Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Kolyer art’



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.


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With the 4th of July weekend on the horizon, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be American, particularly in these rough economic times with wars waging in distant lands and families splintered.  As angry as I get with our politicians and our own inertia to bring about change (can you tell that I was a rabble-rouser in the 60s?), we always conclude that I live in a very extraordinary country – still filled with promise.

One of my not-so-important but irritating peeves comes about when I read about how the populations of other countries are more in touch with the land than we are in America.  Yes, we are, for the most part, an urban society finding our nutrition in supermarkets and fast food restaurants.  But, I can tell you, the rest of the world is not far behind us in this area and the quaint foraging natives that food and travel writers tend to glorify the world over are a dying breed.  I’ll bet that you will find far more American cooks returning to the land for their sustenance than you will find elsewhere in the world.  But don’t use the word “locavore” when talking to me, that irritates me more.

Recently I was surfing the net and came across an old article written by Mark Bittman and sent from Pula, Croatia.  The article states – segueing from his opening about people picking wild asparagus from the roadside – “For many in this section of Croatia, any free nutrition is good nutrition.  And for those who are better off its simply a matter of getting the best food, directly from the land.”  Him and Dick Tracy!   Isn’t this true for all of us?

I grew up in the Midwest picking asparagus from the side of the road and from the edges of the irrigation ditches.  Long after I had grown and left rural life behind my aunt and uncle still went out every spring to collect it.  In upstate New York, where we spend a lot of time, people are still picking wild asparagus, ramps, dandelion greens, and mushrooms in the spring, planting gardens, fishing for perch, trout and other local fishes, hunting for deer and wild birds, supporting farmers, and creating town markets.  For many of them, this is a way of life that has not changed for generations, for most it is a way of eating well while staying within the confines of a very tight budget, for some it is an acquired addiction, and for a few of us, it is an extravagance that we indulge in to allow ourselves the pleasure of truly knowing what we are eating, no matter the cost.

I know that our experience is not unique.  I just know too many people who care deeply about where, what and how they eat.  For some this is simply how it has always been while others might not have begun knowing anything about foraging, gardening, agriculture and/or animal husbandry but they have made it their business to find out.  And you know what it usually comes down to – the food just tastes better when you have some attachment to it.

One of our dearest friends – who happens to also be our physician – supplies us with wild turkey, venison, and whatever wild birds he can catch.  And, sharing a bottle of wine we think of new ways to cook our good fortune.  Another friend – also a doctor – takes me by the hand to carefully forage for wild mushrooms.  Our postal person brings me morels from the abandoned apple orchard on her road.  And, if you are a reader of my ramblings, you know that I dig (a miserably hard job) for ramps every spring and often pickle them for a winter treat.  The farm nearby has meadow-raised lamb and goat.  Another down the road a piece has the same but also adds beef, cheeses, eggs, chickens and turkeys that were in the coop in the morning – along with maple syrup and hand-knit sweaters and mittens.  My good friend, Debbie, is a whiz of a cook with no training and no exposure to 3 star restaurants.  She and her husband take their brief week’s vacation with a drive through the central New York wine region, stopping and tasting at every winery they can get to.  This all occurs just a couple of hours from New York City with a mix of people who run the gamut from MD/PhDs to those who have never cracked a book with any enthusiasm.  We can’t be alone – I know that all over the country there are communities just like ours with a mix of “locals” who really know the lore of the region and transplants who are eager students.  Let me know if you agree!

This, I guess, is my 4th of July rant – after all is said and done I send greetings for a safe holiday – one filled with family, friends, good food, and reflections on peace and prosperity.

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