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A Schenectady Summer Sunday

August 11, 2014

Does it feel like I’ve been back in Albany a long time to you? It feels that way to me. But it’s just not true. Especially if you consider all of the summer travel. For those keeping track of my travel itinerary, this week will find me in New Jersey, Vermont and New Hampshire.

Of course, that’s my excuse for not making it to Troy or Saratoga Springs at all, nor visiting some of my favorite places like Ala Shanghai, The City Beer Hall, Crisan, Taiwan Noodle, Parivar, Adventure in Food Trading, the list goes on and on. And that list doesn’t even include new places that I can’t wait to try like the Madison Pour House, the Madison Theater, Bread & Honey, Nine Pin Cider, and those are just a few from the top of my head, and just in Albany.

My work is clearly cut out for me.

Saturday I was commissioned into battle against the woodpeckers who would love nothing more than to nest in our siding. But Sunday I was able to go out on an adventure of a different kind. A food adventure. And I brought the Fussy Little Children with me. Yes, it kept the adventure short, but at least it was entertaining.

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Funday: Meat, Cheese & Freaks

August 8, 2014

Oh, it’s Friday. I should probably send you into the weekend with tales of cocktails or thoughts on what wine to drink during these unseasonably cool summer nights. I could tell you where to find duck eggs for a decadent weekend omelette at home, or remind you about some of the better brunch options in the area. Or maybe it would be better to point you to some inspiring recipe from a local food blogger who really knows her stuff.

Instead, I’m going to share some of the press releases I’ve gotten over the past few days. Hey, it’s part of the deal. I really like how clean the FLB is with predominantly just one post of original content per day. Yes, there are rare exceptions when I deviate from the script. But for the most part, people who come to the blog can expect a fresh story every day.

Sure, some may be better than others. But that’s how it goes.

Still, I can’t write about everything. And I believe that those folks who have taken the time to reach out to the FLB in order to spread their message, should get some kind of reward for their bravery.

So without further ado, here’s what the PR community wants you to know.

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A Game of Chicken: USA v Russia

August 7, 2014

Besides the threat of global thermonuclear war, growing up in the cold war era was a lot of fun. I mean, we had Rocky IV and whole host of Bloom County comic strips that pitted us against the Russians.

It’s hard to put a face on terrorism. These days it seems almost anyone can be a terrorist. Terrorism is all about fear and intimidation. And now that OBL and Saddam Hussein have been killed, the “War on Terror” is missing an iconic villain.

Russians, on the other hand, are easy to find. They are mostly over in Russia. And they have a government. Their military (generally) wears uniforms so they can be identified on the battlefield. They also have a badass for a president. So, it feels a bit like deja vu as relations chill between our two countries.

The good news is that we now and again will get an occasional story about how Russia is totally superior than the U.S. of A. These stories are meant to inspire us and rally Americans everywhere to do better.

Imagine my delight when I read a recent one all about chicken.

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A Vacay From the CSA

August 6, 2014

Tuesday is CSA pickup day. You may remember how thrilled I was a few weeks ago to snatch a rare late-season spot in Roxbury Farm’s annual membership program. I’m still thrilled, but it’s hard to be away.

Yesterday marks the second share that I missed while on this latest Pennsylvania adventure. Fortunately, I made plans in advance to make sure that this amazing local bounty went to loving homes. And with Mile Level Country Market relatively nearby in Bedford, PA I’ve been eating plenty of local seasonal produce.

Still, I miss the avalanche of foods that force me to be creative and sometimes push me out of my comfort zone. It’s easy to just eat corn, tomatoes, and peaches all summer long. But those who do so aren’t contributing to the greater agricultural diversity we really should be cultivating. That’s a longer story.

But thanks to my CSA vacay, I’ll be able to do something awesome this weekend.

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Picky Peach Picking

August 5, 2014

File this under things that I shouldn’t share.

It’s hard to find a good peach. It’s much easier to find a hard peach. Hard underripe peaches unfortunately represent the bulk of the peach selection in most major markets, even during the peak of the summer season.

But there are usually good ones to be found buried in the bin, if you know how to pick them. It’s not hard. It just takes patience and persistence. That, and you have to remember to look for this one critical thing.

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The Best Salad of Summer

August 4, 2014

There is nothing special about corn. It’s everywhere. And I mean, everywhere. It’s in your soda. It’s in your cereal. It’s in your beef. It is in your cheese. Science has made it immune to some of the most potent herbicides known to man. These days, corn would seem to be the building block of food in general.

But to anyone who has had an ear of sweet corn that’s been planted in rich soil, grown with care, and ripened by the summer sun, you know exactly how special corn can be. Just a quick soak in hot water to cook out a bit of the rawness, and it doesn’t even need to be slathered with butter and salt.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t feel free to gild this lilly with churned cream and some crunchy flakes from Île de Ré.

It’s easy to forget how great seasonal produce can be when it becomes a ubiquitous part of our surroundings. And that extends to the dishes made from seasonal produce. Salad greens should be outlawed in upstate New York for most of the year. Yet people demand their side of shriveled lettuces.

There is one other thing that’s on menus all year long.

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The Biscuit That Dares Not Speak Its Name

August 1, 2014

The only thing I know about biscuits is that I love great ones. Like all things involving baking, I generally am happy to let the experts do their thing, and for me to be the recipient of their talents. Granted, that relies upon me finding great examples of the breads I enjoy wherever I travel. But hunting out good eats is a passion of mine.

When it comes to baked goods, I must confess a love for the simple. I prefer a plain croissant to one filled with chocolate, and ideally one that’s made from just a few kitchen cabinet ingredients. The fewer the better.

Recently I stumbled onto an easy biscuit recipe that claimed to only use four ingredients. It almost didn’t seem possible. But people (on the internet) were gushing about this recipe, so I decided to check into it further. What I found was so horrifying, that I simply had to make a batch for myself.

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