oregano/chili-roasted squid; dill potato; grill tomato, basil

Mostly back to the Mediterranean, after a short detour in German lands.

  • one pound of rinsed and carefully dried squid bodies and tentacles from American Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, arranged without touching if possible, inside a large rectangular enameled cast iron pan that had been heated on top of the stove until quite hot and its cooking surface brushed with a thin coating of olive oil, once the oil itself was quite hot, the cephalopods immediately sprinkled with a heaping teaspoon of some super-pungent dried Sicilian oregano from Buon Italia, one small crushed dried pepperoncino calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, one large chopped fresh habanada pepper from from Alewife Farm, some sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, followed by a drizzle of a few tablespoons of Whole Foods Market organic lemon, and some olive oil, the pan placed inside a pre-heated 400º oven and roasted for 5 minutes, removed, the squid distributed onto 2 plates and ladled with a bit of the cooking juices that had been transferred to a glass sauce pitcher
  • La Ratte potatoes from Berried Treasures Farm, boiled with a generous amount of salt until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried while inside the large, still-warm vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware glass pot in which they had cooked, a tablespoon or so of olive oil added, seasoned with Maldon salt, freshly-ground black pepper, tossed with chopped dill from Alex’s Tomato Farm in the Saturday 23rd Street farmers market
  • four small San Marzano tomatoes from Quarton Farm, each sliced in half and placed face down on a plate which had been spread with sea salt and pepper, the surface dried somewhat with a paper towel and placed in a hot grill pan and turned once, finished on the plates with a bit of olive oil, a few drops of balsamic vinegar, and the very last leaves, torn, of those that had remained on a basil plant from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the wine was an Italian (Campania) white, Terredora Falanghina 2017, from Garnet Wines
  • the music was a genuine oddity, ‘Les Mystères d’Isis’, an 1801 adaptation, for the Paris opera, of Mozart’s ‘Die Zauberflöte’, by Ludwig Wenzel Lachnith, with a new French text by Étienne Morel de Chédeville

bauernwurst; boiled potato, micro mustard; peppers, basil

German-isch again.

Well, actually it was more than just, “-isch”. It was pretty German, but with Mexican and French touches in the wine and the music.

  • four links of Schaller & Weber Bauernwurst (a smokey pork and beef sausage, with pepper, garlic and marjoram), heated inside an oval enameled cast iron pan until the skin had blistered, served with a classic German mustard, Löwensenf Medium (and, not in the picture, a luscious German pepper pickle, Hengstenberg 1876 Red Pepper Steak Sauce, both purchased at the same Schaller & Webber store, which has been located for almost 80 years in what was once the Manhattan German community of Yorkville 
  • ten or 12 ounces of small sweet and delicious Pinto (or Pinto Gold) potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, boiled with a good amount of salt in the water only until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried while inside the large, still-warm vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware glass pot in which they had cooked, a tablespoon or so of butter added, seasoned with a bit of Maldon salt and freshly-ground black pepper, sprinkled with toasted home-made breadcrumbs and garnished with micro red mustard from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • one pale yellow Hungarian pepper from Stokes Farm, cut lengthwise into quarters, and 2 aji dulce peppers (not hot) from Eckerton Hill Farm, the seeds and membranes removed from both, sautéed over a high or medium high flame inside a large, heavy, antique high-sided copper pot until slightly caramelized, one medium fresh habanada pepper from Alewife Farm added near the end, seasoned with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper and tossed with leaves of a basil plant from Two Guys from Woodbridge, torn, and served with a drizzle of olive oil
  • the wine was a California (Napa) red, Macario Montoya‘s Sin Fronteras El Mechon California Red Blend 2017, from Naked Wines
  • the music too was, in a way, sin fronteras, since it celebrated an event that “..culminates in a grand procession of the Human Race, dancing and singing in praise of Liberty. [without frontiers]”; it was ‘Le Triomphe de la République ou Le Camp de Grand Pré’, by Francois-Joseph Gossec, performed by I Barocchisti, conducted by Diego Fasolis

porgy, tomato/olive/herb salsa; sautéed purple okra, chili

Colorful goodness.

  • the fish serving began with a salsa prepared by heating 3 tablespoons of a Portuguese house olive oil from Whole Foods Market inside a small vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot pot over a gentle flame, adding roughly 6 ounces of tomatoes (one sliced orange heirloom from Stokes Farm and a couple of sliced Mountain Magic tomatoes  (‘cocktail tomato’ in size, “..a cross between a large-fruited tomato and a very sweet grape tomato…” a hybrid released in North Carolina sometime within the current decade) from Norwich Meadows Farm, along with 2 ounces or so of pitted whole kalamata olives from Whole Foods Market, the mix seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and stirred for a minute or 2 before the pan was set aside to cool a little, after which some 2 or 3 tablespoons of herbs (chopped fresh lovage from Quarton Farm, a Sullivan County grower new to the Union Square Greenmarket this year; an equal amount of fresh oregano buds from Norwich Meadows Farm; and torn leaves of a basil plant from Two Guys from Woodbridge) were stirred into the salsa, reserving some of the herbs to garnish the fish and salsa once it was on the plate, followed by the juice of half of an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market, the mix now stirred once again, and set aside while the fish was prepared
  • four 4-ounce porgy fillets from P.E & D.D. Seafood, the skin slashed with a very sharp knife in 2 or 3 places on each, placed skin side down inside a large rectangular enameled cast iron pan in a tablespoon or so of olive oil that had gotten very hot  sitting over a high flame, the top, or flesh side of the fish seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and cooked for 2 or 3 minutes until the flesh was dark golden and the skin crisp’, the fillets turned over, cooked on the other side for just about one minute, quickly basting with the oil in the pan during that time, or until the fillets were just cooked through, arranged on the plates, the salsa drizzled around the porgy and both sprinkled with some of the reserved herbs

  • ten ounces or so of tiny purple okra from Lani’s Farm, sautéed over a high flame inside a large enameled cast iron pan in a little bit of olive oil [supposedly cast iron causes even green pods to blacken, but I’ve never really noticed that, at least not as a problem, these pods were already a dark purple going in, but I went with an enameled pan nevertheless], adding a good part of one crushed dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia half way through, seasoned with sea salt  
  • the wine was an Oregon (Columbia Valley) white, Dave Harvey Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017, from Naked Wines
  • the music was Handel’s 1738 opera, ‘Faramondo’, a story of the eponymous late 4th, early 5th-century Frankish dux and goings on in the ancient geographical home of my own family (“All ends happily with general rejoicing…”), performed by I Barocchisti, conducted by Diego Fasolis [a 6-minute excerpt from that same performance here]

speck; spinach & ricotta ravioli, peperoncino, tomato, basil

It was a night off for the cook, or at least a night when he didn’t have to think much, or juggle a lot of ingredients.

  • three ounces of excellent Iowa La Quercia ’Speck Americano’ from Whole Foods, drizzled with a very small amount of a good Campania olive oil (Lamparelli O.R.O.)
  • accompanied by a bit of red (wild?) cress from Dave Harris at Max Creek Hatchery, and a few stems of parsley from Alex’s Tomato Farm, the greens seasoned with Maldon salt and a freshly-ground strong black pepper, and dressed with the same oil and a few drops of Cesare Giaccone aceto vino bianco, made from a mixture of white wines from Langhe
  • slices of She Wolf Bakery miche

The main course was almost as simple.

  • two bruised and halved rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm and 2 small whole peperoncini Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, heated inside a large vintage high-sided copper pot in olive oil until both garlic and peppers were pungent, a little sea salt and some freshly-ground pepper added, one sliced red heirloom tomato from Stokes Farm slipped into the pot and stirred in the now quite pungent oil before a 12-ounce package of cooked (for exactly 2 minutes) Rana spinaci e ricotta ravioli from Eataly was introduced into the pan, everything carefully mixed then stirred with most of one cup of reserved pasta water until the liquid had emulsified, transferred to shallow bowls and scattered with torn leaves of a basil plant from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the wine was an Argentinian (Lujan de Cuyo) rosé, Lujan de Cuyo
  • the music was Handel’s ‘Hercules, a Musical Drama in Three Acts’ composed in 1744, Marc Minkowski directing Les Musiciens du Louvre

eggs and tomatoes and bacon and toast and…

I broke some yolks.

Still, although it’s certainly not related, it turned out to be one of the most delicious versions of my regular Sunday bacon and eggs thing. Maybe I just hit the right combinations in my enthusiasm for adding herbs and spices. The tomatoes however were new, maybe even new to the planet, and incredibly good without much help.

I don’t normally like to make much of what something ‘tastes like’, but these tomatoes shocked me: They tasted a little like fresh sweet corn; go figure.