T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Blackberry Sour

The end of another long work week. Excellent. As we are wont to do, we wanted to give you a T.G.I.F. cocktail that was delicious and seasonal, but we also wanted to put a twist on it. You might be surprised at one of the ingredients, but trust us, it is delicious!

This is our take on the traditional Amaretto Sour. We’ve partnered up with Rhinebeck’s hottest new store Pure Mountain Olive Oil. Their all natural flavored balsamic vinegars are appearing in our cocktails, salads and sauces. I’ve also introduced them to my colleagues at Just Salad and we hope to be making new dressings with them there soon! Their balsamic vinegars are wood aged in the 900 year old Modena tradition; they are rich, syrupy and balanced in acidity. Since it’s Blackberry season (berries are ripe for the picking at Greig Farm), we asked our Gigi bartending phenom, Lisa Butenhoff,  for her take on a traditional cocktail using this finely crafted artisanal product and local blackberries. We’re serving it “up,” but you could also lighten this up to a “spritzer” by serving over ice and adding a nice splash of seltzer.

1 ½ ounces Amaretto (we use Disarrono)
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon of Pure Mountain Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar
Handful of fresh blackberries

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously to combine. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Optional garnish: fresh blackberries and orange slice strung through a long decorative toothpick. Enjoy!

-Laura

The Beauty of Tradition

We launched our new “Agriturismo” dinner series last weekend at Gigi Market at Greig Farm in Red Hook.

Now, I want to be up front here. This concept isn’t our idea, in fact, it is an Italian tradition that has been around for a long time, about sixty years.

“Agriturismo” (pronounced ah-gree-tour-eez-mo) combines the Italian words for “agriculture” and tourism”. A style of vacationing in Italian farmhouses and resorts, it began in the 1950’s and was codified into Italian law in 1985. It gives visitors the opportunity to experience traditional Italian county living first hand, including eating and sometimes even helping to prepare food grown right on the premises.

Image courtesy of Agriturismo.net

While we can’t put you up, we will strive to provide you with simple yet sublime rustic fare based upon local ingredients harvested at their prime.

Having spent a lot of time in Italy, I have enjoyed this pure, simple, and delicious concept first hand. I realized that we actually had some great elements that reflected the “Agriturismo” ideal right here.  We have a beautiful, rustic location at Gigi Market; an old-refurbished barn on 500 acres of beautiful farmland.

Plus we have a great relationship with all of the local farms, giving us access to the freshest of ingredients.

I’m almost looking at these dinners as a variation on the standard dining experience you find when you go out to eat. Let’s call it an “unrestaurant”. We’re not giving you a five page menu to choose from. Instead, we’re going to decide that morning what  the freshest ingredients are from all the farms within five miles of Gigi Market.  That and that alone, will dictate that night’s menu. We’ll serve it to you in three courses, family style, in an old rustic barn. It’s more like going to a friend’s house for dinner who cooks really well. Who doesn’t love that? 🙂

Here was the menu for our first “Agriturismo” dinner last Saturday:

 

We’ll have to wait and see what the menu will be this Saturday…

BTW, what a great way to celebrate Father’s Day with a family style meal!

Mangia Bene!

-Laura

P.S. – In case you’re finding the “Agriturismo” concept appealing, here is a website of all different places throughout Italy where you can experience simple country living first hand!

http://www.agriturismo.net/

 

Asparagus Pesto Linguine

Asparagus is one of the other delicious favorites that is in season right now. Along with strawberries, you can head to Greig Farm in Red Hook and pick your own. It doesn’t get fresher than that!

At Gigi Trattoria and Gigi Market we use the fresh herbs, leaves, and vegetables of spring, summer, and fall to make delicious pestos that can be tossed with our hand-made pastas. Fresh asparagus makes a wonderful base for a fresh pesto.

Asparagus Pesto Linguine

Makes 4 servings

1 pound asparagus spears
3 garlic cloves,chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup olive oil
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese,plus more for topping
3 tablespoons chopped fresh falt-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 pounds dry linguine or spaghetti

Snap the tough ends off the asparagus. Remove the tips; reserve the tips and stems separately.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Season with salt. Add the asparagus stems and cook until they’re just tender,3 to 5 minutes,depending on thickness. Using tongs,transfer the asparagus to a large bowl,cover with cold water,and then drain. Slice the stems into ½-inch long segments and place in the work bowl of a food processor.

Add the tips to the boiling salted water; when tender,about 2 minutes,fish them out with a strainer or slotted spoon. Place the tips in a small bowl,cover with cold water,and drain. Set aside. Keep the cooking water at a low boil.

Add the garlic,mustard and ¼ cup of the olive oil to the food processor with the asparagus stems. Pulse to combine. Add the Parmesan,parsley,and pine nuts. With the motor running,drizzle the remaining olive oil through the feed tube of the processor. Season with salt and pepper and the lemon juice to perk up flavors. Pulse again to combine. If you want a thinner consistency,a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water can be added later.

Return the cooking water to a full boil and add the linguine. Cook,stirring occasionally,until done,8 to 12 minutes; check the package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water before draining. Add the drained pasta back to the pot and add the pesto and reserved asparagus tips. Cook,stirring,over medium-high heat until hot and well combined,about 1 minute. Add a spoonful of the pasta water,if necessary,to loosen the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and top with grated Parmesan.

Serving suggestions: Enjoy the pasta immediately.

Variations:

  • Brush whole fish,steaks or filets with the pesto as it grills or roasts.
  • Marinate asparagus spears in the pesto before roasting or grilling.

Leftovers: Use pesto for up to 4 days.

Nutrition: A typical serving of asparagus provides more than 50 percent of the Daily Value for folate, a B vitamin that helps in the duplication of healthy cells and protects against heart disease. It’s also a rich source of antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin A, and phytochemicals.

Economy: $$ Purchased in season, asparagus is tasty and inexpensive.

Note: This recipe can be found in the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Strawberry Mojito

There is only a little bit of time left to get in your strawberry picking for the season. Our bartender extraordinaire, Lisa Butenhoff, decided to take advantage of the great strawberries we picked at Greig Farm in Red Hook to whip up this end of the week delight. All hail the Strawberry Mojito!

Just a fun bit of trivia about the mojito (pronounced mo-HEE-toe): A mojito, one of Cuba’s oldest cocktails, comes from the African word mojo, which means to place a little spell. Magical…Get muddling, people!

Strawberry Mojito

1 serving

4 medium-large strawberries, hulled and quartered
6 mint leaves

1 teaspoon fine sugar
2 ounces Bacardi rum
½ ounce fresh lime juice

  In the bottom of a small cocktail shaker muddle the strawberries with the sugar and mint leaves. When blended, add the rum and the lime. Add just enough ice to cover top of liquid. Shake vigorously and pour into cocktail glass. Add a couple more cubes of ice if desired. Garnish with mint and strawberry.

“Agriturismo”

Beginning  June 9, Gigi Hudson Valley will introduce “Agriturismo Dinners” to the Hudson Valley. The dinners will be held at Gigi Market in Red Hook. We thought we would share the history of Agriturismo to help you understand the appeal for us, and why we thought it would be a great fit.

The Agriturismo concept arose in Italy beginning in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and was finally codified into Italian law in 1985. Combining the words “agriculture” and “tourism”, it is a style of vacationing in Italian farm houses and resorts.

Fattoria Voltrona in Tuscany

This allows farmers to reacquaint visitors with traditional Italian country living, including food grown and prepared right on the premises. Here is a travel piece to give you some more background.

While we’re not going to put you up, 🙂 we thought it would be great  to provide a similar enjoyable eating experience.  Our food typically uses lots of locally grown products, and we also wanted to challenge ourselves and make good use of our rustic-elegant space at Greig Farm. So, we decided to source ingredients grown right in our back yard; in Upper Red Hook, and nearby Columbia County. We’ll find the best ingredients within five miles of our café, Gigi Market, on Greig Farm.

We’ll source our ingredients from nearly Migliorelli Farms, Mead Orchards, Northwind Farms, Montgomery Place Orchards, Hearty Roots Farm, Paisley Farm and of course, right outside its back door on Grieg Farm.

Keeping the Agriturismo ‘spirit’ alive, all meals will be family style and rustic. There will be homemade crusty breads to enjoy, an antipasti course with farm fresh vegetables, and the option for local cured meats and cheeses. This will be followed by a main course of either a delicious pasta/risotto or local beef, pork or chicken along with salads and side dishes. For dessert, you can bite into ripe local fruit or rustic tarts, pies, cobblers, even homemade gelato. Menus are posted the day of the dinner and will rely solely on what local farmers have ready to harvest.

Beginning June 9, we’re going to run the Agriturismo dinners every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until early October. No two will every be the same! We hope you’ll join us! We would suggest reserving your seat at the table! Oh, by the way, kids under 10 eat for only $10.

For reservations you can call 845.758.1999 or email anne@gigihudsonvalley.com.

Mangia!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Berry Rosado

Ahhh,  the coming of the weekend!  Two whole days away from the stress of flourescent lights, cubicles, and deadlines. This is certainly cause for the celebratory Friday cocktail (or two.) We asked the head bartender at Gigi HV, Lisa Butenhoff, for a festive and delicious drink we could make using fresh strawberries (that are so great right now), to help kick off the weekend. She suggested the Berry Rosado.  To say that people like this one is an understatement. When Gigi HV participated in the ‘Taste of Rhinebeck’, an annual fundraiser for Northern Dutchess Hospital,  she gave away about ten pitchers of this deliciousness. That’s a lot, when you consider each drink was only a few ounces! Luckily for you, you won’t be limited to just a few ounces, although some restraint will be in order!

 

   1 Serving  Berry Rosado

   1  1/2 oz Tito’s vodka
   1/2 oz  crisp, dry  rose wine
   Approx 3 to 5 strawberries (depending on size)
   1 tsp agave nectar (or refined sugar)
   Splash club soda
   1/2 oz lemon juice

 

 

 In  cocktail shaker, muddle strawberries with agave nectar (or sugar) and lemon juice. Mash thoroughly to ensure full strawberry flavor. Add rose wine and vodka. Shake vigorously. Pour over ice and top with club soda. 

You can intensify the strawberry flavor by infusing the vodka with strawberries (as we do at the Trattoria). Combine one liter of vodka with ½ pint of hulled, halved strawberries. Cap and let stand for 24 to 48 hours.

Lisa’s “virgin” version? Muddle the strawberries with a smidge of simple syrup or plain sugar and add to iced club soda or ginger ale.

BTW, if you’re too lazy or tired after your long week to ‘muddle’ through the recipe, you can always come in to Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck and we’ll do the work for you! Or, if you’re in need of the strawberries, you can always pick up a pint or two at Gigi Market  in Red Hook. Happy Weekend!

Fresh Strawberries for the Grill

When you think of summer weekends, you think of cool cocktails, hot BBQ off the grill,  and entertaining. We at Gigi HV also like to incorporate what is fresh, at its peak, and can be had locally.  Right now strawberries are prime! You can even pick your own at Greig Farm in Red Hook. If picking isn’t your thing, come on into Gigi market and pick up a pint or two. We thought we would share a great recipe that incorporates the grill, the strawberries and a perfect meal for your next get together. Enjoy! Let us know what you think.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Strawberry BBQ Sauce

We have adapted the classic pork and applesauce combination by pairing it with strawberries for this late spring BBQ version. This strawberry balsamic glaze is the perfect sweet and sour accompaniment to pork. In the summer,substitute peaches or fresh plums for the strawberries.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing the grill
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 garlic clove,minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives,or a combination of tarragon and chives
2 pints strawberries,cleaned,hulled,and halved
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Two 10-ounce pork tenderloins

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium to large nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and chives and cook, stirring often, until the shallots are softened, about 2 minutes. Add the strawberries and sugar and cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates to a few tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and simmer until thickened and syrupy, about 4 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Put half the BBQ sauce in a small bowl for brushing the pork and set aside to cool. Set the remaining sauce aside to serve with pork.

Preheat the grill to medium and brush racks lightly with oil. Rub pork tenderloins with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the pork,turning occasionally,until golden brown,about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and brush the pork with some of sauce,turning and brushing occasionally,until an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into center of the pork registers 145°F,about 5 minutes longer (discard any remaining sauce for brushing). Transfer the pork to a platter,cover loosely with foil,and let rest 5 minutes.

Cut the pork diagonally into ¼- inch-thick slices. Arrange the pork slices on plates and serve with the remaining reserved sauce.

Serving suggestion: The sweetness of the strawberry BBQ make this a perfect match for the slight bitterness of quickly sautéed spinach or Swiss chard. Arugula salad with some Parmesan shavings and lemony vinaigrette is a well-paired cold side.

Variations:

Substitute grilled bone-in pork chops, chicken, and duck for the pork loin.

Note: This recipe can be found in the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.