HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ina Garten's Ode to Marcella Hazan: Sicillian Grilled Swordfish and Ina's recipe for Confetti Corn

        
Victor and Marcella Hazan
There is a sad anniversary this week.  It’s been a year since the world lost Marcella Hazan, that wonderfully giving Italian food prophet with whom I struck up a friendship over the internet.  Fortunately, when you are as good as Marcella, your presence in the kitchen will not go with you.  And fortunately too, Marcella’s partner in life and in the kitchen, Victor Hazan, has kept Marcella's memory most alive for fans and friends on her Facebook
page. By complete coincidence, when I was poking around for a recipe for swordfish, what should appear before me but Ina Garten’s Sicillian Grilled Swordfish recipe which Ina said was inspired by Marcella. I found it in Ina’s “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof” (Clarkson Potter 2012).  This recipe certainly keeps up with the title of the book. It’s one of the easiest things I have cooked all summer.   It might take all of 15 minutes to put together.  And it delivers such fresh and full flavor that I wanted to share it with you.  And since we may be heading into the end of corn season, I wanted to also share an Ina recipe for Confetti Corn.  It’s appeared here before. But it is perfect with this dish.        

Monday, September 15, 2014

Three Great Additions to your Fall Cheese Boards: Sweet and Savory Bacon Jam, Fromage Fort and Toasted Walnuts and Raisins

 Top Left: Sweet and Savory Bacon Jam.  Center: Toasted Walnuts and Raisins
Right: Fromage Fort 
        
Simplicity itself: Toasted Walnuts and Raisins
Fromage Fort with Garlic and Pepper 
I am always on the look-out for ways to freshen the tried and true.   And as the temperature drops in the East, and entertaining moves indoors, Andrew and I love to put out a big platter of cheese and grapes, crackers and biscuits for our guests.  If you do it right, it not only stems those pre-dinner pangs of hunger, it looks gorgeous on your table.  But our cheese platters inevitably leave us with bits and pieces of various cheeses.  There’s leftover Brie, a morsel of hard cheese like Manchego and, if I fish around in the cheese drawer, I can usually come up with some mozzarella that’s too big to throw away or some gruyere that’s too good to do so.  I remembered reading about what the French do with the odds and ends and so I went on a quick and found the recipe for Fromage Fort. It’s so thrifty, I could practically hear my mother applauding from heaven.  And what a way to meld all these flavors together and get something completely new:  A wonderful spreadable cheese, rich in garlic and pepper.   So I had a new anchor for our cheese selection. At a recent cocktail party, my clever host, Huey, had simply combined some really good raisins with some toasted walnuts.  Nothing could be simpler or more satisfying. But my new discoveries didn’t end there.   I was confronted with a recipe I’d been wanting to try since forever.   It was for Sweet and Savory Bacon Jam. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Perfect Dinner Party Dish: Shrimp, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo adapted from Bon Appetit


The Pool was tented for the occasion.
What makes a dish perfect for a dinner party?  I’d suggest something that keeps the cook out of the kitchen so that he or she can really enjoy their dinner guests’  company as much as possible.  Last weekend, we were entertaining The Bride and Groom, that is our two friends, Jill and Steven, who have the distinction of being the only
The Wedding was
covered in "Vows"
in the New York Times.
couple who have been married at our house.   Turns out, this was a mere 6 years ago.  I thought it was longer, likely because it seemed to take a decade for the lawn to come back.  This year, the lawn had completely recovered from its wedding bell blues—except, of course, where a small dog, who shall remain nameless, left its marks this summer. 
Jill and Steven made the guest list of people they wanted to see.  And since there were both some new and familiar faces, Andrew and I wanted to be part of the group and not confined to the kitchen.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Galette of Late Summer Vegetables with (or without) Cheddar Cheese Ice Cream

        



Melissa Clark is one of my all-time favorite recipe makers. I look forward to her weekly columns in the Times one of which is called
“A Good Appetite”.   I sometimes think it also be called “Playing with Your Food” because Melissa treats her readers to any number of machinations and generally allows her followers free reign with her recipes.   And that’s exactly what I did with a recent foray Melissa took us on into the world of the galette.  A galette and its Italian cousin the crostata are free-form pastries that require no pie plate or tart pan. Instead dough is rolled out flat in something approaching a round shape, the filling is loaded on top and the edges of the dough are folded over the filling.  It’s completely undemanding and if filling oozes out of the side that’s all chocked up to the rustic charms of this particular offering.   Real butter is must when making the pastry and using the best filling you can find will turn out a gloriously golden dish that even the most novice baker can be proud of.   Andrew has shared his share of galettes and a superb crostata which you can find using the search function on the left side of this page.  But this would be our first savory version of the dish.  But I seemed to remember that pleasure of these was greatly increased when topped with a scoop of ice cream.  So when he and I made this one, I couldn’t help but wonder if that wouldn’t also be true here.  So I made Cheddar Cheese Ice Cream to top off our dish.  But first we made the galette.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

It's that time again! The Hampton Classic Grand Prix Luncheon 2014. And a recipe for Soup from a Centerpiece.

The Bridgehampton Florist's Personal Table
under the tent at the Classic
Edible Centerpiece!
The Heirloom Tomato Soup from the Centerpiece
Even Horses show up for the Grand Prix
The Hampton Classic is the season capper to what has been an extraordinary summer out here.  The weather has been nothing short of spectacular.   The sunny days far outnumbered any other kind and if anything we could use some rain.  And the nights have been blissfully cool saving everyone a fortune on air-conditioning.   The Classic seemed to come early this year.  It’s always the last week of August leading into Labor Day but this year, Labor Day is the earliest it can be.  Summer ending out here is a love it and hate it experience. We love it because it is now possible to drive the 6 miles to either Southampton to the west or Easthampton to the east in under an hour. The hate it part is, of course, back to the grindstone after quaffing the last bottle of Rosé.  So the Classic and its Grand Prix Day marks the end of a wonderful season.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Alice Medrich's Plum and Almond Tart

 

Oven and Camera Ready! 
        
Vanilla Ice Cream on the side
is highly recommended
When you have a blog to write, you tend not to repeat recipes once you have made them.  You’re pretty well under the gun to cook something you’ve never tried before simply to create content for your readers.  Most of the time, this isn’t all that difficult to do, especially when you have literally thousands of recipes at your disposal.  But then once in a while you come across something that rings all the bells.  It not only tastes phenomenal, it uses the season’s best ingredients and, if they’re locally grown so much the better.  And then there are those gems that not only meet those criteria but they’re incredibly easy to make.  At that precise moment, you have to assert great discipline in not running out and making the dish on an everyday basis.  With this tart, the invention of one of California’s greatest bakers, all that discipline went out the window.  The tart appeared three times in a week, breaking all previous records for recipe repeating in the shortest amount of time.  But one bite of Alice Medrich’s superb invention, I can almost guarantee you’ll put this on your repeat list too.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Zucchini Corn and Parmesan Fritters




         I’ve always gotten a kick out of stories of massive Zucchini crops suddenly emerging in August and causing their growers to wonder what on earth to do with all of them.  When I was in Elementary School, I distinctly remember a classmate whose mother’s solution was to send her son armed with enormous bags of Zucchini to school each day.  He was quite systematic in his giving.  He would go to a different teacher’s classroom every day and deposit a bag on her desk, beaming.  The first teacher was overwhelmed with his mother’s largesse.  But by the end of the week the last teacher was simply overwhelmed, likely because Teachers #1, 2, 3 and 4 had already shared the bounty of Gordon’s mother’s garden with all their fellow teachers.  Did she go home and make Zucchini bread? Or Zucchini pickles? I can’t help but hope that she made Zucchini Fritters because undoubtedly Gordon and his well-intentioned mother would have been forgiven.   These wonderful cakes, fried to a crisp, are an American classic.  Did you know that Crab Cakes are actually fritters?   And while you can make them with everything from apples to pineapples to peas, the season’s bumper crop of Zucchini and Corn make an irresistible fritter.  Especially when freshly grated Parmesan cheese is added to the batter.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Roasted Shrimp Salad with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes and Avocado


        Last Sunday, we gave a pool party for our god-daughter.  It’s an annual event to celebrate her birthday for the four of us who are called “The Uncles”.  Andrew and I and Terry and Shawn have watched Olivia grow up and we’ve been there for every birthday.  It’s the perfect time to break out the Rosé and the pool toys—this year a gigantic swan Olivia named “Gloria Swanson”.  It’s also the perfect occasion for this salad.   I was drawn to a recipe from Ann Burrell, the Food Network’s wild-haired woman who, it turns out, is a summer visitor to the Hamptons.  In her original recipe which appeared in Hamptons magazine, Ann used our perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes as the basis for a shrimp salad.  I took off from there.  First, I have to thank Ina Garten, who, as almost everybody knows, lives in the next town over full time.  From Ina, I learned that roasting shrimp is the best way to capture all their flavor.  Far superior to boiling shrimp, roasting them seems to bake all the flavor into the shrimp.  The tomatoes were a no-brainer. 

The Comfort family farm down the road has baskets of heirloom cherry tomatoes and plenty of beefsteak tomatoes too which I put into action. Since Olivia loves avocado, Andrew and I peeled and sliced 3 ripe avocados into the salad.  The final touch in Ann Burrell’s recipe called for Black Volcanic Salt.  Fortunately, Williams Sonoma sells this rare salt in a finishing salt selection.  If you can get your hands on it, please do.  Otherwise you can be forgiven for using any large grained salt like Fleur de Sel.  This salad is so simple to make, so satisfying to eat and so beautiful to look at that I’d recommend putting that bag of Costco shrimp you’ve got in the freezer to work this weekend.  Here’s the recipe:


Recipe for Roasted Shrimp Salad with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes and Avocado. Takes 30 minutes to make.  Serves 8.

1-2 lb bag of 31-35 count Shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on *
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. Crushed Red or Alleppo Pepper
2 pints of heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
2 lbs. of ripe, red soil grown tomatoes
3 ripe Haas Avocados, peeled, pit removed and sliced into ½ inch wedges.
½ white or Maui onion, peeled and sliced very thin
12 large fresh basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade**
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Black Volcanic Sea Salt


1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, chopped garlic and red or Aleppo pepper flakes.  

3. Place shrimp in a large bowl and pour olive oil and garlic mixture over them, making sure to coat all the shrimp with the mixture.

4. Put the shrimp on a single layer on a sheet pan.  Salt and pepper the shrimp and put them in the oven.  The smaller sized shrimp (31-35 count) will cook in 5 minutes.  Larger shrimp will take only slightly longer.  Do not overcook. Shrimp are done when they turn pink and are opaque all the way through.


5. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion and avocado and half of the basil chiffonade.








6. Remove the shrimp from the sheet pan and pour all the juices and garlic bits into the bowl with the tomatoes, onion and avocado. Add the vinegar and toss gently.
7. Arrange the salad on individual plates, top with shrimp and sprinkled with the remaining basil chiffonade and black volcanic salt over all.  Serve.

  
*You can use the larger sizes too 21-25 or 11-15 count.  Just adjust the roasting time upwards in 3 minute intervals.
** To make a chiffonade of basil leaves, stack 6 leaves on top of each other, gently roll them into a cigar shape and then use a sharp knife to slice them into thin ribbons. Repeat.  Stack, roll, slice and you’ve made a chiffonade.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Two Recipes that have Summer in the Hamptons written all over them! Lobster and Corn Chowder and Peach Blueberry Crisp




         “As the days dwindle to a precious few”….I have to wonder why it is that from August 1st on, everyone out East starts talking about the end of summer!  There are another 7 weeks left but inevitably these get whittled down.  Freshmen are leaving for college the 19th.  New York private school kids sports programs gear up the same week.  Egads! They may be right!  This spectacular summer, with weather that’s kept the air conditioning off almost continuously and with Camelot-like rain that nevers falls till after sundown, is winding down. So it’s time to celebrate with food that has summer written all over it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

John Barricelli's Lemon Meringue Tart from his SoNo Baking Company Cookbook


        

As you can see, this is one gorgeous dessert.  And it gave Andrew an opportunity to use a 13 ¼ inch rectangular tart pan.  But don’t put off it you lack one of this size and dimension.  John Barricelli’s original recipe gives the green light to a 9 inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.   You may remember Chef Barricelli’s most recent appearance here as the author the Coconuttiest Cake of all time.   Here he has re-invented traditional lemon meringue pie.  Instead of using lemon-flavored pastry cream, he has created a filling that’s richer and even tangier—it’s lemon curd.  This means a much more intense lemon experience.  And John gives the credit for the curd to none other than Martha Stewart with whom he worked for several years, appearing as her pastry maven on TV.  Martha’s curd is distinguished by its use of fresh-squeezed lemon juice to which butter is added at the very end of the cooking process.   This is another instance where you need to bake in some time, pardon the pun, for chilling the Pâte Brisée for an hour.  Then, once the crust is in the tart pan, it needs another half hour firming up in the refrigerator. Finally, the glorious meringue was browned using our in-kitchen blowtorch. The original recipe said to run it under the broiler for a minute or two which I how I transcribed the recipe here.   Here’s the recipe:
John Barricelli’s Lemon Meringue Tart from The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook (Clarkson Potter 2010)

First make the Pâte Brisée:
The pastry for this recipe needs to rest in the refrigerator a minimum of an hour.  So add that timing to this recipe. Once that’s been done, the Tart comes together quickly. First make the pastry, a pâte brisée.  This recipe makes enough for one double crust pie of two single crust pies. Make the whole recipe and  you can freeze the second crust for up to a month.  And this crust can be used in both sweet and savory incarnations.  The trick here is make sure all your ingredients—wet and dry—are cold.  And not just the ingredients…you should chill the bowl and blade of your food processor or the bowl and attachment of your standing mixer. 

2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1⁄4 cup ice water
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds.



2. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream until the dough just comes together. The dough should not be wet or sticky. If the dough is too dry and doesn’t hold together, add a little more water.


3. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide in two and wrap each half in plastic wrap, shaping them into flattened disks. Chill at least 1 hour before using.




Now make the Lemon Curd:

2 tbsp. cold water
1 tsp. powdered unflavored gelatin
6 large egg yolks
Grated zest of 4 lemons
½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup sugar
1/8 tsp. coarse salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes.



For the meringue:
3 large egg whites
½ cup sugar
Pinch of coarse salt
1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the cold water over the gelatin. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and salt and whisk to combine.  Set over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.  Do not boil. Whisk in the gelatin.



2. Strain the curd through a fine sieve into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat until cool about 5 minutes. Beat in the butter a little at a time, until smooth.  Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. 








3. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.










4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 7 by 17 inch rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. 











5. Fit the dough into a 4 x 13 ¼ inch fluted rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom, and trim the dough so that it comes slightly above the rim of the tart pan. The press the excess dough against the sharp edge of the rim of the pan with the heel of your hand to cut it level with the pan.  Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

6. Set the over rack in the bottom third of the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicone baking mat. Set aside. Place the chilled tart shell on the prepared baking sheet and line it with parchment paper, leaving a 1 inch overhang.  Fill with pie weights. 


7. Bake until the edges of the tart shell are firm and are just beginning to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove the parchment paper and the pie weights.  Return the tart shell to the oven and continue to bake until the surface is golden all over, about 10 more minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.







8. Whisk (or beat in a standing mixer) the lemon curd to loosen.  Spread the curd over the bottom of the cooled tart shell. Refrigerate.





9. Bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler. Combine the egg whites, sugar and alt in the top of the double boiler, set it over, (not in) the simmering water and whish to dissolve the sugar just until it melts, 1 to 2 minutes.  (The mixture should feel just warm to the touch and not gritty.) 


10. Transfer to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed until the meringue is glossy an stiff peaks form when you lift the whisk.







11. Preheat the broiler and arrange an oven rack 5 to 6 inches from the broiler element.  Spread the meringue over the lemon curd. 






12. Place the tart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and broil until the meringue is nicely browed, 1 to two minutes.  Serves 8.