Month: September 2016

shrimp with chipotle, saffron, cumin; fennel and tomatoes


Our very own shrimp: local (Newburgh, NY), fresh (not frozen), sustainable (farmed), safe (purest water, natural nutrients), environmentally sound (small footprint), and delicious.

I just checked, and I realize that last night it had been the better part of a year since we had been able to enjoy Jean Claude Frajmund’s wonderful local shrimp, the harvest of his Eco Shrimp Garden. Incredibly delicious then, they seemed even better this time, although it may be that I now had some experience under my belt. The experience includes both research and practice in dealing with the difficulty of shelling shrimp, especially when they area as fresh as his, after they have been cooked in their shells.

But the shrimp was also “sort-of-Spanish”, and the wine definitely was.

I had been inspired by and persuaded to try Mark Bittman’s simple recipe, ‘Last-Minute Sort-Of-Spanish Shrimp’, last year. This is my November, 2016 post. Last night I headed for it again.  His full, entertaining discussion of its origins appears here.

It’s a wonderful recipe, really very simple, and substitutes can be used for ingredients not on hand.

The image of raw shrimp just below is from this older post.

The baby fennel, purchased yesterday was photographed at the farmer’s stall.


The tomatoes in the photograph below are on our breakfast room windowsill (only the deep red cherry tomatoes were incorporated into this meal).


The next two images were captured during the cooking process, the shrimp in a very large cast iron pan just after they had been turned the first time, the vegetables in a slightly smaller copper pan just after I had added the tomatoes.



  • one teaspoon of chopped garlic from Berried Treasures Farm, heated inside a (13 1/2″) cast iron pan over a very low flame until the garlic had colored nicely, a pinch of Spanish saffron, one whole dried chipotle pepper from Northshire Farms in the Union Square Greenmarket (do not squish it) and a teaspoon of freshly-ground cumin seed added, all of it stirred for a minute or two, then 13 ounces (14 count) of Hudson Valley farmed shrimp from Eco Shrimp Garden (cut all along their backs, from head to tail, for ease of shelling later) added, seasoned with salt and pepper, the heat brought up a bit, and the shrimp cooked until firm while turned twice, served with a generous squeeze of lemon, garnished with parsley from Keith’s Farm, finished on the plates with purple micro radish from Two Guys from Woodbridge [the micro greens are my addition to Mark Bittman’s recipe, and may seem like overkill, but they really work with the other flavors, and they are gorgeous]
  • a handful of baby fennel from Alewife Farm, trimmed at the top, stems and bulbs cut into 3 cm lengths, sautéed over medium high heat along with one roughly-chopped garlic from Berried Treasures, one small Grenada seasoning pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm (the best flavor of a habanero, with a fraction of the heat), and a teaspoon of Italian fennel seeds, until the fennel began to color, the heat lowered, the pan covered, cooked for another 5 or more minutes, the cover removed and 7 or 8 halved Black Cherry tomatoes from Berried Treasures Farm added, stirred, allowed to soften just a bit, the pan set aside until the shrimp had been cooked, divided onto the plates and garnished with the chopped fronds of the fennel
  • the wine was a Spanish (Rioja) white, CVNE Cune Monopole, Rioja Blanco 2015, from Flatiron Wines
  • the music was 3 concertos by Franz Josef Haydn and Leopold Hofmann

prosciutto, arugula; penne with tomato, basil, micro radish



Still looking like summer (but also of the pig slaughtered last fall and cured).

The appetizer included 2 ounces of a salume on each plate, a bit of wild greens, and some phenomenal bread.

  • Applegate prosciutto from Whole Foods, drizzled with a very good olive oil from Campania (Syrenum D.O.P. Peninsula Sorrentina), served with ‘wild arugula’ from Max Creek Hatchery, the greens also drizzled with the olive oil but also a little white balsamic vinegar, served with slices of Eric Kayser’s ‘Pain aux Céréales’

The main course pasta included no fish or animal products: Small amounts of a certain number of seasonings enriched just 2 basic ingredients, an excellent pasta and a great heirloom tomato at the peak of its ripeness.

  • two garlic cloves from Berried Treasures Farm, roughly cut, two very small red pearl onions from Paffenroth Farms, and one small yellow Grenada seasoning pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, all heated inside a large, enameled cast iron pot until they had become pungent and softened, the flame turned off, 8 ounces of Afeltra Penne Rigata, from Eataly, cooked al dente, added and mixed in, followed by a one-pound German Stripe heirloom tomato from Tamarack Hollow Farm, chopped, the mix seasoned with salt, freshly-ground pepper, and a generous amount of torn New York CIty basil from Gotham Greens, via Whole Foods, served in 2 shallow bowls, sprinkled with purple radish micro greens from Two Guys from Woodbridge



spaghetto combined with heirloom tomato salsa cruda


We had these three beautiful heirloom plum tomatoes on the windowsill, the last of a stock which had been the gift of a friend with a vegetable garden north of the city, and they were definitely all at the peak of their ripeness.  We already knew how perfectly delicious they were, so there wasn’t any question about cooking them, or burying them with a lot of other ingredients.

I decided pasta was the answer, a good artisanal pasta, with nothing other than these red beauties, their natural green condimento, basil, a bit of gently-crushed garlic, a pinch of Sicilian chili, and olive oil. Other than the spaghettone, all of the ingredients would remain uncooked, except to the extent they would be affected by the heat of the boiled and drained pasta.


  • three large, ripe heirloom plum tomatoes, from Lower Hayfields, a friend’s Hudson Valley garden, cut into rough chunks, placed in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of a decent olive oil, 3 lightly-crushed garlic cloves from Berried Treasures, about half of a cup of New York CIty basil from Gotham Greens via Whole Foods, and a prudent amount of crushed dried Sicilian pepperoncino from Buon Italia, stirred and allowed to sit while 8 ounces of Afeltra Spaghettone from Eataly was cooked (it’s a slightly thicker spaghetti, made in southern Campania with 100% Puglian grain), after which the pasta was combined with the tomato mixture in the bowl, stirred well, about half of it divided into 2 shallow bowls (this was only a first helping, since this primi was also the secundi last night), and finished with a modest sprinkling of chopped herbs, a mix which included more basil dill, and oregano [the basic recipe, from Mark Bittman, is one I had cut out of the New York Times Magazine 5 years ago, but have never used; the addition of the herb topping isn’t in his text, and it isn’t really in line with what I’ve written I’ve written above, but I had forgotten to reserve some of the basil for a garnish, and happened to have the other herbs handy at the moment]
  • the wine was an Italian (Sicily) white, Corvo Insolia 2014
  • the music was Nadia Sirota’s  2103 album, ‘Baroque’

‘fennel-paved’ tuna, sorrel; sautéed peppers with tomato


I couldn’t decide whether to serve tomatoes or peppers with the tuna last night, and then I realized the decision had already been made for me: Since there really weren’t enough tomatoes, and those that I had were very ripe, I ended up combining them with the pepppers.

  • two thick 7-ounce tuna steaks from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, rubbed top and bottom with a mixture of dry Italian fennel seed and a little dried Itria-Sirissi chilis (peperoncino di Sardegna intero) from Buon Italia, both ground together in a mortar-and-pestle, their surfaces additionally seasoned with salt and pepper, pan-grilled over a high flame for only a little more than a minute or so on each side, removed to the plates, finished with a good squeeze of lemon from Whole Foods, scattered with some chiffonade-cut red sorrel from Norwich Meadows Farm, and drizzled with a very good olive oil
  • four medium banana peppers (light yellow and one darker, one orange) and one green Anaheim pepper, all from a friend’s Lower Hayfields Hudson Valley garden, seeds and pith removed, very roughly chopped, sautéed over a high flame until slightly carmelized, a part of a small red Calabrian pepper from Campo Rosso Farm, finely-chopped, added a bit earlier, the heat turned down and a large handful of small red cherry tomatoes, also from Lower Hayfields, tossed into the pan and heated until they had begun to break down, the vegetables finished in the pan with the addition of chopped fresh oregano leaves from Stokes Farm, and a dash of balsamic vinegar, divided onto the 2 plates, where they were sprinkled with a little micro bronze fennel from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the wine was a California (Central Coast) rosé, 99 Barrels Derek Rohlffs Santa Lucia Highlands Rose 2015

There was a small fruit and cheese course.


  • seven striped yellow figs from California, via Eataly, and tiny amount of a terric blue cow cheese, ‘Barden’, from Consider Bardwell Farm
  • the music throughout the meal was from Counterstream radio, streaming, and it included at least some of Morton Feldman‘s early ’70s  pieces for voices and Instruments

green zebras, pasta pens, pansy purple micro radishes


The parts seemed promising, but the whole was totally wicked.

  • five smallish green zebra cultivar tomatoes from our friend’s garden in Lower Hayfields, roughly chopped, mixed with a generous amount of torn New York City basil from Gotham Greens (via Whole Foods), a few leaves of dried sage from Stokes Farm, and a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice, then tossed into a large pan in which 3 minced cloves of garlic from Willow Wisp Farm had been cooked in olive oil until fragrant, succeeded  by one very large minced fresh shallot from Lucky Dog Farm, also cooked, stirring until softened, seasoned with salt and freshly-ground pepper before half a pound of Afeltra Penna Rigata [‘grooved pens’] from Eataly, cooked al dente, was added and emulsified by stirring further for a minute or two over a low flame with a little reserved pasta water, served in bowls, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with micro purple radish greens from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the wine was an Italian (Alto Adige/Südtirol) white, from Chelsea Wine VaultLa Manina Manincor 2013
  • the music was the remainder of the album, Olivier Messiaen: ‘Vingt Regards Sur L’Enfant Jesus’, performed by pianist Joanna MacGregor we had been listening to on Sunday morning