One of the most important features for foodies in the Hudson Valley is the wealth of fresh farm food available to us through our farmers’ markets. In our area these weekend markets offer a wide selection of fresh produce, dairy, locally raised meat, prepared foods, and handmade crafts. Shopping the market is a great way to meet the neighbors, enjoy some festive music and
celebrate the seasonal bounty of our communities. I visit at least one each weekend—sometimes more.
FRIDAY AFTERNOONS Amenia Farmers’ MarketWhen: Fridays, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., May 17–October. (The Amenia market has winter hours on Saturday mornings, indoors.)
Both still bronzed from their vacation in Tuscany, Beth and Buffy hosted the MBA’s highly successful mixer last Thursday, serving as a refreshing reminder that Babette’s Kitchen now serves beer and wine. The members also enjoyed a variety of delicious hot hors d'oeuvres. Earlier that day I sat down with Buffy to learn what new ideas they picked up in Italy. She related just how tasty the fresh vegetables were and remarked on how inexpensive simple, good-quality food is: lots of salads, fresh soups, frittatas and fresh pasta dishes featuring luscious and healthy legumes, such as fava beans, and many other veggies. Most surprising was a very hard to find vegetable native to Italy called Agretti.
“The goal was to build a small, modern office complex that was in character with the village.” Oakleigh Thorne, CEO of Thorndale Farm LLC, explained that he wanted a solid building that would survive the next 100 years and was consistent with the country-style look and feel of Millbrook. We were talking about the building now under construction on Front Street in downtown Millbrook.
Thorne had invited selected architects to submit proposals. When he saw the design submitted by Daniela Voith and Gil Schafer III, who teamed up for the project, he knew “this was it.” Thorne has been an admirer of the Math and Science Center at Millbrook School since it opened in 2008. It was designed by Daniela Voith of the Philadelphia architectural firm Voith & Mactavish.
In the Hudson Valley, the Gay Pride Season officially starts Memorial Day Weekend with a three-day series of events and celebrations designed to bring together the region’s LGBT community with its allies and businesses that support them. The main event, the annual picnic, has outgrown Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie, where it has been held for the last four years. Expecting about 800 people this year, the organizers moved the picnic event to Union Vale’s Tymor Park, which offers 500 acres of volleyball courts, playgrounds, hiking trails, and space for a variety of other outdoor activities.Attendees are encouraged to bring their own picnic baskets to the event, which runs from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m. DJ Ali Gruber will spin classic camp favorites from the park’s grandstand from 2:30 p.m.
The Millbrook Business Association came out in force for the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of J. McLaughlin on Franklin Avenue. On Sunday Jay himself brought many of the corporate executives to the Millbrook store and invited customers and MBA members for a meet-and-greet with drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Much of Millbrook came out for it.
The MBA held a mixer last Thursday at Babette’s Kitchen to which well over 50 people came. Another such mixer is scheduled for May 29 at Millbrook R&B, 5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m. This chance for members to meet one another, socialize and exchange ideas on how to promote Millbrook businesses is proving very valuable. The annual meeting will be held June 11at the Millbrook Golf & Tennis Club.
Readers may remember that in February 2012, this page featured an article entitled “A Revolution in Cooking,” in which I predicted that we would soon be eating wonderfully prepared gourmet meals that we received and cooked “sous vide.” Longtime Millbrook weekenders Sam Metzger (most famous for having created the Chipwich in the 1980s) and Peter Morrell (retired CEO of the Morrell Wine Group) are now partners in DCuisine, which offers just that. You can purchase these magnificent soups and main-course dishes on the Internet at dcuisine.com and warm them up in their pouches in boiling water, just as chefs do in their kitchens. At $12- to $16 a serving for the soups and $18- to $24 for the main courses, this is not for the fainthearted. These are restaurant prices at home—but they are actually better than what you get at most restaurants. People who frequent fine-dining restaurants and those who enjoy a good bottle of wine are prime targets for this new “fine-dining at home” concept.
I guess I am a snob—a food snob. In the three years I have lived here, I had never set foot in the local deli. I always looked for the “gourmet” and “fine food” vendors—until I attended the Fire Department dinner, where I had a perfectly cooked sliced flank steak prepared by the Millbrook Deli. I decided I needed to check them out. I met with proprietor, Marcus Gonzalez, who was born and raised in Millbrook, as was his partner and father, Ramon, whom I met when he served me the sliced steak, with a smile. The father-and- son team decided to take over the deli when it was for sale seven years ago. Because he had always loved to cook, Marcus added more elaborate dishes to the normal deli fare. So you can get your soups and sandwiches, coffee and bagels, as you would in most “Boars Head” delis. In addition, however, Marcus offers a blackboard full of both daily and weekly specials—a choice of freshly cooked entrees; Panini, hot-pressed to order. Muffins and cookies are baked on the premises and consequently are often still warm when you arrive for breakfast.
Some years ago one of our wonderful chef friends, Jean-Louis Dumonet, executive chef of the Union Club, brought me a gift—a box of stock concentrates. He told me that whenever a sauce needed a bit more flavor or consistency, I simply should add a spoonful of the appropriate concentrate. I had been using these concentrates sparingly and was about to run out when I spotted them for sale on gourmet shelves at Adams, and now also at Marona’s. Called “Better than Bouillon Concentrated Stocks”, they are reductions of freshly simmered ingredients to make stock concentrates that have a richer, more robust flavor than ordinary bouillons or soup bases. They are available in Au Jus Base, Beef Base, Chicken Base, Chili Base, Clam Base, Fish Base, Ham Base, Lobster Base, Mushroom Base, Turkey Base, and Vegetable Base. By sharing this secret with you, my claim to fame as a “great sauce maker” will lose much of its mystique—but I am willing to risk it.