I believe education is a major part of traveling. Every place you visit teaches something new that stays with you throughout your life.
For me, my culinary education is two-fold.
- Part one, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY.
- Part two, all of my combined culinary travels.
I hold the CIA in the absolute highest regard. It is the place to train as a chef, and I am honored that the CIA named me “One of the World’s Great Chefs,” which resulted in a mold of my hands hanging on the walls of the CIA’s Danny Kaye Theater.
The CIA is world renowned as a leader in culinary education. The alumni and staff have a reputation for excellence and are some of the most widely known names in the industry. It is not only a great place to learn but also an exceptional place to visit. The CIA campus has five award-winning, student-staffed public restaurants, shops and offers public tours. So on your next visit, see if you can find my plaque.
With that said, the Culinary Passport is dedicated to food travels and education, and there’s no better place to begin than the famous Hudson Valley, just an hour north of Manhattan. This week, my blog will explore this fantastic area.
A stop at the Glynwood Institute for Sustainable Food and Farming will have a life-long impact on you.
The Glynwood Institute is dedicated to shifting the US food supply from industrially based agriculture to a local, sustainable food system where healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all. The institute runs Glynwood Farm that is located at 1 Glynwood Rd, Cold Spring, NY. There is a full schedule of workshops, seminars and one heck of a produce section. Find out more on www.glynwood.org.
I have found what I believe to be one of the finest ingredients in the world on the small quaint Brookside Farm in Gardiner N.Y – Angus beef. Brookside Farm is a family owned and operated farm committed to the production of healthy, delicious food without the use of hormones, antibiotics or pesticides. Brookside Farm goes beyond organic to provide a gourmet quality, healthy alternative. The farmers use management intensive grazing methods such as a daily rotation to fresh pastures for livestock, pasturing or free ranging all poultry and raising pigs on a ration of 100% organic grain. The meat from Brookside Farm’s grass-fed beef has less total fat, less saturated fat, less cholesterol and less calories. The animals are allowed to mature on pasture at a normal rate of growth and production. Genetics are essential in a high quality grass fed beef operation, which led owner Drew Sycoff to the world-renowned Wye Angus program at The University of Maryland. The bottom line is that because of the care and hard work of Drew, you have the opportunity to try something very special. You can order a sample from www.brookside-farm.com. I assure you it is worth every penny.
While in Gardiner, NY you should stop for a drink at Tuthilltown Spirits (www.tuthilltown.com). Tuthilltown Spirits is New York’s first whiskey distillery since prohibition, distilling some of America’s most prized spirits in the Hudson Valley. Its handmade spirits start out as raw grain and fruit, are made without added flavor or color, and are not chill or carbon filtered. Tuthilltown Spirits distills vodkas from apples grown at orchards less than five miles away and whiskeys using grain harvested by farmers less than 10 miles away. The farm distillery also produces rum, eau de vie, brandy, absinthe and infusions. Guests are welcome to stop in for tastings during store hours. Tours are offered by appointment. Try the HUDSON BABY BOURBON, distilled from 100% New York corn. Simply unmatched.
Quattros Game Farm is another outstanding culinary find in the Hudson Valley. This group has an incredible line-up of poultry and venison eats, but my personal favorite is the heritage turkey. Products are available from Quattro’s Country Store, the Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market, and the Union Square farmers’ market in New York City. Ask for Sal at Quattro’s Country Store, 107 Tinkertown Rd, Pleasant Valley, NY, 12569. (845) 635-8202.
You will also want to invest a little time eating some sausage from Millbrook Venison Farm. Ask for Ed at Millbrook Venison, 499 Verbank Road, Millbrook, NY, 12545-6023.
While not on the dining tour, there are a couple of stops that you must include in any Hudson Valley visit.
First, the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome (www.oldrhinebeck.org) is an antique aviation museum located in Rhinebeck, New York. It has one of the largest collections of early airplanes in the world, many of which regularly take to the air in all their glory during weekend air shows. The Aerodrome features planes, automobiles, motorcycles, early engines and memorabilia from 1900-1935. In addition to the air shows, there are four museum buildings displaying aircraft form the Pioneer Era, World War I and the Lindbergh/Barnstorming era. A visit here provides a wonderful historic look at aviation.
And, what’s a trip to the Hudson Valley without seeing its namesake the Hudson River? In my opinion, the best way to view the Hudson is on the Walkway Over the Hudson (www.walkway.org), a spectacular new pedestrian walkway that evokes the feeling of floating on air. The Walkway Over the Hudson is on built on an 18th century railroad bridge that is suspended 300 feet over the Hudson River. It is the highest State Park in NY, and it provides spectacular views of the Hudson River. This May 2011 the Poughkeepsie Farmer’s Market (www.farmproject.org) will relocate to the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park and Pulaski Park.
The best part of a trip to the Hudson Valley is that it can made directly from NYC via train. It is a beautiful ride right along the river with views of West Point Military Academy, and you’ll find many fine restaurants and shops in any town along the journey.
I am looking forward to my next visit to the Hudson Valley, and I promise to share more culinary traveling secrets when I do. In fact, why don’t you help me develop my next travel itinerary to the Hudson Valley? What are your favorite culinary spots in this area?
Master Chef Erik Blauberg
Please enjoy my recipe below:
Oven Roasted Wild Heritage Turkey with Cranberry, Ginger and Cinnamon Relish
1- 8 lb wild turkey
Coarse ground sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
¼ cup olive oil
6 sage sprigs (finely chopped)
6 thyme sprigs (finely chopped)
3 rosemary sprigs (finely chopped)
- Wash the turkey inside and out with cool water. Drain the water and pat dry with paper towel.
- Brush the turkey with olive oil; lightly coat the outside and inside of the bird with salt, pepper, sage, thyme and rosemary.
- Place the seasoned turkey into a roasting pan. Place the roasting pan into a pre-heated 375 F oven. When the skin turns golden brown turn down the oven temperature to 350F. Cooking time is approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours.
- Check the doneness with meat thermometer; the internal temperature of the thigh should be 165 F degrees. When the thigh is pierced, the juices should run clear and not pink.
- Remove from the oven let the bird sit at room temperature for 20 minutes so that it can absorb its own natural juices, carve the bird and serve immediately.
Yield: 4 to 5 servings
Serve with your favorite side dishes. Brussel sprouts, stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, baby green beans, yams, Roasted pearl onions etc.
Cranberry, Ginger and Cinnamon Relish
1 large navel orange
1 ½ tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 cinnamon sticks
3 dried chili
3 vanilla beans (split lengthwise)
3 cups sugar
1 ½ cups dried cherries
3 lbs fresh cranberries
Cut orange and lime, with their skins, into ¼ inch dice. Set aside. Tie ginger, cinnamon sticks, chili, a vanilla bean in cheesecloth and set aside.
Place sugar in a heavy large skillet, preferably one with straight sides. Stir constantly over high heat until sugar turns light amber. Sugar must be cooked careful to prevent burning; break up lumps as you go. (If there are still lumps of sugar after it begins to color, work over low heat, or off heat, until mixture is smooth.)
Stir in orange, lime and bag of spices, and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Fold in cherries and cranberries, stirring gently to coat with caramelized sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently, until about half of cranberries pop open, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cool.
Remove bag of spices and spoon the relish into a bowl. It can be served warm or cold.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings