Friday, March 29, 2013
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Save the date: The sixth annual Living Local Expo will be held at Lawrence High March 23, noon-4. The free Expo will showcase more than a dozen local farm businesses and chefs.
The farmers market, the first of the spring season, will feature local fruits and vegetables, meat, cheeses, food and food products. Visit the farmers market to talk with local farmers about the coming season. Have a locally prepared lunch, soup, chili, bread, cider, fruit and more from local farms and food businesses. Find out about local cheeses, jams and jellies, pickled peppers, desserts, and wonderful flowers. Cooking demonstrations and sampling by local chefs will be offered all afternoon.
Participants include: Beechtree Farms, Cherry Grove Farm, Griggstown Quail Farm and Market, Terhune Orchards, the Fulper Family Farmstead, Stony Brook Orchids, the Terra Momo Bread Co., Frank's Pickled Peppers, Jeff Burd Aviaries, Jams by Kim, The Great American Cheesecake Co., the Savory Spice Shop.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
The corporate world is like a shooting star these days, with high-tech takes off and plummets back to earth. Finance loses its glamor, with young tycoons landing on unemployment lines. Retail-not so good; real estate-overbuilt, undersold. What's the good news? How about an ancient industry that's getting…
Friday, March 15, 2013
An article went viral this week: “I Work at a Chicken Processing Plant.” It tells the insider story about Big Ag chicken processing. “It smells like a public pool. People lose fingers and hands ‘quite a bit.’ A supervisor will spend 15 minutes making a cart full of chicken carcasses ‘look like they were trying to be sexy’...They [the chickens] are taken to live hang where they get electroshock ‘therapy’ more or less. They go through multiple process to kill bacteria, defeather, pull out the gizzards.”
The story may make you think twice before eating your next chicken. But you don’t have to stop eating chicken - just choose chickens that are humanely treated, eat a healthy diet and are given plenty of space and fresh air. Believe it or not, your decision can affect the way chickens are treated. For example, Whole Foods Market announced this week that they require GMO labeling on all their products. The reason being, according to the company’s CEO, consumer demand: “We’ve seen how our customers have responded to the products we do have labeled,” A.C. Gallo, Whole Foods’ CEO, told the New York Times. “Some of our manufacturers say they’ve seen a 15 percent increase in sales of products they have labeled.”
We can vote with our fork for more ethical, healthful food choices at stores and restaurants. When it comes to pasture-raised, natural chicken, look no further than Griggstown Poultry Farm, which specializes in poultry and game. It is located right here in Central New Jersey just off Bunkerhill Road in Griggstown.
Over the past three decades, the farm has become a giant in the state’s Slow Food community. Under the slogan “Field to Market,” Griggstown farm has expanded to become a go-to destination for supporters of healthy, locally grown food that’s produced humanely and naturally. Their farm-raised poultry and game can be purchased at the farm’s own market, at Whole Earth Center and at local farms and farmers markets. The farm houses a USDA processing plant which processes poultry two to three days a week. Recently they opened a new commercial kitchen where they make their famous pot pies and other delicacies. You can go there, enjoy the green pastures and see for yourself how well the animals are treated.
You can read more about Griggstown Poultry Farm in Locavore Adventures. Go out to the farm, get some chicken and try this recipe from the book:
Griggstown Farm Chicken with Apple Cider Glaze, Potatoes and Vegetables
1 whole boneless chicken breast with skin.
1 chopped shallot
1 cup apple cider
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 sprig rosemary
2 leaves sage
2 tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper to taste
For the potatoes:
1 potato peeled and cubed
1 onion sliced
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp. Cayenne pepper
Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet with the oil. Sear the chicken
skin-side down until brown on medium heat. Turn the chicken over and brown the other side.
Remove the breast from the pan and finish cooking in a 350 degree oven until done, about ten
Add the chopped shallot to the pan and cook until soft. Deglaze with the apple cider, add the
brown sugar and cook until reduced by 2/3 and syrupy. Add the chopped herbs, season with salt
and pepper and stir in the butter. Pour over chicken when you plate it.
For the potatoes:
Cook the potatoes in lightly salted water until tender and drain well. Heat the olive oil in a large,
heavy skillet. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and add to the hot oil. Let the potatoes
brown in the pan. Add the onions and garlic and let them cook until soft. Add the thyme, salt and
Any of your favorites will work. I like to use sauteed broccoli rabe, baby carrots and baby
zucchini. Look for a variety of colors, flavors and textures to make the dish interesting.
Griggstown Quail Farm and Market
986 Canal Road, Princeton NJ 08540
Friday, March 8, 2013
It's a perfect day for Garden State Clam Chowder! One that is light, full of flavor and utterly satisfying. Shellfish goes beautifully with bacon so why not try it with the Tre Piani green salad. With crusty bread you'll have a heartwarming, fresh and satisfying meal.
Garden State Clam Chowder
Tre Piani Restaurant
12 littleneck clams
3 cloves garlic sliced thin
1 tomato diced
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup small diced potato
1 tbsp. fresh parsley roughly cut
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the garlic. Let the garlic cook slowly until
golden brown. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook until the clams open. Serve
Tre Piani Micro Green Salad
1 cup micro greens, any mix of lettuce will work
3 slices of cooked bacon crumbled
1 tbsp. chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 tbsp. sharp cheese shredded or shaved
1 small shallot minced
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk dressing ingredients together until emulsified and toss remaining
ingredients when you are ready to serve.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
This time of the year we’re thinking seafood at Tre Piani. It’s Lent and as a self-respecting Italian restaurant we serve seafood. Which brings me to the Cape May Salt Oysters - I love them, first and foremost, because they are delicious: they kiss your palate with just the right blend of sweet and salty, elegant and smooth. But then they are a great example of how you can save an endangered species of food simply by eating it. A win-win situation.
The Cape May Salt Oysters are actually Delaware Bay oysters grown in a very salty patch of the ocean off the shore in Cape May (hence the “salt”). Delaware Bay Oysters, a New Jersey legacy, once streamed out of Cape May - collected in barrels, loaded onto trucks and dispatched to Philadelphia. They were so bountiful that some streets in colonial Philadelphia were paved with their shells. The Cape May oyster industry provided jobs for thousands of people and created a bustling economy in the area. Back then, places selling oysters were as common as present-day pizzerias.
But as it happens all too often, overfishing, pollution, a changing environment and diseases brought a decline in the local oysters and the oyster industry in Cape May. While the Cape May estuary was home to 1,400 boats with 2,300 men in 1879, those numbers shrank to fewer than 50 boats and 150 men involved in cultivating and gathering oysters.
But things have been turning around recently, largely due to the innovative research, expertise and hard work of two of my friends: Danny Cohen, a longtime fisherman who looks like a PhD, and Walt Canzonzier, a PhD who looks like a fisherman and specializes in oysters. Danny and Walt started to grow Delaware Bay Oysters in sustainable conditions that make them the exquisite delicacy that they once were. Known now as Cape May Salt Oysters, they are enjoying a real renaissance, and are a much sought-after item on the menus of Tre Piani and many other high-end restaurants across the country. You can read all about it in Locavore Adventures.
I also dare say that Slow Food Central New Jersey and the Slow Food’s Ark of Taste program have something to do with the oysters’ re-established caché. The Ark Project is a way to identify and catalog endangered foods, such as oysters. Slow Food groups from outside the US had already identified hundreds of Ark food-members; they included not just seafood, but heirloom fruits and vegetables, rare breeds of livestock, beverages, cheeses, honey, grains, and the like. I wanted the Delaware Bay Oysters to be the first American food to enter the ark. With the help of Walt, and my Slow Food colleagues, we put together a paper documenting our case. We really wanted to protect the endangered Delaware Bay oyster industry itself. We were realistic because of course there was no way to bring back the boom times, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t develop a good market for locally grown oysters of special quality.
We succeeded in hoisting the oysters up the Slow Food ladder to be the first Ark of Taste member of Slow Food USA. At this level not only is the product identified but we take steps to reintroduce it into niche markets. James Tweed, Danny Cohen’s Oysterman, was recently asked, “Has Slow Food helped [in popularizing the oysters ]?” His answer was an emphatic yes. The production has tripled and the demand has sustained itself.
Sometimes all you need to do in order to preserve an endangered food is to eat it. Create demand that will sustain its producers and allow them to keep doing what they’re doing. Oysters can be served in so many ways. Here is one of Walter’s quirky recipe, as is, from Locavore Adventures.
OSTRICHE AL FORNO IN FRETTA
Having sampled a batch or two of oysters for Dermo or other symbionts of interest, one is
typically left with a nice batch of preshucked bivalves that demand thrifty disposal late in the
afternoon. TFD drawing near, it it might be most appropriate to utilise this “by-product” by
consigning it to the kitchen for additional processing that will convert it to a comestible item
for the dinner table. One quick and simple procedure that I have applied to such excessively
manipulated oysters is the following.
Shucked oysters (nice glycogen-rich specimens from the Cape Shore or the MR Cove preferred)
Fresh parsellee, chopped fine
Some spinach from a local farm market (if in season); wash to remove the sand and cut coarsely
Some high-quality bread crumbs
Some boiled hamm if not all the supply has been used for lunch sandwiches (smoked hamm is
Some ground thyme and ground black pepper
A bit of EV olive oil from Puglia
Some white wine or dry vermouth
Spread a layer of bread crumbs on the bottom of a moderately shallow ceramic dish. Place some
hamm on top of this layer and then place the parsellee and/or spinach on top of the hamm. Next
add the oysters on top of the spinach. Sprinkle on some pepper and thyme and then a thin layer
of parsellee and spinach.
Drool a few mL of olive oil over this layer plus a bit of white wine (if the oysters are of high
salinity, use plenty of wine to dilute the salt) and then cover the entire mess with a nice layer
of bread crumbs. Cover the dish and place in the microundulator and give it a spin at low to
medium power until it bubbles around the edges. Now place the dish in a preheated oven and
bake at a fairly high temperature until the crumbs are nicely browned. This concoction is easy
to make and is ready before you have finished your first glass of vino potabile.