Cooking from the Farms: Kitchen Update

It’s a kitchen update, but not exclusively of my kitchen.  This week, we took the show on the road to New York to enjoy the kitchens of Prune and the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center.

Come have a look.

Prune on 1st Street at 1st Avenue, East Village

On Friday night a magical dinner at Prune was spun from the pure and honest cooking of really good ingredients.  Dinner starts with fried chickpeas for the table.  I work my way through grilled whole shrimp with anchovy butter, a lamb blade chop with a Greek salad accompaniment, my half of a layered seasonal vegetable tian, and a share of cornmeal poundcake with fresh plums and raspberries served with homemade vanilla ice cream.  And yes, that’s a water bowl you see post-shrimp.  I ate the shrimp with my hands; my hands were a buttery mess.

Cheese is good for you

Saturday brings the cheese class, The Great Iberian Peninsula, at Artisanal Premium Cheese Center.  Artisanal imports their cheese from within and without the US, and they import the cheese “green” or unripened, letting it finish its blooming period in their caves on East 37th and 10th.  This is also where they conduct classes, and it is a beautiful space consisting of gathering space for a welcome reception and a large classroom.  The reception spread included a selection of their own cheeses and a very popular fondue.

The cheeses for the evening, clockwise from left of the blue cheese: Ibores (Spain, goat’s milk), Amarelo da Beira Baixa (Portugal, sheep’s and goat’s milk), Zamorano (Spain, sheep’s milk), Azeitao (Portugal, sheep’s milk), Evora (Portugal, sheep’s milk), Mahon (Spain, cow’s milk), La Peral (Spain, cow’s milk and sheep’s cream).

The wines for the evening, from left:  Ipsum Verdejo/Viura 2008, Spain; Crianza Tempranillo 2005, Spain; Quinto Do Noval, Tawny Port NV, Portugal.

My favorite cheeses of the evening were Zamorano:

and La Peral:

The instructor for the Iberian Peninsula class was Waldemar Albrecht.  He imparted some great information and encouraged all the students to use a four-part rubric for considering the wine and cheese pairings:  1) the acidity of the wine and cheese to be paired, 2) the terroir or region in making matches, 3) the interplay of sweet and salt between wine and cheese, and 4) one’s own personal taste.

Artisanal runs great classes, and I would go again.  In fact, I am thinking about the 3-day Master Class (Intensive for Professionals and Cheese Lovers) for the near(ish) future.  Go if you are a cheese lover and find yourself in New York.  Go, go, go!

There’s no place like home

Getting back in the swing of the home cooking thing after a few days of restaurant food is always welcome.  Really.  As we stocked up at Cider Hill –  fresh corn, tomatoes, and peaches –  I had an idea that non-Amesbury people might enjoy some shots of the farm itself.  The Cooks are passionate about alternative energy sources, both solar and wind.

They love their animals too.

And did anyone say free ranging chickens?

The week’s pick of the produce

Heron Pond cherry tomatoes

Heron Pond corn

and to prove that good things come in threes, Cider Hill Paula Red apples…

…and Cider Hill plums

Home Sweet Home

The grill is fired up.  A pork loin has been marinating.  I have to go see to the side dishes (fresh corn, summer squash with frizzled leeks) but the vanilla ice cream base is made and chilling.  Time to sip a Raspberry-Thyme Smash.  Hope your week/weekend was as full of good food as mine!

©2010  Jane A. Ward