Monday, May 14, 2012

Friday Night Bites

Just when a scintilla of doubt about leaving the NYC for Hudson passed through my being
The Red Barn, out on 9H in Ghent reopened it's doors - so to speak - as a proper food establishment and I was once again smitten with the Hudson Valley.   Owners, Chris and Bert call  what they serve at their new version of The Red Barn, roadside food.  And so it is.  There's Bert, dentist/chef behind the big grill using one hand to cook brats, dogs and burgers to order and he's frying State Fair-style potatoes with the other hand.   (how's all of that accomplished?).
Chris is always in motion, moving from the grill, to the red harlequin-patterned gazebo/bar - with a string of red & yellow banners - where a thirsty visitor can order a gin & tonic,  pink lemonade and vodka, a chilly glass of wine, or a frosty Stella just like that (the owners, fortuitously, kept up their NYS liquor license), to check on the vendors' and their tables.

Did I mention that on Friday night The Red Barn also hosts a mini-farmer's market?    So, if you think you won't be able to make it to the larger version on Saturday morning in Hudson - stop by on Friday between the hours of 4 - 7pm and pick up vegetables from two different vendors; cheese, yogurt and some Loaf bread from Cheese!; flowers from Cedar Farm, meat from Pigasso; and the Red Barn's own seasonal pies, cakes and those wicked good Wicked chips.  

I picked up two bunches of perfect little radishes so I could make one of my all-time favorite salads, Greek Radish Salad.
The recipe comes from Perla Meyers classic cookbook The Peasant Kitchen, A Return to Simple Good Food, published in 1975 way before it was stylish to talk about "simple good food".

Serves 6 to 8

1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 to 5 cups thinly sliced radishes
8 to 10 black Greek olives, thinly sliced
3/4 to 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
freshly ground pepper

1.   In a small jar combine the lemon juice, olive oil, and mustard.  Shake the jar to blend the dressing, then set aside.
2.   In a large serving bowl combine the radishes, olives, feta, parsley, and onion.   Add the dressing and a heavy grinding of black pepper.  Toss the salad and taste it for seasoning.   (Feta can be slightly salty, so the salad may only need a small pinch of salt.)   Chill for 2 to 4 hours before serving, then serve with French bread and a bowl of sweet butter.

Perla has some good advice about feta cheese included with the recipe:  
If you want to reduce the saltiness of feta cheese, place it in a bowl and cover with cold water.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator and use the cheese a day or two later.  The cheese will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.
As an additional garnish you can serve a plate of sardines dressed in a little lemon juice and olive oil

Oh joy.   A late spring or summer afternoon spent out at The Red Barn in the glow of the setting sun might be a reason to live.   And, from the the reactions of the shoppers and diners who arrived in jeeps and antique cars from all points in Columbia County there was universal agreement that this was - as one well known man-about-Hudson offered, "It's heaven, isn't it?"


Last - but certainly not least - among the The Red Barn's delectable offerings - an absolutely scrumptious lobster roll worthy of the finest roadside stand in Kennebunkport, Maine.  Guess which dog waited, in good faith, for a chunk of succulent lobster to fall?

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