Vanilla Custard Tart with Berries

If there’s one challenge to keeping chickens, it’s what to do with all these eggs? Fortunately most of the solutions are pretty delicious, and this custard tart with berries makes a great start to the summer.

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Spring Pasta with Ramps, Peas and Pancetta

Every spring I’m reminded of how happy I am that we bought a house in the Hudson Valley. The sun is out and I’m sitting on our deck, watching the chickens romp around the ‘garden’. Yes, ‘garden’ is in quotes because it’s...
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Beacon Mule (Bourbon & Ginger Beer Cocktail)

It’s nice to know that, even though this world can feel like a dark and frightening place sometimes, good things still happen. Yes, an infected toenail that fell off and became sentient (kind of) is the GOP nominee for President of the United States, but on the...
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Vanilla Custard Tart with Berries

Vanilla Custard Tart with Berries

If there’s one challenge to keeping chickens – there aren’t, of course, there are dozens: keeping the dog out of the chicken pellets and poop, keeping the chickens out of the vegetable patch and flower border; keeping Bernie Sanders, our runty salmon favarolle, from being bullied by the other, bigger, chickens – but if there were only one challenge, it would be: what the hell do we do with all these eggs?

With seven hens, even giving them away to our friends and neighbors, we’re never shy of around six dozen eggs on the counter at any one moment, with five or six being added to the stock every day. Yes, there are worse problems to have, and most of the solutions are pretty delicious.

Vanilla Custard Tart with Berries

We topped our tart with strawberries, blackberries. golden berries and fresh mint.

Spring Pasta with Ramps, Peas and Pancetta

Spring Pasta with Ramps, Peas and Pancetta

Spring Pasta with Ramps, Peas and Pancetta

A versatile pasta dish that combines spring vegetables (ramps and peas) with crisp pancetta in a light, creamy sauce.

Every spring I’m reminded of how happy I am that we bought a house in the Hudson Valley. The sun is out and I’m sitting on our deck, watching the chickens romp around the ‘garden’. Yes, ‘garden’ is in quotes because it’s mostly weeds, rocks and buried concrete (why, previous owners? Why?). And yes, those pesky chickens are obsessed with destroying the few plants we’re actually trying to grow. But none of that matters! Gardens can be planted. Chickens can be strangled penned. The important thing is that it’s ours and we love it (sometimes).

Another fantastic thing about spring is all the wonderful fresh green things that are just beginning to show up at the farmers’ market (or your own garden, if you’re lucky and/or talented). A simple pasta dish like this takes full advantage of these fresh flavors, pairing the tender vegetables with crispy pancetta* and a light, creamy sauce.

*You could absolutely leave the pancetta out for a vegetarian dish. You’ll probably want to add a bit more salt since the pancetta is salty.

Spring Pasta with Ramps, Peas and Pancetta

Ramps (wild leeks) have a lovely garlicky flavor. I love them with peas and pancetta but you could use any tender spring vegetable you like.

Beacon Mule (Bourbon & Ginger Beer Cocktail)

Beacon Mule (Bourbon & Ginger Beer Cocktail)

Beacon Mule (Bourbon & Ginger Beer Cocktail)

Bourbon adds a deep, almost honey-like flavor to this cocktail, typically made with vodka.

It’s nice to know that, even though this world can feel like a dark and frightening place sometimes, good things still happen. Yes, an infected toenail that fell off and became sentient (kind of) is the GOP nominee for President of the United States, but on the flip side, a package arrived at Nerds with Knives headquarters and there was bourbon inside it!

See, it all evens out in the end (sob).

Okay, okay. I know a cooking blog is not an appropriate place for politics but I’ll say this: I’m going to need a lot of cocktails to make it through this election cycle.

Luckily, the nice folks at Heritage Distilling sent us two bottles of delicious whiskey which we’ve been drinking on ice as well as making tasty cocktails with. The Brown Sugar Bourbon is a little sweet, with notes of cinnamon and clove. It would be fantastic in a Fall or Winter cocktail with apple cider. With the barrel aged bourbon, we made a whisky version of a Moscow Mule (vodka, lime, ginger beer) and it was so good, we knew we had to share it with you.

Beacon Mule (Bourbon & Ginger Beer Cocktail)

The Barrel-aged Bourbon has notes of honey and caramel. The Brown Sugar Bourbon tastes of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Quiche with Ramps, Bacon and Gruyere

Quiche with Ramps, Bacon and Gruyere

Quiche with Ramps, Bacon and Gruyere

Creamy, cheesy and so satisfying, this quiche is filled with ramps (wild leeks), bacon and gruyere.

Spring has finally sprung in the Hudson Valley and, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know what that means: the Cliftons have ramp breath.

In the last week we’ve made sautéed ramps with mushrooms and fried eggs (delicious), spaghetti with ramps and brown butter sauce (heavenly), and this quiche, with ramps, bacon and gruyere. So, yeah, it’s been pretty rampy up in here.

Ramps and eggs

Ramps and eggs are a delicious combination. The ramps were foraged about a mile away and the eggs are from our chickens so this is just about as local as it gets.

Grouper Fritters from the Florida Keys

Grouper Fritters from the Florida Keys

Fritters 2

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