April 7, 2015
Shopping for Easter
I hope you all had a lovely Easter and Passover weekend. We had a most enjoyable holiday here at the farm. About 55-guests joined me for a delicious lunch prepared by Chef Pierre of PS Tailored Events (I made the desserts and the ham and the fruit salad) before we all gathered outdoors for my annual Easter egg hunt for the children. And, despite the forecast for rain, the weather held up pretty well, too.
All big parties take a lot of preparation, but I always enjoy looking for unique and interesting ingredients to add to the event’s menu. This year, I visited a few specialty shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan that had some of the best and most unusual foodstuffs and treats. I also used some of my favorite, most dependable online sources.
Here is a fun gallery of photos I hope will inspire your next party-prep shopping spree. Enjoy.
1 Here's a view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. It connects two of New York City's boroughs, Staten Island and Brooklyn. We drove by it on our way to Brighton Beach, an oceanside neighborhood in the southern end of Brooklyn.
2 New York Times food critic, Florence Fabricant, told me about this great store in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, years ago, that carries Russian and Eastern European specialty items. It's called Gourmanoff.
3 At Gourmanoff, I saw some of the most delicious breads. They looked so fresh, and there were so many different kinds. My hunt, however, was for a paska mold to replace one I have from many years ago.
4 Some of my favorite breads were the dense, dark ones - and they're so good for you. Many of the foods were influenced by Russian flavors.
5 Gourmanoff also had a very impressive deli section of kielbasa. Kielbasa is a type of Eastern European sausage. It's also called Polish sausage and Ukrainian sausage.
6 And, look at this large variety of salamis. Salami is a cured sausage made of fermented and air-dried meat typically from beef or pork.
7 There was also a huge selection of cheeses.
8 So many choices for fresh feta cheese. Feta is a brined curd white cheese made in Greece from sheep's milk. The Romanian cheese is called telemea, and is similar to feta but can have higher water content, making it semi-soft and with a more creamy texture.
9 Look at all the varieties of caviar. Gourmanoff's wide variety of caviar is what sets this shop apart from others. It claims to have the largest selection of caviar and smoked fish in North America.
10 Here is just a fraction of the store's huge selection of smoked fish. Gourmanoff's 15-thousand square foot space offers deli products as well as European imported foods and house made specialties. http://gourmanoff.com
11 Are you familiar with sturgeon? Sturgeons are native to subtropical sub-Arctic rivers of Eurasia and North America. They have elongated bodies and can be very large, sometimes growing up to 18-feet. They are sometimes hunted purely for their roe, which is made into caviar.
12 They have more than 60-varieties of smoked fish and 40-varieties of caviar in stock every day.
13 Gourmanoff also has their seafood shipped to them daily from Alaska, Maine and Long Island.
14 Do you like sardines? Sardines are among some of the healthiest foods. They provide great amounts of vitamin-B, selenium, phosphorous and omega-3 fats. They also support cardiovascular health. I eat sardines at least a couple times a week.
15 Williamsburg and Greenpoint, two neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York, that have large Polish populations. This shop is a very good bakery. http://www.northsidebakery.com
17 Easter is a major occasion in Polish cultures. At the Northside Bakery, in addition to the regular menu, they also offered a special Easter menu.
18 We bought kielbasa at this shop, Kiszka. It's a very popular Polish deli in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn.
19 Kiszka serves authentic Polish specialties in an old fashioned butcher setting. Kielbasa hangs from racks behind the counter, while salami, and other meats are displayed on shelves for purchase by the pound.
20 I was determined to make paska for Easter - aside from farmer's cheese, many Russian cheese paska desserts also include raisins, nuts, and candied fruits. Kiszka also had a lot of delicious cheeses for sale.
22 I ordered fresh artichokes from Mister Spear also. These artichokes were stuffed with frisee, poached eggs, and topped with more bunny-shaped carrot pieces.
23 For candy treats, I visited La Cure Gourmande. The only location of this popular French candy shop is at Le District, the new French marketplace in downtown Manhattan. La Cure Gourmande has specialty candies, biscuits and chocolates for every occasion. http://www.curegourmande.com
24 Easter always includes jelly beans. This year, I got jelly beans from Gimbal's Fine Candies in San Francisco, California. They were a big hit with the children and the adults! http://www.gimbalscandy.com
25 Also in the children's baskets were chocolate bunnies, wrapped in gold foil by Dove Chocolate. They were the perfect size to include with all the other treats! http://www.dovechocolate.com