artist studio. jane herold ceramics.

A couple weeks ago we headed North of the city with some friends for a quick visit to Jane Herold's ceramic studio in Pallisades NY. We were, as always, on the hunt for unusual ceramics and that is exactly what we found in Jane's beautiful wood fired pieces.

You may have seen Jane's work in the Sept issue of Bon Appétit. She makes organic earthy ceramics for the restuarant Aska  and for Kinfolk Studios in Brooklyn. Jane's pieces are both gorgeous and functional. It is clear that she uses the ceramics herself and has carefully culled designs that work. Her ceramics feel good in your hands. I was inspired  by the textures and debris around her studio. I love an inside look at an artist's process and inspirations. 

Jane sells her work through her website and through her annual studio sales which she holds three times a year. Her next sale will be in December. You can always give her a call and pop by her studio which really is only a stone's throw from the city.

upstate. currently obsessed.

It is no secret how much I love the lineUpstate, they have shown up in my last two gift guides. Kalen Kaminski and Astrid Chastka who design the line, are two luminous and inspiring beauties! They recently started a home line, a natural extension of their ridiculously gorgeous shibori dyed pieces. Take a look their complete  fall collection  photographed by another inspiring duo  Paola + Murray . We spent a day shooting some of the new pieces from Upstate's lovely home line at our house (geographically appropriately located) upstate!  

Btw I am obsessed with their blog.

Take a peek.

x

where the wild things are. poached egg with garlic mustard.

This past weekend a group of friends and I went on a "wild walk" on our friend Carver's land in Bovina in upstate New York. Carver and his wife Sonya own The Pines restaurant in Gowanus and are interested in seasonal local foods both wild and otherwise. We were lucky to have local Marguerite Uhlmann-Bower as our guide. She is wealth of knowledge when it comes to wild plants. We set out on an incredibly cold and rainy morning after a super delicious brunch (we were more than a little sad to leave the roaring fire) and roamed both pasture and woods. Before we even got out of the yard proper, we had spotted garlic mustard. Garlic Mustard from what I have read was brought to the United States in the 1860's as a culinary herb but escaped into the wild and is now an invasive plant. You will see this early flowering wild plant along roadsides in the spring, it has delicate vibrant green leaves that are heart shaped and toothy with  tiny white flowers. It does not have any poisonous look a likes. You will know this plant at once when you rub the leaves; it gives off a garlic odor. The leaves and the flowers are bitter but very delicious. Garlic mustard can be used in pesto or a salsa verde or raw in salads. All parts of the plant are edible and the roots apparently taste like horseradish.

When I got back home I searched our property for Garlic Mustard and found it literally two feet from my back door!

The next morning we decided to try it out for breakfast.

 I blanched the greens and served a poached egg over them. 

I have seen farmers selling Garlic Mustard at the Green Market in Union Square.  However, if you can't find any just substitute any bitter green in this recipe. You can't go wrong with eggs and greens.

I will post more on our walk soon.

xx

Poached Eggs with Garlic Mustard

2 farm fresh eggs

1/2 pound of Garlic Mustard with flowers or a similar bitter green (Dandelions would be just as good)

4 tablespoons of olive oil

Cracked black pepper to taste

Sea salt to taste

Wash the garlic mustard and remove the leaves and flowers from the stems

Discard the Stems

Set the flowers aside

In pot of rapidly boiling water blanch the Garlic Mustard leaves for 10 seconds or so, just long enough for them to soften and turn a beautiful vibrant green.

Remove the Leaves from the water with a slotted spoon and divide between to plates.

Drizzle the greens with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.

In the remaining boiling water crack two eggs and poach. 

When the eggs are one slide one each with a slotted spoon from the pot to the plates.

Drizzle with a bit more olive oil

Top with cracked black pepper and Sea Salt

Add the delicate Garlic Mustard flowers on top.

Serve with tow slices of toast. I used walnut raisin bread because that is what I had around. (Thank you Paola!)

I rubbed the toasts with garlic after toasting.

thank you shandaken bake. pie for dinner.

With Marty on his way to pick up Lula from the beach and Sam in Brooklyn for the evening, I see no reason why I should not eat this lovely little rhubarb pie that was so nicely given to me by Craig from Shandaken Bake at The New Amsterdam Market today. A little pie and some oregano tea, sometimes it just has to be dessert for dinner! ; )

 Our neighbors once in the Catskill's, Shandaken has moved to the city full time! We will miss them at the Round Barn. Don't miss their amazing seasonal pies and other treats at the New Amsterdam Market on Sundays! Keep your ears open for news of a retail venture soon!

where the wild things are no.19. fried milkweed blossom.

Milkweed is the new kale... just saying. 

 You might encounter milkweed on some menus this summer as it is popping up all over the place. I first heard about fried milkweed blossoms last year, through my friend Emily from Four and Twenty Blackbirds.  I immediately looked for some Upstate but was too late in the season for the young blossoms. I made a mental note to not miss them this year. I had a chance to collect some with Evan Strusinski in Southern Vermont last week. They taste a little like asparagus but with a broccoli like texture and they remind me a bit of squash blossoms or day lilies in taste. After a bit of research, I have found that the many parts of this much-maligned weed are edible. If you are interested in wild edibles you may want to pick upStalking the Wild Asparagus or Petersen's Field Guide To Wild Edibles. Research wild crafters or foragers in your area and make a point of taking a class with them. Always properly identify a plant before eating it! Milkweed in its early growth stages can be confused with Dogbane, a poisonous plant but in its later stages of growth it is easy to identify. You may know the Common Milkweed already, as the plant that attracts the Monarch butterfly. The Monarch depends solely on this plant for its survival. Farmers have never been great fans of this weed as it grows along the edges of pastures and fields and sometimes colonizes and can encroach on crops. Cows and sheep won't touch it. You will often see a field eaten clear down to stubble with the exception of a few lone milkweeds. The plant can be harmful to livestock so this is why they don't eat it. I don't think I ever knew that milkweed was edible. However, I had heard somewhere long about the sixth grade, when we were studying migration, that you could make cloth, paper or rope from the fibers of the pods and stalks but that was about the extent of my knowledge. There will be more recipes  in the near future using milkweed as this was a tasty hit at a Brooklyn party yesterday afternoon! It dissapeared in minutes. I made a batter of spelt flour and dark beer and served them with a generous squeeze of lime and juniper salt. I kind of wish I had some right now!

As a total aside... milkweed fluff was used during World War One to stuff life jackets and flight jackets and has higher insulative property than goose down! You can purchase comforters made with a mix of down and milkweed fluff from the Ogallala Down Comany in Nebraska.  The seeds of the Common Milkweed plant also happen to be full of Omega 7's.

Fried Milkweed Blossoms with Juniper Salt and Lime

1 cup spelt flour

2 eggs

1 cup of dark beer

Juniper salt 

Lime

Combine the eggs, flour and beer until a smooth batter is formed.

Clean and wash the milkweed blossoms. I left a bit of stem and some tender leaves on some as I thought it was pretty.

Blanch the blossoms quickly and throw in an ice bath. This takes away any acidity or toxicity.

Pat dry.

Dip the blossoms and leaves lightly in the batter and set on a plate to allow the extra batter to drip off.

Fry the blossoms in vegetable oil until golden. The exposed bits of leaves and stem will be a brilliant green

Drain on paper towel or brown paper bag. Squeeze with lime and garnish with sea salt. 

I crushed some juniper berries in some sea salt and used that for a spicier woodsy flavor. 

where the wild things are no.18. spruce tip honey and other bits.

A few years ago, an Austrian friend gave me a jar of spruce tip honey he had made in a big pot in his yard, over a fire, upstate. I was fascinated by the idea. He told me that it is easy to make a spruce pine or fir tip syrup from the young green tips of the spruce tree, fir or pine tree.

The spruce tip syrup strangely tastes of wild strawberries and citrus with just a hint of pine.  This is strange I know, but odd and beautiful at the same time!

I had planned to make it the following year but time slipped by and I found myself upstate at the wrong time to collect the young spruce tips. This year, however I was determined to make it! A forager friend and supplier, Evan Strusinksi, who collects for many well known chefs, sent me some spruce tips he collected in Southern Vermont. Simultaneously, we gathered a big batch of our own from upstate. So with a huge pile of spruce tips I set to work to make the mysteriously beautiful syrup! Spruce tips can also be used in various recipes; many chefs are using this wild ingredient on their spring menus. A little on line research came produced some quick shortbread, salts, pickled spruce tips and other interesting uses. So far, I have only had time to make the syrup but I have a big bag of tips in my refrigerator and they seem to keep quite well for a long time so perhaps I will get around to a bit more experimentation in the coming weeks.

Spruce, pine and fir tips are all edible and can be used to make syrup. They are very high in vitamin c. I imagined the syrup would be good on with seltzer, or in a cocktail mixed with a little gin and soda, on pancakes or in tea or as some research shows, it makes for a great spoonful of vitamin c to ward off and alleviate colds and sore throats! It seems like the perfect all around staple for a  fall/winter pantry. In some parts of the country it is too late to pick the young tips but if you are lucky and you hurry you may be able to set a jar aside for winter use., You  will want to pick the tips young because the resin qualities increase as they mature.

I found that with most things there were various techniques out there for making this syrup or honey as some call it.

I ended up going my own way because the jar that my Austrian friend had given me was quite dark in color and quite thick as opposed to the clear syrups I was seeing on line.

This recipe is really simple. I went with equal parts sugar and spruce tips and added a little extra water.

I combined all three and brought the tips and the sugar water to a boil making sure not to burn it or over boil the pot. I stirred constantly for 5 minutes or so to make sure all the sugar was dissolved. I then reduced the heat to a simmer and let it cook down slowly for three hours until it was a beautiful rose color and a little bit syrupy. It thickens quite a bit when cooled.

I then strained the tips out through a sieve and discarded them. I jarred the syrup in a sterilized quart jar and refrigerated it for later use. From what i have read on line, this syrup will last up to 4 months or longer if refrigerated.

 

See the below links for some interesting recipes found on line or check out The Wild Table by Connie Green for a salt recipe and a great spruce tip vodka. As with any wild food make sure to properly identify it before cooking with it or consuming it!

I used a different method to make mine but there is some interesting inspiration here.

http://medcookingalaska.blogspot.com/2008/06/how-to-harvest-spruce-tips-with-recipes.html

http://honest-food.net/veggie-recipes/sweets-and-syrups/spruce-or-fir-tip-syrup/

 

 

SPRUCE TIP SYRUP/HONEY

5 cups spruce tips

6 cups water

5 cups sugar

 

 

Method

Coarsely chop spruce tips

Combine water, spruce tips and sugar in a large pot.

Bring to a boil stirring constantly for five minutes.

Reduce heat and simmer for an hour or so on low or until the syrup thickens to your liking.

The color will be a light a rose. 

Remember that the syrup will thicken as it cools, so you may want to test a spoonful by letting it cool to check desired consistency. If you over boil it and it becomes too thick, you can add some water to thin it down, but the color will end up be a darker honey color as opposed to the rose.

The longer you simmer it the thicker and darker it will become.

where the wild things are. no.16. quick pickled ramps.

I have been on a bit of a pickling binge lately. I have had some successes and some failures. I was "knot" so psyched about the Japanese Knotweed pickles... Knotweed is an invasive wild plant, similar to bamboo and it grows everywhere upstate. The red shoots are edible in the early spring and have  a rhubarb like flavor. I thought it would be interesting to pickle them. It was not good. The rhubarb- ness  that people talk about was a bit of a stretch for me. The pickles ended up tasting like swamp water! In order to combat such failures I simply move on to the next thing. In this case, it is pickled ramps.There is no going wrong with pickled ramps. I made a few batches  last year but the season is so short and they are so tasty, they never last more than a week or two in our house. I am into small batch; make that VERY small batch canning. I can't deal with the jars sitting around for months. I know that is the whole idea, but I tend to overdo it and make 200 jars of blackberry jam at a time so I have been attempting super small batch these past few years and pickling and canning has been a lot more reasonable. My secret pickling ingredient is juniper. I have been loving the wild, herby pine forest taste of juniper. It has become a regular addition top all my pickles. 

You can use this brine for any quick pickle.

 

 Quick Coriander Juniper Pickled Ramps

 

Makes roughly 1 quart jar

1/2-cup sugar

2 cups white wine vinegar

1-teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1-teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon dried juniper berries

1/2 teaspoon crushed juniper berries

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper fkes

1 teaspoon black Malabar peppercorns

1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger

2 bunches of ramp about roughly a half a pound

 

Rinse the ramps under cold water to remove any dirt or debris.

Gently peel back the  outer most layer of the ramp and discard.  This outermost transluscent membrane can be a bit slimy, this is what you want to peel off.

Cut the hairy root ends off the cleaned ramps and discard.

If you are using the bulb end of the ramps for pickling, cut them just above where the pink stem ends. This will give you the bulb end for pickling and the greens for sautéing. 

 

 To Make The Brine:

Add the spices and sugar to the 2 cups of white wine vinegar

Heat to a boil in a non-reactive pot

Turn off and allow steeping for 20 minutes for the spices to infuse

In the mean time, prep the ramp.

 

After 20 minutes, reheat the brine to a slow simmer.

Divide the ramp into thirds and drop into the brine for 20 seconds.

Remove after 20 seconds with a slotted spoon and set aside.

The ramp stems will turn a more vivid pink.

When all the ramps have been run through the brine, turn it off an allow it to cool.

Place the pickled ramps in a 1-quart, sterilized Weck or Ball jar or some other  sterilized airtight storage container.

 When  the brine has cooled, pour the remaining brine over the ramps.

Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least a day before eating!

The pickled ramps will last for a couple of weeks in your refrigerator.

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