I'm not one to ever brag but, I make a better omelette than your favorite restaurant. After years of eating mediocre breakfasts', brunch's and bigfoot sized omelette's I had to put my foot down. It was time to take matters into my own hands. I'm not a fan of teflon pans but having one in your arsenal is almost essential for this cause.
The star this morning is the fresh Goat Rising cheese inside. Hailing from a super tiny family farm in Charlemont on the Mohawk trail, this goat cheese is honestly heavenly. It is so smooth, crisp and packed with great garlic flavor it is the perfect compliment to your favorite cracker OR even my new favorite omelette.
Prep before hand is easy, in a saute pan I fired up a bit of fresh picked kale, 1 pepper, garlic and snipped chives. Bring them to temp to soften them through just enough. Whisk two cracked eggs with a touch of milk. Pour into your pan and rotate to get the mixed egg to evenly distribute. When the edges start to crisp make a line down the middle with your kale mixture and liberally dollop your goat cheese. Use the pan to fold your omelette onto the plate. Garnish with fresh parsley, snipped chives bacon & slices of Asian pear.
A few of these were made for friends one morning in Western MA, one diner gasped "this is decadent," while slowly eating this omelette...
I was lucky enough to arrive back in Brooklyn after a weekend in the Pioneer Valley with a few extra bags thanks to "Wheeler Farm." One plentiful crop growing for the Wheelers this season was the leek. Their garden was beautiful this time of the year just full of leeks, cherry tomatoes and greens waiting to be picked. Some would suggest maybe even using a tractor to carry the harvest back to the barn. I arrived home with just about 10 pounds of leeks or one shopping bag bursting open.
Today actually marks the 3rd meal in a row that has paid homage to the mighty "Wheeler" leek, cousin of the ramp we love so. Luckily this one is very simple to prepare, it is adapted from a Bittman recipe that was in the New York Times not too long ago.
- medium high heat
- brown 1/4 pound of pancetta in olive oil
- wash and rinse two pounds of sliced leeks
- simmer till tender
- add 1 can of your favorite chickpeas
- salt and pepper to taste
I planned on serving this as the main course but sometimes hungry stomach's ache for more. So, along with this went some leftover pulled braised chicken which was stewed in leeks and cherry tomatoes.
The meal turned out great, the finished plate had an Indian-American fusion feel to it. The leeks were top notch and went really well with the smokiness from the pancetta.
I couldn't resist...
Northampton hid this tiny bakery from me for quite some time. On a friends recommendation we took a walk into town to buy our daily bread. The Hungry Ghost looks like it could have sold bread to King Richard the III in 1483. Ivy vines now completely cover the front of the small building, giving it an age old feel. Stepping inside you can literally feel the heat hit you, it must have been at least 100 degrees inside with each employee glistening. Two wood burning ovens bake the rotating sourdough starter bread selections.
My selection was the semolina fennel seed loaf. The smell alone of this loaf was purely intoxicating. We scurried back home anticipating ripping into this. I can not say that this is the best bread in the world because I have many, many, more loafs to try but, this is best bread I've had in my 28 years of existence here on this planet. Great flavor from the wood oven, slightly liquorice undertones from the fennel seed and a crust I can fully appreciate. The problem I find with most artisan breads is the crust is usually hard as a rock, you have to clamp down and really rip the bread from your mouth to get a bite. The Hungry Ghost has perfected the artisan crust, there is just enough bite for you to appreciate with out dislocating your jaw. We ate half of this loaf as is warm with out butter, and the other half with a bit of good cheese and salami (or your favorite charcuterie).
Another gold star for The Hungry Ghost. The Ghost is ENCOURAGING residents of the Pioneer Valley to grow wheat on their property for the bakery. At one time in history New England was the bread basket of the United States. The plan is to completely bypass middle America, bring down prices, and use only locally grown products.
Why not dig up a 10' x 10' patch of lawn for cause!
NPR has a great segment on this.
Click to listen!
So it started off as any other Sunday morning would. The weather was great, the air was starting to crisp with fall now upon us. This is prime bike riding weather, as it's still warm enough. Perfect for shorts and a long sleeve shirt. I have a certain loop I usually ride which is great for after work or before bed. I did the loop and was still roaring to go so I ended up biking to Dumbo in order to investigate a new market called Foragers Market. The New York Times ran an article mentioning that they are carrying a very limited supply of fresh New Mexico green chile's from Hatch. The market was nice with plenty of high end goods such as cheeses, salami's and imported goods. The green chile's are prominently on display as soon as you walk in the door. After visiting Hatch and seeing the chile's roasted first hand I couldn't get myself to plonk down the inflated price per pound that Foragers Market was asking.
Onward I go. Just down the street is the beautiful Brooklyn bridge park, this was my first time visiting this park, it has some great views of the Brooklyn bridge, the Manhattan skyline and the waterfalls. I truck on over the Brooklyn Bridge, I end up at the world trade site. I carry on through battery park and the Manhattan waterfront greenway. Finally deciding on going to the south street seaport to catch the awesome, free ikea ferry over to Red Hook to make my way back home. Not only do you get to enjoy a great 20 minute boat ride, you have spectacular views, you can bring your bike and it's free. I've hopped on this ferry quite a bit the summer just for the ride.
So it's the weekend, and I know the Red Hook food vendors are in full swing. I've been reading about this food mecca for months now, finally this is my chance to check this place out.
As I approach the Red Hook soccer fields I hear music playing in the distance. Soccer matches are in full swing with more spectators than the New England Revolution will ever have. Surrounding the fields are around 10 to 15 food vendors all hawking a taste of South America. The best way to describe the scene here is a massive block party with live bands playing and so many people running around I could barely get situated.
After walking between all the vendors I decided on pupusa's, mainly because the line was the longest. Obviously pupusa's from this truck were the most popular item of the day. I've tried pupusa's once before and thought they were quite bland. Maybe the mesa to filling ratio was off but these were spot on. The plate consisted of one pork & cheese, one bean & cheese, pickled jalapenos, and curtido. Curtido is a pickled cabbage Salvadorian side dish, with just enough bite but pretty far off from sauerkraut. This was just great, so much flavor, the pupusa's had a nice char with great fillings, the whole atmosphere of the day was really something else.
I had some serious cramps biking back, I ate way too much.
Check out Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern feasting in Red Hook.
I am more than thrilled to boast that I was able to make it to my wild Concord grape vines this year. The bounty unfortunately was not quite as plentiful as last year. I was working with a very small time frame and I knew the picking was going to be hit miss.
According to my bathroom scale I ended up with a nice 5 pound sack of grapes. The majority of the vines I've grown to love were actually quite barren this year. I'm not sure if this is in regards to weather/rain cycles or if I maybe just missed the peak picking time. Either way grapes are grapes, I'm not complaining.
I'll spare you the details as I posted grape jam instructions last year. I always reference Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving, the book is very easy to follow, it's an essential read for anyone who really wants to take home preserving to the next step. For the wild grape jam all you need are some canning jars, a box of pectin, sugar, water, grapes of your choice and some patience. I ended up with 17 jars in total from 5 pounds of fruit. This is THE most flavorful grape jam I've ever had. The smell of these grapes in the kitchen was so intense it almost seemed artificial. It's so so good, it even goes on the occasional grilled cheese.
I think I'm in love with home canned goods. I've been pretty busy so I haven't had a chance to preserve as much as I would have liked from this season. If anyone out there wants a jar of jam I'll be more than happy trade it for something delicious you've canned yourself.
The outboard finally slowed down. The fish finder, the active birds, "boiling water" and the strange faint smell of watermelon all pointed to a feeding frenzy. We dropped our lines and started reeling them in, they kept coming. We had all sorts of lines, rod and rigs out. I know we had some reels set up with lead line and jigs, you needed a glove to fish this one. I can't recall how many we caught on this particular trip but it seemed like a hell of a lot. Those bastard bluefish liked to fight too, they didn't come in easily. The blues weren't afraid to take one last look at you in the eye before trying to bite some of your flesh off while you're lazily removing a hook.
On the way back in to Wellfleet we went around the tip of Provincetown, I got to do some diving and swimming near some sand bars. Back to business at the pier as it was time to sell the days catch before stopping at the Beachcomber. They must have known a guy because I was way too young to be in there...Anyway I guess you can say I have a soft spot for the bastard so here it is.
Chippers and Blue: Old Blighty style fried bluefish, mixed rosemary oven chippers and a fresh corn & tomato salad.
Mixed rosemary oven chippers
- Sweet potatoes & baby new's tossed in olive oil, chopped fresh rosemary, sea salt and pepper roasted at 450 for a half hour. These are our new favorite chips or "chippers."
- 3 ears of corn, kernals sliced.
- 3 roma tomatoes diced.
- Quarter of an onion diced
- Chopped basil
- Toss with sea salt, pepper and olive oil and bring up to heat on the stovetop. You don't really want to cook this, I just wanted it warm with a nice "raw" bite.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup seltzer water (unshaken next time please...)
- 1 egg
- sea salt and pepper
- bluefish (or fish of choice)
Stir the batter up, get rid of those lumps. (It's probably not too late to turn this batter into pancakes.) The seltzer is suppose to give the crust a nice airy lift and a good bite which it did. Cut your FRESH bluefish into serving size pieces and dip into your batter before frying in medium high oil. The fish took around 8 minutes per side. When I'm frying battered fish I always cook by color. You're looking for a nice dark golden brown.
Plate & enjoy.
Have you seen the video yet?...
This is the first of hopefully many more video's to come for The Salted Cod. We're still working on a few things, but keep a look out for more.
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A big thanks to Oats for making our video dreams come true.
"Chippers and blue, chippers and blue!" God I couldn't stop saying that for a few days.
It turns out what was on hand was at least quality home grown ingredients. We had an abundance of tasty cherry tomatoes I used for this sauce in addition to field tomatoes and home grown oregano and basil.
Oven roasted pizzaiola sauce
2 large field tomatoes sliced
20 or more cherry tomatoes halved
half an onion sliced thin
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 small shallot diced
large handful of fresh oregano finely chopped
5 large basil leaves finely chopped
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is heating lay out all of your tomatoes, onions & garlic on to a large baking sheet. Sprinkle your diced shallots and herbs on top of the tomatoes. Aggressively brush everything with plenty of olive oil. Season with sea salt & black pepper. Place the tray in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until everything is just starting to crisp up with a nice golden brown color. The kitchen should smell amazing at this point.
Transfer all of the roasted goodies into a food mill over a large bowl and grind away. Taste what you have, it's pretty good. Super fast sauce, tons of fresh flavor with oregano breaking through screaming at you for attention. This batch was just enough for 1 pound of pasta. We had a little oven roasted crispy kale as well with this.