Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Carnish Culture: The Nudie Foodies Book Release!

The book is out! Pick it up at Blurb.com! 100% of all profits benefit AmeriCares Japan tsumani relief. I am so proud to be a part of this project. Thank you everyone for your continuing support.

We did it!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Recettes Secrètes: Prosecco Gelée

On the next episode of my podcast The Table Set, Andy, Greg and I discuss amuse-bouche, apertifs, and how to properly start a party. Since I am a lover of Prosecco and any cocktail you can eat, this recipe immediately came to mind. Conceived by pastry chef Catherine Schimenti and originally printed by the LA Times, here I adapted this a very easy, unique, and festive way to open an elegant meal.

Prosecco Gelée

1 (6-inch) length of a vanilla bean
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons (2 packets) unflavored gelatin powder
12 ounces Prosecco

Pour sugar into a small jar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the sugar, add pod, lid jar and shake vigorously to mix thoroughly. Remove pod and add the vanilla sugar to 3/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Heat over moderately high heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup almost comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Fold into the warm simple syrup and stir constantly until the gelatin is dissolved.

Carefully pour the Prosecco into the saucepan, and stir gently but quickly to combine. Pour the gelée mixture into molds or an 8-by-8-inch square cake pan lined with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely set, preferably overnight. To serve, carefully remove the gelée from the molds (use the tip of a knife to loosen each shot) or, if using a cake pan, cut the gelée into 1-inch squares. Serve cold. To really make an impression, garnish with edible 24K gold flakes.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Voyager Bien: The Big [Mill] Chill part 1

Sometimes magic happens.
Simple, unhurried, effortless magic.

It was a blustery spring morning when I flew into JFK, red-eyed from a sleepless red eye with a high school glee club, and an emotional veil leftover from my grandmother’s funeral the previous day. The crowd in baggage claim parted and there was Brooke, bundled in hiker’s packs, red-eyed herself, and ready with a warm hug.

Renting a car in New York is about as surreal as it gets. After trekking from JFK and scooping up two more of my bestest friends in Brooklyn (and a few growlers of beer), we were off upstate through pizzelle-sized snowflakes, the warmth already returning to my cheeks.
When we first wound down the old country road leading to our abode for the next few days, we passed the turn-off – quickly halting to a stop on the bridge just past. There, across the creek, through a clearing of naked trees was The Mill. White water rushing around its steady stone base. A sentinel. A lounging giant. No one breathed for several seconds. Simply magical.
The structure was originally built in 1913 as a cider mill, partially using stones from a destroyed cotton mill at the same site. Research found it was once owned by a Rowland Hazard of South Kingstown, Rhode Island (uh, family ghosts?)
The interior was gutted in the late seventies and renovated as a living space in a (then) modern fashion, now fused with a decidedly rustic mid-century aesthetic. Breezy airways exist between the rooms and floors, geometric peek-a-boos for airflow and the ever-present white noise of the powerful water rushing through the Mill’s veins.
An impressive collection of enamelware and unique kitchen tools immediately won me over.. (A vintage fondue set for 24? Fantastic). We were home.
To settle in, we tapped a growler and sipped IPA with cheese and apples while Judah prepared our first of several fantastic dinners. His cauliflower quiche was modest but comforting and flavorful, served with cast-iron roasted Brussels sprouts and a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
After dinner reading from the Mill's library proved that I may, in fact, be an alcoholic.
Morning meant sunlight (goodbye veils and rainclouds) and a bustle in the kitchen as "the Germans" prepared us a proper European style continental spread. Lox, dilled cucumbers, herbed potato salad, frittata, mushroom scramble, prosciutto & melon, cheeses, dry-cured sausages, soft rye and crusty breads. And lots of coffee.
To make the most of our day, we the chefs of the next few meals drove into town right after breakfast to hit up Adams Fairacre Farms and Arlington Wine & Liquor Store to stock up for the rest of the weekend. Back at the Mill, Brooke prepared her short ribs and then we were off to explore the grounds.
The patio on the back side of the mill's upper floor is a ghostly shrine, comprised of the ruins of the previous cotton mill (circa 1840) which burnt down in 1873.
In the sticks beyond the Mill are the foundations of an old ice house. Full of roots and empty glass bottles, ancient and less ancient.
The mill pond (which believe it or not we jumped into one icy afternoon).
As the sun filtered away little by little through the trees, it felt like the right time for a cold craft beer. We returned to our arsenal of growlers, filled at infamous Williamsburg Brew York City inside of a Bedford corner Duane Reade pharmacy. It didn't take us long to go through the 64 oz bottles of Kelso Nut Brown, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Righteous Rye, and Peak Organic IPA.
Dinner #2: Brooke (little bird big city) made us braised short ribs!
Liz contributed her hand-made focaccia (some for now, and some for later).
Alongside the delicious stew-like ribs Brooke made cheesey cast iron cornbread and kale beet salad with chevre.
But Brooke REALLY spoiled us with dessert (she IS a professional at this)... Her scratch butterscotch caramel puddings were literally to die for.
Already I felt like someone was writing the screenplay for my perfect relaxing weekend retreat as it was unfolding. And to think it had only just begun!