Hudson Valley Good Stuff was invited to attend the Green Peas TV's event "Against the Grain" at the new Saugerties Performing Arts Factory on March 31st. I hadn't been inside the building at 169 Ulster Avenue in Saugerties since it was the Weekend Liquidator store. I was greeted by Lou Spina, Director of Operations who envisioned this new art space. I didn't meet the owners Erica and Gerard Price though. They really did a spectacular job. It takes a visionary to look at a Liquidator store and imagine a hip spacious performing studio/art gallery.
The dining hall is spacious, and all the tables were perfectly set. It was open seating, except for 2 reserved tables so I claimed a spot at a table of four where an attractive woman was sitting solo. She introduced herself as Elle, and we made small talk. It didn't take long for me to realize that she was Frank Serpico's girlfriend. He kept on winking at her and coming over to talk to her during breaks from the cooking show.
There was no photography allowed during the Cooking Show and storytelling portion of the event, and afterwards I understood why. The flashing of smartphones would have been distracting and it probably would have taken away the magic of the moment.
Frank Serpico and Chef Robert Turner, executive chef of Omega Food Works, who teaches at Omega during the Summer cooked on stage, sharing stories about food. First dish was an Italian soup cooked called stracciatella soup. This soup was very clear and light, sort of similar to an egg drop soup. The second dish they prepared was gnocchi lightly sauteed with olive oil. I told Elle my terrible gnocchi story.
I haven't tried gnocchi since the first time I tried them in Argentina and hated them 25 years ago, but I trusted Frank Serpico's recipe and tried these. To my total surprise, I loved them! All the dishes were made of local ingredients. The salad was delicious and had pine nuts and currants. If you want to see photos of the food at the event, go to the Green Peas TV Facebook Page. The Daily Freeman was there and shot a good video of the storytelling portion of the event.
My favorite part was dessert, provided by Rhinebeck chocolatier Oliver Kita, which included 3 chocolate creations. One of them was made of a secret ingredient. Serpico refused to eat the chocolate Buddha. To be exact, Oliver Kita commented to me on Facebook that it was a "Dark Chocolate Buddha, Chococolate Pave and Violet Halo for dessert- the secret ingredient in the violet halo was UBE- purple yam- a popular southeast asian dessert treat."
During the intermission and after the show, audience members hovered over Mr. Serpico for a photo opportunity or to sign a book. It was a great night in the Hudson Valley. I have to confess that I only saw "Serpico" the movie last night, and now have a better understanding of the fascination about the former good cop. Of course, my husband who is 10 years older than I am knew all about the legend of "Serpico" and was a bit jealous that he missed out on this wonderful event. For more information on future shows at S.P.A.F or other Green Peas TV events visit their websites.