CREATE YOURsummerwithThe chef and owner of boutique catering company Woldy Kusina hosted us upstate in Leeds, New York, with a spread inspired by his Filipino heritage and love for the Hudson Valley. Feast your eyes…
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Filipino flavors are bold and exciting. They’re sweet, salty, sour and spicy.
“Pancit is a Filipino stir-fried noodle. My version for summer is more of a salad.”
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Woldy’s summer pancit (noodle salad)
Ingredients
For pancit:
1 pound sweet potato noodles
½ cup carrots, shredded
½ cup watermelon radish, cut into matchsticks
½ cup celery, thinly sliced on a diagonal
½ cup cilantro, chopped
⅓ cup scallions, chopped
¼ cup unsalted roasted chopped peanuts
Fresh mint leaves for garnish
Vegetable oil for noodles

For dressing:
½ cup sweet chili sauce
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons sriracha
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
PreparationBring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook sweet potato noodles for 5 minutes.

Rinse the noodles in cold water and drain completely.

Transfer noodles into a bowl, drizzle with vegetable oil and toss.

With kitchen scissors, cut noodles into 6-inch strips. Transfer noodles into serving bowl.

Pile on carrots, radish, celery, scallions and cilantro.

In a separate bowl, whisk together sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar, tamari, sriracha, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour dressing over noodles and toss.

Garnish with fresh mint and chopped peanuts.
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“I like to shop local and celebrate Hudson Valley makers, so I use tablewares curated by Hudson River Exchange, from AAPI makers like Erica Recto, Sarah Mijares, Dōye Studio and New York Heartwoods. The illustrated dandelion cards are from Hartland Brooklyn, for a pop of color.”
In conversation with Woldy
Tell us about Filipino cooking—what flavors, spices and ingredients do you use the most?“I use garlic, ginger, coconut milk, vinegar, acid from limes and lemons, tamari, soy sauce… Each ingredient has its own flavor characteristics, but when they’re combined, you achieve that umami goodness—what Filipino food is all about.”
How do you choose your produce?“I like to visit my favorite local farm stand here in upstate New York. Going to your local farmers market is the best way to see what’s in season and locally grown. On my last trip, I picked up sweet carrots, celery, spicy watermelon radishes, cilantro, scallions and mint.”
Do you have any favorite farms upstate?“Story Farms in Catskill, New York, and The Farm Store at MX Morningstar Farm in Hudson. Every time I go, I’m blown away by the vibrant fruits and vegetables grown on their land.”
Best tips for a summer picnic that’s impressive but simple?“Go to the farmers market and source food that’s fresh and easy to eat. A baguette or loaf of country bread, dried fruits and nuts, a local cheese—maybe even berries and a bottle of orange wine, depending on the season. You don’t have to make anything—it’s about connecting with your friends and the outdoors.”
Watch Woldy put it all together
“I enjoy the art of dressing, so I like to be stylish but also tend to wear things that are easy and utilitarian.”
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On Woldy’s picnic guest list: his friends from Hartland on Hudson (a coffee and stationary shop where he often hosts food pop-ups), and their dog, Rufus.
Woldy’s calamansi sodaFun fact: Calamansi is a small, sour citrus hybrid native to the Philippines.
Ingredients
¾ cup water
1 cup Pick & Squeeze calamansi honey
(can be found online)
½ ounce lime juice
Seltzer water
2 ounces gin (optional)
PreparationCombine calamansi honey and water in a small saucepan over low heat and cook until the honey dissolves.

Remove from heat, transfer to a glass jar and let cool.

Pour lime, ¾ ounce of calamansi honey syrup and gin into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well.

Pour into a glass over ice.

Top with seltzer water.

Garnish with lime wheel.
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