IMG_2386 copy

All roads lead to Foragers Market….

Or so the story goes, at least in my world where a humble little grocery store went into an abandoned art space on the corner of 8th Avenue and 22nd street in Chelsea and changed my world forever.

Maybe I’m being overly dramatic, but really, this place….my love for it runs deep.

Although it’s only been in the neighborhood for a few years, I can hardly remember a time when I didn’t shop there once (if not twice) a day.

It’s my primary destination for produce, bread, yogurt, heritage pork shops and all manner of fancy cheese. Dram Apothecary bitters, Jacobsen salt, Mina harissa, they’ve got it all. Name the latest chef obsession, and you’re just about guaranteed to find it there. They even sell kombucha on tap. (can you sense my silent tear of gratitude?)

The icing on the cake is that the back seating area morphs into one of the best and most affordably-priced restaurants in the city for weeknight dinners and weekend brunches. Chef Nickolas Martinez trained under Alain Ducasse and Joel Robuchon and sources his ingredients from Foragers’ own farm in Upstate New York. That single tear of gratitude occasionally turns into a stream.

A benefit of having a store like Foragers in the neighborhood is that I’ve gotten to build relationships with some of the food makers themselves. Like microgreen grower Good Water Farms in Long Island, who I’ll talk more about in tomorrow’s post. And Siggi’s, one of the fastest growing yogurt brands in the US. One bite of their skyr (Icelandic strained yogurt) and you’ll never want to eat any other yogurt again.

At least according to yours truly. And my Dad, who ate a spoonful and promptly grabbed the container to inspect every inch of the packaging.

I was visiting Foragers Market in late November when I bumped into Yasaman Vojdani, co-founder of Oat My Goodness Craft Granola.

Yasaman was providing samples for her three lines of granola, and it was pure chance that I stopped to give them a try. I’ve always shied away from buying pre-packaged granola because previous versions have tasted dusty and old. Chewy when they should be crunchy. The flavors, meh. If I want crunchy flavorful granola packed with interesting ingredients, I’ll make it at home.

I politely declined her offer, and was about to move on when Yasaman urged me to try the Sunrise variety – “it has orange, coffee, mango and macadamia nuts”.

Hmmm. That does sound good. And odd flavor combinations are my Achilles heel; I squinted at the packaging, agreed to try it, and the rest is history. I’ve become the unlikeliest of granola promoters but it’s hard for me not to start my day with this kind of food.

It was my passion for their product that led to an organic relationship between the two of us: me, in the role of chief consumer (and photographer), and them as an upstart brand, building a business and taking the artisanal food market by storm. I signed on to develop a portfolio of Oat My Goodness product photography, and have been playing with granola ever since. I’ve baked with it, I’ve layered parfaits, I’ve even roasted fruit to accompany it. The best part? There is more to come. It’s the kind of work that breakfast dreams are made of.

I wanted to share some images from the past few months. I’ve never known the versatility of granola until this year, and it’s my hope that you’ll likewise be encouraged to play around with it as well.

You can find Oat My Goodness craft granola in several states or through their website. They sell it, of course, at Foragers Market, where you’re likely to spot me lurking by the refrigerated case, investigating the latest shipment of farm-fresh eggs.

And if you can’t get your hands on this particular brand of granola, I’ve got a recipe for butter pecan granola that you can use in a pinch.

If you’re interested in finding the recipes for the dishes below, check them out on the Oat My Goodness website. I’ve also copied the recipe for the granola chocolate chunk cookies below. They’re truly the best cookies I’ve ever made. Enjoy!

Sunrise:

Orange, coffee, mango and macadamia nuts

IMG_2033 copy

IMG_2110 copy

IMG_2143 copy

continue reading

21 comments

strawberry_rhubarb_yogurt_almonds_FeedMeDearly

Rhubarb has been taking center stage in the house this week. First we attempted to eat it as part of our mystery food challenge. Which led to mixed results and a potential case of food poisoning. Fortunately no kids were harmed, but they did learn some important lessons, namely that rhubarb 1) isn’t to be eaten raw, and 2) is effective as a sword when battling with your siblings post-breakfast.

After a few too many instances of needing to wrestle warped rhubarb out of small, maple syrup-sticky hands, I decided that a better fate than bruising and the eventual trash bin, would be to roast it with a sprinkling of vanilla sugar alongside some fresh organic strawberries.

roasted_strawberries_rhubarb_FeedMeDearly

There is no better pairing, in my mind, than strawberries and rhubarb. The only combination that comes close is Roquefort + baguette + a sip of red wine all sloshed together in one decadent bite. I have my Stepdad and the country of France to thank for that one. I’m not sure to whom I owe my thanks for strawberry rhubarb, but I’m sure that he or she would be pleased at passionate response it’s gotten over the years.

My favorite use is strawberry rhubarb pie, but I generally leave all pie making to the pie experts. I made it once for a dinner party, and it wasn’t a hit. My crust was lackluster, and Rodney was convinced that in general, rhubarb is a weird fruit to make into dessert. “Vegetable”, I corrected him. “Exactly”, he said, reaffirming his point that dessert and vegetables shouldn’t co-exist.

I disagreed, but regardless, soggy crusts don’t have a place at my table. So I make jam.

I’ve admitted to the fact that I’m scared of making jams and other foods that are have long shelf lives, but throwing some fruit into an oven with some sugar, letting it roast in its own juices and calling it jam? That I can handle. The maximum time it spends in the fridge is a week because we eat it as soon as we make it. No pectin, no boiling of sealed jars. It’s a win win for everyone.

Roasted strawberry rhubarb has so many applications. Don’t get me started with Greek yogurt. I’ll stir it into the yogurt as is… 

yogurt_FeedMeDearly
continue reading

8 comments

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

When I was growing up in Toronto we used to be members at a place called The Granite Club. It was every bit as stuffy as the name implies, but for our athletically inclined family it was our home away from home.

The Granite Club sits on the edge of a ravine, and offers a smattering of waspy sports – lawn bowling, squash, badminton, and the like. And of course, that curious cult-like Canadian sport: curling. Although I never curled regularly, I did try it a few times, and can tell you convincingly that it’s not my thing. Sweeping floors seems more like a chore, not a sport. I hope I haven’t offended anyone.

Although I dabbled in skating and swimming, my favorite activity was tennis, where I took lessons each week with my coach Gary.

Gary was an affable guy with furry legs and tight white shorts that fell within the club’s 10% color regulation. I’m still prudishly judgmental when I see Serena Williams take to the courts wearing black and neon pink. This type of violation would have been punishable by law at The Granite Club. Security guards would have whisked you away like some kind of White Collar criminal.

Maybe The Granite Club was too clean cut for my image because I fought back with some early stage rebellion. On my 10th birthday I begged my mom for a short haircut and a triple piercing in each ear.

She gave in. I appreciate the fact that she was so supportive of my personal style choices, however misguided. The problem arose when I asked my hairdresser to leave a rat tail in the back. “Keep it short, but please leave a long stringy tail” I suggested to Gerald as the manly haircut took shape.

The end result wasn’t pretty. Rating lower than a mullet on the Hairstyle Attractiveness Index, it was the kind of cut that would have gotten me laughed straight out of middle school.

Which is why Gary saved my life. Hours after the cut, I arrived for my lesson and was greeted by a blank stare. “Wow, that’s a horrible haircut.”

I was crushed. I liked Gary; I respected his opinion. We were usually all business on the tennis court. I was there to improve my game and beat my nemesis, who was lazy but precise. Style wasn’t ever a topic of conversation, nor did I want it to be. Here I was with a foolish haircut that was distracting both of us from the job at hand. It was like playing a game of Chess with whipped cream on the end of my nose.

I had to put a stop to my self-inflicted mortification. As soon as I got home, I snipped the tail.

Tennis was the name of the game at our next session. I still had the short hair that would take me a nearly a year to re-grow, but my other, more serious transgression had been eliminated.

Also back to normal was my after-tennis routine, which involved heading upstairs to the cafeteria for some cinnamon toast and a Peach Snapple chaser.

For a club full of women in knee-length plaid skirts and muted locker room conversations, the cafeteria packed some heat. Greasy burgers, sloppy grilled cheese, and of course the cinnamon toast, which was two pieces of Wonder bread, toasted and slathered in a chocolate-colored cinnamon spread.

I hadn’t eaten this cinnamon toast for 20+ years, and last week had the sudden urge to make it .The kids will be at day camp this summer and tennis is on the agenda. In a reverse Proustian moment, Lauren’s Junior-sized tennis racquet triggered a flood of Granite Club food memories.

Why hadn’t I made this in over 20 years? I’m still berating myself.

It’s so easy a caveman could do it! If they weren’t so busy buying GEICO insurance, they’d be making cinnamon butter all day long.

And hide those thoughts of buttered bread with a delicate sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

This is Texas-style cinnamon butter. To be honest, I don’t know if they make it in Texas, but I’m pretty sure that if I asked Tim Love to make me some cinnamon toast it would look just like this:

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

continue reading

8 comments