Let’s talk about comfort food. Think a pile of spaghetti served with oversized meatballs, your mother’s homemade mac and cheese, meatloaf dished up over a giant mound of buttery mashed potatoes. Yum. We all have our own favorites, but classic comfort food is hearty, stick-to-your-ribs fare that is almost always served warm.
Well, our local chefs have their favorite comfort foods, too. And they know that this is the time of year — as the temperature starts to plunge — to indulge in some warming, comforting cuisine. Of course, their versions of comfort food may be a tad more gourmet than yours and mine; fortunately, eight of our top chefs have kindly shared some of their favorite cold weather recipes with us. From rack of lamb at Kingston’s Le Canard Enchainé to fondue at the Swiss Hutte in Hillsdale to sticky toffee pudding cake at the Hudson House of Nyack, these dishes are sure to delight. These chefs also tell us about the particular pleasures of dining at their establishments during these cooler days. Erik Johansen, chef-owner at Bellvale’s Iron Forge Inn, loves the romance of his 1760 farmhouse restaurant. “The snow piles up on the old stone wall, there are old-fashioned lanterns out front. It’s a really neat place,” he says. So you have two options: try your hand at a new recipe at home, or head to one of these restaurants for a cozy — and comforting — night out (pg. 36).
This issue is also crammed full of other food fun. I readily admit that I have never been a fan of sardines, but after reading all the intriguing ways that local chefs are serving them, I plan on sampling some fresh sardines soon (pg. 52). And don’t forget, ’tis the season for butternut squash (pg. 48). Move over pumpkin, this versatile veggie is being steamed, grilled, baked, and fried in every corner of the Valley. We show you where and how to enjoy the butternut bounty.
Of course, not everybody is eating all the time. Some local folks are exercising — a lot. Don’t miss our inspiring story about the Marathon Project, a new Dutchess County-based program that uses long distance running to empower city youth (pg. 64).
Enjoy the issue and bon appétit.
Olivia J. Abel
Editor in Chief