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eG Foodblog: MelissaH - Summer in Oswego, NY

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#1 MelissaH

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 07:47 AM

Good morning, all!

Summer is a beautiful time of year in Oswego, NY, and I'm thrilled to be able to share a week of it with you. Oswego is in central New York, on the shore of Lake Ontario. (In fact, my house is about a ten-minute walk from the lakeshore. Next time I head out that way, I'll be sure to bring the camera.) We're on a little bump of land very close to where the shoreline turns northward, so we get glorious water views both to the north and to the west.

Oswego has about 18,000 residents, and SUNY-Oswego where both my husband and I teach has about 8600 students, mostly from all over New York. We have three supermarkets, an orchard store up the hill a few miles out of town, and a terrific independent bookstore called the river's end that helps me feed my cookbook addiction. Best of all, every Thursday night from June through mid-October, the city closes down a couple of blocks of West 1st Street for a farmer's market.

It's actually been about a month since I last went marketing, since we just got back from a conference/vacation trip earlier this week. When we left, there wasn't much interesting at the market: lettuce, radishes, the last of the asparagus, and apples from last year. This evening we should get a much wider selection!

This morning started for me with a July ritual:
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My usual breakfast is a bowl of cereal with milk. The cereal itself varies from day to day, depending on what was on sale that week, what else we have in the house, how much my sweet tooth is rearing its head, and the weather. This time of the year, it's always cold cereal. And this time of year, I always eat it downstairs in the family room, with the TV on to OLN's live feed of the Tour de France.

Today's plan is to head onto campus to start getting things in order for the fall semester, since that starts a little more than a month from now. (Yikes! :shock: ) My husband's been there for a few hours already. I'll probably go for a swim at noon, and then go back to work for the rest of the afternoon. The market opens at 5:30 this afternoon, and we typically arrive downtown shortly after that.

Later,
MelissaH
MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#2 lexy

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 08:22 AM

Hey, you're just across the lake from me - hi neighbour! What's your farmer's market like? Ours is nice, but with somewhat limited selection, and a lot of the stuff isn't actually very local (California berries, etc).
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#3 MelissaH

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 08:45 AM

Hey, you're just across the lake from me - hi neighbour! What's your farmer's market like? Ours is nice, but with somewhat limited selection, and a lot of the stuff isn't actually very local (California berries, etc).

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Hey, neighbor!

Last year's market was wonderful, but the really good stuff (local corn, local tomatoes, local peppers, local eggplant, local zucchini) didn't seem to really arrive until August. As far as I can tell, nearly everything at the market is locally produced. I didn't see any strawberries before I left town last month, but then again over half the local crop was done in by a late freeze. I'm eager to see how many things have come in during the month or so I was out of town!

MelissaH
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Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#4 Chris Amirault

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 08:53 AM

Oooh -- take lots of photos tonight at the farmers' market! Looking forward to this, Melissa!
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#5 MelissaH

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 12:09 PM

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This was lunch, grabbed after my swim from the supplies I keep in my office. (No, that wasn't Deer Park water in the bottle, but rather a refill from the handy-dandy water fountain just down the hall.) I'm following it up at home now with a diet vanilla Coke, the last from my fridge. (I decided over the winter that I didn't need the extra sugar of the Real Thing, but I detest the taste of most diet sodas. This one is at least tolerable.) There's also a bag of mini-carrots starting to call my name.

I'm starting to mull over potential dinner ideas. I'm slightly handicapped at the moment because I have no idea what the market will bring. However, I do have about 0.8 lb of ground chuck in the fridge that should probably be used tonight. It was left over from last night's dinner.

Last night we got together with our friend Anne. (She'll probably show up again later in this blog, as we frequently get together and collaborate on a meal.) I just acquired Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food book and decided that the Jamaican beef patties sounded interesting. I'd been thinking about trying them ever since I first read about them in Molly O'Neill's New York Cookbook, and (honest!) I had no idea at all that they were featured in yesterday's New York Times also. In any case, I did a recipe vaguely based on both the one in Schwartz (crust made with Crisco and tinted with turmeric; filling pre-cooked, seasoned ground beef) but instead of making 24 little turnovers as he suggests, I made 12 larger ones like the paper did. One or more will undoubtedly be showing up for lunch one of these days. Anyway, the smallest package of ground chuck at the store was 1.80 lb, and we only needed a pound of it, so I have 0.8 lb of ground chuck left over. Do I sense burgers on the grill tonight, to go with whatever else we find?

MelissaH
MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#6 little ms foodie

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 01:10 PM

Melissa, I'm looking forward to your blog!

Do you ever grind your own chuck? We just started doing that in our food processor- works beautifully.

#7 Chris Amirault

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 01:21 PM

I hope you document the making of the beef patties -- a favorite of mine when I lived in Brooklyn back in the day. Get some Pickapeppa sauce for slatherin'!
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#8 MelissaH

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 02:24 PM

Do you ever grind your own chuck? We just started doing that in our food processor- works beautifully.

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Nope, haven't tried that yet!

MelissaH, off to the market!
MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#9 MelissaH

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 06:31 PM

What a difference a month makes!

We drove downtown and parked the car as close as we could. (We have sometimes ridden our tandem bicycle rather than driving, but on the way home from our vacation, the baggage gorillas at either Amtrak or the airport mangled our rear wheel :angry: , so the bike's not currently ridable. More on that later tonight....) On the way down, we drove by the lakeshore, to look at the Oswego Light:
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We got there at about 5:45 and the place was buzzing, both figuratively and literally (see Hives of Howard below). Here's what it looks like from the other side of Bridge Street:
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The city closes off a block and a half of West First Street, and all the merchants on that block make a point of staying open until 9 PM when the market ends for the night. I like that our market is after normal working hours, because it's easy for us to go after doing something else all day. Many of the vendors visit other cities' markets on other days; there's a large regional market year-round in Syracuse on Saturday mornings. Syracuse is our "big" city; we typically make the hour-long drive down that way once every 4 to 6 weeks to get the things we can't find at all or can't purchase economically here. We've been to the regional market a few times, usually to get the poblano chiles that don't come to our market. When we get those, we throw them all on the grill to roast, let the skins steam off, freeze them on cookie sheets, and bag them to use the rest of the year.

[digression]My husband and I met in graduate school at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The market there was on Saturday mornings, in a parking lot conveniently located between downtown and my house. About this time of year, maybe a little later, the chile roasters would come to market. You could smell it for blocks! They had a truck with a giant wire basket that rotated, mounted over a burner, in the back. You'd tell them what kind of chiles you wanted (Anaheims, New Mexican, poblano, or what you will) and whether you wanted them raw or roasted. If you wanted them roasted, they might tell you to come back in X minutes, if they didn't have them ready at the moment. When you came back to pick them up, they'd have the roasted chiles packed into a plastic bag, which they'd knot closed and then slide into a plastic grocery bag. I'd take the warm bag of chiles and carefully nestle it into the bottom of my backpack, where it would feel warm against the small of my back as I rode my bike the mile and a half home. I think of everything at the Ft. Collins market, the chile roasters are what I miss the most.[/digression]

We typically start our marketing by first making a sweep up one side and down the other, just to see who has what. Most of these pictures were taken during that initial sweep. We saw lots of sweet cherries and blueberries. This was the only vendor with black raspberries (in the baskets on the far left side).
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A couple of booths up, we saw for sure that summer has arrived: the zucchini are here! I only took pictures of the pretty little ones, but some of the booths had baseball bats too. I don't remember seeing the herb plants last year. This vendor also had lettuces, radishes, a few bunches of carrots, and some green onions. (Between the carrots and the squashes were more berries.)
Posted Image Posted Image

This booth had some vegetables that I didn't see anywhere else at the market: broccoli and large (non-pickling) cucumbers!
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Fruit Valley Orchards are regulars at the market. For now they have cherries and apricots as well as jams, but later they'll have apples. I'll sometimes go to their farmstand to buy fruit, since it's a nice little bike ride from home. Actually, a lot of the orchards are nice rides from home!
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"Aunt Mary," Mary Plummer, is probably the best known caterer in town. Her most famous offerings are her Italian cookies, which she sells at the market.
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The kettle corn makers are always there. Whoever makes the corn wears a face shield for protection. Once the corn starts popping, the shield comes down. It looks really cool while they're making it, but I confess that I'm not so fond of popcorn with sugar. I'd rather have salt, cheese, or caramel.
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The Hives of Howard is another market regular. Jim Howard was the college's wrestling coach until he retired, and this is one way he's filling his time now. He always has some of his bees with him, and pointed out the queen to me. She was camera-shy, though, and hid underneath a wooden support. We're still working on some honey we bought from him last year.
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This year, one of the storefronts in the market area is being used as an Artist's Market, supported by Arts and Culture for Oswego County. We stopped in to look, but I didn't take any pictures inside. We saw lots of watercolor paintings of flowers, as well as a couple of jewelry vendors.

I also didn't take pictures of the candy sand people, the baked goods (mine are better and cheaper), the soap maker, the two wineries, or the kitschy craft sellers.

Every week, there's also entertainment at the market: always music, sometimes dancing. The high school band does one of the June markets, before school lets out for the year. Some other local bands also get the opportunity to perform, and when there's no band there's a DJ. When St. Stephen's, the Polish Catholic church, sponsors the market, the music is provided by a DJ who plays polkas. When St. Mary's, the Italian Catholic church, sponsors the market, we hear Italian music from a DJ. When St. Patrick's, the Irish Catholic church, sponsors the market, we hear (you guessed it) Irish music, and I think they also bring in dancers. The city usually provides a bandshell trailer, but this week the entertainment was provided by one of the local dance schools, and I guess they needed more room. Lots of people were watching so it was hard to get in for a good picture.
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So after all that, what did we come home with?
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Five tomatoes (locally grown in a hothouse), 4 cukes, 4 yellow squashes, 2 eggplants, and an enormous bunch of basil.

This post is getting really long; I'll put dinner in a new section.

MelissaH
(edited to fix an ugly picture/text relationship problem)

Edited by MelissaH, 21 July 2005 - 07:06 PM.

MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#10 MelissaH

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 07:00 PM

We got home from the market at about 6:30, and we were both very hungry. So for dinner, we went for quick and dirty.

My husband divided the 0.8 pounds of ground chuck in the fridge in half and flattened it into burgers.
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While he took them down to the grill, I made salad, and set aside lettuce and tomato to go with the burgers. Out of all the stuff we got at the market, we only used one tomato tonight!
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Here's what the burgers looked like, straight off the grill. Mine is the one sheathed in the white cheese (provolone). The other is applewood-smoked cheddar, which we imported from our vacation in Michigan. We don't see that cheese in town locally, but we can get it in Syracuse sometimes.
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And finally, here's what my dinner looked like once I put it together:
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I dressed my burger with lettuce and tomato, nothing more. In my book, tomato and ketchup are mutually exclusive on a burger. My husband also used lettuce and tomato, but also some onion slices, and on the bun he put butteroid, Miracle Whip (yuk! As far as I'm concerned, if you're using anything along those lines use real Hellmann's mayo!), ketchup, and yellow mustard.

The salad wasn't anything too impressive: iceberg lettuce (crunches nicely on a hot night), a little carrot, a little of the green pepper on sale at the grocery store this week, and the rest of the tomato. I drank ice water; he drank a Saranac Hefeweizen.

As I said this morning, I have quite a sweet tooth. I haven't given in to it yet today, but there's a jar of Nutella in a kitchen cabinet starting to call my name. While there are many things I could do with it, tonight might just be a night to eat it off a spoon.

While I do that, I think I'll contemplate tomorrow's dinner. I should use stuff I got from the farmer's market. I'm thinking maybe pasta with yellow squash and/or eggplant, and pesto made with that big beautiful bunch of basil. However, I don't know exactly how all these will come together, and I've never made pesto in my life (although I know I have some pine nuts down in the freezer). Any ideas or pesto recipes?

Something else I should do tomorrow is make something with sour cherries. We saw lots of sweet cherries at the market, but only one stand had sour cherries this week. Next week, we'll probably see more. One problem: I still have some of last year's sour cherries in my freezer, and I'd like to use them up before buying more. What do you like to do with sour cherries? Pie?

As I posted earlier, the rear wheel of our tandem bicycle is currently mangled:
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We have a new rim on order from the Geneva Bicycle Center in Geneva, NY. That's a small town in the Finger Lakes, about an hour and a half drive from here. We plan to visit there on Saturday to drop off the wheel, so they can rebuild it. (Last year we took the bike to Europe, and mangled the same wheel. I rebuilt it last year on a new rim myself, but I don't have the time this year.) And then as long as we're going to be down that way, we plan to spend more time in the Finger Lakes. Geneva is at the northern tip of Seneca Lake, and Ithaca is at the southern end of Cayuga Lake (one lake east). There are a number of beautiful state parks in the area, and my husband's a photographer. In addition, Ithaca's farmer's market is on Saturday mornings, so we'll be able to do more marketing! The bigger draw for me, however, is that the Cornell University dairy store will also be open on Saturday morning. So we'll have a nice little adventure this weekend.

MelissaH
MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#11 Pam R

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 07:18 PM

I'm envious of your farmer's market and local orchards! Everything looks great.

Pesto - easy to make, but I don't have quantities for you. I use a food processor and start by blitzing a ton of basil and some fresh, crushed garlic (I like a lot of garlic). When it's chopped, I add some pine nuts, salt, black pepper and as the machine continues to blitz away, slowly pour in olive oil until it's the consistency I want. It goes into a bowl and then I stir in grated parmesan. C'est tout. Taste and adjust seasoning.

#12 Susan in FL

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 08:06 PM

Welcome! I love blogs with lots of pictures of the local marketing options, especially produce. Looking forward to following this.
Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

#13 Pan

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 09:26 PM

Melissa, I'm enjoying this so far.

You might consider making a Hungarian-style Cold Cherry Soup with the sour cherries; it's a great summer soup, so refreshing. Another great Hungarian option is sour cherry strudel, my favorite flavor!

Congratulations on getting jobs at the same university! Do either of you have the chance to refer to food in class? As a musician, I do, for example when discussing certain types of harmonies as being like fragrant herbs and spices in food -- lovely, but best to avoid overusing and treat as special.

#14 bloviatrix

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 09:41 PM

Does Oswego still have the highest number of bars per capita in New York State? I remember learning this factoid from a friend who grew up there.
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#15 rjwong

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 11:36 PM

Thank you, Melissa!

It's nice to read about the "other" New York (no offense, please). As someone from the Left Coast, I'm more familiar with New York City, especially after Pan's wonderful foodblog in NYNY.
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#16 MelissaH

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 06:11 AM

Happy Friday, everyone!

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Mmm, cereal again!

Nothing special in the works for today: another lunchtime swim on campus, and while I'm there maybe I'll grab the car to get some garlic before dinner tonight. (I should explain: we share one car. It's actually pretty rare that either of us drives to work, though, since it's a ten-minute walk from home to the chemistry building if you take baby steps. If either of us does drive, it's usually because we have stuff to bring in, or stuff to come home. The last couple of days, the car's been transporting coolers full of ice home, for reasons that will become obvious no later than Monday evening. :wink: ) In the meantime, before settling down to work, I'll answer some of the questions that arose overnight.

I'm envious of your farmer's market and local orchards!  Everything looks great.

Assuming I can take the car today, I'll be able to show you the biggest of our orchard stores, because that's where I'll get the garlic. Had any been for sale yesterday at the market, I would have gotten it then.

Pesto - easy to make, but I don't have quantities for you.  I use a food processor and start by blitzing a ton of basil and some fresh, crushed garlic (I like a lot of garlic).  When it's chopped, I add some pine nuts, salt, black pepper and as the machine continues to blitz away, slowly pour in olive oil until it's the consistency I want.  It goes into a bowl and then I stir in grated parmesan.  C'est tout.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

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How far ahead of time can you make the pesto? Would it lose too much if I blitzed everything early this afternoon, but didn't eat till 7 PM or so? Ooh, I just realized that I don't have much parm left in the house either. Guess that's another item to add to my shopping list...which means I'll also get to show you the grocery store.

You might consider making a Hungarian-style Cold Cherry Soup with the sour cherries; it's a great summer soup, so refreshing. Another great Hungarian option is sour cherry strudel, my favorite flavor!

That's an interesting thought, and something I've never considered. When in the meal would you eat a cold cherry soup? Is it dessert, or for before the main course?

Congratulations on getting jobs at the same university! Do either of you have the chance to refer to food in class? As a musician, I do, for example when discussing certain types of harmonies as being like fragrant herbs and spices in food -- lovely, but best to avoid overusing and treat as special.

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My husband is actually the one who got the job. He's tenure-track; I'm the hired gun. When a need arises, I fill in. I've done classes in the chemistry department, and I've subbed in biology. This fall, I'll have some chemistry classes once again, but I'll also have some physics...which is a very weird thing for an organic chemist to say! Before moving here, I'd had my own small company, doing writing, editing, and design work (and some hired-gun teaching too). But once we arrived, I discovered that a bunch of people are already doing that here. It's a tough market to break into (although probably no tougher than any other small town) so when the opportunity to teach arose, I jumped. Although I could do without some aspects of the job (like writing exams, for me the hardest part!) I find that I really enjoy much of it, especially seeing the looks on my students' faces when they "get it" or when I do a demo that creates smoke, flames or noise; figuring out answers to some of the questions they come up with (I don't generally teach science majors because the "real" professors do that), and also knowing that by teaching others, my own brain is not going soft and fluffy.

I've certainly brought in food examples in my own teaching. For instance, when we were talking about the difference between pure substances and mixtures, we talked about making Kool-Aid. (The difference: in a pure substance, there's only one kind of "stuff" there. So the sugar you add to the Kool-Aid powder is a pure substance, as is the water (ignoring the mineral content present in the water), but the Kool-Aid powder itself is a mixture with multiple components. Once you've made the drink, you can separate the components, although some are easier to get back as pure substances than others!)

But my husband has us all trumped, I think: he taught an entire chemistry course using McGee as his text! This was another non-majors course, but whereas the course I taught was a more "serious" chemistry course, intended to take the place of high-school chemistry and prepare people to go on and take other chemistry courses, either the general chemistry two-semester series or the sexy forensic science courses, his course was titled "Chemistry and Society" and is not the prerequisite for anything else. Therefore, he didn't have a set of material he needed to get through before the end of the semester, and he had the freedom to cover pretty much whatever he wanted. In addition to McGee, he had the students read the science section of the NY Times every Tuesday, and he used another book by Roald Hoffman called The Same and Not The Same. While it seemed to work reasonably well, for this year's edition of the class he's switching to Napoleon's Buttons because it's less expensive for the students to buy one book rather than two. The paper's still free, either on line or at the library.

Does Oswego still have the highest number of bars per capita in New York State?  I remember learning this factoid from a friend who grew up there.

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That's a new factoid to me, but I could believe it. I think the zoning here must have been, ummm, unique at one time, because there are bars that look like someone must have started them in their living room. I'll try to show you some examples later this week.

Thank you, Melissa!

It's nice to read about the "other" New York (no offense, please). As someone from the Left Coast, I'm more familiar with New York City, especially after Pan's wonderful foodblog in NYNY.

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From Oswego, it's actually quicker to drive to Boston, Philadelphia, or Montreal than it is to drive to NYC, and Ottawa's closer than any of the above. Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Toronto are about the same drive time. We're in the midst of a bunch of really neat cities, and have lots of options for the long weekends we don't spend enjoying ourselves at home. Trips downstate are always fun (especially since I get to visit my 95-year-old grandfather), and since JetBlue came to Syracuse it's possible to do a day trip for about $100 in airfare! However, I haven't done that yet, since for the most part, Syracuse and Rochester satisfy my "city fix".

Time to go to work now.
MelissaH
MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#17 phaelon56

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 07:11 AM

applewood-smoked cheddar, which we imported from our vacation in Michigan. We don't see that cheese in town locally, but we can get it in Syracuse sometimes.


Where in Syracuse do you get this cheese? I haven't spotted it but would love to get some. Also curious to know: have you tried eating at the little Mexican place a bit to the west of you near Sodus. I've heard that it's much better/more authentic than the Mexican offerings in Syracuse.

#18 Pam R

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 07:18 AM

How far ahead of time can you make the pesto? Would it lose too much if I blitzed everything early this afternoon, but didn't eat till 7 PM or so? Ooh, I just realized that I don't have much parm left in the house either. Guess that's another item to add to my shopping list...which means I'll also get to show you the grocery store.

I actually get basil in 1-2 lb. quantities, make a couple litres of it and freeze it. You're not supposed to freeze it with the cheese in it - but I have and there's been no problem with it.

You could easily make it in the morning and eat it later that evening .... or the next day. It will retain it's bright green colour and fresh flavor (I think the oil does that?).

#19 goldie

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 08:17 AM

I've just finished making pesto for tonight. To keep the color lovely just put the pesto into the storage container and then cover the top with a layer of olive oil.
Where in Michigan were you vacationing and where is that cheese from? I'm headed to MI in a few weeks and my dad would love it.
Beautiful market, too.

#20 MelissaH

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 12:51 PM

applewood-smoked cheddar, which we imported from our vacation in Michigan. We don't see that cheese in town locally, but we can get it in Syracuse sometimes.


Where in Syracuse do you get this cheese? I haven't spotted it but would love to get some. Also curious to know: have you tried eating at the little Mexican place a bit to the west of you near Sodus. I've heard that it's much better/more authentic than the Mexican offerings in Syracuse.

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At least I think I remember seeing the cheese in Syracuse, probably at the DeWitt Wegman's store...or my memory could be deceiving me. When we lived in NE Ohio we'd periodically make trips to Pittsburgh, where I grew up, to Dear Heart and the other cheese gods at PennMac. That was where we first discovered it. This particular chunk came from the Meijer store in my in-laws' town near Grand Rapids.

I've heard about a little Mexican place near Sodus, but we haven't actually been there yet. If you can tell me how to get there, we'll certainly try it out. We're convinced at this point that the best Mexican food in Oswego County is what we make in our kitchen, à la Rick Bayless and Diana Kennedy. We've seen a couple of Mexican restaurants go under in just the two years we've lived here. The only current restaurant in town serving something vaguely Mexican is the Fajita Grill, which moved into what is clearly the shell of a defunct Taco Bell. We've been in withdrawal from Chipotle burritos, which in themselves were only a substitute for Big City Burritos (a favorite Ft. Collins, CO lunch spot from grad school). We tried Fajita Grill's burritos, but they just got a lot of little things not quite right, for our tastes.

Where in Michigan were you vacationing and where is that cheese from?  I'm headed to MI in a few weeks and my dad would love it.
Beautiful market, too.

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Actually, most of our vacation was in Colorado. But when we started looking into airfares, we realized that if we drove to the Grand Rapids area so we could see the in-laws, the airfares dropped tremendously (like by about half). So we drove the 9 or 10 hours out one day, and flew to Denver the next. We rented a car for a day so we could drive up the hill to Keystone, for the conference my husband attended. Along the way, we stopped in Idaho Springs for pizza at Beau Jo's, and brought the extras along, to eat cold for breakfast the next morning. :biggrin: (Actually, not really. Beau Jo's is too good a pizza, with way too much cheese, to even think of eating cold for breakfast, so we heated it up and enjoyed it for dinner the next night instead. It was good, but not the same as it did sitting in the restaurant, hot, with the giant squeeze bottle of honey for the crust.)

Before we returned the car, we did a bit of shopping at the City Market in Dillon, to stock the fridge of the condo we stayed in. Between eating stuff ourselves and inviting friends to join us for meals, we were able to make things come out almost exactly even for the time we had.

After the conference, we packed up our stuff on the bike and rode to Leadville. We had a wonderful dinner there at Tennessee Pass restaurant (right there in town, not on top of the hill for those of you familiar with CO geography) and an even better pastry breakfast the next morning at a new coffeehouse there called Provin' Grounds, where the baker's face nearly split in two as he grinned after we told him how much we'd enjoyed our danish and muffin.

The next night we spent in Salida, after an easy 60 mile ride downhill. We had lunch at Dakota's Bistro, dinner at Laughing Ladies (where we remembered what spicy food tasted like and had the best chile relleno on the face of the earth: filled with cheesy polenta and lightly pan-fried, in a sauce that was the epitome of anchodom), and the next morning yogurt and bagels provided by our B&B hosts.

Here's what we did the next day:
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65 miles in all, and after we got off the pass we had another 35 miles into 25 mph headwinds. We drank nearly every drop of water we had, ate nearly every crumb of food we brought, and were two hurtin' units by the end of the night. Dinner in Gunnison was at a new place in town called Bowlz, which reminded us of an expanded-menu version of Teriyaki Wok, another Ft. Collins grad school lunch spot. One teriyaki bowl from there, and you'd be set till at least midnight.

After a few days with my parents (including a dinner at the Mexican restaurant in Ouray, far better than anything we've gotten since we moved east), we took the train from Grand Junction to Denver. I'm glad we did it, and it was a beautiful ride, but I'm not ready to do it again. We heard reports that dinner on the train was OK but not great; we had a great meal of PB&J on bread I made at my parents' house, grapes, and natural spring water out of their own faucets. We spent a couple of days visiting in Denver, and made a pilgrimage to Ft. Collins (New Belgium Beer and Bingham Hill Cheese) while we were there.

We flew back to Grand Rapids, spent the rest of the week visiting there, made a batch of ice cream with our nieces (ages 9 and 2, who had never seen an ice cream maker before), and finally drove home. We got back home late last Sunday afternoon, after a terrific vacation but definitely time to be back home in my own kitchen. Even if everywhere else we stayed had a dishwasher.

MelissaH
MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#21 Pan

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 01:01 PM

You might consider making a Hungarian-style Cold Cherry Soup with the sour cherries; it's a great summer soup, so refreshing. Another great Hungarian option is sour cherry strudel, my favorite flavor!

That's an interesting thought, and something I've never considered. When in the meal would you eat a cold cherry soup? Is it dessert, or for before the main course?

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In Hungary, to my knowledge and experience, it's traditional to treat cold fruit soups as the soup course of a meal, before the main dish, even though they're sweet. Strudels are great for breakfast, if you want to substitute for your Life cereal. :biggrin:

#22 MelissaH

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 01:06 PM

Back to this week's food:

Shortly before noon, I walked onto campus and retrieved the car, so I could get to our local supermarket.
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This is where we typically go to shop, for a few reasons. One, they are generally less expensive than the other two supermarkets. Two, the stuff they put on sale is more often than not stuff we'd get even if it weren't on sale. And three, this is the store closest to us. The Oswego River runs through town, and there are two bridges going across. Paralleling the river are the numbered streets: E. 1st, E. 2nd, through E. 13th on the east side, and W. 1st, W. 2nd, through W. 9th on the west side. E. 1st never intersects W. 1st, so it's imperative that you say whether you mean E. or W. when you give directions here! (And as if that isn't bad enough to keep straight, outside the city limits but also roughly parallel to the river are 1st through 6th Aves!) We live on the west side, but all three supermarkets are on the east side. Price Chopper is at about E. 3rd, a couple of miles from home. The P&C and Tops are another 1.5 miles further east than that, through an area that's recently had traffic backups due to some roadwork even further out. We hardly even look at the other stores' ads anymore, other than a cursory glance.

I didn't take any pictures inside the store, because it was way more crowded than I would have expected for a Friday at lunch. I picked up the garlic and the parm for the pesto tonight, a couple of lemons, an avocado to add to salad tonight, as well as a few other odds and ends. The garlic looked pretty miserable, and I had to hunt in the bin to find one worth spending $0.59 on. I probably would have had better luck with the garlic at the orchard store, but that would have been just as far from home in the opposite direction, and I didn't feel like going that way today. So we'll see if I can get enough decent cloves out of the head I purchased to make some decent pesto tonight.

I dropped the car back on campus, shoved the cheese in the food fridge in my husband's office, went for my swim, came back, picked up the goods, and walked home. Then, I prepared lunch. This was Round 1, or the evidence thereof:
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and this was Round 2, one of the leftover curry beef patties which you could see heating in the toaster oven.
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Time to start working on dinner, I think. At least time to start making the pesto.
MelissaH
MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#23 MelissaH

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 05:03 PM

Dinner report:

Here's what it looked like before I got started:
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From left to right: two tomatoes from yesterday's market, four yellow squashes from yesterday's market, the nicest head of garlic from Price Chopper's bin today, what was left of the onion that went on yesterday's burger, the pine nuts from my freezer, the enormous bunch of basil from yesterday's market, my bottle of olive oil, half a box of penne rigate, and the wedge of parmigiano reggiano I found in the store today. The knife is a Farberware santoku that we got when our Bed Bath and Beyond opened a few months ago. We figured it was worth $10 plus tax to see if we liked that blade shape, and it turned out to be money well spent. (A "real" santoku is out of the question, because it would be way out of our budget to get a right-handed version for my husband and a left-handed version for me.)

First order of business: get the pesto made.
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I stripped all the leaves off the bunch of basil and put them in the food processor jar. I then took three cloves of garlic, smashed them, peeled them, and cut off the hard nubbin where they attach to the head, and added them. I followed Pam R's directions and blitzed, then added olive oil and pine nuts and blitzed some more. Here's what it looked like when I scraped it into another container:
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I then floated a little more olive oil on top as goldie suggested and covered the whole thing with plastic wrap touching the surface to help seal off air, before dealing with the rest of dinner.

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First, I sliced two of the yellow squashes into half-moons. I thought about doing more, but decided I didn't need them. I also sliced the remains of the onion into half-moons, and seeded and diced (but didn't peel) the two tomatoes.

Time for the stove. First, I got the onions cooking in a touch of olive oil:
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And then I put a pot of water on to boil. My kooky stove only has one usable big burner, on the back left. The big burner on the back right is thermostatted, so it's great for simmering but it doesn't put out the heat needed to boil water for pasta. The third big burner is in the back middle, under the cover and a griddle, but it's so close to the other two back burners that even if you open it up, there isn't enough room to work. I decided that it was better to give the frying pan the big burner, and made do with a smaller one for the pasta water.
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Once the onions were getting nicely softened, I added the squash half-moons and a big pinch of salt. The squash took a little while to start to brown, but once it was also sufficiently cooked, I took the pan off the heat and added the tomatoes.
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Once the veggies were off the heat, I could move the pasta water to the big burner, where it quickly came to a boil. I added salt and the pasta, set the timer, and gave the whole thing a good stir.
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Once the pasta was cooked, I put the veggies in a big bowl and added the penne, a couple of big spoonfuls of the pesto, and a showering of grated cheese. After mixing, it looked like this:
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and nicely served the two of us with leftovers. I thought it tasted pretty good, maybe could have actually used those other two squashes. My husband ate it, but he doesn't like pesto quite as much as I do. However, all is forgiven as I hear him starting to do the dishes in the kitchen. :wub:

I never did get my spoonful of Nutella yesterday night, instead choosing to head to my pillow and read a little more about New York City food according to Schwartz. Therefore, the Nutella's still there for me tonight, right? :biggrin:

Tomorrow morning we're off to Ithaca, Geneva, and other points in the Finger Lakes. My husband is a morning person, and I fear he's going to be hauling me out of bed long before I'd roll out on my own, to get somewhere in time for the good photographic light. I'll post when we get home.

MelissaH
MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#24 suzilightning

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 06:45 PM

wow melissa. do you have mud/thunderstorm season like we used to over in fredonia? love the price chopper - they haven't made them down to nw nj yet :angry:. so cool you guys can work in the same university and it seems there isn't that town vs gown problems so many places have.

do you fish for salmon in the spring? when johnnybird went to ESF(SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse) he used to go up several times to around oswego/mexico to fish. how about my favorite fish(even more than flounder) walleye? or are there guys who sell off their boats?

and those burgers look very good - can i have blue? with onions?
The first zucchini I ever saw I killed it with a hoe.

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#25 Smithy

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 09:27 PM

Huh. It appears that while y'all were in Idaho Springs, Dillon, Keystone and points higher, I was in Frisco. Small world, isn't it? :smile: I was pretty happy with my early morning bicycle ride to Copper Mountain and back (10 - 11 miles) with my friend before breakfast, until I read about your exploits. Showoff. :cool:

I'm really laughing at your comment about being a chemist but teaching physics. During my college years, a number of us noted the discrepancy between the two: either you 'got' physics, and were bound to major in physics, math or engineering; or you 'got' chemistry and were going into that field. Only a few people 'got' both physics and chemistry. I don't know what happened to them, but it probably involved a lot of money.

How cool that your husband managed to use McKee for teaching chemistry! Frankly, I think I'd have gotten more out of the subject with that kind of lead-in! Then again, I was well out of college before it occurred to me that there's a connection between chemistry and cookery (and physics) - so, maybe it wouldn't have mattered.

(Smithy makes a valiant attempt to return to topic) Y'all have a wonderful farmer's market! I'm looking forward to more of this blog!

...and...
Have you made the sour cherry soup yet?

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#26 MelissaH

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 02:05 PM

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to let you know that I'm back at home, and I'll be posting later tonight about the exploits of the day. All I'll say for now is that I got a bunch of surprises, most of them quite pleasant, and I have the best husband in the world. :wub:

We're off again shortly, to help look at our friend Anne's kitchen. She's just bought a house, and is trying to determine where the new dishwasher (I'm so jealous of that one!), refrigerator, and stove will go before the plumber arrives Monday morning.

MelissaH
MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#27 rjwong

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 04:47 PM

But my husband has us all trumped, I think: he taught an entire chemistry course using McGee as his text!

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Melissa, I am very intrigued by that statement. Would you expound on your husband's course? Is he another Alton Brown??
Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

#28 MelissaH

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 08:33 PM

My first surprise of the morning was not being rousted out of bed till 8 AM! I'd thought for sure that we'd be hitting the road before dawn in order to be down in Ithaca and the state parks in that area while the light was still good for photos. I'm sure my husband was up in plenty of time for us to do so. However, what I haven't mentioned before in this blog is that since Monday afternoon, he's had his nose buried in the new Harry Potter book in every spare moment. I'm guessing he chose to read instead of drive!

Breakfast this morning was a glass of chocolate milk (sorry, no picture because I'd put the camera in the car last night so I didn't have to think about it this morning.) We were on the road by about 8:30, and we made the Geneva Bike Center our first stop. That way, we didn't have to haul a mangled wheel everywhere we went, and we freed up space in the back of the car with other goodies. We got to Geneva about 20 minutes before the shop (and everything else in town) opened at 10. After talking for half an hour about stuff concerned entirely with cycling and not at all with food, we headed to Ithaca. It turned out to be a pleasant hour's drive, through farmland covering the ridge separating Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. We saw many signs for wineries, but bypassed them all this trip.

Ithaca is a much bigger and more affluent town than Oswego. We took the opportunity to run a bunch of errands, therefore saving ourselves a separate trip to Syracuse. We went to the Barnes and Noble store and purchased a CD/book set on how to speak Dutch. (There's a good reason for this, but I'll save it for another post, probably the one in which I answer rjwong's very good question.) We also looked for wheeled backpacks in the EMS store, but all the wheeled cases they had lacked backpack straps, and all their backpacks lacked wheels. (There's a good reason for this errand also, closely related to learning at least a little Dutch.) We got some maps at the AAA office. And finally, we fought through the traffic to the farmer's market.

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The Ithaca farmer's market is much more formal than the Oswego market. They have a pavilion in which all the vendors set up. However, the market itself was disappointing to us, and not as good as we remembered from our previous visit four years ago. Although there are probably twice as many vendors overall, I think there were no more farmers than what we usually get in Oswego, and many more people selling crafts, clothing, cooked food like samosas and soup, and baked goods. I was surprised to see vendors selling meat, since we don't get any of that at our market. And the farmers' produce was twice as expensive than our local market. I'm not sure if that's because everything was some form of organic, or if the fees to vend are that much more.

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Despite our disappointment, I'm very glad we went to the market. I hadn't expected to see anything really unique, but I once again got a pleasant surprise. The one thing we bought was cheese from the Northland Sheep Dairy in Marathon, NY. They had four of their cheeses available, and we bought wedges of their Folie Bergère and Bleue Bergère. (The two cheeses in the photograph are Pepperino and Tomme Bergère, which we didn't buy.) We were particularly interested by the blue, because in Ft. Collins we'd gotten a wedge of Bingham Hill's Sheepish Blue. The Bleue Bergere is a very different sort of cheese; about the only thing the two have in common is that they're both sheep's milk blue cheeses. We'll be doing a head-to-head tasting at some point, although I'm not sure it will happen before the end of this blog.

As we walked past the stalls selling curry and noodles and soups, we realized that it was well past noon and we were both pretty hungry. So for our first real meal of the day, we headed up the hill to Cornell University. My husband was driving, and I'm grateful for that because Ithaca is a city of hills and we got our current car less than a year ago. My husband's been driving stick shifts since he learned to drive, but I hadn't had any experience with a clutch until we got this car! I'm sure that if we lived in Ithaca, we would have never considered anything but an automatic...and I'd probably have fewer gray hairs.

On the way out, we passed a small pond loaded with lily pods in bloom. We also found some good-sized tadpoles in the pond, not too far from having legs.
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Why up the hill? We had the best lunch known to humans, as far as I'm concerned, straight from the Dairy Bar at Cornell:
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My cone's the one in the foreground: a single scoop of Bavarian Raspberry Fudge (Bavarian crème flavored ice cream with raspberry swirl and chunky fudge pieces). My husband splurged on a double scoop of Espresso Chunky Chip, the closest he's come in eons to Ben & Jerry's Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz, which is (sadly) no longer available, either on its own or mixed with White Russian and sold as To Russia With Buzz. We topped off our lunch with some bits of sharp cheddar from the dairy store, which was both flavorful and moist. Temporarily satiated, we took advantage of the big city atmosphere and headed down the hill for some more shopping.

Our target this time: Wegman's. We figured that Ithaca would be cosmopolitan enough that we'd find good stuff there. We were right! We got a good laugh from the various signs painted on the front windows. Our favorite was the one advertising the "Vegetarian Bar." After all, if you sell salad at a salad bar, what do you sell at a vegetarian bar? I've always heard that carnivores are no good to eat! :biggrin:

The first thing we saw, just inside the entryway, were some melons, ready to eat and packed for convenience:
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The rest of the produce was quite spectacular as well, both because it was all stacked beautifully and because they have items that we just don't see elsewhere:
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This was the Asian produce section. The eggplants on the right are Japanese eggplants. Two items to the left are the Chinese eggplants. Separating the two are lotus roots. Finishing out the top row are galangal root, long beans, lemongrass, daikon, yu choi sum, ong choi, and fresh water chestnuts (which I'd gotten in Ohio and decided tasted just like jicama but with a lot more work, although it's a moot point in Oswego because we don't see either there). We didn't get any of the goodies in this picture, but we did find a nice hunk of ginger root, several serrano peppers that we're hoping have more heat than the wimpy jalapeños we see, and a nice-looking jicama. We also got a bag of limes, since they looked nicer and were less expensive than the limes at our local stores.

From the produce, we moved on to our second-favorite section of any Wegman's store to browse: the cheeses. This is the case with the Spanish and Mexican cheeses.
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There were five other cases of cheeses, including a case with nothing but varieties of blue cheese. And that doesn't even include the case of cheeses which they'll cut to order, or the "ordinary" supermarket bricks of cheese! We found a small wedge of Maytag Blue, which we'll add to our tasting of American blues. We didn't get any, but we did see that they have Piave available in the cut-to-order case. This is a cheese that PennMac introduced us to, when we walked up one day many years ago and said, "What else do you have that's interesting?" Piave is a cow's milk cheese, on the firm side but still soft enough to melt nicely, definitely sharp. We've actually been known to use it in place of Parmigiano Reggiano, with pretty good results. We prefer to purchase our Piave half a wheel at a time, because it seems to store reasonably well if you follow Dear Heart's instructions to wrap it first in waxed paper and then in aluminum foil, and because PennMac charges $5 less per pound than Wegman's does. Zingerman's in Ann Arbor also carries Piave, but they are more expensive than even Wegman's. When we lived in Ohio, we looked everywhere for Piave but didn't find any. We finally got exasperated enough to ask at West Point Market, the best cheese counter in Akron, and they more or less told us that this cheese was not permitted to be sold in the state of Ohio, for reasons they were unable to elucidate. At that point I'd already given up on finding someone to cut my hair, and went back to the wonderful man who kept me neatly shorn all the way through high school and before, so I was making the trip to Pittsburgh every couple of months anyway. From here, though, it's about a 6.5 hour drive, a little too long to be practical. We were back to visit last November, and have a little left from that trip's wedge. We're thinking it's time to restock our supply. Fortunately, my husband has a cousin who lives in Pittsburgh!

We also found the butter case (not to be confused with the Butterkäse in the cheese section):
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The rest of the walk through Wegman's was also a lot of fun for us, because the store had a diversity of food that we just don't see in Oswego. (More than four brands of salsa! HOT salsa on the shelf!) Just before heading to the cashier, we had to check out the beverage selection, looking for still more unusual stuff we don't see in Oswego. And lo and behold, they had a display of Wolaver's organic ales. Ordinarily the word "organic" doesn't excite us too much. (As chemists, we both have a huge problem with people who claim their food is "chemical-free"!) But in this case, the brand rang a bell with my husband. He's an avid homebrewer, a certified beer judge, and a member of AHA. An issue of their magazine Zymurgy from earlier this year had used a Wolaver's beer as a "calibration" beer (they have experts judge it, so you can judge it and see how closely you match the experts) and he'd sent me off to a meeting in San Diego last March in hopes of me having better luck finding it than he had. He couldn't remember which Wolaver's beer it was, though, so we got a six-pack each of the IPA, pale ale, and brown. (The first thing he did when we got home was go to his archive and look up which one. The brown is the one in the article, but the others certainly won't go to waste.)

Confession time: I don't like beer. I'm probably the only chemist on the face of the earth who doesn't like beer. In fact, until last summer when we were in Belgium, I'd never ordered a beer for myself. I've finally figured out that the part of beer I really don't like is the hops. The alcohol taste isn't my favorite, either; most of the time, my taste buds run more to Coke. Malt is fine, though!

We'd brought a cooler and ice with us. We usually keep a soft-sided collapsible cooler in the car at all times, in case we find something interesting or just if it's a hot day and we want to get ice cream home as a solid, not a liquid. (My parents in western Colorado don't even have to bring their own ice, though: the nearest big supermarket from them is a 45-minute drive, and because so many people drive at least that long to do their shopping, the stores will actually pack your perishables in a bag with a bit of dry ice!) The beer and cheese went into the cooler for the duration, and we headed towards our last stop.

My husband had discovered Baker's Acres nursery on our first trip to Ithaca four years ago. They're actually in Lansing, NY, several miles north of Ithaca on our way home. On that trip, we'd brought a bay laurel tree, a rosemary bush, and three different colors of raspberry plants home to Ohio. We killed the bay laurel tree that first winter, but the rosemary did quite well until we moved it to New York and it didn't like something here. The raspberries were bearing lots of delicious fruit but we left them behind, and I still miss them horribly! I hadn't been there when my husband and my friend Marty went there the first time, since my other friend Linda (who's now married to Marty) and I were busy with the important task of painting our toenails. (Linda's a biologist. We scientists tend not to paint our fingernails, since the solvents we use will just take the polish right off. Toenails, however, are safely out of the line of fire.) This was my first sight:
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rows upon rows of plants, each carefully labeled
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so you'd know whether to buy it in the first place, and what to do with it once you got it home. And that's just the perennials! There was another section of trees and shrubs, as well as a greenhouse of annuals and another of herbs. We walked through everything else, but the herbs were the most interesting. Each herb also had its own label.
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In this case, "tender perennial" means that it's technically a perennial, but in these northern climates, if you want it to survive you need to bring it in as a houseplant for the winter.

They not only had lots of different herbs, but most herbs came in different varieties. We saw tarragon and sage (the pineapple sage smells really pineappley, but my next door neighbor has enough sage in her garden for at least FOUR households so we didn't get any),
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and mints galore (this one's catmint; a little catnip is visible on the left side of the picture)
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as well as more varieties of rosemary than we could count, in both big and small bushes.
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We left with a good-sized rosemary bush, a spike of lavender, and a tiny bay tree. No catnip, though: one of our boys is exquisitely sensitive to the stuff, and gets stoned from the slightest amount. We also learned in Ohio that catnip is best confined to a pot, or it takes over the garden and causes the cat to cry when you're still 50 yards from the house, and climb up your leg when you come in from picking tomatoes.

I got to drive home, because my husband was busy with the last few pages of his book and because there weren't any big horrible hills to cause me and the clutch distress. We got home and half an hour later headed to Anne's to discuss minimal-budget kitchen options. (But that's for another thread, and we think she's got a workable short-term solution.) We got home at 8:30, and were both too hungry to think about doing anything other than leftovers. My husband ate two of the leftover curry beef patties. I ate the third as well as the leftover pasta from yesterday. It all looked really inglamorous, especially since we took it all down to the family room and watched the Tivoed footage from this morning's Tour time trial stage. And that's why I didn't get back upstairs to write this as soon as I wanted. (Is that the modern version of "the dog ate my homework"?) :hmmm:

We've now eaten all the leftovers in the house. That means I'll need to cook tomorrow. If I get out for sour cream, I think I'll try a sour cherry soup because I've never had anything of the sort and the idea intrigues me greatly. I also have some pesto still, so if I get up early enough I may make some pizza dough to grill later. Yum!

Good night,
MelissaH
MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#29 CaliPoutine

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 06:54 AM

"Zingerman's in Ann Arbor also carries Piave, but they are more expensive than even Wegman's"


Great blog so far!! I know what it's like to drive to find products you can't find in your own town. I often drive to Michigan or Toronto.

I also think that Zingerman's is more expensive than every other grocery store.

Check out the Heartland thread( if you havent already) for our recent tour of Zing's and our meal cooked with many products purchased there.

#30 MelissaH

MelissaH
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  • 1,423 posts
  • Location:Central New York via NEO, CO, Pittsburgh

Posted 24 July 2005 - 07:04 AM

Happy Sunday! During the summer, as you've probably figured out, our days become rather free-form without the structure of a work week. Therefore, it helps me tremendously at the beginning of every day if I remind myself what day of the week it is. We don't typically have this problem during the school year, though.

I'd like to start today by rectifying a mistake in yesterday's big long post. I forgot to mention two very important items we found at Wegman's, once again things that we don't find in Oswego:
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We have no problem finding Hershey's syrup, but every now and again (on the rare occasions I have whole milk in the house) I enjoy an egg cream, and Hershey's just doesn't taste right for that. The Pocky is a flavor that we don't see in Syracuse. We don't see any Pocky at all in Oswego, even at the small Asian store that opened earlier this year. They're Filipino-oriented mainly, so I guess Pocky just isn't popular in the Philippines?

My first order of business this morning, even before breakfast: washing dishes. These are the fruits of my labor.
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Most of these are the dishes we use to give our cats their wet food twice a day. I don't mind washing these, or any of the other normal dishes, too much. The one thing I absolutely hate washing by hand is the Cuisinart. (It's big, it has sharp parts, the nooks and crannies are terrible to try and get clean, and water always pools in it somewhere, no matter which way you set it to dry.) I'd used it the other day for the pesto, and although it was rinsed immediately after use, it didn't make its way into the last load of dishes that got washed. So I got to do it this morning. No blood this time.

After that, I started a batch of pizza dough, so it might be ready to use later today. I chose the Grilled Pizza Dough recipe from Peter Reinhart's American Pie, since in this weather that's how I'm most likely to cook pizza. To start, I copied the recipe onto a scrap of paper, so I don't have to bring my precious book into the kitchen. Bonus points if you can read my handwriting. :raz:
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Here are my ingredients, before I did anything with them: water, yeast, sugar, olive oil, salt, and flour (I used King Arthur all-purpose).
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I weighed the flour first. My balance is an Ohaus cheapo scientific balance, quite a few years old, ordered from the Fisher Scientific catalog for $99. That was before weighing hit the mainstream and electronic balances became readily available for relatively small amounts of money. I like the fact that I can run it from either a battery or an AC adapter. I also like being able to stash the whole thing in a plastic bag when I'm working with messy stuff.
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Then, everything else went into the mixer bowl,
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and I stirred it together with the dough whisk my MIL gave me a couple of years ago. I like the dough whisk because it does a better job of quickly mixing everything together than a spoon, and it's easier to get gunky dough out from the wires than from between fork tines.
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From here, it went to the mixer for a four-minute low-speed mix. You can see from this picture at the beginning that not all the flour was completely combined...
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...but by the end, when it was ready to rest for 15 minutes, the dough was nicely uniform.
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While the dough rested, I fell back into my rut and ate a quick breakfast. Tomorrow morning I'll have to do something different, because this was the end of the Life.
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When the timer went off, I turned the mixer back on for another four minutes or so. This was actually an action shot of the mixer in motion!
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At the end of all this, I cajoled the dough onto a cutting board. During this process I managed to gunk both hands, so I didn't want to touch the camera and gunk it as well. I cut the dough into the requisite 6 pieces (I was slightly less anal than usual and didn't weigh the entire batch of dough, divide by 6, and weigh each piece to be sure everything was equal. Having gunked hands and a put-away balance had a lot to do with that.) and rounded each piece into a ball.

Here's where I diverged slightly from the recipe instructions. Reinhart instructs his readers to put each dough ball in its own plastic ziplock bag, add a drizzle of olive oil to each, seal, and let rise on the counter for two hours before going into the fridge for three hours or more. However, I have an issue with sacrificing that many plastic bags for short-term storage. Instead, I took a glass baking dish, added a bit of olive oil, and put the dough balls in that. I used the dough balls themselves to help spread the oil around the whole dish, in the process getting them oil-coated. Once all the dough balls were in the dish, I covered the whole thing with plastic wrap.
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I'll probably leave the dough at room temperature until I'm ready for it this afternoon. For one thing, my water was cooler than the Reinhart-mandated 70 degrees F. For another thing, it's reasonably cool in my kitchen this morning. And I just don't think I'll have the time to give the dough two hours on the counter, three hours in the fridge, and another two hours on the counter before I use it. We'll see how it develops over the course of the day.

In the meantime, it's Sunday, which means the grocery store sales changed today. My husband brought the paper in, with the new circulars. Time to see if anything good's on sale this week.

MelissaH
MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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