Thursday, Dec 14th

Last updateThu, 14 Dec 2017 10am

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Support a Local Farmer and Enjoy Organic Produce

A CSA (community supported agriculture) is basically a group of people who get together ahead of the growing season and agree to support a local farmer (in our case it is two farms, Adamah and Chubby Bunny). The Hazon CSA committee of the five synagogues of White Plains is accepting applications to join our group for the upcoming season. You do not have to live in White Plains or be a member of one of the synagogues to join the CSA. Each shareholder (individual or family) commits in advance to purchase organic produce from a local farm for the season, which is delivered once a week to a central location in White Plains. The members’ advance commitment and upfront payment help support the farmer’s season start up costs. Each shareholder also has a small volunteer responsibility to the CSA. The deliveries run from June through November. The shareholder, aside from partaking in such wonderful, healthy food, agrees to share the farmer’s risk that certain crops may be damaged in the rare event of a flood, drought, blight, etc., which may impact the harvest.

There are many advantages to joining our CSA, which include:

• Learning about and trying new vegetables, and receiving a variety of fresh, local, organic vegetables at competitive prices
• Supporting local sustainable agriculture – helping family farms to survive
• Gaining a closer relationship to where your food comes from
• Supporting a healthy environment – lowering your carbon footprint
• Building a strong community
• Receiving weekly newsletters with recipes, tips, news from the farm, and information about food issues
• Enjoying farm trips, educational programs, and community events around food and agriculture
• Linking into a national network of people who care about food and sustainability

Additional information about the CSA and applications for the 2010 season are available on our web site, http://www.tuvwhiteplains.org. The early bird discount price for the 2010 season is $580 for 22 weeks of produce, which includes a $5 administrative fee. This discounted price is only good through March 31st. After that date, the price goes up to $605, including the $5 administrative fee. The opportunity to purchase shares is open to the general public through June 1st, or until all available shares have been sold. Completed applications, accompanied by checks in the full amount of the share made payable to Chubby Bunny Farm, should be delivered to Temple Israel Center’s main office – to the attention of the CSA. For additional information, please contact Daryl Moss at coordinator@tuvwhiteplains.org.
 

Why Buy Local Food?

The Scarsdale Farmers Market is trying desperately to maintain its presence in Scarsdale for the loyal residents that have supported it from day one. Once again I would like to thank them. However we find it more and more difficult to continue the market without customer participation.

This past week The Scarsdale Inquirer ran a very long story in a special section of the paper called “Today's Women”. The article title was "Farmer's Market is her Field of Dreams". This was large and bold and beautifully executed, however this was not an article promoting the Scarsdale Farmers Market but one that helped to promote the Hastings Farmers Market. What am I missing here? The customers that brought this to my attention were shocked and dismayed as to why the Hastings Farmers Market would be front and center in the Scarsdale paper. Needless to say we will not be spending any of our springtime advertising budget with this paper.

It has been the mission of the Scarsdale Market to bring "Farm To Table Eating" to your families from opening day, but some still ask, “Why Buy Local Food?”

Here are just a few good reasons:

Local food is not genetically modified. Although biotechnology companies have been trying to commercialize genetically modified fruits and vegetables, they are currently licensing them only to large factory-style farms. Local farmers don’t have access to genetically modified seed, and most of them wouldn’t use it even if they could. A June 2001 survey by ABC News showed that 93% of Americans want labels on genetically modified food - mostly so that they can avoid it. If you are opposed to eating bio-engineered food, you can rest assured that locally grown produce was bred the old-fashioned way, as nature intended.

Local food keeps your taxes in check. According to several studies, farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas suburban development costs more than it generates in taxes. On average, for every $1 in revenue raised by residential development, governments must spend $1.17 on services, thus requiring higher taxes. For each dollar of revenue raised by farm, forest, or open space, governments spend 34 cents on services

Local food preserves open space and there are so many more reasons you should support local food producers; no preservatives, freshness, no chemicals.

So why wouldn't you come down to Christie Place or the Village Hall parking lot to support such a valuable cause and why would the local paper promote a market in another town? Remember, "Your health is your wealth".

A Very Special Valentine's Day

There are many ways to say “I Love You” this Valentine’s Day, Sunday February 14th. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner or some sweet treats, restaurants, bakeries and food purveyors have special offers in store for you. Here’s a short-list of what you’ll find in our area:

For dinner: Caffe Azzurri: on North Central Avenue in Hartsdale will be giving out free roses to all the ladies on Valentines Day.

Eastchester Fish Gourmet is now accepting reservations for dinner, starting at 4 PM on Sunday, but if you would rather spend Valentine’s Dinner at home, the restaurant is offering special Valentine’s Day meals to go. For just $29 per person, you can order twin oven-ready South African lobster tails with chocolate lava cake or 1 1/2 lb. steamed Maine lobster with twice baked potato, coleslaw and chocolate lava cake. Dinners to go can be picked up in the Fish Market from 12-6 on Valentine's Day.

Emmas on Gedney Way in White Plains will serve their regular menu with some Valentine’s specials including homemade, heart-shaped lobster ravioli.

Elements Food and Spirits on Mamaroneck Avenue has a $65 prix fixe menu that includes a Valentine’s pink martini or a glass of wine. On the menu are specials for lovers include lobster bisque, oyster menage a trois and a rocket salad with blood orange vinaigrette. For the entrée, they are offering a petit filet with foie gras, main lobster ravioli, lamb chops or halibut. And the dessert selections suit the day to a tee….passion fruit mousse, chocolate mousse or red velvet cake!

At Meritage on Weaver Street a four-course prix fixe menu is available for $75 with sumptuous specials such as tuna carpaccio or oysters mignonette for appetizers. For the pasta and main courses there’s chicken agnolotti, sautéed striped bass with lemon caper and fennel salad in blood orange vinaigrette and stuffed saddle of lamb with chevre potato puree. Finish your meal with raspberry cheesecake or chocolate torte.

Are bakeries are offering delectable treats:

Flourish Baking Company will mark their first Valentines Day on Summerfield Street by featuring mini red velvet cupcakes tinted with natural vegetable hues, an assortment of heart shaped tea cakes with banana, chocolate, or lemon verbena, sweet Meyer lemon meringue pie, white chocolate mousse and chocolate-dipped jumbo strawberries.

La Rennaissance on Harwood Court in Scarsdale Village has many heart-shaped desserts in store for Valentines Day. Stop by for an assortment of fruit, lemon meringue and crème brulee tarts, large iced Valentine cookies, strawberries dipped in chocolate, homemade truffles and Sarah Bernhardts.

Valentines Day coincides with the 9th Anniversary of Lulu’s on Garth Road in Scarsdale. To celebrate, they will be baking Valentine's cupcakes, and heart shaped cakes, as well as heart shaped Valentine cookie boxes. These boxes are made out of edible dough and filled with miniature cookies.

At local groceries there’s even more:

For just $19.99 Balduccis is offering a decorative tin full of love-themed candies - sure to warm the heart (and please the sweet tooth) of your special Valentine. Included are gummy bears, conversation hearts, Jelly Belly deluxe Valentine candies and Lindt Lindor chocolate balls.

There will be a tasting of chocolate-dipped strawberries at Whole Foods in White Plains on Thursday February 11th from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. You are invited to share the love with fresh strawberries dipped in delicious Whole Trade Chocolate perfect for Valentines Day.

On Saturday February 13th, Whole Foods will host a Valentine's Day Tasting and Flower Fest
from 11:00am-3:00pm. Customers can sample sweet treats and specialty items and the Whole Foods florists will be creating beautiful bouquets and arrangements available for purchase. Double dozen rose's are just $19.99 and if you pre-order you will receive a free gift or 365 organic truffles.

Did we forget anyone? If so, share your Valentine's Day favorites in the Comments section below.
 

Make Your Own Pasta

At last count I have 110 cookbooks, though another two arrived today in the mail. I can’t stop myself - I love cookbooks. Really good ones are like great novels that nourish the soul and body. In addition, they keep on giving. So many times I pull out a cookbook to review a recipe and end up coming across something new that passed me by the first, second, third time around. By the time I’m finished an hour of time has been absorbed and I’ve added more food items onto the shopping list.

I bought my first cookbook when I was eighteen. It was like a right of passage for me. I needed to sustain myself and this was going to teach me how. It was Marion Cunningham’s revised edition of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. When I was younger and still living at home, I used to pull out my mother’s beat up, food stained, no cover jacket version of Fannie Farmer out of which I learned to make my first coffee cake and corn bread. I loved it. I would read the beginning sections of every chapter for its overview and to review the little hand drawn sketches of various techniques. I was hooked.

When the weather is cold and outdoor activities become limited, cookbooks can transplant you to countries where the sun is always shining, the people are welcoming and the food is to die for. They are like travelogues without all the bad parts. Lately, I’ve been spending a great deal of time in Italy – the beautiful northern regions of Trentino-Alto Adige, Lombardy, and Valle D’Aosta that border Switzerland, Austria and France and that are famous for their mountains, lakes (Lake Como) and food like Asiago, Grana Padano and Fontina cheeses, and the short grain rices like Arborio and Carnaroli. Emilia-Romagna, which sits just a little bit south of these regions, is famous for its egg pasta and its classic Bolognese sauce (named after its capital Bologna).

It was at this point that I got inspired to make fresh egg pasta this weekend. Fresh pasta may sound daunting to make but the dough is a breeze if you have a food processor and a pasta machine to roll it out (like the one pictured above). If you’re a wiz at rolling and stretching, you don’t need a pasta machine. For that fact, you don’t need a food processor either as you can make the pasta dough using the traditional well method which starts with a mound of flour and then incorporates the eggs by making a well in the flour. But I think the food processor method produces great results for everyone.

I’ve noticed that over time the recipe for pasta dough has changed. In my older cookbooks, such as “Classic Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan’, the ratio of eggs to dough was typically one cup of flour to one egg. More current cookbooks utilize a ratio of one cup of flour to two eggs. The extra eggs create a dough that is not only easier to work with but is smooth and silky feeling. The recipe is pretty straightforward and I particularly like this one by Lidia Bastianich. Place 3 cups of flour into your food processor and pulse once or twice to aerate. In a measuring cup with sprout, whisk 3 eggs, 3 egg yolks, 3 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons cold water. With the machine running add the egg mixture to the flour and process until the dough starts to come together into a ball. If necessary add a bit more water if the dough does not gather into a ball. Remove from machine and knead for a minute or so. Your dough should feel smooth and soft. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest on counter for 30 minutes. That’s it! The resting period is longer than the time it takes to make the dough.

Stretching the dough in the pasta machine requires some patience. You’ll need both hands to crank the machine and hold the pasta sheet as it continues to get stretched and some extra flour in a cup. Start by cutting the dough into 6 pieces; set aside 5 pieces in the plastic wrap to keep from drying out. Flatten the remaining dough into a rough circle, pat a little bit of flour onto it and pass through the pasta machine at its widest setting (usually marked 1) Decrease the setting a notch and pass the dough again through the machine. You will continue this process until the lowest or second to lowest setting on the machine (6 or 7). The pasta should be thin enough so that you can see your hand behind it when held up to the light and its around 30 inches long and five inches wide. At this point you can cut the sheet into two rectangle half’s so that is more manageable ending up with two sheets about 12 inches long. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. When I’m finished stretching all six pieces, I use a sharp chef’s knife to cut each pasta sheet into strips ½ inch wide to make pappardelle or tagliatelle noodles. Cook in boiling salted water until al dente and top with your favorite sauce. This pasta is so good butter and cheese would be enough.

Elements in White Plains. Great Restaurant or Great Nightlife? Yes.

If Elements were a car, it would definitely be a hybrid. The late night younger crowd is definitely drawn to the stylish setting, but for those of us on the early shift, Elements is also a great choice for your next nice dinner out. Chef Rick Krebs, well known in the Boston restaurant circuit, turns out delicious dishes, featuring new takes on classic favorites. And, yes, also makes a mean set of wings. So, it’s time for foodies, who may have thought Elements was just a hip bar scene, to take a second look.

We’ve all heard the saying “you can’t please everyone.” Well, clearly they haven’t seen Chef Rick’s extensive menu. Those looking for a lighter meal can enjoy options like the “soup of the moment,” beautiful salads—like the poached pear salad with arugula, brandy poached pears, almonds, bleu cheese with agave ginger vinaigrette — and the small plates menu which includes Korean beef lettuce wraps, five spice short ribs, and even panko crusted macaroni and cheese.

Those out for a true dining experience will want to turn their attention to the main entrees section of the menu. There are vegetarian dishes like carnival squash risotto, with spinach and candied hazelnuts plus other options like French cut chicken with apple cranberry chicken sausage in a cranberry demi-glace, with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli or the mouth-watering roasted bourbon glazed salmon with rice pilaf and seasonal mixed vegetables.

And the “create your own” section is a carnivore’s dream come true. Choose from five cuts of meat (or grilled chicken breast), two side dishes and finish it with your favorite sauce. I thoroughly enjoyed my flat iron steak in a red wine sauce, with mashed potatoes and seasonal mixed vegetables. It was perfectly balanced, with no one flavor overpowering another. Oh, and did I mention nothing on the menu is over $28.

If you have any room for dessert check out the strawberry yogurt cake, French apple tart or chocolate mousse.

The multiple personalities of Elements is what makes it the perfect choice for a date night with your spouse, a “girls’ night out,” with friends, or even a larger family event. The sleek, long, main room has banquet seating, with raised tables, along one side and additional tables in the front where you can enjoy the cozy view of the elevated fireplace.

For a larger group, book the back room, which is sectioned off with a beautiful beaded entry. Or, if you are looking to throw a real blow out party (birthdays, surprise parties, even Bar/Bat Mitzvahs) the enormous, more casual, rooftop with its own bar, is a funky and festive option. Chef Rick is as comfortable catering a big event as he is making a special meal for two.

So go ahead, book the babysitter and head over to Elements in White Plains. Just don't be surprised if she’s heading over there herself once you get home.

Elements Food and Spirits
161 Mamaroneck Ave.
White Plains, NY
(914) 358-4930
www.elementswhiteplains.com

You can book reservations on OpenTable.com

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