I had passed this place countless times and never considered stopping until I met the chef at the Basilica Hudson Ramp Festival last week and told him I would come by one of these days. At a Kentucky Derby party the following day, a young woman raved about the restaurant and said she went as often as she could. I was further impressed when I received an email from our managing editor, Carola Lott, who had read my piece on the Ramp Festival and told me that one of her friends, Diana King, had told her about the place. So this week I went up to Route 199 between Pine Plains and Red Hook and stopped at Another Fork in the Road to taste the food and interview the chef.
With the beautiful weather this last weekend, we broke out the BBQ and a few bottles of our favorite Rosé. Hailed as one of the winemaking wizards of the Rhône Valley, Jean-Luc Colombo produces whites and reds that are quite good as well—but we LOVE his Rosé. Th 2012 Cap Blue is great value for money.
I love ice cream in all its forms: the traditional type made with cream, sherbet or sorbet made with water and Italian gelato made with milk. I love all the traditional flavors: vanilla, chocolate, coffee, butter pecan and, of course, the fruit-based flavors. So when I was invited to a tasting to choose from the new flower- flavored gelatos, I could not resist. Off I went last Sunday to discover "Indulge" in Rhinebeck, the headquarters of Artigiani del Gelato, where artisanal gelato is made daily from locally sourced fruit, herbs and dairy. Artigiani del Gelato is the brainchild of Mauro Sessarego, Professor of Beverage and Customer Service at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. This creative Italian really knows his way around gelato.
My first encounter with this "wild leek" or "garlic of the woods" was two years ago when local friends came for dinner and brought me some ramps, which grow wild on their property every spring. I enjoyed the mild but distinctive flavor—especially in omelets. So when I received an invitation to attend the Ramp Fest in Hudson last weekend, I drove up to see what the 16 different chefs—who came from as far away as Manhattan and Great Barrington—would create with them. I was impressed by the artistic and rustic atmosphere of Basilica Hudson and by the crowds of people enjoying the offerings from table to table. If I had one criticism of the tastings offered, it was that while almost all of them were delicious, most of them were so elaborate that the specific flavor of the ramps was lost in the process, and they could have been replaced by onions or leeks without much difference. For me, the most interesting tastings were from
For those who do not want to spend a great deal of time but would like some fresh, home-cooked meals: there are a few shortcuts I like to use when I do not have the time or inclination to spend hours in the kitchen. Here are three of them.
• Pepperidge Farm Pastry Shells are served fresh from the oven with a wide variety of fillings. In today's brunch recipe, I filled them with scrambled eggs. I have often used them for an appetizer filled with sautéed mushrooms or scallops in cream sauce, and sometimes for a dessert filled with fresh or cooked fruit.
Ever since I first had this dish in a restaurant in Madrid in the 1980s, I have wanted to bake a fish in salt. I remember the head waiter bringing a mountain of hardened golden salt to the table and then cracking it open to reveal a moist, evenly cooked and fragrant whole fish. I am still not sure just how much was due to the novelty of the presentation and how much to the flavor—but I have always considered it the best fish I have ever eaten.
When I received a press release from Clinton Cheese and Provisions that these young men were coming for a book signing of their cookbooks, I knew I had not yet been to this new gourmet shop, which took over the premises from Wild Hive. I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and headed over there last Saturday. Little did I know what discoveries I was about to make …Where were you raised? We are both from very rural communities, where we each cultivated a strong desire to live in the Big City.