Month: March 2016

roasted squid with oregano, chili, sorrel; choy sum, garlic


the last bunch of flowering bok choy


I wanted the beautiful yellow flowers in this ‘Strauss‘ of yu choy sum (Brassica rapa var parachinensis, Brassica rapa var purpurea, or flowering bok choy), to be seen even after I had wilted most of the greens, so I cut them from their stems and set them aside after they had been washed. They were added to the braised greens only at the very end.

The ‘before’ can be seen above, and the ‘after’ just below.

squid_oregano_sorrel_ yu_choy_sum

  • a little over three quarters of a pound of squid, bodies and tentacles, from American Seafood Company, rinsed, dried, then very quickly arranged in an enameled cast iron pan after it had been and heated on top of the range until very hot and its cooking surface brushed with olive oil, the cephalopods then sprinkled with some super-pungent dried Italian oregano from Buon Italia and one crushed dried pepperoncino, also from Buon Italia, with a good squeeze of juice from a local Lisbon lemon (Long Island Fantastic Gardens, in the Union Square Greenmarket), some olive oil drizzled over the top, placed in a pre-heated 400º oven, roasted for four or five minutes, removed from the oven, and a handful of small sorrel leaves from Windfall Farms tossed over the top and lightly stirred with the juices that had accumulated in the pan
  • a bunch of yu choy sum (flowering bok choy) from Lani’s Farm, added to a heavy enameled cast iron pan where one bruised and halved garlic clove from Whole Foods  had been heated until beginning to brown, the greens stirred until tender, then put onto the plates, where they were seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil
  • the wine was an Italian (Campagna) white, Falanghina Feudi di San Gregorio 2014
  • the music was Peter Maxwell Davies’ beautiful opera, ‘Taverner’, Oliver Knussen and Stefan Asbury conducting His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornetts, Fretwork, and London Voices, with John Graham Hall , Peter Hall, Peter Sidhom, Michael Chance, Quentin Hayes, David Wilson-Johnson, Stephen Richardson, Fiona Kimm, Martyn Hill, Stuart Kale, and Tom Jackman

speck and greens; leftover emmer reginetti with cabbage



I hardly lifted a finger in putting this dinner onto the table.

The appetizer was familiar, except for the handful of greens, and the pasta was very familiar, since we had enjoyed the first of it only last week.

flounder, tomato-oregano butter; rabe with sautéed garlic


One of these days I’m going to get the ‘turning once’ down pat. In the meantime, the plates often end up looking a little bit rough around the edges.

  • two flounder fillets from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, sautéed in olive oil and butter over high heat until golden brown (2-3 minutes on the first side, 1-2 minutes on the other, served with a tomato butter composed earlier by melting some ‘Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter‘ and adding one chopped shallot from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, cooking it until softened and fragrant, removed from the heat, allowed to cool for 2 or 3 minutes, then tossed with quartered/sixth-ed Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods, seasoned with salt, and chopped fresh oregano from Stokes Farm added, along with a few drops of red wine (Chianti) vinegar
  • young, tender broccoli rabe from from Migliorelli Farm, wilted in olive oil flavored with bruised garlic from Whole Foods, seasoned with salt and pepper, put on two plates and drizzled with more olive oil
  • the wine was a California white, F. Stephen Millier Angels Reserve Chardonnay 2014
  • the music was two symphonies by Aulis Sallinen, No. 3 and No. 5,  Ari Rasilainen conducting the Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic Orchestra

roast lamb shank with a chile crust; tomato; turnips; rapini


(the image was shot before its rich spicy self sauce was added to the lamb)


The little roast had been marinated with a rub of toasted cumin seed and [the equivalent of] two different chile powders, so the sauce for this partial lamb shank, once it had been produced, was unbelievably rich and complex.

When I first removed the pan from the oven, and the meat from the pan, there were virtually no juices visible, and certainly nothing worthy of being called a sauce. A few minutes later however, after I had quickly returned the lamb to the oven, I found it had produced a rich, spicy sauce, I’ll say ‘automatically’, and it was now cooked exactly medium-rare.

The recipe I started with, ‘Roast Leg of Lamb with Red Chile Crust‘, is from the book, ‘Bobby Flay’s Bold American Food‘, but I only realized once I had begun to prepare this little roast that I didn’t actually have most of the ingredients it specified. In fact , Flay asked for 2 chile powders and I didn’t have either.

I improvised, so wildly that I can’t remember what ended up in the ‘rub’ I used, although I do remembering toasting some cumin seed. The lamb turned out more than just pretty good.

My other story is about the problem of determining when something has been cooked à point. This was an especially small roast, so it was probably not going to suitable for most roasting procedures, including Bobby Flay’s (he suggested roasting for 15 minutes, at a high temperature, as a way to ‘sear’ his roast, but that would be brutal for a roast less than a third the size of the one his recipe was working with.   I probably should have seared it very briefly in the pan, but I wasn’t certain that would do anything, since there really weren’t any meat surfaces to sear. In the end I just roasted it in a ‘moderate’ oven and removed it to rest on a wooden board at the moment I thought it had achieved a state of perfection.

At that moment however there were almost no juices visible, and certainly nothing that appeared to be a sauce. I should have gotten the message then, but it was only when I had begun to slice it that I realized that the outer inch or so alone had been cooked as I wanted. I quickly returned the lamb to the oven for about 7 or 8 minutes. Removing it again, I found that a genuine rich sauce had been rendered from the shank’s juices, and the meat was now cooked exactly medium-rare.

  • one boneless leg of lamb, a half shank, from 3-Corner Field Farm, weighing 1.45 pounds, rubbed all over with a red chile mix described by Flay in the recipe I linked to above, allowed to rest at room temperature almost 2 hours, then simply roasted in a heavy, oval, enameled cast iron pan at 325º for about 35 minutes, maybe a bit more, removed and served with the self sauce it had produced, and sprinkled with a chopped herb (an optional gesture, and I used lovage here)
  • four Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods, pricked with a fork, added to the roasting pan near the end of the cooking time, and allowed to remain inside after the lamb had been removed to a wooden board to rest for ten minutes or so, moving them about in the pan juices


  • eight walnut-size purple-top turnips from Norwich Meadows Farm, scrubbed and peeled, cooked briefly (4 minutes, or until lightly browned in spots) over moderately high heat in a little butter, a fourth of a cup of good chicken stock, two thyme sprigs and a small pinch of sugar added to the pan, which was then covered, and the whole cooked for less than 30 minutes, or until the vegetables were tender, seasoned with salt and pepper and sprinkled with chopped parsley from Eataly


  • broccoli rabe from from Migliorelli Farm, wilted in olive oil in which one large bruised and halved clove of garlic from Whole Foods had been allowed to begin to brown, seasoned with salt and pepper, placed on the plates and drizzled with a little more olive oil
  • the wine was a luscious super California (Sonoma) red, ROX Scott Peterson All Blacks Sonoma County 2013, which we had enjoyed with lamb once before
  • the music, begun earlier in the afternoon, and interrupted after the first act for a long intermission (because of all of the noise in the kitchen), was Wagner’s ‘Parsival’, in a 1992 recording from the Bayreuth Festival, conducted by James Levine, and including the soloists Waltraud Meier, Simon Estes, Franz Mazura, Matti Salminen, Hans Sotin, Michael Pabst, Matthias Hölle, Ruthild Engert, Sabine Fues,
    Helmut Pampuch, Peter Maus, Deborah Sasson, Susan Roberts, Monika Schmitt, Alison Browner, Peter Hofmann, Hilde Leidland, Margit Neubauer, and Ruthild Engert, with the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Bayreuth Festival Chorus

egg, tomato, sausage, greens, wild garlic, L’eKama, lovage


there will be a total of only two meals today


We finished the first meal of the day at 2:30. Later there will be a small half shank leg of lamb, roasted, served with some sympathetic vegetables. There will be nothing betwixt. The image above should help to explain why.

I don’t know what to call this dish, which is something of a hodgepodge. Because it is that, and because it will still be that the next time I do something like it, I won’t describe how it was put together. I probably couldn’t anyway, but, if it helps, I will say that I cooked it in a preheated 375º oven for about 10 or 15 minutes (or until the whites had become opaque).

  • The ingredients were, in order of their appearance in a small-ish ceramic oven dish: a little butter; a generous number of halved Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods; some wilted Shunkyo radish greens from Lani’s Farm; quartered thin slices of a hard, smokey paprika sausage whose identity I can no longer supply; finely-chopped wild garlic from Lani’s Farm; 8 eggs from Millport Dairy; salt; pepper; dabs from a small jar of an aromatic seasoning blend with the name, L’eKama, on top of the eggs once the portions were on plates; and a little chopped lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge scattered over all
  • the music, played on the highest holy day of the Christian church, was Heinrich Schutz, ‘Die Auferstehung unsres Herren Jesu Christi, performed by the Hilliard Ensemble; for what it’s worth, it was succeeded by a James Levine/Bayreuth recording of ‘Parsifal’, which is likely to be completed before the second, and last, meal of the day