Pies, Glorious Pies

Day Eight 12 Tastes of Brooklyn
Felipa-Lopez-Pie-Corps819

We visited Felipa Lopez, co-owner of Pie Corps, selling pies at New Amsterdam Market this fall.

dec13 date stamp by Joy Makon DesignSAVORY PIES BRING YOU A WHOLE NUTRITIOUS MEAL in one perfect packet, which could come in mighty handy as the house fills up with guests and you have more meals than just that one Big Holiday Dinner to plan. Turkey, sweet potato and rosemary pie, lamb curry and pea, stout-braised beef, winter greens with white bean, feta and walnut—is your mouth watering yet?—Moroccan beef with chick pea and almond, red wine mushroom pie: Cheryl Perry and Felipa Lopez of Pie Corps hand make them all in their Greenpoint bakery. Specially for the holidays—still my beating Québec ex-pat heart—they are baking tourtières as well. And just as English miners carried Cornish pasties for a perfect portable lunch, we now have Pie Corps’ hand pies. Plus, of course, those irresistible bite-size Pie Pops—maple bacon, pear or apple cinnamon.

Pie pops are fun to eat!

Pie pops are fun to eat!

Carefully sourced ingredients and creative combos are their trademarks. The pies are all made with organic flour milled in Lancaster, PA, butter from a Vermont cooperative of dairy farmers and fresh produce and meat from their farmer friends all around New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. You’ll find the pies at New Amsterdam Market on Sundays, or at their newly opened shop on Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint, where you can grab yourself a cup of Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee as well.  Yes, Pie Corps also makes sweet pies—gingerbread custard among them!

And for DIYers, it has just started giving monthly baking classes: January 23 is “Savory Winter Pies,” $65. (At press time, one or two spots are still open in the December 18th class, too.) Hand pies, $6; savory 10-inch pies, $40; sweet 10-inch, $35.

steves-authentic-key-lime-pie

Add lime slices and whipped cream to your pie, if you like. (Photo courtesy Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies)

Speaking of sweet, we head over to Red Hook, where, hallelujah, Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies is back in production again, after some serious flooding  by Sandy. Baker/owner Steve Tarpin, who grew up in Florida, makes the pies by hand in small batches using 100 percent pure fresh butter for the graham-cracker crust and freshly squeezed key lime juice. Reconstituted juice may be OK “if you’re stripping paint or removing rust, but not not in a food product,” he insists. The key lime (citrus aurantiifolia) is much smaller than the familiar “Persian” lime, about the size of a ping pong or golf ball; he points out it’s not exclusive to the Florida Keys (it’s native to Southeast Asia), but was brought to the Keys and naturalized.

In addition to the elegant and aromatic key lime pies, you’ll want to try a Steve’s Authentic exclusive, the Swingle—a Belgian chocolate–dipped frozen tart on a stick. Wow. Steve delivers his pies around town, including to Union Markets in Brooklyn. Or he’ll sell you one at company headquarters on Pier 41. Walk-in hours vary throughout the week but with more certainty Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and weekends, 11 am–5 pm (at least). Call ahead to be sure. 10-inch pie, $28; 8-inch, $18; 4-inch tart, $5; Swingle, $6.

Pie Corps
77 Driggs Avenue, Greenpoint
917-721-3052 / 917-582-2769

Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies
204 Van Dyke Street, Pier 41, Red Hook
888-450-5463, 718-858-5333

Photographs by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Shelley Allegro, by Matthew Carter, Linotype, 1972.

Ancient Craft, New Artisans

Day Seven 12 Tastes of Brooklyn
Miche, Bien Cuit's signature artisanal bread

Miche, Bien Cuit’s signature artisanal bread

ARTISANAL BREAD MAKING IS NOT FOR SISSIES. The baker’s day starts before the sun rises, and a small batch of handcrafted loaves can take up to three days to make, from start to finish, with repeated fermentation and kneading and rising stages. The natural yeast starter used is a living organism, combining yeast from the air with lactobacteria from the flour and the air to create a fermenting or leavening agent. It’s not called wild yeast for nothing—it can be temperamental, depending on which exact strains of bacteria develop, how they combine with a particular wheat flour, the temperature, and so on. It is the baker’s art to nurture their starter—the mother yeast (madre, if you’re an Italian baker)—like a baby, keeping it alive often for decades, for that is what gives each baker’s breads their distinct flavor and texture.

This was the way bread was made for centuries—and it’s a craft that is still being practiced in some special places in Brooklyn. So forget that 30-Minute Artisan Bread recipe.

Raisin walnut, baguette, olive—just a few of Bien Cuit's breads.

Raisin walnut, baguette, olive—just a few of Bien Cuit’s other breads.

Go instead to Bien Cuit in Boerum Hill or Settepani Bakery in Williamsburg where you’ll be hit by the most intoxicating smells as you walk through the door. Two of our favorite loaves:

MICHE, from Bien Cuit
This is Bien Cuit’s signature bread (pictured, at top)  made from three wheat and three rye flours and fermented for up to 68 hours. It’s round and beautiful with a well-done (bien cuit) crunchy crust and very tasty crumb texture. Master baker Zachary Golper learned to bake on an Oregon farm at 19, where he watched and learned from a man who made bread by traditional European methods: building up the starter over a few days and baking the loaves in a wood-fired adobe oven. Golper went on to refine his craft, working in France and at the Bec-Fin in Philadelphia, until, luckily for us, he and his wife, Kate Wheatcroft, opened up a bakery in Boerum Hill. We’ve heard he never sleeps, and we believe it because starting at 7 am, baskets at the bakery are full of fresh bread, including the miche, $10 for a 1 lb loaf.

PANETTONE, from Settepani Bakery
These festive raisin-studded tall round loaves appear in bakeries and groceries around Christmastime, sometimes in beautiful elaborate gift boxes that look good enough to hold the crown jewels. Many are shipped from Italy, where the panettone was invented centuries ago in Milan. (Like all old Italian recipes, there seem to be a lot of  tall tales about how it came it be.) But nothing beats a fresh-baked panettone, which is what you’ll find at Settepani Bakery.

Rows of Milanese panettone at Settepani Bakery in Williamsburg.

Rows of Milanese panettone at Settepani Bakery in Williamsburg

Owner Nino Settepani (the name means “seven breads”—how perfect) was born in Sicily, but has lived here most of his life. A master baker trained at the French Culinary Institute, he’s been baking breads and pastries of all kinds for over 30 years now. Production of the panettone begins in the fall each year. The first step is to “wake up” the yeast starter that he uses year after year, refreshing it every day to make it strong and active.

Settepani's chocolate panettone comes in a beautiful gift-worthy box.

Settepani’s chocolate panettone comes in a beautiful gift-worthy box.

By November 15, he begins making his first batch of panettone, a process that takes up to 30 hours—mixing the dough, proofing it overnight for 12 hours, mixing it again and letting it rise in a temperature-controlled steam box for another 6 or 7 hours. “It might come out at 2 pm, but lately it’s been 4 or 5 pm because it’s so cold,” he tells me. After that the loaves are baked very slowly for two hours. Each holiday season, Settepani Bakery produces more than 600 panettone of various types. The Milanese has raisins and cut dried fruit in it; the Veneziano, almonds, but no raisins. There’s also a chocolate one. They come in 1 lb, 2 lb and “baby” sizes. The Milanese is $16 for 2 lbs, $10 for 1 lb, $2.50 for the baby.

Bien Cuit
120 Smith Street, Boerum Hill
718-852-0200

Settepani Bakery
602 Lorimer Street, Williamsburg
718-349-6524

Photographs by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Gill Sans Ultra Bold, by Eric Gill, Monotype, 1928.

Villabate Alba’s Famous Cannoli

Day Six 12 Tastes of Brooklyn 
Villabate Alba's pastry displays knock you over when you walk in the store. That's the cannoli, top left.

Villabate Alba’s pastry displays knock you over when you walk in the store. The cannoli are top left.

dec11CANNOLI WERE TRADITIONALLY MADE IN SICILY for Carnevale, or Mardi Gras, a final luxurious burst of richness before Lent. But really, aren’t they perfect for any feast? I have to agree with Mediterranean cooking scholar Clifford A. Wright: “A freshly made cannoli is an extraordinary taste of celestial paradise, a perfect conclusion to a feast.”

Villabate Alba, a family-owned Sicilian pastry shop established three generations ago in Bensonhurst, is the place to experience that paradise—and other seasonal delicacies, too. As the Michelin Guide would say, “Worth a special journey” if you don’t happen to live in the neighborhood. (They also ship.) The cannoli have perfectly crisp shells and are filled with ricotta flown in from Palermo. Candied orange rind at one end and a cherry at the other perfect the package.

Marzipan fruits, good any time of year.

Marzipan fruits, good any time of year.

Villabate (named after the village in northern Sicily where the shop’s founders, Angelo Alaimo and his son Emanuele, used to bake bread) is bustling every time you go in. But at this time of year, lines form. You’ll find tables stacked high with panettone boxes and lots of special cookies and sweets traditionally made around Christmas.

Villabate-cookies

Christmas cookie plates, ready to go.

They bake mostaccioli cookies, popular all over southern Italy—and Brooklyn—for the holidays. Apparently these used to be made with grape must (we’re talking back in days of the Roman Empire). They’re redolent of the spices of the Silk Road (think Italian gingerbread), filled with figs and topped with chocolate.

A pyramid of honey-soaked biscuit.

A pyramid of honey-soaked biscuit.

Rococò are crisp wreath-shaped cookies made with ginger and cloves, infused with almonds and studded with whole almonds. Honey balls stacked in a pyramid… The temptations are many. But be careful. You could go into a sugar coma just looking.

Villabate Alba Pasticceria & Bakery
7001 18th Avenue, Bensonhurst

718-331-8430

Photographs by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Goudy Oldstyle, by Frederick W. Goudy, Linotype, 1915.

Tipsy Quince and a Few of Her Saucy Friends

Day Five 12 Tastes of Brooklyn
Enough for everyone: Brooklyn Brine's Hop-Pickle at Whole Foods

Enough for everyone: Brooklyn Brine’s Hop-Pickle at Whole Foods

dec10BROOKLYN HAS SO MANY SMALL-BATCH PICKLE MAKERS, you could write a book about them. Rick’s Picks, McClure’s Pickles, Brooklyn Brine, Sour Puss Pickles—so many to choose from, all with great taste combos and interesting stories behind their businesses. And then there are the sauces and relishes and condiments. Or how about a hot honey? I’ll keep sampling them all but for the holiday table, a girl’s gotta choose, so at least for now, here are my favorites for the feasts ahead.

Tipsy Quince and Cranberry Chutney, by Anarchy in a Jar
anarchy-in-a-jar-01145
“The revolution starts in your mouth” is this small-batch producer’s motto, and her combination of two tart fruits with sweet whisky-soaked raisins in this chutney does just that. For the holiday, it’s perfect with poultry or game birds. Founder Laena McCarthy grew up making traditional jams with her family in the Hudson Valley and now makes 14 very flavorful chutneys and jams.

Look for them at Brooklyn Flea or at New Amsterdam Market, or buy online, or at local stores like Eastern District in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.


Cider Braised Onion spread, and Cranberry Pear Sauce, both by Saucy by Nature
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Owners Przemek Adolf and Monika Luczak use locally sources ingredients to make spreads inspired by flavors they experienced during trips to faraway places. In the Cider Braised Onion spread, fennel and rosemary add a little bite to the sweet caramelized onions. Great with pork or poultry. The cranberry pear sauce is more tart than sweet, with a pinch of cardamom that adds complexity. Try it as a glaze for poultry or game birds, such as duck, suggests Saveur.com.

Buy online, at Dean & Deluca, and at small provisioners all around Brooklyn.


Brooklyn Brine's factory and storefront in Gowanus.

Brooklyn Brine’s factory and storefront in Gowanus.

Hop-Pickle, by Brooklyn Brine Co.
I first tried this hop-pickle when owner Shamus Jones was giving out tastes at Eataly (you know—the Outer Brooklyn place run by Mario Batali). The pickle is the result of a collaboration with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware. As Dogfish founder Sam Calagione tells it, he was sitting around one day drinking a 60 Minute IPA and snacking on some Brooklyn Brine pickles. He loved the way they tasted together and called Shamus. The Hop-Pickle is made with Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, caramelized onions and Cascade hops.

If you want to make pickles yourself, Brooklyn Brine holds classes on Saturday, noon to 3 pm, at their small Gowanus pickling factory. Sign up Wednesday by noon, for the Saturday class; brooklynbrine@gmail.com. Or  you can buy their pickle-making kit at Whole Foods or Williams-Sonoma.

Look for Hop-Pickles at Whole Foods, small provisioners all around Brooklyn, or direct from the factory.

Brooklyn Brine574A President Street, Gowanus; 347-223-4345

Photographs by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Chalet Tokyo, by René Albert Chalet (a clothing designer), House Industries, 1970.

The New Artisan Butchers

Day Four 12 Tastes of Brooklyn
Window at Fleisher's Grass-fed and Organic Meats

Window at Fleisher’s Grass-fed and Organic Meats

dec9IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD in the city had its own butcher—someone who took a whole animal carcass (or even slaughtered the animal) and then dressed and cut it into sellable meat. By the early 1960s, meat was being packed and boxed in the Midwest, for handy delivery to supermarkets in plastic wrap. (See Robin Shulman’s Eat the City for more about the fascinating history of meat production in New York City.) Some butchers have hung on in the borough, of course—places like Staubitz Market in Carroll Gardens since 1917, and Paisanos Meat Market in Park Slope, established in 1960.

The meat counter at The Meat Hook, where you can see butchers dressing the meat.

The meat counter at The Meat Hook, where you can see butchers dressing the meat just behind.

But in the last five years or so, new artisan butchers have been popping up all over it seems—Fleisher’s, originally in Kingston, NY, now in Park Slope, too; Marlow & Daughters, The Meat Hook. For these butchers, the artisan label is well earned: This is handcrafted meat, using time-honored skills that take a lot of practice to do well. They get grass-fed and pastured whole animals from small, local farms (even a New York City farm, in the case of pigs from Queens County Farm Museum) and are careful not to waste any part, from nose to tail. They are all active in training and apprenticing new butchers—and educating the public, whether in an extensive professional program  or individual classes. Tom Mylan, of The Meat Hook (and before that, of Marlow & Daughters), apparently spent a year sleeping at the home of Jessica and Joshua Applestone, owners of Fleisher’s, in Kingston, as he apprenticed with Josh. At The Meat Hook, we met a young woman butcher apprentice who told us her grandfather had been a butcher.

meat-counter-at-fleishers

One of two meat counters at Fleisher’s, in Park Slope

Handcrafted meat will cost 15 percent more a pound, but the customer gets something  for that: meat from a sustainable source, advice on cuts that work best for different dishes—or how to cook more inexpensive cuts, and the exact cut you need, trimmed the way you want it.

If you know you’ll need a particular cut of meat for a particular day, do call ahead. Holiday orders, especially, will need to be made at least a week ahead, to be safe.

Fleisher’s Grass-fed and Organic Meats
192 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope
718-398-6666
Holiday order deadline: “as soon as possible, since things may go”
Special items: standing rib roast, rack of lamb, goose, duck, plus “all your other holiday favorites”

Marlow & Daughters
95 Broadway, Williamsburg
718-388-5700
Holiday order deadline: at least a week ahead; they may be able to do something with less notice, but no guarantee
Special items: local NY goose, pheasant, turkey (must be preordered); dry aged beef; house-made foie gras terrines

The Meat Hook
100 Frost Street, Williamsburg
718-349-5033
Holiday order deadline: Sunday, December 16
Special items: rib roast, rack of lamb, goose, guinea hen, capon, Muscovy duck, broad-breasted white turkeys, whole rabbit

Paisanos Meat Market
162 Smith Street, Cobble Hill
718-855-2641

Paisanos Meat Market sign outside store advertises what's available.

Staubitz Market
222 Court Street, Carroll Gardens
718-624-0014

Sidewalk chalkboard outside Staubitz.

Photographs by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Cochin, by Georges Peignot, Linotype, 1912.

Sufganiyot: Jelly Donuts for Hanukkah

Day Three 12 Tastes of Brooklyn
Ostrovitsky-sufganiyot1581

Sufganiyot in the window of Ostrovitsky Bakery in Midwood.

dec8POTATO LATKES FRIED IN HOT OIL may be the iconic dish to eat at Hanukkah, but we hold a special place in our heart for sufganiyot, the deep-fried jelly-filled donut that Israelis go crazy about during this holiday. In The Book of Jewish Food, author and food scholar Claudia Roden tells us that the “Austro-Hungarian peasant carnival doughnut, which became a “royal” delicacy at the French court of Marie Antoinette has been adopted in Israel to celebrate Hanukkah because it is fried in oil”—oil to commemorate the miracle of a small flask of oil keeping the flame in the Temple alight for eight days. Like many famous dishes, though, its origins are the subject of Talmudic debate. 

But never mind about that. How do I get my hands on some? The answer you’ll hear from Brooklyn connoisseurs will more likely than not be Ostrovitsky Bakery in Midwood. “We make thousands of them at Hanukkah,” the bakery owner tells me when I pay a visit, “thousands. We’ve been doing it every Hanukkah for 18 years.” To get a jump on the lines that will later form out the door, I bring home a supply to do a little early taste-testing with my friends. Our verdict: Maybe you could almost feed a family with one of them…but Hanukkah only comes once a year. Sweet, scrumptious.

Mile-End-Sufganiyot

Sufganiyot, in The Mile End Cookbook: Redefining Jewish Comfort Food from Hash to Hamantaschen. (Photo by Quentin Bacon)

Mile End Delicatessen in Boerum Hill has developed quite a fan club, too, for its sufganiyot, but sadly there will be none this year, co-owner Rae Bernamoff tells us. Sad for us, maybe; she certainly has bigger problems: Mile End’s central commissary kitchen, where it does all its baking (and curing and smoking and pickling) was flooded during Sandy. It’s in a Civil War era building on Pier 41 in Red Hook and “as with most of the waterfront,” she said, “the high tide surge pushed about four feet of water into our space. We’re still rebuilding.”

mile-end-book-coverAs a consolation, and to show solidarity, head to the deli itself for what sounds like a gut-busting $16 “surf and turf” latke special:  two open-faced latkes—potato, celery root and parsnip pancakes—one topped with chopped liver, pickled eggs and gribenes (chicken or goose skin cracklings), the other with creamy whitefish salad with trout roe.

And if your heart is really set on some Mile End sufganiyot, then you’ll have to make them yourself. You’ll find the recipe in the very appetizing The Mile End Cookbook, by Noah and Rae Bernamoff. Latkes, too, and a lot more dishes “redefining Jewish comfort food.”

One more stop: Brooklyn Larder in Park Slope also has tasty jelly donuts (along with a full Hanukkah catering menu) but shhh, don’t tell anyone, they’re baked not fried.

Ostrovitsky Bakery
1124 Avenue J, Midwood
718-951-7924
The bakery is Shomer Shabbos: closes before sundown on Friday, reopens on Sunday. 

Mile End Delicatessen 
97A Hoyt St, Boerum Hill
718-852-7510 

Brooklyn Larder 
228 Flatbush Avenue, Park Slope 
718-783-1250

Photograph (top) by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Bauhaus, by Ed Benguiat and Victor Caruso, ITC, 1975.

Fresh Fish, Smoked Fish—Any Way You Like It

Day Two  12 Tastes of Brooklyn
Wouldn’t this make a perfect tile in the subway station at Sheepshead Bay, home to Brooklyn’s own 50-boat fishing fleet? But no, the mosaic is by an unknown Roman artist, 3rd to 5th century A.D. Found in Tunisia, it now resides in Brooklyn Museum.


Wouldn’t this make a perfect tile in the subway station at Sheepshead Bay, home to Brooklyn’s
own 50-boat fishing fleet? But no, the mosaic is by an unknown Roman artist, 3rd to
5th century A.D. Found in Tunisia, it now resides in Brooklyn Museum. (Photo courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

dec7THE FEAST OF THE SEVEN FISHES is an Italian Christmas Eve celebration with as many interpretations as there are families and regions of Italy—and Brooklyn. If you want to create your own feast, you have a treat in store: Mermaid’s Garden, Brooklyn’s first CSF, or Community Supported Fishery, is opening its holiday store to the public. (CSF members—including some Brooklyn Artisan folks—sign up for a weekly drop of delicious sustainable fish and seafood, much of it caught in local waters.) The holiday store will have live Montauk lobsters, Montauk Pearl and wild Maine Belon oysters, fish fillets, clams, squid and more. How about Siberian sturgeon caviar?! The online store is open from Saturday, December 8 to Monday, December 17. Pickup will be at four Brooklyn spots on Saturday, December 22.

For full details about the fish (and fishermen), how to buy, and addresses for pickup, go to the Mermaid’s Garden website.  And on the Mermaid’s Garden Facebook page, you’ll find wonderful recipes from co-owner and chef Mark Usewitz.

If you’d rather someone else do the cooking, Chef Saul Bolton will be serving a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Dec. 24 at his Michelin-starred Saul Restaurant in Cobble Hill, as he has for the last eight years—and for the first time this year, he tells us, at his new Italian restaurant, Red Gravy, in Brooklyn Heights. Call 718-935-9842 for more information on menus and for reservations.

mackerel-squid-bensonhurst

Mackerel and squid at a Bensonhurst fish market, where you could also find sardines and eel,
popular choices for the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Don’t forget, too, that Brooklyn is known as the smoked fish capital of America. Acme Smoked Fish has been at the center of that world since the early 1900s when Harry Brownstein, an emigrant from Russia, took a job as a “wagon jobber,” picking up hot fish from smokehouses with his horse-drawn wagon and hand-delivering them to small grocery and appetizing stores. Eventually he got his own smokehouse, which four generations later has grown into a Brooklyn institution that smokes, cures, slices, packs and ships 7 million pounds of fish a year.

Acme Smoked Fish and their more recent brand, Blue Hill Bay, are both for sale at the company's Fish Friday.

Acme Smoked Fish and Blue Hill Bay smoked seafood are both available at wholesale prices at the company’s Fish Friday.

The fish, which except for the sturgeon is certified kosher, is sold all around the city (Zabar’s, Costco)—and well beyond. But for a real feel for where it comes from—and great bargains—get yourself out to the Greenpoint plant on a Friday morning between 8 and 1, the only time sales are open directly to the public. A room just off the plant floor is filled with racks of smoked whitefish, boxes of brook trout, smoked salmon laid out on the table—all perfect for holiday entertaining.

Mermaid’s Garden
info@mermaidsgardennyc.com 

Saul Restaurant
140 Smith Street, Cobble Hill
718-935-9842

Acme Smoked Fish Corporation
25-56 Gem Street, Greenpoint
718-383-8585

Photographs by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Mrs Eaves, by Zuzana Licko, Emigre, 1996.

Not Just Any Festive Ham

Day One  12 Tastes of Brooklyn
Brooklyn Cured's Mangalitsa ham sits around in brown sugar and bourbon for a week before being smoked. (Photo courtesy Brooklyn Cured)

Brooklyn Cured’s Mangalitsa ham sits around in brown sugar and bourbon for a week before
being smoked. (Photo courtesy Brooklyn Cured)

dec6CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS BY THE FIRE, SECRET GIFT GIVING IN THE NIGHT, candy canes, giving to those in greatest need—these are all customs that can be traced to dear St Nick. So what better day than St. Nicholas Day to begin planning Christmas dinner? We have our eye on a traditional ham for our table this year. We knew we could find an excellent hickory-smoked one ($3.69/lb for a 10- or 20-lb ham) at Eagle Provisions, a Polish market in Sunset Park that’s been around since 1935 and is now run by the Zawisny family.

But this year our heads have been turned by Brooklyn Cured’s Smoked Mangalitsa Ham. You may know Brooklyn Cured’s sausages and paté from various markets, restaurants and small grocers around town. Founder Scott Bridi grew up in an Italian-American family in Bensonhurst. He ran the charcuterie program at Gramercy Tavern for two years before going on to Marlow and Daughters butcher shop and then starting his own company. His boneless smoked ham starts out as a Mangalitsa pig, a rare woolly Hungarian breed that almost disappeared and is much prized by chefs. The ones Bridi uses are raised on Mosefund Farm in Branchville, NJ. “They have an unparalleled richness and red-meat qualities that are beyond crave-worthy!” he says. Bridi cures the ham for a full week in brown sugar and bourbon. Then it’s gently smoked with applewood, while being coated with a maple-bourbon glaze. (To reheat, take ham out of refrigerator for half an hour, then put in a 275º oven for 30 to 40 minutes.)

Hungry yet? The Mangalitsa hams are $14/lb; sizes range from 3 to 7 pounds. To order, stop by the markets Brooklyn Cured is at, or e-mail scott@brooklyncured.com. (Be sure to include your name, contact information, size of ham, and the market where you’d like to pick up).

The order deadline for Christmas is Dec. 16. Pickup is on Sundays at the Park Slope Community Market on 5th Ave and 4th Street from 10 am to 4 pm and New Amsterdam Market from 11 am to 4 pm. Give as much notice as you can; a week is preferable, although it is possible if you order on a Wednesday, there will be a ham ready for Sunday pick up.

Eagle-Provisions-1183

Eagle Provisions, a great source for ham and kielbasa, may be even better known for its selection of beers—2,000+ including many Brooklyn, New York and international craft ales.

There even may be a few mighty Mangalitsas available on a first-come, first-serve basis on Dec. 23 at Park Slope and New Amsterdam Markets, but really, would you want to risk it?

Brooklyn Cured
917-282-2221
scott@brooklyncured.com

Eagle Provisions
628 5th Avenue, Sunset Park
718-499-0026

Photograph (right) by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Avant Garde, by Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnese, ITC, 1970.

Improve Your Space: A Competition for Free Fiber Wiring

Brooklyn artisans: Are you making your product or trying to run your business in an unwired or underwired building? Or are you considering space in a building that would be great—if only it were better wired? You may want to check out ConnectNYC, a city-sponsored competition that will award $12 million in free fast-track fiber cable wiring to selected small and medium-sized commercial and industrial businesses over the next two years.

ConnectNYC is a project of  the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and ChallengePost, an NYC startup that “enables government agencies and software companies to invite the public to solve problems.” According to NYC Council member Gale Brewer, “We learned that fast, free and low cost fiber does not exist in many of the commercial and manufacturing areas” in the city. “Getting more New York City businesses access to high-speed broadband will have a major impact on their ability to be competitive and ultimately succeed in today’s marketplace,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn.

To apply, go to http://nycfiberchallenge.com, or call 311 for more information. The deadline is 5 pm EST, November 27, 2012. Awards will be based on various criteria, including how better connectivity could help you grow your business. Only individual businesses may apply, but it’s worth getting fellow business owners in your neighborhood to apply as well because “applications will be evaluated on proximity to other applying businesses in order to encourage clustering and efficiency in broadband installation, as well as proximity to areas currently underserved by broadband infrastructure,” according to ConnectNYC. 

The first set of winners will be announced in early 2013. Time Warner Cable and Cablevision will do the build-outs, with 100 businesses expected to be wired in the first year of the program and another 140 the following year.

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