In Our Winter 2016-2017 Issue

By Eric Steinman | Last Updated January 01, 2017
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hudson valley winter cover

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

GRIST FOR THE MILL: ELECT THIS

To say the most recent election season was an exciting, off-putting, disconcerting, anxiety-provoking, colorful, embarrassing, distracting, petty, bombastic, sensational, vulgar, phenomenal, loud, unprecedented, provocative and singular affair would not only be a gross understatement but also a mischaracterization, as one is still leaving out any number of linguistic or adjective phrases that could be thrown on the pyre of our collective conflagration over the last year or more to accurately describe the most bizarre … oh, you get it.

The disruption that the aforementioned spectacle, which thankfully is now in the rearview, bestowed upon us, at least temporarily, ruined a lot of things, including: civil discourse, cable news, family gatherings and appetites. If nothing else, all of this has brought back our unmitigated and insatiable desire for comfort food. Not since post-9/11 have we seen the intense draw to all things warm, gooey, cheesy, chocolaty, earthy and relating to the consumption of comfort, in an altogether literal way. But before the bread bowls are hollowed out and cupcakes have yet another resurgence, let’s take a moment to visit one of the few topics overlooked during our appendix burst of an election.

During this election cycle, there was barely a word mentioned about food and/or agriculture. While this is decidedly bad for everyone, it is especially bad for rural America (46 million Americans live in rural communities)—an ever-shrinking locale where the vast majority of our food is grown and harvested, and, not coincidentally, a place where economic dissolution and resentment runs rampant. Because of the bluster and attention paid to a myriad of subjects (including beauty pageants, e-mail servers, Tic-Tacs and the like), we never quite got to the meat and veg of the matter to deal with the healthcare of our food system. Unfortunately, caring about food, and the systems that support our ability to sustainably feed ourselves, has become unfairly perceived as an elitist endeavor, engaged primarily by urbanites who eschew grain-fed beef and insist on “craft” being a part of everything they consume. Thus, the food movement has done a great deal to secure the growth of artisan chocolate and heirloom grains but has yet to effectively address and promote issues around farm policy, land management and a truly sustainable system. This, sadly, creates and reinforces a sense that there is a schism between consumer and producer, urban and rural, blue collar and everyone else. It should go without saying: We need to get a little bit louder on these issues.

But onto the issue at hand: Winter in the Hudson Valley is upon us, and we look for the life underneath the yearly winding down and relative hush of the season. We visit an unlikely enterprise in Newburgh—a sustainable shrimp farm growing exemplary seafood in a way to inspire anyone who has groused about the dearth of quality shellfish in the area (page 32). We head over to Sullivan County with chef Cesare Casella and witness the beginnings of an ambitious plan to bring Italian salumi-making to the Catskills (page 36). And we check in at Bartlett House, a lovingly restored eatery in Ghent that aims to please with all manner of baked goods and warm drinks (page 26).

Stay warm this winter (as if I need to really tell you), lick those psychic wounds inflicted from a somewhat brutal year that has all but passed, and fill your stomach and rinse your gullet with the valley’s finest, while scheming on how you could make 2017 a vast improvement on the year that preceded it.

-Eric Steinman, Editor

Wayside Cider Cultivating Catskills Heritage Through Cider

wayside cider cultivating
Wayside Cider began selling in 2015, and the result was like a fine, sparkling wine: light, delicately balanced and flavorful.

Spice Nirmala Narine's Global Perspective

spices
Nirmala’s Kitchen Spice Shop offers exotic spices with age-old healing properties still used in the far reaches of the globe.

Squash Cassoulet with Cashew Cream

This recipe puts a twist on your typical bean soup and is instead serves inside of a squash cassoulet and topped with cashew cream, perfect for the cold winter days.

Comfort Me With Memories A Visit with Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl, who served as the food editor at the Los Angeles Times and then the restaurant critic at the New York Times, was known as the person who could make or break a restaurant with a review....

The Diva of Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is the classic recipe for kids. But who said it has to just be for kids? This grilled cheese recipe is the diva of grilled cheeses and makes you look at the sandwich in a whole new way...

A New Era for Bartlett House

bartlett house
The Bartlett House, complete with central location and 19th-century charm, is home to a bakery, a dining room, offices and an apartment for team members.

Aquaman Growing 5,000 Sustainable Shrimp in Newburgh

shrimp
The United States is a shrimp glutton. Americans eat, on average, four pounds of shrimp per year. Here's where ECO Shrimp Garden comes into play.

Pork, Salt, Time & Place Chef Cesare Casella Relocates to the Catskills

Chef Cesare Casella
Casella’s, slated to open this winter, will be an artisanal butcher shop and salami factory housed in Hurleyville.

The Kitchen Artist's Whey Second Life for a By-Product

whey
Whey is the liquid resulting from milk that has been curdled to make cheese or yogurt; it serves as an abundant by-product with which dairy purveyors must contend, so abundant that there has been talk...

Crispy Whey-Braised Potatoes

crispy whey-braised potatoes
These delicious potatoes make an excellent side dish. Serve them warm, lightly seasoned with smoked salt and garnished with rosemary.

Chhenna

chhenna
Chhenna is a fresh, unripened curd cheese. Here's how to make your own.

Gin Blossom Cocktail

gin blossom
This crafty cocktail utilizes whey as an ingredient to put a fun twist on this gin blossom drink.
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