If you prefer to send gifts online, how about cocktail-scented candles or this DIY mochi ice-cream kit? I’m gifting The Sweet Side of Sourdough written during the pandemic by Gage & Tollner pastry chef Caroline Schiff. Caroline worked with us on Kitchen Raid, so if you’ve signed up you’ll learn how to make a home-cook single layer version of the famous Gage & Tollner 11-layer coconut and lime cake. Join in here.
Food As Art Billie Belo, former baker for Lil Deb’s Oasis in Hudson, is among the artsy young bakers making waves online and featured in the New York Times magazine. The baker behind ‘Cakes For No Occasion’ studied painting at New York’s Grand Central Atelier and sees her cakes more as sculptures, rejecting the “tight, Victorian look of traditional cakes” where excesses are smoothed out. Instead her cakes are free, juicy, even messy, with frosting and filling oozing or dripping out.
Underground pizzeria, Apartment Pizza, is offering a Thanksgiving pizza topped with turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry and lots of cheese to hold this fat boy all together. Orders taken via text or Instagram Direct Message. Visit their website or IG: @apartmentpizzaalb
Yesfolk Kombucha, made in Troy, continues to score rave reviews in the national press and featured in the November issue of Food and Wine magazine.
Jones’ Turkey and Gravy soda is back after a decade away. I’m not sure any of us need it, but you can’t argue with the release date in time for Thanksgiving. Some of their other original limited release flavors have included bacon, green bean casserole and Christmas ham.
I learned two new tricks this week. I’d heard of garlic honey, but not lemon honey. Fill a clean mason jar with raw garlic cloves or sliced lemons. Pour over raw local honey and seal tightly with a lid. Leave and the garlic will infuse the honey while the honey over the lemons draws out more of the juices creating a delicious runny lemon honey syrup.
Cucamelons are the cutest, aren’t they? Grape-sized and resembling tiny watermelons, cucamelons (or Mexican sour gherkins and mouse melons as they’re also known) taste like lemony cucumbers with a hint of sourness from their thin edible skin. Perfect on a skewer in a watermelon cocktail or halved and tossed in salads for added crunch. Available now at local farmers markets for just a few short weeks.
Did you know? The specialty food store and chef supplier Adventure in Food is offering online ordering with home delivery or curbside pickup! Now you’ll never miss seasonal chanterelles or fuzzy green almonds again.
I’m still thinking about the jollof rice and Ethiopian injera at Umana Yana on Albany’s Central Ave. and I’m really happy to report they added family-style take out boxes to the menu plus their liquor license is in place. I’ll be heading back in to check out the new wine list for sure.
For all the traveling we missed over the past 18 months, the NYT gives us The Restaurant List 2021 with 50 places they’re excited about nationwide. Whether you use it as a springboard for travel or indulge in armchair reading, it inspires real hope that restaurants are back.
With whispers of holiday shipping delays in the air, it’s not too soon to scan the “best of” lists. Pastry chef, Caroline Schiff, gives us The Best Whisks of 2021 and as the executive pastry chef at Gage & Tollner, rated one of the best restaurants in the U.S., I'm taking her advice. For more of chef Caroline’s tips, sign up for Kitchen Raid and she’ll walk you through her effortlessly easy coconut lime cake.
Crocs x Hidden Valley Ranch might be the craziest footwear x food collaboration to date. The white Crocs have tiny veggie & snack food jibbitz as decorations. Naturally, it’ll sell out.