Month: November 2016

venison; quince chutney; camote chipotle gratin; lacinato


with no hint of the richness of the entrée, a light cabbage sauté


(‘butter’ still melting) the empty space in the middle? reserved for quince chutney


..and here it is (I had taken the second picture before serving the chutney)


tiny cheese, big toast, but the toast was very thin


we decided to call pecan pie a Venezuelan desert (inside joke)


Thanksgiving with venison.

The bad part: no leftovers; the good part: no leftovers.

I had no interest in serving a turkey, and there were to be only 4 people at the table this year. Besides, turkey is hard, and it would have meant I couldn’t oversleep on one of my favorite holidays.

We had venison; it was the best venison I have ever cooked.

We both love game, and Ottomanelli’s had some thick New Zealand venison chops when I visited the shop last week. These rich cuts are at least as simple to prepare as a steak, and everybody thinks they can cook a steak, and they’re right. My now-favorite approach for venison chops is to season them well, give them a quick searing on each side, then about 5 minutes in the oven, no turning required, followed by a few minutes rest on warm plates before serving.

The simplest of recipes does invite a little tweaking however. It could be as simple as deglazing the pan with spirits or putting together a composed butter to spread on the top of the cooked meat. I went for the latter this time, a blue cheese-fennel butter.

The long, informal little dinner party began with a toast.

The sitting part part began with cabbage, almost a salad, but warm and savory.


love cutting cabbage; think it’s about the texture and the simple movement


  • inside a large enameled cast iron pot, one chopped garlic clove from Stokes Farm, sautéed in a tablespoon of olive oil only until golden, followed by less than 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, 6 crushed juniper berries, and roughly half of a pound of a ‘conehead’ cabbage (also known as ‘caraflex’ or ‘arrowhead’ cabbage) from Norwich Meadows Farm, very finely sliced, after the triangular core had been removed, sliced thinly and set aside, the cabbage seasoned with salt and pepper, the heat raised, the mix fried for about one minute, stirring, then arranged on plates, the reserved core triangles arranged on top (I’ve used the basic recipe a number of times as an appetizer when we have guests, a favorite with cook and guests for its convenience and its deliciousness, respectively; it’s from ‘Healthy Italian Cooking‘, by Emanuella Stucchi, a small ‘stealth’ vegetarian tome I had been using it for years before I realized there was no meat or fish in any of the recipes
  • slices of a whole wheat sourdough miche from Bread Alone, in the Greenmarket
  • the wine was an Oregon (Rogue Valley) white, Foris Vineyards Rogue Valley Gewürztraminer Oregon 2014

The entrée included the venison chops finished with a gorgonzola-fennel seed butter, a quince and cherry chutney, a spicy-smoky sweet potato gratin, and a sweet ’embossed’ leafy vegetable.

  • four thick loin chops (6- 7 ounces each), New Zealand farmed venison, via O. Ottomanelli & Sons, on Bleecker Street, brought to room temperature, generously seasoned on both sides, seared in a little olive oil and butter inside an enameled cast iron pan, placed in a 425º oven for about 5 or 6 minutes, removed, and allowed to rest, a tablespoon or so of a composed butter placed on top while they were still warm (the butter was some softened ‘Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter‘ flavored with a small amount of toasted and crushed dried fennel seed; a few drops of Worcestershire sauce; salt; pepper; a couple ounces of Gorgonzola Casarrigoni from Whole Foods; and a sprinkling of crushed dried, very dark, heatless habanada peppers, rolled into a ‘log’ one inch in diameter, and refrigerated until needed)
  • quince chutney, made following this recipe, using a shallot from Keith’s Farm, a garlic clove from Stokes Farm, quince from Red Jacket Orchards, dried sweet cherries from Whole Foods, fresh ginger from Lani’s Farm, apple cider from Locust Grove Fruit Farm (the recipe asked for apple cider vinegar, and I do have a bottle of the local stuff, from Race Farm, but I misread the instruction and the dish still turned out more than fine)
  • two pounds of Japanese sweet potatoes from Lani’s Farm, sliced thinly, seasoned with salt and pepper, arranged in 4 layers separated by portions of 2 cups of heavy cream that had been mixed in a blender with one chipotle pepper and a small amount of adobo sauce (the layers beginning with the potatoes), inside a 8″x12″ glazed ceramic casserole dish, baked inside a 350º oven for about one hour, or until the cream had been absorbed and the potatoes browned, finished on the plates with a scattering of micro radish from Windfall Farms (the gratin recipe, one I’ve used many times, is from ‘Bobby Flay’s Bold American Food‘, where, minus the micro radish, it appears as ‘Sweet Potato Gratin with Smoked Chiles’)
  • about half of a pound of small tender leaves of cavolo nero (also known as lacinata, black kale, or Tuscan kale) from Tamarack Hollow Farm, briefly wilted with olive oil and 4 halved garlic cloves from Stokes Farm, the garlic first heated in the oil until they became pungent
  • the wines were a California (Calaveras) red, F. Stephen Millier Black Label Red Angel Red Blend Calaveras County 2014 from Naked Wines; and an Italian (Sicily) red, Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso 2014

There was a cheese course.

  • four different cheeses, ‘Bigelow’ goat cheese from Ardith Mae; Consider Bardwell’s ‘Reconsider’, which is a one-time event: a cow cheese finished in the ‘Manchester’ goat cheese cave; Consider Bardwell’s ‘Dorset’ cow cheese; and an untitled Consider Bardwell blue goat cheese
  • thin toasts of a fantastic ‘8 Grain 3 Seed’ bread from Rock Hill Bakery, Gansevoort, NY (the ingredients are: ‘unbleached, unbromated wheat flour, water, organically grown whole wheat flour, honey, corn grits, millet, oats, cracked barley, cracked rye, cracked wheat, flax seeds, brown rice flour, sunflower seeds, buckwheat flour, pops seeds, salt’), made on my ‘Camp-A-Toaster’ [see this post]

There was a sweet (well, another sweet).

  • a magnificent pecan pie, from Le Pain Quotidien, the gift of our guests, beside a scoop of Ciao Bella ‘Madagascar Vanilla’ gelato frm Whole Foods, served on glass chargers requisitioned for functional service the first time ever.

We topped the evening with neat sips of a very good Venezuelan rum, Roble Viejo Ron Extra Añejo, also from our guests.

  • the music was entirely from the Americas [Renaldo Hahn was born in Venezuela], drawn from a Spotify playlist assembled by Barry for the afternoon and evening (we enjoyed slow food dinner and conversation for 8 hours)

penne tossed with chicories, tender greens; parmesan


This meal incorporated the last of the chicories and tender greens from Campo Rosso Farm which we had enjoyed as a ‘take home’ from a recent farm dinner at Untitled. As simple as it was, both the tastes and colors just happened to work out as something of an overture to the Thanksgiving meal which succeeded it the next day.

  • eight ounces of Afeltra Penne Rigata, from Eataly, cooked al dente, tossed into a large enameled cast iron pot in which 2 sliced Japanese scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm, half of a very small hot chili from Eckerton Hill Farm, and one chopped heatless orange Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm had all been allowed to warm in a little olive oil until softened, a mix of chicories and tender greens from Campo Rosso Farm, torn to fork size, added to the pot and briefly stirred with the pasta, the mix served in shallow bowls, grated Parmigiano Reggiano Vacche Rosse from Buon Italia sprinkled on top
  • the wine was an Italian (Toscana) white, Prelius Vermentino Toscana 2015, from Chelsea Wine Vault
  • the music was that of Harrison Birtwistle, from the album with pianist Joanna MacGregor, ‘Harrison Birtwistle: Antiphonies & Harrison’s Clocks

flounder, scallion, habanada, lemon, herb; grilled eggplant


Having prepared flounder only 2 weeks earlier, last night I felt I had to try hard not to duplicate the same I had done then. The first step may have been a decision to foreswear my micro greens this time.

The result was every bit as delicious as what I somehow neglected at the time to describe as one of the very best flounders I had ever had.

Oh, and the eggplant, probably the last of a very long season, were equally delicious, and sweeter than they had been all summer and fall.


  • 4 flounder fillets, for a total of 12 ounces, from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides, coated lightly with flour (I used North Country Farms Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour), then submerged in a shallow bowl containing a whipped mixture of 1/4 cup of milk, one large egg from Millport Dairy, and a pinch of salt, allowed to rest there until the vegetable had been grilled and set aside, removed from the bowl, the excess egg mixture allowed to drip off, fried in a pan with olive oil until golden, about two minutes for each side, transferred onto two warm plates, the pan returned to the heat, now turned lower, and 3 tablespoons of butter added, along with about a third of a cup of chopped Japanese scallions and one large habanada pepper, both from Norwich Meadows Farm, some salt and pepper, all allowed to cook together without browning for about one minute, stirring, then more than a tablespoon of lemon juice added, the sauce produced now poured over the plated fillets, which were sprinkled with chopped parsley from Norwich Meadows Farm and accompanied by organic lemon wedges from Whole Foods
  • three small Japanese eggplant from Lani’s Farm and one from Norwich Meadows Farm, each cut into 1/2-inch slices lengthwise, brushed with a mixture of olive oil, finely-chopped garlic, chopped oregano from Stokes Farm, salt, and pepper, the slices pan-grilled, turning once or more, then arranged on an oval platter, sprinkled with whole oregano leaves, and drizzled with a little olive oil
  • the wine was a California (Lodi) white, JC van Staden Chardonnay Lodi 2015
  • the music was a magnificent performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s 1733 opera, ‘Motezuma’, Alan Curtis conducting Il Complesso Barocco, with Vito Priante, Marijana Mijanovic, Inga Kalna, Roberta Invernizzi, Romina Basso, Maité Beaumont, et al. [the synopsis of this rendering of the historical Cortez-Montezuma encounter, includes a way surprising happy ending for the Aztec imperial couple, reminding me of the charming fantasies Melina Mercouri maintained, in ‘Never on Sunday‘, about the happy denouements of the Greek tragedies: “And then they all go together to the seashore!”



mustard-braised veal ribs; roasted radicchio; minutina


oh, wow.

I’ve never cooked veal ribs before. Growing up, I loved my mother’s ‘barbecued spare ribs’, and I know I’ve cooked pork ribs a few times, but that was well before I began this blog, so I have no documentation. I did cook goat ribs some 5 years back, but that’s about it in modern times, so when I bought a neat package of veal ribs from Peter at the Consider Bardwell Farm stand in the Greenmarket, it was not without some anxiety: I had no idea what to do with it.

Thank the kitchen fairies for the internet! Not one of my hard copy sources, books or clippings, had a darn thing on this cut. While the Google results hardly jumped out of the screen (what I did find was complicated by the search engine’s unfamiliarity with the combination of the words, ‘veal’ and ‘ribs’), a few things eventually showed up. I excluded most because of complexity (one included dozens of ingredients) and for the estimated preparation time (as usual my cooking window was limited last night).

The preparation I chose to follow, mostly, was labelled, ‘Country Mustard Braised Veal Riblets‘; it had appeared in the Los Angeles Times over 25 years ago, and was waiting for me yesterday on line.

The recipe looked like a winner, and it was.

  • the original recipe was halved, but followed pretty closely, with the exception of the addition of some cayenne pepper to the seasoned flour, and, by impulse, the introduction of 5 or 6 rosemary sprigs into the liquid just before the pot was covered and the braising begun; the ingredients included Spanish Dulce paprika, Nigerian cayenne pepper, 23 ounces of veal rib (that is 3 ribs, one of which I sawed in half) from Consider Bardwell Farm (boy cows can’t help with the cream), a very sturdy dark mustard (Maille Old Style Whole Grain Dijon Mustard), a medium onion from Stokes Farm, a little fresh apple juice from Locust Grove Fruit Farm, organic lemon juice from Whole Foods, a bit of Linden blossom honey from Tremblay Apiaries, finishing the ribs on the plate with a sprinkling of zest from the organic lemon
  • one head of radicchio from Campo Rosso Farm, which had been presented to guests at a recent farm dinner at Untitled, quartered, a toothpick stuck into each quarter to hold its shape, placed in a medium unglazed ceramic oven pan (Pampered Chef, well-seasoned), drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted at 400º for about 15 minutes, turning once, finished with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and, once on the 2 plates, scattered with shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano Vacche Rosse from Buon Italia
  • a small amount of minutina from Lani’s Farm (that remained after most of it had appeared in 2 earlier meals), washed, drained, then barely wilted, inside a tin-lined copper sauté pan with a bit of olive oil, for only about 15 seconds, above a low-to-medium flame, seasoned with salt and pepper and finished on the plates with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon
  • the wine was an Italian (Langhe) red, Rivetto Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2013
  • the music was Handel’s ‘Arminio’,  Alan Curtis conducting Il Complesso Barocco, with Vivica Genaux, Dominique Labelle, Manuela Custer, Luigi Petroni, Sytse Buwalda, Riccardo Ristori, and Geraldine McGreevy, et al.

bacon, eggs, toast, lovage, hot & habanada chilis, greens


That bacon was as good as it looks. As was everything else, including the the eggs, which, for the first time in longer than I can remember, were not from a farmer at the Union Square Greenmarket, and [probably] not really local. While there on Saturday, I didn’t buy eggs, thinking I had 11 left in the refrigerator. Later I discovered there were only 5, so I headed down the block to Whole Foods and looked for something that might be equivalent to what we’re used to.

I don’t know how long they had been away from the hen, but the 6 large ‘Vital Farms Pasture Raised Organic Eggs‘, described as ‘From Family Farms Across America’ (thus my question about how local they could be) were very good! Maybe it also had something to do with the fact that the package was able to certify ‘min 108 sq ft’ for the ‘pasture raised standard / outdoor space per bird’ (hell, most folks’ offices aren’t that large).

  • the breakfast/lunch included 6 large eggs from Vital Farms (see above); thick bacon slices/pieces from a package of ‘ends’ I had cut by hand at home, from Millport Dairy; finely-chopped portions of one tiny yellow and one tiny red hot pepper, both from Eckerton Hill Farm, which had been swimming in olive oil inside a small cup overnight; 2 habanada peppers, chopped, from Norwich Meadows Farm; chopped lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge; maldon salt and freshly-ground pepper; a mix of various chicories and tender greens the folks of Campo Rosso Farm had presented to guests at a farm dinner at Untitled, dressed with a Campania oil and white balsamic vinegar, maldon salt and freshly-ground pepper; an aromatic Middle-Eastern-style seasoning blend, ‘L’eKama‘; and toast from slices of Orwasher’s Bakery ‘Pain Rustica Umbria’ (unbleached unbromated wheat flour, cabernet grape starter, water, malt, salt, yeast) from Murray’s Cheese Shop, made on my ‘Camp-A-Toaster’ [see this post]
  • the music was Hans Zender’s Logos-fragmente (Canto Ix), which happens to include early Christian texts, so accounting for its being chosen on a Sunday morning (it’s our weekly conceit)