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Archive for the ‘Stephen Kolyer’ Category

20130708_Mixon's_Running_Onions_IMG_0579

When we stopped by for a quick visit with our friend Aris (owner of Aris Mixon & Co. in Cherry Valley, New York) he had to show us his “running onions.”  I had seen them growing at the Black Cat Café in Sharon Springs (New York) a few years ago where Tony, the proprietor, called them Egyptian Walking Onions.  I’ve since heard them called tree onions.  I assume that they are edible, but Aris, the ultimate flower arranger, uses them in interesting floral combinations for indoor arrangements.  Steve just like taking photos of them.  I’m sure you can find lots of information about them online, ‘cause this is about all I know about them.

©stephen kolyer_onions

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On a recent trip to the Chelsea Market, we discovered Hybird, a truly fantastic fried chicken spot.  Learned that it is the beginning of a food project for Questlove, the joint frontman of The Roots, which is, among other things, the band on the television show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  I’m not too familiar with late night tv or with The Roots, but I am mighty sure of my fried chicken.  I can tell you that Hybird’s fried chicken legs are about as crisp and crunchy on the outside and as sweet and mellow on the inside as those out of my mama’s cast iron skillet.  There’s only one Hybird at the moment, but I’ll wager a guess that it won’t be long before there are shops all across the land.

 

©stephen Kolyer_grape hybrid chicken leg

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©Stephen Kolyer_pie

There’s not much to say about peach pie except that when summer comes in and peaches are lush and ripe, there is nothing better than a homemade peach pie.  My son, Mickey, makes a mean pie and when we popped in for a little 4th of July barbecue, peach pie was the starred dessert.  His best pal, Steve Kolyer, our esteemed artist, conjured up his idea of the perfect peach pie so we share both the real and the imagined with you.

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©Stephen Kolyer_strawberry

You can’t tell from looking at this photo, but here we have the most old-fashioned pie I can think to make in the spring – strawberry-rhubarb.  I only make it when rhubarb is fresh from the yard of my best buddy, Bee.  Her one gigantic plant yields enough rhubarb for quite a few pies and lots of jars of jam.  Steve took the photo of the pie just as it came out of the oven and then we forgot to take another photo once we cut a slice.  It was just so good we ate before we thought!  Will try to do better next time.

oldfashionedpie

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We do love Mexican flavors and often have some version of Tex-Mex burritos, tacos, or enchiladas on the menu.  However, once in awhile I go to my Diana Kennedy cookbooks and do something traditionally Mexican.  And, sometimes, I will see an ingredient that says Mexico and buy it whether I’m putting a Mexican meal on the table or not.  The other day, the market had the freshest, greenest, perky paper skinned tomatillos that were singing “buy us, buy us”.  So, of course, I did.
I had planned to have grilled chicken for dinner – using my trusty grill pan and decided that a lovely Tomatillo Sauce would be just the thing to perk up the chicks.  Not only did it do that very nicely, but it also added some zest to some grilled sandwiches we had for lunch the following day.
I first grilled the tomatillo along with shallots and garlic. Then, I chopped the grilled mix in a food processor along with some cilantro and a jalapeño.  Seasoned it up with lime juice and salt and we had a most delicious charred tomatillo sauce to zest up our dinner.

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©stephenKolyer_tomatillo

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20130519_Kol+Mick_Mick's_Quail_DSC_0548

About every 3 months or so, Mickey, my son, and his best pal and our on-blog painter, Steve Kolyer (aka Uncle Kol) get together to cook a magnificent feast.  This past weekend we got the benefit of one such feast.
It began with pizza on the grill for all of us to snack on while the guys cooked.  We had a couple of different kinds – the usual margarita, a goat cheese and mushroom, and a fig mix that was delicious.
Then – just to help out, I threw some soft shell crabs on the grill, made some lemon butter, and this gave us another quick snack while more cooking was going on.  Not that we actually needed it!
The star of the day was Uncle Kol’s Lobster Salad with Gazpacho Aspic.  Here is what Kol did to WOW us.
•     Made the aspic ahead of time as follows:
•    To make the juices for the aspics:
•     Cucumber – shredded and mixed with salt and hung in a cheesecloth bag overnite allowing the juices to drain into a clean container.
•    Tomato – cut in half, crosswise, and roasted in the oven until soft; salted and hung in a cheesecloth bag overnite allowing the juices to drain into a clean container.
•    Bell peppers – whole, roasted in the oven until soft, chopped in a food processor and hung in a cheesecloth bag overnite allowing the juices to drain into a clean container.
•    Wine/herb Sauvignon Blanc with mint, basil, thyme, savory, celery leaves, lemon, orange zest, peppercorns.  Placed the herbs in the wine and heated until just hot.  Set aside to cool.  Reserved some of the herb-infused wine for the vinaigrette.  Salted and added a packet of unflavored gelatin to the remainder.  Placed in a cup and chilled.
•    After hanging, all of the vegetable waters were squeezed out of their cheesecloth bags.  Tasted for salt and, if necessary, sugar.  Warmed and individually added unflavored gelatin (1 cup liquid to 1 packet gelatin).  Placed in cups and chilled until set and well-set.
•    When ready to serve, cut the aspic into cubes, keeping each flavor separate.  Kept them well-chilled just until the last minute.
•     Poach the lobster and remove from the shell.  Cut the body, crosswise, into medallions.
•    Make a salad of baby watercress and arugula with sorrel, chives, oregano, basil, and edible flowers and dress with a lemon vinaigrette (extra virgin olive oil, lemon oil, Dijon mustard, herb-infused wine, salt and pepper).  Garnish the salad with heirloom cherry tomatoes and finely diced shallots.
•    To plate:  Place the sliced lobster and a claw on each plate.  Dress with a touch of the vinaigrette and garnish with chopped chives.  Place a little mound of salad to the side along with the tomatoes and a sprinkle of shallots.  Toss the cubes of aspic together and pile an equal portion on each plate.  Decorate each plate with dots of thickened sherry vinegar.
NOW HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT FOR A SATURDAY AFTERNOON SALAD????  AND AREN’T WE LUCKY?????
Then Mickey followed up with Grilled Whole Boneless Quail Stuffed with a Whole Fig (that had been wrapped in prosciutto).  This was quite an adventure as I tried to help him bone whole quail without tearing through to the flesh or skin.  We kinda succeeded, but if you really want to know how to do it properly I think you will find a tutorial by Jacques Pepin on YouTube.  Grilled, they were absolutely delicious, if not chef-perfect.  We are determined to practice and get it perfect next time.
And, finally, Mickey made a wonderful Grilled Tuna with White Beans, Olives and Tomatoes with a few sprigs of baby arugula for a touch of color.  Light, but wonderfully reminiscent of the south of France.  I would eat this every day if I could.
Do you think we are spoiled?  I do.

KolandMickey

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AFC_cover

Wonderful News!  Coming this fall from Welcome Books is An American Family Cooks, my dream book, featuring recipes and tales from my family of cooks.  My sons, Mickey and Chris, feature prominently with wine suggestions by Chris a special treat.  My grandchildren will also be found among the pages as will paintings from Steve Kolyer.  We will keep you posted on our activities as the October publishing date gets close.

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When I went to pick up some mussels and clams for a dish to be made in a Portuguese cataplana – which I’ll tell you about in another post – I saw these amazing little bug-eyed creatures that I remembered from a couple of winter’s ago, Maine shrimp.  They are the most wonderful corally-red color and so deliciously sweet and delicate that I had to buy a few.  Since they were pretty pricy I got just enough to use as garnish on the shellfish stew we were making.  Although once everyone tasted them, I felt a little guilty that I couldn’t offer more.
Maine shrimp are only caught for a brief period during the late winter – I think the season begins at the end of December and ends in February and since they have been over-fished limits are defined.  Not many make their way down the coast to New York and I would guess they are unheard of in other parts of the country.  I’m not a shrimp lover (even though I once wrote a book called The Ubiquitous Shrimp) only because shrimp doesn’t have the same taste I remember from my California childhood (where little guys are shrimp and big guys are prawns), BUT Maine shrimp bring that flavor memory right back to me.
Should you find them, either eat them raw or barely cook them – perhaps with a tiny bit of olive oil and lemon for just a few seconds in a very hot pan.

 

©stephen Kolyer_MaineShrimp

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©Stephen Kolyer_Pea Soup

 

Most split pea soups have some type of meat as flavoring – ham hock or bone, bacon, ribs – but I almost always keep mine fit for a vegetarian.  Occasionally I might use chicken stock, but as like as not water or vegetable stock will be my choice.  It is such a simple soup to make that a mid-afternoon stint in the kitchen will create a lovely warming dinner on a cold winter’s day.  And, to top it off a bag of split peas – yellow or green – will usually set you back somewhere around a dollar.
There are a myriad of variations to the basic recipe.  You can add almost any herb or spice you like – I opt for curry powder (about 2 teaspoons) and/or a big spoonful of chopped fresh dill.  You can add chopped cooked sausage, ham, or any smoked meat to turn the soup into a hearty meal.  You can chill it and serve with fresh mint and sour cream.  And on it goes – just get the basic down and go from there.

1 pound split green or yellow split peas
    1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
    1 large onion, peeled and chopped
    1 stalk celery, well-washed, trimmed, and chopped
    3 quarts water, vegetable or chicken stock
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Tabasco sauce to taste
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine the peas, carrot, onion, and celery in a large saucepan.  Add the water and place over high heat.  Bring to a boil; then, season with salt, pepper, and Tabasco and lower the heat to medium-low.  Cook, stirring from time to time, for about an hour or until the peas have disintegrated and the soup is thick.  You may have to add more liquid as the soup cooks down.
Remove from the heat and either puree directly in the pan using a hand-held immersion blender or pour the soup into a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade and puree.
Return the soup to a clean saucepan.  Add the lemon juice and taste.  If necessary, season with additional salt, pepper, and Tabasco.  If the soup is very thick, you can thin with stock or heavy cream.  I like to drizzle a little heavy cream or thinned plain yogurt on top before serving or sometimes I add a handful of crisp rye or sour dough croutons.

 

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We were trying to figure out how many years we have been making a fall trek to Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod to walk the beach, eat great seafood, and toast the magnificent sunsets, usually with our best buddies Lynn and Doug.  (And this year our “almost-daughter Anne and her husband joined us, too.)  Neither Steve, Lynn, Doug nor I can remember, but for however long it has been – 10 years or more – we have begun each day there with breakfast at Café Heaven on Commercial Street.  It is the most welcoming spot run by 2 open-hearted guys, Alan in the front and Patrick in the kitchen.  We walk in the door and find a seat and Alan has coffee on the table, 3 regulars and 1 decaf.  The menu is imaginative and the food delicious.  One specialty, Crab Cakes Eggs Benedict, is seen on almost every table every morning.  We usually opt for simpler dishes.  Open for breakfast and lunch early and late in the season and for 3 meals a day during the height of the summer crowds, Café Heaven is truly a little bit of heaven on Cape Cod.

 

 

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