pork

Palace Dumpling

by Anne Maxfield on November 18, 2019

If you look up “best dumplings” and you’re in the Hudson Valley, Palace Dumpling will almost always be at the top of the list.

For transplants from the city, finding good dumplings was (and is) one of our top projects. We tried Palace Dumpling years ago and were terribly disappointed. Maybe it was the night, maybe our expectations from years spent wandering dark Chinatown streets were too high, but it was a sad car ride home.

Since then, I’ve heard so many people singing the praises of Palace Dumpling, that when Janet suggested it for a recent lunch, I was eager to give them a second chance.

At first glance, nothing had changed. It’s still a low-key place with an extensive menu devoted to dumplings—lots of them. There are 24 choices on the menu, divided into categories—pork, egg, chicken, beef, lamb and seafood. To round out your meal you can add soups, salads or noodles.

Whatever dumplings you choose, you’ll get a big platter of 12 good-sized ones, either steamed or pan fried. We decided on pork with watercress and shrimp with cucumber and egg. Since I like fried dumplings, we got the pork ones that way.

One of the fun things about Palace Dumpling is that there’s a whole host of condiments to enhance your dumplings. When we got our order, we started playing around with mixes of hot oil, vinegars, soy sauce and others in search of the perfect dipping sauce.

The pork dumplings were nicely golden brown on the fried side. They were stuffed with a good mix of ground pork and watercress and the wrappers were just thick enough to hold the fillings.

Shrimp, egg and cucumber was a new combo to me, and it worked really well as a steamed dumpling. The shrimp and egg went well together, with the cucumber giving a nice contrast.

While we were there, one of the owners was happily slurping down a big bowl of noodles. If you could tear yourself away from the dumplings, there’s more on the menu to explore.

This time the dumplings were better than I remembered them, but they’re still no threat to the best NYC has to offer. We’re still on the search for great dumplings in the Hudson Valley so if you have any recommendations…

Palace Dumpling

1671 Route 9

Wappingers Falls

845-298-8886

 

 

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Applestone Meat Company  

by Anne Maxfield on September 9, 2019

If you’re of a certain age, you might remember Horn & Hardart and the Automat. It was a place in New York where you could pick your meal, plate by plate from a wall of vending machines. As a kid, putting a nickel in the slot and getting a piece of pie never got old.

Applestone Meat Company has taken the Automat concept and brought it into the 21st century. In their new Hudson NY store, gleaming rows of vending machines offer an incredible array of meats. There are literally hundreds of cuts to choose from, ranging from beef—fresh or dry-aged, to chicken, pork, lamb and even a whole case dedicated to sausages.

Besides the incredible variety, there’s the convenience factor – both the new Hudson location as well as the original Stone Ridge store are open 24/7. And “all of the meat we source is from animals raised without added hormones or antibiotics, and they’ve all been raised by farmers who are truly committed to their well-being.”

Now you’re probably thinking two things, why would I need a 24-hour butcher and isn’t this going to be expensive? I can’t really answer the 24 hour thing except to say that there have been times when I’ve thought that I’d really like to make _____ but the butcher is closed (and call me a snob, but I don’t buy meat from a supermarket). And maybe you have a job where you’re not out and about during normal business hours. Now you have options.

If you’re used to getting your meat from a butcher or farmers’ market, you’ll find their prices are pretty reasonable. If you’re used to big box prices, well…

I was invited by Applestone to see the new Hudson location and pick up a “care package.” Since my friend Janet has been raving about the quality of the meat for ages, I jumped at the chance. The new store is just off the beaten path of all the action on Warren Street.  From 11-6 there’s a service window where you can place special orders (online also), choose from their frozen inventory, or pick up special orders and the staff is happy to show you around the space and explain how the vending machines work.

The machines are stocked daily and everything is vacuum packed, which is great because it extends the amount of time it can sit in your fridge and if you freeze it, prevents freezer burn. All the packages also have a use- or freeze-by date, so you won’t be wasting food.

My “care package” had a beautiful dry aged ribeye steak, a couple of lamb loin chops, some ground beef and a package of chorizo. My chance to test out the vending machines came when I discovered they also have merguez, so I bought a package.

We “grilled” the merguez and chorizo in the grill pan and they were both really tasty. If you worry about either of them being overly spicy, don’t. They both are well spiced, but not killer hot.

It took a while before we decided to treat ourselves to the ribeye, but finally the right night came and we cooked it to perfection in the cast iron pan. It was juicy and tender with great steak flavor. You got a hint of the aging process, but again, not overwhelming (which is more to my taste). That and a couple of ears of corn, and we had the perfect end-of-summer dinner.

Although Applestone’s new Hudson location is a little off my normal route, it’s great to know it’s there and open all the time. I’ll definitely stop by anytime I’m in the area. The meat was great, it’s reasonably priced and hey—there’s the fun factor of playing with the machines.

21 Green Street, Hudson NY 12534

845-626-4444

Or the original location at:

3607 Main Street, Stone Ridge NY 12484

 

 

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DIY Hoisin Sauce

by Anne Maxfield on July 2, 2018

Accidental Locavore DIY Hoisin SauceAre you a huge fan of hoisin sauce? If you’ve ever eaten Peking Duck or Moo Shu Pork, it’s that delicious dark sauce that gets painted onto the pancakes.

I’ve always been a big fan–Frank and I often make pork roasts smothered in some mix of hoisin and whatever looks Asian in the fridge. So when bon appétit ran this recipe for pork chops with hoisin sauce that you make yourself, I was skeptical at first—why make it when the stuff in the jar is just delicious? But then I saw how easy it was and became interested.

Accidental Locavore Ingredients for Hoisin SauceDIY Hoisin Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • Salt to taste

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, honey, vinegar, tahini, and Sriracha and whisk until smooth. Cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture is thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper and let it cool. The sauce will keep about 4 days, covered, in the refrigerator (if you don’t eat it all first).

I used half the hoisin to marinate the pork chops overnight, but if you’re impatient, you can do them for as little as an hour. The way I’ve been cooking pork chops recently is really simple, it just requires “standing over a hot stove” but you can catch up on email etc… Click here for the recipe.

Accidental Locavore Hoisin Marnated Pork Chops (2)My verdict: We were both really surprised at the addition of tahini which I’ve never thought of as Chinese, but hey, they travelled.

This was really good and the hardest part was coaxing the honey from the container. They just don’t make those bears like they used to!

I’m about to make another batch to coat a pork loin that will get roasted (unless the weather warms up and we can grill). I forgot to do a taste test with our old standby, but there will be other chances. What do you think the results will be?

 

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Easy Pork with Bok Choy

by Anne Maxfield on June 25, 2018

Accidental Locavore Bok Choy CutWe had some beautiful bok choy from the first CSA pickup of the season and a recipe from the NY Times inspired this recipe:

  • 1 head of bok choy (or 3 or 4 heads of baby bok choy)
  • 1 ounce ginger root (1 fat 2” piece)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh Thai or habanero chile, seeded if desired, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil, more for drizzling
  • Cilantro or torn basil, for serving
  • Black vinegar, for serving

Accidental Locavore Bok Choy and PorkTrim bok choy and separate dark green tops from white stems; thinly slice stems and slice tops into 2” strips.

Peel ginger and finely chop half of it. Slice remaining ginger into thin matchsticks.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a fork, until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Stir in half the scallions, the finely chopped ginger, the garlic and the chile. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add bok choy stems and a pinch of salt. Cook until bok choy is almost tender, about 2 minutes. Toss in leaves and return pork to skillet.

Add remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar into the pan. Cook until just warmed through.

Transfer to a large bowl and toss with remaining scallions, sesame seeds, sesame oil, herbs, ginger matchsticks and a splash of black vinegar. Serve over cooked jasmine rice and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Bok Choy FinishedMy verdict: This was so good, Frank picked up another bunch of bok choy the week after! It’s a recipe that you can easily do variations of. The original recipe called for it to be served with rice noodles, which is probably great, but we had rice in the house so used that. In my quest to eat down the contents of the freezer (yes, again) I had some red curry lamb sausage that I removed from the casing and crumbled up instead of the ground pork. Hot Italian sausage would work well too.

If you don’t have black vinegar, you could easily forget it, or use a mix of balsamic and rice wine vinegars.

 

 

 

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