The 4th of July weekend is upon us and we’ve had great fun in the past with stars and stripes cakes and fruit tarts. But another great dessert for any occasion is the great American Cupcake! And we are so lucky to have the ever-popular cupcakes that Melinda whips up on a daily basis here at Bistro-to-Go! This new variety is a chocolate cupcake and features a whipped chocolate ganache filling with chocolate buttercream frosting. If you’re looking to serve them to your guests this weekend, call soon as they go fast! Also available are her yummy lemon coconut cupcakes with lemon curd filling, carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and her version of the old Hostess classic with whipped marshmallow filling.
I thought it would be fun to share a couple of snaps of how she makes the design on top – perfect for Halloween actually!
This is the time of year when friends and sometimes even customers bring us goodies from their gardens when they have an abundance. Our bookkeeper Bonni brought us rhubarb and today Melinda whipped up some divine strawberry-rhubarb pies. She said, “we’re going to keep one of these for ourselves” and after letting them cool for about 20 minutes we cut into the one “damaged” pie!! What a treat! The essence of early summer in the northeast! The only thing missing was the vanilla ice cream – oh well – we suffered through.
And another one of her amazing creations picked up for a Sweet 16 Party tonight – Happy Birthday Kelley!
I have the utmost admiration for our local farmers and their ability to be harvesting the most gorgeous vegetables by the second week in June! Loretta from Gill Farms came by today and brought us a bounty of delicious produce which was grown just down the road – kudos to John who runs the farm and to Cindy and Loretta who do such a beautiful job at their roadside store on Route 209!
One of our favorite vegetable preparations we just call “Chef’s Seasonal Vegetable Medley” – when brides and grooms ask me in the dead of winter what’s in it, I tell them “whatever we can get that comes fresh from our local farms”. And hallelujah – here it is.
The preparation is simple: cut each vegetable to maximize the beauty of it’s shape. It’s nice to make the size of the broccoli, for instance, about two bites for interest. You can experiment and see how the sizes and shapes of different vegetables interact and look together when they’re cooked and presented.
Each type of vegetable will be steamed individually, tested with a knife for done-ness (they should have a bit of give and still have their color when you take them off the heat). Prepare a bath of ice water to plunge them into immediately to help retain the vibrancy of color – no one wants to look at or eat veggies that are overcooked.
Once you have cooked your assorted vegetables, put them together in a big mixing bowl and add toss with olive oil in which you’ve sauteed some finely minced shallots. Add salt and pepper and toss. Pour out onto your favorite platter and garnish with some fresh herbs.
In this case, we went out to our garden and picked some thyme blossoms, chopped them lightly and dusted the top with the flowers. Beautiful, aromatic and delicious!
Well now that summer’s here, let’s just dive head first into the barbeque thing! As Americans we’re just crazy for the lure of the outdoor grill and what could be more fun and perfect then kebobs! Our plat du jour on Wednesdays is Mediterranean Kebobs and today we made them with fresh sushi grade tuna. What makes them “Mediterranean”? The recipe we used to marinate the tuna is called Pincho Moruno and it comes from one of our favorite cookbooks Delicioso, The Regional Cooking of Spain, by Penelope Casas. This marinade is traditionally used with pork, but it’s really delicious with any grilled meat, fish or poultry. Here is the recipe:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp minced parsley
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp imported sweet paprika
1/4 tsp dried crushed hot red pepper
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp minced oregano leaves or 1/4 tsp dried
several threads of saffron
1/2 tsp salt
Combine all the ingredients in a shallow bowl and add the chunks of meat, fish or poultry lightly coating all the pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning occasionally.
As you can see from the pictures, we then put the tuna chunks onto wooden skewers that have been soaking in water for one hour. In this case, we topped each kebob with a piece of zucchini, but you could have lots of fun making up your own combinations.
This is just one of many great grilling tips we’ll be sharing with you this summer. Enjoy!
We’re blessed to have a wonderful association with one of the premiere wedding venues in the Hudson Valley, The Onteora Mountain House. As the exclusive caterer, one of our greatest pleasures is using as much farm-fresh produce as possible. This week we received an enormous order of fresh salad greens from Jim and Viv at Cody Creek Farm in Saugerties. They brought us a great organic selection of arugula, Boston and red leaf lettuce, and their own mesclun mix. No pre-washed greens here – it took us a few hours to wash and dry them all, and once they were prepped we decided they needed their picture taken. So we set them out next to the little herb and vegetable garden I’ve created in the back of our store. The guests at the wedding today and tomorrow will be dining on freshly picked salad greens – not an every day occurrence for most folks.
We’ve co-hosted some wonderful tasting events at Onteora Mountain House for the couples and families that are getting married there. The big roomy kitchen allows plenty of space for several chefs to prepare and set out all the food from a large selection of different appetizers to a variety of entrees and finally cake samples.
Enjoy some of the photos from our last two tastings and take a deep breath of the sweet mountain air.