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MelissaH

eG Foodblog: MelissaH - Summer in Oswego, NY

60 posts in this topic

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."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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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).


Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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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).

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


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

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

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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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."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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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'!


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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

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."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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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.)

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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 (log)

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

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

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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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."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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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.


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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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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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?).

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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.

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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.

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.

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."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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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?

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:

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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."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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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."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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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?


Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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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?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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