Edible Berkshires

BRAVA WINE BAR & RESTAURANT

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Chef Ashlin Ploss, left, owner Whitney Asher, right

A cozy wine bar and restaurant in downtown Lenox, Brava reminds one of a small tapas bar in Spain, a trattoria in Italy or an authentic Belgian beer bar.

Open every evening, and serving food until midnight, Brava attracts a diverse crowd of all ages and kinds. Out-of-town visitors and summer music lovers come in for a drink before dinner or a meal before a show.

After Tanglewood performances, the place gets packed with symphony musicians and concert-goers. In the late-night hours year-round, the place is a regular haunt for hospitality industry veterans unwinding after other kitchens and bars have closed for the night.

The wine list won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2014 and includes over 100 wines, of which approximately 40 are available by the glass. Brava offers almost 85 craft beers from all over the world, and … Read the rest

Thai Food by Jem

Wok Star

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Thai roots, thirst for innovation make Jem a gem

Edible Berkshires met Jem and Robin Ezinga at the Lebanon Valley farmers’ market, located at Windswept Farm in New Lebanon, New York.

It was, the scent of Jem’s wok cooking wafting across the grounds, not to mention the market-goers standing in line to order, that caught our attention.

Growing up in Thailand, one of a daughter’s duties was to help prepare the six meals a day that the family would eat. Jem admits her love of food and a thirst for learning has sent her on a quest to discover new techniques, flavors and food preparations.

In 2006 she took her first professional job with Chef Tommy Carlucci, chef and kitchen manager at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent, New York. Chef Carlucci grew up in lower Manhattan and has been cooking all of his life. So Jem got a … Read the rest

Guido’s Fresh Marketplace

A Family Affair

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Christopher Masiero was born into a large Italian family in Boston’s North Shore in the small town of Manchester-by-the-Sea. With seven children who were always hungry and a mother who was a fabulous cook, the art of cooking reigned supreme. Chris has followed his passion for food since he was a teenager. Through much diligence and dedication, he has turned his heritage into a life of food-centered success.

He began his work in restaurants at the age of 15, working his way up to running kitchens by the time he was 22. Along the way, he earned his professional chef credentials at Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

In the meantime, his brother Matthew graduated from Wentworth Institute in Boston. As a young man Matt had worked in produce stores; after graduation, he hoped to open his own produce store in the Berkshires. Renie Masiero, … Read the rest

NATURALLY CATERING + TAKEOUT AT BERKSHIRE ORGANICS

Legacy of Respect for Food Lives On Naturally

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Introduction by Chef Aura Whitman

I have my mother to thank for my love of preparing food and caring where it came from. This happened long before the current wonderful—hopefully not trendy— movement of connection to the quality and sources of what we are eating.

Growing up, we always had gardens, goat cheese hanging in cheesecloth, bread proofing, something being canned, and we ate no meat unless it came from our stock.

I learned from many great chefs in my career. I always took the best from each of them. A highlight was meeting Julia Child when I lived in Paris for a year attending Cordon Bleu. We catered her 83rd birthday and appeared on “Good Morning America” the next day.

I traveled a lot as a child. We lived in Israel, Connecticut, New York, Oregon and California, exposing me to all … Read the rest

Caramelized Onion Chutney

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, peeled and julienned
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup vegetable stock or water

In a large sauté pan, add oil and onions sauté over medium heat until browned and caramelized, about 15–20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Once onions are caramelized, add remaining ingredients. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and pulse mixture in a food processor until chunky, being careful not to over process.

HEIRLOOM MEALS: Jo Murko’s Cream Puffs

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By Chef Carole Murko, Heirloom Meals

Christmas season was all about the baking when I grew up. My most vivid memory, however, is not the actual baking—it’s of Nana’s hospitality table.

Each December the old wooden round folding table with a quilted top made its way out of the attic and into the dining room. My nana would adorn the table with a green wool felt cloth that she made.

She prepared her tiered stand with lace-cut doilies and a tray of cordials. Underneath the table was tin upon tin of cookies. The largest tin was piled high with our famous sugar cookies and other tins were filled with so many different cookies from fruitcake cookies to chocolate-dipped almond fingers.

My brother, sister and I would sneak in and “steal” a cookie from the tin whenever we thought the coast was clear. I am sure this brought pure joy to … Read the rest

CREAM PUFFS

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Preheat oven to 450°F.

1 cup water
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of flour
4 eggs

In medium saucepan, combine water, butter, salt and sugar.

Bring to a full boil. Remove from heat, add vanilla and flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to form a ball. Place dough in a bowl of a stand mixer and set aside.

In a small bowl lightly beat 3 eggs. Separate 4th egg and place the white in a small dish and beat lightly; reserve yolk for filling. With the mixer on low, gradually add egg mixture with flour mixture. Once all in, increase speed to medium, until combined and you have smooth dough. Stop mixer, test dough—make sure it is supple enough to hold its shape but not pasty. If it is too stiff, … Read the rest

Stout Braised Short Ribs

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By Executive Chef David Slick of Public Eat + Drink

Serves 4

4 pounds short ribs (Chef sources from Vermont’s Family Farm, Enosburg Falls, VT.)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large Spanish onions, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cups stout (Chef suggests Gerry Dog Stout Bourbon Barrel Aged from Big Elm Brewing, Sheffield, MA.)
2 cups beef stock
12 medium carrots, peeled
4 purple-top turnips, peeled, medium chop
1 pound fingerling potatoes
6 cloves fresh garlic
4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from stem and chopped
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed from stem and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup demi-glace

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Season ribs with salt and pepper. Place oil in cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven on high heat until almost smoking. Sear ribs to golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side, being careful not to crowd pan. Remove ribs … Read the rest

Chocolate Espresso Mousse Torte

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Recipe by husband-and-wife chefs Franck Tessier and Rachel Portnoy

Enjoy this ultimate Chocolate Espresso Mousse Torte as the perfect make-ahead holiday dessert. It’s even better with a spoonful of Salty Caramel Sauce: All of the flavors explode in your mouth! The cake itself has lightness to it; it literally disappears on your tongue. It’s remarkable that something so richly flavored can have such a lovely, light texture.

For an extra touch, and a little crunch, you can make the garnish to go with it. When I originally looked around for something in my baking repertoire that was crunchy and gluten-free I came up empty-handed. The crunch in the photo, and what we serve at the restaurant, is a simple and delicious mix of our wonderful 65% bittersweet chocolate, melted, and Perky’s gluten-free crunchy flax cereal that we buy at the supermarket. Spread thin on a piece of parchment paper, let … Read the rest

Crab Gratin

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Recipe by husband-and-wife chefs Franck Tessier and Rachel Portnoy

Serves 4

1 pound Atlantic lump crab, Jonah crab or blue crab meat, picked through for bits of shell.
   (Raw blue crab available Guido’s, Price Chopper, seafood department.)
½ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons lemon juice or juice of one lemon
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup very finely chopped parsley
3 scallions, finely sliced
½ red pepper, finely diced
1½ teaspoons lumpfish caviar
  (Caviars available Guido’s fish department early December through first week of January.)
  It will taste just as good without if not available.
Salt, pepper to taste
2 leeks, dark green removed (save for making stock), finely sliced
Or baby spinach
Vegetable oil
Baguette, sliced diagonally, toasted

Fold first eight ingredients together and taste for seasoning.

Sweat leeks in vegetable oil over low heat until melted; deglaze with splash of white wine, salt and pepper.

Alternatively, sweat some baby … Read the rest

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