Archive for the ‘Stephen Kolyer’ Category



One of the benefits of having a local big city green market – and, by the way, it is here through all of the seasons – is that the farmers get inspired by the chefs who shop with them and then us everyday folks get to taste the fruits of their mutual labors. All that to say that every once in awhile a “new” vegetable gets “discovered” and we reap the reward. One such discovery this past Sunday was tromboncino zucchini at Berried Treasures. Franca Tantillo whose farm in Cooks Falls, New York provides the market with her famous Tristar strawberries among other tasty items was singing the praises of this “discovery” and handing out pieces to lure buyers into the fold. I, of course, heard the siren call and succumbed to a few of these rather sensual looking squashes. Then, as I wandered back home through the hot streets I had to stop at Tarallucci e Vino to show Rita, my most favorite Italian-born barrista, my find. And, what did Rita say – “Oh, my mom grew tons of those in her garden back home – we got tired of eating them.” Call about getting your enthusiasm deflated!

Well, I took them home anyway and, as Rita suggested, I thinly sliced a couple and made a light, lemon-scented salad. Then I took the remaining 2 and turned them into quick pickles adding 2 little yellow zucchini I had on hand. Quick pickles are easy to do – just heat up equal parts white vinegar and water and season as you wish – lots of sugar and you have sweet pickles, more salt and a couple of tablespoons of sugar and you have everyday pickles – add chiles, onions, garlic, spices and you decide what your end result will be. Great to keep on hand all year round. I recommend that you only make a small batch ‘cause if you keep them too long they get soggy, mushy, and not something that is a joy to eat.




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The first corn of the season was simply boiled and eaten as is.  There are lots of debates on just how to prepare corn on the cob.  Personally, I love it best in the husk on the grill, but that only occurs when we are out of the city.  When boiling, some put the husked cobs into boiling salted water, some into boiling water that has been seasoned with lemon juice, sugar, and salt.  Some prefer putting the corn into cold water and bringing it to the boil.  Some just steam it, in or out of the husk.  I like to bring it to a boil in unsalted water, cover, and turn off the heat.  Then, I let the corn rest in the water for about 10 minutes or until I think it is done.  Works for me!   This first crop was not awe-inspiring, so we only ate one ear each.  I had an aunt who loved to make a contest of corn on the cob – I remember when I was about 5 or 6 years old or so and I watched in awe as she ate 8 ears and challenged everyone at the table to do better.  I’ve never beat her record.

The second green market find was absolutely sweet, tender, and delicious.  However, since I wasn’t trusting the outcome of leaving it on the cob, I stripped the kernels and added them to a mix of sliced broad beans, fava beans, and sweet pepper for an almost succotash.  I only added a pat of butter, about a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream I found in the fridge, and salt and pepper.  The mix was sweet, crisp, and sang of summer.



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If you look back to some older posts (5/17/09  and 10/18/10 ) you will find some octopus history including how to poach and grill. This past weekend my buddy, Lynn, pulled a very large octopus from her freezer and after thawing it, I poached it and then we marinated it for the fellas to throw on the grill. It was quite delicious, but it was well over 5 pounds so there was a lot leftover. Lynn made a salad to take to a picnic and I offer the following recipe should you have the urge to grill a large octopus and then need something to do with the leftover meat.


1 pound red potatoes


1½ pounds cooked octopus, cut into pieces

1 small onion, peeled and diced

½ cup chopped olives, green or black

Juice of 1 lemon

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley


Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan with cold salted water to cover over high heat. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the heat and drain well.

While still hot, cut the potatoes into chunks. Add the octopus, onion, and olives, tossing to blend well.

Combine the lemon juice with the olive oil, whisking to combine. Pour over the warm salad. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper, again toss to blend.

Serve at room temperature.


Links to previous mentioned posts:





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Once again we are moving into that time of year when entertaining and traditional meet hand in hand.  If you have followed my ramblings or have read my most recent cookbook, An American Family Cooks, you know how much a traditional country ham is part of our holiday season.  Our holiday ham of choice is Col. Bill Newsom’s Aged Ham which comes from Newsom’s Old Mill Store in Princeton, Kentucky (www.newsomsham@yahoo.com).  Touted by James Beard and Julia Child when they discovered them in the 1970s, these spectacular hams are now high on the list of many famous cooks.  Col. Newsom was a cousin of my Uncle News so I always consider his daughter Nancy (who now runs the store) to be a kissin’ cousin.    The hams are authentically cured and are sodium nitrate and nitrate free.  You can order free-range, naturally cured or the regular, ambient weather cured.  Whichever you choose, they are the product of treasured tradition.  These hams do take a bit of work to prepare, but I guarantee the end result will thrill.  While ordering your holiday ham be sure to add some bacon and sausage to your list– you won’t believe their smoky goodness.


Newsoms Country Ham_DSC_3377

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We all send wishes for a safe and happy Halloween with scary costumes, frightening masks, fanciful pumpkins, and goodies galore!





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There were so many radishes in the farmers market that I just had to buy a few bunches.  I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but they were irresistible and only $1 a bunch.  We ate some chilled, with sweet butter and sea salt, tossed some in salads, and then I did the classic French side dish, radishes braised in butter to accompany some grilled chicken breasts.  You never see cooked radishes on menus anymore, but this braise is a very traditional French summer dish.  If you use bright red radishes, they will lose quite a bit of their color when cooked.

2 bunches crisp radishes
3 tablespoons butter
⅓ cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth or even water
½ to 1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

Trim the radishes, leaving just a bit of the stem.  Scrub them well as dirt can often cling around the stem and root end.  If they have stringy rootlets, pull these off and discard them.
Melt the butter in a frying pan large enough to hold the radishes in a single layer over medium heat.  Add the radishes, stock, and sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Cover, lower the heat, and braise for about 20 minutes or until easily pierced with the point of a small sharp knife.
Remove from the heat, stir in the zest, and serve.



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Cabbage is, I think, a kinda orphan vegetable.  Chefs use a few leaves to make all types of roulades in the winter and almost everyone has a favorite summertime coleslaw, but otherwise it is just always there in the produce section pleading for cooks to do something wonderful with it.  I have to admit that Asian cooks embrace its many guises and there are so many varieties that you would think that all kinds of cooks would have fun devising dishes that use it.  Red, green, Savoy, Napa, Bok Choy (you can hunt up a number of posts about it), even Brussels Sprouts.  I’ve posted about Stuffed Cabbage (April 2011) which, again, uses only few outer leaves, but I use it far more frequently as a side for grilled or roasted meats.  Here’s what I do.
I thinly slice the leaves – just as you would do for coleslaw – then I sauté it in butter, brown sugar, and orange juice – a lot of the first and just a tad of sugar and oj.  Sometimes, I just toss and turn it until it is slightly wilted, season with salt and pepper, and get it right to the table and sometimes I cover it and let it melt over very low heat.  Sometimes I season with caraway seeds, sometimes a touch of smoked paprika, sometimes with a good dose of vinegar.  In each disguise, the cabbage holds its own and adds unexpected depth as an accompaniment to an everyday grilled chop.


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I grab whatever vegetables I have on hand and my trusty 8-inch Global chef’s knife and I chop away until I have a big pile of mixed vegetables (usually red bell pepper, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, green beans, celery, mushrooms) of somewhat equal size to throw in the soup pot for a massive amount of vegetable soup to warm up the kitchen on the first snowy day.  I’ve already placed a can or two of diced tomatoes, a can or two of cannellini or kidney beans, and some frozen lima beans, corn, and okra to the pot.  When I’ve added all the chopped vegetables I add enough water to bring the pot to the brim, season with salt and pepper, and cover just until it all comes to a simmer.  Then, I uncover and let the soup simmer away until the house is filled with sweet vegetal smells, the vegetables are tender, and the broth perfectly seasoned.  It doesn’t take too long and I have enough soup to fill us for days……


©Stephen Kolyer_Carrots

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We are so excited about the reception our new book, An American Family Cooks, has received .  Just this past week we were featured on Amazon as one of the top selects for Thanksgiving cooking.  For cooks, recipes seem to be inviting and for readers, the stories entertain.  If you haven’t seen it, Amazon or Welcome Books (www.welcomebooks.com) are great places to read a bit about it and, should you desire, order your very own copy.

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            Last summer I picked up some dragon tongue beans at the farmers market after the farmer told me that they were the best beans he had ever tasted.  I bought a pound or so and you know what, they were also the most flavorful beans I had ever experienced.  But, I also forgot about them until I saw them last week at the Barryville Farmers Market.  I immediately bought a couple of pounds.  The first round was simply steamed to garnish a Niçoise salad on a hot summer night, but then the last few handfuls were sautéed in extra virgin olive oil with ½ cup of diced pancetta and a couple of cloves of minced garlic.  They were so delicious and meaty they would have satisfied me as my main course.



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