Poughkeepsie Farm Project

by Anne Maxfield on July 1, 2013

Accidental Locavore PFP BarnBecause the Poughkeepsie Farm Project does outreach for the community, as well as having a Tuesday pick-up (for some strange reason, the day I start to want veggies for the week) and because someone I know there is an assistant manager, the Accidental Locavore chose it as my first “official” CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture).

What I didn’t realize was a couple of really great perks come along with membership. First, is that you get to decide what you’re bringing home. For my small share, we get to choose a pre-determined amount of five things every week. Then there’s the pick-it-yourself option, where you can go and pick, say, a pint of strawberries as part of the deal. And then there are the guests. A couple of weeks ago, there was a woman selling freshly-killed, pasture-raised chickens. I didn’t get one, only because we weren’t going to be around much for dinner and I didn’t want to freeze it (more like no room in the freezer). Hopefully, she’ll be back soon.

Accidental Locavore FennelWhat’s great about the opportunity to choose your vegetables is that seeing something will spark an idea for building a meal around it. Kind of like a version of Chopped, where you have a say.

Seeing all the Asian veggies the other day gave me an idea for a version of my favorite Thai mint fried rice, so bok choy, scallions and Chinese cabbage went into the bags. This week, I’ll possibly do a riff on cole slaw with several different members of the cabbage family. And definitely another Thai-inspired dish, using cilantro and some beautiful Boston lettuce to make a pork salad in lettuce cups.

Accidental Locavore CSAWe were excited to see frisée, as salade frisée lardons  (bacon) is one of our favorites. My husband decided it was time to make poached eggs the classic way, where you slide an egg into simmering water, while I watched, bemused, from the sidelines. I know from experience how easy it looks on TV, and how hard it is, having messed up a lot of eggs! The other night, I used some more frisée to make a simple salad with a sherry vinegar and black truffle oil dressing.* It went beautifully with some steak tartare, proving once again that all you need are a few perfectly fresh ingredients to make something wonderful!


*Dressing: 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 1 tablespoon black truffle oil, 3 tablespoons very good olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and toss with frisée.


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Cafè les Baux: French Bistro Dining in Dutchess County

by Anne Maxfield on March 18, 2013

Accidental Locavore Les BauxIt’s occurred to the Accidental Locavore that there’s an awfully good restaurant that I’ve never written about. We’ve been going to Cafè les Baux  for years, and while the reception there is always warm and friendly, it’s interesting that we don’t share the same easy familiarity with them that we do with other places.

So, does that mean we only go there for the food??? Well, yes. It’s awfully good, casual but essentially classical French. Hervé, the chef, makes one of the best onion soups you can find, but my husband wouldn’t know. His go-to appetizer is the frisse lardon salad with a poached egg. It’s delicious and I always think part of the attraction is that it reminds us of a place in Greenwich Village that did a great version of the same salad. It was one of several places that Frank and I frequented before we met each other and I’ve always wondered if we were ever there on the same nights…

Accidental Locavore Salad Frisse LardonsAnyway, I digress. There are always great specials, and Frank, on occasion, will call to see if he can convince Hervé to add his wonderful boeuf Bourgnon or foie de veau to the list. If there’s nothing tempting on the special board (and that’s hard to imagine), the rack of lamb is always a great choice. It’s a huge portion – 8 ribs with a lovely mustard sauce and the star of the side dishes, the gratin dauphinois.

The fillet of sole, done with your choice of sauces is perfectly cooked, and any fish specials are usually well worth checking out. But, if you’re in a red meat mood, the steak frites is wonderful, especially with the addition of the beurre maitre d’hotel. If cholesterol is no object, they will happily swap the perfectly done fries for the gratin.Accidental Locavore Pommes Dauphinois

Accidental Locavore Madelines With ChocolateIf you’ve left room for dessert, there are lots of good choices. My favorite are the madelines – they’re shareable, good and there’s chocolate involved (to dip them in). Frank inevitably has the blueberry crêpes, a testament to the fact that everything’s better with butter.

One of the things I like best about Les Baux is that you can mix and match appetizers, smaller main courses, some of the classics and a special or two and have as much or as little to eat as fits your appetite. The staff is attentive and there’s a good wine list. So whenever we have a hankering for some good French food in the Hudson Valley, that’s where we’re headed.





Salad Frisée Lardons

by Anne Maxfield on November 29, 2012

Accidental Locavore FriseeThis is a classic bistro salad that is a particular favorite of the Accidental Locavore’s husband and her father. A poached egg is the traditional accompaniment. I usually eat mine without as I have an old abhorrence of runny egg yolks, but I’m told it adds that certain je ne sais quoi (f you need help poaching the eggs, click here).  It’s quick to make and is a good winter salad.

Salad Frisée Lardons

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Meal type Salad
Region French
The Accidental Locavore salad frisee lardon recipe. A classic bistro salad recipe with frisee, bacon and a poached egg with a vinaigrette dressing.


  • 1 head frisée, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 thick slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch matchsticks (lardons)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled (use a good Roquefort)
  • 1 egg per person (optional)


Step 1
If you are poaching the eggs, start them first. Heat a small sauté pan with a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is cooked but not crispy. Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel. Reserve all the fat for the dressing. In a small bowl or 1-cup measuring cup, add the shallot, mustard, salt and pepper, herbs de Provence and red wine vinegar. Slowly whisk in the bacon fat until the dressing starts to emulsify. Taste and adjust olive oil and seasonings as desired.
Step 2
To construct the salad: Place the frisée and bacon in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to combine. On individual plates, put a mound of the dressed frisée. Top with the crumbled blue cheese and a poached egg if using. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Frisee LardonsMy verdict: This is a great salad that I don’t make enough! If you see frisée in the market, give this a try. Mushrooms or walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped are also a nice touch. The frisée on its own is also a good side salad for rich foods like duck (confit) or fois gras.