 3-4 tablespoons of grainy Dijon, which was fine. If you used a good, strong Dijon, it will give you more of a pronounced mustard taste (which is a good thing – right?). He suggests serving it with some fresh pasta, but rice or mashed potatoes would soak up the sauce nicely too. Definitely give it a try, it’s probably under an hour, start to finish.

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10 Reasons to Buy from a Butcher

by Anne Maxfield on April 30, 2018

Accidental Locavore Butcher Case If you bypass a butcher to just grab a couple of steaks or a chicken from the store, you might not be making the most of your meat-buying dollars.

Having a butcher you can depend on is the next best thing to buying a part of an animal from a local farm or meat CSA (and requires a lot less freezer space).

Why would you want to search out and befriend a butcher? Here are 10 reasons I love hanging out with people like Barb at Barb’s Butchery:

  1. If you have a dish at a restaurant with an interesting cut of meat, they can replicate it. Recently, I was reviewing a restaurant for Organic Hudson Valley Magazine and had a pork shank, something I wasn’t familiar with. I mentioned it to Barb and she was intrigued enough to start cutting some shanks from the pig she was breaking down.Accidental Locavore Butcher Pork Shank
  2. You know where your meat is coming from. They have relationships with farmers, so you’ll know how it was raised, finished and butchered.
  3. They can guide you to lesser known cuts (often known as butcher’s cuts) that are often less expensive and more flavorful. While cuts like short ribs and skirt steaks have gained popularity, flat-iron steaks are still flying under the radar and well worth checking out.Accidental Locavore Pig Butcher
  4. They can give you recipes and ideas. This is really useful if you want to try out some of the lesser-know parts of an animal. Often, if you have a recipe in mind, they can give you alternative meat ideas that might save you some money.
  5. They can teach you a lot of stuff. I learned how to test for doneness by just poking the meat. Here’s a link to the video I made; it’s much easier to see it in action.
  6. They can custom cut anything for you (although I always feel guilty about asking to have a chicken cut up—it’s so easy and I should practice my knife skills).
  7. They can grind it for you (important if you’re making something like steak tartare or have a special hamburger or meatloaf mix in mind).Accidental Locavore Butcher Sausage
  8. They can tell you about new stuff they’re working on and save you some. Barb recently made some Saucisse de Toulouse that were terrific!
  9. They may be making great sandwiches. Sometimes they’re posted and sometimes you just have to be in the know, but look for great brisket, Cubans, or Italian combos to be on the menu.
  10. You’re supporting a local business (and probably more than one, if they’re buying local meat).Accidental Locavore Barbs Butcher Bisket Sandwich

Did I miss anything? What do you like about shopping at a butcher?

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