Friday, June 29, 2007

Au Pied de Cochon ROAD TRIP

We took a road trip to Montreal in order to eat at chef Martin Picard's temple of gluttony

We had a 6:30 reservation. By 7: the place was packed

We started with the Plateau des plateaux, a 2 tier extravaganza of goodness

The appetizer special that evening
Toast soaked in roasted meat jus, topped with morels, Parmesan & a poached egg
One of the best things I've ever eaten!

Poutine, the Canadian national comfort food of fries, gravy & cheese curd.
Picard's version with foie gravy, awesome!

Pickled venison tongues.

Rib of bison. Tender, meaty and delicious.

And the Piece de Resistance
Whole fried pig's foot stuffed with foie gras

Montreal is a fun little city, Au Pied de Cochon is a great restaurant.
Take a road trip!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Head Cheese 101

Head Cheese is our favorite thing to make when we get the chance.

We brine the head w/ aromatics for 4 days

Slowly poach the head for hours on end.

Until it's all tender & delicious

After cooling we pick the meat from the bones

The poaching liquids are reduced and strained.

The picked meat and poaching liquid are chilled together in terrine molds.

Once chilled, sliced & served w/ hericot vert & fresh horseradish

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Peas Glorious Peas

Migliorelli Farm is one of our stops every week for a great variety of vegetables.

The're picked the morning we arrive and waiting for us in their garage.

Sugar snaps, sweet like natures candy

A quick blanch

Served cool, with Old Chatham sheep ricotta & duck cracklins.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Making of a Pork Chop

We just got a whole hog from North Wind Farm in Tivoli as we do several times a year.

Richard was just arriving back from the slaughter house when I got to the farm.
Our hog weighed 137 pounds, kind of small, but none the less delicious.
The slaughter house cuts the hog in half & I break it down the rest of the way.
The rib rack we brine in a brown sugar brine for 24 hours. These pork chops are always huge hits.

Pan Roasted Pork Chop, Horseradish Turnip Cake, Local Russian Kale

Other cuts roasted, confited, cured & smoked, coming soon.

Proximity to the plate

How much do you think about your food?

Do you think about what to put on the shopping list for the store? When you pick that item up at the store, do you think about what it will taste like or where it has come from?

Our life at Swoon is closely tied to the food we prepare and serve. That was our choice when we started in this profession. Over the last few years we have broadened our view beyond just our business to the interrelatedness of all the businesses that touch us and the people that we in turn provide service to. We are a small business in Hudson, NY. We depend on the local economy and the local spirit. We believe that local, sustainable producers of artisanal quality goods are better for the dishes we prepare, and we believe that you know the difference too.

Some of the reasons for our focus on proximity to the plate are just common sense. Some reasons have a broader meaning:
  • If produce, fruit, vegetables, fish, or meat are produced close to us they are fresher when we prepare them.

  • We want to keep our business and money in the community. We hope you will do the same.

  • Local farms are disappearing as the small farm subsidies diminish and land values for property development increase.

  • The "Carbon Footprint" of your plate is a concern and should as small as possible.

We like to focus on simple preparations of local items, and the freshness comes through in the taste. Proximity is relevant, and while we try to keep the distance our food has traveled to us at a minimum, fish must come from the ocean.

We think there is a great spirit for dining in Hudson. It wouldn't be right for us to ask you to dine with us locally, and for us to then not support other local businesses. Our local counties have a good reputation for the agricultural products produced here, so whether you are dining with us or choosing food for your own kitchen, support your local farm stands and farm markets.

It wasn't too long ago that there were hundreds of farms in the area surrounding Hudson. The town started as a shipping port for farm products and other items from the Hudson Valley since Hudson was the northern most navigable port on the Hudson River at that time. Farming and Dairy are turning into large corporate business, with emphasis on production volume and reduced cost.

If your food didn't come from local sources, it had to be moved here to be available to you. More and more fossil fuels are used in the production and delivery of food in the United States. The Climate Crisis is real, and buying local is one step you can take to reduce your impact on the environment.

In the last 10 years there has been an educational awakening about food. More people are "foodies" today than ever before, and recognize the value of better quality artisanal food. This awareness is allowing a new generation of small artisinal farms to flourish in the Hudson Valley and elsewhere. We all take the extra care in producing, selecting and preparing food simply to bring out its taste. That's why we think you care about proximity to the plate.

So that's the story we want to tell in the articles and pictures in this Blog. We make weekly runs to the local farms and as the seasons progress, we want to share with you what is in season and how we use it in our kitchen. We will show you pictures from the fields, and then show you how that product is used at Swoon Kitchenbar. We will write articles like this on various topics that interest us and hopefully you too. We hope you will comment so that we can have a dialog about what we do.