Tag Archives: farm to table

In Brooklyn: The Farm on Adderley


The Farm on AdderleyWhile on a recent trip to NYC, Bill and I had the opportunity to try a restaurant in Brooklyn that’s right up our alley: The Farm on Adderley. The restaurant aims “to bring thoughtfully produced food and ingredients to our community in a totally accessible way. Much of the way The Farm has evolved has been to pursue the principles of supporting local farmers, artisans, entrepreneurs as much as possible, making delicious food from that, and serving it in a completely honest way.” Those are the principles we like to eat by, at a place that lists its purveyors who supply the food for its ever-changing menu.

We were there after Daylight Savings Time ended, so it was dark. And this photo doesn’t do it justice.
The Farm on Adderley

The Farm on Adderley, Brooklyn, New York

I had the fluke (on the right) and we shared a green bean salad (on the left). Yummy, fresh, and low-key. We felt like we were having dinner at a neighbor’s home.

Located in a narrow old commercial building on Cortelyou Road in Ditmas Park, its hidden gem is an outdoor garden in the back. Even on a chilly October evening, it was comfortable and pleasant.

Asparagus Frittata


Asparagus Frittata Recipe

Memorial Day is the traditional segue to summer. And in the Great Lakes, it’s the start of weekend gatherings–at home, at the cottage, and at the campsite. What’s a quick and easy way to enjoy breakfast together? A simple frittata with seasonal vegetables. And right now, it’s asparagus season.

Most people in Michigan can’t wait for the first asparagus to show up at farmers markets and roadside stands. I’m one of them. As soon as the Holland Farmers Market opened in May, I was there with my basket, loading up on this spring vegetable that can be prepared so many ways. Putting it in a frittata is one of my favorites. In addition to the asparagus, I buy the rest of the ingredients from our local farmers at the Holland Farmers Market: pastured eggs from Grassfields, red onions from Visser Farms, and goat cheese from Country Winds Creamery. (Another reason why I love this recipe? You can cook it over a campfire, too!)

Asparagus Frittata

Serves 4.

3 T. olive oil

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces

8 eggs, beaten

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Pecorino cheese,  or dollops of goat cheese

Optional: chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, tarragon, or parsley

Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil and vegetables into a large oven-proof skillet. Saute onions with asparagus on medium heat until nearly tender, about three minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables from pan. (Note: You can also leave the veggies in and pour the eggs right over them but I remove them and do the next steps first so the frittata doesn’t stick to the pan.)

Add salt and pepper to eggs, then stir. (If using herbs, add them now.) Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in skillet on medium-high heat until bubbly. When oil is very hot, pour egg mixture into pan. As edges cook, lift up with a spatula and tilt pan so uncooked egg mixture runs underneath. Continue until eggs are no longer runny. (It will still be slightly soft.)

Preheat broiler on high. Spoon vegetables evenly over egg. Sprinkle cheese or place dollops over entire pan. Put pan in oven under broiler flame and immediately reduce to low. Broil about 3 minutes, checking occasionally. Frittata is done when the edges are brown and the cheese is bubbly (or soft for goat cheese).

Remove from oven and let set about a minute. Cut into eight slices and serve.

Asparagus Frittata Recipe

Cooking over a campfire? Just place foil on over the pan to cook the top of the frittata.

Potager Restaurant: Simple Cooking, Simple Eating


Potager Restaurant, Denver, Colorado

“A good kitchen respects its sources and chooses ingredients that are sound, seasonal, and local whenever possible.” That’s why the menu at Potager Restaurant in Denver, Colorado, changes monthly, adapting to the seasons.

Potager Restaurant, Denver, Colorado

Run by Teri Rippeto and her father, Tom, who believe the best tasting food is organically grown, and harvested in ways that are ecologically sound by people who take care of the land, the restaurant’s ingredients are sourced from a network of like-minded suppliers they know personally and trust. I love it when restaurants list their sources on the menu!

Potager Restauran, Denver, Colorado

In April, Bill and I enjoyed a dinner at Potager with family members and were not disappointed.

Menu, April 13, Poteger Restaurant, Denver, Colorado

Because so many dishes on the menu looked enticing, I ordered several appetizers to appease my curiosity: White Bean and Spring Greens Soup, Oxford Farm Kale Salad, and Home-made Beef and Pork Sausage. (Ordering a variety of small plates seems to be a trend for me lately! I did the same thing at Five Bistro in St. Louis.)

White Bean and Spring Greens Soup, Potager Restaurant, Denver, Colorado

Oxford Farm Kale Salad, Poteger Restaurant, Denver, Colorado

Home-made Beef and Pork Sausage, Poteger Restaurant, Denver, Colorado

Bill ordered the Triple M Bar Ranch Grass-fed Red Wine and Thyme-Braised Lamb Shanks. Like many high-quality locavore restaurants, they were able to accommodate his wheat allergy by substituting the accompanying couscous with roasted potatoes.

Grass-Fed Thyme-Braised Lamb Shanks, Poteger Restaurant, Denver, Colorado

I tried a bite of niece Kristin’s pizza. It was wood-fired and covered in arugula– and so flavorful from the goat cheese. Delish!

Pizza

At Potager, they believe the meal is “the center of human existence.” And the table is where “we are nourished, put in touch with the source of life, and reconnected to traditions.” It’s simple cooking and simple eating, honoring the season and honoring the people that grow, raise, and harvest the food.

Poteger Restaurant, Denver, Colorado

Check it out next time you’re in Denver!

Potager Restaurant, Denver, Colorado

It’s Winter, and It’s Farmers Market Season!


Graphic via Grist.org

Graphic via Grist.org

Great news for locavores and anyone else who is trying to buy more fresh, local produce where you live: The number of winter farmers markets–those operating at least once between November and March–has risen by 52% this year!

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the number has increased from 1,225 in 2011 to 1,864 in 2012.

Graphic via Grist.org

Graphic via Grist.org

The graphic shows California, New York, and Florida topping the list, but here are the 2012 top 10 states for winter farmers markets:

1. California with 284

2. New York with 196

3. Florida with 105

4. Maryland with 70

5. Texas with 63

6. North Carolina with 62

7. Massachusetts with 59

8. Pennsylvania with 58

9. Georgia with 55

10. Virginia with 53

It’s great to see a few states in the snowy North making the list!

Sirloin Tip Roast with Red Wine


So the last time I made Sirloin Tip Roast I let myself be inspired by dry-heat cooking methods, even though my heroine, Irma Rombauer of The Joy of Cooking, literally shows us in black and white that this meat cut deserves moist heat.

When Bill and I ate it, the meat did seem a bit dry, but I figured at the time that the lean-ness of grassfed meat had a lot to do with the end result.

This time I decided to stick with Irma’s suggestion. I found a recipe on Food.com that called for a dry heat method, i.e., roasted uncovered in the oven, but you also add water and wine to the pot. I loved the idea of rubbing the roast with Dijon mustard—which is really yummy on prime rib—but I decided not to add it because I was going to put a lid on my Dutch oven and that wouldn’t make the mustard nice and crispy like on prime rib. It turned out to be the right approach.

The recipe is simply called Sirloin Tip Roast. As the diagram above shows, this cut is either adjacent to the rump, the flank, or the shank of the cow. And for grassfed beef, it’s extremely lean so cooking time must be reduced.

I followed the beginning of the recipe by taking the roast out of the fridge an hour ahead of time, then sprinkling it with salt and pepper.

Then I poured olive oil in the bottom of my Dutch oven and browned the meat on all sides.

Afterwards, I cut slits in the meat and added sliced garlic cloves, then poured 1/2 a cup of water and 1/4 cup of dry red wine into the pan. Like I said, I skipped the mustard. And, I basically skipped the rest of the ingredients except for some fresh chopped rosemary.

Even when a recipe calls for a rack, I never use one because I don’t own one. Sure, it might be a good idea sometimes, but I don’t want to wreck my pans and I seemed to have done just fine so far without one.

I put the 3-lb. roast in a 325-degree oven with the lid on for just 1  1/2 hours.

I believe it was more moist than last year’s recipe. Served au jus alongside roasted root vegetables, it made a delicious autumn meal—and great leftovers during the week!

Can You Canoe?


Photo via Canoe Restaurant

During my visit to Toronto this past fall with my friend Cathy, one of the culinary highlights was Canoe.

Located on the 54th floor of the Toronto Dominion (TD)  Bank Tower, it was a big step for me, who doesn’t do skyscrapers–let’s say nothing higher than 30 floors–since 9/11. I know, it’s irrational. But that’s where I landed after the traumatic experience of that event. I figure I can run down thirty flights pretty quickly if I need to.

It was worth the trip once I got off the elevator. Opening a bottle of wine right away helped, of course.

But the real draw–besides the view of Toronto and Lake Ontario–was the chef’s creative use of artisanal Canadian ingredients. It’s all spelled out on the menu.

While our server assured us that the Chef chooses local ingredients whenever possible, not everything was regional. I’ve come across the same dilemma in the States as well. Sometimes you have to go to the prairie states or provinces to get the best pastured lamb because there may not be a supplier nearby that can accommodate a restaurant’s demands. At least it’s better than procuring from New Zealand.

So, I had the Alberta lamb with turnips and butterball potatoes that night. And it was divine. Nothing beats seasonal vegetables to accompany a meat like lamb.

Before the main course of lamb, I started the meal with a duck bacon.

And finished with artisanal cheese, nuts, and cranberry bread.

I think it may be one of the best restaurants in Toronto. And, if you’re not afraid of heights, it won’t be a challenge to zoom to the 54th floor of the TD Tower!

48 Hours in Ann Arbor for Locavores: Part 3, Grange Kitchen & Bar


While in Ann Arbor last weekend for a wedding, Bill and I ventured to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market and Zingerman’s Deli on the first day in town. We had hoped to try Eve for dinner that night but the farm-to-table restaurant closed in January. However, I found Grange Kitchen & Bar in my farm-to-table restaurant search and promptly made a reservation for Saturday night.

We were delighted. Chef Brandon Johns is all about the philosophy toward food that I appreciate: “Chef Brandon Johns created Grange Kitchen & Bar with the idea that the freshest ingredients, grown sustainably and sourced from people we know are the basis for the best food. At Grange, our commitment to local and sustainable sources reflects both our commitment to the community and our commitment to bringing the best of the farm’s bounty to the table when it’s fresh and at the peak of its flavor. Join us for seasonal menus inspired by the fresh flavors of local farms and farmers’ markets.”

Yes! If I were to own and operate a restaurant, this is the way I would do it. Another thing I always appreciate is seeing the list of local farms that provide produce, meat, cheese, etc. to the restaurant. Our server informed us that food is sourced within 100 miles of Ann Arbor.

Here was the menu for May 28, 2011.

We started with the housemade charcuterie, accompanied by an Orange Blossom for me and a Sazerac for Bill.

Here’s what was on the charcuterie plate (if I remember correctly!): lardons, pork pate with asparagus, duck mousse, pickled vegetables, cured ham in molasses, onion jam, ginger apple butter, stoneground mustard, and caraway crackers.

For dinner, I had the Pan Roasted Pork Loin with Ramps, Fingerlings and Fried Eggs. It was unbelievable….flavor, texture, and temperature.

Bill had the Pan Roasted Duck Breast Sweet Potato Puree and Pickled Rhubarb.

And, it was ideal to be able to order a bottle of Michigan Pinot Noir from Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery.

We were so thrilled with our meal that we went back for brunch the next day!

I had seen the menu the night before and already had my eye on the Goat Cheese and Asparagus Omelette with Sausage and Fingerlings. I don’t know how the sausage was seasoned, but it was delicious. The whole meal was excellent and I enjoyed it with fresh squeezed orange juice and a glass of L. Mawby’s sparkling wine–another Michigan favorite.

Bill also loved the sausage; he had his with fried eggs and fingerlings.

Grange has quickly become one of my favorite restaurants. I wish we lived closer to Ann Arbor so we could go more often!

Farm to Trailer: A Food Cart for Locavores in Austin


Photo via foodtrailersaustin.com

It’s not very often that I promote an eatery I haven’t eaten at. But the other night I was watching Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” on television when he visited the Heartland. His tour included restaurants in Livonia, MI; Columbus, OH; Austin, TX; Milwaukee, WI; and Minneapolis, MN.

I was intrigued by the number of food carts in Austin lined up along Lamar Square and can’t wait to visit sometime. Even Bourdain was amazed at the offering from these street vendors.

One that caught my eye was called The Odd Duck on South Lamar Blvd. I love the tagline: “Farm to Trailer.” Has anyone eaten there?

Owner and chef Bryce Gilmore purchases products locally, creates a daily menu, and prepares your food on a wood-burning grill. Right up my alley. Did you see on The Odd Duck’s website that he’s listed all the farms and producers that source his ingredients? I love getting that information from a chef.

For a look inside The Odd Duck, check out this YouTube video by Vendr TV‘s Daniel Delaney, who is on a mission to find “the best street food imaginable.”

Whenever I make it to Austin, I promise to do a blog post about The Odd Duck!

Ecocentric’s Best of the Ecoblogosphere


 

I just discovered Ecocentric, a blog about food, water, and energy–and their interconnectedness–created by Grace Communications Foundation.

Yesterday they posted their Best Blogs of the Ecoblogosphere. If you’re a green geek, you should check it out. And if you’re a happy food fan, pay special attention to the list of blogs about sustainable food.

Two of my favorites on their list are Greenhorns, a land-based nonprofit serving young farmers across the United States, and Animal Welfare Approved, which helps create awareness about how farm animals are raised, where food comes from, and how it is produced.

Here’s a little background on Grace Communication Foundation, which supports:

  • The development of sustainable, community-based food production and regional food distribution networks
  • Public awareness of how sustainable agriculture contributes to social, environmental, economic and personal health
  • Policies that promote sustainable use of water resources for energy and food production
  • Policies that protect and promote clean drinking water
  • The development of small-scale distributed renewable energy systems
  • Increased public awareness of how individuals can improve their physical and emotional health.

America’s First Organic Restaurant: Nora


While planning our recent trip to Washington, D.C., Bill and I went right to AmericanFarmtoTable.com for dining ideas. Only two restaurants were listed within the district’s limits: Equinox and Nora, but Nora is the one that caught our attention. It might have been that Nora is the first organic restaurant certified in the United States. Or that one of our waiter friends at our local favorite, Everyday People Cafe, had recommended it to me when I ran into him in the grocery store. Or, maybe it was simply the proximity to our hotel in Dupont Circle! In any case, we made a reservation and, on our last night in the district, Bill and I had a delightful meal at Nora. It was the best place we ate during our six-day visit to the D.C. area.

Originally constructed in the 19th century as a grocery store, the main dining room feels cozy and intimate. The eclectic menu, which changes daily, serves organic new-American cuisine in Nora’s own creative style.

In April 1999, Restaurant Nora became America’s first certified organic restaurant, which means that 95% or more of everything that you eat at the restaurant has been produced by certified organic growers and farmers who share in Nora’s commitment to sustainable agriculture. Nora’s focus is on seasonal, fresh organic food, prepared in a healthy, balanced way–from grassfed beef to hand-made cheeses, and fresh seasonal produce. And it’s obvious from the menu and when asking the staff about the sources for the food. (Check out Nora’s list on page 2 of the dinner menu that details sources for everything from water to coffee to herbs to energy. It’s amazing!)

I had a delicious New York strip steak, which usually isn’t my favorite cut of beef, but I was so happy to find grassfed meat that I ordered it, and was glad I did.

I had other courses to show but the lighting is pretty dark so several of my photos via smartphone did not turn out, except for this delicious raspberry tart.

You should know a little bit about Nora Pouillon, because her philosophy behind this restaurant is so impressive. The following information comes directly from the restaurant’s website.

Nora Pouillon is a pioneer and champion of organic, environmentally conscious cuisine. Born in Austria, Nora promotes and embodies healthy, sustainable living. Her inspiration in the kitchen comes from her parents who understood the value of simply prepared seasonal foods. When Nora came to the U.S. in the late 1960s, she was disturbed by the amount of processed and chemical-laden foods Americans were eating. That’s when Nora began her search for seasonal and organic food and her crusade for healthier living.

She made a lifetime commitment to nutritionally wholesome food, balanced eating and sustainable living that is based on the premise that you are what you eat, drink and breathe, and that it is important to take responsibility for one’s own health. Nora’s approach also includes a daily exercise routine that strengthens and focuses the body and mind.

She opened Restaurant Nora in 1979 and was immediately recognized for her ability to create not only healthy but also delicious organic dishes. In 1999, twenty years later, the restaurant became the nation’s first certified organic restaurant. Only three other restaurants have since achieved this goal.

Nora was instrumental in creating the organic certification standards for restaurants that guarantee at least 95% of all food served originates from certified organic sources. In the early 1990s, she launched the farmer/chef connection by introducing the farmers of the Tuscarora Organic Growers Coop (TOG), to other local chefs, helping to ensure their farms’ economic viability. She also initiated the very first producer-only farmers markets in the nation’s capital, now known as Fresh Farm Markets, which has grown to include eight active markets. While serving as a board member of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Nora established an organic internship program and still receives five interns each year at Restaurant Nora. She is the author of Cooking with Nora, a seasonal menu cookbook, which was a finalist for the Julia Child Cookbook Award.

If you live in D.C., or plan to visit, check out America’s first organic restaurant!