Get to Know Two Wagyu Farmers (Then Make Your New Favorite Steak Salad)

Every month, Melina Hammer, Food52’s very own Hudson Valley correspondent, is serving up all the bounty that upstate New York has to offer.

When we moved to our cottage upstate a few years ago, one of the first people we met was our mail carrier, Ba…

Every month, Melina Hammer, Food52's very own Hudson Valley correspondent, is serving up all the bounty that upstate New York has to offer.


When we moved to our cottage upstate a few years ago, one of the first people we met was our mail carrier, Barton Brooks. Being the outgoing type, we introduced ourselves, and have looked forward to his cheery face peeking out from the mail van ever since. Turns out, not only has Barton run the local mail route for 40 years, but he’s at the helm of a picture-book-perfect, 50-plus-acre farm just 10 minutes from our home. There, he and his wife, Rebecca, raise Wagyu cows on rolling pastures. We have sipped drinks together on their wraparound porch, taking in hummingbirds and deer in the uninterrupted sunset, plus any last antics the calves may have to share for the night.

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What Is Garlic Mustard? (It’s Not Garlic Mixed With Mustard)

Every month, Melina Hammer, Food52’s very own Hudson Valley correspondent, is serving up all the bounty that upstate New York has to offer.

Now that it’s early spring, I am overjoyed to discover tender garlic mustard, one of the first wild ingredien…

Every month, Melina Hammer, Food52's very own Hudson Valley correspondent, is serving up all the bounty that upstate New York has to offer.


Now that it’s early spring, I am overjoyed to discover tender garlic mustard, one of the first wild ingredients to sprout from the still-dormant upstate New York landscape.

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Tonnato Is the Sauce to Lead You From Winter to Spring

Every month, Melina Hammer, Food52’s very own Hudson Valley correspondent, is serving up all the bounty that upstate New York has to offer.

Tonnato originally hails from Piedmont Italy, made possible with tuna caught from nearby coastal Liguria. The…

Every month, Melina Hammer, Food52's very own Hudson Valley correspondent, is serving up all the bounty that upstate New York has to offer.


Tonnato originally hails from Piedmont Italy, made possible with tuna caught from nearby coastal Liguria. The original sauce consisted of tuna, pounded with anchovies, capers, and olive oil to render it creamy.

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Duck Eggs Are Worth Seeking Out

Every month, Melina Hammer, Food52’s very own Hudson Valley correspondent, is serving up all the bounty that upstate New York has to offer.

Duck eggs are a special delight. Sometimes I am lucky enough to gather a few from my neighbor’s birds. Other …

Every month, Melina Hammer, Food52's very own Hudson Valley correspondent, is serving up all the bounty that upstate New York has to offer.


Duck eggs are a special delight. Sometimes I am lucky enough to gather a few from my neighbor’s birds. Other occasions, I score a half or full dozen at my local food co-op, or at the farmers market here in the Hudson Valley. However I find duck eggs, I covet them.

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How to Build a Better Noodle Soup, One Bowl at a Time

Gazing into a brothy noodle bowl always elicits delight, comfort, and anticipation to mix and match the array of textures and flavors within. I always say, especially at this time of year when it is cold out, a steaming bowl feels like the ultimate nou…

Gazing into a brothy noodle bowl always elicits delight, comfort, and anticipation to mix and match the array of textures and flavors within. I always say, especially at this time of year when it is cold out, a steaming bowl feels like the ultimate nourishment.

At a noodle bowl’s foundation is a warming, flavorful broth. Whether doctored up store-bought or homemade, both are legit, especially if you plan to add layers and hues and make your noodle bowl chock-full of eat-the-rainbow, punchy elements. If you go the route of using boxed stock, consider first adding aromatics such as garlic and ginger, chile pepper, or dried mushrooms to infuse the broth for a further hit of umami or zest. Each ingredient helps add more depth of flavor towards the dazzling end result. Think of building a broth you might enjoy drinking as an elixir all on its own (like savory, comforting tea!).

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A Love Letter to Scallops, the World’s Most Perfect Food

Over the years, I have decided that scallops are a favorite special occasion food that doesn’t, as it turns out, require too much work to make delectable. Before this realization I was kind of lukewarm when it came to these bivalves. The truth is—and I…

Over the years, I have decided that scallops are a favorite special occasion food that doesn’t, as it turns out, require too much work to make delectable. Before this realization I was kind of lukewarm when it came to these bivalves. The truth is—and I say this to everyone, so forgive me if you’ve heard it before—that anything we really don’t like is probably a food scar. Someone prepared the thing poorly, often under- or over cooking it, and it is up to us to come to terms with that reality and charge forward: brave and hopeful that there can be a fantastic experience to be had, just around the corner. This approach has served me well over time and scallops have been firmly in my “passionate about” department ever since.

Scallops swim using an adductor muscle, which clicks their two iconic shells together, propelling them through the water at the ocean floor. It is this meaty muscle that when shucked, appears in dining rooms and frying pans around the world to great delight. Male scallops are only white, but female scallops’ adductor muscles turn a rosy hue when spawning, and are sought after by chefs and savvy home cooks for their sweeter, richer flavor.

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Why I’m Adding Pickled Shiso to—Well, Everything

Living in the pastoral Hudson Valley, I have room to grow things. This year’s garden flourished, and within it, my second season growing red shiso, an herb in the mint family with a floral aroma. In Japanese cooking, red shiso is known best for its ric…

Living in the pastoral Hudson Valley, I have room to grow things. This year’s garden flourished, and within it, my second season growing red shiso, an herb in the mint family with a floral aroma. In Japanese cooking, red shiso is known best for its rich hue that stains umeboshi, or pickled plums.

It self-seeds freely in my garden and so as a result, I have a lot of it. Not one to waste, I have used it in all manner of things over the growing season: leaves added to ceviche, chopped into grain dishes, piled generously onto salads, as an aromatic in making pickles; paired with pork, chicken, ribs, and more. Then arrived the end of warm days.

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