Month: December 2016

skate wing, alliums, lemon, tarragon, parsley; winter kale


It’s a familiar site on our table, sometimes with slight variations, but we never tire of this skate recipe, or of kale in any form (we eat both because we really like them, and not to be virtuous).

Barry said it was the best skate yet.

The kale was, well,..kale, which is damn good indeed.



  • one 12-ounce skate wing from Pura Vida Seafood, divided into 2 pieces, coated all over with a coarse polenta seasoned with salt and pepper, sautéed in olive oil for 4 minutes or so on each side inside a heavy oval tin-lined copper pan (the only difficult part of this recipe is turning them over without breaking them up), removed, about 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, one small leek Norwich Meadows Farm, a part of one tiny ‘red wing’ onion from Keith’s Farm, and 2 small cloves of garlic from from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, all sliced or chopped, introduced into it and stirred over a now-lowered flame, followed by the addition of a little more butter, the juice from half of a very sweet organic lemon from Whole Food Market, some chopped tarragon from Whole Foods Market, a tiny amount of almost-dry finely-chopped winter savory from Stokes Farm, and a bit of chopped parsley from Alex’s Tomato Farm, Carlisle, NY, at Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market, stirring for a bit to blend everything, the sauce divided over the fish which had been placed onto the plates
  • a couple handfuls of Winterbor kale from Lucky Dog Organic Farm [winter kales, sturdier than their older cousins, tend to not wilt down as much when sautéed, an attractive quality for the frugal cook, during a season when the farmers have justly to ask higher prices for this wonderful green; also, light frosts only make the leaves of this hybrid taste even sweeter, a treat for the diner], sautéed, until partially wilted, in olive oil in which one bruised and halved garlic clove, also from Lucky Dog, had first been allowed to sweat and only begin to brown, then seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little more olive oil
  • the wine was a California (Napa Valley) white, Matt Iaconis Chardonnay Napa Valley 2015, from Naked Wines
  • the music was Helmut Lachenmann, ‘Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern’ (The Little Match Girl), the performance by the Staatsoper Stuttgart

spaccatelli, leek, habanada, radicchio, lemon, Castelmagno


For whatever reason, I was in a hurry and this dish was almost thrown together. It only worked out well because, since I cook almost every night, there are always some useful makings around, fresh or otherwise.

  • one very small leek from Norwich Meadows Farm, softened in a tablespoon or so of olive oil inside a large enameled cast iron pan over medium heat, after which the flame was turned off and one finely-chopped heatless orange Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm (my last fresh example) added and stirred in, the pan set aside until 8 ounces of Sfoglini Riverine Ranch Water Buffalo Milk Pasta (Spaccatelli), picked up recently at the buffalo farmer’s stall in the Union Square Greenmarket, cooked al dente (which took only 5-6 minutes!), had been added, mixed in, and emulsified with a little of the reserved pasta cooking water, then a large handful of green radicchio from Tamarack Hollow Farm, shredded, a little peppermint from Alex’s Tomato Farm, Carlisle, NY, at Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market, and one or two  tablespoons of freshly-squeezed lemon, the pasta served in shallow bowls, topped with a little crumbled Castelmagno D’alpeggio DOP Guffanti from Eataly
  • the wine was an Italian (Piedmont) white, Stefano Massone Masera Gavi 2015
  • the music was Alfred Schnittke’s profound homage to Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 2 for Choir and Symphony Orchestra, which he subtitled ‘St. Florian’ and ‘Invisible Mass), the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra, Gennady Rozhdestvensky conducting

baked cod and potato, habanada, micro scallion; cabbage


Fish and potatoes, also dried habanada, and micro scallions. There was also the 3 mini cabbage, with some Italian stuff, but I think this entrée was still nothing like anyone’s mother used to make.

  • two 8-ounce cod fillets from American Seafood at the Union Square Greenmarket (mostly using a recipe from Mark Bittman I first came across almost 12 years ago), laid on a bed of coarse sea salt, then completely covered with more salt, and set aside while about a pound of Carola potatoes from Max Hatchery (yellow flesh, creamy), were sliced to a thickness of about 1/4 inch, tossed in a large bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil, some dried heatless, orange Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, salt, and pepper, arranged overlapping in a glazed ceramic baking pan, cooked for 30 minutes or so in a 400º oven (or until they were tender), and near the end of that time the cod was rinsed in several changes of water and dried before being placed in the pan on top of the potatoes, topped with a little olive oil and sprinkled with some freshly-ground pepper, returned to the oven for 12 or 14 minutes (the time would depend on the thickness of the cod), arranged on 2 plates, and finished with a scattering of micro scallion from Two Guys from Woodbridge


  • three tiny white cabbages (3 or 4 inches in diameter) from Keith’s Farm, cut as a chiffonade, quickly heated in a tin-lined copper pot where a bit of olive oil had already been heated to soften some sliced garlic from Stokes Farm and warm a pinch or two of crushed Italian fennel seed, the cabbage finished on the plates with a sprinkling of lightly-toasted pine nuts from Whole Foods,
  • the wine was a California (Carneros) white, La Tapatia Chardonnay Carneros 2015, from Naked Wines
  • the music was, once again, WKCR streaming, its 9-day ‘Bach Festival 2016,

duck, lemon, thyme; roasted roots, rosemary, micro radish


On the third day of Christmas, our true loves sent to us a, er, ..a single duck breast.

  • one duck breast (12 ounces) from Hudson Valley Duck, the fatty side scored in tight cross hatching with a very sharp knife, the entire breast then sprinkled with a mixture of sea salt, freshly-ground pepper, and a little turbinado sugar (the sugar in our bowl infused over a very long time with a whole vanilla bean), the duck left standing for about 25 minutes this time before it was pan-fried over medium heat, the fatty side down first, in a tiny bit of olive oil, draining the oil part of the way through [to be strained and used in cooking later, if desired], the breast removed when medium rare (cut into 2 portions to check that the center is of the right doneness, that is, no more than medium rare), left to sit for several minutes before finishing it with a drizzle of local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island and drops of a very good Campania olive oil, then scattered with chopped thyme from Stokes Farm [NOTE: the tenderloin would normally have been removed from the breast before it was marinated and fried very briefly near the end of the time the bulk of the meat was cooking, but this time I could locate only a very small section to remove; dividing it into two parts, I tucked them under the finished pieces on the plates]



  • four different root vegetables I already had on hand, about one pound altogether, cut into bite-size pieces, some peeled first, tossed in a bowl with two tablespoons of olive oil; salt; freshly-ground pepper; one crushed piece of a mahogany-colored home-dried dark, dried heatless Habanada pepper acquired this summer fresh from Norwich Meadows Farm; and several sprigs of rosemary from Keith’s Farm, their leaves removed from the stems, everything then arranged on a large, well-seasoned Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pan and roasted in a 425º oven for about 45 minutes, removed and divided onto two plates, sprinkled with purple radish micro greens from Windfall Farms [the vegetables were sweet potato from Lani’s Farm, purple-topped turnip from Alewife Farm, carrot and ‘Dark Red Norland’ potato from Norwich Meadows Farm]
  • the wine was a California ( Monterey) red, Rick Boyer Monterey Syrah 2015 from Naked Wines
  • the music was WKCR streaming, its 9-day ‘Bach Festival 2016,

smoked bresaola, mizuna; truffle-filled pasta, castelmagno


Quite local.


December 26 is second Christmas, and a legal holiday, in most European countries, but not in the U.S. (Americans don’t believe in official days off). At our house it’s at least an excuse for another good meal, even if we don’t need excuses.

Also, I, at least, have every day off.

It makes sense to Barry and I that we go for something lighter than what we enjoyed for the feast of the day before. This year, having learned Monday afternoon after I had walked over to Union Square that there was no Greenmarket that day, and therefore no local fish, I decided to pick up up one of Luca Donofrio‘s fresh pastas at Eataly on my way back from the empty park. There I found something very special, a handmade white truffle-filled pasta (the filling had been placed on one side of a ravioli square, the pasta then folded over and pinched shut, making some beautiful rectangular purses).

The noble ingredient tuber magnatum meant that it wouldn’t be cheap, but this was der Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag, and we were both feeling special that yesterday.

Then I realized that what was in front of me represented a little less than half of a pound, and that was it for the day; not really very much. Luca suggested that it would be the perfect amount for a primi, for two. The problem was that I hadn’t intended to prepare a secondo, especially if it meant cooking meat a second day in a row.

I turned instead to the charcuterie and cheese counter across the large room, where, after an amusing discussion with other customers and the store people, and also a bit of sampling, I bought a wonderful local [Westchester County – Larchmount!] smoked bresaola and also found the very special cheese, Castelmagno D’alpeggio DOP Guffanti, which Luca had suggested I might sprinkle on the pasta if I really wasn’t going to be satisfied with melted butter alone.

That night, while I was ready to assemble a third course, of local cheese and fruit, after we had really enjoyed these two, we decided we were more than satisfied without one.


Good stuff.



The antipasto featured a salumi.

  • three ounces of smoked bresaola from Larchmont Charcuterie, via Eatlay, arranged on two plates with a small amount of mizuna from Lani’s Farm, both drizzled with a good olive oil (Campania D.O.P. Penisola Sorrentina ‘Syrenum’) and the juice from 2 tiny green-flesh local lemons from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island,, the greens seasoned with Maldon salt and freshly-ground pepper
  • Bien Cuit sourdough with Halkidiki (green) olive

The primi was extraordinarily simple.

  • seven ounces of white truffle-filled pasta, ‘Plin con Tartufo Bianco’ (white truffle, egg, Parmagiano, olive oil, salt, and white pepper) from Luca Donofrio’s pastificio inside the Flatiron Eataly, cooked for 2 minutes in a large pot of salted water, drained and tossed gently in a high-sided 10″ copper pot in which 2 tablespoons of rich Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter had been melted, divided into two shallow bowls and sprinkled with a little crumbled Castelmagno D’alpeggio DOP Guffanti from Eataly
  • Bien Cuit sourdough with Halkidiki (green) olive, to help with the truffle-butter-cheese sauce that remained


Also, and I’m coming out with it this one time: While we don’t usually have desserts, after the formal part of this meal and often that of others, there was access to chocolate-covered raisins and candied ginger pieces (washing dishes is not always its own reward).