Last weekend on Sunday night we hosted the 13th annual Quail Hill harvest dinner at Estia’s Little Kitchen. On staff, Lyman (14) & Mansell (12) Ambrose with Nicholas (16) & Christopher (13) Cinque. It was a rewarding evening for me and it seemed our guests enjoyed it too. In the prayer I gave thanks for the color of Quail Hill eggs and the beautiful beets that we add to salads, I also mentioned how much all the little hands help. On Saturday we harvested raspberries with the Briggs girls, in 15 minutes pie pans were full, not the case when I harvest alone and certainly a lot more fun to watch the children harvest, 1 for me 3 for you.
The second course won raves, a sliced salad of Chinese cabbage, purple cabbage, butter leaf lettuce, blanched sweet potato, diced roasted beets and poached eggs (hand picked) from the Quail Hill chicken coop, plated with Long Island Cheese Pumpkin emulsion and roasted pumpkin seeds. The salad’s finished with warm braised leeks and apple cider vinaigrette made with a reduction of calvados and cider whisked with olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
On the plate this dish is intended to look like a birds nest. It features a warm barn yard egg and crunchy pumpkin seeds, color from the cabbage and orange pumpkin emulsion, then a hint of acid from the vinaigrette.
I love the harvest dinner because it gives me a willing audience that seems genuinely interested to hear about the details in each dish. When this plate was recited the room was silent and a warm hum followed the recipe, music to my ears.
The Swans on hook pond have grown in numbers, yesterday I counted over 40 including 5 signets. For the first time in weeks I saw a pair flying from one end of the pond to the other. Perhaps the migration south will begin soon.
Poached egg and Chinese cabbage salad with pumpkin emulsion (Salad serves 6):
1 tiny head of purple cabbage (sliced thin)
1 small head of Chinese cabbage (sliced thin)
1 head butter leaf lettuce (sliced thin)
2 large leeks, sliced into ribbons, cleaned and sautéed in butter and apple cider
1 sweet potato, peeled, blanched and diced
1 large Chioggia beet, roasted and diced (save leaves slice thin)
1 small Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, cleaned, sliced and roasted @ 375 for 30 minutes
Pumpkin seeds tossed in olive oil and salted, roast @ 375 for 30 minutes
4 tablespoons, local honey
1 cup Extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup calvados (reduce with most of the cider by ½)
½ cup cider vinegar
6 eggs poached in boiling water with a teaspoon of vinegar
To make the emulsion place 1 cup roasted pumpkin in a blender w 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 table spoons lemon juice, 4 tablespoons honey, pinch of salt then blend until smooth.
To compose the salad toss greens and cabbage including the beet greens in a bowl with sweet potatoes and beets. Season with a pinch of salt and a crack of pepper. In a separate bowl whisk most of the oil and the reduced calvados cider. Add the vinaigrette to the greens and then place the salad in a small bowl and create a form, flip over onto the plate. Next top the form with a few strands of braised leeks, repeat until you have a plate for each guest. Now drizzle the pumpkin emulsion on each plate, top the salad with a poached egg serve immediately so the egg maintains it’s heat.