In last week's article about the Hudson Valley Harvard Club dinner, we omitted the fact that Chef Haviland chose to feature the natural beef from Millbrook's Walbridge Farms in one of the most appreciated dishes of the evening, his fabulous Black Angus creation. Also, the delicious kale and bacon was served on a bed of locally produced polenta from Wild Hive Farm.
In our article about Millbrook's Community Day, we neglected to mention that Babette's Kitchen’s apple pie won in the professional division. Herewith is a picture of the winning dessert. When I served it this week, I warmed it up in a slow oven and topped it off with some Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.
I have always known that Marona's Market (which started as a butcher shop) sells very good beef. I often purchase their rib-eye steaks, which Gerard and I enjoy with a salad. But I had never dared to try their filet mignon. These filets, or tournedos, are almost always tender but can be fairly dry and tasteless, so I stay away from them. Last week we had dinner with friends at their house in Millbrook, and they served filet mignon. We were impressed with the extreme tenderness (like the proverbial butter) of the filets but mostly by how juicy and flavorful they were. Happy to hear they came from our local market, I marched right over to take this picture of butcher Paul and his filets, which I shall be buying in the future.
Chef Francis Mallman's famous cook book ("Seven Fires") about grilling the Argentine way was demonstrated this week at a spectacular "Night of Fire and Desire" at a private party in a long field in the Millbrook area. Some of the 250 or so guests live locally but at least half came to Millbrook for the occasion. The chef was flown up with a few of his sous chefs, barbecue pits were dug up, local welders built wind screens and cast iron grills and griddles to outfit the fire pits and benches were custom made to mimic Mallmann's furniture at his Garzonrestaurant in Uruguay.
Most of my friends and readers know I lived in France for many years, but few know that I also spent a few years in Italy, where I learned to love pasta—when it is freshly made, cooked "al dente" and paired with the right sauce. Few Italian restaurants in the United States ever equal those standards. Once I had pasta cooked for me by Mario Batali (I was in the audience of the ABC television show "The Chew") and it reminded me of my days in Milan. And again a few weeks ago, in Red Hook, when I dined with friends at Mercato. I returned this week to interview chef-owner Francesco Buitoni.
I do not have a particularly large kitchen but it is full of specific small appliances, pots, pans and cooking utensils that I have accumulated over the years. Some I rarely use, others I am lost without. I am often asked which I would buy again. I call these my "kitchen essentials." This new feature explains how and why each cooking aid is important to me and how it helps me enjoy cooking and entertaining successfully.
Announced at the last Village Board meeting is the impending opening of a number of new businesses on Franklin Avenue this fall. They include "Rose Randolph Cookie Shop", "Leaf & Bean" and "Love Feast" (whom we know from Millerton and Amenia Farmers' Markets) who is opening a Vegan restaurant in town. Millbrook Nails has now moved to Franklin Avenue from its former location on Front Street. Owner Kevin Tran and his wife offer manicures, pedicures, waxing and massages. Chef/owner Joe Comizio of Franklin Avenue's new restaurant, Trattoria San Giorgio is looking for experienced staff. Qualified parties should send resumes to email@example.com.
There was a party atmosphere in Pawling on Saturday as crowds of visitors picked through the bargains offered at the 19th annual Community Garage Sale. Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, this year's event had over 80 participants. Many purchased spots for tables in the village for $30 while others bought the telltale yellow balloons for $20 and spread their sale merchandise out on their lawns. Maps listing all of the venues were provided free of charge to shoppers. Coupons were also offered to attract shoppers to specific merchants. According to Marie Stewart, organizer of the event and owner of the Yarn & Craft Box, "the fees go to advertising the event, to bring people into town to shop."