HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ceviche of Fluke, Shelter Island style


        
Aerial View of Shelter Island 
Shelter Island, for those of you who don’t know, is a 5 minute ferryboat-only ride away from The Hamptons, or more properly Sag Harbor, or more specifically North Haven. On the other end of the island there’s an 8 minute ferry to Greenport on the North Fork.  Despite its close proximity, a ride over to Shelter Island is seen by many of us as a “vacation” from the hubbub of the Hamptons.  Shelter Island was included in the land grant that King James I conveyed to the original Plymouth Colony in 1620.   Since no one made any use of the island or, for that matter had settled anywhere on Long Island, in 1636, King James’ heir, Charles I gave the island to William Alexander, Earl of Stirling. His agent and attorney, a man named James Farret, was then allowed to choose 12,000 acres for his private use.  He chose Shelter Island and the neighboring Robbins Island as his reward. Farret in turn, sold the island for all of 1600 pounds of sugar.  The recipient of this largesse was a man
Sylvester Manor 
named Nathaniel Sylvester who became its first European settler, the island having long been inhabited by native Americans of the Manhanset tribe.  Using African slave labor and indentured English servants, the vast Sylvester Estate raised food crops and livestock for slaughter.   The Sylvesters were part of the Triangle Trade between the American and West Indies colonies, Africa and England.  His descendants kept slaves into the 19th century.  One of his descendants built a fine mansion, Sylvester Manor, in the center of the island.  

It remains there today. Except for the surrounding 24 acres, all the rest of the original holdings have been sold off.  The Sylvesters gave refuge to Quakers, a group much persecuted in the 1700s.  Much to my surprise, in doing some genealogical study, I found that my 10th Great Grandfather and Mother, Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick, were among those Quakers and are buried at Sylvester Manor.       

Monday, July 21, 2014

Melissa Clark's Roasted Heirloom Carrot Salad with Miso Dressing



David Santos and Melissa Clark
        

While I’ve been familiar with heirloom tomatoes for several years now, this year was my introduction to heirloom carrots in, of all places, Trader Joe’s.  It was there that I first saw a 2 lb. bag labeled Rainbow Carrots.   Last time I checked a rainbow had considerably more colors than these do but for all of us who grew up thinking carrots were a distinct shade of orange, these were real eye-openers.  They ranged from deep red through several shades of orange and to an almost white carrot that looked more like a parsnip.  The first time I cooked them, I leaned on my standard preparation, which involves boiling peeled whole carrots until they are tender, then quickly glazing them with some butter and brown sugar.  I can’t say that I noticed any real difference in taste between the various colors but if nothing else, they were a conversation starter.  Then I saw that Melissa Clark had written a recipe for them in her “Restaurant Takeaway” column in the Times.  The column is devoted to restaurant dishes that Melissa has whipped up making them accessible to home cooks by tweaking and testing then in hers.  And we should all thank her for this.  And certainly a word of thanks is due to David Santos, from whose Louro Restaurant (142 West 10th St. at Waverly Place) Tel: (212) 206-0606 www.louronyc.com) Melissa purloined the recipe.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Red Eye Devil's Food Cake...fit for the White House and Our House

         


I know Andrew is good, I mean really good. But his baking skills really hit an all-time personal best with the making of this sinfully rich, fudgy, bittersweet cake.  As Melissa Clark, who co-wrote “The Perfect Finish” (W.W. Norton and Co. (2010) the cookbook it came from wrote, “If this is not the ultimate birthday cake, I can’t imagine what is.”  Its inventor is a pastry chef named Bill Yosses. While his may not be a household name, in one household, he was the king of all pastries. That household was the White House, where he presided as Pastry Chef for both the Bush Family and the Obamas.  Chef Yosses trained in France and then was scooped up by Daniel Boulud and later, Thomas Keller.  From there he went on to work at Bouley Restaurant and Bakery.  Chef Yosses left the White House in June, a departure he says was “all Michelle Obama’s fault.” The First Lady, it seems, piqued his interest in the relationship between food and health. “Mrs. Obama’s quest to improve the way children eat was done “ with humor and good will, without preaching, just the way you would hope the ‘Mom-in-chief’ would do,” he said. Yosses said Mrs. Obama is “definitely an inspiring boss, a combination of spontaneity and seriousness.”  She inspired the Chef to such an extent that he’s headed back to New York to educate children about nutrition.  But I am sure he’ll be forever remembered there for his Red Eye Devil’s Food Cake alone.  Why “Red Eye”, you may wonder ?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Moroccan Flavored Tagine of Chicken with special thanks to Mrs. Eileen Gaden

     

         I’ve wanted to cook in a tagine for ages and I mentioned this my friends Bill and Peter.  Now they are both the soul of generosity and recently when we were at their house for dinner, Bill presented me with 3 Tagines that had belonged to his grandmother.  Bill’s was no ordinary Grandmother.  She was Eileen Gaden of Gourmet Magazine, who, with a writing partner named Ann Seranne, was the author and photographer of countless cookbooks starting in 1946 with “The Modern Sandwich, The Art of Sandwich Making for All Occasions” and continuing for the next 50 years to produce cookbooks on anything and everything. They even wrote for Proctor and Gamble: In 1956 they published "Creative Cooking Made Easy: The Golden Fluffo Cookbook".  Then came “The Blender Cookbook”(1961) (which they later updated and called “The Food Processor Blender Cookbook” in 1981). In the intervening years they produced, “The Church and Club Woman’s Companion”(1964), “The Complete Book of Desserts” (1969) and high on my wish list: “1001 Ideas for Parties, Fairs and Suppers (1964). I keep hoping Bill has a mint copy of that one because Amazon lists its price new as $2432.64. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Best Ever Barbecued Ribs Recipe"


Bon Appetit's Photo of its "Best Ever Ribs Recipe".
Would that the recipe was as good as their photo.
         One of my very favorite things to eat are ribs. Pork ribs and to get even more specific, St. Louis cut Pork Ribs which I buy in quantity at Costco.  I long since gave up on supermarket spare ribs, which are priced in the bargain basement (where they belong).  Inevitably, you open the package of ribs only to discover a piece of leftover tails that is virtually inedible.  But once I discovered the joys of Costco ribs, I’ve never bought anything else.         
Adam Rapoport at the Grill
So you can imagine how pleased I was, when planning a birthday dinner for a dear friend and quite a few of his friends, when into my email box came a recipe from Bon Appetit entitled “Best-Ever Barbecued Ribs”.  Not only was there a recipe, but there was a video of them being made by none other than Adam Rapoport, editor of the magazine. Adam took over from Barbara Fairchild when the latter declined to move to New York City as requested by Bon Appetit’s publisher, Conde Nast.  This was just after the demise of Gourmet magazine and I thoroughly applaud Adam for lifting Bon Appetit up and including articles that could have appeared in Gourmet but most certainly did not appear in Bon Appetit in Ms. Fairchild’s day.   So it was a bit of a shock when I discovered that Adam’s video instructions were completely at odds with the written recipe.  I mean there were so many differences that it took a complete overhaul of the recipe.  But I ended up with a spectacular version of ribs--almost accidentally-- that I wanted to share with you.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Cocktail Party Fare: Shiitake Mushroom Crostini topped with Parmesan Cheese

        

The Cocktail Party is a perennial fixture of summer in the Hamptons. Let’s face it, it’s a great way to get all your social commitments covered in one big bash.  It generally lasts a finite number of hours, usually three at most, and gives you a chance to put people together without worrying yourself sick over whether they’ll get along at a dinner table.
  Of course, with something as ubiquitous as the
Alec Waugh
Cocktail Party, there’s bound to be some question over who first invented it.  Alec Waugh, an English writer and the elder brother of the better-known Evelyn Waugh, is often given the credit for inventing the Cocktail Party.  In the 1920s in London, he served Rum Swizzles to an astonished group of friends who thought they’d been invited for tea. Early evening drinks parties in London took off from there. But the actual credit for the invention of the Cocktail Party must go to a Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr of St. Louis, Missouri.  In May of 1917, Mrs. Walsh invited 50 guests to her house on a Sunday at high noon for a drinks party with a one-hour duration.   The event was written up in the St.
The home of Mrs. Julius Walsh Jr.
now owned, ironically, by the
Diocese of St. Louis
Paul MN. Pioneer Press. Since St. Paul is over 500 miles from St. Louis, Mrs. Walsh’s party must have been wildly newsworthy perhaps because Mrs. Walsh's invitees must have come directly from church services to drink at Mrs. Walsh's.  The newspaper reported “The party scored an instant hit” and noted that within weeks, cocktail parties had become “a St. Louis institution”.  And what about the food?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Smoked Prime Rib on the Grill, Roasted Tomatoes with Pesto and Tortini of Zucchini





       
The lovely and extremely
talented Elizabeth Karmel
T
he 4th of July is upon us and there's never a better time to fire up the grill and celebrate the joy of being an American.  And there's almost nothing more American than beef.  And today I am talking serious beef, not your hamburgers and sliders but a big beautiful rib roast.  And what could be more 4th of July than cooking this King of all Roasts on the grill. So today I repeat a post from our first year: It's a menu that celebrates the holiday with the beef served with some incredibly flavorful tomatoes and a zucchini recipe that turns every plate into a piece of art. What's exciting to me is that since I first wrote this post, I came to know the author of the Prime Rib recipe, Hill Country Barbecue's Executive Chef, Elizabeth Karmel.  Elizabeth may well be familiar to those of you who watch Chopped Chef where she's been regularly pressed into service as a judge.  It turns out that Elizabeth grew up with a great friend of ours. David has had the good sense to invite Elizabeth to the Hamptons for the weekend and with her arrival, his dinner parties have topped our list of most-appreciated invitations.  Her pimento cheese, her 7 layer salads and her artichoke and spinach dip are all ambrosial.  But even before I met Elizabeth, I fell in love with her grilled Prime Rib.
       Regular readers of Chewing the Fat have heard that I do not run outdoors on the first decent day and fire up the grill.  I have the grill pans to prove it.  As a matter of fact, it sometimes takes me a little while to bring the grill up to the deck from its winter storage place in the garage.  This is fundamentally because I do not feel in complete control of the Weber.  And to me, gas is out of the question because if you’re going to use a grill, surely half of the desired result is some smoky flavor to announce where whatever you’ve cooked has come from. But not too long ago, we were having quite a big group for dinner and I wanted to serve Prime Rib. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Poached Cod with Tomato and Saffron from Bon Appetit


Eric Rippert 
Recently, Andrew and I went to hear Eric Rippert, Fish Chef Extraordinaire  and proprietor of the perennially four-starred Le Bernardin restaurant in New York.  Chef Rippert appeared at a food forum at the YMHA hosted by Adam Gopnick of The New Yorker magazine.   During the question and answer period, the chef was asked what fish he was currently enamored with.   He immediately answered Halibut and since I’d just appropriated a recipe for Halibut from Bon Appetit, off I went to shop from dinner.    When I got to the fishmonger, I was staggered to discover that Halibut was $29.99 a lb.  Now I love Chef Rippert but my love has boundaries and $29.99 a lb. for anything is one of them.  But right next to the Halibut was a beautiful white filet of Atlantic cod from Canada.  The cod came in at $10.99 a lb.  And since I also had a Cod recipe from the same Bon Appetit, I immediately shifted gears.  Since I was making only two portions of the recipe for Poached Cod with Tomato and Saffron, the 10 oz. of fish cost all of $6.85.   The whole meal would have been a spectacular bargain were it not for the Saffron, which even at Trader Joe’s prices, came in at $5.99 for a .020 oz. of the stuff.  Still, the meal was relatively inexpensive, incredibly fast to prepare and absolutely delicious.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Martha Stewart's Cornmeal Berry Sheet Cake




 There’s a twitter feed called “Drunk Ina Garten” written by someone as a parody.  And every time I post an Ina Garten piece, the guy who tweets it picks up on it in about five minutes flat, re-tweets it and I get tons of hits from his readers.  Strangely, there doesn’t seem to be one for our other local legend, whom I would have to think, could be subject of more parodies than our Ina.  That local legend is none other than Martha Stewart, whose makes East Hampton one of her four homes all within driving distance of each other—except perhaps the one in Maine which is a private jet away.  I owe a geat deal to Martha and I am not embarrassed to say it.  Here is a woman who almost single-handedly restored the joys of home-making, crafting, entertaining, gardening and housekeeping. I see her influence all over my own house and garden. Despite all I owe Martha, when I occasionally see her out and about locally and I am invariably too paralyzed to say hello to the woman. 
          And then there is her considerable contribution to home cooking.  She is of the  devotees of “Cook Your Way Through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” School of Culinary Education.   And it has certainly served her well.  Now the provenance of her recipes is sometimes questioned. Unlike Ina who is forthright about what she learned from whom, Martha never attributes a thing to anyone but Martha.  I feel compelled to attribute posts from Martha’s recipes not just this week but for two weeks running. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Paola's Carnegie Hill Restaurant NYC and a recipe for Pasta con Asparagi (Pasta with Asparagus)



Paola's Restaurant 
1295 Madison Avenue at 92nd St. NYC
Tel: (212) 794-1890

Reservations and Information: www.paolasrestaurant.com


Paola's Pici con Asparagi         

Not too long ago, I was early for a lecture in Carnegie Hill, a family-friendly East Side Manhattan neighborhood known to tourists by another name: Museum Mile.  The Guggenheim and the Jewish Museum are right there. And later this year, the long-awaited reopening of The Copper Hewitt National Design Museum will draw even more people to Carnegie Hill. Though New York’s # 1 tourist attraction, The Metropolitan Museum, is outside its boundaries, it too is within easy walking distance.  Carnegie Hill, I was about to discover, is also home to Paola’s, an ode to Italian cooking that’s the very definition of the perfect neighborhood restaurant.  But in this case, it’s a neighborhood place that’s worth a detour for anyone who wants to indulge in some great food.  It’s created by a truly original Chef who never stops inventing and re-inventing everything that makes her restaurant so popular.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Martha Stewart's Strawberry Shortcake with Basil. The Perfect Cake to celebrate Uncle Andrew's Day!



Uncle Andrew...there from the very
beginning.
Last weekend, we celebrated Father’s Day with all the necessary cards, salutations on Facebook, telephone calls filled with praise for Dear Old Dad.   I know how much it meant to me and how much I admire the Dad in my own family who is raising one spectacular grandson.  And how spectacular is he?  Well, at age almost 4, he came to visit Uncle Andrew and me for Father’s Day two years ago.  As he proudly handed me an oversized
There for Mason always.
Father’s Day card, he turned to his mother and said “There really ought to be an Uncle Andrew’s Day”.  And well there should be.  When I think of how much Uncle Andrew does for Mason, the grandson in question, and then when I multiply it out for a lifetime of giving to his nieces and nephews and god children, there likely should an Uncle Andrew month.  Then, when I think of all the other uncles –the Terrys, the Shawns, the Jeffs, the Dons, the Michaels, the Jims, the Hueys, the Bills and the Peters—this ought to be a national holiday. Add to them all the single Moms –the Annas, the Cindys, the Zoilas--who are both mother and father to their children and Father’s Day just does not cover all the people it takes to raise a child.  So here’s to all of you on Uncle Andrew’s Day!  And what better way to celebrate than with a cake! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Short Ribs in a Cinnamon and Red Wine Sauce: An East Indian take on a North American Classic


           
          This was one of the first posts I published back in 2010 when I started to blog.  Because my readership was nowhere near what it is now, I should not have been as surprised as I was to see that it never really attracted a big audience. That struck me as a shame because it is a spectacularly interesting take by a master of Indian cooking who invented one of the most unique cooking styles anywhere--a fusion between Indian inflected spices and great Canadian ingredients--in this case the country's phenomenal grass fed beef.  As to its seasonality, I say it would be as good in July as it would be in January.  After all, it's a variation on that summer staple--Ribs.  What makes it a particularly attractive take on Ribs is that it doesn't require firing up a grill.  Instead it cooks away in the oven for hours.   So here, a reprise of something awfully good that I hope will get the attention it deserves.
          If you’ve had any luck in life, you’ve had the good fortune to visit Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s a city that’s got it all. They say in winter you can sail and ski on the same day. Surrounded by water and a little over an hour from the slopes at Whistler, that sounds highly possible. Yes, it has that Pacific Northwest climate with a few more rainy days than I’d find ideal, but it’s blessedly warmer than the rest of Canada in winter and temperate all summer. And Vancouver is a foodie’s delight. In fact, Mimi Sheraton thinks the best Asian cuisine in North America is found there. I’d add that the best South Asian food in Vancouver is served at Vij’s, Vikram VijDescription: http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=52246-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=1553651847’s no reservation restaurant at 1480 West 11th Street in the South Granville area of the city. And I wouldn’t be alone. The New York Times called Vij’s “Easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world.” 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Shrimp, Corn and Avocado Quesadillas and Ina Garten's recipe for Roasted Shrimp


         I got a big kick out of this recipe when I initially made it.  It calls for ‘leftover shrimp’.  Does anyone actually ever have leftover shrimp? If anything, when you serve these addictive little two-bite appetizers, you are more likely to have anything other than a tail leftover.  Then I proved myself wrong because I did in fact have some beautiful roasted shrimp left over.  I made them using Ina Garten’s superb recipe.  Roasting shrimp makes infinite good sense.  When you boil shrimp, you’re basically boiling out the flavor, all of which will be absorbed by the water they’re boiled in.  Roast shrimp and you’re roasting the flavor into the shrimp.  I can almost guarantee you will never boil another shrimp once you’ve tried Ina’s recipe which comes right after the one for Quesadillas. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins from Fine Cooking Magazine


        

Rhubarb season, like asparagus season, is eagerly awaited at our house.  Andrew cannot wait to get his hands on the slender red and green stalks and get into the kitchen to bake. The first rhubarb of the season is always preferable to what comes later:  The thicker the stalks, the tougher and stringier the rhubarb. This may account for the love it or hate it reputation rhubarb has.  Notoriously tart, its natural companion is sugar to compensate for the bite.  These muffins however are not overly sweet, the Sour cream added to the batter keeps them that way.  The cinnamon gives them an irresistible scent.
         Botanically rhubarb is a vegetable. But in 1947 a court in New York ruled, in a burst of judicial clarity, that since it was used as a fruit in the US, it should be counted as a fruit for “purposes of regulations and duties”.   Since tariffs were higher for vegetables than fruits, the net effect of this ruling was that rhubarb was cheaper to import.  Despite having been grown in China for at least 2700 years and being brought to Europe by Marco Polo, rhubarb has only been grown in this country since about 1820. It was brought to Maine and Massachusetts by European settlers and moved westward from there.   If you do grow your own rhubarb –which is relatively easy to do as it’s a hardy perennial--note that only the stalks are edible. The leaves in fact are poisonous. Here’s the recipe for this wonderful seasonal treat, best served warm which can easily be accomplished by re-heating them at 350 degrees for 3 to 4 minutes. 

Recipe for Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins from Fine Cooking Magazine


For the muffins:
9 oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup sour cream
4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups 1/4-inch-diced rhubarb (7-1/4 oz.)
For the topping:
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil baking cups.


Make the muffin batter:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and whisk to blend.



In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Lightly stir the sour cream mixture into the dry ingredients with a spatula until the batter just comes together; do not overmix. 


Gently stir in the diced rhubarb. 




The batter will be thick.




Divide the batter among the muffin cups, using the back of a spoon or a small spatula to settle the batter into the cups. The batter should mound a bit higher than the tops of the cups.




Make the topping: In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Sprinkle a generous 1/2 tsp. of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over each muffin.
Bake the muffins until they’re golden brown, spring back most of the way when gently pressed, and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully lift the muffins out of the pan—if necessary, loosen them with the tip of a paring knife—and let them cool somewhat. Serve warm.