Maple Tours, Tastings & Fun - The Sweetest Season

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The mercury finally made it past freezing today! Granted, the roads are a mess and will be a mess again tomorrow but what's one more two-hour delay among friends, right? I've given up on getting anything done until Winter finally calls it quits. The good news is that the sleet and mud mark the arrival of maple sugaring season - the sweetest time of year.

We've tapped a few of our sugar maples in preparation for the cold, sweet sap to begin running. Many thanks to our neighbors at the lovely Long-Year Farm for lending us some of their buckets - they're a far cry from the ragtag assortment of yogurt containers and bottles we've used in years past.

Maple Sugaring in Woodstock, NY by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

But you can enjoy this wonderful, uniquely northeastern experience even if you do not have the inclination, the time or the means to tap maple trees, yourself. Browse the listing below of maple festivals, tastings and tours taking place this month here in the Hudson Valley and please suggest any others you know of via comments.

Spiced Butternut Squash Waffles by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

If you're not in the Hudson Valley, March 21-22 is New York State's official Maple Weekend when more than 150 syrup producers will throw their sugar shacks open to the public to learn, taste and stock up on nature’s finest. Check their site to find one near you.

The Ashokan Center's Maple Fest
Saturday, March 7th, 2015 from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
$5 per person
477 Beaverkill Rd. Olivebridge, NY 12461

Bowdoin Park's Pancake Breakfast & Maple Open House
Sunday, March 22, 2015, 9:00 - 11:00 AM
Breakfast is $5 per person
5 Eagle View Ln, Poughkeepsie, NY 12590 (Bowdoin Park)

Crown Maple & Madava Farms' Maple Weekends
March 21-22 & 28-29, 2015 from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
47 McCourt Road, Dover Plains, NY 12522

Frost Valley YMCA's Maple Sugar Open Houses
Saturday & Sunday March 21-22 & 28-29, 2015 from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
2000 Frost Valley Road Claryville, NY 12725

Hudson Highland Nature Museum's Maple Sugar Tours
March 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 2015 from 10:30 AM - 3:00 PM (tours begin every half hour)
$10/adults - $7/children ages 3-11 Museum members: $7/adults - $4/children.
Muser Drive, across from 174 Angola Road, Cornwall, NY 12518

Phillies Bridge Farm's Maple Festival
Saturday, March 14, 2015 from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
$15 per family, $7 per person
45 Phillies Bridge Road New Paltz, NY 12561

Platte Creek Maple Farm's Maple Weekends Open House
Saturday & Sunday, March 21-22 & March 28-29 from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
808 Glasco Tpke, Saugerties, New York 12477

Randolph School's Maple Fest
Saturday, March 14 from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
$10 for adults, $5 for kids and $25 for a family (up to 5 people)
2467 NY-9D Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

Sharpe Reservation's Sugar Maple Celebration
Saturday, March 21 from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
436 Van Wyck Lake Road Fishkill, NY 12524

Teatown Lake Reservation's Sugaring Sundays
Sunday, March 1, 8, 15 from 1:00 - 4:00 PM
1600 Spring Valley Road Ossining, NY 10562

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Raita - Indian Cucumber Yogurt Sauce with Herbs

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Raita - cucumber and yogurt sauce with herbs by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Like it's Greek cousin, tzatziki, raita is a delicious, refreshing combination of yogurt, herbs, cucumber and either garlic or onion. Its creamy, herb-spiked coolness offers a welcome respite from spicy foods and adds welcome flavor to all manner of curries, roasted vegetables, mezze, grilled meats and fishes.

As with most things I like, raita is also very easy to make. Spoon out a cup or two of whole milk, plain yogurt (yes, FULL FAT). It can be Greek, it can be Bulgarian, it can be European, it can be good old 'Merican, just as long as it's plain and still has all the fat nature intended it to have. Trust me, I've mistakenly made raita with non-fat yogurt and it is but a poor shadow of the full-fat version.

Yogurt options at my local Adronicos by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2007

Chop up some good, crisp cucumbers. If they're organic and the skins look good, leave 'em on, otherwise, peel them first. You can slice them or dice them into whatever size pieces you like. I usually cut my cukes up into a fairly small dice for raita and tend to cut them into larger half-slices for tzatziki.

Slicing a fresh-picked cucumber by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Add either a little very finely chopped onion (red or yellow or white - whatever you like or have on hand) OR a small clove of finely chopped or pressed garlic. I tend to use onion in my tzatziki and garlic in my raita.

Cilantro by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2013

Then come the herbs. My usual suspects are cilantro, mint and parsley but don't let that hem you in. Feel free to try some fennel fronds chopped up or some fresh dill. If you're making tzatziki, fresh oregano and dill be a great combination.

Cucumber yogurt herb sauce aka tzatziki or raita by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Then stir it all together, add rather a lot of sea salt and black pepper and stir again. Taste it and adjust, as needed. If you use a Greek yogurt you will probably need to thin it out a little bit with some milk or water.

Then scoop some out to eat with your curried cauliflower, stewed lentils, roasted eggplant, grilled fish, or spiced lamb kebabs and tuck in.

Raita - cucumber and yogurt sauce with herbs by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

-- print recipe --Raita - Cucumber Herb Yogurt Sauce
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

* 2 cups plain, whole milk organic yogurt
* 1/2 organic cucumber, diced or sliced (your choice)
* 1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
* A very generous handful of fresh herbs, chopped - cilantro, parsley and mint are my favorites
* Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
* A little milk to thin with (optional)

Directions

Mix all the ingredients, stir well and taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Chill and serve. If you can make this several hours or even a day or two ahead of time, the flavors will be that much stronger.

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Monday, February 16, 2015

Oatmeal chocolate chip pecan cookies by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

It is officially Cold out. To be precise, it was -10° when I started writing this at 7:28 AM and the high today was 11°. Balmy.

It's also day 3 of winter break. Hurray! There's nothing more peaceful and productive than 11 straight days indoors with two small children... Which reminds me of one of my favorite sayings:  INSANITY IS HEREDITARY - You Get It From Your Kids.

Thank God for cookies. I find that eating them regularly makes the cold and snow slightly more bearable, although it also makes my pants slightly less wearable... And baking them is a good way to pass the time, especially since my younger son loves to cook foods, both real and pretend.

My budding chef-let by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

As I've gotten more years of parenting under my belt, I've gotten savvier about letting the kids help - here are my two big advances:

1. Putting a big baking sheet down underneath the whole set up to contain the flour, sugar, etc. So much easier to clean than the flour and/or the counter.

2. Instead of having the kids fill the measuring cup or teaspoon and dump it directly into the bowl which usually leads to wildly incorrect amounts - a bit of a no-no in baking, I now set up a larger measuring cup for them to dump it into so that I can adjust as needed before it goes into the mixing bowl.

Ingredients for oatmeal pecan chocolate chip cookies by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

I wanted to use oats because they're so comforting and hearty. And chocolate is a must, in my opinion. I also like nuts in my cookies, especially when they're pecans.

Chopping pecans for the oatmeal chocolate chip pecan cookies by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

I turned to one of my favorite cookie sources - the Williams Sonoma Cookies cookbook. I also have their Soup and Breakfast books. I like them because all the recipes are good - sophisticated without being fancy or unnecessarily complicated, and the pictures always make me hungry.

Williams-Sonoma's Cookies cookbook by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

In the case of these cookies, there's not much to 'em. You just melt butter, beat eggs, chop nuts, measure flour, sugar, oats, choco chips and mix it all together. Then let it chill for a bit.

Batter for the oatmeal chocolate chip pecan cookies by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Scoop out a spoonful and drop it into the greased tray (that's why these are called "drop" cookies.) Then smush them down with a spoon or spatula or your hand before you put them into the oven.

Oatmeal chocolate chip pecan cookies by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Take them out, scoop them off, cool enough to avoid burning your tongue, and eat.

Oatmeal chocolate chip pecan cookies by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

-- print recipe --
Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slightly adapted from the Oatmeal Cookies recipe in Williams Sonoma Cookies cookbook
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) organic butter
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten (try to find pasture-raised from a farm near you)
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 tsp baking soda
* 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
* 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
* 1/2 cup chocolate chips
* 1/3 cup chopped pecans (sub in walnuts if you prefer them)

Directions

1. Melt the butter over low heat then remove from heat and beat in the sugar until blended. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended.

2. Stir the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture then stir in the oats, nuts and chocolate chips until combined. Cover and put in the fridge for an hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease two baking sheets (don't skimp!) Drop rounded spoonfuls of the cookie batter onto the cookie sheets roughly 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball of dough a bit with a metal spatula or your palm. Bake the cookies until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool a bit before eating.

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Maple Tours, Tastings & Fun - The Sweetest Season

The mercury finally made it past freezing today! Granted, the roads are a mess and will be a mess again tomorrow but what's one more two-hour delay among friends, right? I've given up on getting anything done until Winter finally calls it quits. The good news is that the sleet and mud mark the arrival of maple sugaring season - the sweetest time of year.

We've tapped a few of our sugar maples in preparation for the cold, sweet sap to begin running. Many thanks to our neighbors at the lovely Long-Year Farm for lending us some of their buckets - they're a far cry from the ragtag assortment of yogurt containers and bottles we've used in years past.

Maple Sugaring in Woodstock, NY by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

But you can enjoy this wonderful, uniquely northeastern experience even if you do not have the inclination, the time or the means to tap maple trees, yourself. Browse the listing below of maple festivals, tastings and tours taking place this month here in the Hudson Valley and please suggest any others you know of via comments.

Spiced Butternut Squash Waffles by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

If you're not in the Hudson Valley, March 21-22 is New York State's official Maple Weekend when more than 150 syrup producers will throw their sugar shacks open to the public to learn, taste and stock up on nature’s finest. Check their site to find one near you.

The Ashokan Center's Maple Fest
Saturday, March 7th, 2015 from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
$5 per person
477 Beaverkill Rd. Olivebridge, NY 12461

Bowdoin Park's Pancake Breakfast & Maple Open House
Sunday, March 22, 2015, 9:00 - 11:00 AM
Breakfast is $5 per person
5 Eagle View Ln, Poughkeepsie, NY 12590 (Bowdoin Park)

Crown Maple & Madava Farms' Maple Weekends
March 21-22 & 28-29, 2015 from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
47 McCourt Road, Dover Plains, NY 12522

Frost Valley YMCA's Maple Sugar Open Houses
Saturday & Sunday March 21-22 & 28-29, 2015 from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
2000 Frost Valley Road Claryville, NY 12725

Hudson Highland Nature Museum's Maple Sugar Tours
March 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 2015 from 10:30 AM - 3:00 PM (tours begin every half hour)
$10/adults - $7/children ages 3-11 Museum members: $7/adults - $4/children.
Muser Drive, across from 174 Angola Road, Cornwall, NY 12518

Phillies Bridge Farm's Maple Festival
Saturday, March 14, 2015 from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
$15 per family, $7 per person
45 Phillies Bridge Road New Paltz, NY 12561

Platte Creek Maple Farm's Maple Weekends Open House
Saturday & Sunday, March 21-22 & March 28-29 from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
808 Glasco Tpke, Saugerties, New York 12477

Randolph School's Maple Fest
Saturday, March 14 from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
$10 for adults, $5 for kids and $25 for a family (up to 5 people)
2467 NY-9D Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

Sharpe Reservation's Sugar Maple Celebration
Saturday, March 21 from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
436 Van Wyck Lake Road Fishkill, NY 12524

Teatown Lake Reservation's Sugaring Sundays
Sunday, March 1, 8, 15 from 1:00 - 4:00 PM
1600 Spring Valley Road Ossining, NY 10562

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Raita - Indian Cucumber Yogurt Sauce with Herbs

Raita - cucumber and yogurt sauce with herbs by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Like it's Greek cousin, tzatziki, raita is a delicious, refreshing combination of yogurt, herbs, cucumber and either garlic or onion. Its creamy, herb-spiked coolness offers a welcome respite from spicy foods and adds welcome flavor to all manner of curries, roasted vegetables, mezze, grilled meats and fishes.

As with most things I like, raita is also very easy to make. Spoon out a cup or two of whole milk, plain yogurt (yes, FULL FAT). It can be Greek, it can be Bulgarian, it can be European, it can be good old 'Merican, just as long as it's plain and still has all the fat nature intended it to have. Trust me, I've mistakenly made raita with non-fat yogurt and it is but a poor shadow of the full-fat version.

Yogurt options at my local Adronicos by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2007

Chop up some good, crisp cucumbers. If they're organic and the skins look good, leave 'em on, otherwise, peel them first. You can slice them or dice them into whatever size pieces you like. I usually cut my cukes up into a fairly small dice for raita and tend to cut them into larger half-slices for tzatziki.

Slicing a fresh-picked cucumber by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Add either a little very finely chopped onion (red or yellow or white - whatever you like or have on hand) OR a small clove of finely chopped or pressed garlic. I tend to use onion in my tzatziki and garlic in my raita.

Cilantro by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2013

Then come the herbs. My usual suspects are cilantro, mint and parsley but don't let that hem you in. Feel free to try some fennel fronds chopped up or some fresh dill. If you're making tzatziki, fresh oregano and dill be a great combination.

Cucumber yogurt herb sauce aka tzatziki or raita by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Then stir it all together, add rather a lot of sea salt and black pepper and stir again. Taste it and adjust, as needed. If you use a Greek yogurt you will probably need to thin it out a little bit with some milk or water.

Then scoop some out to eat with your curried cauliflower, stewed lentils, roasted eggplant, grilled fish, or spiced lamb kebabs and tuck in.

Raita - cucumber and yogurt sauce with herbs by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

-- print recipe --Raita - Cucumber Herb Yogurt Sauce
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

* 2 cups plain, whole milk organic yogurt
* 1/2 organic cucumber, diced or sliced (your choice)
* 1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
* A very generous handful of fresh herbs, chopped - cilantro, parsley and mint are my favorites
* Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
* A little milk to thin with (optional)

Directions

Mix all the ingredients, stir well and taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Chill and serve. If you can make this several hours or even a day or two ahead of time, the flavors will be that much stronger.

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Oatmeal chocolate chip pecan cookies by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

It is officially Cold out. To be precise, it was -10° when I started writing this at 7:28 AM and the high today was 11°. Balmy.

It's also day 3 of winter break. Hurray! There's nothing more peaceful and productive than 11 straight days indoors with two small children... Which reminds me of one of my favorite sayings:  INSANITY IS HEREDITARY - You Get It From Your Kids.

Thank God for cookies. I find that eating them regularly makes the cold and snow slightly more bearable, although it also makes my pants slightly less wearable... And baking them is a good way to pass the time, especially since my younger son loves to cook foods, both real and pretend.

My budding chef-let by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

As I've gotten more years of parenting under my belt, I've gotten savvier about letting the kids help - here are my two big advances:

1. Putting a big baking sheet down underneath the whole set up to contain the flour, sugar, etc. So much easier to clean than the flour and/or the counter.

2. Instead of having the kids fill the measuring cup or teaspoon and dump it directly into the bowl which usually leads to wildly incorrect amounts - a bit of a no-no in baking, I now set up a larger measuring cup for them to dump it into so that I can adjust as needed before it goes into the mixing bowl.

Ingredients for oatmeal pecan chocolate chip cookies by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

I wanted to use oats because they're so comforting and hearty. And chocolate is a must, in my opinion. I also like nuts in my cookies, especially when they're pecans.

Chopping pecans for the oatmeal chocolate chip pecan cookies by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

I turned to one of my favorite cookie sources - the Williams Sonoma Cookies cookbook. I also have their Soup and Breakfast books. I like them because all the recipes are good - sophisticated without being fancy or unnecessarily complicated, and the pictures always make me hungry.

Williams-Sonoma's Cookies cookbook by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

In the case of these cookies, there's not much to 'em. You just melt butter, beat eggs, chop nuts, measure flour, sugar, oats, choco chips and mix it all together. Then let it chill for a bit.

Batter for the oatmeal chocolate chip pecan cookies by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Scoop out a spoonful and drop it into the greased tray (that's why these are called "drop" cookies.) Then smush them down with a spoon or spatula or your hand before you put them into the oven.

Oatmeal chocolate chip pecan cookies by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

Take them out, scoop them off, cool enough to avoid burning your tongue, and eat.

Oatmeal chocolate chip pecan cookies by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2015

-- print recipe --
Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slightly adapted from the Oatmeal Cookies recipe in Williams Sonoma Cookies cookbook
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) organic butter
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten (try to find pasture-raised from a farm near you)
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 tsp baking soda
* 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
* 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
* 1/2 cup chocolate chips
* 1/3 cup chopped pecans (sub in walnuts if you prefer them)

Directions

1. Melt the butter over low heat then remove from heat and beat in the sugar until blended. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended.

2. Stir the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture then stir in the oats, nuts and chocolate chips until combined. Cover and put in the fridge for an hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease two baking sheets (don't skimp!) Drop rounded spoonfuls of the cookie batter onto the cookie sheets roughly 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball of dough a bit with a metal spatula or your palm. Bake the cookies until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool a bit before eating.

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.