Bass straight from the beach turned into rolled fillets of succulence

This was a family weekend to remember: 4 evenings in a row with all 5 of us in attendance each night with friends at a different table. The highlight of the weekend was last night Saturday at the Streeps. Thanksgiving dinner #2 — an annual event. Prior to Dinner we went to the beach, walking the dogs and casting a popper at the Jetty off Wieborg beach. We came up on a group of locals in pick up trucks towing a dory and to our great surprise we had a chance to watch them set the haul seine.

Mansell took a series of photos to document the event, a celebration of the sea on the beaches of East Hampton that may soon be completely outlawed. As the team pulled in the net, the large bass were tossed into the back of the truck while the shorts were returned to the sea, some too weak to make there way back into the shallow waves of low tide, a dramatic sight on this harvest moon.

As we were leaving, the girls asked one of the fishermen if they would mind if we picked up one of the short fish that had washed back up on the beach, he shrugged his shoulders and walked off. That was permission to us so we picked the exhausted fish up off the beach and carried it home in my tackle bag.

Lyman loves fish, this recipe was designed to use every ounce of our harvest. As the girls watched, I cleaned the fish, first removing it’s head and then opening the belly with thumb sized minnows pouring out on to the cutting board. Next step, slice the fillets from the spine to the tail and then remove the skin by laying the fillets skin side down on a cutting board and sliding the knife from tail end forward separating the skin from the flesh completely without having to scale the fish first. Next step is to go back to the remaining skeleton and trimming all the left over flesh.

This flesh is then diced fine and mixed with diced shallot and red pepper, parsley, salt & pepper. Sautee the mixture with butter slowly over low heat until the mixture is almost cooked through.

On the cutting board slice the boneless fillets in half from tail forward creating cardboard thin slices of fish (use your sharpest knife). Then roll the mixture into the fillets and spear them with a toothpick size piece of dried linguine.

For service roast 1 medium sized Spaghetti squash (@375 for 45 minutes w/ olive oil & water) and then remove the flesh, stir in 4 tablespoons butter, 1 cup diced shallots, red pepper and parsley mixed with a seasoning of salt and pepper. Place this mixture in a casserole and top it with the striped bass rolls, bake @375 for 25-20 minutes.

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Thanksgiving – how to make stuffing, creamed onions, butternut squash puree, and pumpkin pie

A Thanksgiving dinner promotion at the Little Kitchen kept me busy all day, working with Raul in a quiet kitchen, the dining room empty (it’s Tuesday and we’re closed) made for an exceptional day. He works efficiently and keeps his station clean. The stuffing recipe called for 6 loaves of bread, 2 seven grain, 2 Tuscan loaves & 2 rye. The bread was cut into cubes and then dusted with chopped parsley, oregano and allspice. Then Raul tossed it with olive oil and toasted the herbed bread cubes. In the morning we will add sautéed celery and shallots and then stuff 4 turkeys, a few sheet pans of the remaining croutons will be soaked with turkey stock and milk then toasted then stirred and toasted some more. Read More »

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Blackfish and Tomato Stew

The Brussels sprouts at Quail Hill are ready for harvest, many larger ones at the base of the plants were picked weeks ago but I’m finding the small top sprouts to be tasty and quick to prepare in the pan. Sautéed with a few chopped shallots and a tablespoon of butter they only take a few minutes. This weekend we’re serving them with a blackfish and tomato stew with Israeli cous cous. I like the little pasta balls which require the same amount of cooking time as the 7oz fish fillets (bluefish or weakfish would work with this recipe too). Read More »

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Poached egg and Chinese cabbage salad with pumpkin emulsion

Last weekend on Sunday night we hosted the 13th annual Quail Hill harvest dinner at Estia’s Little Kitchen. On staff, Lyman (14) & Mansell (12) Ambrose with Nicholas (16) & Christopher (13) Cinque. It was a rewarding evening for me and it seemed our guests enjoyed it too. In the prayer I gave thanks for the color of Quail Hill eggs and the beautiful beets that we add to salads, I also mentioned how much all the little hands help. On Saturday we harvested raspberries with the Briggs girls, in 15 minutes pie pans were full, not the case when I harvest alone and certainly a lot more fun to watch the children harvest, 1 for me 3 for you. Read More »

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Olive Oil Braised Fennel

Ingredients:

– 2 large fennel heads, remove fennel tops
– Slice the trimmed fennel from root to steam
– Place the fennel in 2 cups of olive oil over medium heat and turn after 5 minutes.
– Now transfer to the oven and roast for another 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving plate, squeeze a lemon over the top.
If they are small top with diced tomato, season with sea salt.

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Eggplant & Perfect Tomato Napoleon w/ purple basil & cream cheese

After further research the swan report has changed. We still have a single signet on Hook Pond and the birds feathers are still grey, I did not see it fly. The sky is blue and a light breeze moves. At least 20 swans move about. Ernie Clark explained the gathering of swans at the bridge, it’s a gaggle of males that have yet to hook up. They are eating something off the bottom, ravenous, preparing for a long flight south. I wish I could find out where they will winter.

Tonight I eat alone at home. Quail Hill delivered vegetables at 4 pm and my poached meal was the bounty. It’s tomato season so the red & yellow varieties from our special salad looked great, a head of fennel made the bag and I grabbed an eggplant too. My choice of protein was the remaining 6 inch end of last weekends pork loin special. Since Raul chose to trim the fat our refrigerator came to the rescue and provided a topping of thinly sliced salami layed over sliced red tomato and a seasoned piece of pork loin. It was roasted for an hour at 350 degrees. Read More »

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Spaghetti Squash For 4

The rain falls like an electric blanket on 96th Street this morning, New York city is not much different than a steam bath. I walked Whittier and Lyman to school this morning following a new routine of waiting in front of the building at 50 East 96th St. for bus #164, Mansell’s new transportation to school at Windward in Westchester. Today opened a chapter of our lives that should be titled 58 dollars please—it seems every turn involves the next outing or uniform and $58 is the magic number.

Dinner on Sunday night served the family at our dining room table in Manhattan. It featured a chicken roasted in the rotisserie chamber at the local grocery store, bathed in herbs and the juice of 20 other chickens it was moist and flavorful. My contribution was a spaghetti squash roasted simply in its skin and separated from its seeds after 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven. I do what I can to feed the kids yellow vegetables at every meal that I prepare for them. The squash was topped with a sautee of garlic, green beans and sliced red pepper tossed with EVO and a touch of salt in a hot pan until the beans begin to soften. Start with the garlic and oil in the pan first then (as the garlic begins to brown) add the rest of the ingredients.

To serve, the squash should be shredded on to a serving platter then topped with a few teaspoons of butter followed by the bean and red pepper mixture.

For the Spaghetti Squash For 4:

1 spaghetti squash
1 large red pepper
1 quart green beans (tips snipped)
4 cloves of garlic (sliced thin)
¼ cup olive oil
salt to taste
4 teaspoons unsalted butter

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Swordfish stew w/ ginger jasmin rice and zucchini (big for 4)

East Hampton town pond plays host to a family of swans 7 strong, mother and father parade the signets (very large birds last night). Returning from the north woods of Wisconsin with Phobe Brigg’s (Lyman’s best friend) our driver turned to me and commented on the flock. It was 1:00 am so I kept my mouth shut about my friends on the golf course.

Last weekend I spent enough time with Wayne Philipps from Braun oyster to learn about big fish shoulder’s or the knape. My initial interest was in a piece of fish that might feed the family. An education in butchering fish followed. The Swordfish collar is full of treasure right down to the birdlike form it’s bones take as they emerge from the oven post roast. Read More »

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Pork and Potato Gratin

The beans and Blackfish sold out early on Saturday night, a big hit. Tonight we replaced the blackfish with meatloaf. It went well side by side with the green bean salad.

At The Lodge I was short on staff. Just Andrew and me on the line, family meal was an early priority, when the pork chops were delivered I open the brown wrapper to find 8 attractive porterhouse chops and several smaller tail pieces. The tail pieces were perfect for this casserole, on a cool night in August the staff was content with creamy potatoes and onions that surrounded the pork. Read More »

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Vegetable Enchiladas in Tomatillo Salsa Verde | On the menu for the Auto Club Group

Auto Club visit to the Little Kitchen

Occasionally the phone rings and a completely unexpected and welcome request comes through. On Friday, a man named Matt called, he was planning an outing for his auto club and had heard that The Little Kitchen served a good breakfast. Breakfast reservations are a challenge but when he told me that they would be arriving at 8am it was easy, plenty of room in the parking lot for 30 cars and seats in the dining room for what turned out to be 30 hungry men.

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Blackfish Veracruzana with beans

Blackfish Veracruzana

It was Mansell’s 12 th birthday yesterday. We partied at the beach and it was a blast. Her requested menu started with Grilled sushi tuna served rare, sliced thin and plated along side pickled ginger, wasabi and soy, Asa Gosman sent us the nicest piece of Tuna I’ve ever seen. She also wanted steamed mussels and marinara sauce, hot dogs, burgers and tomato mozzarella and olive oil (fresh from the airport in Rome.) Our good pal Michael Cinque arrived just in time with Fudgie the Whale from Carvel and we all sang for the birthday girl. Read More »

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Clams Casino

Summer is upon us. Crossing the road requires advanced planning ( if I can take a right & then a left). People are settling in for the summer, my children seem to be very happy …Jess, too. We dined in the “Tavern room” at the 1770 house on Thursday, no kids just us. Read More »

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Pan Roasted Striped Bass

It’s getting hot in the kitchen. Last night we must have seen the temperature on the line exceed 120. Standing in front of the broiler, moving steaks from left to right, adding cheese to burgers, thumping the meat to test for done-ness, no experience in cooking that I’ve ever had has been quite so extreme. The fish station is not quite as hot, however it seems to get the lions share of our business. Striped bass is extremely popular, we’ve been serving it with asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, and grilled orange slices topped with citrus beuree blanc.

The same dish is finding success at The Little Kitchen. Just outside the back door my garlic has matured. Yesterday the buds popped open and their light purple seeds are now exposed. Ancient looking plants in the last phase of summer life, hard to believe we’re already ½ way through the season. Read More »

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Pan Roasted Monkfish with Orzo, spring vegetable & pan gravy

The Lodge sold out of Monkfish last night, Saturday is fish night. Sunday no monk sold, stuck holding 10 lbs. The dish was to be sold as local Montauk Monkfish, pea pods from East Hampton, yellow wax beans from Sag Harbor, garlic & basil from our garden. The garlic buds were tossed with all else in the pan and they held shape, curly and bright green. The staff was thin this evening, 2 waiters, one hit. No specials sold.

At the Little Kitchen garlic buds are reaching for the sky, the base of each plant almost as thick as my “pinky finger”. Behind The Lodge my plants are smaller and more plentiful. This recipe represents the seasons’ first garlic bulb harvest. Read More »

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BBQ Ribs

Ingredients:

Pork Ribs 9 sides
Mirpoix 1 quart (carrot, celery & onion rough chop)
Brown sugar 1 box
Chicken stock 2 gallons
White wine 1 quart
Salt pepper
Jalipeno 8 pc

The first step in preparing these ribs for service involves a braise. Start with a large braising pan over high heat with a few cups of vegetable oil, add the ribs one at a time rolling them as you add them, when browned add the mirpoix. Now add the brown sugar and then the rest of the ingredients. When the liquid begins to simmer place the braising pan in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Cook for 1.5 hours. The pork should be softening so the bones can be pulled from the flesh. Read More »

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Miso Grilled Salmon Salad

For Miso dressing:

1.5 cups red miso paste
6 tablespoons sesame oil
1 cup OJ
½ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup blended oil
1 box soft tofu
1 tablespoon garlic powder (course)
1 tablespoon ginger powder

Blend all until smooth Read More »

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Shepherds Pie

The swans have settled in completely, May 1, 2007 And she spends hours on the nest, photo session at 7:30 pm, just after the magic light had faded. The lady kept her head under wing until I reached the 20 feet zone. As she looked at me the mark was set, doubtful I’ll ever get any closer while she tends the eggs. Read More »

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Salami crusted Pork Loin

Ingredients:

3 lb or 6 inches of American pork loin
1 large red tomato sliced
1 large yellow tomato diced
8 slices salami
2 cups fennel tops, whole

On a roasting pan arrange a bed of fennel tops then the pork loin, season with salt and pepper now top with tomato slices, follow with salami slices fanned out over the top. Place in a 350 hot oven and roast for 45 min.- 1 hour.

Remove and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes. Slice and serve with 2 slices of roasted salami topped with diced yellow tomato. A scatter of fennel fronds about the plates rim make a nice garnish.

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Southern Fried Catfish with red slaw & sweet potato fries

Ingredients:

4 cat fish fillets
1 cup AP flour
½ cup polenta
1/2 cup panko
4 tablespoons Cajun spices
2 cups egg whites
2 cups of blended oil

Combine all dry ingredients and set up the egg whites in a dredging tray then dip the fillets in the egg whites. Follow by coating with the breading (dry ingredients) and set in the largest frying pan you have coated with the oil, over high heat. As soon as the fillets begin to brown turn them over and then remove to a sheet pan, place in a 375 oven for 10 minutes. Read More »

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Linguini and Tomato with Sweet Sausage and Shiitake

This spring shows signs of new growth already, the garlic sprouts in my kitchen garden have been up for some time, with cold weather and North Easter storms in the norm those shoots are slow to develop. As I walked a golf course on the edge of the Atlantic this morning a swans nest caught my eye. Male and female moved about nervously keeping an eye on the mound that they had just built. As the season comes into focus, recipes will evolve with each new harvest. I’ll keep my recipes in order as they come to me. With the days progression photos will keep track of the season with an eye on the garlic and the signets. Read More »

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