Month: October 2016

crab cakes, salsa, arugula, chili, mint, radish; radicchio


Yeah, gorgeous.

And everything was minimal before I started.


  • two crab cakes from PE & DD Seafood (the ingredients are crab, egg, flour, red & green peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, milk, celery, and parsley), seared/heated in a cast iron pan, 2 to 3 minutes for each side, served on 2 plates on top of a salsa composed of roughly-chopped heirloom tomatoes from Stokes Farm, a little chopped red scallion from Norwich Meadows Farm, salt, freshly-ground black pepper, a bit of homemade French Basque piment d’Espellate purchased in a small town north of Baie-Comeau, Quebec last year from the producer’s daughter, one heatless orange Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, a very small amount of dried Itria-Sirissi chili, peperoncino di Sardegna intero from Buon Italia, chopped julip mint from Stokes Farm, topped with a scattering of purple micro radish from Two Guys from Woodbridge; the salsa was itself placed on a ‘nest’ of wild arugula from Paffenroth Farms, which had been seasoned with a little oil, salt, pepper, and drizzled with lemon juice
  • one not-very-large radicchio from Campo Rosso Farm, quartered, placed in a small unglazed ceramic oven pan (Pampered Chef, long ago well-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, scattered with shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano Vacche Rosse from Buon Italia
  • unfortunately this time we’ve lost track of the information on the wine and the music (I’m embarrassed)

sardines, tomato, olives, zest, pepper; potato, herb; arugula


On Monday morning I didn’t feel like springing from bed early enough to have a decent chance at the selections offered at P.E. & D.D, Seafood, so I skipped the market altogether (that doesn’t happen very often) and decided my fallback would be pasta that night.

Later in the day however, while visiting Chelsea Market to pick up some staples at Buon Italia, I naturally found myself peeking in, first at Dickson Farmstand Meats, to see what they had to offer, and then at The Lobster Place, where I found some beautiful Spanish sardines. They sardines weren’t local, but they were clearly very fresh, a fish which is something of a novelty for us, and definitely in seafood territory, which is where we almost always expect to be on Mondays.

The image below is of the sardines and trimmings just before they were put into the oven.


And of course there were sides.



  • six Spanish sardines from The Lobster Place, cleaned in front of me while I waited at the counter, cleaned by the staff at The Lobster Place, seasoned, placed inside an oiled ceramic dish exactly the size for accommodating them in one layer, sprinkled with lemon zest, Gaeta and black oil-cured olives from Buon Italia, pitted, a handful of sun gold tomatoes from Ryder Farm which were first pricked then baked beforehand for 15 minutes, and one small finely-chopped floral-scented orange Habanada pepper (heatless) from Norwich Meadows Farm, all drizzled with more olive oil, baked for 10 minutes in a 400º oven, served with a slight drizzle of olive oil and lemon segments
  • two red potatoes (white flesh) from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, boiled, drained, dried in the pan, rolled in olive oil, scattered with a bit of sliced red scallion, a bit of crushed dried rosmarino di sicilia of Azienda Agricola Gandolfo Filippine, from Buon Italia, seasoned with Maldon salt and freshly-ground pepper, then sprinkled, once on the plates, with purple micro radish from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • wild arugula from Paffenroth Farms, dressed with a good Campania olive oil (Campania D.O.P. Penisola Sorrentina ‘Syrenum’), freshly-squeezed lemon, salt, and pepper
  • the wine was an Italian (Sicily) white, Corvo Insolia 2014
  • the music was Ferruccio Busoni’s ‘Doktor Faust’, performed by the Bavarian State Opera

eggs baked with kale, tomatoes, scallion, chili, micro radish


As good as it looks, every time, although the cast changes, as does the hour of the performance.

The last time I put something like this together it was for the first meal of the day, a Sunday, in early spring. The first time it appeared on our table was three months earlier, just before the winter solstice, when it had been a dinner. This time it was in the middle of autumn, again a dinner.

The somewhat rough formula has worked beautifully each time, even if it’s now farther than ever from the original inspiration.

The image above represents one of two servings each of us enjoyed; it ended up as the entire meal: we were more than satisfied, continuing to the cheese course I had prepared to serve.



  • the ingredients this time were, in order of their appearance inside a glazed ceramic oven dish: a little butter; 2 heirloom tomatoes from Stokes Farm; some wilted red Russian kale from Keith’s Farm; finely-chopped pieces of a Creminelli Campania Italian salami from Whole Foods; chopped Japanese red scallion from Norwich Meadows Farm; 8 eggs from Millport Dairy; sea salt; freshly-ground black pepper; one finely-chopped small orange (heatless) Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm; a finely-sliced section of a hot cherry pepper from Oak Grove Plantation  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 purple micro radish from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the wine was a California (Lodi) white, David Akiyoshi Reserve Chardonnay 2015
  • the music was the complete Richard Strauss/Hugo von Hofmannsthal extremely entertaining masterpiece, ‘Ariadne Auf Naxos’, with Voigt, Heppner, Dessay, and Von Otter, Giuseppe Sinopoli directing the Dresden Staatskapelle, in his valedictory (we lingered)


tautog, herb, olive, tomato, chili, micro radish; cauliflower


I think I’m running the risk of being too obsessed with the aesthetics, neglecting the relative simplicity I have always wanted to dominate in these meals.

The fish was wonderful, but after it was served I had to admit to myself (and Barry) that there a little too much going on in the presentation. I sometimes find it hard to ignore adding colorful ingredients like those tomatoes and the purple micro radish when a better decision might be to put them aside for another meal.

I should probably have stopped with the cayenne and paprika dusting, but it’s really hard to shut a sun gold tomato outside of any meal.


  • two 8 or 9-ounce fillets of Tautog (known in New York as ‘Blackfish’), Seatuck Fish Company, in the Union Square Greenmarket, more or less prepared using this recipe by Caroline Rossock, with the exception of heating inside the pan before the fish was added one finely-chopped small orange (heatless) Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, and substituting for the sage, a mixture of thyme, rosemary, and marjoram from Stokes Farm plus winter savory from Keith’s Farm, using, specifically, pitted Kalamata olives from Whole Foods, dusting the fillets with a 50/50 mix of an excellent cayenne pepper and a good dulce paprika instead of the Aleppo Pepper, now unobtainable, and finally, halfway through the cooking, throwing into the pan a handful of pricked sun gold tomatoes from Ryder Farm, and finishing the fillets on the plates with some micro purple radish from Two Guys from Woodbridge and a drizzle of olive oil


  • flowerets from a ten-ounce white cauliflower from Norwich Meadows Farms, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and part of a cherry pepper from Oak Grove Plantation, finely-chopped, scattered on an unglazed ceramic oven pan, roasted at the same 425º used for the fish, finished with parsley from Keith’s Farm, chopped, and a drizzle of olive oil
  • the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, ROX Scott Peterson Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2015 from Naked Wines
  • the music was the album, ‘Music of Poul Ruders, Vol. 6‘, from Bridge Records

spinaci ravioli, garlic, cool habanero, tomato, pinoli, lovage


I’ve finally found a seasoning pepper I will actually be able to spend some money on.

Each year I’m amazed (well, overwhelmed) by the huge variety and numbers of hot peppers displayed by Greenmarket farmers, a bounty which begins in mid-summer and continues until the frost. While I bring them home regularly, it’s normally in very small amounts if I’m going to use them fresh.

That means we enjoy these particular capsicums for mere pennies, and that never seemed quite fair.

Recently I came across something very different, a small, very attractive, yellow-orange, very ‘floral’ pepper which has absolutely no fire. It’s delicious, and I expect that I will be using it in quantities – and in more dishes – than I could ever before have imagined.

It’s not expensive, but I will be buying them in unfamiliar quantities.

It’s called a Habanada pepper. I first came across it 2 weeks ago in Union Square, under the canvas of Norwich Meadows Farm. It’s a fairly new hybrid, “the first truly heatless habanero (hence the haba-nada)”, according to the Cornell Small Farms Program. It was developed by a good man some consider a wizard, Cornell professor Michael Mazourek, who reportedly had asked himself, “what if there was a pepper I could share with my friends who didn’t like hot peppers so they could taste what I love without the heat?”.

We’re so glad he wanted to know, and that he created the answer, although this does not mean that I’m going to cut down on full-heat peppers.

At her vegetable (and Chicken) stand last week, Haifa, half of the couple which founded and runs Norwich Meadows Farm, told me that she also dries these peppers, using them all through the winter after the fresh are no longer available.

After being so impressed with what they had done with this simple pasta, when I returned to the market on Saturday, I took home a large bag. The contents are now in a wooden basket on a north windowsill, but I’m thinking of sewing them on a string.

  • two slivered ‘German Hardneck’ garlic cloves from Race Farm and one Habanada pepper, seeded, sliced thinly, and cut crosswise into small strips, heated inside an enameled cast iron pan in olive oil until both were pungent, a little sea salt and freshly-ground pepper added, before a 12-ounce package of cooked Rana spinaci e ricotta [spinach and ricotta] ravioli from Eataly, was introduced into the pan and carefully mixed, 2 sliced ripe heirloom tomatoes (different varieties, in 2 shades of red) from Norwich Meadows Farm added to the pan and gently stirred, the pasta finished in bowls scattered with portions of a small handful of pan-roasted pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil, and chopped lovage from Keith’s Farm.

Later there was fruit.

  • Concord grapes from Troncillito Farms