If you haven’t heard, Blue Hill in New York City is going through some renovations this month. In the meantime, they’re hosting the pop-up, wastED. As the name suggests the restaurant focuses on the wasted cuts of meat and produce of the restaurant industry, giving them the spotlight and a life of their own. At some point during the meal, my husband uttered a very true statement. “You know we’re basically eating garbage…really expensive garbage.” He was absolutely right. Though I must stress, very DELICIOUS garbage.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns is the ultimate locavore dining experience. You can’t get much more local than picking harvesting vegetables and herbs right behind the restaurant or roasting the pig that grazes just a few hundred feet away. The restaurant has no menus, no specials of the day. Your meal is guided by what’s in season and what’s fresh. A welcome “journal” greets you with lists of what’s in season and how the dining experience works. For dinner, you have a choice of 5, 8 or 12 courses. The amount of food is fairly consistent across all three meals. Selecting a higher number of courses is simply a way to try more ingredients and different preparations. I’ve dined at Blue Hill twice. Different seasons, different company, different experiences completely.
I needed a reason to use my new(ish) 3 1/2 quart Le Creuset (which has since become one of my favorite pots ever) and I had some short ribs about to catch a nasty case of freezer burn in the oven. Last time I made short ribs for a dinner party they turned out pretty amazing. I marinated them in wine and veggies for a day, then tossed the marinade veggies and braised the short ribs with some fresh veggies and the same wine. To finish off, I roasted the final product in the oven for 10 minutes, or so, giving them a bit of crunch and glazy texture. So good. But that was a 2 day recipe. I was just cooking for my husband and me, and unless it’s a super special occasion, like a landmark anniversary or something, a 2 day recipe is not going to happen. And thus my googling brought me to Dan Barber’s Short Rib Recipe.
I know, it’s been a while (well, a few days) since I’ve posted, but this weekend has been busy, busy busy. I LOVE Fall. With such beautiful crisp weather outside, do you really expect me to be sitting inside blogging? The weekend started with one of my favorite events of the year: Stone Barns Harvest Festival in Pocantico Hills, NY! Adult and kiddie events all thrown together with Stone Barn’s regular Saturday Farmers Market plus some awesome food vendors like Irving Farms Coffee, Balthazar Bakery and Kelso Brewery!
So, I’m a bit of a dork, if you haven’t already noticed. I mean, think about it, I get super excited about things like fresh produce, canning and foraging (still on my to do list). So while on vacation in Maine, rather than going to the lake to swim or taking a boat tour, I’m most excited to visit a food coop. Now, of course, I’m a dedicated member of both the Park Slope Food Coop and Bay Ridge Food Co-op, but if I’m not in Brooklyn, I need to get food somewhere, so there’s nothing wrong with sampling another coop, right?
The Blue Hill Co-op interested me most because it was founded in 1974, just one year after the Park Slope Food Coop formed. Both coops have a long history, but the similarities end there. Park Slope is a member working model, meaning you must be a member to shop (which is open to anyone, of course) and you must put in 2.75 working hours a month. Blue Hill, like many other coops around the country, does not require you to be a member to shop. By being a member, however, you do receive extra discounts and a portion of the coop’s profit at the end of of each year. Blue Hill has about 1,600 members (no stat for how many additional nonmember shoppers though) and Park Slope has about 10x that, so as you’d imagine the shopping experience was a little different.