I wasn’t able to get to the Union Square Greenmarket yesterday, so I defrosted a package of the fishmonger’s excellent crab cakes I keep for just such occasions, and I happened to have one fresh green[mosty] vegetable on hand as well.
- two crab cakes from P.E. & D.D. Seafood (crab, egg, flour, red & green peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, milk, celery, and parsley), in Riverhead made by Dolores Karlin, the wife of Carl Karlin, the fisherman himself, defrosted the night before, brought to room temperature and heated up on a small drizzle of olive oil inside a small, heavy vintage, well-seasoned cast iron pan, 3 to 4 minutes to each side, served on a salsa composed of 5 Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Chelsea Whole Foods that had been quartered then combined with a tablespoon or so of olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, a bit of dried dried red espelette pepper (not too hot, but that’s a arguable description when comes to peppers) from Alewife Farm, much of one small celery stalk and most of one thick scallion, both from from Phillips Farms
- baby red watercress from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- four leeks of various sizes from Phillips Farms, trimmed of their darkest green tops, the larger ones cut in half lengthwise, the smaller kept whole but cut half way down from the top in order to be washed vigorously in cold water, removing any earth (carefully holding the white ends together to keep them from falling apart), dried, rolled in a little olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a tiny bit of light-colored dried golden habanada pepper, pan-grilled over a medium-hot flame for a few minutes (10 or 12?), turning until all sides had been scored with grill marks and the leeks softened all the way through, arranged on the plates and sprinkled with chopped parsley from Trader Joe’s
- the wine was a Spanish (Valencia) white, Celler del Roure ‘Cullerot’ Blanco 2017, from Astor Wines
- the music was a Pentatone recording of Wagner’s ‘Der Fliegender Holländer’, Marek Janowski conducting the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin and the Rundfunkchor Berlin, with Matti Salminen, Ricarda Merbeth, Robert Dean Smith, Silvia Hablowetz, Steve Davislim, and Albert Dohmen
Meat and potatoes. And greens.
- two incredibly delicious sirloin cap steaks (otherwise called ‘culotte’ here, ‘coulotte’ in France, ‘picanha’ in Brazil, or “the part where the cow was poked by ranchers“), from Sun Fed Beef/Maple Avenue Farms in their stall at the Union Square Greenmarket, brought to room temperature, seasoned on all sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared over a medium-high flame for less than a minute on the fat-covered side [this time, inexplicably, each had 2 fat-covered sides] inside an oval enameled heavy cast iron pan, the open sides cooked for 3 or 4 minutes each, removed from the pan at the moment they had become perfectly medium-rare, arranged on 2 warm plates, drizzled with juice from a local lemon grown by Fantastic Gardens of New Jersey, sprinkled with chopped lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge, a little olive oil poured over the top
- about a pound of red thumb fingerling potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, halved lengthwise, tossed with a little olive oil, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, a bit of crushed light-colored home-dried habanada pepper (originally purchased fresh from Norwich Meadows), 6 or 7 medium-size rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm (unpeeled, to keep them from burning), the potatoes roasted cut-side down inside a 375º oven on a large very well-seasoned Pampered Chef ceramic pan for about 20 or 25 minutes, arranged on the plates and garnished with red micro chard from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- one bunch of collard greens from Lani’s Farm, the stems removed, washed 3 times, drained (some of the water retained and held aside to be added, as necessary, while the greens cooked), chopped into smaller pieces, braised gently until softened/wilted inside a large, antique copper pot in which 2 halved cloves of ‘music’ garlic/aka ‘strong neck’ garlic from Windfall Farms had been heated until they had softened, seasoned with salt and black pepper, finished with a small drizzle of olive oil
- the wine was a surprisingly light, but very sophisticated zinfandel, a California (Mendocino County) red, Les Lunes Venturi Vineyard Zinfandel 2015, from Copake Wine Works
- the music was a 2011 recording of Wagner’s 1862-1867 comic music drama, ‘Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg’, Marek Janowski conducting the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Radio Chorus
For something of a change, today our first meal, consumed as usual after most people have already finished their lunch, or brunch, actually did look more like a lunch, or at least a brunch, than the Sunday breakfast it was.
It was consumed with some passion, along with the Bach’s St Matthew that accompanied it.
- four sections of thick bacon from pastured pigs raised by Millport Dairy Farm, slowly fried (to minimize the loss of fat) inside a classic seasoned steel restaurant-style pan, each then cut into four sections and arranged, not touching, inside a large glazed ceramic baking pan, followed by a layer of 5 sliced Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Chelsea Whole Foods Market, and 6 free-range eggs, also from Millport Dairy Farm, broken into the pan on top of the tomatoes, scattered with most of one thick scallion and one small stalk of celery, both sliced and both from Phillips Farms, 10 or so fresh medium size sage leaves from Whole Foods, and a pinch or so from one dried red espelette pepper among those I had purchased from Alewife Farm on Friday (Tyler was returning to the Union Squared Greenmarket for the first time this year), baked, very loosely covered with tin foil inside a 375º oven until the whites had solidified, or about 25 minutes [at that point the yokes were actually no longer runny, meaning I had guessed wrong when I decided, the last time this had happened, that I should cover the pan with foil; I’ll adjust the timing instead when I repeat the recipe], sprinkled with Maldon salt and freshly-ground black pepper, a pinch of dried fenugreek from Bombay Emerald Chutney Company (purchased at the Saturday Down to Earth Chelsea Farmers Market last fall), and garnished baby red watercress from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- fresh, untoasted slices of a miche from Brooklyn’s She Wolf Bakery
Last night we had plans to see what turned out to be a brilliant production of Athol Fugard’s brilliant 1969 ‘Boesman and Lena’ at Signature Theatre. We knew we’d be home fairly late, late at least for making a dinner, so while at the Greenmarket that afternoon while picking a seafood and a vegetable, I chose what what could be placed on the table in a short amount of time. An excellent crusty loaf of bread, also from the Union Square market, was enough to finish the course.
- fourteen scallops (15 ounces) from Pura Vida Seafood, washed, drained, and very thoroughly dried on paper towels (twice), generously seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, pan grilled for about 90 seconds on each side, arranged on warm plates, finished with a squeeze of a sweet local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island in the Union Square Greenmarket, and a drizzle of Trader Joe’s Italian Reserve extra virgin olive oil,
garnished with micro red chard, also from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- red frill mustard from Two Guys from Woodbridge (most of that farm’s live plant, sold in a container with its roots in water), wilted gently inside a medium size antique copper pot in a little olive oil in which one halved clove of ‘music’ garlic aka ‘strong neck’ from Windfall Farms had been heated gently until it had begun to soften, seasoned with salt and pepper, arranged on the plates and drizzled with the same Trader Joe’s olive oil
[the image of the baguette is from the bakery’s own site]
There was a lot of red, and off-red, but, in our defense, it was Valentine’s Day.
The color began, even before any of the food had arrived, when I put this Transvaal native Gerbera daisy and its red-painted ancient iron cachepot on the table (like almost everything else connected to the meal, the plant had come from the Union Square Greenmarket).
The first course was arranged around some very fine locally-produced dried beef.
- slices of a really extraordinary deep red-colored local bresaola from a 94-year-old business in our neighborhood, Salumeria Biellese (4 ounces), purchased from Flatiron Eataly, drizzled with a small amount of Trader Joe’s excellent Italian Reserve extra virgin olive oil described as “unfiltered, unrefined, and cold pressed”
- arugula from Phillips Farms and wild cress from Lani’s Farm (I didn’t have quite enough of either alone, so I used all that I had remaining of each, allowing necessity to improve the the salume’s compliment), drizzled with the same olive oil, seasoned with Maldon salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- slices from a loaf of Philadelphia’s Lost Bread Company’s ‘Seedy Grains’ (wheat, spelt, rye, and barley organic bread flours; buckwheat; oats; flax, sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds; water, and salt)
- the wine was a California (Sonoma), sparkling rosé, W. Donaldson Rosé 2015, from Naked Wines
With at least one eye on the holiday, the idea for the main course had begun with a pair of pink smoked pork chops, also locally-sourced.
- chopped sections of one celery stalk from from Phillips Farms, some of the tender leaves reserved for the end of the warming-up process, softened over a low to moderate flame in a tablespoon or so of Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ that had been heated inside a heavy medium size tin-lined copper skillet, two 8-and-a half-ounce smoked loin pork chops from Flying Pigs Farm added, the pot covered with a universal copper lid and kept above a very low flame (just enough to warm the chops through, as they were already fully-cooked), turning the meat once, then, near the end of the cooking time (about 7 minutes, I would say), a few more thin slices of celery added for a minute or so, the chops arranged on the 2 plates and the celery leaves that had been set aside earlier, now chopped, sprinkled on top, finished with a topping of a bit of horseradish jelly from Berkshire Berries [I got too excited at this point and added more jelly than I should have]
- micro red chard from Windfall Farms, arranged near the chops as a garnish for the plate
- fifteen ounces of red turnips from Norwich Meadows Farm, scrubbed, peeled, and cut into half-inch-thick slices, tossed with olive oil, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a generous amount of fresh rosemary leaves from Phillips Farms, roasted inside a large Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pan for about 30 minutes at 425º
- sunflower sprouts from Windfall Farms
- the wine was an Australian (South Australia/Mount Lofty Ranges/Adelaide Hills) red, Lucy Margaux Pinot Merlot (PM*) 2017, from Copake Wine Works
*referring to the unusual Pinot Noir and Merlot blend
- the music throughout the meal was the 1856-1858 Berlioz epic opera, ‘Les Troyens’, John Nelson conducting the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, with Hanna Hipp, Cyrille Dubois, Frédéric Caton, Jérôme Varnier, Joyce DiDonato, Stèphane Degout, Agnieszka Slawinska, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Richard Rittelmann, Michael Spyres, Bertrand Grunenwald, Philippe Sly, and Jean Teitgen