Monday, December 21, 2009

Field & Fork Network Announce the 2nd Annual Farmer-Chef Conference at Beaver Hollow Conference Center

Field & Fork Network, a local non-profit organization dedicated to connecting farmers to new economies in the eight counties of Western New York, announce their 2nd Annual Farmer-Chef Conference at Beaver Hollow Conference Center in Java, NY on January 25, 2010. Open to agriculture and culinary industry professionals, students and educators, the one-day conference provides workshops and networking forums to promote the building of a viable and sustainable local food system in our region. Conference attendees will also hear from distinguished speakers and industry experts from around New York State and Canada.

Building on the momentum from the very successful 2009 conference, the 2010 conference will include three keynote speakers; Kathleen Harris of the Northeast Livestock Processing Service Company and Currytown Farm, award-winning Chef Michael Stadtlander of the Canadian Chefs Congress and Eisenginn Farm in Northern Ontario, and Patrick Martins, owner of Heritage Foods and one of the people who really brought Slow Food USA to life, at the behest of Slow Food International's founder, Carlo Petrini. These three notable speakers, representing different roles in the food chain, will make presentations during the morning session and will also answer questions during an open panel discussion.

The Farmer-Chef Conference also offers a roster of workshops which includes a variety of topics designed to meet the needs of small scale farmers and chefs, and to encourage thoughtful discussion around the benefits and challenges of doing business with one another. Such topics include: The Farmer-Chef Relationship: Developing a Mutually Beneficial Model for Small Farms and Restaurants, Extending Your Season – Supplying the Demand , and Re-imagining the Small Dairy – A Blueprint for Success . A complete list of workshops and the conference schedule can be found on the conference website.

The conference will culminate with a local food tasting and tradeshow intended to showcase WNY’s bounty and provide a networking forum for conference attendees and local producers. Tabling is available for $25 for conference attendees or $50 for non-attendees. Interested parties can find a link to table registration for the local food tasting and tradeshow can be found on the conference website.

The conference, to be held at Beaver Hollow Conference Center in Java, NY, costs $55 per registrant and includes admission to all of the day’s programming, unique networking opportunities, an all local lunch and educational materials. Scholarship tickets are available based on need and on a first-come-first-serve basis. Last year’s conference sold out quickly, so early registration is recommended. Links to registration and tickets are available at

Field & Fork Network would like to acknowledge the generous support of this year’s conference sponsors – Wegmans, Lexington Co-operative Market, Beaver Hollow Conference Center, Rich Products, Edible Buffalo, Culinary Institute Niagara Falls, New York State Restaurant Association, Sodexo, and the Aroma Group Restaurants. Additionally, Field & Fork Network would like to recognize its strong partner relationships with Cornell Co-operative Extension, Northeast Organic Farming Association's NY chapter, American Farmland Trust and NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets/Pride of NY.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

464 Gallery Holiday Events 2009

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events at 464 Gallery:

Friday November 20, 2009 from 6-10pm
Opening Reception: "Down the Rabbit Hole" Dark Visionary David Tarsa Solo Show
Show run: Nov. 17-22, 2009

Wednesday November 25, 2009 from 7-10pm sign-up starting at 6:30pm
Tangential Readings At 464
Featuring poet Amol Salunkhe

Friday November 27, 2009 from 6-9pm
Opening Reception: "Personal Reflections" Lyndsay Gallivan's University at Buffalo Solo Student Show
Show run: Nov 24-30, 2009

December 1-31, 2009
December Art Market at 464
464 Gallery goes retail. With art and gifts from more than 60 artists and artisans including paintings, prints, photography, literature, music, jewelry and more. All made by Buffalo's local arts community.

Friday December 4, 2009 from 6-10pm
Holiday Open Galleries Tour Happy Hour

Friday December 11, 2009 from 6-10pm
Educators Appreciation Happy Hour
All local educators (grade school- college) receive 10% discount on any retail with school ID.

Friday December 18, 2009 from 6-10pm
Nickel City Girls Design and 464 Present "A Green Christmas" Happy Hour event featuring new works and one-of-a-kind gifts from the design duo including; repurposed furniture, vinyl re-creations, handcrafted housewares and much more. Shop local, shop green.

Wednesday December 30, 2009 from 7-10pm
Tangential Readings At 464
Featuring author Denise Amodeo Miller

Events take place at 464 Gallery
464 Amherst Street between Grant and Elmwood
All events are free and open to the public with complementary wine, beer and light snacks.
Retail hours through 2010 are as follows:
Tues & Weds 12-6pm
Thurs & Fri 12-8pm
Sat 11-6pm

For more information call:
Marcus L. Wise
Owner, 464: Gallery. Retail. Resource Center. Art.
464 Amherst St. Buffalo, NY 14207

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mirruzzu Sciuscieddu

Recently I was thrilled to have my brother Joe visiting from Florida and I surprised him by cooking a classic family favorite dish for dinner.

Our Nonno (grandfather) often lovingly prepared this beautiful Sicilian fish in broth (brudu - BRU-du) and every time I cook it I remember the warm wonderful feeling of being filled with his love. There was no question this would be the dish to welcome my brother home. And, of course, he and many other family members have asked for the recipe.

It is with great pride and a heart brimming with love and nostalgia that I offer this recipe that means so much to me.

Mirruzzu Sciuscieddu (poached fish in broth):


4 slices good Italian bread about 1 inch thick grilled or toasted and rubbed with a clove of garlic - set aside
3 fresh plum tomatoes peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of sugar
32 ounces of homemade fish stock (or Kitchen Basics Fish and Seafood Stock)
4 filets of whiting (cod or skate also works nicely)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste


In a large deep saute pan with a tight fitting lid, saute the tomatoes, garlic and sugar in the olive oil on medium high heat for about 10 minutes or until it resembles tomato paste.

Add the fish stock, cover the pan and bring to a boil.

Lightly salt and pepper each side of the fish filets and place in the boiling stock. Cover the pan and immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the fish is slightly firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Do not over cook.

To plate:

Put a slice of grilled garlic bread in each of 4 warm bowls and place a fish filet on top of the bread. Ladle the hot broth over the fish and sprinkle with parsley.

Serve with extra garlic bread, a chilled white wine and an arugula salad dressed with fresh lemon juice, the best olive oil, salt and pepper. Fresh fruit with Mascarpone cream is the perfect way to conclude this lovely meal.

When I was a young boy my Nonno would phone to invite me whenever he made Mirruzzu. When I cooked it for my brother I felt, for a moment, as though I channeled my Nonno. Yet, eating it with my brother I felt I was, for a moment, a young boy again.

Ti amo, Nonno!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mediterranean Spiced Olives

For centuries olives have been celebrated by many cultures. Either cooked in recipes or eaten as a snack - olives are a great source of monounsaturated fat and a good source of iron, vitamin E, copper and dietary fiber. A one cup serving contains about 155 calories.

Here is an easy way to spice up store bought olives by adding flavors of the mediterranean.

Mediterranean Spiced Olives

For the olives:

1 cup mixed olives
6 thin round slices lemon
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon herbs of Provence
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole mixed peppercorns
4 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

To assemble:

Place 3 of the lemon slices in a 2 cup glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Add the olives, fennel seeds, herbs of Provence, bay leaf, peppercorns, garlic, red pepper flakes and the remaining 3 lemon slices. Slowly pour in the olive oil making sure to completely cover all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 2 weeks.

To serve:

Bring to room temperature and serve with cheese and crusty bread.

The leftover oil is wonderful used in a vinaigrette for salads, drizzled over poached fish or tossed with steamed vegetables.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Couscous With Dried Fruits And Walnuts

At a recent Block Club pot luck dinner party, where each neighbor brings a dish to share, I volunteered to bring a favorite couscous dish that complements any menu. After several requests for the recipe I decided to write a post so everyone can enjoy making it for their families. It’s quick, easy and very delicious.

Couscous With Dried Fruits And Walnuts

Using a dutch oven or a large sauce pan bring to a boil:
2 1/2 cups orange juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 garlic cloves grated (using a microplane)
pinch of saffron
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Add 2 cups couscous. Stir, cover and turn off the heat. Let the pot rest for 5 minutes.

Uncover the pot and fluff the couscous with a fork and add:
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup grape-seed oil (or canola oil)

Using a fork, fluff the couscous again and add:
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup dried cherries roughly chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins roughly chopped
1/3 cup whole black currants
1 cup lightly toasted walnuts roughly chopped
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
1/3 cup fresh mint chopped

Fluff with a fork to keep the mixture light and fluffy. Check for seasoning and plate. Garnish with whole fresh mint, parsley or basil leaves.

This is a great dish to bring to a summer outdoor function without the worry of it spoiling in the heat. It makes a perfect bed for seared duck breast. And when fall’s cooler temperatures arrive, this couscous is a wonderful change of pace stuffing for roasted Cornish game hens. Although, I can eat it by the bowl full any time of year.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Julia Child! (August 15, 1912 - August 12, 2004)

Growing up in the 1950’s there was not much in the way of “Food TV”. Sure there was the occasional Kraft Music Hall food commercials announced by the deep commanding voice of Ed Herlihy. And I certainly looked forward to those. But I’m referring specifically to the actual cooking process. Seeing the dish being prepared from beginning to end and with all of the details of the techniques involved in the cooking given along with the recipes.

The 1962 WGBH premier of The French Chef TV series was a revelation. I became transfixed on the show’s content and hypnotized by its host, the illustrious Julia Child. I faithfully awaited each new episode ready to absorb Julia’s every detailed instructions and followed them to the letter. She was confident, knowledgeable, engaging and had a marvelous wit. Julia absolutely captivated me and changed the way I thought about food and cooking.

At a time when foods were designed to get us out of the kitchen, with the endless array of frozen TV Dinners, Julia concentrated on one of the worlds most sophisticated cuisines to share with her audiences. And right in our own living rooms. Classic French cuisine was considered to be too arduous for the home cook to attempt. But Julia changed all that. Although she was serious about food she injected her signature sense of humor and proved that anyone can conquer French cooking at home and enjoy it in the process. I most assuredly did.

As of late there has been a barrage of media attention given to the newly released film, Julie and Julia. The film is a sweet, lighthearted romp between two books, Julie and Julia by Julie Powell and My Life In France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme. Both books are a fun read, yet My Life In France is a charming look inside the lives of Julia and Paul Child. With all the candor and humor only Julia could provide, you just have to love this book. I read the book twice and I’ll read it again. In the film, Child is played by the incomparable Meryl Streep who captures the true sprit of Julia’s love of food and cooking. Streep’s portrayal of Child is spot-on. So convincing that it proves, yet again, that Meryl Streep walks on water! I felt as though I spent the afternoon with Julia herself. I’ll see the film again as well. Enjoy a glimpse of Julia Child here, here, here and here.

Thank you, Julia for being a woman of great ambition and stature. For introducing us to French cuisine and the endless company of chefs who are fortunate to have had your friendship. But most of all I’m eternally grateful to you for teaching us how to enjoy food, cooking and life. Merci!

Happy birthday dear Julia. I truly miss you. Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Porcini Power

Power? Yes, the power to add wonderful nutty, deep woodsy porcini mushroom flavor to virtually any dish you are cooking. Soups, stews and sauces are enhanced by their rich, complex flavor.

Porcini mushrooms are not cultivated, they are collected in the wild. They are native to North America and Europe and are usually found near evergreen or hardwood trees as they form a symbiotic relationship with the trees. This also makes them resistant to commercial cultivation.

Very popular because of their strong flavor, the porcini is exported to gourmet shops and cooks around the world. Their strong aroma, even when dried, is a good test for freshness and in many cases can escape the packaging before they are opened. Stale dried porcini do not have the characteristic flavor and aroma. Their strong flavor makes them an excellent partner to garlic, shallots and onions.

Dried porcini mushrooms are packed with concentrated flavor just waiting to be released simply by soaking them in water or any other cooking liquid.

Gently warm (do not boil) 2 cup of water, stock, wine, port, sherry, beer, brewed tea, coffee or fruit juice in a sauce pan. Add 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms and soak for 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and strain the soaking liquid and reserve. Cook the mushrooms as you would any other mushroom, or mix them with fresh mushrooms to add a heightened flavor to the dish. The strained liquid is the perfect addition to use in place of any cooking liquid. Or use it to make a pan sauce by deglazing the pan after sauteing meat, poultry or seafood.

I like to use porcini powder as a dry rub or to enliven a favorite dry rub seasoning. Simply fill a clean and dry spice grinder with dried porcini and grind to a fine powder. Strain the powder through a fine mesh strainer and regrind any larger pieces left behind. The porcini powder is now ready to use.

Sprinkled on chicken, fish, meat or vegetables, added to rice, potato or pasta dishes, or as a flavor buster in stuffed mushrooms, porcini powder is power.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name Smells Like - Tea?

It’s a soft, mild, perfect summer evening. As I water the garden in my yard’s leafy glade, the air is thick with the smell of sweet perfume. The roses are in bloom, and they are magnificent. I take a deep breath and I am filled with their beautiful bouquet.

Somehow the aroma is not enough, I need something more, perhaps the use of another sense to experience this heavenly aroma. I need to taste it - drink it in. Ah yes, a cup of rose tea.

A while back a friend had given me a package of Eastern Shore Tea Company’s Victorian Rose Tea and I must admit it is grand. Made with a heady blend of fine teas, hibiscus, rose hips and rose petals, Victorian Rose Tea is an elegant blend to be savored on its own or with a delicate tea cake. A steamy pot of Victorian Rose Tea with a drizzle of lavender honey is soothing to the soul and stimulating to the senses. A true pleasure.

Tea production begins with certified pesticide-free full leaf tea cut in a hammermill. Tea bag production uses oxygen whitened bags, with tags made from unbleached paper, natural string (no staples), and soy ink. They are then packaged in heat sealed foil pouches and hand packed in over-wrapped tea boxes or in gift bags with hand tied ribbon. Caffeinated and naturally decaffeinated (chemical-free) teas are gluten-free.

As much as I love this tea hot by the cup (or pot) it’s invigorating iced with a sprig of lavender or mint. Brew a cup of decaffeinated rose tea to use in place of stock to create a sauce for a chicken or lamb dish. Substitute rose tea in place of water and your steamed rice will come to life. Making granita or ice cream? Rose tea will add a new aromatic excitement to your desserts.

So select your best china, find a relaxing place to read a good book, water the garden or take the time to simply smell the roses. And enjoy a cup of Victorian Rose Tea. Ah!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

464 Gallery Celebrates Pride with “Color”

Recent nominee for best new art space in Artvoice’s Best of Buffalo poll, 464 Gallery is gearing up for the opening of “Color: a Celebration of Local LGBT Art.” As an official part of the 2009 Pride Buffalo festivities, 464 would like to present a show that celebrates the vibrant color of Buffalo’s LGBT arts community.

In addition to showing the artwork of a half dozen local LGBT artists, 464 will be collaborating with AIDS Community Services to offer a rare chance to view quilt panels from the ACS Mending of the Hearts Memorial Project.

This opening will feature vibrant works created by members of the local LGBT community including new photography from gallery owner, Marcus L. Wise, works by painters Paul Rybarcyzk, Scott Klaurens and Michael Klemm, work from multimedia artists Daniel Rodgers and H. Duane Mallaber, work from emerging photographer Joelle LoDestro and many talented artistes. Also showing the work of members of website

Painting "Payton at the Red Table" by Paul Rybarczyk

As owner Marcus L. Wise stated in our conversation: “I have been an out and proud member of Buffalo’s gay community for more than a decade and wanted to give something back to the community. It is my hope that I will be able to provide some new opportunities for local gay artists as well as give them an opportunity to showcase their work in an environment that celebrates our diversity. At 464, we take pride in providing a space that welcomes all kinds of art and artists, based on nothing other than talent. At 464, our mission is to provide a unique space for local and emerging artists, musicians and authors to show and sell their work, host events, and provide and receive arts-based education”.

The opening for “Color” is Friday, June 5, 2009 from 6-10pm. Live music performed by acoustic singer/songwriter, Buffalo native, Roni Pillischer. Powerful socio-political sculptural pieces by artist H. Duane Mallaber. Complimentary wine, beer and finger food are provided. This event is free and open to the public. The exhibit runs from June 2-14, 2009.

464 Art Gallery, Retail Space & Resource Center
464 Amherst Street, Buffalo 14207
Business hours: Tues-Fri: 12-6pm, Sat: 11-6, Sun: 11-5 by appointment or special event.
To contact Marcus L. Wise:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Spice Is Right

When I moved into my first apartment, I brought with me the belongings most twenty-year-olds would bring: books, records, clothes and--this will come as no surprise to those that know me-- pots, pans, dishes and wine glasses.

After I moved in and unpacked, my major focus was on the one thing I could not live without. I believed that the only thing that would make my cozy little nest feel like home was my very own spice rack. So I set out on a crusade to find the dried herbs and spices that I was most familiar with and a few of the more exotic with which to experiment. Pleased to have found all that I was looking for, I headed back to my humble abode, carrying packages filled with my prized seasonings.

It was quite a shock to learn how much money I had to spend that day to fill my spice rack. I could not stop myself from buying; I wanted everything and I bought it all! While I treasured having a large inventory to choose from, I disliked that I had to buy a full bottle of each. I would turn to many of these seasonings time and time again, but others I would use only occasionally. How long would they remain fresh? I had spent a lot of money stocking my new spice cabinet, what would I do if they grew stale? I thought, “If only they would package herbs and spices in smaller containers I could use them up before they become worthless.” Smaller portions would be the perfect solution, but there was only one problem--where would I find them?

Fast forward 35 years and my dilemma has been solved. Gee, I waited a very long time! Little did I know that the answer was waiting for me in my own neighborhood.

The Lexington Co-op carries Frontier Natural Products brand of dried herbs and spices as well as a collection of their teas in bulk. Many of these are Fair Trade Certified Organic. On a recent visit to the Co-op, I spoke with Kevin who provided a good deal of information about this line of products. Joann Tomasulo, currently the Marketing & Membership Manager for the Lexington Co-op, joined the conversation, providing me with even more information. She is no stranger to food and cooking. She is the author of the book “The 28 Day Cleansing Program,” co-authored with Scott Ohlgren. The book, available at the Co-op, is a source for health and nutrition which offers quick, easy, healthful and delicious recipes designed to cleanse the body, nourish the soul and feed the appetite.

The advantage of purchasing your dried herbs and spices from the Co-op’s bulk department is that it allows you to buy the amount that suits your needs. The fact that so many of them are Certified Organic is a bonus.

Let’s say that you want to try a new recipe which calls for 1 teaspoon of garam masala, (an Indian spice mixture comprised of ground coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, kalonji, cloves, ginger and nutmeg). Because you don't know whether or not you will like garam masala, you may not want to buy a full bottle. At the Co-op, you can buy the single teaspoon portion that you need for your recipe. Plastic bags and spoons are provided; measure a spoonful or a jar full. Joann tells me that regular visitors to the bulk spice department bring their own bottles to fill with their favorite herbs and spices. The empty bottle is weighed, filled, and then weighed again to ensure that you are only paying for the amount of product you chose.

Within the vast array of dried herbs and spices at the Co-op you will find many common items like basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. You will also be pleased to discover exotic and aromatic spices such as green cardamom (found here ground or in pods), star anise, fenugreek seeds, lavender flowers, ground turmeric, goji berries, brown or yellow mustard seeds, and beet powder. If you enjoy cooking with chilies, you will be pleased to find whole dried chilies as well as many chili powders like anaheim, ancho and chipotle.

The bulk section also offers a selection of vegetable, chicken and beef stock powders, and there is a fine assortment of “Fair Trade Certified Teas”. Also available are several natural herbal supplements (like goldenseal, psyllium seed husk and spirulina) and the empty capsules that are used to concoct your own herbal supplements. The capsules are vegetable-based, all natural and contain no animal products, gelatin, starch or pesticides.

It is most impressive to find this kind of collection of products in one place. Whenever I am in the bulk spice department at the Co-op, I find something new to try or an old favorite with which to restock my spice cabinet. I think you may be pleasantly surprised to find all that there is in this great department. Oh, and don't forget to bring along your empty spice bottles.

Lexington Co-Operative Market
807 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, 14222

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Outstanding In Their Field & Fork

This past February 23, 2009, food history was made, Western New York food history that is. The first annual Field & Fork Network’s Farmer-Chef conference took place at the Byrncliff Resort and Conference Center in Varysburg, NY. Farmers, chefs, food artisans, food industry professionals and everyday consumers gathered for a day of networking, workshops and a tasting of local food. People from all walks of life connected by one common link, their love of food.

They care about how our food is planted, the kind of soil that is used and that it be free of chemicals and pesticides. They are concerned with the respect and quality of life that is offered to farm animals, what they are fed, the conditions in which they live and that they are humanely slaughtered. They are working to supply Western New York with fresh, healthy, local food.

Founded in 2008, the Field & Fork Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing our region the building blocks needed to create a local food system in Western New York. Their goal is to stimulate our local economy, ensure the survival of our small family farms and provide our region with access to fresh, healthy food. They hope to achieve this through education and outreach including a dynamic online community and an annual local food sourcing guide for chefs and consumers.

One of the highlights from the conference included keynote speaker Eric Hahn, President and owner of Cherry Capital Foods, a local foods distribution company located in Traverse City, Michigan. Having 30 years experience in the food industry, Eric Hahn’s inspiring lecture was the first step toward creating the communication link between our farmers and chefs. He stressed the importance of farmers and chefs working together to overcome any obstacles that may exist in doing business with one another and in turn, making a positive impact on economic growth for our region.

But what does this mean for the regular consumer? How do we fit into this chain? We can reap the benefits of fresh local food by being educated and letting our dollars do the talking by choosing local food above all else. By shopping at local farmers markets and building relationships with the farmers who grow and raise our food. By shopping at grocery markets which offer foods from local farms. We can take a farm tour to see first hand the hard work and determination these dedicated farmers put into the foods they grow and raise. We can consider buying a share in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm or splitting a share with a friend or neighbor. We can reserve a portion of our gardens for planting tomatoes, lettuces or herbs. And we can choose to dine in restaurants that purchase foods from local farms. Fresh, healthy, local food always tastes best.

When I was young my grandfather owned a poultry market. I made friends with the little chicks and, well, could not consider them a meal. I have since come to terms with the food chain and believe, as did my beloved grandfather, that respecting the animal in life and death is what matters. Waste no part of the animal and to be grateful it surrendered its life.

We need to understand and respect the long hours of hard work and dedication farmers put into the foods they grow and raise. The same holds true for the chefs who buy and prepare that food in our favorite restaurants. The heat is the same on both ends of the food chain. As consumers we are in the middle, but we can help both the farmers and chefs by respecting their efforts and by choosing to buy local foods to serve our families and to patronize restaurants that respect the food they offer on their menus.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I to I - At 464

“I to I: an Exploration of the Portrait”

Following the success of the “Bad Love” exhibit, 464 Art Gallery, Resource Center and Retail Space hosts its second art opening: “I to I” which will explore portraiture through visual art media. Co-owners, artists and young professionals, Jill Hart and Marcus L. Wise are collaborating with neighbor, Artsphere who will be simultaneously be hosting the event “The Camara”.

In a conversation with co-owner Marcus L. Wise he stated, “Our aim is to continue to expose the work of fresh and emerging artists, and in the spirit of collaboration, by working with Artsphere, we want to continue to reveal the wealth of artistic opportunities available to local artists not only here on Amherst street, but throughout Buffalo. We also aim to provide resources to, and enhance opportunities for emerging artists, musicians and authors in Western New York. At 464, our mission is to provide a unique space for local and emerging artists, musicians and authors to show and sell their work, host events, and provide and receive arts-based education”.

The opening for “ I to I” is Friday, March 20, 2009 from 7-10pm and runs through April 10, 2009. This event is free and open to the public. Live music performed by classical guitarist Ray Lorigo with complimentary wine and beer.

464 Art Gallery, Retail Space & Resource Center
464 Amherst Street, Buffalo, 14207

Business hours:
Tuesday-Friday 12-6pm
Saturday 11-6pm
Sunday 11-5pm by appointment or special event

Monday, March 16, 2009

If It’s St. Joseph’s Day, We Must Have Pasta con Sarde

March 19th is St. Joseph's Day, a celebration which began in Sicily in the Middle Ages when the region experienced severe drought. In desperation, the people asked St. Joseph, their patron, to intervene. They promised, if rain came, that they would prepare a big feast in his honor. These prayers were answered with rainy weather and, in gratitude, huge banquet tables were set up in the streets and the poor were invited to come and eat as much as they wanted.

Preparing a St. Joseph’s Table is a daunting and labor intensive task. It involves cooking several different dishes in order to fill the dinner table with a bounty that could feed the masses. Growing up in a Sicilian family, I looked forward to St. Joseph Day and to the feast my family would lovingly prepare. One of the dishes I enjoyed the most is Pasta con Sarde (pasta with sardines). Although my family made their sarde sauce from scratch, I have a short cut version that takes minutes to prepare, and you can get the ingredients every day of the year.

All you will need for your Pasta con Sarde is:

1 lb of pasta (I use Gondola egg noodles)

your favorite tomato sauce (I make my own but Guercio’s bottled pasta sauce works perfectly for this dish)

1 can of sarde sauce (which you can also find at Guercio’s year round)

The sarde sauce ingredients are listed as: young fennel, sardines, raisins, onion, sunflower oil, sardine puree, salt and pepper. Feel free to embellish the recipe, as I do, by adding more of any of the listed ingredients, to create a sauce full of the flavors you most enjoy. I prefer to add some sauteed chopped fresh fennel bulb and more chopped raisins to the sauce, which gives a nice fresh flavor to the finished dish.

The procedure is simple:

In a sauce pan heat the tomato sauce, add the amount of the canned sarde sauce to your liking and bring to heat on medium.
Prepare the pasta according to the package, drain thoroughly and combine it with the sauce mixture. That's it!

Most Sicilians do not use grated cheese with fish dishes, feeling the cheese may over power the flavor of a dish. With Pasta con Sarde the traditional garnish is toasted bread crumbs, which are easy to make, by lightly toasting bread crumbs in a saute pan with a little butter until browned and crispy.

You do not need to prepare a St. Joseph’s Day table in order to enjoy one of the most popular dishes from that table, and you don’t have to wait until March 19th to get the ingredients.

Viva San Giuseppe!

Guercio & Sons
250 Grant Street, Buffalo, NY 14213

Gondola Macaroni Products
1985 Niagara Street, Buffalo, NY 14207

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Best Of The Zest

Adding layers of flavor to a recipe is as important as being sure it is perfectly seasoned and not overcooked. One of my favorite flavors in cooking is citrus. It marries well in both savory and sweet dishes and adds bright, fresh, lively flavor to foods of every ethnic cuisine.

Now, I love my microplane and I use it for grating cheese, chocolate, garlic, onions, ginger, nutmeg and obviously to zest citrus fruit. But what do you do with the rest of the peel if you only need to use a spoonful of zest? Simple, make dried zest. Essentially - dehydrating it in the oven. Here’s how.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Using a vegetable peeler remove the peel from any citrus fruit, being careful to remove only the outer flesh and none of the white pith.

Spread the strips of peel on a sheet pan being sure they are in a single layer and not touching each other. Place the sheet pan in the oven to dry for one hour.

Turn the oven off for one more hour, without removing the sheet pan.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven and let the dried peel cool down completely.

When completely cool transfer the dried peel to a spice grinder (or a coffee grinder used specifically for grinding spices) and grind until you have a fine powder.

Store the citrus powder in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

It remains fresh for months and may be used to enliven any recipe that call for zest.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chow Chocolat - Wow Chocolate!

Many, many years ago I worked for Barricini’s, a company out of New York City that specialized in making fine chocolates. A dream job to say the least. So it’s no stretch of the imagination to say I am a chocoholic.

To this day I am obsessed with searching for the finest chocolates available. I’ve mail ordered chocolates from every part of the US and Canada. While on vacation I scour that city’s telephone directory in my quest to discover a hidden treasure. When family and friends travel to other cities or countries I beg them to shop for the finest chocolates they can find. Often I’d research and plead with them to make a special visit to some out of the way chocolatier. It’s that important. More times than I care to remember I was very disappointed. But every so often - a revelation.

All that has changed. Family and friends no longer hesitate to inform me of their travel plans. Oh, I’m still a chocoholic. However, thanks to Chow Chocolat, I, as well as family and friends, have not been the same since.

Jaclyn and Scott Wisz are well known at several local Farmers Market for their delectable treats, confections, sweet breads, cookies and for their adorable Chow Chow, Puma. In April 2008, The Wisz’s opened a retail space in the Avalon Building (at 731 Main Street between Tupper and Goodell Streets) that has taken the neighborhood by storm.

The interior features high ceilings with exposed ductwork, exquisite crystal chandeliers and plush furniture giving this beautiful space a hint of elegance and romance.

Using recycled biodegradable cups, Chow Chocolat is a café and patisserie serving organic free trade coffee and espresso products, tea drinks, french lemonade, hot chocolate and an amazing sipping chocolate that is a must try. Pastries include plain or filled croissants, scones, artisan ganache brownies and heavenly parisian macaroons which are chocolate, coffee, almond, vanilla, pistachio or raspberry flavored.

Toward the back of the chocolatier is a wood and glass case that holds the real treasure - the chocolates. Jaclyn’s artistic flare was inspired by a chocolate course at New York’s French Culinary Institute. All of the chocolates are handmade, hand dipped and decorated, in small batches to ensure freshness, by Jaclyn and Scott.

Ganache, bon bon and truffle flavors evolve with the seasons. An example of some of the flavors you can expect to find are refreshing lemon, raspberry, key lime or passion fruit. Spicy habanero mango, coconut curry or the very spicy fire and air. Some of the classic flavors offered are cognac, hazelnut gianduja, grand marnier or espresso. And a few other impressive flavors include jasmine tea, peanut butter & jam, gourmet s’mores, luscious salted caramels and crisp cocoa dusted almonds.

In addition to being a premier patisserie and chocolatier Chow Chocolat displays artwork by local artists, hosts chocolate tastings, features comedy, music and poetry by local performers and offers free tango lessons.

Like the chocolates aren’t reason enough to dance!

Chow Chocolat
731 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14203

Saturday, February 7, 2009 And 464 - A Meeting Of The Minds

Their mission at is to offer exposure to emerging artists, whether they work with visual media, music or the written word. They aim to serve as an online gallery; a place for Buffalo's art-minded individuals, sites and organizations to come together as one united arts community. was created in May of 2007 by Marcus L. Wise as an online gallery for a small community of artists who shared the common aim of exposing their work. In 2008, the site continues to add musicians, artists and photographers and has since begun a partnership with the Author’s Guild of WNY.

With the desire to build a community of emerging local artists, in February, 2009, owner photographer Marcus L. Wise, partnered with artist Jill Hart to open the gallery and retail space, which acts as a physical counterpart to the website. is a division of Marcus L. Wise Photography.

The mission at 464 is to provide a unique space for local and emerging artists, musicians and authors to show and sell their work, host events and provide and receive arts-based education. 464 is a multipurpose space where artists can come to share their work, shape and sharpen their artistic skills.

464 is a gallery for local artists to show and sell their work: paintings, photography, 3-d work, video, installations and multimedia. They will feature rotating shows on a regular basis, with dedicated gallery and retail space for members of

464 is also a retail space open to the public, selling cd’s from local bands, books from local authors as well as original work and prints from local artists. Gifts range in price from $5 to $500.

Workshops include classes on self-publishing, building a professional portfolio, ceramics and many more in the making.

Events cover art openings, holiday sales, happy hour events, live acoustic performances by local bands, book signings, cd press parties and many other inspired events.

Current members include Artists & Creators:
Marcus L. Wise
Jill Hart
Caroline Bronckers
Paul Rybarczyk
Ben Phillips
Odd Moses
Megan Callahan
Patrick VanHaverbeke
Lucas Cobb
Susan Jagow
Authors Guild Of WNY
Roni Pillischer
Chastity Roberts
No’l Smith
Desirae Locke
Rachel Marriott
James Ireland
Rebecca Rausch
Molly Hoeltke
Rodney Garrison

You may recognize some of these artists from the Artists in Buffalo Inc. Holiday Open Studio and Gallery event held November and December of 2008. If you missed that event you will have the opportunity to meet some of these fresh and talented artists and view their work at the 464 Gallery Grand Opening on Friday February 13, 2009 from 7-11pm.

This intimate gallery space will host their grand opening while showcasing the artwork of 464 artist members with the installation of the Bad Love exhibit.

For information on membership, partnership and sponsorship contact

Gallery Grand Opening
Friday February 13, 2009 7-11pm
464 Gallery. Retail. Resource Center
464 Amherst Street between Elmwood Avenue and Grant Street
Buffalo, New York 14207

Thursday, January 29, 2009

2009 Farmer - Chef Conference

2009 Farmer - Chef Conference
Monday, February 23rd
9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Byrncliff Resort and Conference Center
Varysburg, New York

Building a Local Food System in Western New York Niagara, Erie, Chautauqua, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Cattaraugus, Allegany. About Field & Fork Network’s Annual Farmer – Chef Conference

What we eat and where it comes from is a hot topic these days. Whether you’re discussing concerns about food safety, the environment, the local economy or agricultural viability, the desire to source food locally may have been a novel idea a few years ago, but today it makes headlines, sells books and is the subject of news stories and popular documentaries.

American Airlines’ Celebrated Living Magazine named “Eating like a locavore” as the seventh most important food trend for 2008, and CNN News called “Locally Grown Food” the second of “5 Healthy Food Trends Worth Following” in a report it aired just over a year ago.

As exciting as this news is, many of the country’s regionalized food systems are not ready for the impact. In North Carolina, for example, the outcry for local food has led to a statewide study being conducted to determine how best to put a sustainable local food system in place. Similar programs, funded by public and private monies, are taking root all over our country.

Here in Western New York, we also have a struggling local food system. Consumers and local chefs want to know how they can source good, quality local food on an ongoing basis from the myriad farmers and artisan food producer located in our region.

The Field & Fork Network is a not-for-profit organization focused on stimulating a local food system in Western New York. Connecting chefs—a profession passionate about utilizing the freshest ingredients—with local farmers and artisan food producers is one of the building blocks of Field & Fork Network’s mission statement. The Farmer – Chef Conference provides chefs and farmers with the opportunity to learn together in workshops that appeal to both professions, to network and build relationships with one another, and to be inspired by local food heroes who have played an integral role in building a local food network here and in other parts of the country.

Our Keynote Speaker

We are pleased to present 2009 Farmer – Chef Conference keynote speaker, Eric Hahn, founder and owner of Cherry Capital Foods. Mr. Hahn started Cherry Capital Foods in the Traverse City, MI area in 2007, a distribution business focused on delivering local farm products into area restaurants, schools and other businesses. Today, Cherry Capital Foods is a very successful company, selling produce year round--working with over 150 local farmers and growers that service nearly 300 restaurants, schools and retailers in northern Michigan.

Prior to starting Cherry Capital Foods, Mr. Hahn worked in the restaurant business as a chef for more than 20 years. He also spent time working for a Michigan-based food distributor. The combination of restaurant experience and food distribution knowledge that Mr. Hahn brings will surely enlighten our audience and assist in bridging the distribution gap between chefs and farmers in our region.

Mr. Hahn is widely recognized in the ‘local food’ world as a leader and a great success. Featured in magazines and newspaper articles, as well as on National Public Radio, Eric Hahn has become a spokesperson for the locavore movement. We are thrilled to have him with us as our keynote speaker for Field & Fork’s 2009 Farmer – Chef Conference.

2009 Farmer – Chef Conference Schedule

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

9:00 Registration

10:00 Welcome and Introduction

10:15 Field & Fork Network Presentation

10:30 Farmer & Chef Panel Discussion (panel participants to be announced)

11:30 Lunch (featuring locally produced foods)

1:00 Keynote Address Eric Hahn, accomplished chef and owner of Michigan’s Cherry Capital Foods, a successful
independent distributor of farm fresh products to restaurants and markets.

1:45 Break

2:00 Workshop Session One (see Workshop options below*)

3:00 Break

3:30 Workshop Session Two (see Workshop options below*)

4:30 Tasting and Farm Tradeshow (learn what local farmers and food & beverage artisans have to offer your restaurant, sample tasty New York State products, network with other chefs and producers)

2009 Farmer – Chef Conference Workshops

The Importance of Growing Variety/Composing a Seasonal Menu—led by Tom Tower of Tom Tower Farm and author and chef, Jake Brach of Rich Products. This workshop will illustrate the economical and environmental benefits experienced by both farmers and consumers when individual farms choose to vary the type of product they grow. Heirloom and gourmet varieties will be discussed as will the unique benefits the soil of Western New York offers to its farmers. Chef Brach will discuss the opportunities writing a seasonal menu can provide a restaurant and its clientele and the positive impact the relationship between chefs and farmers can have on both of their businesses.

Selling Your Livestock Cuts to Retail and Restaurants/Nose-to-Tail Dining—led by Farmer Jennifer Small of Flying Pigs Farm and Chef Bruce Wieszala of Verbena Restaurant Understanding of New York State’s laws surrounding the selling of meat to restaurants and retailers will be an important part of this workshop. Notable Hudson Valley Farmer Jennifer Small will discuss the importance of the farmer/chef relationship when addressing the logistical challenges of meeting the demands of restaurants, while Chef Bruce Wieszala will demonstrate how “lesser” cuts can be utilized in high-end preparations, resulting in respectful and efficient use of the animal and economic benefit for both the restaurant and the farm.

Extending Your Growing Season through Pioneering/Utilizing WNY’s Winter Vegetables in Your Restaurant—taught by Stew Ritchie of Native Offerings, Robert Hadad from Cornell Cooperative Extension and Chef Adam Goetz of Sample Restaurant Investigate the benefits to investing in season-extending technology; learn what types of products are available in the cold season, and what can be grown for profit during the long Western New York winter. Chef Adam Goetz will discuss delicious and simple ways to incorporate local, winter vegetables into your menu.

Marketing and Selling Your Farm to Restaurants & Specialty Grocers—taught by Grocer Tim Bartlett of Lexington Cooperative Market, Daniel Oles of Oles Family Farm and Eric Hahn, conference keynote speaker and owner of Cherry Capital Foods
Discover who your customer is and how to market & sell to them in this workshop. Learn to establish, build and nurture your customer relationships through good business practices. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with professionals who have built successful “local food” relationships.

*Workshops and schedule are subject to change without notice. Becoming Part of Field & Fork Network’s 2009 Farmer - Chef Conference

We hope that you will consider joining us for the 2009 Farmer – Chef Conference. We have only 100 seats available, so it is important that you register before February 9th, 2009. The fee for the daylong conference, including lunch, is only $50.00.

Whether you’re a restaurant owner, a chef, a culinary student, a farmer, an artisan food producer, an educator, or an agriculture/hospitality industry professional, if you want to meet chefs and farmers, are curious about the local food movement, or are interested in learning about what Western New York has to offer agriculturally, please visit our website ( to download the appropriate registration form.

We are also pleased to announce that we have partnered with the Mansion on Delaware Avenue in Downtown Buffalo to provide a Chef Shuttle. Conference attendees that wish to utilize the shuttle pay only $20, and may leave their vehicle in the secure MoDA parking lot for the day. The shuttle will leave for the conference at 8:00 a.m. and will return attendees to the parking area around 6:30 p.m. If you are interested in utilizing the Chef Shuttle, please download the appropriate form at our website ( and return it with your registration form.

Finally, if you are an artisan producer or represent a company that would like to demonstrate their product to conference attendees, the Farmer – Chef Conference will host a mini tradeshow between the hours of 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Join wineries, CSA’s, cheesemakers and other food artists. Please visit our website for more details (

We hope that you will consider joining us. If you have any questions, please feel free to email Field & Fork ( or contact us via telephone at 716.812.1615.


Christa Glennie Seychew, Co-founder
Lisa Tucker, Co-founder
Field & Fork Network

Thank you to the following organizations for their support:

American Farmland Trust
Edible Buffalo
Pride Of New York
Cornell University Cooperative Extension

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Shirred Eggs

After a week of bitter cold temperatures I can’t fathom, yet again, leaving the warmth of home to brave the elements in order to have Sunday morning breakfast. I am however in the mood for something special with as little effort as necessary. I know. Shirred Eggs is always a treat and they are quick and easy.

Shirred Eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly butter the inside of a gratin dish and set it into a saute pan. Fill the pan with boiling water until the water reaches half way up the side of the gratin dish and set the flame to low.

Crack two eggs in the gratin dish and pour 1 tablespoon of cream (or milk) over the eggs. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and a few gratings of Gruyere cheese. Cook on a low flame for 1 to 2 minutes, until the eggs start to set up on the bottom of the dish.

Carefully transfer the saute pan to the oven and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until the eggs cooked. When the eggs are cooked to your liking, remove the pan and carefully transfer the gratin dish to a serving plate. Top with a few chopped fresh herbs.

Serve with a simple salad and buttered toast. Now, this is worth staying home for.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Just Vino Wine Bar

For years I’ve wondered how nice it would be to have a place, not a restaurant, which offers good wines by the glass plus a few delicious nibbles to enjoy along with your wine. Then I walked into Just Vino.

Situated in the Granite Works building on the corner of Main and Virginia Streets, this beautiful and intimate new space is home to a new concept of wine bars in Buffalo.

Owners Jeff Borsuk and Ken Wood have created an atmosphere perfectly suited for relaxing and enjoying fine affordable wines and great tidbit plates with a mix of light jazz playing softly in the background. They are committed to providing quality at an affordable price. On my visit, Jeff and our server Heather, were enthusiastic and helpful. No wine snobs here.

The entrance is warm, straightforward and instantly comfortable with its hardwood floors and handsome wood bar. To the left of the bar is a cozy room of exposed brick with tall cafe tables and chairs simulating the warmth of a private wine cellar.

The wine list boasts more than 80 wines from the US and around the globe, most of which are offered by the glass staring at $5.00, and bottles from $17.00. A special section on the wine list is dedicated to bottles of reserve wines priced from $33.00 to just over $100.00. Selections on the wine list change often in order to keep the list current and exciting and to stay updated with newly released wines.

If you’re not sure which wine to try, why not choose a Wine Flight (a 2 ounce sample of 4 different wines) for $12.00. You may choose a red, white, or even a flight of port. If wine is not really your thing, Just Vino also has a very nice beer list, including offerings from Great Lakes, Flying Bison, Ayinger and Lindemans breweries.

Flights arrive to the table on a lazy Susan holding 4 Riedel wine tumblers, each containing a different wine. Markers are placed under each tumbler stating the winery, region and type of wine.

I enjoyed sampling this flight of red blends:

2007 Nelwood Station a blend of Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot from Australia
2004 Alma Negra a blend of Bonarda/Malbec from Argentina
2005 L’Ostal Gazes a blend of Syrah/Grenache/Malbec from Languedoc
2005 Rock n Vine a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Malbec from USA

I had not tasted any of these wines prior so they were a pleasant surprise.

And although Just Vino is not a restaurant, they offer a menu of small plates, with portions large enough to share, consisting of speciality cheeses, meats, paté, olives, fruits, nuts, crackers and breads. Priced from $3 - $10.00.

To complement the wines, I ordered:

The Olive Bowl: a mix of Greek country olives that were fresh and meaty, and
The Spanish Plate: a savory platter of Jamon ham, lightly smoked Chorizo sausage, Manchego and truffle cheeses, lovely salted Marcona almonds, fresh berries and crisp pears, fresh bread and crackers. Delicious!

If you have a sweet tooth there is a dessert plate or a chocolate plate at $6.50. The chocolates are made by Chow Chocolat (much more about them soon) and are amazing in their own right.

Hours are:
Mon.-Thurs. 3pm-12am
Fri.-Sat. 3pm-1am

Just Vino
846 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14202