Main Dishes

Main Dishes

Shiitake & Tofu Ranchero

Estia's Shiitake & Tofu Ranchero

serves 8

Ingredients for ranchero:

  • 2 blocks extra firm tofu
  • 4 cups chopped shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 cups salsa (tomato, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro)
  • 8 cloves garlic, diced fine
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 quart water

Brining the tofu will give it a good flavor boost. This recipe works best served fresh out of the oven.

Start by soaking the tofu in salted water for 30 minutes, then set on a cutting
board wrapped in paper towels, place another board on top, and weigh down
with 3 plates. Squeeze for 30 minutes to dry the tofu.

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Coq au Vin with mashed potatoes for Jessica’s birthday party

In October I visited the Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and spent a weekend at The Milkweed Inn, a unique bed & dinner run by Iliana Reagan and her wife Anna. At breakfast on Sunday morning, Iliana gave me an advance copy of her new book “Fieldwork”. As Iliana shares the story of growing up in her parents home on a farm in central Indiana, tales of her Grandmothers restaurant and the recipes she was raised on shine through. 

I was inspired by several references to a duck soup, Czarnina. The idea of using duck blood to thicken a stock made an impression on me and I applied the technique in this dish.

Last night we celebrated my wife Jessica’s 63rd birthday. All 3 of our daughters were home, along with 50 close friends. Special occasions require extra effort. Coq au Vin was the answer.

Estia's Coq au vin recipe ingredients card
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Chicken Stuffed Pumpkin Paella

Pumpkin Paella stuffed with Chicken and veggies

Sunset Place, Nashville, Tennessee
October 24, 2021
Dinner with Mansell & the Beveridge family 

Henry’s sister Glory was married at noon yesterday. It was a first class southern family celebration. Proud father, gorgeous bride, beaming groom, 16 bridesmaids, of which Mansell was one, and a parade of groomsmen. The reception featured deviled eggs, fried chicken and waffles and a glorious white almond wedding cake (I had 2 pieces).

This morning we attended a brunch at Henry’s family home, his parents Mark & Nancy Beveridge hosted family and friends from out of town. I enjoyed hot coffee, mini quiches, mini biscuits with ham and cheesy grits. Each room in the Beveridge home tells a story, new and old.
We felt comfortable, everyone was friendly and happy, proud to share stories about Mansell and the light she shares with them.

Tonight was our turn to host the Beveridge’s at Henry and Mansell’s house. This dish took center stage on the service table. I was concerned that the rice might not cook through, but it did. While still firm and a bit nutty it cooked through. 

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Flame Braised Goat | Chivo Tacos with Colorado Sauce

Chivo Taco

Ingredients and preparation:

  • 1 30lb goat, butcher into large pieces, legs, ribs, back portions, bones in.

Season heavily with salt & black pepper and sear over high heat 10 min per side

Combine in a 50 gallon pot:

  • 4 Spanish onions, chopped
  • 1 head of celery, chopped
  • 2 cups garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 limes, peeled and cut in half
  • 12 arbol chili’s
  • 18 guajillo chili’s, chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 6 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 cup Mexican oregano (dry)

Stir on stove top over medium heat until soft. Add all seared goat & move pot to the fire.

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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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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. 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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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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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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CHILI CHICKEN RELLENOS

Chili Chicken Rellenos at Estia's Little Kitchen

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 3.5 lb chicken, roast, remove all meat in advance
  • 4 poblano peppers, medium size
  • 2 x large eggs
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 small Spanish onions, diced fine
  • 3 tablespoons chipotle with adobo
  • 1 cup shredded jack cheese
  • 2 cups queso fresco, cubed
  • Salt & pepper
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 12 oz Lange Pinot Gris
  • 2 tablespoons saffron
  • 36 oz chicken stock

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Beaverkill Hatchery Rainbow Trout with Roasted Grape Relish

Beaverkill Trout Hatchery rainbow trout with roasted potatoes and roasted grape relish

Adapted from a recipe by Galen Sampson, Chef and G.M. at the Beaverkill Valley Inn that he demonstrated over fire at the BVI.

Galen Sampson has settled into a comfortable life with his wife on the edge of the Upper Beaverkill River in the Catskill mountains. As the Chef and General manager of the Beaverkill Valley Inn, Galen works hard to create new and interesting dishes and experiences of all kinds for his guests. Chef Sampson’s recipe is a good example of how he responds to expectations that an Inn on a famous trout stream should serve trout, without pulling fish from the Inn’s private stretch of river. This is a highly prized trout fishing paradise that requires all guests to agree to catch and release practices prior to stepping into the special mile of river.

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Cooking Rainbow Trout Over Fire: Snake River Surf & Turf

Idaho Surf and Turf

Recipe from our lakeside lunch at the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho.
Find out more about our trip by visiting AmericanRiversTour.com !

It’s not often that a trout is harvested from any river and transferred directly to the skillet on the American Rivers Tour.

Previously unknown to us, the Idaho Fish & Game Department is focused on reducing non-native rainbow trout in the Snake River. For this special occasion, we harvested a 19 inch non-native rainbow and cooked it along with 2 elk steaks for lunch. This is a simple 2 skillet meal. We prefer to use Lodge Skillets. The vegetables were purchased at a grocery store in Idaho Falls, pre-cut, and poured into the skillet from a bag. The vegetable stir fry with garlic, ginger, onions, jalapeno and soy brought the vegetables and elk steaks together nicely. Adding the rainbow was a unique and unexpected surprise.

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Grilled Montauk Fluke over Mrs. B’s Kale Salad

Grilled Montauk Fluke over Mrs. B’s Kale Salad

Serves 4

Herb mayonnaise is a great way to flavor a fish fillet or steak while still keeping in the moisture as it cooks. This is a super easy recipe that can be adapted to whatever fresh herbs you have in your kitchen or garden. Serving grilled fish over a kale salad keeps the healthy component of your diet in check. It’s also an easy riverside preparation: just slice the kale, organize ingredients in advance then add vinaigrette as you start the fire.

Ingredients:

For fish & coating:

  • 2 thick fluke or flounder fillets, 8-12 oz each
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Zest of one lemon

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Musky Country Salad

Musky Country Salad with bratwurst

Serves 4 hungry eaters

Ingredients:

For the Bratwurst:

  • 8 Bratwurst
  • 12 small red potatoes, golfball size
  • 2  12 oz cans Scotch lager or Amber beer
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ bunches spring onions or scallions
  • 4 pretzel buns (optional)

For the salad:

  • 1 lb. small snap peas
  • ½ lb. English shell peas
  • 1 ½ bunch spring onions or scallions
  • 1 – 12 oz. jar mild Kimchi (available in Korean specialty stores)
  • 1 cup pickled beets , sliced and cut in half

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Paella

Paella Dish

This recipe serves 18

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb chicken sausage (diced)
  • 1 lb Andouille sausage (diced)
  • 1 quart jasmine rice
  • 1 quart mirepoix (diced carrots, celery and onion)
  • 8 oz Sofrito (finely diced red and green pepper, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro and olive oil)
  • 750 ml white wine mixed with clam sauce (50:50) and one tablespoon of saffron threads (allow to set for one hour before using)
  • 16 oz can whole peeled tomatoes (juice removed, roughly chopped)
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Sea salt and ground pepper to your liking

  • 3 cull (2+ pound) lobsters (steamed and removed from shell)
  • 2 lb scallops (10/20 size) cleaned and lightly seared
  • 4 lb fresh fish (skin and bones removed, cut into 2-inch pieces)
  • 3 dozen little neck clams (rinsed and lightly scrubbed in cold water)
  • 2 cups snap peas (chopping into pieces) of fresh shucking peas
  • 1 cup cleaned and chopped fresh oregano, parsley and mint – mixed
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Inside Out Lasagna

Inside out lasagna

Makes one 9 inch lasagna
Serves 4 as a main course with salad
Use a 9 inch springform cheesecake pan

Ingredients:

  • 4 large tomatoes (roast at 350°F on a well oiled sheet pan, 20 minutes) reserve all oil and remove the skin after roasting
  • 1 yellow summer squash, 6 inches long
  • 1 large eggplant, medium size
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 sweet yellow pepper
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

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Beet Moussaka

Beet Mousaka

Recipe by chef Arie Pavlou of Bridgehampton Inn & Restaurant in Bridgehampton, NY

Beet Moussaka

makes 4 servings

  • 1 lb beets, boiled until tender and peeled
  • 3 oz. sweet butter
  • 1 medium onion caramelized in 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 8-10 cloves garlic confit, mashed
  • ½ cup sweet sherry
  • 1 cup stock of your choice, we use duck stock
  • 1 tsp dried or 1 Tablespoon fresh marjoram
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into ½” discs
  • 2 medium eggplant sliced into ½” discs
  • 1 qt. béchamel
  • ¼ cup grated gruyere cheese

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