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Dairy Farmers Need Your Support


I wanted to really know where the food I was eating comes from. REALLY comes from. No surprise, I'm finding that the better the food, the easier it is to trace. Here's my account of how I'm doing it, who is growing it, making it and selling it and what that all means in the big picture of the world...

Heather Carlucci | Chef | Advocate | Mom |


Pigs, Art & Love / A Million things going on..

So much has been going on lately that I really am beginning to feel the guilty pangs of a blogger who just can't get herself to the computer, write and be screamingly witty with punchy lines and photos that would make Ansel Adams jealous.

Of course, if you're with me now, you in no way expect any of these things and for this I am grateful.

I always feel I have to dig and dig for posts but really, it kind of is all around me and I'm just too lazy to pull it together.

In honor of Sherwin, who had to head back to Singapore this week for a bit, I am going to post a biggie. Tons of photos to make Sherwin swoon and enough info to make me feel better for neglecting what one day could be lucrative. (and I'm cocky about it too).

So here goes:

First up, we did a dry run of Pig Mountain a few weeks back. We got to do this at Mildred's LaneTruly one of the most beautful places in the area.  It's an artist's retreat owned by the artist J. Morgan Puett.

She thought it would be great to have the pig roast be a great dinner for the opening of her season.Other than the land being absolutely beautiful, she and her team keep the place truly gorgeous.  A type of styling she calls "hooshing".

It includes not only everything being styled within an inch of it's life, which we all loved, but also it holds a ground rule that everything must be left perfectly for the next person to use.  A lot like working in a kitchen.

So here's a quick synopsis of that weekend.

Please note, I did not take these photos. That's why they're fabulous.


Here's the main house. There are many other smaller structures on the land as well where people stay. I'm not going to go into all the rooms on this blog since we're waiting for Bon Appetite to post them (Ahem, Bon App) but I will throw in a pic of the kitchen since, well, here we are and that's what it's all about.

This is me soaking the burlap that we'll wrap the pig in.  Yes, I'm happy but not the sort of joyous in the name of burlap this picture seems to represent.

This photo was taken from the second floor of the main house.  See work table and pit.

No, we're not bored and stoned and thinking this would make a good story. You gotta get those pesky little hairs off the pig before cooking. Lady Bics were all we had.  Stop laughing.

This is me and Ryan (Ryan Tate of last year's Pig Mountain) stuffing the pig with pineapples and red onions. After the pig was roasted, we made salsa from the pineapples and onions.  God, it was good. 

I love this photo.  You can't see him but my partner in Pig Mountain crime, Matt Solomon, is behind the greenery.  We had just finished wrapping the pig in salt, banana leaves and wet burlap and were waiting for the flames to go down to embers so we could put the pig in the pit.  It was a warm beautiful day of physical labor and we were passing around a beer.  I don't drink beer but it was perfect.

Matt and I covering the pig in dirt.  Note the aforementioned physical labor.

Here is one shot of the truly great kitchen.  I know. Savor it.  It is very impractical but I loved working in it for it's beauty and it's calm.

Every place to sleep came with a packet like this.  Everyone in Mildred's Lane has a title. The Ministry of Comfort is in charge of all the hooshing. I stayed in the Horse Shed house.  Best sleep I've had in ages.

And here it is in all it's glory.

When the pig came out of the pit, we wrapped up sandwiches made from whole loaves of bread with pork shoulder and cheese and put them on the embers.

Ryan threw a grill on them and started roasting more veggies.

And while all this was going on, the fabulous people of Mildred's Lane were working the hooshing table.

Please remember:  Pig Mountain 2012 is on August 11th, 2012 in Narrowsburg.  Buy tickets now. It's going to be an amazing and an important event for the area.

This is going to be a 2 part blog post.  Really, because I'm pooped.

Coming up:  Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, crazy Canadians invading my house and a great cocktail recipe.

Available Now : Your tix to Pig Mountain II 

Great news! We're doing Pig Mountain again this summer. This time in Narrowsburg, NY. Save the date, get your tix now and get set for another amazing day out!

Details and tickets for Pig Mountain II are available now from Brown Paper Tickets:

Telepan, more fun than I should have without throwing my back out, gnocchi

In the divine world of working like a dog in kitchens most of your adult life, there come times when fun is dished out like sand in the Sahara.

Well, last month was one of those times and my, it was sandy.

At the James Beard House, I participated in a dinner that honored Bill Telepan and the chefs that had spent time working under him at some point in their career.

Why bring this up here?  Because Bill was one of the first chefs to really stress farm-to-table as not only a component in his cuisine, but because it's important to carry this lifestyle with us.  It's cool now but as anyone who has ever worked for him knows, it really is about taking working from the ground up seriously.

Of course, no one is less serious about everything else than Bill.

Here's the first photo taken that day:

Please note not just the beer, but the array of pizza boxes in the distance. Of the other chefs that stepped up to do this dinner, I only knew one and I only knew him for five minutes about 14 years ago and he said he didn't remember me. As the night went on, he said he did.  But he was scared of me.  I'm not naming names but you know who you are, Mitch.

Anyway, my whole point is really that I had so much fun that evening I don't think that there was a time to stop laughing.

My one regret was that I pooped out at the end and didn't make it to the Spotted Pig for the post-hang later on.

Here's the line-up of chefs:

Bill Telepan

Telepan /NYC

Chris DiMinno
Clyde Common/ Portland, OR

Josh Lawler 
The Farm and Fisherman/ Philadelphia

Tory Miller
L’Etoile/ Madison, WI

Mitchell SuDock
Mitch and Toni’s American Bistro/ Albertson, NY

Pastry Chef Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez

Pastry Chef Larissa Raphael 
Telepan/ NYC

And it wasn't just the chefs that were great, every spouse, assistant and hanger-on was great too.

Here's the round-up of really bad photos taken that evening:


Here is the feijioda made by Chris Diminno.  I know it's not plated but I love the look of food in that mid-prep abundance.

And of course, what would this blog be without really bad photos?  It would probably be really good. So much for that.

Awesome beets

This beet dish was made by Josh Lawler.  As I've said in other posts, I have a weakness for vegetable dishes that aren't vegetarian. He roasts the beet and then smashes it as it cooks in hot oil. He finishes it off with beef stock and butter.  Amazing.  Think twice again, vegetarians.

Tory Plating

I sadly didn't get many other plated photos. But here is Tory Miller plating. The fun part was that he was being followed by a camera and a host of a show called Wisconsin Foodie. Tory is nominated for a James Beard Award this year.  I was happy for that just because he's awesome and he's not a New York Chef that we've seen a million times before.  

Here's a photo of Tory being followed around:

Here's a photo of Bill and Mitch SuDock. I had as much fun with Mitch as I did with his partner Toni. Gotta get myself out to Long Island.

Extra special mention to Larissa Raphael. I always love to spend time with other pastry chefs and never get a chance to.

Check this out:

Ramp tempura

Ramp tempura. Oh my.  Really we should tempura many more things in life.  Even those precious little ramps (my fist hits the tabletop).

Those great beets cooking:


Since the food was getting on in courses, we did our white chocolate mousse with grapefruit granite and praline.  It's really Geoff's dessert.

I'm leaving the kitchen at Print and Geoff is taking over.  I thought it would be a nice introduction for him into the world of the Beard House....and Bill's sense of humor.

Grapefruit dessert

There are times when I know why I got into this business. Not sure why that is, but I think I stayed because of the people.  That night proved it. And as I have to give you some more random photos otherwise Sherwin might feel faint, here's the building of the rooftop garden.

Building the garden

It's in an old pool and we'll have a table of twelve for dining. And may I say BEST VIEW EVER. Right over the Intrepid. Book it now, the space shuttle will be there this summer.

And a beautiful dish of gnocci with blue cheese and apple from the awesome ladies at A Voce.





Ansel Adam's trash bin, a recipe (sort of) and baggage

In the true spirit of this blog, which if you haven't noticed is a spirit with itchy panties and marshmallow fluff at the same time, I'm going to release the random photos on my phone. As as you know, I make no claim to being the daughter of some fancy food photographer...though I am.

The gene pool is an odd force.

I'm doing this because tons of photos in one post makes Sherwin's day really sunny and he was the host of the most this week when I showed up with the Other Heather at his house on the Jersey Shore.

He made us lunch and made us feel like queens. Not the borough. The other kind.

So here we go:

I had this great idea to show how the horrible details of our food system live right next to all of us out there that are trying really hard to eat clean, traceable food in some sort of weird harmony. It's a loud, raucus harmony but it is there.

Here is a photo taken a block from my house:

I took it while on my way to a baby shower that was held in a community center smack in the middle of New York City. And much to my delight, it had a theme of bees and honey.  The father-to-bee (as they reminded us) had bee hives on his roof in Bedford Stuyvesant.

How great that this was next to the cake:

And yet with my blog post about all the good farmy things going on in Atlanta, my wonderful host educated me about (drumroll, please)...

Redneck Crackers and pimento cheese:

Those are Ritz crackers soaked with canola oil, ranch dressing and hot sauce with pimento cheese.  Homemade pimento cheese. It's addicting and terrifying all at once.

So then one day I was sure the world was conspiring against me to get my daughter to eat her body weight in sugar. No, I don't count granules and as someone who became a pastry chef strictly for the reason that I was told I couldn't have a cookie....ever, I'm pretty chill about it.

But one day someone, who shall remain nameless, brought my 3 year old to the Doughnut Plant and gave her a chocolate doughnut. She was going to visit my mother and for that entire visit she was lethargic and wouldn't eat anything for the rest of the day.

Lesson learned.

But I got freaked out because all the other adults were freaked out and when I texted the babysitter the next day to see how they were, I got this photo:

Really, no big deal. The baby sitter is very careful about feeding her and a treat is a treat. Some how everyone else's vibe pushed me over the edge and I started making what I now call Crazy Mother's Veggie Burgers (because somewhere in my brain, this would stop all wars and create world peace).


1 can organic chickpeas

1 handful finely chopped swiss chard

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 cloves garlic

1/2 onion

worsteshire sauce

organic garlic powder

salt and pepper

First caramelize the onions. As you can see here, the Indian cuisine is still in my blood.  The darker the caramelization, the richer the flavor. The traditional western cook might throw these out.  I covet them. 

Throw in the garlic and let cook.

Put all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse.

I like it with with some texture.  I let my daughter be in charge of the pulse button. There was no self control there. It was smoother than I liked but tasty.

Shape into burger and cook as you would any other burger.

Getting back to random photos, each year through the restaurant we do a dinner for the Women's Campaign Fund. Chefs get paired up with patrons of the organization and cook in their fabulous homes. This year we got to cook in the only full eco home in New York City.  It was a great event. The host let us do a very casual buffet of our farm-to-table food.

Here is her back yard:

Here is our awesome waitstaff getting ready for the guests to arrive

My kitchen staff prepping:

One of the hors d'ouvres. Yes, you can make anything traceable.

The buffet:

Another hors d'ouvre: Cauliflower soup with pickled ramp and uni.

I wish I had some more photos of this one but I'm a little protective of customer's privacy. Peter Max was there.  Extreme vegan.  Should have gotten him to write on my arm or something.

Life went on and here's one of the breakfasts that got thrown into life:

Breakfast at Jack's Wife Freda

I was at Jack's Wife Freda. It's on Lafayette.

It was my new favorite restaurant until I went to NoMad today. At NoMad they have two vegetable entrees. This by no means means that they are vegetarian. Here is the roasted carrots with cumin, wheatberries and crispy duck skin:

I could eat this forever. It was unbelieveable. I felt sated and happy.  And sadly, I felt that I was better than anyone else because I didn't pick a heavy protein as my entree. Petty, I know.

The lamb I had for dinner made up for it.