Month: November 2018

kassler; quince chutney; maple-roasted squash; wild cress

This isn’t a German dinner, in spite of what appear to be some reasonable cues to the contrary.

More like American, or, specifically, more like my kitchen.

I used my imagination to assemble a meal which would enjoy the accompaniment of the quince chutney left over from our Thanksgiving duck feast, and smoked pork (Kassler) seemed like it would do the trick, especially on a weekday, as it requires no real cooking.

We finished off our plates, but ironically it was the little service bowl of chutney once again that remained when we were done. It’s no reflection on the delicious condiment, since we’re not really big on sweets, and sugars were an important element in 3 of the 4 items on the plate.

Maybe I’ll spread some on toast, or Bread Alone’s very Germanic Fruit and Seed Brød, tomorrow morning.

  • a tablespoon or more of rendered duck fat heated inside an large antique tin-lined copper heavy skillet, where it had softened the chopped white section of a medium size scallion from Stokes Farm, the green section reserved for later, 2 smoked loin pork chops from Schaller & Weber added, the pot covered with a universal copper lid, kept above a very low flame (just enough to warm the chops through, as they were already fully-cooked), turning the meat once, then, near the end of the cooking time (I went 8 or 9 minutes this time), the green parts of the onion, which had been set aside earlier, now also sliced, added on top of the chops for a minute or so before they were removed, arranged on the plates, brushed with a little horseradish jelly from Berkshire Berries, sprinkled with both the white and green sections of the scallion

  • a bit of quince chutney made last week, using this recipe, incorporating a red shallot from Norwich Meadows Farm, a Rocambole garlic clove from Keith’s Farm, quince  from Troncillito Farms, dried sweet cherries from Manhattan Fruit Exchange in the Chelsea Market, fresh ginger from Lani’s Farm, and a local apple cider vinegar from Race Farm

  • two very small Honey Butternut squash from Lani’s Farm, scrubbed, halved, the seeds removed, placed cut-side up in a baking dish, and a mix of almost 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, an equal amount of fresh water, the zest and juice of less than half of a lemon, part of one fresh habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, and a pinch each of sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper brushed or poured over the top, then dotted with less than 2 tablespoons of butter, placed in a 375º oven and baked for 15 or 20 minutes, the squash flipped over and continued cooking, basting halfway through, until caramelized and tender, or 20-25 more minutes (serving as edible sauce boats really)

marinated, breaded, grilled swordfish; potatoes; mustards

I’ve cooked all 3 parts of this meal before, in fact each of them many times, but there were subtle differences last night.

The swordfish was introduced to tarragon in my kitchen for the first time; the potatoes were graced with some beautiful dried red shishito pepper, which I’ve never used on anything before; and although the greens, a mustard, were familiar, this time they were truly a baby mustard, and so were a first on our table.

  • one 15-ounce swordfish steak from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, halved, marinated on an ironstone platter for about 45 minutes, turning once, in a mixture of a few tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon of fresh chopped tarragon from Stokes Farm, a small amount, chopped, of a yellow grenada seasoning pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, a bit of peperoncino Calabresi secchia from Buon Italia, and the chopped white section of 2 very small scallions from Berried Treasures Farm, after which the swordfish was drained well, both sides covered with a coating of homemade dried breadcrumbs, and pan-grilled over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes on each side, or until just barely (or not quite) cooked to the center, then removed from the pan and arranged on 2 plates, sprinkled with a little Maldon salt, some of the chopped greener parts of the 2 scallions, and several large whole tarragon leaves, drizzled with a bit of juice from a Whole Foods Market organic lemon and garnished on the side with a little red micro mustard from Windfall Farms

  • eleven ounces or so of La Ratte potatoes from Berried Treasures, scrubbed, boiled in salt water, drained, dried in the pan, rolled in a little olive oil, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, sprinkled with some chopped fresh oregano from Stokes Farm and one small crushed dried red shishito pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm

bacon and eggs, with extras

I wasn’t even sure I’d  make bacon and eggs this past Sunday, since I had been thinking of the 2 roti from Bombay Emerald Chutney Company lying inside the freezer, but then I also remembered I had some extra fresh stuff on hand that I’d be unlikely to incorporate into anything other than an improvised plate of eggs and things.

Even then I wasn’t sure I’d post about it, until I looked at the picture I’d snapped that afternoon; I decided I’d like to both remember it and do a little sharing.

  • there were small pullet eggs from pastured [green] Americauna chickens and thick slices of bacon from pastured pigs, both products of Millport Dairy Farm; local (regional) Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ from Whole Foods Market; chopped pieces of several garlic scapes from Berried Treasures Farm: a fresh yellow grenada seasoning pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm and a fresh habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, both finely chopped; shiitake mushroom stems from Bulich Mushroom Company, thinly sliced; Maldon salt; freshly-ground black pepper; tarragon from Stokes Farm; Keiths’s Farm’s collards left over from Thanksgiving dinner, with olive oil and a tiny bit more salt and pepper added; a garnish of a bit of red micro radish from Two Guys from Woodbridge; and (untoasted) slices of an earthy She Wolf Bakery toasted sesame wheat loaf
  • the music was a 2-disc collection of Campra and Couperin motets, William Christie conducting is ensemble, Les Arts Florissants

haddock, onion-mushroom agrodolce; roast treviso, thyme

There are seafood dishes that both evoke and hail summer. Probably less familiar are those that suggest and welcome the colder months of fall, or even of winter. This past Saturday fell within one of those colder months, and this hardy dish did its seasonal thing very well.

Fortunately the vegetable chosen, also a seasonal thing, mostly, wasn’t the least bit shy either.

It was all really, really good.

  • an interesting mix of 4 different alliums, born of necessity, but consumed with great pleasure, consisting of one shallot from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, joined, because there was only one of its kind in my larder, by 10 really tiny (an early harvest) Stuttgarter yellow onions from Keith’s Farm, themselves also the only ones I had (as well as the first I’d ever seen, at least identified as such), plus one small red onion from Quarton Farm, and one sweet walla walla onion from Alewife Farm, all peeled and, but the Stuttgarter, which were left whole or halved, cut into equal, roughly half-inch sizes, sautéed inside an oval tin-lined copper gratin pan in 3 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium-high flame, stirring occasionally, until they had begun to soften, joined by 8 ounces of whole shiitake mushrooms from, from Bulich Mushroom Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, adding a good pinch of sea salt and freshly-ground pepper, continuing to sauté everything, stirring occasionally, until all were nicely browned (about 7 or 8 minutes), at which time one third of a cup of good Spanish Rioja wine vinegar was added, cooked, stirring, over medium high heat for about a minute, while scraping up any browned bits stuck on the bottom, the pan removed and set aside, wiped clean inside with paper towels and returned to a flame, now turned high, and two 8-ounce haddock fillets from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, with skin on, that had already been rubbed on both sides with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, added to the pan when it was very hot, skin side up, and seared until a good brown crust had developed, or for about 3 minutes, the fillets turned over, the reserved onions, mushrooms, and pan juices arranged around fish, everything scattered with fresh rosemary branches from Alewife Farm, the pan placed inside a 400º oven and roasted for about 12 minutes or so [the original haddock recipe appears here]

thanksgiving, with no turkey, and no picture of the meal

I don’t have a picture of our Thanksgiving dinner.

I guess we were too distracted by our guests: I forgot to snap the first course, and then, although I remembered to photograph the second, I forgot there isn’t quite enough light in the dining area we use for special occasions: Even with the light raised, the pictures came out blurry,

I do however have this image above, of one of the best parts of this dinner, a very simple sweet potato gratin, and I’ll use the lack of others as an excuse to upload more before pix than I usually do.

The potatoes were probably as close to anything that is conventionally served on this holiday, although they were very spicy. Otherwise, there were no marshmallows, there was no turkey, no stuffing, no gravy, no cranberry sauce, no celery sticks, no mashed potatoes, no butter rolls, no creamed onions, no Brussels sprouts, no pumpkin pie, and no Republicans.

What was shared on this Thanksgiving were smoked Atlantic mackerel with a Columbia County crème frâiche and Suffolk County fresh horseradish root mayonnaise, seared Hudson Valley duck breasts, spicy chutney of Ulster County quince fruit, helpings of Dutchess County sweet potatoes in a chipotle au gratin, Delaware Valley collards, and, for dessert, a 23rd Street pecan pie

The mid-afternoon meal began with smoked fish.

  • four 3-ounce servings of Ducktrap River of Maine‘s ‘smoked peppered’ wild mackerel fillets from Chelsea’s Whole Foods Market, served drizzled with with a little excellent Frankies 457 Sicilian olive oil, and accompanied by dollops of local Ronnybrook Farms crème fraîche that had been mixed with a generous amount of grated Holy Schmitt’s local homemade fresh horseradish, both some zest and juice from an organic Whole Foods Market lemon, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, a bit of a finely-chopped grenada verde pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, and some chopped fresh dill from Stokes Farm
  • a number of leaves from 2 small heads of lettuce, one from Tamarack Hollow Farm, the other a miniature romaine from Stokes Farm, dressed lightly with Frankies 458 olive oil, a sprinkle of juice from a Whole Foods Market organic lemon, Maldon salt, and freshly-ground black pepper
  • slices of a She Wolf Bakery toasted sesame loaf of whole wheat bread
  • the wine was a very good California sparkling, W. Donaldson 6th Anniversary NV, from Naked Wines

The main course at least referenced many of the traditional dishes that are served on this holiday.

  • two 15-ounce duck breasts from Hudson River Duck Farm, the fatty side scored in tight cross hatching with a very sharp knife, the entire breast rubbed, top and bottom, with a mixture of sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a little turbinado sugar, then aside for about 45 minutes before being pan-fried, fatty side down first, inside a small oval enameled cast iron pan over medium heat for a total of about 9 minutes, turning once, draining the oil after the first few minutes (the fat strained and used in cooking at another time, if desired), the breast removed when medium rare, cut crosswise into 2 portions and checked for the right doneness in the center, which means definitely no more than medium rare, and maybe even a bit less, left sitting for several minutes before it was finished with a drizzle of lemon juice, sprinkled with roughly chopped rosemary from Alewife Farm, and drizzled with a little Portuguese house olive oil from Whole Foods Market

  • quince chutney, made the day before, to more fully develop its flavors, using this recipe, using a red shallot from Norwich Meadows Farm, a Rocambole garlic clove from Keith’s Farm, quince from Troncillito Farms, dried sweet cherries from Manhattan Fruit Exchange in the Chelsea Market, fresh ginger from Lani’s Farm, and a local apple cider vinegar from Race Farm

  • in order to simplify my job when guests were around, on the day before the feast I took 2 pounds of fairly small Japanese sweet potatoes from Alewife Farm, washed and scrubbed well, left unpeeled and sliced thinly, seasoned with salt and pepper, arranged in 4 layers, each separated in succession by a quarter portion of 2 cups of Ronnybrook Dairy heavy cream that had been mixed in a blender with one canned chipotle pepper (plus a bit more this time around, which made the gratin fairly spicy) and a small amount of adobo sauce, 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, then placed it inside the refrigerator [this gratin recipe, one I’ve used many times, is from ‘Bobby Flay’s Bold American Food]; on Thursday I removed the pan from the refrigerator and allowed it to come nearly to room temperature before placing it again inside a 350º oven and heating it for about 20 minutes

  • one large bunch of collard greens from Keith’s Farm, stemmed, washed and drained 3 times, (some of the water retained and held aside to be added, as necessary, while the greens cooked), cut roughly and braised gently until softened/wilted inside a large, heavy enameled cast iron pot in which 4 cloves of Keith’s Farm rocambole garlic had been heated until softened, seasoned with sea salt and black pepper, finished with a small drizzle of olive oil

Dessert was simple, and southern, as were other parts of the meal, in a nod to our guests who had grown up in Kentucky, and to Barry as well, who had sort of fled Arkansas, now long ago (also. this time the image is almost in focus).

  • I had expected to serve another course or 2 first (various potential combinations of cheeses, maybe toasts, fresh and dried fruit, all accompanied by appropriate liquids), but the vote was to go directly to the pecan pie we had all been anticipating; I can’t say much about it, other than that it was incredibly delicious, that it was gently heated, that each slice was served with a scoop of Ciao Bella ‘Madagascar Vanilla’ gelato from Whole Foods Market, and that it was baked only a few doors down from our own, at Big Booty Bakery