Saturday, April 17, 2010

Food Artisans in the Berkshires

One of the things that makes me so happy about living and working in the Berkshires is the level of commitment I find to producing good, fresh, wholesome food on the part of so many local food artisans. It is the reason that I named my jam company BERKSHIRE PRESERVES.  I celebrate the warmth and generosity of these artisans, often people who may be in direct competition with each other, and with me, for a place in the market.

Word gets around up here faster than lightening and by now everyone who eats has heard about the great success I'm having at BERKSHIRE PRESERVES. Today I received messages from two shop owners (directly across the street from each other) with requests to carry my amazing marmalade. In addition to that, Guido's in Gt. Barrington informed me that their Lenox/Pittsfield shop wants to stock it as well. And, I have scheduled two more tastings for later in April and early May. As we head into spring, then quickly followed by glorious summer, I look forward to bumper crop of berries and jars and jars of berry and stone fruit preserves. Pretty soon I'll need a change from the smell of orange, as intoxicating as it is.

I went into town earlier today to check out a new baking company, Barrington Bites,  that I'd heard about yesterday. Owned by Sherri Gorelick and Wendy Weinberg, the cupcakes they had on display (at the Chef's Shop are small and simply beautiful to look at. But, they're not just another pretty face. They're wonderfully tasty and fortunately, small enough to enjoy without feeling guilty. The one I had, chocolate with a salty creme caramel swirl on top was a rich chocolate cake base and icing with just the right amount of sugar that never overpowered the salt and caramel. Barrington Bites is new on the scene and I wish them great success.

This has been an exciting week for  BERKSHIRE PRESERVES since starting in our new (rented) commercial kitchen. It is so much easier to cook up batches of Marmalade on a 10 burner Vulcan range with gigantic natural gas output than it is on my 4 burner GE stove with liquid propane. I simply want to put my arms around that Vulcan and hug it. I'd take it home but it is way too large to fit in my car. Not to draw too fine  point on it, but it wouldn't fit into my home kitchen either.

So today I was in the commercial kitchen and was told to expect to share the space for a while with some children who had an appointment to cook a "pot of soup" for the local soup kitchen. Well, in came 13 strapping, large, gorgeous high school seniors, with their adviser, and more friends in tow and they spread out over the entire (quite spacious) kitchen and got busy making huge pots of vegetarian chili. Now, I like to experiment with food as well as the next guy, but sauteed onions flying into my BERKSHIRE PRESERVES sweet-sticky marmalade doesn't cut the mustard-to keep the references entirely food-related.... So, I quickly took my pans off the heat, covered them and ran out of the kitchen. When I returned hours later the place was quiet, very clean and all mine again.

Here's a recipe for a citrus glazed salmon that even a teenager might enjoy.

4 portions of salmon (6 to 8 oz each)
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
 1 tbsp. rosemary, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup BERKSHIRE PRESERVES Blood Orange Marmalade

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees 
2.  Mix vinegar, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, black pepper and marmalade in a large bowl.
3.  Marinate the salmon in the mixture, in the refrigerator, for 30 minutes.
4.  Remove salmon and place on baking dish.
5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish.


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