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Discover the latest news about Albuquerque's most exciting new restaurant, Hartford Square. Be the first to know each week's newest culinary creations for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We are located in East Downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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An Amuse Bouche

Sparkling Wine: DHLesCombes Brut
Cucumber Gazpacho infused w/Fennel w/Nasturtium & Allium

Farmer's Salad
Rose: Casa Rodena 2012 Cabernet Franc

Pan Seared Wild Alaskan Salmon w/Brown Butter, Borage & Vichyssoise
White: Casa Rodena 2012 Viognier

Old Windmill Cheese Plate

Red: DHLesCombes Cabernet
Local Lamb w/Braised Local Greens, Berries & Herbs
OR
Local Beef w/Cherries & Mustard Greens

Dessert: DHLesCombes Port
Chocolate Tasting Plate: Milk Chocolate Macaron, Dark Chocolate Sorbet, Chocolate Cherry Cake & Mexican Chocolate Custard

We are going to present this seven-course dinner at Hartford Square on Saturday, June 27... a chance to showcase many of our favorite local farmers, as well as two New Mexico wineries and a young local chef, Elijah Duncan. Duncan relocated to Albuquerque a year ago from Chicago with his wife and young daughter. He has worked at Michelin star restaurants around the world, including Alinea, Noma, Mugaritz & El Buli. He believes that "cooking food is one of the most intimate things that a person can do".  He tries to see each ingredient from multiple perspectives-- as chef, diner, farmer, artist-- bringing every ingredient to it's full potential on the plate.

Each course will feature one or two farmers including Chispas & Sterling Farms, Ironwood Farm, Red Tractor Farm, Silverleaf Farm, Simple Revolution Farm, Sol Harvest Farm and Vida Verde Farm.  Chefs Elijah Duncan of Farm & Table and Shai Hayman (recently moved here from Israel) are designing the amazing menu and creating the meal.  We'll be including cheeses from Old Windmill Dairy and wines from DH LesCombes & Casa Rodena.  We hope that you can join us-- seating will be limited, so reserve soon!

The price will be $85 per person or $165 per couple.  For reservations, please call the restaurant at 265-4933 during business hours and ask to leave a message for Sarah.  Or email us at info@hartfordsq.com. Seatings will be available at 6:30, 7:00 & 7:30pm.

Ironwood Farm

Welcome back to our Local blog... we have been really busy opening a restaurant and getting it up and running, but now we are finally able to get back to blogging about some of our favorite things!  This month I want to introduce you to one of our favorite farms-- Ironwood Farm, situated on twenty acres just east of the Rio Grande and located in the South Valley of Albuquerque.  The farm is run by Farmer & "Farmacist" Chris Altenbach and his family... they have owned the land since 1980. This farm goes above and beyond "typical organic practices"-- not only are they chemical-free, but they also use ecological methods and permaculture concepts that build soil health, integrate livestock and support native wildlife.  

Grazing sheep in the front pasture at Ironwood farm.

Grazing sheep in the front pasture at Ironwood farm.

Fresh local eggs

Fresh local eggs

Broccolini and Frittata

Broccolini and Frittata

One thing we have been getting a lot of lately from Chris has been broccolini-- a hybrid vegetable developed by a Japanese seed company and first released in 1993.  It's a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale, and it has a complex, slightly bitter flavor which goes really well with milder flavors like eggs, risotto and cheese.  We are using it in our frittatas, along with a local, all natural italian pork sausage from Kyzer Farm-- for an article and video about broccolini and our frittata recipe, you can visit both Edible Magazine and the Albuquerque Journal.

Free range chickens

Free range chickens

Ironwood Farm provides my restaurant, Hartford Square, with wonderful produce almost year-round.  They also take away our compostable kitchen scraps every week, which we love because we can't have a compost pile at the restaurant.  Some of it gets fed to the pigs and some goes into their compost pile. Ironwood pays a lot of attention to its carbon footprint, and keeping everything local is a big part of that-- they source their supplies locally as much as possible, just like we do.  The farmhouse is a straw bale structure powered by solar energy.  The pump house and well are solar powered, too.  The fields are irrigated on a regular basis by flooding from the old-school ditch system used throughout our north and south valleys.  And there is an amazing rotation sequence going on all the time, where small farm buildings are moved around along with the crops, creating a way to renew and replenish each productive area.

Nantes Carrots

Nantes Carrots

A number of crops are grown or at least started indoors or under row covers, which also serves to lengthen the growing seasons for many of the crops-- that's how we can get arugula in February!  There is a pool inside one of the greenhouses, where fish live and then help to fertilize the surrounding herbs and vegetables that grow right below it.

 
Cabbages for Spicy Slaw

Cabbages for Spicy Slaw

You can find Ironwood at the new Railyards Market, in the old Blacksmith shop off First St & Hazeldine SW on Sundays from now until November.  Chris says it's been a while since they have done a market, but  this one has been pretty successful for them so far.  Maybe you can stop by and say "hi" the next time you go....

The Tractor

The Tractor

There are three generations of Altenbachs working this land-- Chris' dad is right next door and his young son and daughter help out quite a lot. His son gave me a tour of the farm and then went off to get the tractor back up and running, and his daughter often helps deliver our produce and carry away the compost scraps. 

Thanks to places like Ironwood Farm, we can all feel REALLY good about where some of our food is coming from.

Can't wait for the Leeks to be ready!  

Can't wait for the Leeks to be ready!

 

One Year Later

Our restaurant will be one year old on June 3-- coming right up!  We wanted to share some of the articles and reviews that have come out in the past year about the restaurant, so that you can see what people have been saying so far...

We have really loved finding local foods and produce to work with and also getting to meet all the wonderful people who grow and produce these ingredients that inspire us.  I am starting up the blog again, now that we have a year under our belts-- can't wait to see what happens next!

 

Rainbow Carrots from Ironwood Farm

Rainbow Carrots from Ironwood Farm

A wonderful article "Local Chef Dishes on Broccolini" by Denise Miller, in the Business Section of the Albuquerque Journal on May 14, 2014, where she shares recipes, cooking techniques and information about what Hartford Square does, and why we do it... http://www.abqjournal.com/399306/living/satisfaction.html

We were named one of the fifteen best restaurants in Albuquerque in this blog...

These 15 Albuquerque Restaurants Will Blow Your Taste Buds Out Of Your Mouth

Some very nice reviews by other restaurant bloggers....

 
Larry's Albuquerque Food Musings
http://www.abqtopten.com/blog/hartford-square/

Gil's Thrilling (and Filling) Blog                                                                     
http://www.nmgastronome.com/?p=30483
Euforkia, in Edible Santa Fe.... 
http://ediblesantafe.com/eat/recipes/entrees/sarah-hartford-broccolini-salmon-frittata/
 

More restaurant reviews...

Gail Guengerich in the Weekly Alibi, August 22-28, 2013, Artful Dishes, the Smart Design of Hartford Square, http://alibi.com/food/45158/Restaurant-Review-Hartford-Square.html

Jessica Lin, in the Albuquerque Journal, July 26, 2013, Seasonally fresh Items Star at Hartford http://www.abqjournal.com/225600/entertainment/seasonally-fresh-items-star-at-hartford.html

 

 

 

Winter Greens/Fresh Produce

Greenhouse garden

Greenhouse garden

So... we have gotten a bit of snow.  Mountain peaks are sprinkled with white and skiers are happier.  And despite the snow and cold, there are some green things growing.  Eager gardeners have already started cold-weather crops in greenhouses and cold frames.  I have been planting lettuces, spinach, chard, kale, collard greens, arugula, cabbages and more in planter boxes by my kitchen door.  Little plants are poking through-- and some very hardy ones have survived outdoors in protected pots and beds, occasionally dusted with snow.

Snow on my chard

Snow on my chard

I have a little chard and kale that survived the winter, so far. I was wondering if it would be possible to find local greens for sale somewhere nearby (It seems like forever until the Downtown Growers' Market will open again). Well, guess what?  I somehow missed the fact that the village of Los Ranchos has a market which goes through the winter-- they are open on the second Saturday of each month. They are on Rio Grande Blvd, at the parking lot near the tennis courts, which is really not that far away at all.

The March Grower's Market happened on the 9th-- one of those late winter New Mexico days when the weather was changing so fast you couldn't keep up.  It snowed, it blew, it was dark and grey and then it was sunny.  The Sandias were covered with snow in the distance-- and then they were not even visible because of a giant storm cloud.  But the Market was on, no matter what-- most of the vendors snugly sheltered inside the big barn-like structure there. A three-person band played Irish music and there were greens and root vegetables everywhere-- a sight for sore eyes!

Old seed packet

Old seed packet

Late winter harvest, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque Growers Market

Late winter harvest, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque Growers Market

Chard in March from Mananica Farm

Chard in March from Mananica Farm

March weather in Albuquerque

March weather in Albuquerque

I got to meet some farmers whom I had not met before... Barbara and John from Mananica Farm in Algodones had lamb and wool yarn and also beautiful golden beets and greens including chard, lettuces and kale. Some really nice girls from Stray Dog Farms in the North Valley sold me carrots bundled up with a ribbon, and I met "Farmer Ric" from Sol Harvest Farm, who also sold me some pretty fine looking spinach.  These last two farms are now offering "CSA" (community supported agriculture) harvest boxes to those who wish to become members-- check their websites for more information.  This is a great way to enjoy fresh seasonal produce from local providers for much of the year, and to get it even when you can't make it to the Market.

Baby spinach

Baby spinach

Then on Monday, I traveled down to the far South Valley to visit Richard Moore at Moore Family Farms.  I went with Gina, who runs Fresh Produce-- a company that works to connect many local growers in our area to restaurants here that want to use fresh local produce.  Gina told me that she sells about 30% of what Richard grows, and he sells the rest at the Downtown Growers' Market and by word-of-mouth.  Richard showed us what he has started inside his hoop house-- a simple curved greenhouse wrapped in plastic.  Baby plants were everywhere, and half the space was filled with greens-- mustard, spinach, kale, chard and more.  He was getting ready to start moving them out into the fields, where he will also direct-sow even more lettuces, arugula and such.  Next fall, Richard plans to build more hoop houses, out in the fields, where he will grow greens year-round.  This makes me happy, because I hope to be buying them from him!

Moore Family Farms

Moore Family Farms

Baby greens inside hoop house

Baby greens inside hoop house

Hoop house

Hoop house

Chicken in charge

Chicken in charge

Farm fresh eggs

Farm fresh eggs

The Growers' Market begins on May 18-- two months away, still.  There is plenty of time for Richard to coax his baby plants into big bunches of healthy, hearty spring greens. Look for his produce and farm fresh eggs there all season. And by then, Hartford Square should be open-- and we will be featuring fresh produce from farmers like Richard in our weekly menus at the restaurant.  Can't wait!

Here is a simple and quick way to use some of those delicious greens and fresh eggs in the same recipe-- just whip up a Frittata w/Hearty Greens for breakfast, brunch or a simple supper. You'll need two eggs per person, a big bunch of chopped chard or kale, olive oil, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup grated cheese per person (your choice-- experiment!), one or two finely chopped garlic cloves and about half an onion, chopped.  Oh, and by the way-- did I mention how GOOD FOR YOU dark green leafy vegetables are?  Probably better than almost anything else you could eat-- full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and phytonutrients and low in calories and carbs. What more could you want? I know-- stuff that tastes good-- so how about this: 1) Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 10" (adjust size depending on how many servings you are preparing) skillet (that can go in the oven) over medium heat, and add garlic-- cook until fragrant, for a couple of minutes, then add chopped onion & cook until soft, but not brown. 2) Add chopped dark green leafy vegetable of choice, and cook until liquid releases and cooks off, stirring frequently. 3) In the meantime, whisk desired number of eggs in a small bowl-- when greens have begun to dry up, pour eggs over them to cover.  Cook until set on bottom. 4) Grate cheese and sprinkle it over top of eggs. 5) Turn on broiler in oven and set rack about 6" below broiler.  Place skillet under broller and broil until cheese is bubbly and eggs are set on top. 6) Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes. Slice into desired number of servings and place on plates.

Winter rainbow chard

Winter rainbow chard

Gluten-Free Skiing & Granola

Granola ingredients

Granola ingredients

Lately, everyone and his brother seems to be jumping on the "gluten-free" bandwagon.  Even paper plates announce that they are "gluten-free"-- just in case we decide to take a bite out of them.  So what is all the fuss about?  Well, many people DO actually have issues with the gluten found in some foods.  Gluten is made of proteins which not all people can digest well, and which may damage their small intestine OR cause various allergic reactions.  There is a fair amount of confusion out there about these different aspects of the gluten issue.  There is also confusion about which foods contain gluten.  

Nutty Winter Granola

Nutty Winter Granola

Whatever their reasons might be, people who want/need to avoid gluten have to carefully pay attention to what goes into their food.  I have several friends who cannot eat gluten,  so I have been trying to learn as much as I can about it.  Sometimes I make sure to deliberately bake or cook without gluten-- but also I have realized that a lot of what I cook does not happen to have any gluten in it anyway.  Often it is also really easy to make a substitution for an ingredient in a recipe which makes the gluten go away entirely without anyone even noticing it.

Oatmeal Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chip Cookies

One such ingredient is oats. Oats, all by themselves, do not contain gluten, but oats are usually grown and processed where wheat is also grown and processed, and there is cross-contamination.  It used to be difficult to find truly gluten-free oats, but not anymore. Last week I even found them at the local Trader Joe's in a 32 oz bag.  Yay!  No more mail order (as long as they keep carrying it).  Oats-- in case you didn't know-- are really, really good for you.  Good for reducing cholesterol, good for fiber, good for a lot of things (read more).  And really good when made into cozy wintery foods-- the kind you might want to eat on a ski trip...

Taos Valley ski slope

Taos Valley ski slope

I got to go skiing in Taos this past weekend with some of my friends, and it was pretty awesome.  There was some real snow up there-- something we have been missing in Albuquerque this winter.  Taos usually gets over 300 inches of snow in a season.  It has always been my favorite place to ski, since long before I moved to New Mexico. (Taos Ski Valley was founded by Ernie Blake the same year that I was born.) One especially nice thing about ski trips is that you have to eat a LOT of food to keep up your energy.  So for our breakfasts I made some Nutty Winter Granola to bring. Then I thought we would probably also need to have plenty of Oatmeal Chip Cookies, in case we ran out of calories.  Since two of my friends can't eat gluten, I used gluten-free oats in both.   There was not a lot of complaining and we definitely did not bring back any cookies! It is hard work just walking around at high elevations, you know, and Taos Ski Valley is over 9,000 feet above sea level.  You need extra cookies to make it down those tree runs, too!

A perfect "10" -- best fall of the day!

A perfect "10" -- best fall of the day!

My favorite granola recipe is the one my friend Kristin gave me-- I just keep changing it around, to suit the season.  For winter I like it to add extra nuts and coconut, and the only fruit I put in it is dates. And then I bake it long enough to make it extra toasty.  For this Nutty Winter Granola you will need: 4 cups rolled oats, 1 cup sliced almonds, 1 cup skinned hazelnuts, 1 cup pecan pieces, 1 cup flaked coconut, 1 cup local honey, 2/3 cup canola oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla and one cup chopped dates.  1) mix oats, nuts, coconut, salt, honey & vanilla.  2) Spread mixture evenly over a large sheet cake or jelly roll pan.  3) Bake at 325 degrees, mixing every ten minutes until desired toastiness is achieved.  4) Allow to cool slightly, and the break up the big clumps as you mix in the dates.  Store in an airtight container.  Serve with yogurt, milk or fresh fruit OR just eat it by the handful-- it makes a great trail mix, too.

Winter morning breakfast

Winter morning breakfast

For the Oatmeal Chip Cookies, you need 1/4 cup butter, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda, 1 cup smooth peanut butter, 3 cups rolled oats, 3/4 cup chocolate chips, 3/4 cup butterscotch chips, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds and 1/2 cup walnuts.  (I adapted this recipe from the one on the back of the bag of oats--I was a little skeptical, but they rose beautifully.) 1) Cream the butter and sugars until smooth.  2) Mix in eggs, vanilla, soda-- then add peanut butter.  3) Mix in remaining ingredients-- batter will be very stiff.  4) Form 2" balls and flatten them slightly on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving 2" between cookies. 5) Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until puffed and golden. Cool completely and store in airtight container.

Taos Ski Valley

Taos Ski Valley