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grey sole, pea-shoot sauce; potatoes; radish greens

2015 March 29
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by james

grey_sole_potato_radish_greens_2

Note to self:  This was a glorious meal, one which I did not want to see come to an end.

 

What could be simpler than a few small fillets of grey sole, a handful of tiny potatoes, and an even smaller handful of greens?  The fact that this assemblage attained as lofty a status as it did tonight (March 28th) was owed to a combination of the quality and freshness of the ingredients, the fact that none of them had been asked to travel very far, and that the one ingredient which had been harvested months before, the tiny Nicola potatoes, had been so perfectly husbanded for many months.   Then there was also the excellent company. I was only the steward.

  • five small grey sole fillets from P.E. & D.D. (a total of 12 ounces), dried thoroughly, salted and brushed with good white wine vinegar, sautéed in a olive oil and a bit of butter, then removed, the pan wiped with a paper towel, butter, local lemon juice from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and sliced pea shoots from Monkshood Nursery and Gardens, together allowed to heat for a minute or so, the sauce spread onto the sole, the two plates served with lemon quarters
  • ’18K Gold Nugget’ (Nicola in this instance) potatoes from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, boiled in salted water, drained and steamed dry, rolled with a small amount of butter and freshly-grund black pepper
  • breakfast radish greens from Eckerton Hill Farms, wilted with olive oil in which two tiny Rocambole garlic heads from Keith’s Farm had been allowed to sweat for a bit, then seasoned with salt, pepper, and a bit more olive oil
  • the wine was a California white which uses Portuguese grape varieties, S + A  Verdelho, Calaveras County 2014, from Naked Wines
  • the music was the Ferdinand Ries piano quartet in E-Flat, Opus 17

croxetti with pancetta, shallots, pea sprouts, lemon

2015 March 25
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by james

croxetti_pea_sprouts_pancetta

Note to self:  This entrée was a very special treat, and would be suitable for a gentle festive occasion.

 

This looks a bit like round ravioli, but it’s actually Croxetti, a very special (unfilled) pasta original to the Ligurian coast.  I have something of a modest passion for it, and I’ve accumulated over a dozen attractive recipes to satisfy it.  This is the first time I’ve had pea sprouts and Croxetti at the same time, so I came up with the idea of adding a bit of cured pork flavor to the mix.   Having gotten that far, I really didn’t have to look for more in the way of an organized recipe, but this turned out to be exactly what I wanted, so, voilà!

Part of my obsession with Croxetti may be it’s resemblance to the wafers distributed to the faithful in the Catholic Eucharist.  As a child, I really got off  on the Roman Church’s ritual (smells, bells, pretty vestments, grand architecture, Latin!) and I’ve always been a fan of bread, in almost any form.   Confession: when I was very young I tried to imitate the host which I found so delicious by simply undoing the leavening process which brought Wonder Bread to our table, by pressing the air out of a slice and drying it (it didn’t work, which means it may be all the more surprising that I left the Church half a century back).

  • following, at least more or less, the simple Epicurious recipe I referred to above (note:  I cooked everything for a much shorter time, and I drained the pasta as I normally do), I used a 500 gram package of Genovese Alta Valle Scrivia Croxetti from Eataly, a 4 ounce chunk of pancetta from Buon Italia which I diced, two shallots from S.&S.O. Produce Farms, pea sprouts from D’Attolico’s Farm, fantastic lemon juice from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and Parmesan cheese from Buon Italia
  • the wine was an Italian white, Boirá Piniot Grigio Veneto 2014
  • the music was Solti’s 1991 recording of  ‘Carmen’, with Troyanos, Domingo, Van Dam, and Te Kanawa, which happily includes the original dialogue between the arias [and did I hear Bizet’s Don José sing a familiar bit from Wagner’s ‘Die Meistersinger’ at one point?]

Note:  Using the quantities indicated above meant, that, as usual when we have a pasta dinner, there would be enough left for another meal.  If the pasta is carefully stored and reheated within a few days (or not reheated, in some cases), perhaps with some fresh element added, the second time around is not necessarily going to be second-best, and it’s definitely a timesaver.

haddock roasted with potato, garlic, sorrel, tomato

2015 March 24
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by james

haddock_potatoes_tomatoes

Haddock does very well without smoking.   My celtic Fall River-born stepfather would be shocked, if he were still with us, although he surely knew scrod.  I was proud to be able to put this meal together on Saturday, in the midst of some serious problems with hot water, problems now resolved.

  • one pound of small Kennebec potatoes from Keith’s Farm, washed, but not peeled, sliced thinly, tossed in a ceramic oven pan with two tablespoons of butter which had already been allowed to melt in the pan, some salt and pepper, spread evenly and roasted at 425º for about 25 minutes (when they have begun to brown), sprinkled half of the way through with two sliced spring garlic from Eataly and tossed again, the dish then topped with a one-pound haddock fillet from P.E. & D.D. Seafood which had been divided into two pieces, spread with softened knobs of one tablespoons of butter, some salt and freshly-ground pepper, and returned to the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the fish is just done, the fish served with a chiffonade of sorrel from Bodhitree Farm which had been ‘melted’ in a little butter  [the inspiration for this treatment of haddock was Marc Bittman’s ‘Emma’s Cod’ in his book, ‘‘Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking‘]
  • two ripe Maine Backyard Farms tomatoes from Eataly, each sliced into four rounds and lightly seasoned, were also added to the pan while it was in the oven, at about the same time as the sliced spring garlic
  • the wine was an Italian white, Cantina del Taburno Falanghina del Sanno 2013
  • the music was Vivaldi’s ‘Farnace’, in a fantastic performance led by Jordi Savall 

pan-grilled scallops, roasted tomatoes, cavalo nero

2015 March 19
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by james

scallops_cav_nero_tomatoes

I haven’t looked using the search function on this site, but there’s a pretty good chance that at some time in the past I’ve posted a meal which featured the same three main elements included in this one.   We like each of them a lot, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they had gotten together more than once.  Even if this might look like a repeat, it wouldn’t be entirely the case because last night there was one significant ingredient I wasn’t using until this winter:  baby leeks.

  • scallops from American Seafood Company, thoroughly dried (to ensure the grill marks), seasoned and pan-grilled briefly on both sides, finished with a squeeze of juice from a local lemon grown by Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, finely-sliced baby leeks from Rogowski Farm, and olive oil
  • Maine cherry ‘cocktail’ tomatoes from Whole Foods, slow-roasted along with dried Italian oregano from Buon Italia, olive oil, and garlic cloves halved lengthwise from Samascott Orchards
  • small, tender, very young cavalo nero from Bodhitree Farm, briefly wilted with olive oil and Samascott garlic halves which had first been heated in the oil
  • the wine was a white French, Domaine Gilbert Picq & ses Fils Chablis 2012
  • the music was Ferdinand Ries piano sonatas

linguine with leeks, garlic, chiles, tomatoes, parsley

2015 March 19
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by james

leeks_linguine

 

In this very simple pasta, the leeks themselves become the sauce, for which they need very little encouragement.  For a pound of long pasta, figure about a pound of leeks; the basic Marc Bittman recipe I followed is here.

  • Setaro linguine from Buon Italia, served with a sauce made of garlic from Samascott Orchards and peperoncino chiles from Buon Italia, crushed, stirred in olive oil (butter as an alternative) until the garlic begins to brown, leeks from S. & S.O. Produce Farms added and cooked, stirring occasionally, until the leeks begin to caramelize, then several large Maine cherry ‘cocktail’ tomatoes from Whole Foods mixed in with the leeks and heated until they are cooked, the sauce then seasoned and tossed with the pasta, a bit of olive oil (or butter), some of the reserved pasta cooking water, a small handful of  chopped parsley from Phillips Farm, served and garnished with more parsley
  • the wine was an Italian white, le Salse Verdicchio di Matelica 2013
  • the music was Dvořák Symphony No. 9 in E minor, ‘From the New World’

cod fillet, sorrel sauce; boiled potatoes, baby leeks

2015 March 17
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by james

cod_sorrel_sauce_boiled_potatoes

Note to self:  This meal turned out even better than I had expected, and our expectations had been pretty high.

 

We love sorrel, and a search of this site for the word would confirm that.

Yesterday, the first thing I saw after deciding on a beautiful, specially-price fresh cod fillet at P.E. & D.D. in the Greenmarket, was a basket of sorrel in the returning-for-spring stall of Bodhitree Farms.  Our dinner was suddenly almost fully conceived.

The meal was a huge leap from that of the day before, in the kind of ingredients, the style, and lusciousness.  And I even managed to hold back some of the sorrel (a little goes a long way in some dishes).

  • a one-pound cod fillet from P.E. & D. D. Seafood, lightly-seasoned and cooked over medium-high heat, in butter and olive oil, until if flaked, divided into two pieces, plated, and covered with a sauce which began with S.&S.O. Produce Farms shallots sweated in butter, continued with a glass of white wine, to be reduced completely, followed by a cup of very tasty fish stock (mine was a compressed cube of Spanish fish bouillion from CalNort which I had been keeping in the refrigerator door, and can’t remember where it was purchased) which was reduced to a quarter of its original volume, the heat then brought down to low, half a cup of heavy cream from the excellent Trickling Springs Creamery poured in, along with a handful of de-stemmed sorrel leaves from Bodhitree Farm, the sauce stirred until the leaves ‘melted’ (there are probably an infinite number of sorrel sauce recipes, and I’ve used a number of them; many are much simpler, but this happens to be the one I followed here)
  • baby Yukon Gold potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, boiled in salted water, drained and dried in the still-warm glass pot, rolled in a little butter, and sprinkled with sliced baby leeks from Rogowski Farm
  • the wine was a California white, Sin Fronteras dos Mujeres 2104 (we love everything about Naked Wines!)
  • the music was Bach Cello Suites, played by Charles Curtis

lamb tongue and tomato salsa; fennel; collards

2015 March 16
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by james

lamb_tongue_tomato_sauce_fennel_collards

I made such a fuss ahead of time on Twitter yesterday about an “offal dinner” that I may have tempted fate.  The completed meal was good, but I knew it wasn’t really great.  I think that except for the unfamiliarity of the meat itself, at least for most people, the finished lambs tongues weren’t quite worthy of the excitement.  I know I can do better.

It was my fault, and not that of the materials.  I think I know what I did wrong with the tongue.  While the long simmering (all along giving off filling the kitchen with the most wonderful aromas) gave me plenty of lead time for the preparation of the rest of the meal, I ended up wasting too much of it, and had to scramble near the end of that preliminary cooking process.  While I was still assembling the two vegetables and a long-simmering sauce, I left the meat in the aromatic broth with the heat turned off.  I think the reason I was unable to peel off the skin when I was ready to pan-grill it, sliced, was the additional cooking time, although with small goat or lamb tongues removal is not as essential as it is with veal or beef.  My other mistake was in slicing the tongues crosswise instead of lengthwise, which meant that I in the end the quite small pieces had to be re-heated in a pan instead.

The simple Provençal-like tomato sauce I chose to accompany the lamb was delicious, but, as the picture indicates, it served more as a chutney than a proper sauce, and that is not what I had in mind at the beginning.

Because of the slightly problematic story of this meal it was either a very sensible or ill-advised move for me to pick up more tongue while I was at the Greenmarket today (although it happened only by chance, as I had stopped at Consider Bardwell only for cheese).   I have no interest in more tongue in the near future however (this time it was just a single 12-ounce piece of veal, as extraordinarily inexpensive as the lambs tongue had been):  The meat was frozen when I bought it, and that’s how it will stay for a while.

  • lamb tongues (6, totaling about 12 ounces) from my favorite shepardess, Karen of 3-CornerField Farm, washed and simmered for about 90 minutes in a pot with about 4 cups of good chicken stock, one halved Christopher Ranch garlic from Eataly, some fresh thyme sprigs from Keith’s Farm, rosemary leaves from Phillips Farm, and one crushed bay leaf from Westside Market, removed from the pot, the skin removed, sliced thinly lengthwise, seasoned with salt and pepper, brushed with olive oil, briefly pan-grilled (ideally) until grill lines appear, then spread on plates and served with a tomato sauce, or salsa
  • a Provençal-ish canned tomato sauce/salsa prepared as in Julia Child’s iconic, ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking; Volume Two';  a slightly-edited version of her recipe appears here (Child suggests thyme or oregano), and my ingredients included onions from John D. Madura Farm, ‘Muti’ Baby Roma tomatoes from Eataly, one bay leaf from Westside Market, thyme from Keith’s Farm, less than 1/4 teaspoon of dried Italian oregano, a piece of dried Long Island orange peel from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and Christopher Ranch garlic from Eataly
  • a small amount of collard greens from Rogowski Farm, cut as thin ‘noodles’ and, following the greens part of this recipe), stirred into a pan in which uncured diced Colameco pancetta from Whole Foods had sautéed until starting to brown before the addition of minced Christopher Ranch garlic and a little butter, finished with juice from the same local Fantastic Gardens of Long Island lemon
  • one small-to-medium fennel bulb from Eataly split into eight wedges, sautéed in a large iron pan over medium high heat with chiles and fennel seeds until the fennel began to color, then, with Christopher Ranch garlic added, the heat lowered and the pan covered, cooked for about ten minutes more, stirring occasionally, a generous amount of chopped fennel fronds added at the end [recipe from “Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Cafe”]
  • the wine was a Spanish red, Fescenino Tempranillo Ribera del Duero 2012
  • the music was Ferdinand Ries’ piano quartet, op. 13   I can’t believe we don’t know this music or that of so many of his contemporaries: what, for 200 years everyone has just said, “no thanks, don’t need ‘em, we already have Beethoven”

tilefish with garlic, herbs, lemon; tomato; collards

2015 March 14
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by james

tilefish_tomato_collards

Zowie.

  • one 13-ounce tilefish fillet from Pura Vida, halved, dried, seasoned, then pan-seared and finished, after this Melissa Clark recipe, this time using three fresh spring garlic from Eataly, thyme from Keith’s Farm, mint and thyme from Eataly, tarragon from Whole Foods, parsley from Rogowski Farm, and local (Long Island) lemon juice from Dave Tifford’s Fantastic Gardens of Long Island
  • collard greens from Rogowski Farm, cut as thin ‘noodles’ and, following the collards part of this delicious recipe), stirred into a pan in which uncured diced Colameco pancetta from Whole Foods had sautéed until starting to brown before the addition of minced Christopher Ranch garlic from Eataly and a little butter, finished with juice from the same local Fantastic Gardens of Long Island lemon
  • Maine cherry ‘cocktail’ tomatoes from Whole Foods, placed in the pan with the tilefish near the end of its cooking, removed and seasoned, finished with sliced green ends from the Eataly spring garlic
  • the wine was an Italian white, le Salse Verdicchio di Matelica 2013
  • the music was Ferdinand Ries‘s Symphony No. 4

gilded hake, roast Brussels sprouts & winter squash

2015 March 12
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by james

gilded_hake_squash_and_Brussels_sprouts

This is another meal which might have looked more at home last fall, rather than a mild day like this one, but because of the miracles of local suppliers, along with one beautiful thick section of hake, I happened to have some winter squash and Brussels sprouts which I had also picked up at the Greenmarket very recently, and I was anxious to use it before the evenings became really warm.

I think it’s amazing that, for the first time ever, we will probably be able to make it all the way through a New York City winter without ever having had an interruption in the supply of fresh local green vegetables of one kind or another.  As an example of what’s going on, today at the market, noting that the date was March 11, I picked up some collard greens, some more large leeks, and a bag of Long Island citrus fruit.  Yup, local citrus,to be specific, it was oranges and lemons, and there were two other possibilities available.

  • one beautiful, thick 12-ounce hake fillet from American Seafood Company, dredged in seasoned flour and dipped in a beaten egg from Millport Dairy, sautéed in olive oil along with a handful of sage leaves from Eataly, sprinkled with local lemon juice from Dave Tifford’s Fantastic Gardens of Long Island along with the pan juices that remained, then divided and plated, and finally garnished with parsley from Rogowski Farm and served with lemon wedges on the side
  • tiny Brussels sprouts from Phillips Farm and cubed ‘Sweet Dumpling’ winter squash from Samascott Orchards, tossed together with oil, salt, pepper, and two unpeeled garlic cloves, also from Samascott Orchards, then spread onto a ceramic oven pan and roasted for about half an  hour at 400º until tender and caramelized, removed from the oven and drizzled with  a bit of white balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and thyme from Keith’s farm (as well as a little bit of sage from Eataly), and served
  • the wine was a Spanish white, Shaya old vines, verdejo Rueda 2013
  • the music was works of Ignaz Pleyel and Joseph Joachim

‘picnic’ of speck, olives, cheeses, ricotta, tomatoes

2015 March 11
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by james

speck_cheese_olives_parsley

It was warm, so we decided to have a picnic.

  • Alto Adige/Südtirol Speck from Eataly, and chopped parsley, both drizzled with very good olive oil, three kinds of olives and two cheeses (Danby Vermont goat milk from Consider Bardwell Farm and Arpeggio Massachusetts cow milk from Robinson Farm, and slices of whole wheat (‘Integrale’) bread from Eataly
  • before the salume and cheese there there was a smaller plate of fresh, ricotta cheese from Millport Dairy Farm, sprinkled with Maldon salt, crushed Tellicherry pepper. fresh thyme leaves, a drizzle of the same olive oil used later, and served with halved Maine cherry ‘cocktail’ tomatoes from Eataly, and slices of the same Eataly ‘Integrale’
  • the wine was a Spanish sparkling, Pinord Natura Brut Nature Reserva Marrugat NV
  • the music was Ferdinand Ries‘ Symphony No. 3