Category Archives: Community

Community

A Visit to M & M Egg Farm

One of the great things about having a farm to table restaurant in an agricultural community, is my ability to visit the farms that produce the foods we serve.  This past week, I had the good fortune to take my daughters on a ride to Massena, NY to visit Matt and Michelle at M&M Eggs.  The purpose of our visit was two fold; first to purchase some chicks for our girls to raise at our home over the summer and secondly for me to tour the farm and check on the flocks of ducks that they are raising for the restaurant.

We were fortunate that the rain held off while we toured the farm.  It has rained nearly everyday for the past few weeks.  Matt took some time off from his evening chores to educate me on the different breeds and methods he uses to raise his beautiful birds.

There are few ingredients in the kitchen that are more important and versatile as the egg.  We use them in so many different ways and in so many preparations.  That is why it is so important that we get the best quality eggs available.  M&M supplies us with not only chicken eggs, but duck eggs as well.  You can see them used through out our seasonal menus.  We often build entire dishes around them.

Flock of ducks at M&M Farm These are a few of the ducks that they are raising for us.  It is such a gift to have access to fresh ducks, especially ones that are raised free range with out growth hormones or antibiotics (just like their chickens and turkeys). Our first batch of ducks will be ready for processing in just 2 weeks.  They will transport our birds to a USDA inspected facility to be processed.  This adds a layer of protection to be sure that we are serving healthy birds, and is required by the NYSDOH in order for us to serve them to our guests.

M&M Eggs sells eggs and birds to people all over our area. If you are looking for fresh eggs, birds to raise at home, or a Thanksgiving turkey, I highly recommend that you contact them. You can contact them via their website M&M Eggs, and a Face Book Page.

Happy Eating!  Chef Brian

Turkey

The Chef’s Garden at 1844 House

Bushel basket full of fresh fruits and vegetables from our chefs gardenAs our summer growing season evolves into our autumn harvest season, it is exciting to see the fruits of our labors.  We had a challenging summer with very hot and dry conditions, but we still managed to bring in a record crop; both in volume of food produced and variety.  It has been a very rewarding experience to really get into the dirt and grow some of the food we serve here at 1844 House.  I could not have done it without a lot of help from our GM, Barry Sears and our resident farmer/consultant Sue Rau.

This weekend we harvested some heirloom tomatoes, hot Hungarian wax peppers, habanero chili’s, Russian red kale, purple cabbage, fresh sage, apples, shiitake mushrooms, fresh raspberries, English lavender, and nasturtium flowers.  All of which will be served here this week.

We have already begun preparations for next years garden.  We have cut out the sod and prepped the soil to double our production in the 2017 growing season.  We are also putting the finishing touches on our outdoor dining  area that will allow our guests to dine out in the gardens next summer.  We look forward to hosting our Chef’s Table dinners in the garden or in our newly renovated barn next season.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

Duck Confit

Duck Confit with potato gnocchiMy favorite time of year for cooking is finally here and we have just launched our new fall menu.  Over the next week or so, I will be sharing pictures and stories about our new menu items on our page.

The first dish I would like to introduce is my favorite dish on the fall menu that is a completely new addition; the Duck Confit.  Duck Confit has been one of my favorite ways to enjoy duck since I first encountered it as a student at The Culinary Institute of America.  I was very excited when a local farmer approached me about using his duck on our menu.  He raises ducks for egg production, so he was looking for an outlet for his male ducks.  He brought me a sample duck, and I decided to prepare the entire duck confit style.  It was delicious!  My kitchen staff and I enjoyed preparing it in many ways and enjoying it for lunch for several days.

House Made Duck ConfitFor those of you who do not know what “confit” is, here is a very simplified explanation.  This method is an old world style of preserving meat so it wont spoil as quickly.  The duck is butchered and rubbed with a cure/spice mixture and pressed for a couple of days.  This allows the salt to extract the moisture from the meat, while the meat absorbs the spice flavor.  Then the meat is rinsed to remove all the excess salt and spices and allowed to dry out on a rack in the cooler until a pellicle (dry skin) forms on the surface.  Then the meat is submerged in a bath of hot duck fat and slow cooked until the meat is tender and falls off the bone, similar to pulled pork.  The meat is cooled in the fat to allow it to reabsorb some of the fat and to prevent the air from getting to the meat.  The absence of water/moisture and air preserve the meat.

The final preparation came about kind of “on the fly” one afternoon as I was doing some early morning cooking.  My intention was to get some cooking done early, then hand off the kitchen to my Sous Chef and enjoy a weekend in Lake Placid with our GM, Barry as he celebrated his 40th birthday.  Unfortunately, my Sous Chef became ill, and I had to cancel my weekend.  I wanted to celebrate with Barry anyway, so I went into my kitchen and invented this dish.  We enjoyed it with some fresh baked baguette and a wonderful bottle of Super Tuscan wine.  It was a great lunch with a great friend.  Sometimes the best dishes just come out of nowhere.

Duck Confit
M&M Farm Duck Confit with Northwoods Farm mushrooms, brandy-peppercorn sauce and potato gnocchi.  Served in a “nest” of organic baby arugula that is dressed with truffle oil, Pecorino cheese and fresh ground pepper and topped with a poached duck egg.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

Seared Scallops

Seared Scallops with sweet corn, English pea, and fresh fennel risotto.To complement the amazing New England scallops we brought in for this evenings featured entree; Chef Arthur did not have to look much further than our own gardens and a farm just around the corner….

 

Seared Scallops
Sweet corn, English Pea and fresh fennel risotto, heirloom tomato vinaigrette, spicy roasted chili cream.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

 

Duck Leg Confit

House Made Duck ConfitTo many people, it may feel like summer is nearly over; there are only 3 weeks until September.  Here in upstate NY our summer crops are just beginning to come to market.  While we are enjoying the bounties of the current harvests, as chefs, we must also be looking forward to the next season.  When beans and peas come in (green, sugar snap, snow, pole, haricot verte, etc) there are bushels of them and every farm has them for sale.  But it won’t be long before the season for them is over and they cannot be found.  That is why we pickle, brine, freeze, ferment and otherwise preserve many summer foods so that we can enjoy them in different forms throughout the fall and winter season.

Dilly BeansWe are currently making dilly beans, sauerkraut, pickles, freezing sweet corn (think chowders and fritters) and berries, making jams as well as curing local meats.

A great example of curing meat for the next season is duck confit.  This year I am fortunate to have a local farm (M&M Eggs) raising a flock of ducks for us.  They are heritage breed ducks that have a deep and robust flavor.  They are also quite a bit larger than farm raised ducks.  As most of my regular guests know, I am a huge fan of charcuterie (cured meats).  So I will prepare many of them into duck confit.  Confit is a process for preserving the meat for use over long periods.  Normally, only the legs are cured, but I cure the whole duck.  (The wings are a real treat that I enjoy saving for myself and our staff.)  It begins by rubbing the duck down with a mixture of salt and a proprietary blend of herbs and spices and curing the meat to remove the excess moisture. Then the meat is rinsed and slow cooked fully submerged in duck fat until the meat is tender and easily pulls from the bone.  The duck is then cooled and preserved in the fat.  We will be using the confit as a filling for our Duck Ravioli as well as a component on our Autumn Charcuterie Board on the fall menu.

I hope you are able to get to your local farmers market and take advantage of the wonderful variety of fresh food. While you are there, think about what you can do to preserve some of the bounty for your home table in the next season.  If you are too busy…..don’t worry, we have your back!  We look forward to seeing you soon.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

Seared Scallops with Local Shiitake Mushrooms

Local Shiitake MushroomsThis weekend we were fortunate enough to get some freshly harvested shiitake mushrooms from Bob Wagner at Northwoods Shiitake Farm .  It was a surprise to get them because we are experiencing a very warm and dry summer and these tasty little mushrooms require a certain amount of moisture in order to bloom.  Like most farmers, Bob found an innovative way to help nature along by soaking his logs in river water to facilitate the bloom.  The result is beautiful firm mushrooms that are perfect for many types of preparations including the dish we created for this weekends featured entree.

Scallops & ShiitakesWe look forward to next summer when we anticipate the first harvest from our own shiitake farm that we installed with help and guidance from Bob earlier this summer.  It is a great lesson in patience when you realize that there is a 12 month wait for your first crop.  Fortunately, we are able to enjoy the bounty this year from Northwoods Farm.

Seared Scallops with Crispy Shiitake Mushrooms
Seared diver scallops, sweet local corn and fresh herb risotto, crispy shiitake mushrooms, tomato-saffron beurre fondue.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

Craft Beer on Draft

Township 7 Brewery LogoAs our regular guests know, 1844 House is a small historic farm house that has been converted into a restaurant.  It originally opened in 1985 as French’s 1844 House and operated for 15 years  before it closed.  Jenny and I bought it in 2006, reopened it as 1844 House,  An American Bistro and have pretty much kept it as it was.  Our cozy bar was built by a local craftsman and is just large enough to hold the existing equipment which did not include a beer tap system.  We have always carried a great variety of NY state and national craft beers in bottles to complement our award winning wine list.  However, with Jenny’s brother Nathan Drake  about to open his new brewery in Dickinson Center, NY (about 45 minutes down 11b, towards Malone) Township 7 Brewery.  We have done reorganizing of our bar equipment and installed a new tap system that will soon feature Township 7 Beers. We are very excited about his endeavor and cannot wait to offer his great beers here at 1844 House.

While we are patiently waiting for NY State to issue his permit, we have brought in some delicious craft beer to take advantage of our new tap system.  We are currently featuring Southern Tier 2X IPA, Ithaca Beer Company’s Apricot Wheat Ale, and Six Point Brewery (Brooklyn, NY) Crisp Lager.

We invite you to come join us for some great “Farm to Table” cuisine and delicious craft beer.

Cheers!

Southern Tier 2X IPA logoSix Point Crisp Lager

Fresh From The Chef’s Garden

Smow Peas with fresh tarragon moussse and breakfast radishOur Chef’s Garden is really beginning to produce some wonderful vegetables.  This afternoon, my girls went out and picked a peck of snow peas.  They are tender, sweet and delicious; and they make a great amuse bouche.  I piped some fresh tarragon mousse on top and finished each one with some shaved breakfast radishes.  Simple. Elegant. Delicious.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

The Chef’s Garden at 1844 House

Fresh garlic harvested from our Chef's Garden.Summer is moving along and we are beginning to harvest some delicious fruits of our labor.  The Walker girls (Savannah, Summer, and Ella) harvested our garlic today.  It is now hanging in the barn drying out.  Barry was busy working in the vineyard and harvesting these snow peas.  The tomatoes are just beginning to ripen; and we cant wait for them to be ready.  Vine ripening tomatoes from our Chef's GardenCome on in and taste the freshness in our Farm to Table cuisine.Fresh picked snow peas

See you soon.   Chef Brian