HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Double Cut Pork Chops with Roasted Garlic Butter and a side of Stir Fried Asparagus and Mushrooms

        

Pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat.  It accounts for 38 percent of meat production worldwide.  You’ll have trouble finding it in the Middle East and most of the Muslim world because both Jewish kosher and Islamic halal diets ban it outright.  But almost everywhere else on earth including Asia, Europe, and the Americas, pork is in recipes and on menus everywhere.  Nowhere comes close to China which, at any given moment, has 1 billion pigs on its farms. 

In the mid 80s, in the US, the National Pork Board called pork “the other white meat”, advertising so successful I wish I’d written it myself:  87 percent of consumers identified pork with the slogan.  And still do, despite the fact that it hasn’t been used since 2011.  It might come as a bit of a surprise to know first, that the USDA considers pork a red meat and second, that the only real reason the Pork Board jumped on the white meat bandwagon was the public’s perception that chicken and turkey were healthier than red meat.  It is true that Pork, with its fat trimmed, is leaner than most meats but certainly not chicken or turkey.  And even the ‘new’ leaner pork is still high in cholesterol and saturated fat. And as any good cook will tell you, fat is a flavor carrier that’s hard to replace.  But chefs have found a way to amp up pork’s flavor.  They brine their pork.  But I had never tried it until recently.  And I am here to say, I am a convert.  I recently brined what we jokingly referred to as ‘a side of pork’, chops so enormous they must have been almost three inches thick. And the results were spectacular.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Whole Grain Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms from Giada de Laurentiis

         
The stalks of Brussels Sprouts made their appearance at the farm stand a couple of weeks ago.   Because the weather here has been unusually warm, Brussels Sprouts seemed a little out of season.  But with the temperatures falling, it was time to find something to do with them.  Let’s face it, Brussels Sprouts are a love-them-or-hate-them vegetable.  Nobody is on the fence about them.  Recently they seem to have surged in popularity but I’ve never been sure this was about the sprouts themselves or whether it was a reaction to the countless recipes that paired them with bacon or roasted them in maple syrup or shredded them into Brussels Sprouts Two Ways (see http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2014/01/almonds-brussels-sprouts-hot-and-cold.html) which is reason alone to head out to dinner at Almond (1 Ocean Road, Bridgehampton NY Tel (631) 537-8885).
         That recipe made me a convert to these tiny cabbages. Wanting to see if I could expand my repertoire, I poked around and lo and behold, I came across a recipe that made them into a pasta sauce.  Furthermore, it was a vegetarian dish made even more healthy by the use of Whole Grain Spaghetti.  This dish could even make it onto Almond’s Meatless Monday menu!  But I could save myself a 100 mile drive  from the city and make it at home.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bon Appetit's Homemade Pizza Grandma-Style

       

Bon Appetit magazine went full on Pizza this month putting their sheet pan pizza on their cover till it filled the page.   Since I consider pizza to be one of nature’s perfect foods – protein, dairy, vegetable and carbs all in a slice you can eat with your hands -- I was immediately hooked.   I even went to the trouble of getting some 00 Italian flour which is de rigeur with Italian pizza chefs and which you can find at Eataly (200 Fifth Avenue NYC)  without any problem.  Bon Appetit can save you the trip because they call for using ordinary all-purpose flour in their recipe.   And as to making pizza, this was not my first ride on that particular merry-go-round.  I’ve made it before-- if not the pizza dough—certainly the pie.  (See http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2009/11/stracciatella-and-prosciutto-pizza-with.html and also http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2014/04/trader-joes-shoppers-good-bad-and-so-so.html).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mario Batali's Chicken Saltimbocca with Asparagus


Mario Batali 
         A few months ago, I went to my friend Monique’s for lunch.  She served a phenomenal dish that Chef Mario Batali had offered up in Food and Wine Magazine.  Ever since I went to school in Rome, I’ve loved Saltimbocca alla Romana, the Roman version of a dish popular from southern Switzerland to all the way down to the capital city.  Saltimbocca translates to ‘jump in the mouth’ which is about as high praise as any dish can get.  The original dish uses Veal topped with prosciutto and sage.  In Rome, chefs add another dimension by rolling up the veal, prosciutto
Expensive but worth every penny.
and sage and cooking the rolls in dry white wine.  Sweet Marsala wine is an option but most Roman chefs think this overpowers the delicate flavor of the Veal.  Mario Batali has substituted chicken cutlets and he makes his sauce using Vin Santo, literally Holy Wine, a sweet dessert wine from Tuscany.  And there lies the reason why I had waited all these months to make the dish.  It was well worth the wait.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Marmalade French Toast Casserole with Walnuts and Orange Flavored Syrup


        
Ina Garten's French Toast -- jumping off point
for our casserole
I’m always on the lookout for a great breakfast casserole for a crowd. This is because a couple of times a year I am called upon to help out at a Church breakfast.  I am a particular fan of recipes that call for refrigerating the dish overnight.   The next morning all you do is stick the thing in the oven while you set the table and get out the juice and coffee.  On “Chopped”, the television show where chef contestants are confronted with basket of ingredients and asked to whip up a meal out of them, Andrew and I always get a laugh at how many end up making French Toast as their dessert course.  Of course they never call it that.  It’s always Pain Perdu, which isn’t wrong because that’s what the French call French Toast.  The best version of French Toast I’ve ever tasted is Ina Garten’s.  What makes hers so memorable are two things that I’ve incorporated into today’s recipe.  She uses orange zest and the bread she prefers is Brioche.  Now it seems to me that if you use Brioche, you could easily pass off your French Toast as Pain Perdu and get away with it a lot more cleanly than if you’ve used Pepperidge Farm White Bread.  But Ina is a lot more down to earth than any contestant I’ve ever witnessed on Chopped.  So she calls it French Toast.  And so will I.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Salmon with Mustard Sauce and a Cannellini Bean Ragu

  

Salmon is a true workhorse in the world of seafood.  It is on menus everywhere and seems to come from an endless number of places around the world.  On my most recent visit to the market to pick up the fish to make this dish, I saw no less than 5 different salmon offerings ranging in price from 19.99 lb. for Norwegian Wild-Caught Salmon to Farm-Raised Fish from Chile at 7.99 a lb.  In between, there was Canadian Wild Caught and Farm Raised and Pacific Salmon of undermined origin.  Salmon is, of course, a marvel of nutrition containing those all-important Omega 3 Fatty Acids.   If somehow you’ve missed the news, these particular Fatty Acids lower your risk of heart disease.  But that isn’t half of what they do according to WebMD.com.  They can curb stiffness and the pain of arthritis in the joints.  Countries where they are consumed at high levels have lower levels of depression.  They aid in Baby Development, improve lung function among Asthmatics, reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Syndrome, improving children’s mental skills like thinking, remembering and learning and finally, there is even research that suggests Omega 3s protect against Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  If you haven’t immediately run out and bought a giant piece of salmon, caveat emptor: Farm raised salmon is not the fount of Omega 3s that Wild Salmon is.  So when you buy salmon, try to buy wild caught if your budget will allow.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"Old Stoves", Saveur Magazine and Donatella Arpaia's Mama's Meatballs and Ragu

        

         I’ve always been a huge fan of Saveur Magazine and not just because, over the years, they’ve published more of my food pieces than anyone else.  To me, the magazine broke the mold.  The relentless publication of Celebrity chef’s recipes in every other food magazine separates Saveur instantly.  Saveur has recipes you don’t find anywhere else.  They have a particular fondness for grandmothers’ cooking whether the grandmother is called “Opa” or “Ba Noi.”  One of the earliest grandmother stories I can remember was in a 1994 issue of the magazine. A food writer and cooking teacher, Peggy Knickerbocker, took us into the kitchens of a group of home cooks in San Francisco’s North Beach. This center of Italian American cooking was presided over by “Old Stoves”.
        
One of Saveur's "Old Stoves",
Rose Pistola 
Ms. Knickerbocker explained:" An "Old stove" is gentle, complimentary North Beach slang for someone who has put in a lot of time in front of a lot of stoves in his or her day. Old stoves are sometimes restaurant chefs, or retired restaurant chefs—but more often they're simply home cooks, with many years of experience making savory dishes for themselves, their families, and their friends. Old stoves are renowned throughout the community for their culinary skills. They're old souls, legends, well aged and cured. There is not one chance in a million that you'll have a bad meal at the hands of an old stove.”

Monday, September 29, 2014

Vegetarian Lasagna adapted from Saveur’s “New Comfort Food”



A few years ago, I got a call from a guest who was about two hours away from coming to dinner.  He’d called to tell me that he and his new wife had become vegetarian.   Quite frankly, my initial impulse was to continue cooking the dinner I’d planned and let the two of them survive on the baked potatoes I was cooking. They were the only completely vegetarian item on the menu that night.   I managed to control myself, eliminated the crisp pancetta from Martha Stewart's sauteed spinach recipe and ditched making the pie with its Crisco (lard) crust.  Instead I served the berries meant for its filling all by their lonesome.  I seethed with every change to the menu I made.  Since then, I've come a long way. I've embraced Meatless Mondays and lightened up on meat proteins in our diet. I'll never be anything other than an omnivore and meat will always find its way onto our table.  But today, I'm sharing a classic recipe that might just change even a meat-and-potatoes man into, well, a meat-and-potatoes man who loves his vegetables. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tomato Jam and a trip down Memory Lane

 
        

Every autumn, some primal instinct arises and I feel compelled to ‘put up’ my farm stand finds so that, as they shutter for the season, I’ll have a winter pantry of homemade tomato sauces and chunky tomatoes to put into pasta sauces or, at their simplest, just use for a pasta sauce all by themselves.  A couple of weeks ago, I showed you the collection of Heirloom tomatoes plucked from The Bridgehampton Florist’s Hampton Classic table.   I thought I’d outdone myself.   But darned if I wasn’t at the farm stand where I was confronted by a big basket of ‘culls’ – tomatoes not pretty enough for Caprese but irresistibly priced at $5.00 for at least a dozen. I also had an added incentive:  Our latest houseguests, Jill and Steven, had most thoughtfully given us an enormous Stock Pot –just perfect for canning.   I took my cull tomatoes home and pulled out my trusty "Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving". Lo and behold, there was a recipe for Tomato Preserves.  Not only did its combination of sweet and spicy appeal to me, it conjured up all kinds of memories.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Butter Chicken adapted from Sam Sifton and Suvir Saran

Inspiration and Photo Courtesy of The New York Times and Sarah Ann Ward
Suvir Saran
        The moment the thermometer drops below 60 degrees, I cannot wait to put some Indian food on the table.  This makes very little sense since the average temperature on the Indian sub-continent is 65.5 degrees.  And in Delhi, where this recipe was invented, the average is 77.4.  But I wait to serve Indian comfort food once summer is over. And I could not wait to serve this outstanding example of wonderful Indian cooking. Outside of India, this recipe is called Chicken Tikka Masala.  It may surprise you to know that this yogurt and spice-marinated dish with its onions, ginger and tomatoes scented with cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and garam masala has only recently been deposed as Britain’s most popular dish. (It was replaced by Chinese stir frys.)  There are, of course, dozens of variations of this classic, whose origin dates from the 1940s. It was first served at a restaurant which itself was a first.  According to Suvir Saran in “Indian Home Cooking” (Clarkson Potter 2004), Moti Mahal (The Palace of Pearls) was India’s first, real sitdown restaurant where, when India gained its independence from Britain, Indians of all classes could enjoy a sit-down meal indoors.  From its kitchen came the first Butter Chicken, which, by the way, is what the dish is always called in India.  And Butter Chicken, by the way, is not swimming in butter although it does use a quarter pound of the stuff.


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.

Thursday, August 21, 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. 

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.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Grilled Sirloin Steak Salad with Seasonal Vegetables and Asian flavors


         My dear friend, Cate, who bears more than a passing resemblance to the other Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, came to lunch over the weekend.  Cate, of course, asked that I not go to any trouble.  So I really didn’t. Still I wanted to give her treatment worthy of her namesake, so I went on the hunt for a great salad to serve.  Cate is not your seafood salad type—she’s deadly allergic to shellfish.  So that was out. But what was in was steak.  And so off I went in search of steak salad recipe that would take as much advantage as possible of the avalanche of perfect vegetables all grown within a mile of our house.  And boy, did I find one!