Month: January 2016

orecchiette al forno; lemon-roasted pork with sage; kale


maybe the layout looks a bit too obsessive, but it tasted very good


We had invited two friends to dinner long before ‘Jonas’ showed up last night.  It was a good thing they lived across the hall, because 30.5 inches of snow might have meant we would not have had a dinner party at all.

Part of the plan was to serve something which would allow me to be out of the kitchen as much as possible, once guests had arrived, to not miss out on the great conversation we expected.  Another was to ensure that the preparations would be familiar to me, virtually foolproof in their simplicity, and very tasty

The plan worked very well:  The conversation was brilliant, my work in the cucina was pretty simple, and the food and wine were both delicious.  There was also an occasional frisson as the wind and snow blew outside our windows.

  • to start the meal, we enjoyed an excellent California (North Coast) sparkling, Eponina Brut, with some long rustic breadsticks from Buon Italia

I had decided two days earlier that if the storm prevented me from picking up tuna steaks at the Greenmarket on Saturday, I would serve lemon-roasted pork cops for the main course, and before it a baked pasta I could prepare before the guests arrived (except for putting it in the oven) .  Barry and I decided on ‘Orecchiette con i Funghi’, because it seemed like a good introduction to the main course, and because, as baked pastas go, this one is pretty light, in spite of what the list of ingredients might suggest.

  • the instructions for preparing the pasta are laid out very clearly in this Kyle Phillips recipe.  I’ve served it before in a large oven pan, but this time I divided it into cazuelas.  I used a Puglian dried pasta, Benedetto Cavalieri “Single” Orecchiette from a factory in Otranto, shiitake mushrooms from John D. Madura Farms, pancetta from Buon Italia, one small yellow onion from Norwich Meadows Farm, one shallot from Phillips Farm, sliced ham from Dickson Farmstand Meats, pecorino cheese from  Buon Italia, and some of the tomato sauce which I had made 10 days earlier and frozen
  • the wine was an Italian (Sardinia) white, La Cala Vermentino di Sardegna 2013


The second course included two recipes which had never failed me (the pork chop formula is absolute perfection, and possibly my favorite recipe anywhere); they are each as simple to prepare as a cook could ask for, and so were a perfect choice for serving guests.

I already had two 8-ounce Flying Pigs Farm rib pork chops frozen in the freezer.  I thought it would be a simple proposition to purchase two more on Friday, but on that day they only had much larger cuts, so I headed south, to Chelsea Market, and Dickson Farmstand Meats, where I was able to get 8-ounce loin chops.  It didn’t bother me that there were two different sets of cuts, except for the rigor of my silly shape aesthetic.

  • rib pork chops from Flying Pigs Farm and loin chops from DIxon Farmstand Meats (each approximately 8 ounces), thoroughly dried, seasoned with salt and pepper, seared in an oval copper au gratin pan, two local [sic] lemon halves from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island squeezed on top of the pork, then left in the pan while it went into a 400º oven for about 14 minutes (flipped halfway through, the lemon squeezed over them once again), removed from the oven, scattered with chopped sage from Keith’s Farm, and the pan juices spooned over the top
  • curly winter kale from Lucky Dog Organic, wilted in olive oil in which one clove of garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, halved, had been cooked until it began to brown, then finished with salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and a squeeze of Long Island lemon
  • the wine was an Oregon (Willamette Vally) white, Montinore Estate Pinot Gris 2014

There was also a cheese course, ‘Manchester’ a goat cheese from Consider Bardwell; a prototype product called ‘Benson’ (a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese from a single herd of Jersey and Brown Swiss cows), also from Consider Bardwell; and an Italian gorgonzola ‘dolce’, from Eataly.  Thin slices of fresh ‘Tangy Sourdough’ (unbleached wheat flour, organic whole wheat flour, rye starter, water, and kosher salt) from Amy’s Bread, in Chelsea Market, accompanied the cheese.


lemon-marinated grilled squid; celeriac with thyme; tomato


possibly the best squid we had ever had, but I cannot explain why that was so


I was mostly concerned with assembling what I needed for a small dinner party the next night, Saturday, on a day when the forecast of a blizzard had already told me that I was not certain I would be able to find anything essential to my plan; the choice of an entrée for the night before was an afterthought.

But I had at least remembered to bring something home.  I chose some squid, from Paul’s Pura Vida stand.  It was something I had prepared many times before, using several different recipes, and I always enjoyed this cephalopod.  It’s a favorite for both of us, because of its taste, the ease with which it can be prepared, its global ubiquitousness, and its sustainability.

This time I opted for the recipe which used the most lemon, because I had a supply of local fruit back at home, and it wasn’t going to last forever.

  • three quarters of a pound of cleaned squid, bodies and tentacles from Pura Vida Fisheries, marinated for about half an hour (half of that time in the refrigerator) in a mixture of lemon zest and lemon juice (both from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, in the Union Square Greenmarket), thinly-sliced garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, olive oil, pungent dried Italian oregano from Buon Italia, salt, and pepper, then removed from the marinade and pan-grilled briefly over high heat, arranged on plates, sprinkled with fresh lemon juice and some chopped parsley from Eataly, served with halves of a tiny lime-like lemon (lemon-like lime?) from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island  [the basic squid recipe, with more specific instructions appears here]
  • one small-to-medium celery root from Norwich Meadows Farm, scrubbed, peeled, and cut into the size and shape of potato frites, tossed in a bowl with olive oil, several sprigs of thyme from Eataly, two cloves of garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, unpeeled, salt, and pepper, spread onto a medium-size Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pan, and roasted at 400º until brown and cooked through, removed, served on plates, and tossed with chopped parsley from Eataly
  • the wine was a Spanish (Rueda) white, Naia D.O. Rueda 2014, from Verdejo old vines
  • the music was Q2 streaming, ‘Sample Rate‘, which, according to the station, is “an evening devoted to the art of abstract electronic and electro-acoustic music”; memorably on this evening, we enjoyed pieces by Andris Dzenitis (specifically, ‘Les Livres de Ton Silence: L’Etrangere/Sonatine’), Peter Eotvos,  Jacob Ter Veldhuis (JacobTV),  Juris Karlsons, and John Zorn (we were too engrossed in conversation to ‘tune into’ the others)

salmon, tarragon; roast potato/tomato, rosemary; radicchio

  • salmon_radicchio_potato-tomato

(don’t look: the parmesan cheese shavings aren’t yet on top of the radicchio)


I was in between greenmarket days, and so there would be no fish.  I wanted to serve something sturdy to go with the vegetables that had been accumulating in the larder, which meant serving pasta was out, and I had forgotten to defrost any of the chops in the freezer the night before.

I decided that salmon was what I needed.  Whole Foods, which is 200 feet east of our back door, and frequently offers good previously-frozen wild salmon on sale, was teeming with people at 6:30 pm, presumably most of them frantically stocking up for the blizzard they expected would shut down the city 2 days later, so I didn’t even try picking up anything there. Instead I moved 9 blocks south, to Chelsea Market, and The Lobster Place, which I expected would present less of a panic environment.

I was right;  I was easily able to pick up an attractive section of a wild King Salmon fillet, proceed to a checkout with no line whatever, and still visit a few other shops while I was there.  No gentry panic anywhere in sight (although there were still more than a few tourists littering the main passageway).

  • one 10.5-ounce fillet of Alaska King salmon from The Lobster Place, cut into two servings, placed, skin side up, in an oval, enameled cast iron pan in which about two tablespoons of unsalted ‘Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter‘ (note: with 12 g total fat; when every other one available here has 11) had been allowed to heat until the foam began to recede, then placed in a 425º oven for about 7 minutes, or until barely cooked, flipped a little more than half way through, removed, arranged on plates, sprinkled with Maldon salt, freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, and chopped tarragon from Eataly
  • one medium radicchio from Eataly, quartered lengthwise, placed in a small unglazed ceramic oven pan (Pampered Chef, seasoned), drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted at 400º for about 12 minutes, turning once, finished with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and, once I had remembered to do so, scattered with shavings of Red Cow Parmesan cheese from Eataly
  • a handful of German Butterball potatoes from Berried Treasures, scrubbed, halved, tossed with olive oil, rosemary from Stokes Farm, salt, pepper, and whole garlic cloves (with husks) from Norwich Meadows Farm, spread onto an enameled cast iron pan and cooked at 400º until tender and browned, removed from the oven and halved Maine Backyard Farms cherry ‘cocktail’ tomatoes from Whole Foods placed in the midst of the potatoes
  • the wine was a great Oregon (Willamette) red, Benton Lane Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2012

The meal had also included a primi, two cazuelas of penne rigatoni, the leftovers from its earlier visitation as a main course.


  • the wine with the pasta course was a California (grapes from the Sacramento River Delta with a small amount of Viognier from Lod) white, Miriam Alexander Chenin Blanc 2014
  • the music though both courses  was Vivaldi’s opera, ‘Bajazet’, with Fabio Bondi conducting the ensemble Europa Galante, with, among others, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Marijana Mijanovic, Vivica Genaux, and David Daniels

crab salad; sautéed fluke, micro greens; roast fennel, olives


The theme of this meal, stretching it a bit, seems to have been ‘buckwheat‘, although including an ‘exotic’ touch of a rather unglamorous (until very recently) pseudocereal had definitely not been contrived beforehand.  It just happened, and the dinner was as delicious as it was anomalous.

The story is that I already had on hand, from the meal the night before, most of a hearty baguette sarasin (buckwheat flour bread) from the Eric Kayser bakery shop, on Broadway below 23rd Street, and it became an accompaniment to both courses of this meal.  I’m loving that shop more and more, for the excellent bread of course, and for the charming Monsieur Kayser, but another of its virtues is that it’s in my path to or from the Union Square Greenmarket three or more times each week.

Then, at the Windfall Farms stand at the market earlier in the day, I spotted a micro green I hadn’t noticed before. It attracted my attention both for its delicate beauty, and for what it seemed would be its suitability for finishing the fish fillets I had just then purchased across the way.  The green was buckwheat [fagopyrum tataricum].


(micro buckwheat greens, with an interloper sighted on the top right)


  • we began with a shellfish course, meaning about 4 ounces of Little River Brand wild-caught backfin crabmeat from Whole Foods I had mixed with undocumented quantities of diced red onion from Norwich Meadows Farm, sliced celery from Eataly, Gotham Greens Rooftop packaged basil from Whole Foods, a little chopped peppermint from Phillips Farm, a bit of homemade French Basque espellate I had purchased in a town north of Baie-Comeau, Quebec, last year, from the producer’s daughter, some sea salt, Lisbon Lemon juice from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, a rich Nigerian cayenne pepper, more excellent ‘The Ojai Cook’ organic mayonnaise than is likely to be good for anybody, and some black sesame seeds for garnish, the mixture served in ‘cups’ composed of leaves from a head of radicchio from Eataly
  • there were also slices of Kayser’s baguette sarasin (buckwheat flour bread)


  • the second course, also seafood-oriented, started with two 6-and-a-half-ounce fillets of fluke from American Seafood Company, washed, dried, brushed with a bit of good white wine vinegar and salt, floured, browned in a mixture of olive oil and butter, then removed to 2 plates, the pan wiped with paper towels, butter, lemon juice and parsley from Whole Foods added quickly and briefly heated while a handful of micro buckwheat greens from Windfall Farms were added to the pan, the sauce which resulted then poured over the fillets
  • the vegetable was a medium-size fennel bulb from Eataly, the core removed, cut into 8 wedges, tossed in a bowl with olive oil along with 2 crushed garlic cloves from Norwich Meadows Farm, a handful of thyme sprigs from Eataly, part of one dried peperoncino, crushed; salt, and pepper, then spread onto a glazed ceramic oven pan, roasted at 425º, turning once, at which time a handful of pitted and halved Gaeta olives were tossed into the pan, served with additional chopped thyme sprinkled on top
  • addiitonal slices of the baguette sarasin helped to finish the sauces that remained on the plates


warm winter sallet [sic] with roast guinea fowl, gorgonzola


It’s beginning to feel routine:  I cook a Guinea fowl and a few day later it’s become a part of a hearty warm winter salad (or ‘sallet’, borrowing an old English word and dish).

  • part of one small red cabbage from Whole Foods, the stems of a fennel bulb from Eataly, a small head of radicchio, also from Eataly, one small red onion from Norwich Meadows Farm, all the vegetables sliced thinly and placed in a large bowl along with coarsely-chopped toasted walnuts and pecans (because even after shelling all my walnuts, I still didn’t have enough), one small carrot from Whole Foods, cut into matchstick-size pieces, two small ripe Bosc pears from Locust Valley Fruit Farm, cut into small wedges, everything mixed together with a dressing of garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm and chopped, and dijon mustard, blended with balsamic vinegar, and emulsified with olive oil, the combination (‘sallet’) heated in a large pan until the mix was warm and the cabbage slightly wilted, with cooked Guinea fowl, left from a meal enjoyed two days earlier, broken into bit-size pieces, added near the end, all served in large shallow bowls and topped with bits of creamy gorgonzola dolce cheese from Eataly
  • slices of an earthy baguette sarasin (buckwheat flour bread) from Eric Kayser
  • the wine was an excellent French (Beaujolais) red, Domaine des Billards (Barbet) Saint-Amour 2013
  • the music was Q2 streaming, notably Robert Kyr’s, Violin Concerto No. 2, “On the Nature of Harmony”