HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year’s Day Black Eyed Peas, a delicious way to bring good luck and prosperity for 2012




When I was first learning my way around the kitchen, The New York Times Cookbook (Harper and Row, 1st published 1961) was my constant companion. Its editor was an immensely talented writer and cook named Craig Claiborne. So you can imagine my excitement when, quite a few years and many successful New York Times recipes later, I spied an open seat next to Mr. Claiborne on a Manhattan-bound Hampton Jitney, then my preferred way to get back and forth to the city. I took my seat and introduced myself.



Friday, December 30, 2011

Quebec’s Gift to the Holiday Table: Tourtiere du Porc Adapted from Martin Picard of Montreal’s Au Pied de Cochon



         In French Canada, Tourtiere, a wonderfully rich pork pie,  occupies a place of honor that’s likely unmatched by any other dish.  It is served ubiquitously on Christmas Eve. This holiday party even has its own name: "Reveillon".  In French the word means ‘awakening’. This midnight gathering is a feast of indulgent food and song.  In many families, a Christmas Eve nap is a must to prepare for the long night ahead. Then, after midnight mass, family and friends return home to a rich buffet of comfort food all laid out to welcome the cold and weary worshipers.  Helped along by a steady flow of mulled wine of cider, the end of the meal is often the point where everyone breaks into song singing Christmas Carols.   The other event that is often an occasion for a Reveillon is of course, New Year’s Eve itself. 
No Reveillon would be complete without
 Tourtiere,  and plenty of them
         Since our trip to Montreal last Fall, I’ve had a Reveillon of my own.  My interest in all things Quebecois has been awakened.  So I wanted to bring a traditional French Canadian Tourtiere to our table over the holidays.  Now a traditional Tourtiere is a pork pie consisting of both ground meat and pulled pork, its seasoning a unique blend of cinnamon and ground cloves.  But tourtiere is a very expansive recipe and the Quebecois make all manner of fillings depending on where they live (think seafood tourtiere) and what they have on hand (think wild game tourtiere).  Interestingly, the word ‘tourte’ means ‘passenger pigeon’ in French and folklorists believe that the earliest French Canadians first made pigeon pies. When the passenger pigeon was hunted out of existence, they turned to pork.  Because basically pork is the king of meats in Quebec.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Joe Beef’s Big Beautiful Roasted Mushrooms



         I’ve already waxed poetic over Joe Beef, that phenomenal Montreal restaurant where we craved everything we ate.  Almost everything we tried was truly over the top.  And Andrew and I were not the least bit surprised to see that “The World According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of sorts” tops most Top Ten Cookbooks of 2011 lists.   The book is just a delight and just as delightful as Frederic Morin whom we were so pleased to meet when we ate there.  I literally bought the book the first day it came out in the US.  And of course, I couldn’t wait to try the recipes that he and his partner, David McMillan have put together for their readers.  But it may come as a surprise that the first recipe I tried was one for simple large white mushrooms. And I thought, “if we’re doing 12 days of Christmas recipes, why not include this one?”  It’s a perfect accompaniment to any holiday roast—beef, chicken, pork or lamb.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Doughnut Muffins, our most popular post ever!




As part of our 12 days of Christmas recipes, we really could not let the season pass without sending you this wonderful recipe.  It is by far the most viewed page out of all 250 recipes we've published.  Nothing we've shared with you comes close.  And with the most comments we've ever gotten on any post, this is clearly a winner.  It is off the charts in another way too.  These muffins are absolutely, insanely delicious.  They taste like the best doughnut you ever ate.  Rolled in butter and cinnamon and sugar, they are, my friend Luka (aged about 12), messy to make but oh what fun to eat.  I think they might be the perfect Christmas morning treat while sitting around the tree.  Here's the back story for you. 


Food Network has been running a series called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”.  I was pretty sure they’d run out of “best things” fairly quickly—but the show divvies them up into categories.  So one is about the best thing with bacon, the best pizza, the best barbecue—you get the picture.  Well one night, while watching the horribly named “The Best Thing I ever ate—Snack attack”,  Candace Nelson, who owns 6 California bakeries called “Sprinkles”, waxed on and on about a “Doughnut Muffin” she’d discovered at Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healdsberg, CA.        
        My personal Pastry Chef, Andrew Phillips, had taken a run at doughnuts in the not-too-distant past.  He was underwhelmed by the results.  When the Doughnut Muffin presented itself, he was intrigued.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eric Ripert's Red Snapper with Sofrito



Chef Eric Ripert
       The weeknights leading up to Christmas are a time challenge to any home cook.  We all want to minimize the time it takes to get dinner on the table so that we can take care of everything else that's going on--shopping, wrapping, decorating.  And with our menus leaning towards rich foods and lots of them, I thought it would a great idea to introduce a fish dish to our 12 days of Christmas recipes.  This one has a lot going for it.  It is genuinely easy to make. It takes under 30 minutes to cook. It's light and wholesome and absolutely delicious.  And it has a great pedigree.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Black Forest Chocolate Cookies


      To add to the growing list of great cookies to bake this Christmas, I almost overlooked these beauties.  They are so luscious and deeply chocolate tasting. And that's before you get to the secret ingredient inside.  Put these on your must-bake list. Here's the whole post:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rustic French Pate




         I discovered this wonderfully different pate almost by accident as you will read in this story.  But in casting about for our 12 days of Christmas recipes, I realized it's just the kind of dish that has Holiday written all over it.  A pate that you can put on a buffet table at a holiday party and watch disappear.  And wonder of wonders, it's not a pate riddled fat. In fact the only fat in it is from the ground pork and veal. Nothing else.  So go ahead and make this delicious dish one day this season.  I think you'll wish me a Merry Christmas when you do. Now here's the background.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

“Baked” Brownies


Renato (left) and Matt
       I would have to say that Andrew is not ‘a gusher’.  He is not a person who cares much about celebrity.  And because we live around an awful lot of them, a Seinfeld sighting or showing a property to a colossal media star is water off his back.  (I, meanwhile, have gone practically catatonic at the sight of Martha Stewart at our local nursery.)  So you can imagine my surprise when we were doing our Williams-Sonoma Artisan's Market for Monte's Ham.  They were staging this artisanal food event and they’d lined up some wonderful local New York talent (if I do say so myself)--none more illustrious than Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito of “Baked”, the Red Hook, Brooklyn Bakery .  Before I knew it, Andrew was introducing himself to the two guys and waxing poetic over how much he loved their recipes and their cookbooks, how many recipes he’d used from their first “Baked:New Frontiers in Baking” (2008)Explorations” and how much he looked forward to working with their new one “Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented” (2010)  And on and on and on…

Friday, December 16, 2011

A really easy way to brighten up the Holiday Cocktail Hour


         
       Tonight, our friends David, Carrington and Mitch will hold a Holiday Cocktail Party. As much as I am looking forward to seeing each of them, what I am really hoping we'll find is that David has once again made this wonderful hors d'oeuvre.  David has a terrific New Year’s Day Party. And a year ago while ushering in the New Year, David introduced us to a gorgeous dish I’d never seen before. It’s a combination of a very simple egg salad topped with some beautiful Salmon Roe as you can see for yourself….

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ina Garten's Roasted Shrimp Cocktail with Spicy Cocktail Sauce

Flowers from the fabulous
Bridgehampton Florist..where else?

These shrimp are the center of attention on our Holiday Open House Buffett.

Ina Garten is a goddess around here. She lives in the next town over and has for years and years. Before becoming the TV star and author, she had a local food shop and catering service which endeared her to hundreds of customers. Now, with seven indispensable cookbooks in print, she’s endeared herself to millions. Much to her chagrin, because she likes to be able to walk around town and in and out of shops without causing a riot, there’s a cottage industry that’s sprung up involving Fans who come to the East End on self-guided “Ina tours” many of which wind up in our dear friends Michael and Jimmy’s shop, the Bridgehampton Florist. As frequent guests on Ina’s TV show, Michael and Jim are celebrities to these visitors. Personally, I get it. Ina is a sensational teacher and advocate of simple, wonderful food. And from her cookbook “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics” comes her recipe for Roasted Shrimp Cocktail. To me, that alone should put her on a pedestal.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Baked’s Matt Lewis and Renato Poliofito



Renato (L) and Matt outside
Baked in Red Hook Brooklyn
        I am sure there are any number of readers who don’t believe Andrew cooks anything that isn’t from Baked, the Brooklyn bakery we’ve raved about before.  Now into their second cookbook, Baked’s founders really do impress us time after time.  And if you're in the mood for Christmas Cookie making, you couldn't find a more delicious offering than these delicious chocolate-y, peanut-y treats.    This great recipe comes from  “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” (Stewart Tabori Chang). It would make a terrific Christmas gift for any baker on your list.  And you can order it by clicking on the cover on the left. Order today and Amazon will get it to you in time for Christmas.  Back to our recipe:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Texas Beef Brisket Chili with Butternut Squash


Jesse James
Outlaw and Chili Lover
Every year about this time, we get a blast of cold air that makes us yearn for a big bowl of chili.  I am certainly no Texan and despite the fact that Andrew’s family live there, they’re native New Yorkers.   But I’ll take a bowl of Texas chili over any other kind.  After all, the Texas legislature declared Chili the “State Food” in 1977 “in recognition of the fact that the only real 'bowl of red' is that prepared by Texans."  I wonder what took them so long? It’s reported that Jesse James (1847-1882), outlaw and desperado of the American West, once gave up a chance to rob a bank in McKinney, Texas because his favorite chili parlor was located there.  What distinguishes Texas Chili? Well any Texan worth their cowboy hat knows you don’t know beans about chili if you use beans in making the real thing. There’s even a song on the subject:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Spaghetti with Crab Meat, Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula From Florence Fabricant by way of Nick and Toni’s Café, Manhattan



         Of all the restaurants in the Hamptons, none is more reliably celebrity-packed than Nick and Toni’s (136 North Main St. East Hampton, New York 11937 Phone: 631-324-3550).  But unlike so many haunts of the rich and famous, Nick and Toni’s has spectacular food.  So between servings of Alec Baldwin or Christie Brinkley or Steven Spielberg, you can be certain of delicious, fresh food beautifully conceived by Chef Joe Realmuto.  There may be one small problem with the restaurant; the likelihood of getting a table on one of its nights of a thousand stars.  Make that a dozen stars but you get the picture.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Baked’s simply incredibly delicious Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cake



         There’s a new shop that just opened practically across the street from us.  Across town, on the East Side, it’s called “The Best Chocolate Cake in the World”.  Somehow, on the West Side, it’s morphed into “Choco Bolo” (2058 Broadway between 70th  and 71st  Streets). Perhaps the name change reflects somebody pointing out that the old moniker was slightly obnoxious even in a city of superlatives.  Or more likely, the bakery, which has its roots in Lisbon, is just trading on its Portuguese heritage:  Choco Bolo translates to “Chocolate Cake”.  I have another theory:  As good as Choco Bolo’s cakes are, and I am told they are outrageously good, someone had one taste of Matt Lewis and Renato Poliofito’s Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cake and surrendered the title on the spot.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball With Ina Garten’s Chicken Hash


Truman Capote and his 'date' Katherine Graham

An entire book was written about
       Truman's Black and White Ball
 In 1966, Truman Capote was flush with success.  His ‘non-fiction novel’, the term he used to describe “In Cold Blood”, was a hit.  He decided to throw himself a party.    On the night of November 28th, exactly 45 years ago, Truman had invited 540 of the most glittering people in the world to his masked “Black and White Ball” at New York’s Plaza Hotel. He billed it as a kind of “Coming Out Party” for Katherine Graham who had taken over as President of the Washington Post Company following the suicide of her husband Phillip some three years earlier.  In point of fact, it was more likely a “Coming Out Party” for Truman himself.  It was hugely publicized before it took place so that when it did, the Plaza was mobbed with Papparazzi and just plain folks. They all turned out the see the rich and famous in their spectacular Black and White costumes and masks.   At midnight, supper was served.  The menu had only one main course.  Chicken Hash.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lillian Hellmann’s Empanadas


Lillian posed for Blackgama Mink
for which she was roundly criticized. 

The late Wendy Wasserstein
         Before you think I am fixated on Lillian Hellmann, Playwright, Author and Memoirist, I feel compelled to admit that you may be right.  Lillian Hellmann’s Pot Roast, which I shared with you earlier this month, opened the door to my reading “An Unfinished Woman” (Little Brown & Co. 1969)  This book was the first in what became a three-volume collection of memoirs.  The version that I read contained an introduction by the playwright; Wendy Wasserstein and I’ve leaned heavily on it to write this post.  Ms. Wasserstein’s tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek commentary is hilarious.  She points out that in “An Unfinished Woman” Lillian reminisces about virtually every famous person you’ve ever heard of.  But what struck Ms. Wasserstein was the number of times that Lillian encountered these people just days before their demise.

Monday, November 14, 2011

To Montreal again and to Iron Chef Chuck Hughes' newest hit “Le Bremner” plus his incredible recipe for Beef Short Ribs with Cambozola




  
         Andrew and I felt as if we already knew Chuck Hughes before we even arrived at his latest Montreal venue, “Le Bremner”  (361 Rue St. Paul East, Montreal H2Y 1H2 Tel: 514-544-0466 ) in the heart of Old Montreal.  We’d been following Chuck for months on his Cooking Channel Show “Chuck’s Day Off”.  The premise, if you haven’t had the pleasure, is that Chuck, a extremely affable (and extremely attractive) chef invites all manner of people he knows to eat a lunch he’s prepared specifically for them at his other Montreal hot spot, “Le Garde Manger” (408 Rue St. Francois Xavier, Tel:514-687-5044).  We get to watch the cooking. His guests ranging from his fellow amateur Hockey team players to the local firemen to the guy who delivers the linen to the restaurant get to do the eating.  It’s great television cooking because Chuck exudes energy and passion and infuses his cooking with ‘lick the screen’ dishes you salivate over just watching.  To say that Andrew and I both had mancrushes on Chuck would likely be an understatement.  And meeting him up close and personal just sealed the deal.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Turkey Meatloaf with Spicy Tomato Jam



         Ground turkey is not my favorite protein, not by a long shot. But I know many people adore the stuff. For its low fat, high protein content, it’s hard to beat.  The difference between it and ground beef is startling.  A mix of dark and white ground turkey saves 154 calories and 20 grams of fat over an identical sized serving of beef.  My problem is that most of the time I don’t think ground turkey holds a candle to the flavor of its alternative.  The exception that proves the rule is this incredible meatloaf.  It’s full of flavor in the loaf itself with its layer of shitake mushrooms and roasted red peppers.  And then there’s the incredible Spicy Tomato Jam that tops it. So good! And it looks as good as it tastes.  Altogether this is well worth cooking. I’d even go so far as to say I might serve it to guests.  Although I’d really rather have extra leftover because I love a great meatloaf sandwich and this meatloaf makes a great one.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Eric Ripert’s Striped bass in Savoy cabbage with Bacon-Butter sauce


The dish and the Chef who invented it, Eric Ripert.
         I love it when Eric Ripert comes on the Today Show and performs his wizardry with fish.  I’ve featured one of his Today Show recipes before and it was a snap to make.  Of course, Chef Ripert manages to cram the entire cooking process into a fast-paced television segment.  This one clocked in at 3 minutes and 40 seconds.  I wish I could tell you that the dish actually came together that quickly.  But it doesn’t.  It takes about 45 minutes to make.  The results, however, are well the effort. The deliciously simple white flaky fish is perfect partner for the leafy green cabbage and the crisp Bacon and butter sauce.  And besides I think it’s the closest I am going to get to sampling Chef Ripert’s cuisine any time soon.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lillian Hellmann’s Pot Roast


With ingredients bordering on White Trash,
this Pot Roast is absolutely delicious
  
When I went to the market last weekend, there was a special on Chuck Roast with a big sticker on it saying “Easy Cooking Instructions for Pot Roast”.  I immediately thought “Lillian Hellmann’s Pot Roast”.  I don’t know whether you’re familiar with Lillian Hellman, an author whose works included “Little Foxes”, likely better remembered as a Bette Davis movie, and “Julia”, a World War II drama which may also be better remembered in its movie version starring Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave.  But I remember Lillian Hellman well.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chicken with Creamy Mushrooms and Snap Peas from Food Network Magazine



         The Food Network magazine came on the scene in 2008 and created quite a splash.  Its initial goal was to sell 300,000 copies.  In short order, it had over 1,000,000 readers a month.  Its celebrity chefs grace each cover like rock stars.  Its success may lie in the fact that there’s nothing earth-shattering or difficult about any of its recipes.  Unlike Fine Cooking, which deep dives into a subject and invites creativity with articles about customizing meatloaf and creating one’s own flavor profiles, Food Network could be called “Recipes for Dummies”.  The only challenge to its reader-cooks is to get dinner on the table with as little fuss as possible.  Now don’t for minute think that I don’t subscribe to the principle of making things that are easily replicated by our readers. It’s just that in my heart, I believe that Food Network Magazine’s success killed off a magazine that was far and away a more comprehensive look at food and cooking and the techniques for doing it well.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fig-Almond Tart from Marinus Restaurant at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, California


  
         Andrew made this recipe not once but twice and it was big hit. He encouraged me to post it.  But for the life of me, I could not find it. I must have used every search word combination I could think of.  The truly pathetic thing is that Andrew keeps a log of everything he bakes. But that log was at the beach and we are in city most weekends this time of year.  I finally trekked out there on Monte’s Ham business and Eureka!  I found it listed in Andrew’s blue book.  Finally, I could post this wonderfully moist tart with its cake-like interior. Finally I could share its secret: Frangipane, a classic French pasty filling of almonds, eggs, butter and sugar.  At last I could give you a look at its beautiful fresh figs atop this perfect piece of pastry.  Or could I…

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Next stop in Montreal, an homage to Joe Beef, their recipe for a Foie Gras “Double Down” and a Mushroom Ragu with Burrata Cheese recipe created in Frederic Morin’s honor.



Joe Beef's notorious Double Down
Our Homage to the Chef, Frederic Morin
We realized there was no way we were going to pin a “Best Restaurant in Montreal” title on any one of the sensational places we ate.  They were uniformly great.  They all shared one quality that was really important to us. They were truly Quebecois, taking full advantage of what was locally grown. Their recipes were rooted in the cooking that’s made Quebec a foodie destination for far longer than I’ve been alive. And they’re all building on the past to make meals that feel so right today.  Take, for example, Joe Beef. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Curry-and-Yogurt-Braised Chicken adapted from Grace Parisi of Food and Wine Magazine



Food and Wine's
Grace Parisi
         We love a good curry at our house.  It’s warming and satisfying on all levels.  This particular recipe is the product of that master chef at Food and Wine magazine, Grace Parisi.  What Grace has achieved here is a melding of flavors that would lead you to believe that the dish has been happily percolating on the stove for hours.  Actually, the whole thing takes a little over a half hour to make.  What you end up with is a creamy curry rich with the tang of Greek-style yogurt.  And Grace has blended in tomatoes, corn kernels, Serrano chile, ginger and curry powder for a truly flavorful dish.  Surprisingly, even with the addition of the Serrano chile, the curry comes off as mildly spicy with just enough heat to add interest.  I adapted this recipe slightly with some ideas I think are worth sharing.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Braised Chickpeas with Spinach and Haloumi with Crisp Onions and Mojo Verde


         This dish really ought to come with a passport.  It has undercurrents of India with its cumin and coriander.  But the Haloumi cheese is pure Greek. The chickpeas could be Indian or Italian or German. And if we called them “Garbanzos”, they would be as Spanish as the incredibly delicious “Mojo Verde” that accompanies them.  To top off all this culinary globe-trotting, I found the recipe in Cuisine, a New Zealand food magazine.  So if you feel like singing “We are the World” while cooking this incredible vegetarian feast, go right ahead.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Duck a l’Orange adapted from Jacques Pepin’s recipe in Food and Wine




         Duck a l’Orange lives in our memory as one of our first introductions to restaurant food.  In Montreal, where we lived, it was fairly ubiquitous on the city’s better menus.  We loved it for its sweetness and its crunch.  For the dark duck meat and the crispy skin. For the orange sauce with its taste of Grand Marnier.  We remember feeling sophisticated just ordering it…although we likely didn’t know what the word sophisticated meant at the time.  At any rate, when this month’s Food and Wine arrived, an article written by Rux Martin, the editor of the soon-to-be-published “Essential Pepin” Jacques Pepin’s soon-to-be-released cooking anthology, intrigued us.