Chicken with Green Beans

Iacono is a family run chicken farm on the edge of the village of East Hampton.  I stopped in today to visit with Anthony Iacono and his mother, primarily to place an order for six chickens.  I will use them on February 20th as I prepare a dish to be served among several other chefs’ work at a benefit for my friend Gerry Hayden. Read More »

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Garlic & Ginger-Studded Rotisserie Pork Loin

The Ambrose sisters and their sunny mother have returned from eight days on the southeastern coast of Florida, primed for another semester. Their call came in at 11:30 a.m. reporting a safe landing at JFK. “What’s the plan for dinner? ” they asked. I responded “pork loin” and the plan is made. Read More »

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Brussels Sprouts & Sage Sausage Hash

Brussels Sprouts and Sage Sausage Hash

Thanksgiving breakfast:  Yes, we love Brussels sprouts in our house. On Thanksgiving, it has been determined that it is just fine, in fact, to serve them twice. The first time is for breakfast where we cook them camp-out style on a grill over the fire in our fireplace. The second is for dinner, simply sauteed with garlic in olive oil until brown.

Breakfast ingredients:

a dozen local eggs
½ loaf of whole-grain bread for toast
12 Brussels sprouts, quartered
3 small red potatoes, cut into cubes and blanched for 3 minutes
1 small sweet potato, cut and blanched
1 leek, diced and rinsed
4 shallots, quartered
½ pound fresh-from-the-butcher sage pork sausage
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon kosher salt
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Chicken Hash “21” Style in Honor of Elegant Sarah

Back in the late 90’s, I had the good fortune of serving the Amagansett, NY community on a daily basis. The restaurant was called Estia’s and I had a bird’s eye view of Main Street for 16 years from my kitchen.

The nice thing about running a full-service restaurant seven days a week over the course of a decade is the people that you meet. One of my favorites was an elegant lady named Sarah Davis.  She stopped by occasionally for lunch with her daughter Tracy.  It was my good fortune to have a chance to serve Sarah, joining the legions of friends who admired her style. Read More »

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Digging Rhubarb with Scott at Quail Hill Farm

Rhubarb

The best time of year to transplant or separate rhubarb roots (crowns) is in the spring. This year, I found myself digging on St. Patrick’s Day. For the past 20 years, I have cooked with rhubarb that has come from Quail Hill Farm. Quail Hill Farm is New York’s first CSA. My friend Scott Chasky, the farmer at Quail Hill, has been guiding me as a gardener for the entire time.

The nice thing about rhubarb (other than its unique flavor profile) is that every three or four years the roots get large enough to divide and replant. My first spring rhubarb visit to the Quail Hill rhubarb patch was in 1994. Scott had been on the job for three years.  He had been given a gift of several crowns in the spring of 1991 and it was time to divide that first row. He gave me two crowns for my Amagansett garden at that time. Over the years that followed, I divided my plants to a total of 12 crowns.  They served my Amagansett kitchen well. Read More »

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Sliced Steak Sandwich, Manchester Farm

Sliced Steak Sandwich

Over the past three weeks, my menus have offered a new take on beef. Or, if you sit next to Dave Beckwith at the counter, he might suggest it’s “old style beef.”  The source, Manchester Farms in Avella, Pennsylvania has a strict code, raising its animals on a grass diet from start to finish. At this time, since Manchester is an organic dairy farm, they raise only Hereford dairy cows. Smaller than beef breeds, the Hereford male offspring provide a deep flavor, lean but rich and gamey.  I just love it. Read More »

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3 Sprout Sandwich with Pinenut Cream & Parsley Puree

Three Sprout Sandwich with Pinenut Cream and Parsley puree, parsnips and butternut squash

Tomorrow night will mark my first vegetarian tasting effort. Five courses served with organic wine from the Heller Estate in Carmel Valley, California.

This dishwill start the evening. As the menu developed, I was concerned that there might not be enough substance to satisfy a hungry guest. Having tasted this dish, I now feel confident that we will more than fulfill the goal of providing complete nourishment with tasty variety.

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced thin on a mandoline
1 spicy turnip, peeled and sliced thin on a mandoline
1 cup lentil sprouts
1 cup sunflower sprouts
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
1 cup pine nuts (soak in filtered water over night)
1 garlic clove
2 shallots
1 cup parsley leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup water
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Mexico & Pinzon’s Torte Ahogada

If you choose to live on the East End of Long Island, serving the public year round in a coffee shop might not be the first thing you would choose to do. In 1991, it was the right decision for me. I started serving breakfast and lunch by first building a staff and then a customer base. When we eventually opened for dinner, our original focus was on pasta. It went well, and then the Zone Diet came along.

By 1998, it was time to shift to bolder, more flavorful and lighter fare. The most direct approach that I could think of at the time was to focus on the staff that had helped me build the business in Amagansett. Two members of my team stood out. First, in the kitchen was my right-hand man Ruben Bravo. Second, in the front of the house was the ever-friendly and energetic Carlos Pinzon. Read More »

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Fancy Eggs Benedict

Anything with hollandaise sauce works for me, especially when I’m cooking at home for my daughter Mansell.  This morning, she is on a soft food diet so I decided to forget about the usual English muffin and sliced ham arrangement.  Leftover mashed potatoes and diced ham provide a perfect replacement.

Simply mix 2 slices of ham chopped fine with 2 cups of mashed potatoes and create patties. Place the patties on a buttered pan over medium heat and cook until they begin to brown. Flip them over and repeat.

After tasting it, we realized we actually like this preparation better so it will be on the “Little Kitchen” Sunday brunch menu soon. Read More »

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Raul’s Chorizo Albondigon with Salsa Verde

Chorizo Albondigon

Raul has outdone himself with another superb Albondigon.  The last time we ran one, they were mini-chicken meatballs in a chicken broth. This one is the opposite but, in some ways, the same.  It starts with a long cylindrical sausage wrapped in meatloaf, then foiled and roasted for an hour.  Slice and serve with rice and beans. We enhanced the dish with a small radish salad harvested an hour before at the Quail Hill farm.

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Vegetable Enchiladas in Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Vegetable Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

Today, I walked in the kitchen door to find Raul putting the final touches on a salsa verde, utilizing the balance of our season’s harvest.  It is unique in that this salsa features several types of peppers, jalapeno, serrano, and sweet bells. In addition, he utilized a bowl full of cilantro and parsley that continue to flourish in our November garden.  Finally, he added equal parts of tomatillo (to the peppers), a handful of garlic cloves and the biggest Spanish onion in our pantry.

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Braised Veal Shank in a Clear Broth

Braised Veal Shank

Tonight’s menu was written when we weren’t sure how many people would join us for dinner.  The past weekend’s surprise snowstorm (15 inches in October) has caused power outages all over Connecticut.  That means no school for many.  Several neighboring families have no electricity so that they can cook, and Jessica has been on the phone sharing the love of her husband’s cooking.

The recipe below comes from today’s efforts.  It’s been cut down to serve 4 or 5 at your table.  I like to fill out the braising pan with chunks of veal stew meat thereby allowing for extra visitors or extra hungry family members.  I’ve chosen to keep the tomatoes whole in the braising pan so that the resulting broth will be clear.  If you like a darker, richer sauce, switch out the white wine for red and add tomato paste to the recipe (about 3 tablespoons should do). Read More »

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Linguine with Little Neck Clam Sauce

Linguine in Clam Sauce

We feature Little Neck clams in our Paella at the Little Kitchen.  Since it is cheaper to buy them by the bushel, we often have a few dozen left on Monday for this family favorite pasta dish at home.  Of course, fresh linguine is our choice especially when we have an extra pound of Lemon Pepper linguine left after our Ambrose Sisters Food Co. farmer’s market appearances.  The whole cooking process only takes about 30 minutes.

Be sure to have a bowl full of arugula and some ripe tomatoes on hand to accompany this meal with crunch and color.

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Cafe con Leche Flan

Ingredients (serves 4):

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 can sweetened evaporated milk (4oz.)
14 oz. half / half
4 eggs (2 yolks only, 2 whole)
1.5 tablespoon instant coffee

A straight forward take on traditional flan. Not too sweet, if you like it sweeter add a few tablespoons of agave syrup. Read More »

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Roasted Pumpkin Salad with goat cheese and toasted seeds

When you clean a pumpkin never throw out the seeds. That’s what my mother taught me as a kid, primarily because the toasted seeds always made for an added fall attraction at her counter for snacks. In my kitchen the toasted seeds are shared with little hands as well as on the adult salad at dinner.

Ingredients serve 4 or more:

For the dressing

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano

For the squash and the seeds

1 medium size squash or pumpkin
3 tablespoons oil (each)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (each, seeds and squash)

For the salad

4 cup mixed greens
2 tablespoon goat cheese
1 apple, diced
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Pan Roasted Striped Bass with Amber Farms Wheat Berry and Rice Cakes

Ingredients (serves 4):

2 pounds Striped Bass
1/4 cup butter

1 cup wheat berries
1 cup organic brown rice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup mixed chopped herbs
2/3 cup egg whites

This dish has supported our menu since the striped bass season opened on Long Island last July. The cakes are sometimes finished with mushrooms and truffle oil, sometimes sesame oil and sesame seeds, today with herbs from our garden, olive oil and egg whites. Read More »

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The Whalers Church Community Fund

I had a chance to share a few recipes and a story or two at the Whalers Church in Sag Harbor tonight. The crowd was alert and interested, what more could a guy ask for?

The Whalers Church is one of my favorite spots on Long Islands East End. It serves the community in more ways than I had imagined. Not only does it serve as a church and gathering point for the local food pantry, “The Whalers” is also a gathering place for all sorts of local groups. It’s an iconic building that has provided safe shelter and inspiration for Sag Harbor residents ever since this Village was more important to New York’s economic success than Manhattan. Hard to believe, and even more surprising to learn that this fabulous building is in need of fundraising support on a monthly basis.

That’s how tonight’s cooking class came to be, another of many positive efforts put on by the Community Fund. We had about 35 people show up, they all paid for my introduction to eating local. The recipes that follow were the focus of this 2 hour conversation.

It was an honor to serve my community tonight. I was happy to see the interest in our guests eyes, to hear their questions and watch them taste the flavors that come from farms and gardens that surround us.

whalers-church-s

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Cocojito

Cocojito

In the end of August, on a balmy Wednesday night I traveled to Montauk with Rupert for a sample of the offerings at Sean McPherson’s beach bar “The Crows Nest”.

Dinner was excellent. My favorite choice was the Kale Salad. Service was on the money, too. My take away came off the bar.

They were featuring a cocktail made with coconut water, mint, and some sort of rum. I don’t drink alcohol, the drink was delicious served virgin. I’m going to call it the Cocojito.

We don’t serve spirits at The Little Kitchen so I chose raw organic agave syrup and lime juice as a replacement. The muddled mint comes from our garden. It helps to shake the “Cocojito” on ice before serving. Try it in a 16 oz. shaker glass. Add a shot of Bacardi for the extra kick.

8 oz. coconut water
2 oz. lime juice
2 oz. raw organic agave syrup
5 mint leaves crushed on the bottom of the glass

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Lymanade, with cucumber and mint

The A. Sisters with Lymanade flavors

On Sunday last week a hurricane roared through Sag Harbor, her name was Irene and in the end my lemon cucumber plants were stripped of their leaves. Not a problem as the plants seem to be regenerating with new flowers and the existing cucumbers are much easier to find with the thinned foliage.

Lemon Cucumbers from the Estia garden for Lymanade recipe

Lemon Cucumbers from the Estia garden for Lymanade recipe

We’ve had a regular at the East Hampton farmers market asking for our Cucumber Mint Lymanade for a few weeks now. The A. Sisters table featured raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, peach, and cantaloupe Lymanades as the season has progressed. Now it’s time to respond to the call for the Mojito mixer that’s been a late summer hit for the past 3 years.

Lymanade Variety

Lymanade Variety

Each of our Lymanades feature a different seasonal, locally harvested fruit, but the basic recipe remains the same. Combine equal parts of lemon and lime juice (1 cup each) and then that much fruit puree (2 cups) with enough simple syrup to soften the citrus (1/2 to 1 cup)
and shake in an recycled wine bottle, chill and serve over ice with soda or your favorite spirit. Read More »

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