eggs baked with kale, tomatoes, scallion, chili, micro radish


As good as it looks, every time, although the cast changes, as does the hour of the performance.

The last time I put something like this together it was for the first meal of the day, a Sunday, in early spring. The first time it appeared on our table was three months earlier, just before the winter solstice, when it had been a dinner. This time it was in the middle of autumn, again a dinner.

The somewhat rough formula has worked beautifully each time, even if it’s now farther than ever from the original inspiration.

The image above represents one of two servings each of us enjoyed; it ended up as the entire meal: we were more than satisfied, continuing to the cheese course I had prepared to serve.



  • the ingredients this time were, in order of their appearance inside a glazed ceramic oven dish: a little butter; 2 heirloom tomatoes from Stokes Farm; some wilted red Russian kale from Keith’s Farm; finely-chopped pieces of a Creminelli Campania Italian salami from Whole Foods; chopped Japanese red scallion from Norwich Meadows Farm; 8 eggs from Millport Dairy; sea salt; freshly-ground black pepper; one finely-chopped small orange (heatless) Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm; a finely-sliced section of a hot cherry pepper from Oak Grove Plantation  dabs from a small jar of an aromatic seasoning blend with the name, L’eKama, on top of the eggs once the portions were on plates; and purple micro radish from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the wine was a California (Lodi) white, David Akiyoshi Reserve Chardonnay 2015
  • the music was the complete Richard Strauss/Hugo von Hofmannsthal extremely entertaining masterpiece, ‘Ariadne Auf Naxos’, with Voigt, Heppner, Dessay, and Von Otter, Giuseppe Sinopoli directing the Dresden Staatskapelle, in his valedictory (we lingered)


tautog, herb, olive, tomato, chili, micro radish; cauliflower


I think I’m running the risk of being too obsessed with the aesthetics, neglecting the relative simplicity I have always wanted to dominate in these meals.

The fish was wonderful, but after it was served I had to admit to myself (and Barry) that there a little too much going on in the presentation. I sometimes find it hard to ignore adding colorful ingredients like those tomatoes and the purple micro radish when a better decision might be to put them aside for another meal.

I should probably have stopped with the cayenne and paprika dusting, but it’s really hard to shut a sun gold tomato outside of any meal.


  • two 8 or 9-ounce fillets of Tautog (known in New York as ‘Blackfish’), Seatuck Fish Company, in the Union Square Greenmarket, more or less prepared using this recipe by Caroline Rossock, with the exception of heating inside the pan before the fish was added one finely-chopped small orange (heatless) Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, and substituting for the sage, a mixture of thyme, rosemary, and marjoram from Stokes Farm plus winter savory from Keith’s Farm, using, specifically, pitted Kalamata olives from Whole Foods, dusting the fillets with a 50/50 mix of an excellent cayenne pepper and a good dulce paprika instead of the Aleppo Pepper, now unobtainable, and finally, halfway through the cooking, throwing into the pan a handful of pricked sun gold tomatoes from Ryder Farm, and finishing the fillets on the plates with some micro purple radish from Two Guys from Woodbridge and a drizzle of olive oil


  • flowerets from a ten-ounce white cauliflower from Norwich Meadows Farms, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and part of a cherry pepper from Oak Grove Plantation, finely-chopped, scattered on an unglazed ceramic oven pan, roasted at the same 425º used for the fish, finished with parsley from Keith’s Farm, chopped, and a drizzle of olive oil
  • the wine was a California (Sonoma) red, Jim Olsen and Tom Shula Pickberry Merlot 2014
  • the music was the album, ‘Music of Poul Ruders, Vol. 6‘, from Bridge Records

spinaci ravioli, garlic, cool habanero, tomato, pinoli, lovage


I’ve finally found a seasoning pepper I will actually be able to spend some money on.

Each year I’m amazed (well, overwhelmed) by the huge variety and numbers of hot peppers displayed by Greenmarket farmers, a bounty which begins in mid-summer and continues until the frost. While I bring them home regularly, it’s normally in very small amounts if I’m going to use them fresh.

That means we enjoy these particular capsicums for mere pennies, and that never seemed quite fair.

Recently I came across something very different, a small, very attractive, yellow-orange, very ‘floral’ pepper which has absolutely no fire. It’s delicious, and I expect that I will be using it in quantities – and in more dishes – than I could ever before have imagined.

It’s not expensive, but I will be buying them in unfamiliar quantities.

It’s called a Habanada pepper. I first came across it 2 weeks ago in Union Square, under the canvas of Norwich Meadows Farm. It’s a fairly new hybrid, “the first truly heatless habanero (hence the haba-nada)”, according to the Cornell Small Farms Program. It was developed by a good man some consider a wizard, Cornell professor Michael Mazourek, who reportedly had asked himself, “what if there was a pepper I could share with my friends who didn’t like hot peppers so they could taste what I love without the heat?”.

We’re so glad he wanted to know, and that he created the answer, although this does not mean that I’m going to cut down on full-heat peppers.

At her vegetable (and Chicken) stand last week, Haifa, half of the couple which founded and runs Norwich Meadows Farm, told me that she also dries these peppers, using them all through the winter after the fresh are no longer available.

After being so impressed with what they had done with this simple pasta, when I returned to the market on Saturday, I took home a large bag. The contents are now in a wooden basket on a north windowsill, but I’m thinking of sewing them on a string.

  • two slivered ‘German Hardneck’ garlic cloves from Race Farm and one Habanada pepper, seeded, sliced thinly, and cut crosswise into small strips, heated inside an enameled cast iron pan in olive oil until both were pungent, a little sea salt and freshly-ground pepper added, before a 12-ounce package of cooked Rana spinaci e ricotta [spinach and ricotta] ravioli from Eataly, was introduced into the pan and carefully mixed, 2 sliced ripe heirloom tomatoes (different varieties, in 2 shades of red) from Norwich Meadows Farm added to the pan and gently stirred, the pasta finished in bowls scattered with portions of a small handful of pan-roasted pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil, and chopped lovage from Keith’s Farm.

Later there was fruit.

  • Concord grapes from Troncillito Farms


‘gilded cod’, sage, chili, fennel flower; grilled zucchini, mint


I fiddled with this recipe a little each time I’ve brought it out. It was originally the late Kyle Phillips‘s terrific approach to cod, although it looks like I’ve only used it with hake until last night. I’ve finished it with with various toppings; this time I used fresh fennel flowers, and before that I played around a little more, adding a very special, incredibly delicious, not-really-hot-at-all new orange pepper variety to the pan before introducing the fish.

This one was better than ever, and for most of that I may be able to thank the heatless pepper.

The cod looked like this just before it was removed from the pan.


And these are some very special peppers. Haifa, of Norwich Meadows Farm, told me that she dries them to enjoy all year round; after my experience with this meal, I have to go back to get a stash to do the same.


  • one 15-ounce cod fillet from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, handed off to me at noon that day at their Union Square stand by the owner and fisherman, Phil Karlin himself, which I divided expertly into 2 equal portions before they were dredged in seasoned coarse stone-ground flour and dipped in a beaten egg from Millport Dairy, sautéed briefly (about 3 minutes on each side) in butter along with a few sage leaves from Stokes Farm that I had dried over the last weeks, and one finely-chopped small orange (heatless) Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, drizzled with about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, tranferred onto the plates, the juices remaining in the pan distributed over them, followed by a sprinkling fennel flowers from Rise & Root Farm
  • yellow zucchini (‘Goldbar zucchini’) from Sycamore Farms and dark green zucchini from Norwich Meadows Farm, sliced thickly, brushed (actually, massaged) with a combination of olive oil, finely-chopped German Hardneck garlic from Race Farm, salt, and pepper, then arranged on a platter, sprinkled with some chopped Julip mint from Keith’s Farm and peppermint from Stokes Farm, drizzled with a little olive oil
  • the wine was a California (Santa Ynez) white, Literally Chardonnay California 2013
  • the music was an album of music by Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, ‘Mobile for Shakespeare’

squid ink fettuccine, crabmeat, chili, parsley, lovage, lemon


I had planned to put together only a plain pasta dish last night, although it might have included this squid ink fettuccine already in the larder, but while I was at Whole Foods to pick up milk and juice, I remembered they carried some decent fresh crab meat, from Virginia (which is not really so far down the coast, and therefore almost local). The crab ended up describing the dinner.

I had prepared something fairly similar early in 2015, using a very simple recipe by Frank Camora, but with a very different pasta.

  • one seeded medium-hot cherry red pepper from Eatlay, heated gently in olive oil along with one two German Hardneck garlic cloves from Race Farm, all sliced thinly, until they started to sizzle, the heat turned up for a short time while a quarter cup of white wine was added, the pan removed from the heat and about one quarter of an 8-ounce container of crabmeat, Little River Brand, which I believe is from the Chesapeake Bay, purchased at Whole Food, added to and crushed in the oil, the pan returned to a very low heat where the contents begin to emulsify as a sauce; in the meantime half a pound of pasta (Al Dente Pasta Company artisanal squid ink fettuccine), which had been boiling for barely 3 minutes in a large pot of salted water, 3 cups or so of the water removed near the end, for adding to the mix later, the fettuccine drained and tossed with the sauce (which was removed from the heat just before), the remaining crabmeat then added and stirred in, along with the addition of enough pasta water to continue emulsifying the mix, and a generous amount of chopped parsley and lovage from Keith’s Farm sprinkled into it and garnishing the bowls when served
  • lemon quarters were served on the side, to be generously squeezed onto the pasta


There was a cheese course, with almost the very smallest amount of cheese. It included figs, and toast as well, the excuse being that the bread itself contained fruit.

  • a bit of ‘Slybro’ goat cheese from Consider Bardwell (there were 2 small pieces on each plate), fresh black, or ‘Brown Turkey’ figs from Eataly, and thin toasts from a loaf of organic whole wheat raisin bread from Whole Foods
  • the wine was an Italian (Friuli-Venezia) white, Scarpetta Frico Bianco delle Venezie 2014
  • the music was from the album, ‘Approaching Dutilleux‘, from the Riot Ensemble, and it included Arne Gieshoff’s wonderful, ‘Wucherung’ (2014), for solo oboe; as usual for this composer, it’s an absolutely fantastic piece: to me all musical instruments are alive, at the very least from the moment they are heard, but Rebecca Cass’s oboe sounds very much like a living, breathing, and very human being; even people who think they’re not interested in new music – or classical music – would likely be moved by this elegant, and, I suspect, deceivingly simple work, and not just while relaxing in good company after a good dinner