Vegan Paella: Estia’s Earth Day Dinner

Vegan Paella at Estia's for Earth Day weekend

Serves 4 people as a main dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 large artichoke – heart removed, sliced into 8 sections
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas – chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb – sliced thin
  • 1 cup sweet corn
  • 1 carrot – peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks – diced
  • 1 cup zucchini – sliced
  • 1 small Spanish onion – diced
  • 4 garlic cloves – diced
  • 4 tomatoes – canned, cut into ¼ pieces 
  • 10 green olives – sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock 
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon of saffron threads 
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 large orange –  juiced
  • 1.5 cups jasmine rice

Preheat oven to 400° degrees.

Vegan Paella at Estia's for Earth Day weekend

Start by stirring saffron, salt and paprika into the vegetable stock, set aside for a few hours.

Vegan Paella at Estia's for Earth Day weekend
Vegan Paella with artichokes at Estia’s for Earth Day weekend
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First time visitor at The Center For Discovery: Hurleyville NY

In response to last year’s Covid lockdown my wanderlust kicked in hard this February so I decided to commit to getting on the road inside the quarantine zone. Starting in early March I initiated a personal challenge to ride my bicycle north from Manhattan to Canada on the Empire State Trail with my friends from New York. The plan included inviting as many chefs as I could to join me. I sent an early note to Cesare Casella whom I’d met 15 years ago at his 22nd street restaurant, Beppe.

Although Chef Casella couldn’t join me on the trail he was quick to respond and  invited me to visit him in Hurleyville, while he didn’t provide more details than a dinner invitation, I didn’t care. My goal is to spend time connecting with like minded people in New York State this spring so Cesare’s invitation was like gold. He suggested I touch base when the trail ride reached New Paltz. That time has come and contact was made last week and a dinner plan in Catskills was scheduled.

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Slow Food East End

We Are Slow Food East End

We bring the food community together on Long Island. Join us!

Slow Food East End’s mission is to seek to create dramatic and lasting change in our food system; we connect communities on the East End with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that create our food. We inspire individuals and communities to change the East End of Long Island through food that is good, clean and fair for all.

Slow Food is an international movement with chapters in more than 160 countries; Slow Food East End is a chapter of Slow Food USA, and is one of the largest chapters in the country.

This video highlights interviews with East End farmers, producers, chefs and educators:

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Roasted tomato and basil pasta sauce: The A.Sisters Christmas giving

It’s been 8 years since the A.Sisters have made a batch of pasta with our machine at Estia.

Now that each of my daughters has their own kitchen and more of an interest in cooking (Mansell especially), we thought it was time to put together a Christmas gift of red, white, and green pasta with a simple tomato sauce and a chunk of cheese. We gifted these to family friends and a few hard working chefs that I love, too.

The finished Gift box
The finished Gift box
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Thanksgiving story & Turkey Roulade

Turkey Roulade for Thanksgiving

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.

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Cornbread for the Thanksgiving table

Estia's Cornbread

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.

The birds got to share our Estia’s garden corn this year.
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Boneless Beef Short Ribs

Boneless Beef Short Ribs

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.

Boneless Beef Short Ribs
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Carmelita with ice cream

Estia's Carmelita with ice cream and dulce de leche

Serves 12

1/2 sheet pan, butter pan, preheat oven to 350°.
Bake in two layers.

Layer #1

  • 3 cups A.P. flour
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups melted butter

Combine in a bowl and spread evenly on 1/2 sheet pan.
Bake 10 minutes.

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Mexican Sweet Corn Chowder

Mexican sweet corn chowder Estia's style

|serves a crowd|

Add ingredients in a large pot:

20 corn cobs – ( remove corn from cobs first and save kernels for later)

Bring 2 gallons of water to a simmer then add:

  • 1 lb unsalted butter
  • 1 quart 1/2&1/2
  • 1 large white onion – chopped
  • 3 bunch cilantro, stems included (rinsed twice)
  • 20 poblano chilis – (cut peppers in half and don’t remove seeds or stems)
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • Add corn cobs
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Turkish Lamb Kebab with Tomato Chutney & Israeli Couscous

Lamb Kebab on the Big Wood River in Ketchum, Idaho

Recipe from Scott Mason of the Ketchum Grill, Idaho

Serves 8

Ingredients for Lamb Kebabs:

5 lbs ground lamb 1/2 bunch chopped fresh mint 3 shallots, diced 1/2 cup currants 1/2 cup pine nuts 1 tbsp chopped garlic Salt 3 tbsp cinnamon, ground 1/2 tblsp clove, ground 1/2 tbsp fenugreek

Mix all together. Shape onto skewers and grill. Serve with flat bread, bib lettuce, couscous, chutney and yogurt!

Turkish Lamb Kebabs cooking riverside
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Chocolate Pudding for 40 kids

Cooking at the Hayground school with the students

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.

Cooking class at the Hayground school

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.

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Cornbread Crusted Chicken Pot Pie

Colin Ambrose is serving his cornbread crusted chicken pot pie, cooked and enjoyed by the Teton River

cooked over open fire by the Teton River, Driggs, Idaho

Serves 6

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.

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Chewy Brownies for the Holidays

Estia's Fudgy Brownie recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2  1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1  1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1  1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Melt chocolate chips and butter together over low heat in a double boiler. Combine all ingredients in a mixer. Pour into buttered 1/2 sheet pan & place in preheated 375°F oven for 25 minutes.

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