Category Archives: Cheese

From Lukins to Bacon: How Food Has Changed Since the 1980s

Photo: By Adam & Jessica via Flickr.

Photo: By Adam & Jessica via Flickr.

The death of Sheila Lukins, the cookbook author and one-time Upper West Side gourmet food shop owner last week, prompted an outpouring of memories about foodways in the 1980s.  Kim Severson of the Times wrote a charming essay in this Sunday’s paper about how Lukins’ chicken Marbella was a dinner party staple of that decade.  Severson then goes on to document the changes that have taken place at the dinner table since then.  Among them: now, bacon, not chicken, reigns supreme.

Enjoy and Happy Labor Day!

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Upper West Side: Zabar’s Jumps the High Holidays Gun

Photo: via Flickr, rachel is coconut&lime

Photo: via Flickr, rachel is coconut&lime

Who can think of shtetl food like brisket and stuffed cabage when it’s 110 degrees in the shade?  But for Zabar’s, the venerable Jewish food emporium on Broadway, it’s apparently not too early to begin urging you to plan your New Year’s or Yom Kippur Break Fast menu.  So if cooking is not your thing on the High Holidays, check out their offerings.

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Food Field Trip: A Day A-Whey to Sprout Creek Farm and Terhune Orchard

Photo: Saxelby Cheesemongers

Photo: Saxelby Cheesemongers

September is a great time for a field trip to Hudson Valley farm country.  You can join uber-cheesemistress Ann Saxelby for her annual Day A-Whey. Here are the details:


A Day A-Whey to Sprout Creek Farm and Terhune Orchard

Sunday, September 27th 2009
9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Trip begins and ends at Saxelby Cheesemongers, 120 Essex Street
for tickets ($95) and more info, visit saxelbycheese.com

Here’s what Ann has to say about her Day A-Whey:

Jump on the bus and come along on our Day A-Whey farm field trip to Sprout Creek Farm and Terhune Orchard!  Join us on our chartered coach as we explore the finest of the Hudson Valley’s farm country at the peak of fall foliage.

The first stop on our Day A-Whey adventure is Sprout Creek Farm, where we’ll see first hand how fine farmstead cheese is made.  After a tour of the farm and creamery, guests will be treated to a lavish picnic lunch featuring locally foraged foods and Sprout Creek cheeses.  In the afternoon we’ll continue on to Terhune Orchard for a few hours of sunshine and apple picking.  The coach will return to the city in the early evening after a full day of farm goodness!

Sprout Creek Farm, located just about an hour and a half north of the city in Poughkeepsie, was founded by nuns in the late 1980s as a place for children to reconnect with nature and learn about agriculture.  After almost 30 years of agri-education, Sprout Creek has come to be one of the premier creameries in the country.

How to Get Your Day A-Whey: For tickets ($95) and information visit saxelbycheese.com

***Please note that the ticket price includes transportation, food, and apple picking***

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Passover is Coming–Dine In or Out?

A bowl of matzoh ball soup

A bowl of matzoh ball soup

When it comes to where I tuck into my bowl of matzoh ball soup on Passover, I have no choice.  Every year, I dine with a gaggle of relatives at our family’s annual Long Island Seder where traditional foods like brisket and kugel are the order of the day.

But you don’t have to stick with the usual fare for Passover.  In fact, there are a range of intriguing dining out options for the eight days that cover the entire span of the holiday–from sampling a Mexican-themed Seder at Rosa Mexicano to dining on matzoh ball soup with a dash of white truffle oil at Payard Patisserie & Bistro.  (see menus below)

Still, most people prefer home-based Seders for Passover.  For stocking up on the Upper West Side, there are the well-known pit stops–Zabars, Fairway, and Whole Foods, and for kosher products, Supersol.

Are you all in a tizzy about making feather-light matzoh balls?  Zabars will sell you 14 ounces of them for $8.49.  The specialty food store also carries kosher Passover gift baskets, which include exotic items like toffee-chocolate-covered matzoh.

Supersol offers  numerous items especially for Passover, including pizza and beef.  Supersol baker Susan Berlin also runs SusanSez and bakes out of her home for private customers.  Check her website www.susez.com for pricing on items like lemon tarts and flourless chocolate cake.

Passover Dinner at Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro

April 8th and 9th

$45 per person, plus tax and gratuity

1032 Lexington Ave. between 73rd and 74th Streets

212.717.5252; www.payard.com

1st course

Matzo Ball Soup

with White Truffle Oil

2nd Course

Sautéed King Salmon

with Seasonal Baby Beets, Young Onions, Green Asparagus and Horseradish

OR

Braised Lamb Shank

with Seasonal Bean Casserole Tomato Compote, Garlic, Harissa and Cured Lemon

3rd Course

Dark Chocolate Flourless Cake

With Vanilla-flourless Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream

OR

Passover Petits Fours and Parisian Macarons

***

Mexican Passover at Rosa Mexicano

A La Carte Menu Specials April 8th – 15th

Cooking Demonstration and Luncheon April 11th

www.rosamexicano.com

First Avenue, 1063 First Avenue at 58th St. New York, 212.753.7407

Lincoln Center, 61 Columbus Avenue at 62nd St. New York, 212.977.7700

Union Square, 9 East 18th Street btw 5th Avenue & Broadway, New York, 212.533.3350

Menu items include:

A traditional Seder plate table-side to explain the significance of the Jewish holiday to all Rosa Mexicano diners.  See complete menu additions below.

Tropical Haroset

Pears, apples, bananas, dates, almonds, cinnamon and sweet wine

Lunch & Dinner $7.00

Appetizers

Caldo de Pollo con Bolitas (Mexican Matzo Ball Soup)

Roasted jalapeño chicken broth with cilantro matzo balls, carrots and black garbanzo beans

Lunch & Dinner $8.50

Higadito de Pollo para Tacos

Chipotle chopped liver with egg, tempura scallions, chicken chicharrones and tomatillo-avocado sauce, served with warm corn tortillas to make your own tacos

Lunch & Dinner $11.00

Entrees

Lengua de Res a la Veracruzana

Traditional beef tongue simmered in a Veracruz sauce of tomatoes, olives and roasted peppers, served with matzo-potato-chive fritters

Dinner $19.00

Tacos de Lengua

Seared beef tongue served with chile de arbol salsa and pickled jalapeño cabbage

Lunch $10.00

Poblana Relleno con Ternera Barbacoa

Roasted poblano pepper stuffed with slow cooked veal shoulder, braised cabbage, tomatillos and jalapenos, served with mole verde

Dinner $24.00

Robalo Relleno

Baked stuffed sea bass with zucchinis and roasted pecans, served with pureed pumpkin and prunes and spinach-potato kugel “izmir style”

Dinner $24.00

Dessert

Pastel de Dátil

Warm pecan, date and bittersweet chocolate flourless cake, served with piloncillo butter sauce and orange whipped crème fraîche

Lunch & Dinner $9.00

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Upper West Side: Will Trader Joe’s Knock Fairway Off the Map?

Trader Joe’s is planning an Upper West Side outpost on Broadway at 72nd.  Here’s NY Magazine’s report:

With locations on 14th Street, Cobble Hill, and Rego Park, [Trader Joe’s] will now open a two-level store in a tower under construction at Broadway and 72nd Street next year, according to a proposal submitted to the local community board. It’s a foodie neighborhood, with Fairway and Citarella two blocks north and Zabar’s on West 80th Street. “Nobody wants to have a bunch of competition, and obviously the same people would shop there as shop with us,” says Steve Jenkins, Fairway’s manager. “But we’ve taken competition before, and we’ve kicked their butts.” Trader Joe’s declined to comment.

With outposts in Queens and on 14th St, Trader Joe’s is clearly seeking beachheads in the various boroughs.  It’s great that the popular store will be servicing the Upper West Side.  Still, despite Jenkins’ intention to fight until the last piece of Fairway cheese has curdled and died,  I worry about the fate of this iconic Upper West Side grocer.

Clearly, Fairway is already feeling the hot breath of  competition from the new guys in the ‘hood.  Over the last few months, the grocer has mailed out coupons to Upper West Side households.  That’s a sure sign the market is feeling the heat, which is only going to intensify with the planned TJ’s opening only two blocks away and with the opening of the new Whole Foods at 98th and Columbus some time in 2009.

After years of Soviet-style deprivation, it’s great to have a plethora of food stores to choose from.  However, I hope the new guys don’t knock Fairway off the block.


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