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One-Pan Crispy Chicken with Buttery Lemony Mushroom Orzo

This one-pan wonder combines crispy-skinned chicken, baked directly on top of buttery, lemony orzo, studded with wild mushrooms, leeks and baby spinach. It’s a complete (and completely delicious) dinner, made in a single skillet. 

Sticky Toffee Pudding (warm date cake)

Sticky toffee pudding is a hallowed British dessert which translates to American as “warm date cake drizzled with toffee sauce”. Either way you say it, it’s a deliciously rich and comforting treat, perfect for a chilly evening. 

Classic British Pork Pies

Your classic British cold pork lunch pie – seasoned pork and aspic in a firm and thoroughly tasty hot water crust pastry. It’s a process befitting a Tudor kitchen, but making these Melton Mowbray-style pork pies is way easier – and more fun! – than you might expect.

Sausage with Creamy Polenta and Kale Walnut Pesto

Sausage with Creamy Polenta and Kale Walnut PestoInspired by The Hop‘s amazing dish (theirs has lamb sausage, kale almond pesto and poached eggs), here is our simplified recipe. Use whatever sausage you like  (turkey, pork, lamb or chicken would all work well) or add some drilled tofu for a veggie version. The only sausage I wouldn’t try is seafood since it’s delicate flavor would probably be overwhelmed by the cheesy polenta and the kale. 

I’ve posted separate recipes for the polenta and the pesto, so for this, all you need to do is brown the sausages and serve.

Pig Roast at Obercreek Farm

Pig Roast at Obercreek Farm

The harvest weeks of late summer, going into early fall, is when the Hudson Valley really struts its stuff . While there are festivals, fairs, and merry socials all year round, the weekends at this time of year become a whirligig of competing events, all worthy of your time. Last weekend, for example, our options included a beer festival as well as the first Beacon Film Festival. We limited ourselves to just one: the annual Common Ground Farm Pig Roast, at Obercreek Farm.

Obercreek is an old estate sited in Wappinger’s Falls. Tim Heuer and Sam Wildfong, the farmers, came from CGF to start their own farm on the land, and it’s been in operation now for a year. We’ve been buying their boxed Asian leaves from Adams – probably the best prepared salad I’ve ever had. We actually met Tim  last year when we attended a class in pig butchering run by Mark Elia and Jennifer Clair at the Mountain Restaurant Supply in Newburgh. And Obercreek Farm will next year take over the CSA from Common Ground Farm, which is taking a few years out to rebuild its farmable land. So it’s a pretty tight-knit community – farmers, restaurants, and stores all know each other well and work with one another’s produce. CGF is focussed at the moment on its educational and benefit programs, so the proceeds from the dinner go to a great cause.

As well as the farmers, we met Obercreek owner Alex Reese, CGF director Michael Kriegh, and many members of CGF and other local institutions were also present – including our local Representative, Sean Maloney, and State Senator Terry Gipson. 

Great food, music and fun … here’s a taste.

Easy scones

What ho, and all that, spiffing readers. I’m being especially upper-crust because I wanted to tell you about the scones I made a couple of weeks ago. Let’s take a gander at them first. Have a good look, there you go, feast your eyes.

Easy scones

 

Alright, that’s enough. Put your eyes away now.

On our spring trip to the UK, I wanted to take Emily out for a right old afternoon tea, with really nice sandwiches, scones, cream, jam, and all that. (You know, the sort of thing that Americans imagine that we Brits have every day, presumably as a break from striding around our castle grounds and whipping peasants.) We managed to find one at Huffkins in Burford (if you visit their site, do look for the amusing “About Our Employees” section) – all piled up on a proper tiered cake stand.

Anyway, I had picked up a jar of clotted cream at our local health food store last week (just let that sink in for a moment. Clotted cream. Health food store. Hm.) and decided on a whim to make scones. After some cursory research, and quickly realising I didn’t have any buttermilk (a requirement for many recipes) I settled on this version from Rachel Allen. I’ve adapted for US volumes and temperature. You can fuss with biscuit cutters and the like, but I like the country-style triangles simply cut from the dough with a knife.

The. Best. Mojito.

The Best Mojito

Does the world need another mojito recipe? Yes. Yes it does, because this one has a little something extra that, in my tipsy, slightly slurred opinion, takes it to the next level of yumminess. And no, I’m not suggesting you buy an expensive, impossible-to-find rum. Or scour the earth for special ice made from Himalayan mountain water. In fact it’s something really simple. Mint simple syrup…

imageIf you’re not familiar with it, simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water, heated until the sugar melts. That’s it. It’s when you start infusing syrups that they get really interesting.

We’re growing all this mint on our deck and smelling it seriously put me in the mood for mojitos. I snipped a whole bunch but before I got to muddling, I thought about trying to make a syrup instead. I’m telling you, it’s a revelation. It’s not only intensely minty but you also don’t have to get a mouth full of squashed herbs every time you take a sip. I did still muddle a few leaves but not the massive handful that a good mojito usually needs.

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Corpse Reviver #2

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imageMy stepmom, Marcia, told us about this cocktail when we visited over the summer and though we didn’t get a chance to try it, it sounded so good I had to make it when we got back.

While it sounds like it should be served out of a skull, bubbling over with dry ice, the “Corpse Reviver” family of cocktails are actually classics. The name refers not to zombies (unfortunately), but to their use as hangover cures. There are several types of Corpse Reviver cocktails that were first listed in the Savoy Cocktail Handbook by Harry Craddock in 1930. When prohibition began, Craddock fled to England, where he became chief barman at London’s swanky Savoy Hotel.

This is his sage advice on how to properly drink a cocktail, “Quickly, while it’s laughing at you”.  He’s now my spirit animal. 

Corpse Reviver #2 is definitely the most popular today and I can see why. It’s not overly sweet and has a lovely citrusy, herbal flavor. It is strong though so prepare yourself for a fun night (or a nap).

One of the main ingredients is Lillet Blanc, which is a French aperitif. I really love it on its own just with ice, but it’s also a fantastic ingredient in cocktails. You’ll absolutely want to use fresh squeezed lemon juice for this, no refrigerated stuff out of a squeeze bottle.

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