GLUTTON for QUINCIPLE!

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QUINCIPLE.COM is a new service that offers a box of wonderful, carefully selected food items delivered to your door by cargo tricycle once a week. It costs about fifty bucks, and it is currently only available in a few Manhattan neighborhoods, but expanding rapidly!  It has only been up and running for about a month, so now is the time to get excited about this promising new venture that will have you eating well, enjoying your time in the kitchen, and supporting small farmers and purveyors, both locally and throughout the country.

The only negative thing I can think to say of QUINCIPLE.COM is that I have a really hard time remembering its name. So I need a technique…the ‘Q’ is easy to remember, and it rhymes with “Principle.” But there is time to sort this out, since QUINCIPLE does not yet deliver to Brooklyn, which is its only other downside at the moment.  The big upside is that this box of goodness is curated by someone who really knows good food and where to find it.  KATE GALASSI has been the “forager” for April Bloomfield’s West Village gastropub, THE SPOTTED PIG and for Williamsburg offshoot, ALLSWELL, opened by Bloomfield protege, Nate Smith at the end of 2011.  In this role, she has functioned as the liaison between farmers and chefs for establishments that put an exceptional amount of care into the ingredients that they use.  The bottom line is that Kate knows where to find the good stuff, and instead of riding around town hitting all the farmers markets on her own bicycle with a refrigerator box and turning the bounty over to a couple of high profile chefs like she used to, she is now putting it in a cardboard box and having it delivered it to your door by REVOLUTION RICKSHAWS every week!

Now, I know what you’re thinking…this sounds like another pretentious foodie gimmick where you’re going to drop fifty bucks a week on a bunch of esoteric produce that you don’t know what to do with.  On the contrary, the beauty of QUINCIPLE is in its simplicity.  Each box comes with a beautifully designed, full color pamphlet featuring information on each ingredient, including its source of origin, storage tips and helpful hints about how to prepare it.  Additionally, the box includes recipe cards that feature simple recipes that can be prepared using multiple ingredients in the box and little else.  Here’s the thing…these are not fancy recipes that only appeal to hipster foodies, but delicious and thoughtful idea starters that rely only on the quality of the ingredients to dazzle your palate. 

Each box contains one protein, at least one grain, some milk and/or cheese, fruits, vegetables, greens and herbs.  It will not complete your food shopping for the week, but it will comprise the bulk of a few meals, and unlike other weekly CSA type programs we’ve explored in the past, you will find that by the end of the week, you have actually made good use of everything in the box and enjoyed it fully, mainly because it’s that good. 

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Our box featured a 1lb skin-on, bone-in chicken breast from the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative in Leola, PA; a pound of beautiful Rainbow Carrots from REMEMBERANCE FARM in Trumansburg, NY; gorgeous little Ruby Crescent Potatoes from MOUNTAIN SWEET BERRY FARM in Roscoe, NY; a bunch of Thyme from MUDDY RIVER FARM in New Hampton, NY; and a 1lb bag of Brown Jasmine Rice from CAJUN GRAIN in Kinder, Louisiana, among many other things.  I followed the enclosed recipe card to use these ingredients to make an outstandingly delicious “Chicken Soup with Rice” with no ingredients beyond the box other than an onion, a few tablespoons of Olive Oil, and salt and pepper!  As hard as I try, I can’t find anything silly or pretentious about this whatsoever.

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The best part is that half the carrots and potatoes were left over, which I roasted a few days later, along with a spectacular Butternut Squash from FISHKILL FARMS in Hopewell Junction, NY that was also included in the week’s booty.  Half the rice remained as well, which we used to compose another meal within the week. To accompany the soup, we couldn’t resist a few slices of the sizeable half loaf of Miche from Brooklyn’s own BIEN CUIT BAKERY in Cobble Hill.  The rest of the bread was consumed for breakfast a few days later with one of the incomparable Hass Avocados in the box from CALIFORNIA FAMILY FARMS in Westlake Village, CA as prompted by an almost absurdly simple recipe provided for “Avocado Toast.” 

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There were other breakfast treats in the box including one of the most fantastic Red Grapefruits I’ve ever eaten from CEE BEE’S CITRUS in Odessa, FL, a few Blood Oranges from SOMERS RANCH in Somis, CA, and two Granola Bars from Brooklyn based EARLY BIRD FOODS.  To round off the cornucopia of deliciousness, QUINCIPLE also included a fresh and flavorful 1/4 lb bag of Mixed Greens from BODHITREE FARM in Jobstown, NJ, a sinfully sweet quart of non-homogenized Whole Milk from ITHACA MILK CO. in Seneca Falls, NY, and the one item we’ve yet to consume, a 1/4 lb log of Chevre from VERMONT BUTTER & CHEESE CREAMERY in Websterville, VT.  This is not a problem, however, because as long as it remains unopened, the goat cheese will keep for another two months.

As Kate puts it, “not everything is sourced locally, but it’s all transparent,” so if the best avocados in the country are coming from a small farm in California and the best grapefruits from an orchard in Florida, you can benefit from the fact that she knows where to acquire them, and you can enjoy these items that are included in the box alongside the local produce, all of which is delivered to your door by bicycle.  The real beauty of this is that even though we don’t reside in The Upper West Side, Chelsea, West Village, East Village or the West Side of Lower Manhattan, and we can’t get the weekly box unless we move to one of those neighborhoods, the joy that has been bestowed upon us by QUINCIPLE.COM permeates the way we think about food beyond the box.  Just this weekend, at the local farmers market in Williamsburg, we were excited to find rainbow carrots and fingerling potatoes with the hope of replicating the  delicious roasted veggies we made from those that Kate selected for us. 

Join QUINCIPLE.COM by Sunday to receive that week’s box on Thursday evening between 6pm and 9pm, and every subsequent Thursday thereafter.  The website lists the contents of the box each week, so there are no surprises (unless you like it that way and avoid checking the site), and you can request that orders be withheld for weeks in which you don’t want them, for whatever reason.  As this company grows, not only will the delivery zone expand throughout the city, but Kate hopes to offer add-on staple items that can be selected on the website in a manner not unlike Fresh Direct…only much, much better.

Get in on the ground floor of this new delivery service that will awaken your palate, excite your culinary instincts, and fill your belly with some of the best ingredients available in America.  It’s kind of like having a personal grocery shopper with the highest standards imaginable who forages for the best stuff anywhere, armed with a fifty dollar bill and a bike.  If you reside in 10003, 10011, 10012, 10013, 10014, 10023, or 10069, consider yourself lucky.  The rest of us will just have to keep dreaming and checking the website weekly.