Wild Turkey in New Amsterdam

Wild Turkey in Battery Park

Last week, Kris and I followed the New Amsterdam Trail, an official tour of the National Park Service created by the Harbor Conservancy in partnership with the Henry Hudson 400 Foundation.  Download the free tour files here, then put the MP3s on your MP3 player and print out the PDF map.  The 90-minute self-guided tour of Lower Manhattan starts in Battery Park and ends on Wall Street and tells the story of the early days of New Amsterdam, the Dutch colony that would become New York City.  Honestly, not much remains to see from those old Dutch days, but I would recommend doing the tour anyway to hear some fascinating stories of the early history of the City.  In any case, it’s a good excuse to stop for an al fresco snack and a drink on Stone Street.

Then there is the unexpected.  We saw a wild turkey foraging right in the middle of Battery Park!  See, there is definitely more to New York wildlife than just pigeons and rats.  We’ve also spotted a barn owl one night last year in Battery Park City.

Vote for “Herbivores” on Food2

Herbivores,” the video that I made with my friend and ITP classmate Elizabeth Fuller last year has made it to the top 10 semifinals of the First Annual Food2 Summer Challenge. But we desperately need your votes to help us win the grand prize, a trip to the NYC food and wine festival. Please vote for us at the link here. You need to sign in to vote, but you can log in using your Facebook or MySpace account. It only takes a minute.

Thanks so much for your help!

herbivores

Mussels in Curry Cider Cream Sauce

Normandy meets the Pondicherry of my post-post-colonial imagination in this improvised dish I made last night.

mussels in cider curry cream

Ingredients
2 tablespoons of butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon of minced jalapeño
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 pinch of saffron (optional, I just couldn’t help myself)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely-ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
4 pods of cardamom
2 bay leaves
1 bag of live mussels
1 cup of dry cider (I used Cidre Bouché Brut Etienne Dupont, an unfiltered and unpasteurized cider from Normandy)
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup of crème fraîche, I suppose regular heavy cream would work too
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped parsley and/or cilantro for garnish

cidre brut

Instructions
Clean the mussels and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and sauté everything except the mussels and the liquids over medium heat until lightly browned. Take your time with this part to achieve a nice caramelization of the onions.

Add the mussels, cider and lemon juice and simmer until the mussels pop open. Stir in the crème fraîche and serve immediately with crusty bread (or, if you are hardcore, French fries) to soak up the sauce. To drink: the rest of the bottle of cider. Yum!

Serves two people as a main course, or 3 or 4 for an appetizer.

Spanish-Style Braised Hake

spanish-style braised hake

Ingredients

1 pound of hake, filleted and cut into 4 inch chunks (or substitute cod, pollack or similar flaky white fish)
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 roasted red bell pepper, sliced
1 handful of green olives
1/2 teaspoon of pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
1 cup of dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon of saffron, soaked in the white wine above
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
Minced parsley and/or cilantro for garnish
Olive oil, salt and pepper

Instructions

Sauté the onions and garlic in plenty of olive oil, until softened and ever so slightly browned (about 10 minutes on medium heat).  Season with salt and pepper and the pimentón.  Add the hake, olives and roasted red bell pepper.  Cover with the saffron-infused wine, stir, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a low simmer until the fish is cooked through (about 8-10 minutes).  Season to taste and garnish with the boiled eggs and herbs.  Serve with crusty bread and/or boiled potatoes.

Fried Scallops with Apricot Chutney

friedScallops

Ingredients (serves two)
For the chutney:
6 fresh apricots, stone removed and roughly chopped
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons of ground coriander seed
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons of sherry vinegar or lemon juice
1/3 cup of brown sugar
2 dashes of Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
2 dashes of fish sauce (or to taste)
salt and pepper, to taste

For the scallops:
1/2 pound of scallops
1 beaten egg
3 tablespoons unsweetened dried coconut
3 tablespoons flat rice (poha), bashed up into a powder in a mortar and pestle or food processor
salt and pepper
Neutral oil for frying (I use grapeseed oil)

Instructions
First make the apricot chutney (this part can be done ahead of time). Purée the apricots, ginger, shallots, and vinegar in a blender or food processor. Transfer to a small saucepan and add the remaining chutney ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat the oil for deep frying. Moisten the scallops in the beaten egg and then coat in a mixture of the dried coconut and flat rice that has been seasoned with salt and pepper. Deep fry into lightly golden brown. Serve immediately with the apricot chutney as a dip.

apricotChutney