In A New York State of Wine

hudsonchathamwinery

The Hudson Chatham Winery is located just a short drive from The Croff House

Wine Enthusiast is out with the latest scores for New York State wines.  Hudson Chatham Winery received some terrific scores for several of their outstanding wines.  New York State wines are often overlooked by most consumers either at wine shops or restaurants, which is unfortunate because wines from the Empire State can be quite good as evidenced by the WE scores.  The Finger Lakes region has long been known for excellent wines like reisling and other colder climate varietals.  Long Island has a tradition of wine making that dates back centuries.  The Hudson Valley, long known for excellent farming (many of the top restaurants in New York City get their fresh produce delivered from farms just a few hours north), is becoming more and more well known for high quality wines.   Each year/vintage gives the winemakers opportunities to hone their creations and each year more and more of these wineries are being recognized by wine critics and enthusiasts from all over the world.

If you haven’t had the chance to sample New York State wines there are several within a short drive from The Croff House that offer complimentary tastings.  We’re convinced that once you try them you will, like us – and Wine Enthusiast – , agree they are quite delicious!

Apples! Apples! Apples!

Apples

Apples

New York State is know for apples.  Just outside Hudson there are many apple orchards for “U Pick” family fun.  Farm stands are overflowing with all varieties of apples.  Restaurants have apples on their menu in salads, main dishes and – of course – desserts.  So it’s no surprise that one a guest-favorite fruit course in Fall features apples!  But, as with most of our dishes, we put our own twist on the dish to make it special.  This is great on oatmeal, pancakes, french toast, or even ice cream.  So here’s a great recipe to make use of all those apples:

 

 

Poached Spiced Apples with Butterscotch Crunch Topping (serves 4)

For the apples:

4 Firm apples (Granny Smith works really well), peeled and cored

3 Tbsp. water

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1/3 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/8 Tsp. Ground Allspice

Pinch of Ground Clove

[as an alternative McCormick makes an “Apple Pie Spice” blend that saves time]

For the topping:

1/3 cup Butterscotch chips

3 Tbsp. oatmeal

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

  • Cut the apples into bite size pieces, not too small
  • Put the water and brown sugar into a medium saucepan over medium heat
  • Add the apples, stir and bring to a simmer and cover
  • Let simmer for 7-10 minutes until the reach the desired consistence (they should have a little “bite” in the center)
  • Remove from the heat, uncover and allow to cool

While the apples are cooling:

  • Place the butterscotch chips in a small food processor or chop by hand into small bits and place in a medium bowl
  • Place the oatmeal and brown sugar in the food processor and pulse 5-7 times, just to cut the oats down a bit, and add to the chips
  • Stir to combine

Serve cooled/warm apples over vanilla yogurt or the flavor of your choice and sprinkle the topping over the apples to taste.  Leftover topping can be kept in a plastic container or storage bag and used for later.  You can also make a large batch of the topping and put in small mason jars and give it as gifts!

So if you think you’ve run out of ways to use all the apples around, try this recipe.  We also have a great recipe for Honey Ginger Poached Pears – email me at russ@thecroffhouse.com for the recipe.

Hudson Restaurants

Hudson Restaurants star in the 2014 Taste of Hudson

Hudson Restaurants star in the 2014 Taste of Hudson

Hudson Restaurants were the star of the show at this year’s Taste of Hudson event, hosted by BeLo 3rd on Saturday, September 6.  Now in it’s 6th year Taste of Hudson features local Hudson restaurants and caterers and provides participants the opportunity to taste a wide array of cuisines including Indian, Italian, Caribbean and a whole lot more.  Those with a sweet tooth weren’t disappointed either as several of the tasting tables offered everything from delicious home baked cookies to stunningly sinful cakes and decadent brownies.

Hudson Restaurants weren't the only tastes available

The Hudson Standard

Non-alcoholic beverages were available as well, including a new, locally made handcrafted bitters-inspired mixer called The Hudson Standard.  The “shrubs” can be both an ingredient in various recipes for updated classic cocktails or, added to seltzer, a refreshing “adult soda”.

On average each “taste” was a mere $3.  Tickets are sold at $1 per ticket and the Hudson restaurants participating set the price for the item they were sampling.

The event is the perfect opportunity for participants, whether local or from out of town, to be introduced to the wide range of Hudson restaurants and the cuisine they offer.  For the Hudson restaurants the Taste of Hudson event is also a great chance to showcase the chefs’ culinary talents to those who may be unfamiliar with the restaurant or even the type of cuisine they offer.  It’s a “win” for everybody.

Taste of Hudson is held around the same time each year and each year the event draws more and more people, who enjoy sampling the food but also getting out into the community and meeting friends, both old and new, and enjoying the day.  The city of Hudson is the host but the real stars are the all Hudson restaurants, caterers and other vendors who really steal the show.

Put it in your calendar for next year.  Who knows which new Hudson restaurant will be there?

 

Making the most from local farms

Spring brings warm weather and with it the “bounty” begins in Columbia County, which helps us in making the most of local farms.

The whole “locavore” trend continues to be hot.  Guests are always happier when they know the fruit, vegetables and herbs we are using at The Croff House are all grown locally.  We strongly believe in supporting our local farmers, and some things actually come from our own garden as well.  In the winter we have to make due with melons from Mexico, pineapple from Costa Rica and strawberries from California.  Not that there is anything wrong with these products, but in the Spring and Summer when we can serve locally sourced, freshly picked items it makes a big difference.

Locally sourced fruit is fresh and delicious and makes the perfect ingredient in our homemade jams.

Locally sourced fruit is fresh and delicious and makes the perfect ingredient in our homemade jams.

Making the most of our local farms isn’t limited to what’s on our guests’ plates, however.  We also use locally sourced fruits and veggie in the items we sell in our “curio”: jams, chutneys, salsas and more.  We’re always on the lookout for new ways to make use of the amazing array of fresh produce available to us this time of year.  One of our newest creations utilizes juicy and delicious local strawberries: Strawberry, Pineapple and Mango salsa.  Imagine that served with grilled chicken or fish!  What about with just a big bowl of crunchy tortilla chips?  YUM!

Locally grown sugar snap peas used to make a delicious soup to serve hot or cold.

Locally grown sugar snap peas used to make a delicious soup to serve hot or cold.

Another one of our favorites is Sugar Snap peas.  We found this recipe for Sugar Snap Pea soup at Allrecipes.com.  Using our pressure canner we “put up” a quintuple batch to enjoy throughout the year.  Hot topped with a handful of crispy homemade croutons or cold with a dollop of sour cream and you’ve got a winner regardless of the weather.

So if you’re like us and you enjoy making the most from local farms take a drive up to Hudson.  You never know what you’ll find.