Month: August 2016

dolphin, lemon, alliums, thyme, tapenade; squash; tomato


This fish doesn’t get much respect. This has been true even after some people decided it would go over better if it were called ‘mahi -mahi,’ rather than the traditional, ‘dolphin’, or ‘dolphinfish’, important in both western cuisine and art for 4 millennia (long before Hawaii turned up). I came close to exhausting the topic, once before, at least as it relates to home food preparation. I posited what appears to be one of the reasons for its lack of popularity. I’m not willing to go into that again now, other than to point out that I’m talking about the water-breathing fish, and not the air-breathing mammal.

My own experience with it in the kitchen is that I liked it the very first time I had it, and I’ve liked it even more each time I’ve been able to bring it home.

The dolphin we had Wednesday evening was the best yet.

Some very special fresh onions played supporting roles in the preparation of both the fish


..and the vegetable.


  • one dolphin fillet, about 13 ounces, from Blue Moon Seafood, halved lengthwise, dry-marinated with more than half a tablespoon of organic lemon zest, an equal amount of chopped thyme leaves from Stokes Farm, salt, and pepper, set aside for 30 minutes or so, divided lengthwise into 2 pieces, and seared inside a hot heavy, oval copper fish pan for about 3 minutes, former skin side up, turned over, and that side seared for the same length of time, the heat lowered and the pan loosely covered for a very few minutes with aluminum foil just before some thin-ish slices of very small French Leeks from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm and one small red pearl onion from Paffenroth Farms, sliced, were introduced and briefly sautéed along with the fish before the fish was removed and put onto plates, after which a bit of leftover black olive tapenade (Gaeta olives, brined wild capers, one salted anchovy, all from Buon Italia, some chopped fresh thyme from Stokes Farm) after it had first been mixed with a tiny amount of Rioja wine vinegar, was added to the pan and stirred, the now richly-savory pan juices poured over the top of the fish
  • four small green and yellow summer squash from Berried Treasures Farm, sliced into thick disks and sautéed with 2 garlic cloves from Norwich Meadows farm, halved, until they had begun to caramelize, while halfway through their cooking 2 fresh ‘green onions’ from Berried Treasures, sliced fairly thinly, were added, and a little later, parts of one ‘cherry bomb’ (or ‘red bomb’) pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, and everything continued to cook until both squash and onions had begun to caramelize, the pan removed from the flame and fresh chopped fennel fronds from Willow Wisp Farm were mixed into the vegetables (I had intended to sprinkle the beautiful fennel flowers themselves on the top once the vegetables had been served, but became distracted by the process with the dolphin and totally forgot to do so)
  • one yellow-orange heirloom tomato from Down Home Acres and 4 of ‘the best cherry tomatoes’ from Stokes Farm, sliced, tossed together, dressed with a good Campania olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, some chopped lovage from Keith’s Farm, and served in low bowls on the side
  • the wine was an Italian (Campania) white, Falanghina Feudi di San Gregorio 2014
  • the music was Mozart’s Symphonies Nos. 32, 35, and 36, performed by John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists

spaghetti, sweet peppers, hot pepper bit, leek, micro basil


Neither of us ever tires of eating peppers, sweet or hot, so I find it hard to avoid a display of either in the Union Square Greenmarket (or any farmers’ market). I was surprised that the particular beauties I sautéed last night, seen in the picture above, had been waiting in the refrigerator for days.


  • two garlic cloves from Norwich Meadows Farm, roughly-sliced, sautéed in olive oil inside a deep enameled cast iron pot large enough to hold the pasta once it was cooked [note: normally I would have immediately followed that with a tablespoon or so of dry fennel seed and heated it until pungent, but I this time I just forgot], followed by small multi-colored bell peppers from Stokes Fram, seeds and pith removed, roughly sliced, plus a little bit of ‘cherry bomb’ [or ‘red bomb’] peppers from Norwich Meadows Farm, also seeded and deveined, cut into slivers, the slivers cut in half (to be able to spot and remove some of them, should they turn out to be too spicy-hot), all the peppers sautéed until tender, and, near the end, joined for a minute or two by 5 very small French leeks from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, sliced into quarter-inch segments, the completed mix then seasoned with salt and freshly-ground black pepper and combined in the sauce pot with pasta which had been cooked al dente and drained (about 8 ounces from a package of Setaro spaghetti chitarra from Buon Italia), some reserved pasta water added and used to emulsify the sauce by stirring over low heat, the whole garnished in the individual shallow pasta bowls with micro purple basil from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the wine was an Italian (Tuscany) white, Val di Toro Auramaris 2014 (with Vermentino and Grechetto grapes)
  • the music was Symphony No. 1 and 2, by the early nineteenth-century composer Ferdinand Ries (both pupil of and assistant to Beethoven), performed by Howard Griffiths directing the Zurich Chamber Orchestra

porgy with tiny leeks, mixed herbs; sautéed fennel, tomato


Before I headed out to the Greenmarket on Monday I had noticed that the tomatoes on the windowsill were beginning to gang up on me. I decided I had to incorporate most of them in the entrée that night.

After earlier purchasing 4 porgy fillets, I picked up a young fennel bulb, thinking I would incorporate it in the preparation of the fish. That evening I realized I should probably use the oven to do that best, so I ended up combining the fennel with the tomatoes in a sauté, or braise.

  • four 4-ounce Porgy fillets from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, dried, seasoned with salt and pepper, pan-seared, along with 3 thinly-sliced very small French leeks from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm Farm, over medium heat inside an oval copper pan in a bit of butter and a little olive oil, the fish basted, more or less continually, using a small brush, with the the leeks, butter and oil for about 2 minutes, the fish then carefully turned over, the heat reduced to low, a cover (I used aluminum foil) placed on the pan and the filets cooked for about another minute before the cover was removed and 2 or 3 tablespoons of mixed fresh herbs thrown in (I used mint, lovage, savory, thyme, tarragon, and basil this time), after which the basting was continued for about another 2 minutes, or until the fish was cooked through, at which time the fillets were arranged on the 2 plates, and the juices and leek fragments (there was very little) scooped up and sprinkled on top (the recipe has been slightly modified from one written by Melissa Clark)
  • one young fennel bulb from Norwich Meadows Farm, cut into pieces half an inch to an inch in size, sautéed in a little olive oil inside a heavy cast iron enameled pan along with 3 thickly-sliced garlic cloves and a small amount of very-thinly-sliced ‘cherry bomb’ [or ‘red bomb’] pepper, both garlic and capsicum also from Norwich Meadows Farm, removed from the heat once the fennel had begun to caramelize, then tossed with 2 chopped heirloom tomatoes (one yellow-orange, one red) from Down Home Acres, and a dozen slightly-punctured ‘The Best Cherry Tomatoes’ (red) from Stokes Farm, stirring until all was mixed together, lemon juice squeezed in, and chopped fennel fronds added, the vegetables divided on the plates and sprinkled with fennel flowers from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm
  • the wine was a French (provence) rosé, Chateau de Trinquevedel AOP Tavel 2015, whose wine merchant here is Kermit Lynch
  • the music was an album of symphonies of Johann Wilhelm Wilms, Anthony Halstead
    conducting the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra

lamb chops, fennel blossoms; grilled tomato; squash, mint




I could never even think about making this dinner if we didn’t have pretty decent air conditioning in both our kitchen and informal dining area (for that matter, I have to say the same thing for most of the meals I’ve been preparing for many weeks.

With sincere gratitude to the cooling gods, and to all those oleaginous dinosaurs who never knew what was coming, I was able to offer us another pretty decent meal on Sunday.

Looking back over those of the last few months at the least, this one was exceptional in the fact that it included lamb chops. Although they don’t require an oven, and so would seem to be a good choice if meat is to be a choice, they have just not seemed appropriate during this interminable plague of warm and humid days and nights.

We’ve also become more and more fond of seafood, and my confidence in preparing it continues to grow.

While in the Greenmarket on Saturday I was excited to come upon Karen Weinberg, of 3-Corner Field Farm, for the first time since spring lambing season. I had forgotten that until the fall she was only in the market on Saturdays, and until last week I hadn’t been shopping on that day for months. Honoring the serendipity of our meeting, I defrosted the 4 chops I bought, making them the highlight of a Sunday dinner.

  • four loin lamb chops (a total of 1.15 pounds) from 3-Corner Field Farm, cooked on a very hot grill pan for about 5 or 6 minutes on each side, seasoned with salt and pepper after they were first turned over, finished with a squeeze of lemon juice, a scattering of fresh fennel flowers from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, and a drizzle of olive oil
  • halved and seasoned very ripe red banana tomatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, pan-grilled, finished with a small drizzle of olive oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar
  • 8 very small green and yellow summer squash from Berried Treasures Farm, sliced into thick disks, sautéed with 2 garlic cloves from Norwich Meadows farm, halved, until they had begun to caramelize, 3 red scallions, sliced, and parts of one ‘cherry bomb’ (or ‘red bomb’) pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, added, the mix continued to be stirred over a lowered flame until they too were softened and had become fragrant, the pan removed from the flame and spearmint from Ryder Farm and lovage from Keith’s Farm, both chopped, mixed into the vegetables
  • the wine was a super Italian (Sicily) red, Etna Rosso, Tenuta delle Terre Nere 2014, from Astor WInes & Spirits
  • the music was Jean-Baptiste Lully’s 1676 opera, ‘Atys’, with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants

petit dejeuner: egg; bacon; bread + toast; tomato; tapenade


‘Little lunch’

It was both breakfast and lunch. Adding a black olive tapenade and some tomatoes to the bacon and eggs may have helped to characterize it as the latter. In fact however, my heirlooms were all ‘coming due’ at the same time, making me scramble to find uses for them; the tapenade was leftover from an earlier meal (a dinner), and I had not yet found a use for it.

  • ‘fresh-squeezed’ orange juice from Whole Foods
  • fried thick smoked bacon, 6 fried eggs from Millport Dairy Farm, toast from a loaf of ‘Compagne’ (a traditional sourdough) from Bien Cuit Bakery via Foragers Market, un-toasted slices from a fresh loaf of ‘whole wheat farm’ bread from Rock Hill Bakery, some rich ( ) ‘Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter‘, chopped red scallion stems from Hawthorne Valley, very small chopped pieces from a ‘cherry bomb’ [or ‘red bomb’] pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm (the heat of a milder jalapeño), a mix of unidentified herbs, a black olive tapenade (Gaeta olives, brined wild capers, a salted anchovy, all from Buon Italia, some chopped fresh thyme from Stokes Farm), and one chopped red heirloom tomato from Down Home Acres (dressed with a Campania olive oil, salt, pepper, and torn basil from Keith’s Far
  • there was coffee: espresso for me, iced espresso for Barry