After a traditional Ambrose family Thanksgiving day breakfast of roasted pork loin and sweet corn hash with red skin potatoes and poached eggs, Mansell and I stuffed the turkey that we’d boned out on Wednesday morning.
All of the vegetables we used came to us in a farm box from our friends at the Foster farm in Sagaponack.
We diced carrots, chopped green onions and garlic, rosemary, arugula and 4 lovely dried Shishito peppers. Then, in a sauté pan the vegetables were softened with Cromer’s Italian sausage. After the mixture cooled we rolled it into the boneless bird and tied the roulade off with sage.
My corn crop was destroyed by birds this past summer. It was coming in strong, 6 feet tall with a wonderful showing of several cobs on each plant in mid July. The bed I set wasn’t large, about 25 feet wide and 40 feet long. Then, late in the month a freak hurricane named Hanna ran up the Mississippi River and turned right mid way through the country, we were hit with its tail end. Just enough force to mess with my corn, twisting it up and opening the tightly packed rows. This in turn provided the birds access to each Cob which are generally buried tightly in the mass of plants that I refer to as my wall of Oaxacan green “Indian corn”. The birds ate all of my corn this year, it was hard to watch nature take her share.
Sunday night dinner with all 3 of the A. sisters home. That is a special night. We had planned on dining out at the Main Street Tavern in Amagansett, 177 Main Street. This is a special address for my family as we spent 16 years in that space running it as a coffee shop and restaurant. It would be safe to say that our family was born out of this coffee shop which started in that address in 1981. It was commonly known as Estia.
Jessica and I purchased the lease for Estia in 1991 and maintained a business there until 2007. Since selling the lease, 3 different operators have worked the space. Presently Main Street Tavern which has been open since the spring. Challenged by the Covid pandemic it’s been a struggle for them and I’ve chosen to wait to visit. Tonight’s reservation was canceled, apparently they have plumbing issues. Chalk it up to growing pains. Operating a restaurant in Amagansett is not easy in any business climate. We can wait.
With tonight’s plan for dining out off the table, I volunteered to cook (my daughters are all good cooks now) and I decided to let a walk through Citarella steer my menu. As I looked in the butcher case, braised short ribs were the easy choice, 3 1lb boneless short ribs to be exact.
The annual Hayground school visit is a highlight on my winter schedule. This year the class was all boys. We started in the classroom and watched the riverside video demonstration for our main course recipe from Estia’s American Rivers Tour website.
Both situations were a first in my experience cooking with the students in that school. I think the kids were excited and better informed going into the kitchen after watching recipe demo in the classroom.
Our menu included corn bread crusted chicken pot pie, cranberry sauce, a salad of spinach, arugula and cabbage in a tangerine, mustard vinaigrette, and for dessert, chocolate pudding.
cooked over open fire by the Teton River, Driggs, Idaho
This is one of the most satisfying open fire meals I can think of. Chicken pot pie is a complete campfire dish with vegetables, protein, starch and dairy. All you need besides a plan and ingredients is a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven with a lid and a spoon.
On this trip we bought a wooden spoon, which split in half as I opened the skillet that has a tendency to seal lid to base while cooking. But as you will see if you watch the video, it all worked out.
Harvesting different types of peppers at the Quail Hill Farm
Reporting in from the Quail Hill Farm on October 30th. My membership here extends back to the early days, having joined New York’s first Community Supported Agriculture adventure (CSA) in 1993 I’m always thrilled to harvest here.
Harvesting carrots was my first task. Take a look at our carrot video in the Estia Seed to Plate series. Once I was finished with the pitchfork in the carrot bed I moved on to find an abundance of chili’s three beds to the west. As always my eye was distracted by the beauty of the farm that’s been created and maintained by the Quail Hill crew now run by farmer Layton and mentored by poet and seed specialist Scott Chaskey.
Last week my email inbox featured a note from my pal Laura’s wife Catherine. She had visited a garden—planted by a man she spoke fondly of—and she carried a large bag filled with peppers home that day. Her note to me requested a recipe that might properly celebrate the harvest. Read More »
The 2018 FOOD LAB Conference at Stony Brook Southampton featured an interview by Biddle Duke with Colin Ambrose about Estia’s Restaurants, cooking, fishing, the American Rivers Tour, and everything in between.
It’s been years since a good, simple ranch dressing has graced the menu at Estia’s Little Kitchen. Inspired by Julia Moskin’s article “Ranch Nation” (Sept. 2018 NY Times) I put this recipe into play. The dressing is not original ranch style in that it doesn’t contain mayo. Instead, yogurt and red wine vinegar have been added, along with egg yolks to tighten it up.
For years my dinner menu has featured a Crisp California Chicken, finished with agave/chili sauce which has been made to order. Fingers crossed that this new salad finds an audience. The agave/chili sauce will now be prepped in advance and used on both dishes. I think it goes as close as our kitchen will to a simple, light buffalo chicken wing sauce. With that in mind, the salad is finished with just enough blue cheese to counter point the sweetness that the agave lends to the salad. Read More »
This is a dish that I started using as a big starch filler for our annual Christmas party last year. The key ingredient was love as I had my 3 daughters by my side, each of them stuffing penne into rigatoni, singing Christmas songs and making it all so easy.
Today as I stood alone in the kitchen I was missing the girls—and their hands, their smiles & their cooking enthusiasm. Then our pals Stew, Tina and Amy walked in and took over the pasta stuffing. I made the béchamel, added the cheese, and in 15 minutes there were 3 casseroles going into the fridge, ready to be baked and served at tonight’s harvest dinner.