Month: May 2017

the pans

This is one of the four unglazed ceramic (stoneware) pans I use regularly (two large, one medium, one small), and I cannot say enough about how wonderful they are.

I use them mostly for roasting vegetables, but they’re also ideal for pizza, at least by my lights.

This one is the most seasoned of the four, in both senses (they should be washed as you would a good cast iron pan, that is, without using soap).

I don’t recall how I first heard about them, more than 8 years ago, but I bought mine on line. They are made and distributed by the marketing company, Pampered Chef.

red fife zucca pasta, scapes, pepperoncino, chioggia beets

I was just cleaning out the refrigerator to put together a meal before we leave for Portugal, and also trying to avoid wasting anything, and somehow we still managed to enjoy a pretty good dish of pasta, also a pretty dish of pasta.

  • six ounces of garlic scapes from Norwich Meadows Farm, sautéed in a large enameled cast iron pot with and a little crushed dried Sicilian pepperoncino from Buon Italia before the addition of the roots from 2 bunches of chioggia beets which had been trimmed of all but a stump of their green stems, scrubbed, cut into wedges, parboiled until almost softened, the beet roots pushed around inside the pot, then joined by many of the roughly-chopped beet leaves themselves, stirring them into the mix until they had wilted, finally 7 ounces of Sfoglini red fife blend zucca, cooked al dente, added with some of reserved pasta water and moved about over a medium flame until the sauce had emulsified, the finished pasta arranged inside 2 shallow bowls and garnished with a bit of homemade breadcrumbs which had been browned in a little olive oil with a pinch of salt [note: with the second helping we enjoyed grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Vache Rosse from Eataly on top, which was as satisfactory a finish as the breadcrumbs]
  • the wine was a California (Lodi) rosé, Karen Birmingham Rose Lodi 2016, from Naked Wines
  • the music was Mozart’s 1771 opera (the boy was but 14 at the time),  ‘Ascanio In Alba’, performed by Jed Wentz conducting Musica ad Rhenum and the Coqu Vocal Ensemble

pork tenderloin, mustard sauce; asparagus, ramps, thyme

Part of my life seems like it’s lived in the 19th century, or at least the first part of the 20th. I buy my comestibles from local farmers or maybe their helpers. I cook at home for our little family, and sometimes for guests as well, almost every night. I wash dishes by hand. We use cloth napkins exclusively, even if we usually keep the same ones over several days, replacing them in our assigned napkin ring (this is definitely a homey 19th century thing).

My food venders know me, and aware that I’m open to almost anything new, they occasionally suggest I try something out of the ordinary (I note here that “open to anything new” may not be something universally associated with the 19th century). That’s how this cut ended up on our table Sunday night. It started with, “Hey would you like something special?”

I’m not saying pork tenderloin is exactly out of the ordinary, but it’s shown up on this site only once in the 8 years it’s existed.

I didn’t have to be sold on the beautiful purple asparagus I saw mixed with some green ones at another farm stall just steps from that where I had found the pork a few days earlier. I knew that the purple stalks lose almost all of their color once cooked, but they were gorgeous. As their numbers were fewer than the green, I gathered up some of both.

Our spring ramps are gaining a little weight by the end of May, and this may have been the last we’ll see of them, at least from some forager/farmers. I included some with the asparagus.

  • one 11-ounce pork tenderloin from Consider Bardwell Farm, seasoned on all sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared inside a tin-lined copper gratin pan, before a mixture of about a quarter cup of water, a third of a cup of white wine (Fattoria Sardi Vermentino 2015), 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, and several tablespoons of chopped fresh sage from Eataly (with hindsight, I might have left the herb whole) were poured over it, the pan placed inside a preheated (425º) oven and the meat roasted, the sauce spooned over it half way through, for about 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registered 145 degrees, removed, and allowed to rest for about 10 minutes before it was sliced, thickly, arranged on 2 plates, the sauce, which had been produced almost naturally, poured on top (if necessary, it can be thinned by adding more water, or thickened by raising the flame, both while stirring), a little micro purple radish added as garnish
  • ten or 12 thick asparagus spears (1.3 lbs) from John D. Madera Farm, an equal number green and purple, trimmed and their stems peeled, and the fat white sections (green leaves removed) of an equal number of late-season ramps (the bulbs grow larger as their short season advances) from Berried Treasures Farm, along with a handful of thyme branches from Stokes Farm, rolled with a little more than a tablespoon of olive oil, a little sea salt, and a bit of freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper inside a large Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pan and roasted in the pan at 425º for about 20 minutes, while 6 or 8 of the reserved green ramp leaves, roughly-chopped, were thrown onto the top and pushed around a bit just before the asparagus and ramp bulbs had finished cooking, at which time the vegetables were removed to 2 plates and drizzled with juice from a sweet orange-colored local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island
  • the wine with this course was an Italian (Sicily) Liotro Inzolia 2015, from Garnet Wines

There was also a small primi, served just before the tenderloin.


  • the music throughout was the album, ‘Konzerte Am Dresdner Hof‘, which includes works by Francesco Maria Veracini (1690-1768), Johann David Heinichen (1683-1729), Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688-1758), Johann Georg Pisendel (1687-1755), and Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773)

fried egg breakfast, no bacon this time

Sunday breakfast this time was pretty minimal, but still pretty, and delicious.

My only indulgence was including a bit of habanada pepper, and then a micro radish flourish at the end.

  • there were eggs from Millport Dairy Farm, fried in Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter, maldon salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, a bit of a dark heatless habanada pepper purchased fresh from Norwich Meadows Farm last fall and dried at home, chopped herbs (a mix of parsley from Lani’s Farm, lovage from Windfall Farms, oregano and thyme from Stokes Farm), a bit of micro purple radish from Windfall Farm, and slices of toast from 2 different breads, (a local grain ’12 Grain & Seed’ from Bread Alone in the Union Square Greenmarket, and a Tribeca Oven ‘Seeded Jewish Rye’ from Whole Foods Market
  • the music was Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, ‘The Rosary Sonatas’ (rosaries are not my thing, but the music’s wonderful, all 2 hours of it)

pasta, spring garlic, chili, beet green, ramp, lemon, crumbs

Because the spring beetroot themselves were still so small, I had bought 2 bunches of gorgeous chioggia beets on Friday rather than just one. That meant that I ended up  with 7 small beets, but an enormous collection of their leaves. Last night I placed more than half of those greens on an altar adorned with some very good pasta.

Under no circumstances should you discard any greens brought home from the market, regardless of the identity of the vegetable: They’re at least as exciting as the roots themselves, and they may be even more nutricious.  I would say this is especially true in the case of turnips and beets.

Normally I would have begun this dish by heating some garlic cloves, but last night I had some spring garlic in the kitchen, and that’s what went into the pot.

  • 500 grams (8+ ounces) of Rigorosa di Gragnano Penne Rigate from Eataly, boiled until barely al dente, drained, some of the liquid reserved,   tossed into a large enameled cast iron pot in which three spring garlic bulbs from Lani’s farm, thinly sliced, placed, along with much of one crushed dried Sicilian pepperoncino from Buon Italia, had been allowed to soften and begin to become fragrant, the pasta and sauce joined by roughly-chopped beet greens which had been cut off from most of 2 bunches of chioggia beets from Norwich Meadows Farm, the mix braised over medium heat until the greens had wilted, the zest and the juice of half of a sweet local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island added along with some reserved pasta water, the pasta stirred until the sauce had emulsified, before some roughly-chopped ramp leaves from Berried Treasures were tossed into the mix, which was then seasoned with sea salt, divided into 2 shallow bowls, and some olive oil added around the edges, finally topped with homemade breadcrumbs which had been browned in a little olive oil along with a pinch of salt
  • the wine was an Italian (Campania) white, Benito Ferrara Greco di Tufo 2014, from Garnet Wines
  • the music was Carson Kievman: ‘The Temporary & Tentative Extended Piano’