Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Halibut Cream Curry

2 tbls coconut oil                                          1 cup heavy cream
1 onion, minced                                           1 tbls garam masala
2 tbls finely chopped fresh ginger        Salt
4 garlic cloves, minced                        1 lb. halibut fillets, cut into 4-inch pieces
1 tsp cayenne pepper                           Small red potatoes, quartered
1 tsp turmeric                                           A pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
1 tsp ground coriander                         Peas
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt            Basmati rice

In large wok, heat the oil. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the cayenne, turmeric and coriander and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Whisk in the yogurt, then add the cream, garam masala and saffron and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt.

Add the halibut to the sauce and turn to coat. Cook over moderate heat, turning once, until the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes. 

Pot boil quartered potatoes. Add rice, potatoes, and frozen peas to the wok, turning over gently. Cover for 5 minutes. Serve with a large salad and fruit.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Austrian Gypsy International Dinner

This dinner focused on Austria, particularly the gypsy Roma/Sinti culture. In honor of the extreme randomness of Roma cuisine, each table had pots of stew and cabbage rolls, as well as a great deal of bread and dark coffee and intensely steeped tea. The dinner raised over 100 pounds of food!

The Lexington Co-op donated 18 loaves of bread to this International Dinner! The next time you are shopping there, tell them thank you for their generosity.

The notepads pictured to the right with the stunningly beautiful tarot cards were some of the evening's door prizes. These were created by Onyx, sold through Buffalo's best local curiosity shop, Strange Brew.

Cabbage rolls, or sarmi, are a popular Romani meal; they are a common dish in many Eastern European countries. These cabbage leaves were stuffed with a mixture of local organic and sustainably raised ground beef from Stand Fast Farms

rice and hot green pepper such as jalapeno, as well as sweet peppers. It's the hot pepper that makes the dish typically Romani. The mixture is then seasoned with black pepper and salt, and cooked in tomato sauce. I made 75 sarmi for the dinner!

The tables were set family style and loaded with different breads that the Lexington co-op donated.

The rabbit stew was made with a barley flour brown butter roux, roasted hazelnuts, mushrooms, pearl onions, juniper berries, marjoram, thyme, and pine needle tips and baked under a pastry shell. Painted Meadow Farms from Franklinville gave rabbits at wholesale cost as a gift for the specialty stew.

White Cow Dairy donated a great deal of Quark cheese for the event! It was used in the pirogo and set on the tables to be smeared on the bread. The desert was pirogo, or noodle pudding, is a typical Romani dessert that is quite similar to the Eastern European kugel, a pudding baked with noodles, cream cheese and sometimes fruit. This pirogo was made with flat noodles, cream cheese, currants and raisins, layered and dotted with butter, then baked.

There was a very strong black coffee with plenty of sugar and Romani tea, or Rromano Cajo, which is very similar to Russian tea. It was served with homemade peaches preserves.

Moshe Shulman of Buffalo Tango Orkestra came to play a short series of Gypsy Jazz pieces on the violin. He is the founder of many groups such as "Akhva" and "Buffalo Tango Orkestra. He holds a PhD in composition from Buffalo University. Besides tango he is an expert in klezmer and Gypsy music. Moshe plays bandoneon, violin, viola and accordion.

Links to interesting information:
International Romani Art Festival
Minority Rights - Austria Roma Gypsy
Austria Gypsies
Chow Hound
Roma Cuisine
Gypsy Town

The Best of 2013

This year has flown by!

Here we are again, facing the Best of 2013 and this time around the competition for Best Blog and Best Blogger is fierce!

Please consider voting for the Land of Peapodriot as Best Blog and myself, Annie Levay-Krause, as Best Blogger.

Thank you!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

White Cow Dairy

White Cow Dairy is the production side of Blue Hill Farm. Located in East Otto, the dairy farm is on the outskirts of the sweet sleepy village, deep in the heart of Cattaraugus County. A 200 acre dairy farm with picturesque hills and dales, dotted with plump, happily mooing, leisurely grazing cows. Patrick Lango shares, "The hills are overrun with coltsfoot, beebread, burdock, violet, fescue, buttercup, birdsfoot, chamomile, peppermint, chickweed, wildstrawberry, yarrow, horehound, yellowdock, feltwort, orchard grass, nettles & clover."

All of these wildflowers and grasses help each cow create milk that is subtle and distinct, its creamy loveliness is lightyears from regular corn and grain feed dairy cows. 

The kitchen is mere meters from the stable, where custards, puddings, creams, yogurts, tonics, fresh cheeses, and savory spiced sauces are dreamed up and created. The maple sugars and syrups are created from the local forests, while most of the herbs, wildflowers, berries, and apples are gathered from neighboring orchards and farms.

Patrick and Jeff were both in the White Cow Dairy shop when I dropped in recently. It was so nice to see them both, as they playfully bantered with customers and stocked the coolers.

The yogurt is tangy, the quark is smooth, the pudding sweet and all of their product is well made, beautifully constructed, and sold at the farm shop which is located at:

241 Lexington Avenue
on the Northwest corner of Ashland
Buffalo NY
(716) 885-1000

Thursday, March 7, 2013


"Courage is letting go, doing this feels brave." - Zilly Frazier Rosen

Two weeks ago I sat down with Zilly to share a sweet and coffee and to chat with her about life, business, and cake.

She began with cookies, and ten years of hands on learning in a small bakery in Chicago. Followed by pastries and pie in St. Louis, and eventually as a baker at Dolci here in Buffalo.

Dolci is where she found her passion. Feuled by cake and her love of teaching, her imagination, artistic expression, and the unique ability to listen to others as they shared their story helped to create some amazing pieces. As the demand for her pieces increased she made the big decision to take up residence on Elmwood at her aptly named shop, Zillycakes.
From baby shower cakes with baby bottoms peeking out, to wedding cupcake towers like what she created for my wedding, Zilly listened and put her best into every piece. Artisanal, unique, singular. Among the other extraordinary pieces she created was the portrait of then candidate Barack Obama displayed at Buffalo's Democratic headquarters in 2008.

A year later, an installation of a double portrait featured the new president side by side with his hero, Abraham Lincoln, during the Smithsonian's celebration of Lincoln's birthday bicentennial. There was also the Food Network's 9th season of Cake Challenge, which had her talents once again shining on the national stage.

Over the last few years the pressures of being a mother, a daughter, a wife, a business woman, a boss, an artist, a baker all began to exert a great deal of strain.
The nature of the business is one of challenges. With a thin profit margin, staff needs and demands, Fridays and Saturdays taken up with cake, years of missing so much, Zilly came to the conclusion it was time to seriously consider what needed to take precedent.
She made the decision to slide out of the front end of the business and tried to present the opportunity to take over the business as a sweet deal. It sure was a sweet deal, but not one that too many people were in the position to take on. At the time of our meeting, she had six people who were considering it.

You can imagine how surprised I was when Zilly messaged me this past Wednesday to invite me over to hear the details. "We have our big announcement ready, with a press release and everything, so there's a happy "end" to our story!"
Wendy Egloff, owner of Firefly Cupcakes, will be creating a second location. This Spring Wendy will be coming in and renovating the space to mirror her East Aurora's Firefly cupcake location's theme.

So inspired by her "Elvis", Wendy will create a cake studio space for Zilly to be a master teacher and creator. Which of course, when Zilly told me, I burst into happy tears which had her starting to tear up too. It's so good to know that the spirit of Zillycakes remains, as does the exceptional Zilly herself! 

Keep an eye out for a second article to feature Wendy and Firefly!

Pig Butchering Workshop - Warning: This post may be too intense for sensitive viewers

I arrived at Carmelo's Restaurant, located in Lewiston, NY just in time to hang up my coat and grab one of the few pork sandwiches left and a cup of Leonard Oakes' Steampunk Cider before Chef Bruce Wieszala owner of COPPA Artisan Cured Meats demonstrated how to break down a whole pig from nose to tail into primals and sub primals.

As he broke down the well slaughtered and very clean small pig, he engaged the group of chefs and food enthusiasts on how to use the different cuts, suggesting cooking and curing techniques. Below are photos showing how ribs, bacon, chops, loin, and more were separated. Some shots are quite intense, one of the group actually fainted when the bone saw was used.

Chef began with the right side, dividing it into three manageably sections. The first major cut was to remove the bone from what would become a ham or cured to create prosciutto.



He then sectioned out loin, tenderloin, chop, ribs, and bacon cuts.

First he made a series of different rib cuts.

Pork Spare Ribs - This inexpensive cut comes from around the belly of the pig. Because belly meat is prized for bacon, spareribs are cut as close to the bone as possible.

St. Louis–Style Ribs - These ribs, used in barbecue, are pork spareribs with a uniform, rectangular shape thanks to the removal of the end portion, or rib tip, and the skirt, a flap of meat attached to the bone side.
Baby Back Pork Ribs - Baby backs are taken from around the loin, the muscle that runs along the pig's back on either side of the spine, for a leaner cut that cooks rapidly.

English-Style Beef Short Ribs - Relatively tough beef short ribs, taken from the bottom of the rib cage, work best braised, as in the Hawaiian Cowboy Beef Stew. The ones known as English style are cut parallel to the bone and separated from one another.

Flanken-Cut Beef Short Ribs - This cut, used in eastern European Jewish soups and stews, comes from the same part of the steer as English-style ribs, but it's cut across the ribs into a thin slab containing several bones.

Country-Style Pork Ribs - These, the meatiest of ribs, come either from the loin, in which case they cook quickly, or, more often, from near the shoulder, which means they're tougher and benefit from low, slow cooking.

The photo to the right shows well trimmed ribs. 

The pork loin runs roughly from the animal’s hip to shoulder. This is where we get the leanest and most tender pork cuts. Since they're lean, these cuts tend to dry out if overcooked.

Pork is safe to eat if it's cooked to an interior temperature of 160 degrees. There are three main parts of the loin: the blade end, which is closest to the shoulder and tends to be fatty; the sirloin end,

which is closest to the rump and tends to be bony; and the center portion in the middle, which is lean, tender, and expensive.

The photo to the right shows a delicate tenderloin. This cut is lean, tender, and boneless. It's delicious roasted, grilled, or broiled as long as you don't overcook it.

The photo to the left shows a slab of bacon.

The head is often broken down to make headcheese, and then the bones, snout, ears and other portions are used to make all sorts of delicacies.

This workshop was amazing, with people asking and answering questions, throwing out suggestions and just getting into the spirit of honoring this animal by creating food from snout to tail.