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A Farm Stand In South Salem, New York-Reminder of Days Gone By

A Bounty of Fresh Vegetables

Today was a whirlwind, my pugs, Izzy and Nando have had some medical problems and today I had to take Nando for a biopsy. My Veterinarian’s office is Upstate, New York. It’s a 62 mile drive one way but totally worth it for me. Once you find someone you trust implicitly as I do Dr. Seo distance has no meaning. I had to be there by 9AM, left my house very early Izzy and Nando in tow. To say I was nervous and worried is an understatement. The “C” word came up when Nando was examined last week and I feared the worst. You see, I have been through this multiple times with my other pets and no matter how many times you go through it doesn’t get easier. Luckily, Nando was scheduled as the first procedure so I knew I would not have to wait long for word on how he was. Rather than sit in the waiting room I decided to go get a cup of coffee with Izzy and my friend Steve who kindly drove me and the pugs upstate today. We have been there many times and each time we notice signs across the street from the vets office for a farm stand, fresh corn, tomatoes, squash and eggs. I thought it would be nice to wander over there and see what they have. As we walked up the driveway and passed the quaint beautiful little house we noticed the rows and rows of corn and other vegetables growing. It was idyllic and beautiful, but I could not figure out where the farm stand was. A car pulled into the drive way so we asked him where we could buy the vegetables and he pointed to a covered stand in back of the house, he said the farmer who owns the stand is not there and we can take what we like on the honor system. There is a box to put the money, just weigh what we want and leave the cash in the box. I think I looked at him like he had two heads, being from Brooklyn, and living in the city that is unheard of. I made my way to the little stand and there were rows of fresh tomatoes, corn, squash, peppers and other vegetables. On the side was a cash box with a simple hand written sign directing you to slip the money in the slot and a cup filled with change and bills and a sign that told you to use it if you need to make change. I carefully picked the vegetables I wanted, weighed and recorded the amount for each on a piece of paper, I slipped my money into the slot and left. As I was walking away I felt like I had been transported back to a kinder gentler time. This man trusted people to do the right thing, and I am sure most would do exactly that. It made me feel good that he trusted his fellow man enough to leave his farm stand full of produce, a cash box and cup full of money out there. I wish I had thought of taking pictures of the stand but my mind was elsewhere, but I’m sure you get the picture.

When I walked back to the office Dr. Seo was walking around outside looking for me, he said Nando was fine, he is cautiously optimistic  about the results and I will know possibly the end of this week. I felt relieved and still remain optimistic that the biopsy results will be benign,

Izzy and Nando together as always in docs office.

Sticky Glazed Baby Back Ribs

I am kind of obsessed with the Mosto Cotto syrup I got from Marx foods. It’s delicious, I used it in a sweet dish, now I wanted to try it in a savory one. I thought it would make an amazing glaze for ribs, I had a slab of baby back ribs screaming to be made, so I decided to give this a try. The glaze is sweet and tart and very sticky (in a good way). This can be made in the oven entirely or both the oven and the grill. I steamed the ribs first in beer, onion, garlic and threw a bay leaf in. When the ribs are tender, you remove from the steaming liquid and either oven roast or grill with the glaze. They are tender and delicious. The Mosto Cotto syrup gives a slightly fruity flavor to the glaze, if you don’t have the syrup use balsamic vinegar (Mosto Cotto is a byproduct of the very grapes used to make the vinegar) and some natural unsweetened black cherry juice.


1/4 cup Mosto Cotto syrup
If you don’t have Mosto Cotto use 3 tbs balsamic vinegar and 3 tbs black cherry juice (like R.W. Knudsen)
1  tbs +2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbs brown sugar ( packed)
1 tbs red wine vinegar (omit if using balsamic vinegar)
Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and simmer until reduced by 1/4 it takes approximately 20 minutes on med heat. Set aside to cool.
To steam the ribs
1 onion quartered
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic smashed
3 cups water, stock or beer (a nice dark beer like guinness works well if not any beer will do)
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Salt and pepper the ribs on both sides, then place ribs, onion, garlic and liquid in dutch oven or covered pan. Bake covered in oven for 1 1/2-2 hours or until tender. Half way through baking turn slab of ribs over and continue cooking the rest of the time. Reduce oven temp to 375 degrees or fire up the grill.
Oven method: Remove ribs from pot  (save the cooking liquid for stock) and place back in roasting pan. Brush glaze on both sides of the ribs and bake at 375, it will take approximately 45-60 minutes, halfway through the cooking time baste the ribs with more of the glaze. When they are done cover with foil and let sit for about 20 minutes you can also cover and keep in warm oven (170-200). Brush with more of the glaze before serving. (If grilling follow directions for the type of grill that you have)

Bake Together-Buttermilk Panna Cotta With Mosto Cotto Champagne Grape Syrup

Bake Together Buttermilk Panna Cotta

First let me say I LOVE panna cotta, and I was so happy to see this bake together didn’t involve a hot stove, not that I don’t enjoy baking, I do, really do, but it’s been so hot this is a welcome change.Abby’s Ricotta Panna Cotta with Raspberry Syrup is divine, the use of ricotta is brilliant.

The lovely people at Marx foods sent me a bottle of Mosto Cotto and I have been toying with idea’s on how to use it and the first thing that came to mind when I received it was somehow incorporating with panna cotta. First let me explain what Mosto Cotto is, it’s an Italian syrup naturally sweetened, made from Montepulciano grapes and Amarena cherries, it’s complex and utterly delicious. Tasting it, I thought it would go nicely with a tangy panna cotta.  Instead of using heavy cream and ricotta I used some full fat buttermilk,sour cream and a little heavy cream, a little less sugar than the original recipe called for and some fragrant vanilla. I saw some beautiful champagne grapes at the market and thought they would go very nicely in the syrup. The resulting dessert is a little tangy sweet and fruity.  If you don’t have this syrup you can make a cherry syrup using fresh cherries, I do recommend it though, it’s so delicious. Thank you Abby for the inspiration as always.

1 cup full fat buttermilk

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp gelatin

1/4 cup water

Add the water to a pyrex measuring cup or ramekin, sprinkle gelatin on the water and set aside until the gelatin blooms.

Add buttermilk, sour cream, cream, sugar and vanilla to mixing bowl and whisk until everything is blended, there are no lumps and sugar is dissolved.

When gelatin has bloomed heat in microwave for a few seconds to liquify, whisk into the buttermilk mixture.

Pour into serving glasses or ramekins (NOTE: if using ramekins that will need to be un-molded, oil the ramekins with cooking spray or neutral oil). Pour into glasses or ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Mosto Cotto Champagne Grape Syrup

1/2 cup Mosto Cotto Syrup

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup champagne grapes

zest of half a lemon

2 tbs good Italian red wine (OPTIONAL) A slightly sweet and fruity wine is good. I used  Il Conte Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Add syrup to small saucepan, now add lemon zest and sugar and heat until sugar dissolves, add the grapes and cook for a few minutes, I cooked for approximately 3 minutes on med heat (You don’t want the heat too high). the grapes will start to break down a little. Remove from heat, pour through a sieve mashing the grapes (add optional red wine now) and refrigerate until ready to use. You will probably have leftover syrup, make some drinks, it’s wonderful with sparkling water served ice cold.

To Serve:

Pour cold syrup on top of the panna cotta and serve. If un-molding ramekins, put a few inches of hot water in the sink and sit the ramekin in the sink for about 5 seconds run a small flexible offset spatula or butter knife around the panna cotta to loosen the sides. Invert onto serving plate and spoon syrup over panna cotta.

Fried Red Tomato And Egg Salad Sandwich

Fried Tomato and Egg Salad

A couple of weeks ago I was showing homes to a friend of mine and we decided to have lunch, we found ourselves in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at a trendy and wonderful restaurant called “The Diner”. It’s a very cool spot, their menu changes using only fresh seasonal ingredients. We decided to split a raw kale salad and a fried green tomato and egg sandwich. Both were delicious, fresh and just plain wonderful. The sandwich had breaded fried green tomatoes, a fried sunny side up egg, sweet pickles and mayo on grilled brioche. YUMMY!! It reminded me of a sandwich from my childhood, egg salad, tomatoes, pickles and crushed potato chips on toast.   I took both sandwiches and combined them. I fried tomatoes (there were no green tomatoes to be found) that are breaded with crushed potato chips, made egg salad  and instead of sweet pickles I used dill slices, all this on grilled brioche. This sandwich is not diet food, well, fried tomatoes and mayo laden egg salad but it’s ok to splurge every now and then right? I like my egg salad straight up nothing in it but mayo but you can add whatever you like, herbs, celery or whatever is your favorite way to prepare.

Makes 1 sandwich

1 firm tomato

2 hard boiled eggs

mayo (add as much as you prefer)

1/2 cup crushed potato chips (I used kettle chips with sea salt)

1 tbs flour

dill pickle slices

1 egg or egg white beaten to dip the tomato slices

Fill saucepan with warm water and add some salt. Gently lower the eggs into the water and turn the heat up to high. When the water comes to a boil let it boil for 5 minutes. Turn the flame off and let the eggs sit in the hot water for another 5 minutes. Rinse the eggs until cooled in cold water and peel.

Slice tomato into thickish slices, lightly salt and pat dry with paper towel, crush your chips and add the flour (I used a zip lock bag, dip the tomato slice in egg and then in crushed chips. Set aside on cooling rack while your skillet heats. I used a non stick skillet, heat with some olive oil about 1/4 inch until its good and hot, gently add the tomato slices and fry until lightly browned on each side. I found it took about 2 minutes per side using a medium high heat. Remove from pan, drain on paper towels.

Chop the hard boiled egg then mash with a fork. I like the yolks and whites very fine and kind of smashed together. Add pepper (salt if you wish) now mix in the mayo.

Slice the bread if you are using a unsliced loaf or take two bread slices, brush with melted butter and grill until lightly browned.

Slather some mayo on each slice of bread, lay the fried tomato, now some of the egg salad and finally 2 or 3 pickle slices. Put it together and enjoy.

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you Jasline

Let me first say that I love Jasline’s beautiful blog Food is my life, I have especially enjoyed her series on the recipes of Jamie Oliver. She has featured delicious recipes that are easy to make and nutritious. I am honored to have been nominated  by Jasline for the Versatile blogger Award and want  to take this opportunity to urge you all to visit Jaslines blog, the photography ,recipes and writing are top notch and I know you will enjoy as much as I do. Thank you Jasline for the nomination I really appreciate it and I want to pay it foward by nominating some of my favorite blogs for this award. These awards are affirmation and a nod from fellow bloggers and that speaks volumes in my opinion. I count so many of you as friends I have never met, but we all have the same passion and interest. Thanks again Jasline I look forward to many more posts on your gorgeous blog.

Most of these wonderful blogs probably already have this award but I am re-nominating them sometimes we just need a hug. I love so many blogs and follow them daily I can’t possibly name them all, I wish I could. Just click on each to see amazing recipes, great writing and beautiful photography. Enjoy! I would add the award to the side bar but I can’t figure out how to do it, anyone know???

The Solitary Cook

Go Bake Yourself

Food Babbles

In Pats Kitchen

The Wimpy Vegetarian


Fig and Quince

Two Dogs In The Kitchen

Dabblings  and Whimsey

Healthy Green Kitchen

Cooking Up The Cure