A Saturday Tasting at the Macari Vineyard

I was invited by the Macari Vineyard tasting room manager to present a meal to the Macari wine club in the main dining room of the Vineyard—just in time for the bud burst on Macari’s merlot vines outside the kitchen door.

Tasting Menu for the Macari Wine Club, 40 guests.
Saturday, May 9, 2015

Roasted Beet on Sweet Pea and Goat Cheese Coulis
Rabbit Pie
Venison Filet Au Poivre 
Sweet Potato Flan Read More »

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BEACHOUSE LIFE | Chef’s Tales

COOKING-UP AN ICON

The North Fork Table & Inn

by Chef Colin Ambrose
Go to the original article on Beachouse Hamptons website

As an owner myself, I know that restaurants, like our most cherished relationships, are a labor of love. To succeed, they require more work and dedication than most anyone can imagine. Of the chef, the demand is nothing less than an intrinsic passion and understanding of food. From the management, service is the top priority. Now, just for fun, add-in operating your establishment on Long Island’s East End, home to the most demanding and discerning palettes anywhere! The North Fork Table & Inn, consistently ranked with New York’s top dining venues, is proof-positive that  these attributes can – and do exist – everyday. If you enjoy destination dining, a reservation at this iconic institution should be on your near term bucket list.

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Chicken Bolognese

We had a regular visitor at Estia in Amagansett during the summer of 1996. A cookbook author named Anna Teresa Callen, she was born in the Italian Mountains. In the Abruzzo region where she lived, hearty pastas are the choice for most of the year.  Anna was the most enthusiastic and animated guest at my tables. She appreciated our pastas. I quickly learned that this was more than a little Italian lady visiting my cafe and persuading her friends to come, too. Anna was “The Pasta Lady” for many. She knew a good deal more about cooking and, more specifically, Italian food than I did. She was an acclaimed cookbook author (Anna Teresa Callen’s Menus for Pasta) and a cooking teacher. Read More »

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JoJo Cakes

In October, I traveled to Northern Wisconsin with my old buddy Simbo. We fished the Manistique River that is on Michigan’s upper peninsula. We were fishing for steelhead and we got skunked. It was the first of a series of fishing trips intended to follow the Hemingway path, casting in the shadow of big Ernest. On our way home, we stopped for breakfast at a spot in Lena called JoJo’s. The town is perfectly positioned as we head back to the Green Bay airport from my Mom’s cabin in the North Woods. Read More »

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Holiday Quiche from a Catamaran’s Galley

Yesterday was our first day on the “rafts”… floating vacation homes comprised of two 42-foot Catamarans. We are currently on Nonsuch Bay off the island of Antigua in the Caribbean. It is a two-family outing. The Briggs family from Sag Harbor has three daughters the same ages as ours: 22, 19 and 16 years-old. There are ten passengers in all with the kids on one boat and the parents on the other.

This dish was created in an effort to provide an easy breakfast for all of us, served warm for the early risers but also accessible for those who returned to the raft at 3 a.m. Sixteen-year-olds Madeline and Whittier prepared the crust yesterday. Read More »

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Christmas Breakfast: Truffle Scrambled Eggs with Shallot and Bacon Hash Browns.

My children are haunted with our tradition of adding truffled cheese to our scrambled eggs on Christmas morning. They start dreaming about this breakfast as soon as November brings the cool air. Finally, the day has come. We enjoyed a meal this morning that clearly sets the stage for next year. And this post will be available when the time comes for them to do it on their own. Read More »

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December Salad

Reading the descriptions in Johnnie’s seed catalogue helps you learn about what makes-up a mixture of micro greens (brassica, red and green mustard and other cold tolerant greens). You also can find out how to keep the micro green alive in the cold (under cover or in a greenhouse). But I’m here to tell you all that reading does you absolutely no good until you try it. So in the last days of September, I ordered two packs of each of the following:

Early wonder beets
Spicy micro mix
Wildfire lettuce mix
Micro red Russian kale
Emperor spinach
Carmel spinach Read More »

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The Lauren Bacall Special

I was driving home from a farm in Sullivan County, New York this morning when I heard the sad news of Lauren Bacall’s passing.  My old pal Peter Stone was close with Lauren.  For years, they would have summer lunches together at Estia’s in Amagansett. Read More »
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Halibut Roasted in Parchment

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 »

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Quattro’s Pheasant Egg Salad with Balsamic Cipollini Onions

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 »

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Cheesy Black Bean Burger

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 »

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Little Chicken Albondigas

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 »

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Brussels Sprouts & Sage Sausage Hash

Brussels Sprouts and Sage Sausage Hash

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.

Breakfast ingredients:

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 »

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Chicken Hash “21” Style in Honor of Elegant Sarah

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 »

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Digging Rhubarb with Scott at Quail Hill Farm

Rhubarb

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 »

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Sliced Steak Sandwich, Manchester Farm

Sliced Steak Sandwich

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 »

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3 Sprout Sandwich with Pinenut Cream & Parsley Puree

Three Sprout Sandwich with Pinenut Cream and Parsley puree, parsnips and butternut squash

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.

Ingredients:

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
2 shallots
1 cup parsley leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup water
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Mexico & Pinzon’s Torte Ahogada

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 »

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Braised Veal Shank in a Clear Broth

Braised Veal Shank

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 »

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