Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Grand Day in Hudson

OK - what's Lisa Dolan is telling Chris Jones that's so funny?

Marilyn, of Cedaroth Farms, with beautiful early summer flowers for sale


It's unlike me to blog  so quickly on the heels of a post ( especially since I've been a bit sloth-like for the past few months) - but after a day like this one I feel that I need to get the word out right away.   Aside from the fact that today's weather was the kind that you want to bottle for use  on a particularly dreary day in February - this day, for me, began at the Hudson Farmers' Market where we hosted our first cookbook author of the year under the market's Book Tent.

Rebecca Miller Ffrench signed her new  book, Sweet Home (Kyle Books, 2012), for shoppers, and graciously offered samples made from recipes in her book.   It would be difficult for me to say which tasted more delicious; Kahlua Chocolate Pound Cake - buttery, chocolaty with slight bittersweet coffee flavor, Brown Sugar Glazed Cardamom Cake - maybe my favorite, only because I love cardamom flavored anything (Rebecca gave me the leftover samples which I brought home and immediately soaked in homemade kefir and  topped with strawberry - rhubarb compote, Smiles from a Summer Night ), and her book-cover-photo recipe, Mile-High Strawberry Shortcake.  Which she only made a third of a mile high for anxious-to-taste shoppers.   When she ran out of the strawberries that she brought with her - she dashed right over to the Samascott Orchards' tent and bought some more. 


Rebecca says, "Layers of buttery shortcake, juicy  berries, and thick cream piled sky high are the epitome of a summer dessert, and the perfect finish to a family barbecue or Fourth of July picnic."  You listening?

Serves 10

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus 3 tablespoons melted
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 quart plus 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 quart heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1.   Make the shortcakes:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease three 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray.
2.   Stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl.  Sprinkle the butter pieces into the bowl.  Using a pastry blender or two forks, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it's coarse and crumbly.  Slowly add the cream, little by little, until a soft dough forms.  Do not over stir.
3.   Using your hands, form a large ball with the dough and then divide into three parts.  Press each section firmly and evenly into one of the prepared pans.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops become a very pale golden.
4.   Meanwhile, make the filling:  Put the strawberries in a bowl and toss with the granulated sugar and  lemon juice.   Remove half of the strawberries and lightly mash the remaining.  Stir the whole strawberries back in and let stand for 30 minutes.
5.   Remove the cakes from the oven.   Let cool for 15 minutes before carefully removing them from the pans.
6.   Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until thickened, but still soft.  Stir in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract with a spoon.
7.   Brush 1 tablespoon of the melted butter on top of each cake with a pastry brush.  Place one layer on a serving plate, butter side up.   Spoon a third of the berries with their juice on top.  Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the berries.   Top with a second cake layer.  Spoon half of the remaining berries on top and another thin layer of cream.  Repeat with the remaining cake layer and berries, reserving a few berries to decorate the top.
8.   Dollop the remaining whipped cream on top of the cake and decorate with a few good-looking berries.  Serve in wedges.

Papier mache puppet heads made to represent the characters from The Wizard of Oz by Ken Polinskie & Dan Rupe

Singer, and entertainment, Maya Azucena


Poppies from the field of poppies, The Wizard of Oz


Trixie Starr, mistress of ceremony

Today is Pride Day in Hudson - not just gay pride - everybody pride.   The day, called "Over The Rainbow" has included  many celebrations. I stood on Warren Street and watched the parade.  A good old-fashioned parade it was, with organizations from church groups to the Antique Dealers Association, dogs, from the ladies dressed in vintage, colors-from-the-rainbow dresses (Five and Diamond) to bagpipers, dogs, marching bands, the mayor, and the president of the Common Council, the radio stations, dogs, and I can't remember - but they were all fabulous. Dogs.

The parade, which started near the top of Warren Street, ended at the park on the river which was set up to receive the spectators with refreshment stands, information booths and rides for the kids.

And it's not over.  There are parties, and barbecues and a big dance party tonight at Club Helsinki.  I think that I'm done.   I need my legs to work tomorrow.

It was a grand day in Hudson.

SUSANSIMONSAYS:  If I don't get to it - and I may not by next Saturday.  Please come to meet Raymond Sokolov who will be signing his new book, STEAL THE MENU at the Hudson Farmers' Market on Saturday, June 22nd.   The book is a memoir of forty years in food that included taking Craig Claiborne's job as food editor of The New York Times, more recently the Eating Out column for The Wall Street Journal, and writing cook books like the invaluable SAUCIER'S APPRENTICE, and THE COOK'S CANON: 101 CLASSIC RECIPES EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW.   His appearance at the markets' Book Tent offers a wonderful opportunity to meet one of the legends of  food writing - and have him sign a copy of his latest book for you.

If you didn't get to the Farmers' Market today and would like to have signed copy of SWEET HOME - there are a few available for sale at MarxHome on Warren Street in Hudson.

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