Author Archives: irene

Introducing Ithaca’s Newest Secret Supper Joint: Deadpan Restaurant!

In approximately three weeks, Deadpan Restaurant, Ithaca’s newest secret supper club, will be hosting its first event.

What’s a secret restaurant, you ask? Good thing we already wrote a post on that: big sister lays it down for the uninitiated.

We’ll be serving a three course meal at a to-be-revealed location. Look out for more announcements!

After all, who wouldn’t want to hang out with and experience the epicurean adventures of champions such as these…

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Big Buck Hunter: A Day in the Life of A Not-So-Average College Sophomore, or, Little Sister Waxes Philosophical on Meat

Most of the time, eating meat seems simple. After all, processed meat in the grocery aisle is neat, clean, and offers us little in the way of reminders that we are eating something that used to be alive, that had a head, feet, fur or feathers.

Deer in Ithaca are so populous that they’re essentially pests – destroying gardens, disrupting the ecosystem, and all too often meeting unfortunate ends in car accidents or starving in the winter. When Daniel’s dad offered Dan the chance to go deer hunting, we were all thrilled. Now, before you close the book on us savages, let me say this: we don’t believe in hunting for sport, or for trophies, but we loved the idea of getting another step closer to our food, and decreasing our dependence on factory farmed meat.

So, a few weekends ago, the Ithaca FamilyStyles gang experienced just how complicated and incredible meat really is. Sure, we’ve gutted fish and cared for livestock that would eventually become food, and I like to think that we’re thoughtful about and appreciative of the work and care and life involved in producing meat. But, butchering the deer that Daniel killed (with one shot, by the way) on his family’s land, was a whole new, up-close and personal experience for all of us. This time, we were responsible for seeing the animal through from death all the way to neat packages in the freezer.

And it was fascinating. For more pictures, and the occasional rumination, down the rabbit hole we go!

Warning: These pictures feature meat in a pretty serious way – view at your own risk! (Just so you know, I considered making a joke about “rawness,” but decided against it. You’re welcome.)

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My New Year’s Resolution Was to Post About Thanksgiving, So…

Who doesn’t like to think and read about Thanksgiving deliciousness, even if it’s well after New Year’s? No one, that’s who.

This beauty right here is a kahlua pumpkin pie with a latte-art-esque design in heavy cream, courtesy mostly of one Daniel Bartholomew. We made sure to use real pumpkin (boiled it ourselves and all) and plenty of cream. Just to be safe.

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Adventures with Bouillabaisse, or, what would Julia Child do?

At the end of the summer, Daniel and Max and I hosted a small house-warming gathering at which we served two dishes inspired by two culinary goddesses who’ve both had tremendous influence on our Ithacan kitchen: Mei, my sister and primary proprietress of this lovely online space, and Julia Child. We imagine that their lovechild would be miraculously tall, butter- and bacon-loving to a fault, and look something like this:

Hmm… maybe we’ll stick to hybrid meals and leave offspring to the professionals. Bouillabaisse and scallion pancakes ahead.

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Grillin’ out in the summertime.

Little sister here. I’ve been busy with work and training and keeping track of kiddies, but not too busy to eat a tasty meal every now and then. Here are some pictures from our most recent grillstravaganza, which left our bellies full of portobello mushroom, grape tomatoes, shrimp, pineapple, zucchini, italian sausage, and homegrown asparagus. New aspiration: some time in the future, a summer of grill-only cooking (griddles allowed, of course). It might even be more energy efficient than regular stovetop cooking. Thoughts, anyone?

4634_1123649851607_1237920005_30480055_5511023_nWheelbarrows make great outdoor tables, especially because the tiny countertops on either side of the grill don’t really do justice to all the food we cook. We learned our lesson last time when a precariously placed package of precious italian pork sausage (fist pump for alliteration!) toppled to the ground.

4634_1123650051612_1237920005_30480060_3634936_nSome kabobbed shrimp and tomatoes. The shrimp are great with pesto, or just a little salt and pepper, and the tomatoes get super juicy on the grill.

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a happy birthday at hazelnut kitchen

Over the weekend, Daniel and I made the twenty-minute drive to Trumansburg, NY to dine at the lovely Hazelnut Kitchen. As you may know, the Ithaca/Finger Lakes area is a destination for foodies who love semi-rural areas, beautiful scenery, and local, sustainable, organictastic food (and wine, but I don’t know anything about that, this being my 19th birthday…). Apologies in advance for the sort of bad pictures. The camera was on the verge of dying, and then it did, right before dessert…I’m new here.

The restaurant was tucked away, almost invisible on the main street, small and homey with a bar and a view of the kitchen. They serve Gimme! coffee and the menu lists all the farms they buy products from, including goat cheese producers, apiaries, and so on.

hazelnut-specials

That there is the specials blackboard, and a view of the exposed brick walls. 

I’ll get straight to the good stuff. First, bread and appetizers. 

hazelnut-bread-bucket

The bread came in a little metal pail with green onion butter. It was excellent.

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Daniel started with a calamari watercress salad with black olive vinaigrette, feta, wheat berries, and red pepper coulis. Pretty!

hazelnut-egg

I had this genius creation, which I could literally eat every day for the rest of my life. Bottom layer of semolina pasta sheet. Middle layer of smoked ham, ricotta cheese, and garlicky broccoli rabe. Blanket of sunny-side-up organic farm egg. Be still my heart. Be growly my stomach.

Our entree escapades were equally fruitful, or, perhaps more accurately, meatful. Daniel killed some pan seared duck with plum miso sauce, grilled asparagus, snap peas, and baby carrots, and I housed down a roasted, natural, pasture-raised chicken breast wrapped in the most crisp and delightful bacon I’ve ever eaten, over a vinaigrette bread salad with green onion-wrapped asparagus. Feast your eyes. 

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Bonus points for a crispy little bit of thigh on the chicken as well. You can see it peeking out from behind that green onion. Hello, friend.

Dan and I finished the meal with triple espresso chocolate cake and a warm apple galette, both with amazing vanilla ice cream. Alas, I have no pictures, but I think I’ve probably tortured you enough already.

When will I return to Trumansburg, and bring you with me, you ask? 

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May 3 for the chicken BBQ. Buy your bus tickets now.

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Gimme Coffee Gives Me Coffee

For my first real post on our blog, I’m going to pay homage to the amazing Gimme! Coffee company, originally from Ithaca, where I’m in school, and now in Brooklyn and Manhattan as well. When I arrived in Ithaca in the fall, my barista-extraordinaire boyfriend Daniel, a former employee of Gimme’s Farmer’s Market station, politely made it very clear to me that I wasn’t going to be drinking just any ol’ cup of coffee anymore, at least not on his watch. I’m terribly grateful that he’s brought me into the magical Gimme world. Here are some reasons why (and some photos from mei from our nyc gimme! stop).

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mei’s macchiato of love

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speaking of cheese wheels… (huh?!)

Mei’s photo of those beautiful wheels of cheese reminds me of something I saw in passing the other day: an episode of the Amazing Race, taking place in Switzerland, with a task that involves carrying super heavy cheese wheels down a really steep hill.

In other words, cheese+steepness+Switzerland+little wooden carrying devices= yes.

Also, there is an amazing Asian-American brother-sister lawyer duo. Yes, they both went to Harvard Law. Yes, they are both gorgeous. Yes, they are Asian American. Yes, they kick the ass off this challenge. Yes, they are super sweet, and even fight rather nicely, as far as we can tell. Yes, Mei and I are the next reality tv show ass-kicking Asian sibling team. Glad you asked.

The goods:

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Caboose, the rascally rat.

Hey all! It’s Irene, the other sister. Part of my explanation for my MIA-ness is that I’ve been dedicating a lot of time to this little guy (be arned, this is a pretty awesomely awkward shot of my boyfriend’s chest):

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Some good ol’ thoughts on food

Hey folksies,

Mei’s recent philosophical adventure into the ideology and ethics of real, true, good food reminded me of this here essay I wrote for a class during my senior year of high school. The full project was a four-parter on food, music, the earth/environment, and human diversity, and how all these things are profoundly connected to what it’s like to be human today, and hopefully, what it’s like to be human in the future. Anyway, here’s an edited-down version of the food section, with some extra expletives for your reading plejjurr.

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