Submitted by guest blogger Leslee Mounger
Eating local in the summer is a no brainer. Almost every village has a farmer's market, farm stands are abundant and everyone has a friend, family member, or co-worker looking to pass along extra greens, squash, or tomatoes. But once October rolls around things start to quiet down in the Adirondack food world. Lucky for us a few people recognize that there IS still abundance. Vegetable farmers are still harvesting both field and greenhouse vegetables, many of them made even more delicious by the dropping temperatures. Storage crops are also plentiful, and these root vegetables and alliums are just waiting to be added to all that wonderful stew. The cheese makers and bread makers are still creating even though summer is behind us. Adirondack meat is available fresh, cured, smoked and even patéed. All of these local foods only make our cozy fall and winter cooking more delicious.
Lucky for us Margot Brooks and Alex Eaton, of Sugar House Creamery in Upper Jay, see this abundance and want to make it available to all of us. Now, every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., until the days become long again all the way in May, they host the Snowy Grocery, a compact farmers market, right on their farm. Make a trip there Sunday morning and you will come home with bags full of a variety of vegetables, delicious meats, fresh bread and pastries, raw milk, handmade cheese, and even a hot tamale if you don’t feel like cooking lunch.
Wild Work Farm brings a variety of salad and cooking greens, herbs, onions, squash, carrots, potatoes, and more to fill your crisper. Mace Chasm has a rotating selection of specialty sausages, fresh and smoked meats, and outstanding hand made charcuterie. There is bread from Crown Point Bakery and Mona Dubay shows up with sweet and savory baked goods filled with so much love you can taste it. The Sugar House Creamery farm store is stocked with their own amazing cheeses and raw milk as well as a selection of pantry items and fermented goods from Small Town Cultures and KZ Farm. Once you’re done with your grocery shopping you can treat yourself to one of Irma’s warm tamales and pop back in to the farm store to flip through some vintage records.
And in the end the Snowy Grocery is more than a farmer’s market. It’s a place to run into a friend and catch up, let your kids roam around in search of barn kittens, enjoy some truly fantastic sledding once the snow comes, and put off your Sunday scaries for a couple more hours.
Once you've got your bag of locally grown and produced goodies, it's time to take it home and make something delicious. The following recipe can be put together entirely from the store at Sugar House Creamery, and its rich flavors and local goodness will warm you inside and out.
Sautéed Radicchio with Dutch Knuckle Croutons
Radicchio is an Italian chicory with beautiful purple- and white-veined leaves. It can be eaten raw in salads but is also excellent sautéd or grilled. Radicchio has a bitter taste which personally I adore. It is mellowed here with cooking and the addition of sweet-cooked shallot and cheese on the croutons. This recipe makes a wonderful side dish to steak or roast chicken, or it can be turned into a complete meal by adding a farm fresh fried egg on top. Another variation on these flavors would be to skip the croutons and instead turn the bread, Dutch Knuckle, and cooked radicchio into some stunning grilled cheese sandwiches!
- 1 c. torn bread pieces
- 2 tablespoons raw seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ c. shredded Dutch Knuckle cheese
- Salt & pepper
- 1 large head radicchio, quartered and sliced into ribbons
- 1 medium shallot, cut into small dice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375º.
- Toss bread and seeds together with olive oil in a small pan. Season with a pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper. Bake for approximately 10 to 15 minutes stirring every 5 minutes until bread is at your desired crunchiness.
- Remove pan from oven and pull all bread and seeds into a pile in the middle of the tray. Spread shredded cheese over the top and return to oven for 3 to 4 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Remove pan from oven and allow to cool. Break apart croutons and cheese pieces being sure to get crunchy cheese bits from bottom of the pan. Set aside.
- Coat bottom of a sauté pan with olive oil. Add shallot and cook over medium for 2 to 3 minutes until shallot begins to soften.
- Add garlic and a small pinch of salt. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until shallot and garlic are soft and starting to brown on the edges.
- Add radicchio and mix well continuing to cook until wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add a little extra olive oil if radicchio begins to stick.
- Remove radicchio to plate and top with Dutch Knuckle croutons.
Now imagine sitting down in front of the wood stove as the snow falls and the earthy aromas fill the house. Few things could be better than treating yourself and your family to a dish that was made with love from seed to table, and the knowledge that your local Adirondack farmers can provide such a diverse bounty even after the growing season ends.