Container Herb Gardening With Seasons on the Hudson

I recently visited Seasons on the Hudson in Irvington, NY to participate in a container herb gardening workshop hosted by Gerald Palumbo, owner of Seasons on the Hudson and Seasons, A Floral Studio in Manhattan.

Container herb gardening is easier than I thought. These lovely little eco-systems can be customized to your palate. Love Italian cuisine? Basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary are the herbs for you. These little gardens are convenient and beautiful. Notice how Gerald liked to alternate tall and squat herbs so the containers had a visual appeal with dimension and balance.

Over the years, my containers of herbs have sat on my front steps, making an obstacle course for visitors who gingerly navigated pots teeming with fragrant mint and basil, dill, chive and parsley. My big mistake had been not using pots with irrigation holes at the bottom OR adding a buffering layer of gravel, like Gerald demonstrated, or small stones that I have on hand from terrarium building projects.

Note that Palumbo points out that herb container gardens will not grow beyond their “quarters” like herbs might when planted in the garden. Think about how mint just takes over the garden like ivy does in the yard. With regular pruning and care, these herbs will stay fresh and flavorful all summer long. Some will thrive more in the winter months will plenty of sunlight.

Not only are these beautiful planters great for cooks to use at home, but they also make perfect centerpieces. In fact, Palumbo has found that instead of conventional flower arrangements at weddings, many couples are requesting herb containers that guests can take home after the celebration.

Palumbo sells customized herb garden containers similar to the one we created in the video for $75 at his stores in both Irvington and Manhattan. They can tailor your container garden to your preferences.

Seasons, a Floral Design Studio                                        Seasons on the Hudson

888 8th Avenue                                                                          45 Main Street

New York, NY 10019                                                                 Irvington, NY 10533

phone: 212.586.2257                                                                phone: 914.591.7377

Thanks to Miko, manager of the Irvington shop, for filming this video.

 

Contributions made by Sam Donsky

Container Herb Gardening: A Growing Trend

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Seasons on the Hudson’s container herb garden

Even though I have plenty of garden space, I love the flexibility that containers give me: pots of basil, parsley and rosemary are standard on my kitchen counter all year round. I keep big pots of chives on my front steps for snipping into salads and soups. I have been growing herbs this way with relative success over the years. I wanted to know more though. Should herbs be intermingled? Do some varieties just need their own private pot to thrive? What kind of drainage should pots have? How much water? And sun?

I reached out to Gerald Palumbo, the owner of Seasons on the Hudson in Irvington, NY and Seasons: A Floral Design Studio in Manhattan for the answers.  

Q: What are the biggest myths about container herb gardening? Is it true that you can grow a garden in a vessel as small as a teacup?

A: Myth: herbs will live indefinitely indoors. Many herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro, and dill are annuals and will only do well through one growing seasons. Other herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano are perennials and may live for many years if they are well taken care of. With regard to planting herbs in small containers such as a teacup, keep in mind that the smaller the container the smaller the plant will remain.

Q: What are the herbs that are ideally planted with each other? Which herbs should not be planted together and why?

A: You generally want to plant herbs together that prefer the same light and moisture conditions:  For example rosemary, lavender, thyme, and oregano tend to like drier soil and lots of sun. Herbs like basil, chives, parsley and dill prefer moister soil.  

Q: What are some considerations for containers with herbs which will be kept indoors?

A: With the proper light conditions most herbs can be kept indoors. Frequent cutting of the herbs and regular fertilizing will promote continual growth.

Q: What is the basic care of herb containers for outdoors living in the summer season?

A: When herb gardens are placed outside during the summer, proper watering is crucial. Plants tend to dry out quicker when in containers, especially terra cotta.

Q: What is the ideal container made of for herb planting?

A: I prefer terra cotta for the herbs that prefer a drier soil and I prefer plastic or ceramic containers for the moisture-loving varieties. Good drainage is always important.

Q: What are three rules of thumb for container planting?

A: Choose the proper container with good drainage. Use a good potting soil. Always water your container very well after planting.

Q: For herbs being mixed in container planters, does close proximity impact things like taste and growth?

A: Flavor of the herbs is not affected by how close they are planted to each other. I like to plant the herbs that I like to cook with and it is always nice to have fresh herbs on the kitchen window sill in the winter.

Seasons on the Hudson will host a container herb garden workshop on Sunday, June 19th, at “Celebrate Irvington” where you can learn how to create a beautiful herb garden for your kitchen table, patio, or as a nice gift for someone. The cost is $75 per person and covers the workshop and provided materials for an herb container garden you can take home with you. Timing is flexible. For registration and details visit: http://bit.ly/1S41O2l

WHEN

Sunday, 19 June 2016 from 11:00 to 16:00 (EDT)

WHERE

Seasons On The Hudson – 45 Main Street, Irvington, NY

 

 

Contributions made by Sam Donsky

D’Vine Bar, Sparkill, NY – Equal Parts Whimsy and Wine

Joe Printz Talks About D’Vine Bar

Open since September 16th, D’Vine Bar, the brainchild of Grape D’Vine wine boutique owner and four-time restaurateur Joe Printz, offers a playful menu and smart curation of wine and beer in a polished, urbane ambience. Printz relocated his Tappan, NY boutique to Sparkill and constructed a jewel box-sized atelier where diners could commune over wine, conversation and a menu that irreverently brings together eclectic ingredients in playful compositions. With 46 seats, including bar and communal table, in a handsome interior and an outdoor area that can seat another 30 guests in warm weather, D’Vine Bar has been welcomed with open arms by Rockland, Westchester and Bergen patrons. These folks have long-awaited Printz’s vision realized through the skill of Chef Christopher Holland, a self-taught cook who, since leaving Session Bistro, a storefront in Maywood, NJ and AXIA Taverna in Tenafly, has developed a menu that balances sophistication with playful renderings of classics with largely successful results. Front of the house is managed by 29-year old Monika Riley, GM, who was sommelier/beverage director at ’76 House in Tappan, NY and also had stints with Mario Batali’s Tarry Lodge in Portchester, NY.

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Joe Printz, D’Vine Bar and Grape D’Vine owner
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Monika Riley, GM

D’Vine Bar’s whimsical menu is divided into seven sections:  Ruffage (salads), Pizzaaas, Six (apps), Cheese, Please!, Twelve (small plates), Eighteen (entrees) and Escorts (sides).

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The fedora-clad kitchen team led by Chef Christopher Holland, left.

Expect seasonal changes to the menu. Four types of pizza are offered, starting with the Scattiatta with grape, black pepper, fennel seed crust and a parm/regg and arugula topping ($12), the Heirloom Pie with white bean crust underneath heirloom tomato blend and house made ricotta ($14), the Greek Pie cleverly incorporating rosemary into a chewy crust and topped with house made lamb sausage, feta, olives and mint tzatziki ($15), and the mushrooms and goat cheese version with an arborio rice crust, blend of mushrooms, goat cheese and drizzle of 50 year Balsamic ($15).  Each Neaopolitan style pizza is cooked in a custom 1,000 degree oven and presented on a round wooden slab. These are well-executed pies and generously sized making them ideal for nibbling at the bar over a flight of wine. While this is Holland’s first experience making pizza, it’s clearly something he’s skilled at. Look for more developments in this area, as crusts showcase delightfully unexpected textures and flavors, all working harmoniously.

“Ruffage,” the first section of the menu, has five items to choose from: the House Salad ($9), Seizure Salad ($11), Compressed Watermelon & Tomato ($11), Heirloom Tomato ($12), and Greek Quinoa Salad ($12). The watermelon salad was intensely flavored and left me wanting a portion three times the size. Sadly, the item is moving off the menu for more fall-inspired ruffage creations, hopefully returning in the summer. It’s a winner.

In the Six category, selections include the Elote’, which combines Mexican street corn, pecorino, romano, cilantro, smoked paprika, house chili powder, and lime, and the Cornflake Chicken, which is marinated with sriracha, covered with a crisp cornflake crust, and served with bleu mousse.  There are six choices to choose from, $6 each. Chef Holland continues to use the fryolater with abandon, producing tasty, crispy and caloric delights ranging from Cornflake Chicken, a play on Buffalo Wings with simply tenders coated with cornflakes and deep fried and served with traditional accompaniments with a twist.

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Cornflake Chicken
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D’Vine Fries with Aioli

The Cheese, Please! category offers an assorted cheese plate for market price. The “Twelve” category has seven selections to choose from. There are some delicious offerings in this section, among them Catalan Shrimp and the Bacon & Eggs.

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Catalan Shrimp flavored with jalapeno, garlic, lemon and parsley
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Bacon & Eggs, pork belly topped with poached egg and paired with crouton atop slaw

The Eighteen section has at least three fish items and two red meat items.  Some notable items include the Cast Iron Fish (changes daily) and the Campfire Steak.

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Cast Iron Octopus – tender and tasty
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Campfire Steak, four ounces of sliced strip with bacon BBQ sauce, gorgonzola stuffed fingerlings

Escorts/sides section includes Mashed Potato Casserole, Sauteed Spinach and Mushrooms, Cauliflower Croquettes, and Hot Slaw, each $6. Desserts are made on premise and on my visit, two of three offerings were deep fried. Reservations are strongly recommended. The restaurant plans to add another day of service; they are open only Tuesday-Saturday now. Watch for Sunday wine dinners.

D’Vine Bar

4 Depot Square

Sparkill, NY 10976

845.359.2141

www.grapedvine.com

Palisades Community Center Offers Weekly Produce From Blooming Hill Farm, Bread From Balthazar

Carol Baxter, the force behind Palisades Community Center, has developed yet another way to bring fresh-from-the-farm produce to the community, this time in conjunction with Cindy Jones, the female force behind Blooming Hill Farm.  A very generously stuffed large shopping bag is available for $40 with fresh picks from the Blooming Grove, NY organic farm.  The bags are delivered to the steps of the Center which is near Route 9W at 675 Oak Tree Rd in Palisades. There’s a $20 registration fee.  Add additional fruit (another 2 pounds of apples and pears) for $5 and fresh loaves of Balthazar bread (varieties change weekly) for $5.  Organic eggs are $7 per dozen.   Email Carol by Tuesday to reserve your bag:  carolbaxter7@gmail.com.   Pick up is Friday morning between 9:00AM and 10:00AM at the Community Center.

Carol Baxter readies bags of produce for pick up at Palisades Community Center
Carol Baxter readies bags of produce for pick up at Palisades Community Center

Here are the contents of my bag:

Blooming Hill Farm bounty for $40
Blooming Hill Farm bounty for $40

Here’s a list of contents:

1. Squash

2. Parsnips

3. Eggplant

4. Baby Kale

5. Assorted Baby Lettuces

6. Broccoli

7. Potatoes

8. Plum Tomatoes

9. Onions

10. Garlic

11. Spinach

12. Celery (3 bunches)

13. Brussel sprouts

14. Baby carrots

15. Mixed color peppers

This is a wonderful option for people who don’t below to a CSA or have a farmers market near them or the chance to visit one.  The bounty is very robust and reasonably priced.  The beauty of having such a variety is that it forces you to find creative uses for the produce, at least putting a portion immediately to work.  As the weather cools, braising beckons and soups seem to seduce.   Tonight, I’ll roast a chicken and serve it with pan fried eggplant, a salad of the greens with apple cider vinaigrette and parsnip with cinnamon, apple cider and ginger roasted in a tangine.  (Thanks to Tracee Yablon Brenner for the tip.)

8 North Broadway: Culinary Adventures Through Eating, Sipping, Mingling and Learning

I’ve written before about this culinary gem in Nyack, New York, which recently got its liquor license. Their copper bar is a stunner and a fine place to slurp freshly shucked oysters until your table is ready in the adjacent dining room.  While not much of a cocktail girl, I will tell you that the wine offered at 8 North Broadway is curated with significant care and favors small producers.  I highly recommend their Food & Wine presentations called EAT, SIP, MINGLE AND LEARN and have found them to be sensuous and equally tasty and educational.  One particularly notable program brought in (painfully handsome) Franco Antias and Ramon Del Monte of  Vinaio Imports.  This Spanish group distributes directly to 8NB and has an amazing Spanish wine portfolio.  The evening included four of their spectacular wines.

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Starting our engines with oysters
Starting our engines with oysters
Franco pours
Franco pours

Executive Chef Constantine Kalandranis started the evening with crudo of spanish langoustine chorizo oil  and paired it with a rose pedro ximenez sherry.

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Basque potato croquettes followed flavored with asiago cheese, smoked paprika  and scallion.  This course was served with temperanillo.

Croquette heaven
Croquette heaven
OLIVE OIL POACHED BACALAO with yellow tomato gazpacho
OLIVE OIL POACHED BACALAO with yellow tomato gazpacho

 This Bacalao was intensely flavored yet light.  It was served with Boqueron, an albarino.

Bacalao
Bacalao
A thorough explanation of working with octopus by Chef Constantine
A thorough explanation of working with octopus by Chef Constantine

GRILLED SPANISH OCTOPUS gets heat from smoked paprika and is served with potato, soft egg and caper.  Grenache poured for this course.

 

Photo could never do justice to the octopus at 8 North Broadway
Photo could never do justice to the octopus at 8 North Broadway

Dessert consisted of warm chocolate and port custard with crushed marcona almond and cinnamon, served with port.  Decadent.

While all the wine served was very special, this was my favorite:

Pinord is a complex mix of red berries framed with a smoky Garnacha character, from Vinaio Imports
Pinord is a complex mix of red berries framed with a smoky Garnacha character, from Vinaio Imports

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8 North Broadway’s next Eat, Sip, Mingle, Learn event is October 15.  It will be an Octoberfest theme and feature Captain Lawrence from Elmsford, NY as special guest.  This event will focus on a beer inspired menu, as well as pairing all of Captain Lawrence’s special brews comprising four courses with beer pairing.  The food demo is $75 per person which includes tax (not gratuity).   It starts with a 6:00-7:00PM meet and greet with hors d’eouvres followed by the 7:00PM presentation.

Other autumn happenings include:

– Every Tuesday ½ priced bottles of wine and Wednesday is $1 oyster night at the copper bar.

– Sunday brunch with a $9 menu- every item on the regular menu condensed into smaller plates all for $9 each 11:00AM-4:00PM.  Sunday supper follows starting at 4:00PM.  Talk about a lovely way to stretch out a Sunday.

– Every evening at the copper bar, all menu items are $9.

 

At the helm:  Rich, GM, and Chef Constantine
At the helm: Rich, GM, and Chef Constantine

8 North Broadway – Nyack, NY – Mediterranean Fare

8 North Broadway, Nyack - Melanie Lust photography
8 North Broadway, Nyack – Melanie Lust photography

Constantine Kalandranis is a humble, poetic man and a very talented chef. At 33 years old, he’s proving to be a savvy businessman as well. It’s likely that his Nyack, NY patrons at 8 North Broadway, open since December, agree on all counts. A native of Astoria, Kalandranis has a passion for prime seafood, meat, produce, bread and pastry and organic ingredients, frequently sourcing from Hudson county and neighboring regions and importing fish from around the globe. The quality of ingredients shows in dishes, elevated by simple, thoughtful preparations that are Mediterranean at their core. Kalandranis helms the kitchen with chef Hichem Habbas, another native of Astoria. From his earlier days at Anthos, Exo, Gus & Gabriels, Kalandranis brings with him a deep appreciation for smart, straightforward executions that elevate pristine ingredients. No corners are cut. Everything on the menu is made fresh from scratch daily, using organic ingredients when possible. Flat and pita bread are hand rolled and baked on premises, served steaming from the oven or charred from the grill. Olives and fragrant fresh herbs abound here, creating food that is both sensuous and satisfying.

Phone calls in the wee morning hours inform Kalandranis about the best seafood offerings, with decisions made between two and three AM that will influence the menu, which is printed several hours later. This translates into a vibrantly fresh, fluid menu with lovely surprises for patrons eager to experience new types of fish or traditional proteins that are true to their authentic, free-range flavors. Meats are given equal consideration and heft, most sourced from farms within 200 miles of the restaurant.

Like Kalandranis, Richard Mitchell, general manager, is a class act. His polished style brings a humming efficiency to the front of the house, where wait staff are attentive, knowledgeable and friendly. Staff is young, confident and good looking, creating a relaxed energy that puts diners at ease. While there’s a comfortable distance between tables, the atmosphere seems to invite easy chatter between tables, sparking discussion of dishes. The Nyack zeitgeist is warm and convivial and 8 North Broadway’s patrons are clearly at home here. Regulars are warmly welcomed and newcomers made to feel at home. The bar teems with solo diners and small groups sharing mezze and wine.

Subsequent visits indicate that the restaurant is beloved by area restaurateurs and chefs alike, with its Monday nights bustling with the owners of Nyack eateries stopping in for dinner or simply a drink at the lovely brass bar, which seats 16.

Interior shot - Melanie Lust photography
Interior shot – Melanie Lust photography

The 48-seat restaurant open for lunch in the fall. Sunday brunch starts at 11:00am and is more suitable for younger patrons than weekend evenings.

Mezze plate with 9 salads and spreads ($23) - Melanie Lust photography
Mezze plate with 9 salads and spreads ($23) – Melanie Lust photography
A bustling Friday night
A bustling Friday night
Pickled olives, celery and fennel whet the appetite
Pickled olives, celery and fennel whet the appetite
Plump, briny oysters at $2.50 each with pickled vegetable mignonette and brined beet pair beautifully with a sparkling rose from Spain, Penedes' Pinord Reynal ($33/bottle)
Plump, briny oysters at $2.50 each with pickled vegetable mignonette and brined beet pair beautifully with a sparkling rose from Spain, Penedes’ Pinord Reynal ($33/bottle)

The ever-changing menu is divided into four sections: small cold plates; small hot plates; main dishes; and additions. Desserts are posted on a separate menu and include a selection of house-made items and suggested wines to pair them with. A thoughtfully curated wine list showcasing elegant, small production Mediterranean wineries at reasonable glass and bottle prices is offered.

Mezze are meant to excite the appetite and 8 North Broadway executes these foreplay items beautifully. Small cold plates range from $7 for seasonal crostini of carviar dip, white anchovy and shaved red onion to $13 for shaved lamb loin carpaccio with lemon oil, pickled chick pea salad, dandelion and pecorino. All the offerings are designed to whet the appetite, mixing briny, salty bites with sparkling flavors of the sea. The local beet salad ($12) is delectable with Vermont feta, red onion, olives, kale, a silken hummus and the restaurant’s chewy, warm, hand-rolled pita.

seared diver scallops with toasted almonds, braised cherries and sumac atop silken hummus
seared diver scallops with toasted almonds, braised cherries and sumac atop silken hummus

Small hot plates are excellent for sharing. Sizzling Spanish octopus ($14) is served in a sizzling cast iron skillet, with charred vegetables and a red wine vinaigrette. The texture of the octopus was pleasantly toothsome, delivering a punch of flavor. Other hot mezze items include sardines a la plancha served with Sicilian bread salad and crushed pistachio ($13) and a lovely seared diver scallop ($14) with toasted almonds, braised cherries and sumac atop a puddle of that smooth hummus. If I had to choose one favorite item from this part of the menu, the scallop would be it. Its balanced smoky, salty flavors mingle with the delicate tart, tangy sweetness of the cherries, playing beautifully on the tongue. Go with the muscadet just to celebrate this winning appetizer, a Sevre Et Maine, David Duvallet, Loire, France, 2011 ($10/glass – $37/bottle), an ideal counter with bright fruitiness.

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Gewurstraminer, from Warwick Valley Winery Upstate, 2011 ($9/glass or $32/bottle) is crisp, a fine choice for any of the mezze items. Even the Macon-Villages, Roux Pere & Fils, a French Burgundy, 2010, ($11/glass or $39/bottle) would also be worth considering.

In the Main Dishes category, seafood is sure to tempt, with multiple daily specials servers will describe and staples like grilled sea bass with bitter greens, lemon potatoes and capers (market priced). But don’t ignore the other proteins, like a Heritage Farm Pork Chop ($29) served with white polenta,sage, pork belly and tomato broth. Grilled Colorado Lamb ($36) is more deeply flavored and, well, lamb-y, than its Australian cousin. It’s plated with a Sardinian couscous, mint, pickled apricot and flatbread. Grass-fed beef ribeye ($39) is nicely charred, and served with addictive crispy yucca frites, melted onion and rosemary. This is another excellent non-fish option and beef lovers will enjoy its true beefiness and excellent marbling. Vegetarians have the option of a tasting plate ($22) with red quinoa, braised sherry mushrooms, bitter greens and legumes. Or they can also opt for multiple mezze items.

selection of sliced pork, beef, lamb and chicken
selection of sliced pork, beef, lamb and chicken

Additions range from braised organic beans with tumeric ($6) to white polenta with yogurt ($6) and are nicely portioned.

Desserts are homey and satisfying with plenty of options for those who are chocolate lovers, gluten-free and/or fans of yogurt, honey and nuts, which take leading roles on the menu.

8 North Broadway offers delicious, sexy food, polished service, a warm ambiance and another wonderful reason to visit Nyack.

Hours: Monday-Saturday 5:30pm and Sunday at 11:00am. Look for lunch in the fall. Reservations recommended. Private parties welcome. (845) 353-1200 • info@8northbroadway.com www.8northbroadway.com