I don't understand why goose is not more popular than it is on American dining tables whether it be at home or in restaurants. Like duck and ostrich, these are very meaty, beefy birds. The breast meat is every bit as red as beef or lamb and the fat is simply the best. If one considers the rich deliciousness of a goose egg too, I would think they would be amongst the most popular menu items out there. Somehow, that just isn't the case, though.
For the second holiday season in a row, I bought a freshly killed goose from Mary & Bob Pratt of Washington County's Elihu Farm (more information below *) at the Saratoga Farmers Market this past Saturday. Last year, I roasted it whole in my CVap. It was delicious. This year, I decided I would try something different. I butchered it to cut out the boneless breasts from the carcass and separated the wings and the thighs with the legs as well. I took the skin and most of the fat to render the fat and make goose cracklings. I used the fat to confit the thighs and legs and am making a prosciutto from one of the breasts. The carcass and neck are being saved to make a goose stock.
For the remaining breast, I cooked it in my CVap Cook and Hold for 2.5 hours at 135ºF on a cedar plank with browning off. I then finished it on the cooktop searing it in a little butter. The meat was perfect! To complement the rich goose I made a sauce using Red Sour Cherry Preserves & Topping from Chukar Cherries. The cherry preserves were too sweet to use on their own, but with the addition of a generous helping of freshly ground juniper berries, salt and the juice of half a lemon, they made an excellent sweet and sour sauce to complement the meaty goose.
Yes, when I eat something as delicious and reasonably easy to make (I realize that there are few CVaps outside of restaurant kitchens. The breast with skin and fat attached can be seared just like a duck breast to the same wonderful end), I don't understand why it isn't more popular. Is it just a question of opportunity? If so, then I suggest that opportunities be found or made. goose is that good!
*From Elihu Farm:
Raising the Geese. The goslings, all gray and white Toulouse (a heritage breed), arrived onelovely morning in May as day-olds, peeping away in four large boxes at our local Post Office. Right away,we dipped their bills in fresh water as we counted and transferred to larger containers. Then it was off tothe sheep barn for “goose starter,’ grain mix, and lights for warmth, and more water, water, water.
They soon learned we were t-h-e meal ticket, and chattered away when we were nearby. As theygrew, their pen grew, until they were large enough to explore the grass near the barn. Geese love grass,and are excellent lawn mowers.
In a short time, we ‘weaned’ from the brooder, and soon put them to pasture all the time,surrounded by electric netting for protection. Vigorous healthy birds, they love their grass, and love theirwater and more water and more water. They still eat some grain for carbohydrates to keep them warm.
Goose for Dinner. There’s nothing quite like the flavorful dark meat from goose, which is lower infat than beef or lamb. The fat is semi-solid, containing over 50% of the beneficial monounsaturated oleicfatty acid, an Omega-3. Rendered goose fat is excellent for sautéing vegetables or roasting potatoes. Weexpect our geese to be leaner than conventionally raised birds.
Ordering. The geese run from about 7-1/2 to 10 pounds, dressed, and cost $7.95/lb. Pick up onthe farm or at the Saratoga Springs Farmers’ Market. Delivery to Albany may be available. Contact Maryand Bob Pratt, firstname.lastname@example.org, 518-753-7838, 518-744-3947.
These tasty beauties were at The Santa Monica Farmers Market at the beginning of December along with many other varieties, a bounty not generally seen at this time of the year in the Northeast. The quality and variety of the produce at the market was wonderful. I especially drooled over all the juicy citrus and the fresh nuts, items we don't have in our markets back east. I was surprised to find only limited meat, cheese and fish, though, all items generally more readily available at the better northeastern markets. It was good to see a number of L.A. Chefs and restaurateurs out shopping the market, too. Mixologist Matt Biancaniello from the Library Bar at the Roosevelt Hollywood Hotel goes every week to buy fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables to use in the bar. I had the opportunity to visit him at the bar later that evening. His creativity and work are very impressive and absolutely worth a visit for all fans of the cocktail. His candy cap mushroom infused bourbon was amazing! More photos from the market below.
I picked up this fresh ginger root on Saturday from Kilpatrick Family Farm at the Saratoga Farmers Market. It is a revelation! I never had freshly harvested ginger root before. I had never even seen it this fresh before. It is juicy, piquant and absolutely full of flavor. I sliced some thin along with some garlic and sauteed it with some of the season's last haricot verts from Farmhouse at Top of the World that my wife purchased on Saturday at the Glens Falls Farmers Market.
The biggest problem with Eataly, the new omni-Italian food emporium on Madison Square park in NYC, is that it is too popular. I have now been there three times, A Sunday, a Thursday and most recently this past Saturday. The place that it most closely resembles in my experience is the Östermalms Saluhall in Stockholm, an amalgamation of retail ingredient stands and restaurants under one roof. Of course the food style is different and unlike the Saluhall, which is composed of a number of competing vendors, many of whom are selling variations of the same thing, Eataly has a variety of areas each focusing on a specific type of Italian product. While much of the product at Eataly is imported from Italy, most of the fresh produce such as the vegetables, meats, seafood and the raw ingredients for the freshly made cheeses, gelati, etc. come from the United States. The quality is by and large exceptional and the food in the restaurants is very, very good. The difficulty? Getting to it.
The only time in my experience that I was able to dine and shop unhindered by crowds was shortly after opening at 10AM on the Thursday I visited. By 11AM, I was hungry for pizza and pasta and had no trouble getting a table directly. Within a half hour or so, however, the lines had formed and the waits had started. While the service was , as one might expect in such a high volume place, a bit perfunctory (a busboy tried to clear a plate while I was still eating from it), the food, including a lovely pizza Margherita with mozzarella di bufala and San Marzano tomatoes was superb. The paccheri with frutte di mare was even better. For those interested in the pizze, a good strategy on busy days is to get one from the Eataly To Go window outside on 24th St. Though there isn't a place to sit, the lines are considerably shorter and the wait is reasonable. The wait inside on the Sunday around 12:30PM was described at about an hour. Sandwiches on the Sunday I was there, including prime rib and roast pork on Italian bread, were tasty, although a bit skimpy on meat and a bit pricey. I was tempted by the raw bar for oysters or clams, but I'm sorry, $30 for a dozen littlenecks on the half shell is a little too expensive. The same price applied to the oysters. While still expensive, I can understand the pricing a little more given the pressure on oyster pricing after the Gulf oil spill. Over all, the quality of the ready to eat food at Eataly is very good and would make a very worthwhile interlude while shopping if and when the crowds calm down a bit.
A bit more accessible, time and price wise, are the sweets and coffee located just off the entrance on Fifth Avenue. The gelati were particularly superb. The pistachio was simply extraordinary, while the fig tasted like I was eating them right off the tree. I was thrilled to discover that the milk for the dairy products made at Eataly, including the gelati and the mozzarella, actually come from the Dairy farm in Washington County, N.Y. where we get our milk from, Battenkill Valley Creamery.
The mozzarella, made continuously in the center hall, has improved in taste over the few weeks since I first visited the market. While never bad, it has ratcheted up in that time, to the point that it is now starting to rival some of the better mozzarelle in the City.
The pasta selection is extraordinary. From a wide variety of freshly made pastas to the cornucopia of imported Italian brands, including the original Italian Barilla, the quality is superb and the prices surprisingly reasonable. The only bafflement for me, was the relatively paltry selection of flat dry pastas such as tagliatelle, fettucine and pappardelle, some of my favorites. Most of the brands were previously unknown to me, but so far, I have tried a few different ones and each has been excellent. Most of the package sizes are in the 500g range, though some are full kilos and others are 250g.
The meat counter is truly beautiful with excellent quality meats including a variety of beef, pork, veal and lamb. I bought some Piemontese beefsteaks from Montana this past weekend, cooked them in the CVap to 125ºF and finished them in a cast-iron griddle pan. Very lean to start, they were surprisingly tender and amazingly flavorful. While not inexpensive, they were truly superb and worth every cent.
The seafood display is amongst the best that I have seen in the USA in terms of variety, however, the quality and freshness appeared to vary. nevertheless, an astute shopper can get some marvelous seafood here that may be otherwise difficult to procure. Of course, as with all quality seafood nowadays, the prices can sometimes leave one gasping for air. The Florida rock shrimp I bought this past weekend, however, were relatively reasonably priced, immaculate and perfect for a ceviche with mango, cilantro, lime, cipolline onion and diced red chile.
The produce section, which even includes its own "vegetable butcher" at no additional cost, maintains some beautiful produce and fruit. While a good portion of it is not particularly Italian, that did not keep me from drooling. The mushroom section with matsutakes, French bluefoot mushrooms, fresh porcini and fresh truffles amongst other varieties was particularly enticing. The mango I purchased to use in my ceviche was at the perfect stage of ripeness.
This incredible emporium has more than just food. It also includes some associated products such as kitchen ware by Italian design companies such as a personal favorite, Guzzini as well as Alessi and others, books and more. The selection of Italian beverages, alcoholic and non is also exceptional. In addition to all of the food, drink, wares and restaurants available, Eataly also intends to become something of a cultural icon in the city, hosting cooking classes and special events such as the upcoming Identita Golose in New York.
Eataly was originally founded in Turin, Italy by Oscar Farinetti in conjunction with Slow Food, the International food related organization started in Italy by Carlo Petrini (more on Carlo Petrini and Slow Food to come soon). Along with Farinetti and his group (Eatly NY is managed by Farinetti's son), partners in Eataly NY include Mario Batalli and Joe and Lidia Bastianich. The objective of the market and Slow Food is to highlight top quality food and make it as accessible as possible. Though the market food isn't being given away, considering the quality, most of it is priced as accessibly as it reasonably could be. The restaurant fare, given that it is basically a glorified mall food court, is a bit of a different story. While the quality of the food itself is still good, the overall value of the experience, including the prices, service, the waits and the generally cramped nature is reduced and at the moment generally not worth it.
There is much to be said for this incredible market. As it stands now, with customers often times having to line up simply to get into the building, it is too crowded and busy to be fully enjoyable. Hopefully, as the novelty wears off, the crowds will dissipate to the point that it can be both a successful business and a totally enjoyable experience.As the dynamics of the place change, the value quotient likely will too, or so I hope. It clearly has a lot of potential to be a truly great one stop shop for dining and retail grocery purchases.
I hope you had a wonderful Columbus Day!
I have lamented about the apparent dearth of really good tomatoes around where I live this summer, but these from Kim Feeney and her husband Kevin London at Farmhouse at Top of the World were an exception to the rule. The tomatoes were sampled and the photo taken at last weekend's Saratoga Performing Arts Center's Food and Wine and Fall Ferrari Festival held on the grounds of SPAC. They sell their tomatoes and other produce at the Glens Falls Farmers Market.
When I saw these beautiful squash blossoms last weekend at the Kilpatrick Farm stand at the Saratoga Farmers Market, I could not not buy them. Fried or baked, I have always had squash blossoms as a savory component of a meal, but this time I thought I would try something a little different. I chopped up a sweet Pennsylvania peach along with some bing cherries, mixed them with Liza Porter's fresh chevre and a little cinnamon and stuffed the delicate blossoms. I baked them at 325ºF for 15 minutes and served them. I did not add any additional sugar. They were plenty sweet (and nicely tart) for me, but if someone wanted them a little sweeter, I would think a drizzle of good honey across the top would do nicely.
Another variation of a tomato salad, this one included fantastic arugula from Pleasant Valley farm, tomato wedges and thinly sliced red onion from Kilpatrick Family Farm along with my mainstay of good quality extra virgin olive oil and aged sherry vinegar. Just to add some different notes, I also included a few sprigs of lovely fresh cilantro. Refreshing & delicious!
If you care about this sort of thing, it's time to vote for your favorite Farmers Market. My favorite market is the Saratoga Market. They have great quality, great variety and great community. It has been fun getting to know the farmers and other shoppers over the years and to have visited many of the farms. What's your favorite market and why? What can you get there that you can't find elsewhere?
One of the great pleasures of summer is fresh green beans especially the skinny French variety known as haricots verts. These, from Kilpatrick Family Farm, were blanched then quickly combined on high heat with a thinly sliced poblano chili (also from Kilpatrick's) and olive oil before cooling and combining with chopped black Cerignola olives and chiffonaded basil for a quick and tasty summer salad suitable for a picnic on the Lake or elsewhere.
These photos are combined from a few recent visits to the Saratoga Farmers Market.
Great greens at New Minglewood Farm