HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Episcopalian Chopped Liver



        For my final Chewing the Fat post of the year, I wanted to share a recipe I developed about 25 years ago.  It appeared in Saveur magazine and if you google it, you’ll find it on several of recipe sites.  To me, what’s odd is that there’s no explanation on any of these sites that gives any indication of why it is called what it is.  The Saveur article gave the whole tale but neither the recipe nor the story (nor its author, by the way), made it onto www.saveur.com  So here is the tale and the recipe.  I just made it for our Holiday Open House and once again, it was a huge hit. 
“Among the delicacies of Jewish American cooking, chopped liver is surely one of the greatest.  Its ingredients are humble:  Chicken livers, onions, eggs, salt, pepper and schmaltz.  As anyone with a knowledge of Jewish American idiom will tell you, schmaltz and its adjectival schmaltzy  means something that is over-done, over-decorated, over-emotional, over-the-top.  Schmaltz is chicken fat.  And when you put it together with the other ingredients in chopped liver, you have an appetizer that is unquestionably over the top.   It is a marvelous taste, rich and satisfying and rivaling any great pate.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Savory Ham and Cheese Bread

          We’ve had the most wonderful Christmas and now we are virtually housebound, there having been a significant snowfall on the East End of Long Island the day after Christmas.  The snow has stopped but the wind is blowing and the eight or so inches of the white stuff are making driving treacherous.   At some point, someone will have to explain to me why a car made in Bavaria is so useless in the snow.  It’s just not in its genes.   So we are making do with the contents of our larder and our freezer and since we are Costco shoppers par excellence, we would likely not starve until after Memorial Day.  And Lord knows, above all, we’ve got ham.  This recipe is my gift to the 123 people who have received  Monte's HamTM this holiday season and for those of you whose ham is still to come, even the leftovers are really something to look forward to.  And special thanks to all our customers who've written us such incredible testimonials to the goodness of our ham.  We really appreciated every message we've received. 
        Amongst our Christmas gifts are a whole new library of cookbooks. Few things are more rewarding to me than reading these books cover to cover.   Then I go back and cook whatever truly appealed to me.  In the case of Dorie Greenspan’s “around my french table” (Houghton Mifflin
Harcourt 2010), I never got past page 34 before I headed into the kitchen to make a ‘cake sale’, or savory cake.    According to Dorie, anything baked in a loaf pan is a ‘cake’ in France.  And ‘sale’ means salty (apologies to all, I do not have a accented “e” to correctly spell the word). At any rate this bread is so good and so easy to make that I wanted to share it with you—especially those who have Monte’s HamTM leftovers on hand.  This is a truly an inspired way to use it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Back to the Breslin and a sandwich I waited all summer for


 


      I recently introduced Andrew to the Breslin, April Bloomfield’s gastropub in the Ace Hotel (16 West 29th St. between Fifth Ave. and Broadway Tel: 212 679 1939) .   We sat at the bar and ate our lamb burgers and thrice-cooked chips and enjoyed every minute of it.  The place is always busy and since it doesn’t take reservations, it’s wise to get there bang on the dot of 12:00 to be sure you can get a table for lunch.  Max, the bartender who is another good reason to go to the Breslin, told me that last Saturday they did over 400 covers at lunch!  The food is honest and to be honest, a guilty pleasure since Ms. Bloomfield seems to have a diet-be-damned attitude to her cooking.  I am sure there are some healthy alternatives on the menu, it’s just I would never order them.  Who wouldn’t prefer an Oven baked 3 cheese sandwich with house smoked ham and an egg over a seasonal frittata with ricotta cheese?    That would be a Breslin breakfast.  Stay for lunch and the menu is even more inviting.  But for me, there really is nothing to compare with the Grilled Tonque Sandwich with borscht.   I am quite serious.  The same tongue sandwich I heard Michael Symons rave about on “The Best thing I ever ate”. That same tongue sandwich that disappeared off the menu during the summer months. Thank goodness someone had the presence of mind to bring it back this Fall.  So what’s all the fuss about?  Read on…

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Singapore Lamb Curry with Stir-Fried Noodles





Before you read today’s post, please take a look at the New York Times
Dining and Wine section published yesterday. It will give you some idea of what Monte’s Ham is all about.  And don’t forget our Friends and Family discount which will automatically take 10 percent off your total order. Just enter promotional code FNF10.  But hurry, Christmas is 16 days away!
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/08/dining/08charity.html?ref=dining




        I remember a friend telling me that once she gave her husband a Wok for Christmas, it was pretty much Wok-around-the-clock from that point on. As I remember, he was one of the first men I knew who’d taken over the kitchen and cooked almost everything his family of 5 ate.  Since he worked full time, I am sure he was as time-pressured as the rest of us and the Wok must have been a gift from heaven via his wife.  Stir-fries really can save the day.  Aside from much chopping, slicing, dicing and peeling, no cooking technique is as quick to yield delicious meals in very little time.  In fact, you have to really organize your ingredients since they are used at lightning quick speeds.  And what I really like is that you don’t need a wok to make these dishes.  Any large skillet can work on a stir fry.  And this particular recipe really gives you a curry in a hurry, a one-dish wonder that we paired with some kale.  Next time, we’ll likely go with spinach as the kale was not a success around our table.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Honey Glazed Salmon with Sesame Green Beans



Mary Woltz of Bee's Needs in Sag Harbor NY
The East End of Long Island of Long Island is full of people doing wonderful things with food.  Among them is one my favorite people, Mary Woltz.  The North Carolina native has single-handedly invented “Bee’s Needs”, a source of wonderful honeys.  That’s right plural.  Because Mary’s ‘girls’, as she likes to call them, create quite different honeys depending on what’s in bloom in our little patch of paradise. 
Mary's table at the Sag Harbor Farmer's Market
There are three distinct tastes created in Mary’s Early, Mid and Late Season honeys.  She manages 100 colonies all on her own—with a little help from her Painter husband, Rob, at least at the Farmer’s Market.  She’s set up what may be the first Community Supported Apiculture program in the country.  In this program, members buy a “share” for $100.00 and for that we receive 12 jars of Mary’s honey, a tour of the hives and a wonderful newsletter.  What this means is that we have a wonderful supply of local honey that lasts a year.  I am always on the lookout for great recipes using honey—because we have so much and it is so good. 
If you want to know more about Mary, here’s a video where she talks about her girls and her bee-keeping.  Did you know that bees have a part in one in three bites of food?  Follow this link and you will learn more from Mary…http://thepeoplewhofeedus.com/?p=152

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Baked Rigatoni with Eggplant and Sausage, Parmigiano Cheese Bread and a Honey and Pignoli Tart that’s to die for.


To all our Readers, Friends and Followers. For a limited time, you can order anything on our website... www.MontesHam.com and receive a 10 percent discount on your entire order.  Simply enter the promotional code FNF10 and we'll do the rest.  We've got great gifts for $28.00 and up.  But hurry, we sold out at Thanksgiving and our supplies are going fast.   



 Last weekend we had a post Thanksgiving dinner party.  Since everyone was pretty well stuffed with Turkey, we wanted something completely different -- a crowd-pleaser on a cold night.  So we went for a dinner that's 'tutto italiano' from main course to desert.  Now baked pasta dishes are a risky business.  Those giant pans of baked ziti come to mind. I remember going to a long ago dinner party when one wag, seeing that very dish on the sideboard, described it as being “like having dinner at Riker’s” (New York City’s jail).  But the recipe for Baked Rigatoni was intriguing because its author, Tyler Florence, not only has a last name in common with Italy but a very deft hand at making wonderful Italian Food.  What’s nice about this dish, from Tyler’s Ultimate series, is the way the top gets completely crusty while what lies beneath is layers of pure flavor—of mozzarella, sausage and eggplant and the pasta itself moist and delicious.  Served with a really beautiful green salad, this dish was a big hit.
Keith's Green Salad was a big hit
Accompanying our Baked Rigatoni, I made Parmigiano Cheese Bread.  Now my version is not specifically an Italian creation.  Bruschetta may be its cousin but most people consider this wonderful garlic-y, buttery invention as strictly American.  It’s relatively easy to make and it is wildly popular—we literally had a guest microwave a piece on his way out the door. 
Finally, Andrew topped off the meal with a truly wonderful and very Italian dessert.  It’s a “Crostata di Miele e Pignoli”, a honey and pignoli nut tart that combines a sweet and slightly salty filling with honey and pine nuts. Now this recipe has a great pedigree.  It is from Gina di Palma, whose “Dolce Italiano” is a treasure trove.  Ms. di Palma is the pastry chef at “Babbo”, Chef Mario Batali’s first big hit restaurant in New York.  Her cookbook is described as being ‘for those home cooks who, like Gina, lie awake at night in bed dreaming of the perfect dessert’.   I haven’t noticed Andrew losing sleep over his desserts and this one is so good, you wouldn’t.   Andrew described it as a kind Italian pecan pie.   I adore pecan pie but I’d have to say, I actually liked this better.  And we got to use our fabulous “Bee’s Needs” honey that’s made in the Hamptons by my friend, Mary Woltz. This pie, topped with a tiny scoop of Vanilla Gelato, was completely devoured by our guests.  Not one slice was left. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

A long ago visit to Shun Lee, and my take on their recipe for Sichuan Shrimp



        Ten years ago, I got a call from a friend named Ethel, who, at the last minute, couldn’t use her tickets to a big bash given by The Film Society of Lincoln Center.  My work partner, Cathy, and I promptly called our respective spouses to ask them to join us at Shun Lee West (43 West 65th St., Tel: 212-595-8895), then and now one of the city’s top Chinese restaurants.  “What’s the deal?” Andrew wanted to know.  “Well they’re going to show a martial arts film after the dinner” I answered.  I could have gone on to tell him we were going to see “Wo Hu Cang Long” but I am sure I would have gotten the same answer; “Are you kidding? A martial arts movie?” (Our interest in sports of any kind is next to nothing and our interest in martial arts is even lower than that.)  So in answer to Andrew I said  “No and yes...but let’s go to the dinner, get seats right on the aisle at Lincoln Center so we can leave whenever we want.”  Dinner at Shun Lee was worth a few minutes of Kung Foo fighting.  So we went.
        Shun Lee’s interior design is completely over the top.  With its black lacquer and gold dragon décor, it looks like it was flown in from Las Vegas for the night.  It’s quite possibly the darkest restaurant I’ve ever eaten in. One visit I remember literally bumping into Woody Allen in the dark. Stumbling back to the table, I had to be told by my dinner companions who he was.  But the food at Shun Lee is simply excellent.  Along with Mr. Chow in Los Angeles and in New York, it elevates Chinese cuisine and pretty well ruins Chinese food forever from anywhere else outside of Hong Kong.  Since we lived in the delivery area, it became our take-out place despite prices that made it quite an extravagance. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Got Turkey? This Turkey Tetrazini is so good, you might want to roast another bird






I am so fond of this recipe, I have, on at least one occasion, cooked a turkey merely to have the meat for this dish. I also have a sentimental attachment to this delicious way to eat leftover turkey.

That’s because one of the first pieces of food writing I ever had published included this recipe. And there is its provenance: Our dear friend Michael Grim introduced me to its creator, Anne Jaindl, a family friend with whom Michael’s late father Bill had worked.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gratin of Sweet Potatoes and Leeks and other Thanksgiving delights



It's Thanksgiving and if ever there was a time to cook, this is it.  I love this holiday. Like many people who weren't born in this country, I see this day as a true celebration of America.  And in its inclusion of everyone-- regardless of what religion they do or do not practice --it is a celebration of us all.  And it doesn't hurt that the food we serve is some of the most delicious we make all year. And clearly the most bountiful. 

Today's post is truly an example of over-the-top Thanksgiving cooking.   Fair warning…this is one of the richest things (aka fatty) I’ve made in a very long time.  But it was so delicious and really satisfying in tiny portions that I’d make again in a heartbeat…assuming I still had a pulse after consuming the pancetta and cream involved in the dish.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Crispy Chicken Fricassee



        Andrew Carmellini is a New York chef whom we’ve followed from one restaurant success to another.  First, we encountered Andrew’s take on contemporary Italian cooking at the original A Voce right off Madison Square Park at 41 Madison Avenue at 26th Street.    How well we remember his incredible ricotta and lamb meatballs.  From there, we followed Andrew to Locanda Verde, in Robert de Niro’s Greenwich Hotel.  We could not get enough of his amazing Porchetta.  So when I read a new Andrew recipe in November’s Food and Wine magazine, I couldn’t wait to try it. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lacquered Duck Breasts with a Vegetable Mikado



        As an alumnus of “L’Atelier des Chefs” Cooking School in Paris, I am sent recipes via an email newsletter that arrives once a week. I use the term “alumnus” with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek because I took a course at the school for all of one afternoon.  I’d dearly love to go back and I plan to. But for now, I’ll have to just enjoy the weekly reminder of what I am missing.  What impresses me is how simple their recipes are and what grand titles they give them.  Take this one for example.  Can you wait to tell whoever you cook for that you’re making Lacquered Duck?  And what on earth will they think a Vegetable Mikado is going to be?  Finally, how will they ever believe you can prepare both dishes in under 30 minutes!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beef Pot Roast with Mushrooms and a Balsamic Sauce


      Before getting to today's Pot Roast post, I wanted to give anyone who'd like, the opportunity to learn about Monte's Ham thanks
to my appearance yesterday on The Joan Hamburg show on WOR710.  Just click here for the link.  I am on at about the 45 minute mark
and you can skip ahead if you'd like.  Here it is:
http://www.wor710.com/topic/play_window.php?audioType=Episode&audioId=5002772 . Enjoy!
Now to today's post...


  Let’s be honest:  Balsamic Vinegar has taken the place of red sauce Italian in terms of being found almost too often.   It’s unfortunate too that America’s love affair with this ingredient is so completely antithetical to the way it’s used in Italy.  There, it is used sparingly—one or two drops at a time and never to replace vinegar but to supplement it.  And real Balsamic is aged for years and when finally consumed, it is a deliciously thick liquid which you only need drops of.   I was fortunate enough to be given a magnificently authentic Balsamic vinegar at the Fine Foods Show in June.  As you can see in the photo, it even looks precious and has about as much to do with its supermarket counterpoint as red wine does to vinegar. We drizzled that balsamic on hard cheese and it was out of this world. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pork and Poblano Tamale Pie




        "The Joy of Cooking" was one of the first cookbooks I was ever aware of.  


It, along with Boston Cooking School Cookbook (aka Fanny


Farmer), the enormous Gourmet Cookbooks Volumes 1 and 2, and something called “The 

Encyclopedia of Canadian Cooking” (yes, Encyclopedia) formed


the backbone of my family’s cookbook library.  Aside from


those Junior League recipe collections, which inevitably


involved cans of Campbell’s Cream of Something 


soups,  that was about it.  But one recipe from "Joy" remained


in my mind.  It was the notorious recipe for Tamale Pie.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Visit to Eataly yields a delicious Veal Pasta Sauce




        Eataly, in case you haven’t heard, is a 42,000 square foot grocery emporium that’s just opened at 200 Fifth Avenue.  And everything in it hails from or owes its existence to Italy from the on-premises cooking school to the rooftop beer garden.   The original Eataly opened in Turin in 2007.  At 50,000 square feet, the mother ship is even larger than this enormously impressive store in New York.  And Turin was followed by the opening of smaller branches in Bologna and Milano and even smaller ones in two locations in Japan.  The full name of the store is Eataly Alti Cibi which translates to “High Food”.  But think “Specialty Foods” and you get better idea of both the selection and the price points. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

South Indian-style Vegetable Curry

All these beautiful vegetables go into this delicious Curry
       I don’t know what verb I’d use to describe my reaction to the latest statistics showing that Americans just don’t eat their vegetables….Appalled? Shocked? Disturbed?  I’d have to say none of the above.  I started doing a check on what I’d been eating in a week.  There was the day I had a Porchetta sandwich for lunch—devoid of even a piece of lettuce, then followed that with a dinner out of Speck and Figs, followed by the most delicious Scallops but absent any vegetables of any kind.  Of course, this day I ate both meals out.  It’s amazing how many very good restaurants don’t incorporate vegetables into their main courses.  But I guess when you can charge $9.00 for a bowl of spinach as a side, you’d be hard pressed to rationalize putting a carrot on the plate to accompany a main dish.  At home, we do a lot better.  Although we hardly qualify as vegetarians, there are always vegetables or, at minimum, a salad.   And while we have yet to put a strictly vegetarian dinner on our weekly schedule, this fantastic Vegetable Curry could change that.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quick Chicken Parmigiano



        Who doesn’t need a weeknight supper they can get on the table in under 30 minutes?  This dish from Fine Cooking is a keeper.  It really was on the table in no time.  It’s got a lot of flavor and crunch.  It gives you the pleasure of fried food but it’s not.  It’s sautéed.  The secret here is Panko breadcrumbs.  These great Japanese imports are a terrific addition to any pantry.  They’re far superior to Italian breadcrumbs. You can even find them at Whole Foods in a whole wheat variety.  The other tip here is to use the recommended Muir Glen Fire Roasted tomatoes.  They really have a significantly better taste than ordinary diced tomatoes.  Of course, they’re organic but they’re only slightly more expensive than plain old diced tomatoes.  Then there’s the cheese.  Parmigiano is a staple at our house. I always have it on hand. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Peanut Butter and Banana Cream Pie



        The boys at Baked, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, were inspired to create this dessert by the King himself.   Elvis’s obsession with Peanut Butter is well known.  I first read about it when my friend Yvonne gave me “Are You Hungry Tonight?” by the brilliantly named Brenda Arlene Butler, the all-Elvis cookbook that you could likely put on ten pounds just by reading.   Elvis’s mother is credited with his love for Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches.  Talk about variations of a theme:  Later in life, Elvis added bacon to the mix thereby creating the first heart-attack-on Wonder-bread sandwich.   The only person I ever knew who could out-peanut butter Elvis was my Mother. 


Monday, October 18, 2010

Ina Garten’s Pastitsio



        I’ve waited all summer for the first cool day to arrive.  Not that I don’t love every minute of summer, it’s just that I have been dying to try this gorgeous dish ever since I saw it in House Beautiful. With yet another dire weather prediction for high winds and heavy rains, it seemed the perfect night to hunker down with this wonderful comfort food.  And I always look forward to anything from Ina, whose new cookbook "How Easy is That?" is due out October 26th.  You can order it right here!  
Pastitsio, Ina informed us, is like a Greek version of lasagna.  Ground beef is combined with ground lamb and then flavored with tomatoes, then mixed with pasta.  And, as in a truly great lasagna, the whole thing is covered with a delicious Bechamel sauce with a twist: Greek yogurt is added to the sauce at the last minute.  This gives the topping a completely different taste…it tastes, well, Greek! 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wild Mushroom and Leek Tart



David Falkowski's  Oyster Mushrooms are beyond compare
Leeks from the Foster Family Farm
        One of the joys of being part of the Farmer’s Markets this fall has been getting first dibs on some incredible produce.  The market opens at 9 but everyone is generally in place before that.  I feel like an early bird at a Yard Sale because before we welcome our paying customers, I do a little shopping.  The bread from Blue Duck Bakery is superb.  You’ve read how good David Falkowski’s mushrooms are.  And right next to where I am, from the Foster Family farm in Sagaponack, there’s a beautiful array of vegetables every week.  That the farm still operates is a bit of a miracle:  The land is so valuable that mostly what has sprouted up in the neighboring fields are multi-million dollar houses.  At one point, Sagaponack was listed as the most expensive Zip code in the country.  But the Fosters carry on.  The soil in Sagaponack is said to be about the best on the East Coast.  Left behind millennia ago when the glaciers retreated, it’s six feet of loam in places!  So you can imagine how beautiful everything that’s grown there is.  Last week, I could not resist the leeks.  Putting them together with two of David’s mushroom varieties—dried porcinis and fresh Oyster Mushrooms— seemed the perfect thing to do.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken and Carrot Orzo



Carrot Orzo--what a discovery!
        This is one of those times when the photograph of the dish simply doesn’t do justice to the incredible taste of this easy-to-prepare meal.  But here it’s not just the presence of the prosciutto that packs the wallop, or the subtlety of the sage and the counterpoint of the pan sauce, it’s the whole dinner plate.  This Orzo dish is a mean stand-in for Risotto and best of all, you do not have to stand at the stove stirring it!  It is creamy and flavorful and what a way to eat carrots!   If I haven’t convinced you to cook this very soon, perhaps this will be the kicker:  The whole thing can be on the plate, pan sauce and all, in under 30 minutes.  So read on…

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chicken with Escarole, Apples and Potatoes




        Out on Long Island, the apples are coming into play as we head into Fall and go back to wanting to eat something more substantial than summer fare.  Right near us, there’s a tremendous Pick-Your-Own Orchard run by the Halsey Family on Mecox Road in Water Mill.  Now Halsey is a name that dates back to the original English settlers who arrived on the South Fork in 1640.  Imagine, the descendants of the Pilgrims who landed on Long Island from the Massachusetts Colony are still farming the land, 370 years after their ancestors arrived!     
        You can wander among their trees and pick a cornucopia of apples—this week, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Empire, Mutsu, Idared, and  Stayman varieties can be combined in ½ bushel bags weighing 20 lbs for $30.00.  You can find out which varieties of apples of the 20 they grow are ripe for picking by going to http://www.milk-pail.com/upick.htm .  Now half a bushel may sound like a lot of apples.  But they keep surprisingly well for a good long time.  And read on, because your future may not belong to Apple Pie alone. The Orchard is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  You can also find your own Halloween pumpkin sized for ½ lb to 150 lbs.  There are gourds and squash too.  And directly across the lane from the Halsey’s “Milk Pail”, another one of our great farming families, the Ludlows, have a Corn Maze that’s an annual tradition for families out here. 
        With all those apples, I was pleased to find a recipe that used them as part of a delicious main course—a whole dinner when you add some fingerling potatoes!  It came from Sara Jenkins.  Now Sara is better known for her Pork.  In fact, we featured a riff on her recipe for Porchetta right here.  (http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2010/07/porchetta-slow-roasted-pork-shoulder.htmlSara is the Chef/Owner of Porchetta  (110 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10000 (b/n 1st Street and Avenue A); 212-777-2151; porchettanyc.com).   She’s also the author of the highly praised ‘Olives and Oranges” which Mario Batali is quoted as saying makes it clear that Sara has
“olive oil in her veins and blood oranges in her heart”.  
Remember how good crispy chicken skin tastes?
        This recipe for Chicken is an example of Sara’s gift for taking the simplest ingredients and making something fresh and clean and easy.  It uses one skillet to steadily build flavor in the pan.  First you cook the chicken in olive oil until the skin is crispy and crunchy.  Then you add the apples, next the potatoes and finally the garlic, escarole and white wine.  I confess that this was my first foray cooking escarole and it strikes me as the perfect green for this time of year with its slightly bitter taste that contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of the apples.  This is one quick one dish dinner that’s satisfying comfort food and perfect for a Fall evening meal.

Recipe for Chicken with Escarole, Apples and Potatoes courtesy of Sara Jenkins


12 ounces small new potatoes

4 8-ounce boneless chicken breasts with skin

Fine sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 semi-tart apples, such as Empire or Macoun, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths

1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled

1 pound escarole, leaves torn

1/2 cup dry white wine

1. Heat oven to 250°F.

2. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and place on a plate in a single layer to cool. When potatoes are just cool enough to handle, flatten each one slightly by gently pressing on it with the side of a chef's knife. Set aside.

3. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, in batches if necessary, and cook until skin is golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn and cook, until underside is slightly golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a baking pan, cover with foil, and place in oven.

4. Drain oil from skillet, return to medium-high heat, and add 2 tablespoons butter. Add only as many apples as will fit in a single layer and cook, turning apples as they brown, until golden on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with any remaining apples.

5. Add 2 more tablespoons butter to skillet. Add only as many potatoes as will fit in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat, turning once, until potatoes are warmed through and golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with any remaining potatoes.

6. Add garlic and as much escarole as you can comfortably fit into skillet, increase heat to high, and cook, stirring, until escarole starts to wilt and you can add more, about 1 minute. Add remaining escarole and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute more. Add wine and cook until escarole is tender and wine is slightly reduced. Add apples and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

7. Remove chicken from oven and pour any juices from pan into skillet with escarole and apples. Stir to combine.

8. Divide potatoes among four plates, then add chicken and escarole mixture, leaving juices in skillet. Return skillet to high heat, bring juices to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. Whisk in remaining tablespoon butter. Season sauce with salt and pepper, pour over chicken, and serve.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A visit to The Beacon and a recipe for Crispy Portobello Mushrooms with Shallot Beurre Blanc Sauce


View from The Beacon.  Photo by Beth and Peter Whiteley


        There’s no shortage of great places to eat on the East End.  Although you would never think so on a Summer weekend when you can’t get a table anywhere without advance reservations.  There is, surprisingly, a dearth of restaurants right on the water--especially considering we’re surrounded by it.   And sad to say, several of those have traded in good food and decent service to trade on their view.  So you are even more limited if you want to eat well. 
Of all the restaurants out here, with waterviews or without, our hands-down favorite is The Beacon at 8 West Water St. in Sag Harbor.  I’d give you the phone number but it’s not much use.  The Beacon doesn’t take reservations.  It doesn’t have to.  The line forms downstairs before the place opens at 6. The last time I was there, the place was jammed by seven.  Those of us who were early birds had snagged the open air tables on the deck overlooking the Marina. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A dessert that completely lives up to its name: Crack Pie


  It may look innocuous...but watch out, it's addictive!
Today, we go back to Christina Tosi, the wizard behind David Chang’s Momofuku Milk Bar, one of New York's must stops for any dessert lover.  Christina, as you may remember, was behind the Blueberry and Cream cookies that we all loved at the Horse Show.  She’s behind a lot of pastry that is inventive and exciting.  This time she’s behind a pie that’s positively addictive.  You should have seen the dinner guests at a recent evening at our friends’, Don and Jeff’s.  They devoured two of these pies in moments. There were people who went back for thirds! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Braised Chicken Thighs with Caramelized Fennel



        For some bizarre reason, we have not one but two almost completely full bottles of Pernod in our liquor cabinet.  Pernod is that close cousin of Pastis, that liquid licorice that you drink quantities of whenever you’re in Provence and then never drink again when you come home.  The cause of our having two Pernods on hand was likely a recipe calling for a tablespoon of the stuff and not checking our supplies before heading to the liquor store.  Given my thrifty upbringing, it kills me not to be using it for something.  So the minute I saw Melissa Clark’s recipe for Chicken with Caramelized Fennel, which calls for, yes, a tablespoon of Pernod, I leapt into action.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

By popular demand, Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies



        In the picture above, today’s cookie gets short shrift.  It’s overwhelmed in size by the massive 4 inch Blueberry and Cream and it’s well off to the side.  However, in voting for what cookie recipe our readers wanted to see next, Andrew’s masterful version of this delight came up front and center.    And for good reason, America’s long had an affair with variations on this cookie.