> New York Hudson Valley Eats & Treats!: April 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Solar Flare by Eagle Crest Vineyards - Delicious Late Harvest Wine :)

Solar Flare label
This is the label on the side of the Solar Flare bottle
There is a New York State Winery / Vineyard that me and my lady just love - Eagle Crest Vinyards in Conesus, NY.  We've encountered the lovely people of Eagle Crest at a number of wine shows and festivals, and they have always taken very, very good care of us.  Indeed, I basically 'cut my teeth' as far as tasting wine is concerned on their offerings.

Eagle Crest Vineyards offers many different red and white wines, with enough variation to provide something for everyone :)  In today's post, I wanted to talk about their "liquid sunshine in a bottle" - The Solar Flare late-harvest wine.

Solar flare from Eagle Crest Vineyards
Solar Flare is delicious late harvest wine

Restaurant Review - Mana-Thai Cuisine, Mount Kisco, NY

The entrance to Mana-Thai Cuisine in Mt Kisco NY
Mana-Thai Cuisine in Mount Kisco, NY
Alright foodies!  Today I was lucky enough to go my favorite Thai restaurant - Mana-Thai Cuisine in Mount Kisco.  The restaurant is not large, seating perhaps 15 people, but don't let the unassuming interior fool you - Mana, the chef and namesake of this restaurant, serves dishes with a huge flavor flavor that cannot be ignored.  My lady and I both LOVE Thai food. and we enjoy having it as often as possible, which isn't nearly often enough.

I first noticed this restaurant cruising up Route 117 in Mount Kisco over a year ago.  I thought to myself, "A Thai restaurant in Mount Kisco?" and made a note to check out the place as soon as I could. Once I tried it out, I had to bring my lady to sample Mana's food, to see if she agreed with my assessment.  A new fan was born, and we both have been going to Mana-Thai ever since.

Mana Thai cuisine
A look inside the window.  All kinds of neat tsotchkes!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Authentic Mexican Salsa - Gone before you know it!

La Costena chipotle peppers in Adobo 
Who doesn't like a good salsa?  That's right, nobody!  Salsa is delicious and healthy, and you can make your own at home for a fraction of the price of the jarred kinds.  As an added bonus, the salsa you make at home will be lights years better than any of the processed garbage that you find on the stores.  There ARE reasonably good jarred salsas, but most of them cost an arm and a leg, and it's always so more satisfying to make it yourself anyway :)

For this recipe, you will need:

A blender or food processor.

1 28 oz can of good quality diced tomatoes.  You can also use 2 or 3 fresh ones, or a combination.
vine-ripe tomatoes
Tomatoes on the vine
1 Whole small onion, chopped
2 Good fist fulls of fresh cilantro.  Don't skimp.  I'd say 1/4 of a large bunch.  Chopped.
3-4 Cloves of garlic, chopped.
2 Chipotle chiles in Adobo sauce, from the can.  Any brand will do, they're all wonderful.  Chop 'em!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Masoor Malka - Whole Masoor Dal. 7 Pounds of yummy red lentils!

In a previous blog post, I gave the recipe for Spicy Red Lentil Soup.  Now, may of us have seen or had lentil soup - it's a standard item, pretty popular here in America.  Indeed, I'm pretty sure that both Campbell and Progresso make their own versions of the soup.  But these soups are made with your "regular" brown lentil.  They're tasty and all - but what about the red lentil ?

A Seven pound bag full of Red lentils
This 7 pound bag of Red Lentils (Masoor Malka)
is packed with inexpensive, healthy nutrition!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Adams Fairacre Farms - My favorite store :)

The other day I had the joy of shopping at my favorite store - Adams Fairacre Farms.  Adams has an incredible produce section, with delicious fresh fruits and vegetables at very good prices.  I couldn't take any pictures of the inside (didn't want to be rude) but they have your standard supermarket departments and also an agricultural / horticultural setting.  It's really a rather interesting store.

Adams Fairacre Farms in Wappinger Falls, NY
A view from the parking lot of Adams Fairacre Farms in Wappinger Falls, NY

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Red Lentil Soup - Quick, spicy, and filling!

Lentils and other legumes are nutritional powerhouses!  They are high in fiber and low in calories, plus they fill you up and taste oh so good :)  When you combine them with rice, they also give you a complete amino acid profile i.e. they help you get a complete protein.  While I love meat, I like to remind people that you can get all your nutrition that you need from vegetables.  Just be sure to pick up some B-12 supplements, not a bad idea for veggies and meat eaters alike!

red lentils
A pile of red lentils. 
This recipe calls for red lentils, which are a smaller version of your standard brown lentil.  The advantages are are a slightly different nutritional profile, a beautiful color - and cooking time.  Red lentils cook very quickly and do not need to be soaked like other lentils.  You can just chuck em in the pot and cook as is :)

It should take about 20 minutes to prepare this soup and about 35-40 minutes to cook it.  After you know how to make it, you can probably do the whole shebang in about 50 minutes.

For the yogurt you dollop on at the end, I recommend FAGE Greek yogurt.  This, IMHO, is the superior brand of supermarket-available Greek yogurt.  You can usually get a nice tub of it on sale for between $1 and $1.75.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Simple, authentic Thai hot sauce.

This recipe uses Thai chilis.  They are small and powerful, and like all chilis, have their own particular taste.  For  the real authentic taste, go for the real Thai chilis.  If you can't find them, you could substitute other red and green chilis.  It won't be the real deal but it will still make a solid hot sauce.

Thai chilis
Thai Chilis - Be careful,
These are HOT!

2 Green Thai chilis
2 Red Thai chilis
2 TBSP Lime juice
2 TBSP Fish sauce

1) Chop the chiles into 1/4 inch long pieces.  SAVE THE SEEDS, this is going to be spicy!

2) Mix the chilis into a bowl along with the fish sauce and lime juice.  Stir.

3) Let sit for 10-15 minutes.

And that's it, you're done!  This sauce will last for at least a few weeks at room temperature and probably indefinitely in the fridge.  Be warned, this is SPICY - but if you like Thai food, that probably isn't a problem.

Tom Kha Gai - a delicious, creamy, citrus-y and spicy Thai soup!

Kaffir lime leaves
Kaffir lime leaves
My lady loves when I make this soup for her, and indeed, it's very tasty.  It does require a number of semi-exotic ingredients, so hopefully you have access to a nice local Asian market or some place similar.  Most will have all the ingredients listed.

This soup uses Kaffir lime leaves - these are leaves from a type of lime, and when used it cooking, they add a delicious lime taste to whatever it is you put them in.  These are most common in Thai cooking, and I can't really remember having them in other cuisine's dishes - which isn't to say that it didn't happen, just that I can't remember it.
Lemongrass - Courtesy of foodsubs.com

Another somewhat exotic ingredient used is Lemongrass.  When you get a bunch of this, you'll need to peel off the hard woody outside to expose the tender soft inside.  As you might might imagine, this tastes of lemons :)

Fresh galanga root
Galanga root.
Image courtesy of eujacksonville.com
Galanga root is an Asian root that.. most closely resembles ginger.  It is spicy in the way that ginger is but has a rather different taste.  It is likely that you will be unable to find the fresh root at many Asian markets.  If this is the case, then you can add a little bit more of the dry one.  Be sure to re-hydrate it in hot water for about 20-30 minutes before adding it into the recipe, and add the water it hydrated in into the recipe as well - mustn't waste that delicious flavor after all :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stilton and apple soup - Rich, delicious, and an easy way to impress your friends!

Now, I haven't mention this before, but I LOVE a good soup.  Maybe it's that I chew my food so many times before I swallow it, and I like to be able to just scarf stuff down.  Or maybe because there's nothing on a cold day like a nice hot, hearty bowl of soup.  Either way, soup is delicious as an appetizer or even in this case, as a main course!

Blue Stilton
A chunk of Blue Stilton cheese.
Now, the main ingredient in this recipe is a cheese called Stilton.  If you've ever bought or had generic "blue cheese", this is probably Stilton that just wasn't good enough to be given that name.  Stilton is a blue cheese with an incredible taste and wonderful, creamy, crumbly texture.  It is arguably more mild than Roquefort or Gorgonzola, which are both similar blue cheeses - but of course, like any blue cheese, it's a little pungent :)

This recipe is delicious, straightforward, and is sure to impress your friends and guests.  It's also VERY filling - not surprising once you realize how much cheese in each bowl! :)

You will need a food processor for this recipe.  You CAN use a blender, but it will be a little more difficult and harder to get the smooth texture perfected.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Imagine Moore / Inspire Moore Wine - New York State delicious wine!

Greetings foodies!  I thought I'd mention something today that I haven't brought up before - I love wine.  Specifically, while we produce wonderful wines all over the world, we also produce world-class wines right here in New York state - and indeed, some right here in New York's Hudson Valley.  In future postings I'll be reviewing and showing you some of the many delicious wines that New York state has to offer.

If you're new to wine, don't be intimidated - wine is for everyone, forget the snobbery or things you might have heard.  It's healthy, it's delicious - and it also makes one feel good.. When consumed in moderation of course.

A while back, I sampled a few wines from the Imagine Moore Winery.  Tim and Diane Moore own this winery and they produce an absolutely fantastic product!  The winery has since been renamed "Inspire Moore" for various reasons but Tim and Diane still run the ship and are still producing fantastic wine!

I first encountered their wine at the Oswego Harborfest - a yearly festival that takes place in Oswego, NY.  (http:://www.oswegoharborfest.com for more info.)  Suffice it to say, it's the last full weekend in July every year and among the free music, vendors, shows, and such, there are also wine vendors, eager to have you sample their wares.  This is where I had my first exposure to Inspire Moore's wines.  After taking a few home, I realized that that I wanted to try everything they had: So I ordered a mixed case, which they were happy to make up and ship to me (and gave me a nice case discount to boot!)

Red wine, white wine, and Rose I got from Inspire Moore Winery in Naples, NY
This was the mixed case that I got from Inspire Moore - something to please everyone! :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sauerkraut - delicious, healthy and easy to make at home!

Cabbage is healthy as anything, and sauerkraut is delicious and easy to make at home!

Jars of sauerkraut that I made.
My jars of home made sauerkraut
Pictured above is some of my home made sauerkraut.  The jar that's almost gone on the left is regular green cabbage kraut (it doesn't last long - you find all kinds of things to put it on! :) )  The 3 on the right are a mixture of green cabbage, red cabbage, and savoy cabbage kraut.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Best Chicken Soup recipe ever - with or without matzoh balls!

An eastern European delicacy - Chicken Soup!

Oh yes, it doesn't seem like anything fancy.  But a good chicken soup is absolutely delicious, it has health benefits that go beyond what you'd expect - it helps with congestion, it's antibacterial and antiviral, and very useful for healing yourself when you're under the weather.  But most importantly - it tastes marvelous!

If you've only ever had the canned stuff or whatever it is they serve in diners, you're missing out.
This recipe will make enough soup to feed 10 people 2 or 3 nice sized bowls each.  You can vary the amount of water you use; don't go too thin with it.  We make this a few times a year, around the new year, holidays, etc. - It's a big, and not inexpensive undertaking, but the best things in life aren't cheap - remember that :)  We make 4 big pots, it takes up the whole stove.

This recipe is at least a hundred years old, as it goes back 4 generations.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tamarind Chutney. Sweet, sour, spicy and oh so good.

When eating Indian food, it's common to have a number of sauces or "chutneys" available to spice up the dish.  While most Indian food is highly spiced, some of it (like dhals and simple rice dishes) are.. bland.  Well not bland, but not too exciting by themselves.  Adding chutney turns these dishes into something magical, healthy and delicious!

A popular Indian chutney is Tamarind Chutney.  Tamarind as you may or may not know is a tropical fruit that is rather sour.  This recipe mixes spices, heat, and sugar to sweeten up the tamarind while retaining its' characteristic tang!

Tamarind pods
Raw tamarind pods - Courtesy of nonya-cooking.webs-sg.com

Aloo Gobi and tabouleh for dinner tonight!

Whew!  Let me tell you something.  Aloo gobi gets better after a day or two.

I should have added this to the recipe that I posted a couple of days ago, after you make it?  Let it sit in the pot for a while!

The added time or reheating blends all the flavors together masterfully, toning down the tomato taste and melding everything into a nice tasty sauce.  Just delicious.

Come to think of it, let me give you all my recipe for Tamarind Chutney.  I'll do that in a separate post.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Quick update - no real cooking today because I just got home from work and will not be by the computer this evening!

I will however be going to Adams Fairacre Farms in Wappingers Falls, NY - the place where I do nearly all of my produce shopping.  It's a really nice store and I'm always happy to go there :)  Will update tomorrow with some more eats and treats for you to read about.

Take care and see you soon!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sauteed baby bok choy! Super delicious!

I love eating fruits and veggies.  While I understand that most people have to have them with something?  I can just have that as such.  Love em.

Just cooked up 3 heads of baby bok choy.  It's quick, easy and delicious.
Shanghai bok choy - Also known as baby bok choy
One bunch of Baby or "Shanghai" bok choy - courtesy of cifarm.com

Chutney. Savory, delicious, and versatile!

A word or two about chutney -

I imagine that many of you enjoy the delicious wonder that is Indian food.  Often times when you eat out an Indian restaurant, they'll put little bowls of chutneys on the table.  This is basically Indian style relish / sauce.  You add them to the food to increase the decadent sumptuousness and food variety that is the Indian dish.

You've probably seen them - commonly in the greater NY metro area, there will be a mint chutney (green), a tamarind chutney (brown / purple), and a onion chutney (nuclear red).  As you may have read in a couple of my previous posts, I commonly serve the Indian food that I cook with mint and tamarind chutney, and more recently (on the urging of my female companion), I've been making the occasional mango chutney too.

Today, we'll cover the simplest one. Mint Chutney.
A bowl of mint chutney
Tasty mint chutney, courtesy of rahee.org

Monday, April 2, 2012

Aloo Gobi - what do you mean you don't like cauliflower!? :)

Allright, tonight I made Aloo Gobi!  For those of you who don't know, this is Indian style potatoes and cauliflower.  And it's super tasty!  I served it with mint chutney and tamarind chutney - I also make a mango chutney every now and again but I didn't have time today.. or rather, I just didn't feel like taking the time to do it :)  Mango chutney isn't really an authentic "Indian" chutney, more of an English style chutney - but it's still delicious.  At some point in the future, if anyone is paying attention or anyone cares.

So now, Aloo Gobi!
A delicious bowl of Aloo Gobi - Indian style cauliflower and potatoes
A delicious bowl of Aloo Gobi - Courtesy of mrindia.com.au

Delicious Tabouleh made with locally grown herbs.

I picked up most of these ingredients from the farmer's market the other day, but there's no reason that you can't make this dish using things from your local supermarket.  Everything tastes better fresh of course, but we don't always have the luxury of locally made produce available to us - and even then, a lot of things very often aren't in season.  In this case though, I got pretty lucky.
Tabouli or Tabouleh is a classic dish from the middle east! title=
A Bowlful of Delicious Tabouleh - Courtesy of godalo.com
Ok, so now every weekend in Chappaqua and Mount Kisco they have Farmer's Markets.  Now I'm not sure what an apple with a PLU label is doing at a supposed farmer's market, but omg - this apple was the absolute bees knees.  Normally I'm a fan of Gala, Braeburn, Fiji or Pink Lady apples (yes, I eat a lot of apples), but this Cripps Pink man... juicy, delicious, and ever so good.

It was purchased from the Chappaqua farmers market at Pete Logan's stand.  You can catch pete on alternating weeks either at the Mount Kisco or Chappaqua farmer's market- on any given week, he's at one or the others with his farm fresh produce.  Pete tells me that his corn will be coming into season earlier than expected this year and he has a whole bushel he's going to save for me.  Hooray for fresh produce!

Tell me, what are your favorite apples / freshly available produce?  While this blog is going to concentrate or places to eat and thing to do in the Hudson Valley area, I'm curious to see what other kinds of things are available in your locale.  With any luck, maybe we'll have some visitors from around the world weigh in on what local fruits and vegetables they have available - I'm sure it'll be interesting to see!