Thursday, July 8, 2010

Put Em Up!

Wednesday night I went to a cooking class at the Astor Center which is on the second floor above Astor Wine. The space as you can see below is very upscale and extensive. It was also so air conditioned I wished I'd brought a sweater - which is a good thing! The course I took 2 hours long and the proceeds all went to supporting Slow Foods NYC.

The course was a quick2 hour how to on in the ins and outs of all kinds of food preserving from the new book Put Em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton (story publishing). What's so great about the book is that it isn't just about canning, it's about all forms of preserving, drying, freezing, quick refrigerator pickles or how to make a Granita or Agua Fresca with all the fully ripened bounty of the season.

The woman with the apron on (above) is Sherri Brooks Vinton author of Put Em Up!
When I arrived and found my seat I was greeted by a lovely plate of 3 local farm stead cheese s, a sample of each preserve we were going to make (refrigerator red onion pickles, quick blueberry jam and bread and butter pickles) plus a big basket of delicious bread. In addition to three beverages: water, local hard apple cider and a brilliant cucumber Agua Fresca that was the first thing we made and it is so easy! Process several peeled and seeded cucumbers in either a food processor or box grater, strain, add sugar and salt to taste (and maybe some vodka) and you have one of the most refreshing summer drinks I have tasted in, well, maybe ever. I love how it's not overly sweet and is just so cool. Would make a wonderful beverage to drink with Thai food.
Fancy right?
It was a great evening Sherri is a no nonsense, affable, talented cook and speaker. I love that she eschews a lot of gadgets (very practical if you have a small NYC kitchen) and loves to shop at Ma and Pa hardware stores (a passion I share with her).

Put Em Up! Is an instant classic and a must have in anybody's library who is interested in keeping the flavors of the market alive all year long!

Kudos also have to go to Astor Center for donating the space to Slow Food NYC for this event. If you are around this weekend you should check out another Slow Foods event Meatopia which is:

“30 Chefs and BBQ teams. Barbecuing. For one unforgettable summer day.”

The inaugural Meatopia event, co-hosted by James Beard Award winning food writer Josh Ozersky along with Taste of Tribeca Co-Chair and Good Beer Month Founder, Jimmy Carbone and master pit master Robbie Richter of Fatty ‘Cue, will feature a select group of 30 top chefs and BBQ teams barbecuing local and sustainable meats for one unforgettable summer day.

As the pinnacle event in Mayor Bloomberg’s “July Good Beer Month”, Meatopia: BBQ NYC is a food festival focusing and supporting the local community with walk-around tastings, beer and live entertainment.

In the spirit of sustainability we ask that all participating chefs consider using meat from animals that have been raised responsibly and humanely. Many chefs are pairing with a local farm to use products from regional farms.

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