Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Feast!

As the first membership packets start coming in, member profiles will begin to become a weekly feature on the BG Bulletin. Getting to know the BG members and highlighting their shops, restaurants and farms will give a great sense of the work folks have been doing across the country to improve our food system. In the meantime, I am looking forward to today, the first Friday Feast post!

Friday Feast is a post that will go up every Friday. There will usually be a recipe or butchery technique to set the weekend warriors on their path and often a restaurant or two that serve responsibly-sourced meats, local produce and delicious courses. If you have recipes you'd like to see on Friday Feast, don't hesitate to send them in!

Looking to go out to eat?

I've been spending the last few weeks in NYC, and had the pleasure last night of dining at the Vinegar Hill House in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn. On the cobblestone streets of a very old riverside nabe of the best borough, sits this cozy restaurant. We found it packed for early evening on Thursday, but were seated pretty quickly. Right away, the large wood-fired oven in the corner of the open kitchen at the end of the bar caught my eye. I am drawn to pre-range cooking techniques, as if the ancestors themselves are jumping for joy, knowing that fire means food-something a stove just doesn't do, no matter how beautifully crafted.

We started with a lovely chicken pot pie, though I'd probably call it more of a chicken tartlet. It was wonderfully rich, creamy and little bursts of sweetness were brought in by the cranberries tucked inside. The sweetness was fairly balanced by the butter lettuce that accompanied it, though, we found as the meal progressed that sweet-savory flavor profile would continue. My friend went with Artic Char poached in red wine and butter, served with a blood orange sauce and a beet and olive puree. I was feeling rather peckish to be honest, so I turned my meal progression around and went with a board of cheese, salami and pate, and a side of pan-roasted baby Brussels sprouts with maple, dijon and hazelnuts. Everything we ate was beautifully made, well thought out and expertly prepared-though all the dishes leaned heavily toward the sweet side of the road. We both found ourselves heartily wishing for a side bitter greens, some heat or acidity to counteract the decadence of the dishes presented. The service also left a little to be desired, but a busy full house and a tight kitchen were immediate signs to both of us that our food would take a while to make it to the table. Great conversation in a warm and glowing atmosphere, the electrifying buzz of staff and watching as plates teaming with sumptuous meats made their way to the tables around us-sometimes the wait makes the goal all the more enticing- and I just love the odd sense of victory when those passing plates finally come toward me. Mine!

72 Hudson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11201

For those of you staying in tonight, a few recipes to try at home!

Thai Fried Chicken and Basil Waffles with Chili-Honey Sauce

Thai Coconut Marinade

This recipe turns out tender flavorful chicken every time! Using local, pastured chicken takes this downhome fave to new heights!

2 chickens, cut down into 8 pieces. Breasts can also be halved crosswise if desired, creating 10 pieces per chicken.
3 cans coconut milk
juice and zest of 6-8 limes
sriracha/chili garlic paste
3 cloves garlic, sliced
fresh kaffir lime and basil leaves
1 tbsp kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Whisk coconut milk, lime juice and chili paste together, taste and adjust acid and spice if needed. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Place cuts of chicken in large, non-metallic bowl or container. Cover in marinade, be sure each piece is saturated with marinade. Cover container and refrigerate for 12-36 hours

6 cups panko bread crumbs
zest of 1 lime
1/4 to 3/4 cup shredded coconut, according to preference
kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Mix ingredients together and place in medium-sized shallow dish. Dredge and fry in preferred method. Deep-fryer, shallow pan, oven, it's up to you!

Basil Waffles
recipe adapted from Serious Eats

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 egg whites
1/4 finely chopped fresh basil

In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. In another bowl beat egg yolks slightly. Stir in milk, oil and basil. Add egg yolk mixture all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just till moistened (should be lumpy). In a small bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight up).Gently fold egg whites into flour and egg yolk mixture, leaving a few fluffs of egg white, Do not overmix. Spoon waffle batter into your waffle iron, making sure not to overfill it. Cook to desired crispness.

Chili-Honey Sauce

1 cup honey (raw and local tastes the best!)
1 tsp red chili flakes
juice of 1 lime

Warm honey in sauce pan on low heat. Whisk in lime juice and chili flakes, adjust to taste.

Serve 1-2 pieces of chicken on top of a waffle, drizzle entire mountain of mega-flavor with honey sauce. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf. Perfect sides to this are bright, crispy and acidic. Try a simple slaw or salad!


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