Penne and Ham

Upon arrival in Hobe sound on Christmas Day we enjoyed a dinner of Baked Ham and Asparagus with Frank Mansell and his girlfriend Sandy Taylor. Frank’s faithful chef Kreta has loosened her grip on the kitchen just enough to allow me the honor of preparing the occasional meal for my children. On the second day after Christmas I was allowed access to make pasta for Whittier as she wasn’t invited to dinner at The Yacht club due to the rules, you must be 10 to dine there for regular dinner service, Whittie’s just 9. Read More »

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Kitchens in Charlie Palmer’s newest restaurant

Kitchens in Charlie Palmer’s newest restaurant at Dallas’s newest hotel The Joule are large and shiny, designed to serve tables in Charlie’s dining room and the hotels luxurious rooms and banquet facilities. They’ll even provide meals to all employees in the hotel and the restaurant, a big job that requires precision almost 24 hours a day. Read More »

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Apple Sauce in glass jars as gifts

Christmas is in the air on Dunemere lane. This Saturday after breakfast the Ambrose family set out to find a tree and by days end the chosen one was standing in the eastern most corner of our family room. The tree stands just over 7 feet tall, a balsam fir, it smells like Christmas and after a few hours of family time (and a few slices of yesterdays pizza) it looks like Christmas. Read More »

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London Broil Steak and Pine Nut-Crusted Tilapia

Family dinner on 96th Street last night was splendid.  On Jessica’s request, I prepared a London broil steak with thin cut French Fries and toasted garlic broccoli.  And for Lyman:  Pine nut-crusted tilapia with tangerine sauce.  In the middle of the table, a roasted Spaghetti Squash with sautéed red pepper and onions was served. Read More »

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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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The Swans and a Birthday Party

We still have a large flock of swans on Hook pond. For some reason they’ve chosen a shallow area around the bridge between the fourth tee box and green to congregate. Every day they skate back and forth in the breeze, one signette remains among them and I‘ve yet to see it fly.

On Saturday night we celebrated Roxanne Briggs, it was her 50th birthday. Ten couples in attendance at 20 Dunemere in the living room. She wanted everyone in the same room and it was accomplished with 4 round tables, the 4th table was occupied by our children, the 6 girls not only served a handpicked salad of greens, roasted beets, carrots and radishes in a mustard soy vinaigrette, they also wrote and delivered 2 excellent toasts. First the Ambrose girls followed by the Briggs children and then just about everyone else in the room. A highlight of the evening was a rousing card game of BS lead by Johnny Muse and his pal Mark Consualo’s. It was a special treat to have Mark and his lovely wife Kelly Ripa with us as Jess and I had never met them before. Read More »

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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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September on the East End

This is my favorite time of year—even the swans love it, they move about more now. Hopefully the missions that I see them flying back and forth over fairways are intended to teach the one remaining youngster. There are no grey signets on Hook pond now, only birds that appear to be full grown. On Town pond the family of seven continue to parade about. While the young are still light grey they have grown to resemble the adults in size and have not started to fly. 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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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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More of Colin’s Kitchen Chronicles

This morning was harvest day at The Little Kitchen. First a 1/6 pan of blueberries followed by garlic scapes. The garlic topset flowers are ready for Scampi. Trying to separate the tiny cloves with your fingers is futile. Best to peel the outer cover that remains away and then place your palm on top of the bulb over a counter top and press down with a twist. These little cloves replace pre-chopped garlic for about a week. Combine in the pan with butter, opal and Genovese basil as the content begins to spit throw in 5 shrimp, a squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt. Raul’s serving them with a bed of Jasmine rice and yellow zucchini cut into bite size pieces sautéed with butter and young onions. 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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