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Blueberry Breakfast Casserole Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on August 11, 2016

Accidental Locavore NJ BlueberriesIf you happen to be in the Hudson Valley and it’s blueberry season, you owe it to yourself to either stop at the Friday Milan farmers’ market or search out Mead Orchards. The Accidental Locavore doesn’t know what makes their blueberries so much better than any others, but they are!

We had houseguests and I wanted an easy breakfast dish for vegetarians. This was on the Kitchn site recently. It says it serves 8-10 – maybe not (see below).

Accidental Locavore Blueberry CasseroleFor the blueberry casserole:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Finely grated zest from 1 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Cooking spray or butter for greasing the pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

For the streusel:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Accidental Locavore Blueberry Breakfast CasseroleMake the casserole: Whisk 2 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk, milk, melted butter, lemon juice, and zest. Stir until just barely combined. Do not overmix — the batter will be lumpy. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. You can also skip the overnight rest and bake the casserole immediately.

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.

Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl. Fold the mixture into the buttermilk mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the blueberries; set aside.

Make the streusel: Whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Add the butter and use a fork or your fingers to work the ingredients together until well-combined and crumbly. Sprinkle it evenly over the casserole.

Bake until golden-brown, the casserole starts to pull away from the sides of the dish, and the top springs back gently when touched, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Finished Blueberry CasseroleMy verdict: A big hit! While the recipe says it serves 8-10, five of us polished off all but two servings (which were eagerly reheated the next morning). You can easily put the dough and the streusel together the night before and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake. Having great blueberries was a help, but since you’re cooking them, even okay blueberries would work. Other summer fruit or berries, even apples in the fall, would probably all work well.

Remembering that the original recipe had “pancake” in the title, I thought a little maple syrup might be called for. It was totally unnecessary but really good!

 

 

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Westchester Magazine Article: Local Artisanal Caramels

by Anne Maxfield on June 16, 2016

Accidental Locavore CaramelsDo you love old-fashioned caramels? Check out this piece I wrote for Westchester Magazine on a local artisanal caramel maker–Michèle Kim of La Petite Occasion.

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Farm-to-Table: What Does It Mean?

by Anne Maxfield on June 6, 2016

Accidental Locavore Flock of SheepWhen you hear the term farm-to-table what comes to mind? A bucolic farm somewhere in the countryside, with humanely raised animals and Instagram-worthy red barns? Farmers in denim overalls sending perfect food to a local restaurant, just like the first episode of Portlandia? Yeah, me too.

Maybe we’d be better calling it fresh off the (local) farm.

Here’s why: I recently got an invite from a Meetup group to an Alaskan King Crab dinner at a local restaurant. Nothing terribly out of the ordinary but…the restaurant is called Farm to Table Bistro and the closest body of water is the Hudson River (not exactly King Crab territory).

When I mentioned the irony of that to Frank, he said “it doesn’t say where the farm is.” Chalk one up for Frank.

Then isn’t everything we eat (with the exception of some seafood) actually farm-to-table? Or more properly, farms-to-tables? Even though you may picture chefs making the rounds of local farms and farmers’ markets, picking up the best of the best, the reality for most people is that the food we’re being served in restaurants could be coming from anywhere.

Alaskan King Crab has to be one of the most dubious farm-to-table foods because so far, farming king crab has had little success. Not to mention that quite a bit of it comes not from Alaska but from that place Sarah Palin can see from her house.

I don’t mean to single out Farm to Table Bistro, they’re supposed to have great food and if it wasn’t a bit of a schlep we’d have been there by now – just pointing out the irony of a restaurant whose homepage declares “The word ‘local’ gets thrown out there very often without any concept of what it really means. For instance, we shake hands every Tuesday with the man who makes our fresh hot dogs (Peter’s Meat Market), we drink espresso corretto with one of the local farmers we use for produce (Taliaferro’s Farm) and we are only a hop-skip away from one of the best cheese makers in the area with whom we are proud to purchase many of our cheeses from (Sprout Creek Farm).”

Then click to the events page – Alaskan King Crab Night, every Thursday…

Accidental Locavore Blue Bowl With TomatoesLet’s enjoy our crab legs and realize that not everything has to be or can be local and fresh. Do search it out when it is – and delight in succulent June strawberries from a local farm and perfect heirloom tomatoes in August from down the road. But if it starts to get too precious, just remember that Portlandia episode!

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Boston Public Market

by Anne Maxfield on February 22, 2016

Accidental Locavore Boston Public MarketDespite the plethora of food courts dotted all over Manhattan, the Accidental Locavore has yet to find the perfect one. As my readers know, I’ve yet to find any one I’d like to return to, except in case of emergency (like needing a sandwich for the train). Even an attempt at the newest space – the Pennsy by Penn Station (always a decent food desert) – was a bust! They don’t even open until 11! So much for lunch to go.

Accidental Locavore Chestnut FarmsWhen I heard about Boston’s new Public Market, I was intrigued enough to go check it out, but quite honestly, wasn’t setting my expectations too high. It’s down near the North End, a spot that has always had lively markets (although you always had to keep an eye out for less-than-perfect produce ending up in your bag). Nineteen years in the making, it opened last July with almost exclusively Massachusetts vendors.

Accidental Locavore Raclette to goThe emphasis is on fresh food, meat, cheese, fish and produce. This is a good and a bad thing. Unless you’re a huge butternut squash or potato fan, you quickly realize that there are not a ton of fresh veggies in February. But that’s easily overlooked by some terrific-looking meats and a great selection of cheeses. I took the opportunity to introduce my friend Betty to raclette made with Jasper Hill Farm’s Alpha Tolman cheese, and we shared a tub of perfectly cooked potatoes covered in gooey, local raclette. She’s hooked.

There’s a local pastrami stand, dishing out some very nice pastrami. It’s a little more smoked than you’d find at a NY deli, but the prices will remind you of Katz’s. You’ll find teas, spices and flowers, maple syrup and a surprising amount of regional sodas, ciders and beers.

Accidental Locavore American StonecraftTwo of the non-food purveyors are perhaps the most interesting stops in the market. American Stonecraft has a collection of beautiful stone slabs and bowls. What makes them particularly interesting is that Gerald Croteau, the owner, gathers the stones from farms in the area (it’s New England, so not exactly lacking in rocks), cuts them into slabs and polishes them. Each piece has its origin stamped on the back, so along with helping farmers clear their fields, you can have a stone slab for cheese that will put those Brooklyn slates to shame.

Accidental Locavore Peterman BowlThe other one is Peterman’s Boards and Bowls. This time, Spencer Peterman looks for rotting and fallen trees in the forests. He then turns them into incredible bowls, as well as cutting boards, utensils etc. I fell totally in love with an ebonized oak bowl—well actually I fell in love with a lot of the bowls, especially the ones made from burl, but there’s a limit to how much one wants to schlepp home on the train (which kept the American Stonecraft pieces from being too tempting).

Accidental Locavore My BowlBesides the availability of non-food items, the biggest difference between Boston Public Market and the Manhattan food halls is that in Boston, it’s primarily a food market with some prepared food to take home or find a spot to enjoy it in. The layout is better too, it’s open and airy (even on a cold, grey day) and while the seating is few and far between, it’s not just plopped in the middle of the space. If you happen to be in the Boston area, it’s definitely worth a trip!

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