Month: July 2015

skate, alliums; new potatoes, chives; favas, mint

skate_potato_fava_beans

I’ve lost my paper ‘skate file’, at least temporarily, but with the help of earlier entries on this food blog, last night I was able to reconstruct my favorite ray recipe pretty much in the form I had used several times in the past.  This is, after all, the original purpose of this site, and it probably shows that it really can be used as a recipe source, at least for anyone who has more than a passing acquaintance with a kitchen.

  • four skate wing sections from Blue Moon Fish NYC, coated with a coarse polenta and seasoned with salt and pepper, then sautéed in olive oil for a few minutes, removed from the pan, and butter, chopped shallots from John D. Madura Farm, sliced fresh garlic from Lucky Dog Organic, and segments of garlic scapes from Lucky Dog Organic, previously softened in warm olive oil, introduced into the pan and stirred over a heat now lowered, followed by the addition of chopped parsley from Keith’s Farm and a little more butter
  • boiled ‘Augusta’ new potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, drained, dried in the warm pot in which they had been cooked, halved, then rolled in olive oil, cut chives from Stokes Farm, salt, and pepper
  • fava beans (about 1.4 lbs, in their pods, for these two servings) from Berried Treasures, removed from their pods and their skins removed, briefly cooked in olive oil, then tossed with spearmint from Phillips Farm, salt, and pepper
  • the wine was a German white, a Pfalz, Friedrich Becker Family Pinot Blanc 2013, ordered fromAppellation Wines
  • the music was the wind sextet in E flat major by Ignaz Josef Pleyel

squash/fennel/onion/tomato/kale/prosciutto/cukes

antipasti_dinner

(now everyone knows that I remove my ring and my watch while working in the kitchen)

 

The vegetables were beginning to pile up, and I had a little prosciutto on hand, so I decided to make a dinner of antipasti alone.  A bonus: whatever cooking would be involved could be done in advance, plus, because nothing was going to have to be warm on the table, we could linger as long as we wished, as we do with our regular ‘picnics‘.  This time it was with Monteverdi.

  • Colameco’s prosciutto from Whole Foods; pan-grilled baby yellow squash from Berried Treasures, finished with spearmint from Phillips Farm; one pan-grilled quartered spring red onion from Tamarack Hollow Farm; pan-grilled baby fennel from Eckerton Hill Farm, finished with the fennel fronds, chopped; Tuscan kale, braised with crushed fennel seed and dried chile pepper; Korean cucumbers from Bodhitree Farm, sliced thinly and tossed with olive oil, Chianti wine vinegar, crushed red pepper, and a bit of sugar; heirloom tomatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm and Bodhitree Farm, along with two tiny golden cherry tomatoes from Eckerton Hill Farm, dresssed with good olive oil and tossed with chopped fresh oregano; and slices of Balthazar’s ‘Potato-Onion Fendu’, purchased at Whole Foods
  • the wine was a French rosé, Château Soucherie, Rosé de Loire, Cuvée L’Astrée 2014
  • the music was Claudio Monteverdi’s ‘Orfeo’, led by Jordi Savall

spaghetti, squash, lemon, olives, radicchio, mint

spaghetti_squash_olives_radicchio_mint

This one was totally improvised. I had some very small yellow summer squash on hand, the nucleus of a head of radicchio, some mint, a lemon, and some great olives which I pitted two days earlier but then decided not to use, and of course I had a great artisanal pasta.

Very nice.

  • twelve ounces of Afeltra spaghetti from Eataly, tossed with about half a dozen small yellow squash from Berried Treasures, thinly-sliced, seasoned and pan grilled, some torn radicchio leaves from Tamarack Hollow Farm, olive oil, both lemon zest and lemon juice, and torn spearmint leaves from Phillips Farm
  • the wine was a Sicilian white, Corvo Insolia 2013 from Philippe Wine in Chelsea, on our corner
  • the music was Jordi Saval’s album, ‘Mare Nostrum

crab cakes, fresh tomato sauce; scapes; baby greens

crab_cake_tomato_scapes_greens

I cannot say enough about these crab cakes as a concept!   They’re not only delicious, but also incredibly simple to prepare, can be quickly put onto the table, and, possibly most importantly – at least for people like ourselves – extremely useful they are when the cook is unable to go outside foraging for a dinner entrée.

The last item in that list of virtues assumes that the package had been kept frozen in the freezer, but defrosted in time for a quick sauté.  I don’t know how long it takes a package of two crab cakes to defrost in the refrigerator, but I usually manage to have the foresight to move them there before going to bed the night before I expect to serve them.

The crab cakes I use, pre-cooked and packaged in twos, are from the PE & DD Seafood stand, which can be found in the Union Square Greenmarket on both Saturdays and Mondays, and I usually pick up a package on my every visit.

I neglected to mention one other virtue of this particular form of this particular order of decapoda:  Crabs can be difficult, but this represents certainly the most accessible way – by far – to enjoy one of the most supremely delicious kinds of seafood available.

An interesting aspect of putting together a dinner with crab cakes is that, at least in my own experience, it inspires improvisation in the sauce or condiment, and welcomes creativity in the treatment of the vegetables which will share the plate, including the assembly of things which are not normally combined, or even featured as sides.

  • crab cakes from PE & DD Seafood (ingredients: crab, egg, flour, red & green peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, milk, celery, parsley), heated in a heavy iron pan, three or four minutes to each side, served on top of a fresh tomato sauce composed of the tomatoes set aside after I had made ‘tomato water’ for a tautog fillet a few nights earlier
  • mixed baby greens from Lani’s Farm, dressed with good olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper
  • small, tender garlic scapes from Lucky Dog Organic, cut into approximately one-inch lengths, sautéed, seasoned, sprinkled with a little bit of torn Full Bloom Market Garden basil from Whole Foods and spearmint from Phillips Farm
  • the wine was an Argentinian white, Guenguenheim Valle EscondidoTorrontés 2014
  • the music was Bach’s Orchestral Suites

Calabrese salami; Lombard scarpinocc; Iowa cheese

salame_radicchio

About ten days ago I happened to be passing the fresh handmade pasta bar at Eataly on the day our neighborhood store, one of my favorite food sources, was announcing that the next day it would be selling – for one day only – a filled pasta special of Scarpinocc.  They had examples on display that day, but not for sale.  These traditional forms would be filled with grana padano, taleggio, bread crumbs, and spices, then hand pinched into something which I thought looked like a bicorne (although legend would have it that the shape mimics that of the village’s characteristic local felt, or leather, shoe).  Of course I returned on the next day and brought home a small box – enough for two.

The next step was to investigate how it was usually served, and also what to serve as an antipasto.

The origins of Scarpinocc were in the humble northern Italian town of Parre, in the Lombardy province of Bergamo, “Qui non c’è mai stata la possibilità di grandi coltivazioni” [Here there was never the possibility of large crops]. The unique pasta form returns to the town every year for la Festa degli Scarpinocc di Parre, during the third weekend of August, which of course makes Eataly’s homage in early July a bit premature.

But delicious.  It seems the traditional sauce would be butter, sage (I used Rogowski Farm’s), and ‘cheese’.  The use of both taleggio and parmesan showed up in my online searches, but I wasn’t sure how I would introduce the softer alternative to the dish, so I went with the grating cheese, here Red Cow parmesan, also from Eatlay, slivered on the top).

For the starter/antipasto, I served something traditional from the opposite end of the Italian peninsula, sliced Calabrese salame from Colameco’s, drizzled with olive oil, with a lightly-dressed (good olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper) salad of a delicious local radicchio, from Tamarack Hollow Farm.

 

scarpinocc

There was a cheese course, if only barely, since we had already satisfied ourselves.  It was pretty American;  there hadn’t been a line that day at the Eatlay cheese counter, so I asked one of the people I usually see there what he felt especially good about at the moment.  He immediately replied, “have you tried this cheddar?”  I had almost forgotten about cheddar, because I have come to think of it as more suitable to the kind of food I usually don’t prepare, and more recently because, well, it was now summer.  I tasted it;  it was ‘Flory’s ‘Truckle’, an artisanal cheddar-style cow cheese from Iowa. It was fantastic.

Accompanying the “barely” cheese was toast from a sourdough bâtard by She Wolf Bakery at the Greenmarket

 

toast_and_cheese