Sunday, May 26, 2013

Freddy J's BBQ

Freddy J's BBQ is operating out of a tiny spot on Grant Street near the corner of Grant and Lafayette  in the heart of the Westside of Buffalo.

The building was recently revamped from the inside out by owner and architect, Kathleen Kinan, and now includes extensive landscaping and a wrap-around patio.

The new space now allows for indoor seating as well as to go from the shuttered window. The place is  whimsical and colorful and the smell of jerk floats through the air, drawing you in.

The tight but very well run kitchen, churns out dish after dish in record time. I enjoyed a quick lunch of jerked fish with steamed vegetables over a fluffy layer of Spanish rice and steaming hot cornbread.

I was shocked by the jerk!

Most restaurant created jerk I've had hits you in the face with it's heat, never with it's flavor. This was the best I have ever eaten. The heat still made my upper lip sweat but was not so powerful that I couldn't enjoy all of the subtle layering of flavors. The veggies were firm and earthy and the rice was excellent. I highly recommend taking the time to visit the little spot with a friend. It was a truly wonderful meal.

Freddy J's BBQ on Urbanspoon

Blackbird Sweets

Blackbird Sweets is open for business out of the beautifully remodeled Horsefeathers Market located on Connecticut Street in the Westside of Buffalo. Her shop shares baking and serving space alongside her father and husband's shop, The Pasta Peddler.

Here is Andrea Amodeo, owner of Blackbird Sweets, holding her delicious Vegan Cinnamon Mocha Cupcake. It's moist and full of nooks and crannies, made possible by her use of coconut as an egg replacement. The creamy frosting is richly flavored. She creates, regular, gluten free, and vegan sweets of all sorts.

She also has a table at the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market which was full of brightly colored glittery cookies, cupcakes, and more. Andrea is as sweet as her treats and a delight to talk to. I highly recommend speaking to her about creating your next event's treats!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The 'Sauer Krause' Burger - Essex St. Pub and the Custom Burger Challenge

Two weeks ago, Bob and I went to Essex St. Pub for some late night beers and eats following the Mexican International Dinner, as per our tradition. Jillian, Macky's badass and bodacious waitress, told us about the custom burger challenge and pointed out the board which had four burgers listed.

We ended up choosing the 'Holy Moe' which includes peperjack cheese, jalapenos, mushrooms and macaroni & cheese on a smoked burger. It was pretty tasty.

It got us thinking about all the times we came up with really great burger combos at home and how we could totally create a burger that would leave these four in the dust.

And lo, the 'Sauer Krause' was created!

The marble rye bread, which is like eating a pillow (Oh, it's so soft!) is toasted on the inside. Yes! The inside!

Then a nice layer of not too little and not too much sauerkraut is added. A smoked burger is sliced in half and then drizzled with roasted garlic and cilantro dressing. Served with kettle chips and a crisp pickle, this slim burger eats like a sandwich with a punch of flavor in every nibble.

Like a mouthgasam in every bite. I kid you not, this burger is fan-fuckin-tastic!

Notice the perfection in the close up on the right? I know, right?! Amazing!

You should also know that the best beer pairing for this is an amber. Nothing dark like a porter or a stout, and no pale ales either. We had ours with the ever perfect, Flying Bison, Rusty Chain.

Next time you get a hankering for delicious meat, stop by the Essex and say, "Eins 'Sauer Krause", bitte?"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Madras - English-styled Indian Curry

This Madras is a very traditional English-styled Indian curry. A blend of black mustard seeds, salt and fresh ground pepper, turmeric, fresh or dried curry leaves, two or three little dried chilies, and a spice called asafoetida. It has a sharp and unpleasant smell when raw, but when heated, it mellows out into a smooth scent and flavor similar to caramelized onions.

Cook your vegetables and/or meat in sesame seed oil, half a lemon or lime's worth of juice, a splash of malted vinegar, and the spices on medium low. Add 3/4 cup coconut milk with the cream.

This was served with shaved savoy cabbage and basmati with peas. I ladled extra curry over the top and the rice soaked up the juices. The coconut milk and it's cream took the heat out of the spice, less cream would put the teeth back in this curry.

Singer - Cherries, Garlic, and the Greening of a Green Farm

Vivianne Singer Szulist and her husband Tom Szulist own and operate the certified organic Singer Farm Naturals.

"Our family retail business sells farm fresh and dried fruit, organic gourmet garlic and other products associated with healthy and sustainable living. We are committed to providing quality local foods, and promoting the value of living gently on this earth."

Straw bales, reclaimed wood, SIPS panels on the roof, solar panels, and more allows Singer to save money and natural resources. There is a wind turbine on the barn as a separate source of energy.

The Froling Wood Boiler, located in the main building, is a high efficiency boiler that uses wood to heat water that is stored in a 1000 gallon tank for use throughout the building, from the radiant floors to heating potable water. Froling : The US Distributor . For more information on how the system operates, go to: US Distributor Info 

The system featured on the right was built into the back of the main structure and is made up of a series of evacuated tube heat pipe solar collectors by SunMaxx Solar. A closed loop glycol system used for hot water, building heat; the excess heat during the summer is set to be used to kiln dry lumber.

Tom Szulist put in most of the equipment himself and is not one to shy from learning the ins and outs of energy saving systems.

These four giant solar panels create even more energy! Go to this site for more information on all things photovoltaic in New York State.

Local Mountmorency cherries are higher in melatonin, are more anti-inflamatory, and have higher ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity) values than sweet cherry varieties.

A variety of sour cherry, Montmorency cherries are part of the lighter-red amarelle cultivar of sour cherries.

Named for a valley in France, this variety is sturdy, hardy and perfectly suited to grow along the southern shores of Lake Ontario, whose environment is much like it's French namesake.

The tree produces large, light red fruit and they are the most popular sour cherry in the United States and Canada. They are extensively used in pies, jams and preserves. They are also popular dried, chocolate dipped, and juiced.

The farm's garlic plants are grown closely together, leaving enough space for the bulbs to mature, but maximizing the field's high yield capabilities. Garlic does well in loose, dry, well drained soils in sunny locations, and is hardy throughout USDA climate zones 4 - 9.

Large cloves, along with proper spacing in the planting bed, improves head size. Garlic plants prefer to grow in a soil with a high organic material content, but are capable of growing in a wide range of soil conditions and pH levels. The farm grows 70 variatals, planting over 50,000 bulbs, with a minimum of 21 human interventions, from planting to consumption. They use an all organic feed system that includes a fish emulsion and seaweed fertilizer layered on top of Chicken fertilizer. Garlic is a heavy feeder and also requires a minimum of one inch of water per week.

Garlic scapes are removed to focus all the garlic's energy into bulb growth. The scapes can be eaten raw or cooked. When crushed, Allium sativum, yields allicin, an antibiotic, antiviral, and anti-fungal compound.

Heating garlic over 107* kills the allicin that is released from freshly crushed or sliced garlic. It is recommended that garlic is added to your dishes raw (Garlic Scapes Pesto) or at the last moment so it retains its healthy properties.

Singer Farm Naturals uses Bruce Fiegle bees ("Bruce Fiegel at Fiegel Apiaries produces local raw honey, as well as basswood, buckwheat, peach blossom, chunk, and the traditional clover and wildflower honey as well. His bees not only produce some of the best honey in Western New York, they also pollinate some of the best orchards." - Kevin and Melissa Gardner of Five Points Bakery). They also grow potatoes, wheat with clover, raise pigs from local pig parlor tender Cindy Chapman, and besides their cherries and garlic are looking toward expanding community access to showcase the beauty of the farm.

As our interview came to a close, Tom shared, "If we're going to do it, we're going to do it the best we can."

I suggest making a day of it, visit the farm early, stay in town for a fine meal near the lake and be sure to stop for ice cream at Lake Effect!

A special thank you to my husband, Bob Krause, for helping with the wording on the different systems and finding me links to share. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Garlic Scapes Pesto by Singer Farm Naturals

This is Singer Farm Natural's recipe and I absolutely love the consistency! We made this using the scapes that Tom Szulist gave us following our tour of the farm and orchard.

12-15 garlic scapes (chopped)
2⁄3 cup toasted walnuts (This is optional, I left them out of this batch.)
12 medium basil leaves
1⁄2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
Olive oil, about 1 1⁄2 cups

Place the scapes, basil leaves, several tablespoons of olive oil, coarse sea salt, and pepper in the blender. 

Pulse a few times until the ingredients are roughly mixed and chopped. Add Parmigiano and give a quick blend.

Now, with the blender running, slowly pour the olive oil. Keep pouring and blending until the mixture is a thick and spreadable, yet not completely smooth.

To store, transfer the pesto to a container and pour a thin layer of olive oil on the top to seal. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. Serve pesto on crusty bread or mixed into spaghetti noodles with a bit of the hot pasta water added. We liked ours dolloped on our salad and smears on toast. This makes about 2 cups of pesto.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Milano Cookies - No Eggs!

Craving Milano Cookies from Pepperidge Farm, which I can't have because they have eggs in them really stinks! So after playing around with a family favorite cookie recipe and a nearly empty jar of Nutella I discovered I actually can have them now.
1/2 pound of sweet, unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/3 cups flour
Blend thoroughly  Roll in wax paper and freeze for 30 minutes. Slice thinly.

Bake at 350* for 15 minutes. Wire rack cool. Smear with Nutella and stack.

 Enjoy stacked with a tall glass of milk.