My oldest child Lyman has a taste for fish. She likes it fresh and soft, cooked with a little more than a splash of wine and a pinch of salt most of the time. Tonight was a special dinner; Lyman just finished her summer internship in Manhattan. As the Jitney she was riding turned off the L.I.E. and headed for the Sunrise Highway, we traded text messages. I asked her what she wanted for dinner. She responded, “Should we do fish?” followed by, “Will you bring some of the lovely Rosé home, too?” Read More »
There is a wonderful Italian style butcher shop called Quattro’s. It is on Route 44, just west of the Taconic Parkway in Pleasant Valley, New York. I stopped by there last weekend on my way to my daughter Mansell’s high school graduation in Millbrook, New York. I had heard about the stop from the school’s headmaster, Drew Casertano, and was intrigued to visit. It pays to follow the headmaster’s suggestions in many areas. Quattro’s is extraordinary. Read More »
Jessica and I visited my Mother in Virginia this weekend. On the way home, we stopped for lunch in Fredericksburg, Virginia. We ate at a place called Foode – a hot, little spot located at the end of an alley. This burger caught my eye. I brought one home to share with Auggie, my sous chef in Darien. The burger never made it to Estia’s but my memory stands to reinvent the recipe. Read More »
On Sunday afternoon, I traveled to the North Fork of Long Island where I participated in an event at the Kontokosta winery. Slow Food sponsored the event in honor of a great local chef, my friend Gerry Hayden. There were 300 guests, the weather was perfect and Gerry was happy. Read More »
Thanksgiving breakfast: Yes, we love Brussels sprouts in our house. On Thanksgiving, it has been determined that it is just fine, in fact, to serve them twice. The first time is for breakfast where we cook them camp-out style on a grill over the fire in our fireplace. The second is for dinner, simply sauteed with garlic in olive oil until brown.
a dozen local eggs
½ loaf of whole-grain bread for toast
12 Brussels sprouts, quartered
3 small red potatoes, cut into cubes and blanched for 3 minutes
1 small sweet potato, cut and blanched
1 leek, diced and rinsed
4 shallots, quartered
½ pound fresh-from-the-butcher sage pork sausage
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon kosher salt
cracked pepper to taste Read More »
Back in the late 90’s, I had the good fortune of serving the Amagansett, NY community on a daily basis. The restaurant was called Estia’s and I had a bird’s eye view of Main Street for 16 years from my kitchen.
The nice thing about running a full-service restaurant seven days a week over the course of a decade is the people that you meet. One of my favorites was an elegant lady named Sarah Davis. She stopped by occasionally for lunch with her daughter Tracy. It was my good fortune to have a chance to serve Sarah, joining the legions of friends who admired her style. Read More »
The best time of year to transplant or separate rhubarb roots (crowns) is in the spring. This year, I found myself digging on St. Patrick’s Day. For the past 20 years, I have cooked with rhubarb that has come from Quail Hill Farm. Quail Hill Farm is New York’s first CSA. My friend Scott Chasky, the farmer at Quail Hill, has been guiding me as a gardener for the entire time.
The nice thing about rhubarb (other than its unique flavor profile) is that every three or four years the roots get large enough to divide and replant. My first spring rhubarb visit to the Quail Hill rhubarb patch was in 1994. Scott had been on the job for three years. He had been given a gift of several crowns in the spring of 1991 and it was time to divide that first row. He gave me two crowns for my Amagansett garden at that time. Over the years that followed, I divided my plants to a total of 12 crowns. They served my Amagansett kitchen well. Read More »
Over the past three weeks, my menus have offered a new take on beef. Or, if you sit next to Dave Beckwith at the counter, he might suggest it’s “old style beef.” The source, Manchester Farms in Avella, Pennsylvania has a strict code, raising its animals on a grass diet from start to finish. At this time, since Manchester is an organic dairy farm, they raise only Hereford dairy cows. Smaller than beef breeds, the Hereford male offspring provide a deep flavor, lean but rich and gamey. I just love it. Read More »
Tomorrow night will mark my first vegetarian tasting effort. Five courses served with organic wine from the Heller Estate in Carmel Valley, California.
This dishwill start the evening. As the menu developed, I was concerned that there might not be enough substance to satisfy a hungry guest. Having tasted this dish, I now feel confident that we will more than fulfill the goal of providing complete nourishment with tasty variety.
1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced thin on a mandoline
1 spicy turnip, peeled and sliced thin on a mandoline
1 cup lentil sprouts
1 cup sunflower sprouts
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
1 cup pine nuts (soak in filtered water over night)
1 garlic clove
1 cup parsley leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup water
Read More »
If you choose to live on the East End of Long Island, serving the public year round in a coffee shop might not be the first thing you would choose to do. In 1991, it was the right decision for me. I started serving breakfast and lunch by first building a staff and then a customer base. When we eventually opened for dinner, our original focus was on pasta. It went well, and then the Zone Diet came along.
By 1998, it was time to shift to bolder, more flavorful and lighter fare. The most direct approach that I could think of at the time was to focus on the staff that had helped me build the business in Amagansett. Two members of my team stood out. First, in the kitchen was my right-hand man Ruben Bravo. Second, in the front of the house was the ever-friendly and energetic Carlos Pinzon. Read More »
Tonight’s menu was written when we weren’t sure how many people would join us for dinner. The past weekend’s surprise snowstorm (15 inches in October) has caused power outages all over Connecticut. That means no school for many. Several neighboring families have no electricity so that they can cook, and Jessica has been on the phone sharing the love of her husband’s cooking.
The recipe below comes from today’s efforts. It’s been cut down to serve 4 or 5 at your table. I like to fill out the braising pan with chunks of veal stew meat thereby allowing for extra visitors or extra hungry family members. I’ve chosen to keep the tomatoes whole in the braising pan so that the resulting broth will be clear. If you like a darker, richer sauce, switch out the white wine for red and add tomato paste to the recipe (about 3 tablespoons should do). Read More »
2 pounds Striped Bass
1/4 cup butter
1 cup wheat berries
1 cup organic brown rice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup mixed chopped herbs
2/3 cup egg whites
This dish has supported our menu since the striped bass season opened on Long Island last July. The cakes are sometimes finished with mushrooms and truffle oil, sometimes sesame oil and sesame seeds, today with herbs from our garden, olive oil and egg whites. Read More »
I had a chance to share a few recipes and a story or two at the Whalers Church in Sag Harbor tonight. The crowd was alert and interested, what more could a guy ask for?
The Whalers Church is one of my favorite spots on Long Islands East End. It serves the community in more ways than I had imagined. Not only does it serve as a church and gathering point for the local food pantry, “The Whalers” is also a gathering place for all sorts of local groups. It’s an iconic building that has provided safe shelter and inspiration for Sag Harbor residents ever since this Village was more important to New York’s economic success than Manhattan. Hard to believe, and even more surprising to learn that this fabulous building is in need of fundraising support on a monthly basis.
That’s how tonight’s cooking class came to be, another of many positive efforts put on by the Community Fund. We had about 35 people show up, they all paid for my introduction to eating local. The recipes that follow were the focus of this 2 hour conversation.
It was an honor to serve my community tonight. I was happy to see the interest in our guests eyes, to hear their questions and watch them taste the flavors that come from farms and gardens that surround us.
In the end of August, on a balmy Wednesday night I traveled to Montauk with Rupert for a sample of the offerings at Sean McPherson’s beach bar “The Crows Nest”.
Dinner was excellent. My favorite choice was the Kale Salad. Service was on the money, too. My take away came off the bar.
They were featuring a cocktail made with coconut water, mint, and some sort of rum. I don’t drink alcohol, the drink was delicious served virgin. I’m going to call it the Cocojito.
We don’t serve spirits at The Little Kitchen so I chose raw organic agave syrup and lime juice as a replacement. The muddled mint comes from our garden. It helps to shake the “Cocojito” on ice before serving. Try it in a 16 oz. shaker glass. Add a shot of Bacardi for the extra kick.
8 oz. coconut water
2 oz. lime juice
2 oz. raw organic agave syrup
5 mint leaves crushed on the bottom of the glass
On Sunday last week a hurricane roared through Sag Harbor, her name was Irene and in the end my lemon cucumber plants were stripped of their leaves. Not a problem as the plants seem to be regenerating with new flowers and the existing cucumbers are much easier to find with the thinned foliage.
We’ve had a regular at the East Hampton farmers market asking for our Cucumber Mint Lymanade for a few weeks now. The A. Sisters table featured raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, peach, and cantaloupe Lymanades as the season has progressed. Now it’s time to respond to the call for the Mojito mixer that’s been a late summer hit for the past 3 years.
Each of our Lymanades feature a different seasonal, locally harvested fruit, but the basic recipe remains the same. Combine equal parts of lemon and lime juice (1 cup each) and then that much fruit puree (2 cups) with enough simple syrup to soften the citrus (1/2 to 1 cup)
and shake in an recycled wine bottle, chill and serve over ice with soda or your favorite spirit. Read More »
Another Tuesday on Quail Hill, sunny, dry, August at it’s best. I waited for a little girl to finish using the pitch fork in the potato bed. Her hair was tied back in a pink bandanna. If she dug 10 potatoes I’d be surprised but that’s not what it was all about. The look in her eyes, excitement on her face and tone of her voice screamed the story of perfect summer adventure.
On this particular evening we had an Amagansett resident visiting our table, he lives in a house that sits on the hill that overlooks Quail Hill’s fields. He’s an old family friend who’s been a vegetarian for years, oh sure a little fish, some chicken but when Alec comes to dinner, we always make an effort to include a vegetable center piece on the menu to ensure a full belly for the big man. Read More »
This is one of the easiest “oh boy this is great” grilling recipes I know! A few basics to get started. Ask the fish man for 10-20 prawns and 10-20 sea scallops. That simply means that you’d like shellfish that come 10 to 20 per pound. When the prawns are thawed remove the main shell but leave the head and tail on. With a small knife slice the back of the prawn open and run the butterflied pieces under cold water to rinse away the brown stuff.
To clean the scallops, remove the muscle which is a little chip of flesh that comes off with the flick of your thumb.
My daughters gave me a back yard fire pit for Fathers Day, it’s awesome. Tonight I tried a hanger steak on the grill and was amazed at the wonderful smokey flavor that placed this steak near the top of my lifetime list.
When I planned tonight’s’ dinner at the end of a long day it was the lemon pepper fettuccine that had my attention. I organized the ingredients quickly, having made the pasta for tomorrow’s farmers market in Amagansett earlier in the afternoon. The garlic and arugula came from the garden, and I had a piece of Parmesan in the fridge. Read More »
Dave Bondlow got up early on Thursday morning and drove to Pine Plains New York to a small slaughter house that handles animals raised on farms in the immediate area using humane practices. He picked up one 180 pound pig, split and chilled.
As soon as Dave arrived in Sag Harbor I got busy breaking down the carcass, first removing the primals then separating the rib bones from the loins. The art of butchery takes time, as a novice working with whole animals, this was an exciting first step.
Serving 180 pounds of pork calls for a plan and this one was generated by a wedding rehearsal dinner that I executed for my late friend Christian Wolffer and his ex wife Naomi Wolffer-Marks. It was in celebration of their daughter Joanna’s wedding to Max, a handsome young man that she meet on a train 3 years ago. Read More »