Category Archives: Uncategorized

Good to Go!

You may hear something familiar on the radio – its Blue Mountain Bistro-to-Go coming at you on Oldies 98.5FM!   Our radio spot  reminds you that your Blue Mountain Bistro take-away gourmet is food to feel good about as it is made from farm-fresh produce and cooked in the “slow food” tradition.

“Feels good, tastes good and is good for you!”

Listen for yourself!

Healthy Hudson Valley Food On The Go

Healthy To Go Food For When You Shout, “I Don’t Want To Cook!”

Phoenicia based children’s music artist, Robert Burke Warren, aka Uncle Rock, Photo of children's music performer Uncle Rock, aka Robert Burke Warrenwrote a brilliant song for kids entitled, Shop at a Mom N’ Pop, which he performs  to help raise a young audience’s awareness of local Mom and Pop stores. He and his family lived in NYC and were weekend commuters to this area for many years, until the loss of their St. Mark’s Place apartment jump started them to relocate full-time to the Hudson Valley. Robert is passionate about supporting local businesses and has tried to pass that on to his many fans – so that they grow up appreciating the wonderful relationships that can flourish when you connect one to one with the proprietors of a neighborhood shop, restaurant or business.  In an age where mall stores hire employees with very little expertise in their specific departments, there is a new desire for shopping local, as well as the enjoyment of discovery when we find that new place-to-go.

The Kingston Daily Freeman Agrees

Chef Richard Erickson with a delicious plate of food.Our local newspaper recently gave some local love to us – and that is so much appreciated! Thank you, Daily Freeman for the recent wonderful article on our Blue Mountain Bistro. Front of house manager and co-owner Mary Anne Erickson is quoted as saying, “We are, in the best sense, a Mom and Pop operation, where people can pop in, any day or every day, and feel welcome.” It’s easy and convenient to pop into this Mom & Pop because it’s right on the way up the line from NYC. In your Woodstock travel, Phoenicia travel, Hudson Valley travel – you can discover your new favorite place-to-be. Just come on in and get your food!

I Don’t Want To Cook

Another musician associated with this area, Todd Rundgren, wrote a song called Bang The Drum All Day, and the chorus starts with the simple, pertinent phrase “I don’t want to work!”

Photo of rock star Todd Rundgren performing

Sometimes when you’re on the go, rushing home after a long day doing your thing, or anxious to get to your upstate weekend digs: cooking = work!!! Remember the old advertising phrase from the 60’s – “Don’t cook tonight – call Chicken Delight!” Well, decades have now passed, and though a ‘don’t cook’ premise is still appropriate, people are actively seeking HEALTHY food on the go. The mega-supermarts have their pre-packaged and deli selections – but that is not an alternative for delicious home cooked to go food. We derive great joy and satisfaction from knowing that many of you consider our kitchen an extension of your own – because we cook the way you cook – when you have all day, when you feel creative, when your cupboard and fridge are stocked with the freshest, Photo of fruit dessert from Blue Mountain Bistrobest quality, and healthiest ingredients. So please check out this article on what we do. Our cherished regular customers will enjoy reading about their local home base for good food to go. For those who have never stopped in, please discover us. When you come to this beautiful area of the world, country living and small town life slow the pace down. Simplify your life today and let us do the cooking.

India Beckons

Our resident greeting card designer, Barbara Kashuk, just got back from a fabulous month-long trip to India and talk about getting inspired! She just brought in a whole new batch of cards that she’s made based on photographs she took on her trip. I’ve included some of the card images here to tempt you.

Here are a few of her remarks about the places she visited:

“I loved the 12 days I spent in and around Chennai, A southern mostly Hindu and vegetarian city on the Indian Ocean. The pace  is slower than cities in the north of India, and it’s the largest city in Tamil Nadu State.  After Chennai I went to Jaipur in Rajasthan, which compared to the south, was like a wild west town. The old “pink” city is walled and has gates in different parts that separate the streets that have clothing, jewelry, leather metal, etc. Old Maharajah palaces have become hotels, and some are beyond belief. I went to Delhi next, and the city has changed from when I was last there quite a few years ago. New Delhi is full of Consulates and Manicured Estates, but Old Delhi, where I stayed, is a maze of fascinating streets winding through neighborhoods, and the largest Mosque is there. Also the beautiful Laxmi Hindu Temple.”

Thank you Barbara for bringing these wonderful Hindu deities to the shelves of our store. Come on in and take a few home to share with friends!

Have you ever eaten a cloud?

Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

Bread pudding has been a staple in our dessert case since we opened Bistro-to-Go three plus years ago. The sweet version made with chocolate croissants and bananas has been the most popular. Bread puddings are incredibly satisfying to make; it’s something about the process of transforming humble day old bread or croissants into something really special that I love. I never tire of making them!

For sometime now I’ve been contemplating a savoury bread pudding recipe. I’ve wanted to create a dish that would work not only here in our store but also for our catering menus – something for late summer and fall would be the best. A couple of weeks ago I made a butternut squash soup with caramelized onions, sage and Parmesan cheese and as I was making it I said to myself, “this is it –  this would make a great bread pudding”.

Start by peeling several butternut squash, then remove the seeds and cut into 3/4” cubes. Season with salt, pepper, chopped fresh sage and enough olive oil to coat. Put the squash cubes onto a cookie sheet and roast in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until tender. While the squash is cooking, caramelize several finely sliced Spanish onions with fresh sage until soft, sweet and deep brown and set aside.

The next step is making the custard and soaking the bread. Place whole slices of bread in a buttered baking dish, then soak the bread with plain milk and cover lightly with grated Parmesan. If you have an old baguette (we freeze them when they’re day old and save them just for this purpose) cube it as if you were making croutons and put in a mixing bowl. Then in a separate bowl whisk together 4 whole eggs, two egg yolks, 1/2 cup ricotta and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan with a pinch of salt, pepper, nutmeg, and several cloves of roasted garlic for each quart of milk you are using. Pour this mixture over the cubed bread and let stand for at least 30 minutes.

Now it’s time to assemble the dish. Spread the caramelized onions on the bread layer in the baking dish, then add the roasted squash. Finish by pouring the soaked bread custard mix over everything. Adjustments in quantities of each element may need to be made to suit your size baking dish. The most important thing is that the bread is well soaked (wet) – a bit soupy even – otherwise your bread pudding will be dry.  This “recipe” is the kind I like best – one that give you the reader a chance to have fun and experiment! Consider adding some apples or pumpkin puree in the fall, or a different kind of cheese like Fontina….. you get the idea. Have fun and enjoy eating the cloud!

Food Manifesto for the Future

Amazing!!  Mark Bittman’s Food Manifesto for the Future shot to the # 1
Most Popular Shared article on the web edition of the NY Times last weekend.  While there is nothing new in what he calls for, it is radical that such an article would garner so much attention. Granted, people who read the NY Times are not the most representative cross-section of our society, but it does show that more and more people care about where our food comes from.

Essentially, he calls for a more sustainable culture of producing and consuming food, putting government subsidies where they can make a positive difference rather than using our tax dollars to support highly processed and manufactured products. As he points out, it is not just our personal health that’s at stake when we purchase, prepare and consume food – the health of our country and planet are also impacted.

Here at Bistro-to-Go we like to feel that we are a part of this process, preparing and serving food that is inherently fresh and good for us, our neighbors, and the planet. How did it come to pass that fresh foods are costlier than processed foods? It seems crazy that our political and economic systems are set up to encourage this but that’s how things have evolved. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. If the people of Egypt can demand a new government the least we can do is demand fresh food.  Support your local farmers, producers, and makers of food and remember that  Brillat Savarin’s words are just as true now as when he first spoke them in the 1700’s, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are”.

Warming Winter Soups

The compressor on our “soup freezer” went belly up yesterday, but it’s all better now thanks to refrigeration genius Charlie Groeter who swooped in to the rescue! Thank you Charlie! In the process of pulling all the soups out we took stock of what we had and now we know why our savviest customers walk in and head straight for the freezer. We’ve got a pretty impressive collection to suit most anyone’s taste.  All our soups are made in house with fresh stocks, herbs, vegetables and lots of love.

It may sound trite but as any true cook will tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than making a delicious soup. (Pictured above is the ever-popular Curried Mussel Soup.)  We make two fresh soups each day for our customers to enjoy and freeze the rest. Many are vegetarian, some are vegan, all are fresh, clean and delicious. The mix is constantly changing, of course, but to give you an idea of what’s most popular, here’s a partial list:

Chicken Soup, always the best seller, they don’t call it Jewish penicillin for nothin’
Butternut Squash and Apple, made with local cider and Granny Smith apples
Carrot Ginger, smooth with lots of fresh ginger and yogurt
Italian Minestrone, rich with beans, tomato and packed with vegetables
Minestrone Verde, a green vegetarian version of the classic
Potato Leek, sometimes vegetarian, sometimes classic with chicken stock
Harira, spicy with lamb, barley, lentils with lemon, traditional to break the fast of Ramadan
New England Clam Chowder, we steam fresh chowder clams ourselves!
Vegetable Beef, packed with vegetables and beef in a rich beefy broth
Curried Mussel, one of the most requested, check our specials menu for dates
Chili con Carne, stew meat and ground meat with multiple layers of flavor
Turkey Black Bean Chili, a popular lighter version of chili con carne
Split Pea and Ham, simmered with smoked pork shanks

We take requests and are always happy to be reminded of something we haven’t made in a while. We also make marinara, putanesca, bolognese and vodka sauces along with traditional and vegetarian lasagnas. Occasionally, you will find chicken pot pies or our chicken burgers with feta and olives in the freezer as well.  Stop in, check it out, a couple of quarts of soup or sauce can be a real lifesaver if you get snowed in!

Catering Highlights

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In case you wondered what happened to our frequent blog and Facebook posts – catering season happened!! Wow! We had a fabulous summer season helping make people’s dreams come true with delicious and festive wedding celebrations and parties big and small. In the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some of our favorite photos and recipes from the summer. Today’s post is a slide show from last week’s wedding at Opus 40 in Saugerties: a perfect weather day, behind the scenes watching the chefs make salads, Tartan themed place setting, and grand finale Red Velvet wedding cake.

Mitzie and Ed’s Wedding at Opus 40
September 18, 2010

Stationary Appetizers
Artisinal Cheese Platter
Shrimp Cocktail Platter

Passed Appetizers
Pulled BBQ Pork and Cornmeal Tartlets, jalapeno mayo
Tuna Tartare in Cucumber Boats
Smoked Salmon Canapes on White Wine Biscuits
Moroccan Chicken Salad in Phyllo Cups, red tomato jam

Arugula and Radicchio Salad

Buffet Dinner
Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin, garlic aioli and au poivre sauce
Catskill Mountain Trout with lemon, caper, and chive sauce
Vegetable Wellington
Brown Basmati Rice and Lentil Pilaf
Mashed Potatoes
Chef’s Seasonal Vegetable Medley
Bread and Butter

Red Velvet Wedding Cake
with custard filling, vanilla butter cream frosting
Catskill Mountain organic coffee service

Plum Delicious Pie

It’s mid-August and lately I’ve been aware of that familiar late summer feeling when the light begins to change and a tugging happens in my heart: summer’s almost over! We’ve had an abundance of delicious fruit and vegetables this year however the early fruits are now gone, blueberries are fading from the scene, peaches have been stars and are now beginning to wane. So what a treat to get our delivery from Red Jacket Farms and see and taste their stunning Vanier speckled plums. We put them in the case for all to enjoy and Melinda had a heyday making pies which just came out of the oven.

Come on in and enjoy the samples she put out of the plum filling. Absolutely divine! or buy a pie to take home.

Pepperonata Pleases!

This weekend we’re creating an antipasti table for a large wedding and wanted to utilize some of the fresh, local vegetables that are available and delicious right now. After taking a look at these colorful and freshly picked peppers, there was no doubt that we had to include pepperonata in the mix! If you don’t have all these amazing colors to choose from, it works just as nicely with solid red or yellow bell peppers – always best if you can purchase them from your local farm stand this time of year.

Start by cutting the peppers in half, remove the seeds and stems, lay them skin side up on a baking sheet with a little bit of water and roast in the oven at 350 degrees until you see the skins have become crinkly (approximately 20-30 minutes). We prefer to roast them in the oven instead of over a grill because the flavor stays clean and fresh – no charred taste – more of the pure taste of the peppers.

Next put them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a sheet pan and let them steam. When cool enough to handle, peel the skins off. Cut the peppers into strips and set aside. Thinly slice red onion, garlic and cook slowly in olive oil. When the onions are transluscent add the peppers, a few capers, green olives, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add a splash of red wine vinegar and a few basil leaves, check the seasoning, let cool and serve.

Pepperonata makes a delicious antipasti: serve with a sliced baguette or toasty bruschettas. It also makes a wonderful topping for grilled chicken or fish. Mangia!

Sockeye Salmon with Summer Salsa

Now is the time to let your imagination soar! Summer fruits make the most delicious accompaniments to any meal. Our chef Jonathan Sheridan came up with this sweet and spicy melon salsa to garnish wild sockeye salmon from the Pacific Northwest.

Take any summer melon (in this case cantaloupe) and dice into 1/2″ cubes. Combine in a bowl with some chopped fresh basil and mint. Add diced sweet red pepper, finely diced hot chile pepper, fresh squeezed lime juice, agave syrup and toss. We picked some nasturtium flowers and leaves from the garden which add more color and spice to the presentation. What a great centerpiece for your summer table!