red lion inn blog
Stories and glimpses from around the Red Lion Inn
Alberg Rants: This is October
Wow September is gone. October is over. I think the older I get, the faster time flies by… holy crap!
Just a brief wrap-up of October… the October issue of Berkshire Magazine came out and I was psyched the cover featured the second year Outstanding in the Field came to dinner in the Berkshires. This September, they joined us at Hancock Shaker Village and we had the pleasure of cooking up a classic all-local dinner featuring many regional farms and food makers. The cover shows Berkshire Mountain Bakery bread in the foreground, the iconic Shaker Round Barn in the background and yours truly in a kilt. (After a crazy experience earlier this year, I was able to convince my crew to wear kilts for this event and we had a blast, raising a few eyebrows all around.)
Gearing up for James Beard 2014… Like-minded chefs gathered for a meeting to begin planning the next Berkshire Cure-All Dinner. This year’s team includes Adam Brassard, Daire Rooney, Josephine Proul, Jeremy Stanton,and Dan Smith. We sketched out a draft of next year’s menu and will post in a few weeks.
Got to do an impromptu tasting menu for a couple of friends, one of which I met while doing the WGBH Food and Wine Festival a few weeks back. That was a great event and sparked some cool relationships. Being able to throw down a tasting menu and prepare it for friends who appreciate food is the thing I love most about my job. Well, I love a few things about my job – it’s the one thing that relaxes me most.
I was told later that there should have been Breathe courses throughout the meal… Lightweights, I say!
Trekked out to Boston for the James Beard TasteAmerica photo shoot and got to meet all the participating chefs and tour Boston restaurants and markets. I love eating my way through different parts of a city. They have their own ‘terroir’ in a way… North End, Faneuil Hall, Cambridge, the Commons, Chinatown… I’m really starting to like this city. It isn’t New York, but it’s not Stockbridge either!
Speaking of NYC… my daughter Megan turned 21, and her brother and I trained into the city where she attends FIT majoring in Fashion Merchandising. (She’s trying to stay out of the restaurant biz like her brother and dad… she’s the smart one!) I am a huge believer that you can learn something every day no matter what. I decided to take my kids to one of my favorite places in the city and by the time I left, I decided I was over it! It was trying to be everything to everyone and while making that effort, it lost its identity and its niche. It made me take a really hard look at who I am and who we are as a restaurant and come back to work invigorated and driven to never let that happen to The Red Lion Inn! So… onto to the next favorite place in NYC… God knows, there are enough to choose from!
Image Credit: Angela Cardinali
James Beard TasteAmerica Boston – This event was the highlight of my year! Maybe the last few years… What a great opportunity to meet so many foodies, not just the chefs but the guests as well. I was able to talk to almost every guest during cocktail hour. I was asked to present a stationary appetizer which was “Chilled Berry Patch Farm Ratatouille with Howden Farm Sweet Corn Puree Equinox Arugula & Crispy Fried Farm Girl Onions.” Not only vegan, it was the only 100-percent locally sourced item at the dinner! Momma Nature totally hooked us up this year and in the third week of October, I was still getting sweet corn and tomatoes! Crazy shit this global warming!
Onto to November… Check out a couple of my favorite recipes to make during this time of year:
For your Thanksgiving turkey, goose, capon or suckling pig… this stuffing recipe can be used with any poultry or pork dish.
Apple, Chestnut & Brussels Stuffing
½ pound bacon
1 onion, diced
2 cups celery, diced
½ cup chopped Italian Parsley
1 pound whole chestnuts, meat chopped
4 cups cooked wild rice
2 tablespoon chopped thyme
2 tablespoon chopped sage
½ pound Brussels sprouts, quartered
2 apples, diced
1 cup chicken broth
Render bacon, sauté all ingredients except apples. Remove and mix with apples and chicken broth. Stuff bird but, please note, do not stuff bird until it is ready to be roasted. Sew or skewer openings. Place bird breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast in a preheated 350F degree oven for 25 minutes per pound.