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fiddlehead fern, spring allium, and tomato frittata

2015 May 22
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by james


This supper was totally improvised.  We arrived home fairly late from the Wagmag Benefit, and we both had to be up early the next day, so time was important.  I had some fiddlehead ferns in the refrigerator, already rinsed, which had not been included in the meal the night before, plus seven eggs, all kinds of spring allium (allia, alliums?), and a few little bitty green things which would help make a good picture.

  • fiddlehead ferns from Tamarack Hollow Farm, added to a seasoned steel pan in which spring garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm and baby leeks from Rogowski Farm had already been softened in a mixture of olive oil and butter, 7 lightly-whipped eggs from Millport Dairy poured into the mixture then cooked slowly over a low-to-moderate flame until the eggs were almost cooked, continuing with Maine cherry ‘cocktail’ tomatoes from Whole Foods, sliced into four disks, arranged on the top of the mixture before it was placed in a pre-heated broiler, finished with scissored chives from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm and a sprinkling of cress from Stokes Farm
  • slices from a bâtard from Amy’s Bread, with some olive oil drizzled onto the plate with the frittata
  • the wine was a South African white, Nederburg Foundation Lyric 2014, a combination of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Chardonnay
  • the music was streamed from Yle Klassinen

bluefish with tomatoes, baby leeks; fiddleheads

2015 May 21
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by james


While I was still gathering the ingredients at the Greenmarket today, I began to think of this meal as something of a miniature model of the New England I love. The bluefish represents the Southeast coast (Rhode Island waters, for me), while the fiddleheads seem very much a treasure of the green north.

  • two nine-ounce fillets of bluefish from Blue Moon Fish, cooked along the lines described in a recipe which we had enjoyed several times in the past;  it’s from Mark Bittman’s “Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking“; my other ingredients included Maine cherry ‘cocktail’ tomatoes from Whole Foods; two baby leeks from Rogowski Farm; chopped rosemary from Phillips Farm; and chopped parsley from Rogowski Farm
  • fiddlehead ferns from Tamarack Hollow Farm, blanched for about 3-4 minutes, drained, dried, added to a pan in which a sliced garlic clove had been allowed to begin to color and some chopped thyme had been introduced and warmed, the ferns briefly sautéed, removed and drizzled with lemon juice
  • the wine was a Spanish white, Naia D.O. Rueda 2014, from Verdejo old vines
  • the music was Joan Tower’s ‘Stroke’


orecchiette with radishes and radish greens

2015 May 20
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by james


Barry: “I’d be quite happy to have this in a restaurant.”


When I was starting out, I didn’t have much of an emotional investment in the success of this pretty simple meal, even though I was thinking of how much I loved cooking with both radishes and radish greens (not always as part of the same entrée), but, in the end, it was actually pretty terrific.  The basic structure of the entrée was described in this ‘bon appétit’ recipe, although I took some liberties here, some out of personal preference, some prescribed by necessity, because of what I had available on hand.

Tautog with olives, spring garlic, thyme; collards

2015 May 19
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by james


Tautoga onitis‘.  In New York it’s called ‘Blackfish’, but in Rhode Island and elsewhere along the New England coast it’s know as ‘Tautog‘, a name which originated with the Narragansetts.  Surprisingly, none of this knowledge seems to have been enough to get this delicious fish onto our table, in spite of my passion for both New York and Rhode Island – until now.

I was at the Greenmarket today, mulling over the choices offered by P.E. & D. D. Seafood, when Wade asked me whether I had ever cooked Blackfish.  I told him that I thought not, and asked what other names it might go by.  “Tautog’ came the answer, and my ears perked up; I had remembered hearing the name during the time I lived in Rhode Island (from the mid-60s to the mid-80s).  I immediately got a terrific sales pitch describing the virtues of this fish, but I think I had already been sold as soon as I heard the word, “Tautog”.

It turned out I had made a great choice.  The Blackfish/Tautog was absolutely delicious, and it seems it would accommodate any number of preparations. I understand that it rarely appears in any market, but I will definitely be looking for it.

  • two eight-ounce fillets of Blackfish from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, prepared pretty much along the lines of this recipe by Melissa Clark, but substituting thyme leaves for the sage she suggests, and a mix of cayenne pepper and Spanish paprika (dolce) for the Aleppo Syrian red pepper which is no longer available here (for obvious, and very sad reasons); I also added some sliced spring garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm; my other sources included thyme from Eataly, and Kalamata olives from Buon Italia
  • sweet baby collard greens from Central Valley Farm, sautéed lightly in a pan in which two halved garlic cloves had briefly sweated, seasoned, and drizzled with olive oil


This is a glimpse of the pan just before it went into a 425º oven for about eight minutes.

pappardelle with mushroom sauce, parsley, pinoli

2015 May 18
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by admin


We’ve been pretty distracted by a number of evening commitments over the last few days, only some of them related to another New York art fair weekend (full disclosure:  I did not go to Frieze).  Although we still managed to eat very well, it means that there hasn’t been a lot of excitement in the kitchen lately.  Tonight’s meal represented the beginning of a return to real cookery, even if it was pretty much only a question of assembly.


Golden Oyster Mushrooms, at the Blue Oyster Cultivation stand

steak with ramps; potatoes with chives, asparagus

2015 May 15
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by admin


It was another anniversary, and the cool weather returned just in time for us to enjoy a meal in which two of its three elements asked for a 425 to 450 degree oven.

  • two 6-ounce Tri-tip steaks from Dickson Farmstand Meats, dried, seasoned with freshly-ground black pepper, seared, then roasted in a very hot oven for about seven minutes, salted and removed to warm plates, where they were allowed to rest for a few minutes while three ramp bulbs, chopped, were stirred around in the still-hot pan, followed by their leaves, cut lengthwise, and the steaks finally sprinkled with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil, covered with the ramps, and served
  • small Gold Nugget potatoes from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, boiled, then dried in the same vintage Corning Pyrex Flamewareblue-glass pot in which they had been cooked, and finished with salt, pepper, butter, scissored chives, and chopped parsley
  • large spears of asparagus from Stokes Farm, trimmed and peeled, dotted with butter, from Millport Dairy, salted, roasted at 450º for 15 to 20 minutes, rolled twice during that time, with freshly-mortared black pepper and a sprinkling of lemon juice added at the end
  • the wine was a Spanish red, Viña Eguia Rioja 2009
  • the music was provided by Q2 streaming

orecchiette con cime rabe/pasta with rapini

2015 May 13
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by admin


I used to prepare this dish as often as it might occur to either one of us, but the last time must have been before I began this blog, over six years ago.   I’ve had the package of dry orecchiette (‘little ears’) in the cupboard for a few weeks, but it was only last night that I could take advantage of a convergence of this excellent pasta, some spring Greenmarket broccoli rabe, and no dinner plans which could forestall our enjoyment of my favorite version of the Puglian favorite, orecchiette con cime rabe.

It was as delicious as each of us had remembered.  There was one snag however, although one not related to the taste.  I have the willful habit of wanting to incorporate as much of a vegetable as I can when cooking it, and in this case I would have been better advised to discard some of the rapini stems, or at least remove them and cook them a little longer than the rest of the greens.  I’ve never encountered this problem before with this vegetable, but let’s just say that in a couple of cases last night the larger pieces were more than chewy.  After we finished dinner Barry proffered, “Stems are the gristle of the vegetable world.”.

Twenty-five years ago I discovered the recipe I still use, in the tall volume, ‘Italy, The Beautiful Cookbook’.  The book itself is indeed beautiful, as are the recipes.  It’s also a wonderful tour through a magnificent culture, one with which Barry I paired our actual Italian tours in the years after I acquired the book.

  • half a pound of Benedetto Cavalieri ‘Single Orecchiette’ and half a pound of broccoli rabe, bottom stems removed and the rest of the vegetable roughly chopped, boiled together in a large pot until the pasta was al dente, about a ladleful of the pasta water reserved before draining, then tossed into a separate pot in which 3 garlic cloves and half of a dried red chile pepper had been heated until the garlic had colored lightly, everything (including a judicious amount of the reserved pasta water) tossed for a couple of minutes to blend the flavors and the ingredients, before being served, sprinkled on top with half of a cup of fresh breadcrumbs browned earlier (this time I used some of a Balthazar Multi-Grain boule), along with a pinch of salt, in a little olive oil
  • the wine was an Italian white, Saladini Pilastri Falerio 2013
  • the music was Ernest Chausson’s ‘Poème de l’amour et de la mer

potato, egg, spring garlic, chive, cayenne hash

2015 May 12
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by admin


Note to self:  You can do this again anytime you want to.


I wanted to prepare something simple, and knew I had on hand the makings of something pretty tasty.  I didn’t really know what I was going to put together until I began.  I no longer remember the details, except that this gallimaufry was a one-pan operation, but they aren’t important anyway; I wouldn’t expect or want this dish to unfold the same way every time.

  • I only remember that I started with halved German Butterball potatoes from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm (which had begun to sprout ‘eyes’ inside their brown bag), moved through a sliced stem of spring garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, and onto some very fresh eggs from Millport Dairy, finishing with scissored chives from Phillips Farm; oh, and there was some real magic in the form of an excellent cayenne from Spices and Tease in Chelsea Market
  • the baby arugula was from Migliorelli Farm
  • I believe the dish was accompanied by slices of Balthazar’s Multi-Grain boule
  • the wine was a simple southern French sparkling rosé, whose name I don’t know remember

sautéed flounder, parsley, sorrel; red & white chard

2015 May 12
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by admin


Note to self:  There certainly must be exceptions, and skate seems to be one of them, but, when it comes to fish, smaller is not necessarily better.  


Having arrived there late on a Monday, when both custom and merchandise is smaller in size than on any other market day, I missed out on anything which might have meant putting anything less familiar on our table than flounder, which of course remains a most estimable fish.

  • six small flounder fillets from P.E. & D. D. Fish Company (a total of about one pound), rinsed, dried, sprinkled with white vinegar and salt, lightly-floured and sautéed in oil, removed from the pan, at which time butter and lemon juice were introduced, scraped together and gently warmed, followed by some fresh chopped parsley from Rogowski Farm and an equal amount of sorrel from Lani’s Farm,also chopped, the finished sauce poured over the fillets
  • white and red chard from Lani’s Farm, sautéed with olive oil and finished withs lemon, crushed dried hot pepper seeds, salt, pepper, and olive oil
  • the wine was a California white, S + A Verdelho Calveras County 2014
  • the music was eighteenth-century instrumental works by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Carl Heinrich Graun

herb-rubbed grilled swordfish; bread; baby collards

2015 May 12
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by admin


I was looking for tuna, but there were only three pieces left by the time I got to the Greenmarket, and I couldn’t see how, in any configuration, they might add up to two proper modest portions.  It helps to be flexible (strange to tell now, but there was a time in the distant past when I would head out to the market with a list), but it also helps to be fond of virtually any seafood; in this case, it meant going for the swordfish.

  • one swordfish steak from Pura Vida Seafood, cut into two six-and-a-half ounce pieces, rubbed with a mixture of fresh herbs (here parsley, thyme, and rosemary) chopped together with sea salt, then mixed with some freshly-ground pepper, minced garlic and lemon zest, and a bit of olive oil, spread onto the surface of the fish and pan-grilled, basting throughout the cooking process with sone reserved rub mixture, and finished with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil, served with quarters (eighths?) of lemon
  • the bread which accompanied the entrée was Balthazar’s Multi-Grain boule
  • baby collard greens from Rogowski Farm, sautéed lightly in a pan in which two garlic cloves had briefly sweated, seasoned, and drizzled with olive oil
  • the wine was a Greek white, Semeli Moschofilero Sun Dry White wine of the Peloponnese 2013
  • the music was an album of baroque instrumental music which included works by Johann Friedrich Fasch [his son was Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch] and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach