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 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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Sofrito from field to plate

Estia's Sofrito

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 »

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Asado Birthday Party

Asado birthday party in Estia's garden using new outdoor setup

Half the crowd and twice as much fun. That’s the idea when it comes to garden entertaining at Estia’s Little Kitchen. Earlier this summer—with a simple request of good tequila and plenty of food—we shared our garden space with Nick Silvers as he set out to celebrate his wife Erin’s Birthday. Read More »

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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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Hatchery Steelhead with Smashed Potatoes and Wild Greens


We cooked this delicious recipe over an open fire alongside the Eel River in Benbow, California

Adapted from a recipe demonstrated by Joshua Schwartz: Executive Chef at Del Dotto Vineyards

Josh Schwartz has an eye for all tasty things in the wild. When invited to spend a day fishing and cooking with our American Rivers Tour crew, he was quick to suggest we start by foraging for watercress and other wild greens that sprout around the cool, clear creeks which run into Humboldt County’s Eel River. He reminded me that any wild fish we catch should be returned to the resource. Hatchery steelhead are available in Northern California so our recipe will help tell that story.

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Garzon: with Francis Mallmann and the A.Sisters

It’s a delightfully arid drive from Ruta 9 (Rt.9) in to the Little Uruguayan village of Garzon. The gravel road winds about for 5 miles through grazing fields surrounded by wooden fence posts topped with sparrows and hawks, bird nests and a hairy mess of wind blown moss. Cows and sheep graze the vast range, flowers bloom on some parcels suggesting the rotation of live stock provides ample time for regeneration and return of fragile forage. Read More »

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Estancia Vik in Uruguay

Approaching Estancia Vik for the first time brings a sense of calm, the hacienda sits atop the highest point on an expanse of open land covered by  miles of grass to the north and tidal inlet to the east. Greeted at the gate we were immediately put at ease, a suave, tanned guide shares 10 minutes of his time. We tour the building and learn that it was originally planned for the owners’ family personal use only. Later it was determined  to be too large and instead then was transitioned to a lodge.

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Quail Hill Farm Common Table Lunch

Estia's chef Colin Ambrose with the most amazing fresh pasta lasagna we have ever tasted. — at Quail Hill Farm. Photo by Phill Lehans

The Annual Quail Hill Farm Common table event has become a ritual that I’ve enjoyed for as long as I can remember. This year, for the first time it was a lunch.

I read the memo wrong and arrived at 11am, lunch to me means sometime in the early afternoon. Upon arrival I found the set up crew just getting underway, tables bare, no other chefs, just Julie Resnick with her clipboard. My dish, the Inside Out Lasagna was made (14 10 inch springform pans) and ready to go into the pizza oven.

Happy to know that I wasn’t running late I took the opportunity to go home and spend two quiet hours with my wife watching a movie.

Thank you Quail Hill! That never happens.

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My Photos taken at the Common Table

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Colin Ambrose’s From Seed To Plate Series 2: BEETS

Gathering in the fields of Quail Hill Farm, Colin Ambrose again invites local farmers, seed experts and chefs to participate in this, the second video in his From Seed to Plate video series. This time, participants share their knowledge about growing and preparing the versatile and romantic root vegetable–the beet.


Petra Page-Maan & Matthew Goldfarb, seed experts at Fruition Seeds, Canandaigua, NY
Scott Chaskey, farmer at Quail Hill Farm, Amagansett
Harry Ludlow, farmer at Fairview Farm, Bridgehampton
Justin Finney, chef at Highway Restaurant & Bar, East Hampton
Sam McCleland, chef at The Bell & Anchor, Sag Harbor
Arie Pavlou, chef at Bridgehampton Inn Restaurant
Megan Huylo, chef at Amber Waves Farm Kitchen, Amagansett

Rick Kallaher, videographer
Colin Ambrose, organizer & chef at Estia’s Little Kitchen, Sag Harbor

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Food Lab: From the Kitchen @ Southampton College

Food Lab Conference

In June of 2015 I was in the audience at the Food Lab’s first general session, topics included marketing in the new food media, designing flavor forward healthy snacks and getting them to market, as well as a host of other relevant food forward thinking.

Southampton College

Southampton College

This years perspective of the Food Lab provided a different vantage point. While my assistant Kat Savoia and I were on campus for the first 2 full days of the event, we didn’t attend a single seminar but we did get an energizing educational experience on how to execute dinner service for 202 people utilizing a bag of tricks that I’ve been storing for years.

The menu was extensive because I felt it was important to consider a broad range of diets in the audience. While some would eat everything, others would have specific diets encouraging grains, or raw vegetables.

Buckwheat salad stuffed grilled avocado

Buckwheat salad stuffed grilled avocado

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6 Take Away Gems: from the Food Business School’s “Scale Up”

Vision, mission and values, the base line for success according to William Rosenzweig, Dean & Executive director, FBS (The Food Business School). Having just returned from a 3 day intensive workshop created by Mr. Rosenzweig, the author of “The Republic of Tea”, I will now summarize his approach to teaching non MBA’s how to bring new services and products into today’s food market place. Will’s first words “vision, mission, values” are ringing in my head now as I sit here thinking about where to take my newest venture, how to map out the plan and how to side step many of the potholes along the bumpy road to success. Read More »

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New Restaurant | Bedford & Co. in New York City

Bedford and Co in NYC

Our visit to Bedford & Co. on 40th Street, East of Lexington, Downtown side

If you spend your life riding in the bar-car, commuting from Manhattan to Darien you’ll probably make friends who share insights into the markets, opportunities others might miss. For me the opportunities that my professional travels afford are the occasional invitation to what we call in the business a “friends and family soft opening”. That’s a first night of service, intended to tighten the team, a shake down cruise if you will. My dinner this evening with our oldest child Lyman at Bedford & Co. on 40th Street between Lexington and Park was just one of those special occasions. I not only shared a perfect evening with my daughter, like those Wall Streeter’s in the bar-car, I also got a few good ideas from an old friend.

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