Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Today's Snow on a Hudson Valley Apple Orchard



Out a car window, with my camera phone. Sometimes I wish I had a good camera and skill, these don't do the scene justice.



I wonder what the landscape must have looked like before some desperate folks allowed their ma' and pa's farms to be sold and turned into shabby subdivisions. I had to work hard not to get power lines in the photos. Sigh.



I love snow in New York. The whiteness is so fleeting, it will be drab and gray by morning. There is beauty, but the stuff will kill you. I spun the truck on 32 tonight and missed a telephone pole by an angel's breath.



I won't name the town, this could really be anywhere in the Valley, but the road is called Old Indian. I wonder what those old Indians would have to say.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"The Albany Collection"- Delightfully Weird. (An Open Dare Included)





I have been meaning to post about this cookbook for quite a while. It is "The Albany Collection: Treasures and Treasured Recipes" which is "Compiled by the Women's Council of the Albany Institute of History and Art." It was published in 1997 with an initial run of 5000 copies. I picked up mine at the Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza (same place where I found the oddly titled Applehood and Mother Pie Upstate NY cookbook).



I am going to go ahead and take a shot in the dark and guess that "The Albany Collection" may have been put together by some ladies not still in the flower of their youths. The recipes have a decidedly 50s-60s vibe to them. You know what I am talking about, strange combinations of curry powder, fruit, and mayonnaise. Lots of recipes for "salads", molds, logs and things like that. Beware of anything in the tome labeled "Gourmet" it is usually something scary (Gourmet Tuna Spread has apples and vanilla yogurt in it...) The book speaks to the working class, down home, no frills cooking to which our home region owes so much. This is the stuff that Grandma would have been serving up to our parents back when and maybe the grim nature of some of the food added to the stoic and crotchety nature of our local forefathers.



There are some gems in the book, a simple recipe for Tourtiere is something I might even try. However, there are some unspeakable horrors. Next I will present two recipes from the book that I outright dare anybody out there in foodblog land to prepare and tell me how it turned out. I can't bring myself to attempt either.



First, "CHICKEN BREASTS PROVENCAL"



4 chicken breasts, skinned, boned, quartered

2 medium zucchini, sliced

3-4 tomatoes, sliced

5-6 green onions, chopped

2-3 tablespoons parsley

3 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons chicken broth

salt and pepper



(Bet you don't think those ingredients sound so bad, eh? Wait my friend, wait until we get to the cooking method.)



Directions-



Place chicken breasts in microwave dish with zucchini and tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Cover with clear plastic wrap and microwave 18-20 minutes.



(I have heard that the microwave is a traditional Provencal cooking method from way back.)



Second, "VARIEGATED SALAD" (what does that even mean??)



SALAD



2 Golden Delicious Apples

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 cups spinach

4 cups red leaf lettuce

1/2 cup cashews, pecans, or walnuts

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

6 slices cooked, crumbled bacon



DRESSING



1/4 up red wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons steak sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder



Chop ingredients, toss, dress, barf. (abbreviated)



Anyone out there have the stomach for some nuked chicken breast? Apples, blue cheese, and bacon with steak sauce? Anyone?
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