Tag Archives: North Fork

Vinny’s Brown Sugar Bacon

27 Mar

We recently had a wonderful weekend out in the wine country – Long Island’s North Fork is one of our favorite places to go…farmland, vineyards, the bay and the sound on either side and dear friends we’ve made over the years.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

I had a baby shower to go to, so after a bit of lunch at Love Lane Kitchen with our friend Ashley and a little wine-tasting (me) and Scrabble (them Exhibits A and B) across the street at the Roanoake Tasting Room, I took Leandro to our friends Vinny and Carolyn’s  to hang out while I met Ashley back at the joyous shower at Paumanok Vineyards.

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

The bacon theme seems to have started at dinner for them, as they ordered him bacon mac and cheese at the Blue Canoe.

This is how morning breaks in the North Fork

This is how morning breaks in the North Fork

And then the next morning it was bacon again, but this time Vinny upped the flavor profile, introducing us to his decadent Brown Sugar Bacon, which he says is a simplified adaptation of something he had elsewhere.

Vinny shows his style

Vinny shows his style

It is barely a recipe, more of a seasoning, but the results are salty-sweet, crispy and juicy and I will be doing it here at home this weekend.

How it looks going in...note the relative quantity of sugar (this is a recipe you eyeball more than measure)

How it looks going in…note the relative quantity of sugar (this is a recipe you eyeball more than measure)

I am hooked. Mind you, with hospitality like that, it’s a wonder Vinny and Carolyn ever get rid of us!

And voila! Special bacon....

And voila! Special bacon….

Vinny’s Brown Sugar Bacon

Rashers of thick-cut bacon, preferably smoked

light brown sugar (not dark brown, as it won’t crisp)

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the desired number of strips of bacon flat on the paper. Sprinkle generously with sugar. Place in the oven and cook for about 10 minutes or until you start to smell that bacony smell. Turn and cook another ten minutes or until you reach the desired crispness. Serve with whatever breakfast food you like!

Slow Cooker Caribbean-Style: Chipotle-Lime Jerk Chicken

26 Jul

I acquired a slow cooker with credit card points about a year ago. In my tiny space, it is rather a big deal to bring in a bulky piece of equipment that you have no place for. So you’d think I’d make it work for its slice of my kitchen shelves.

Vinny in the kitchen (this may be him making the ceviche and not the chicken, but nevermind)

Vinny in the kitchen (this may be him making the ceviche and not the chicken, but nevermind)

But perversely enough, no. I’ve been intimidated by it! I love it for softening beans, but have hesitated to truly play with it in that way we hesitate when confronted with a new way to do habitual things. You wouldn’t think, since I do so much cooking and experimenting, but surprise…I too can be loathe to embrace a new (for me) technology when my customary ways have been working out so well!

Remember to put veggies on the bottom, then meat, then sauce

Remember to put veggies on the bottom, then meat, then sauce

So I was very glad to be tossed right into slow cooking by my friends Vinny and Carolyn Macchirole with whom we stayed for several days in Long Island’s North Fork recently (Leandro happily at sweaty, buggy, scrape-y, muddy, swimmy Peconic Dunes summer camp from 9-5, everyday for a week, oh heaven for both of us). We’d been planning a Caribbean Night cooking extravaganza (more recipes to come) and Vinny was in charge of the jerk chicken. He came up with a recipe for slow-cooked chipotle-lime chicken that he felt could be easily altered to our purposes. And he was right,

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The True Tasting Room Experience – A Summer of Wine and Work at Paumanok Vineyards

30 May

The other day I posted a remembrance of my experiences behind the bar. I had meant to talk about a day in the tasting room at Paumanok Vineyards, as I came back to lend a hand over Memorial Day weekend. But somehow the post morphed into a mini-memoir about my time pouring drinks in a biker bar and I didn’t really do enough justice to the original intention.

So….for your reading pleasure, a true taste of The Tasting Room Experience. This is an article that was published in 2007, in Spanish, in Puerto Rico’s Le Connoisseur magazine for which I was a contributor for much of the magazine’s ten-year or so life. It recounts my experience s in the tasting room — what I learned and the fun we had. And explains why I am in that picture with Hillary Clinton. This article has never been published in English before! Please remember…it is  an article published in 2007 recounting the summer of 2005. Some of the information may have changed slightly in the ensuing years!

Salim Massoud serving up on a busy day in 2007

Salim Massoud serving up on a busy day in 2007

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Duck Egg Frittata with Asparagus (Hen’s Eggs Can Also be Used!)

18 May

We spend our Mother’s Days in the North Fork of Long Island (where I expect I’ll end up living one day), Abu, Padushi, Leandro, and me. We had another beautiful time this year, eating and drinking and having fun with friends.

The Long Island Sound was our back yard!

And of course on the way home we picked up some farm fresh goodness to keep savoring the visit.

In season now: ASPARAGUS, so we got some from Sang Lee. Really, when asparagus is in season in the North Fork, it is worth the drive just for that, even if you don’t have anyone to visit!

Sang Lee asparagus

And we stopped for eggs at Ty Llwyd. Our friend Dave had four duck eggs available too, and since my last experience with them was so memorable, I took them all.

Unwashed eggs don’t require refrigeration – for a few days anyway….and these were definitely unwashed! (I rinse before cracking though…)

With ingredients this good, you don’t have to do much. In fact, the more you do, the more you get in the way sometimes (a lesson I never seem to have learned, some might say, but they can just hush up, because it’s my blog post and I’ll fry if I want to). However, if you would like to try a Hollandaise, click to visit my fellow blogger Mad Dog’s step by step instructions!)

So I went for something pretty simple and non-fussy, but with style. This frittata shows off the flavors of Spring, looks rustic-wonderful, and doesn’t take much doing. Sort of the kind of thing that Leandro should learn to do when he’s old enough to bring me breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day!

Gorgeous!

Duck Egg Frittata

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

½ onion, chopped (red preferred)

Approximately 10 asparagus spears, trimmed, and sliced thin on the bias (may be precooked; I used leftover roasted, which were lovely)

4 duck eggs (6-8 hen’s eggs if you want to substitute!)

¼ Cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or other good grating cheese

Pinch of salt

Heat oil in a small to medium ovenproof skillet at medium until loose and fragrant. Add onions, stir to coat and sauté for five minutes or more – until tender and browned. If using uncooked asparagus, add it one minute after the onions. If using cooked, add after the onions are tender and browned, then cook an additional minute. Either way, reserve a couple of the tops for garnish.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl whisk eggs, cheese, and salt together to mix thoroughly. Pour eggs over vegetables in pan and mix thoroughly. Preheat the broiler to high/450°F.

Using a flexible spatula, turn the egg mixture away from the sides of the skillet as the egg solidifies, allowing the uncooked egg to run to the bottom of the pan. Continue this until egg mixture is well set – 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the frittata (depth of skillet) and the stove top heat. Don’t rush this. You can stick a knife in the center to measure progress. 

Use the spatula to get under the frittata occasionally and make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Shaking gently every so often can also help.

As the top is almost set, stick the reserved asparagus tops into the surface so they look pretty!

When egg is set, put the whole skillet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes (longer if you frittata is thick) until the top is browned.

Let sit for five minutes, then serve.

Know Your Food: Egg-Sighting Adventures in the North Fork

17 Mar

Be advised: this post starts off a bit serious — grim, even — but lightens up fairly quickly and has a happy finish!

Stonyfield Farms-– the organic dairy company from which I buy a lot of yogurt and receive too many magazines thanks to their rewards program — is running a Know Your Food campaign (“This Year I Will Know My Food”) that has stuck in my head. As it happens, the USDA is doing the same thing (Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food). Both limit themselves to farmers they work with…still, it is a start, isn’t it?

Leandro and I know a fair bit about who makes what we eat – when it comes to seasonal local stuff – but it’s hard to know everything. And it gets scarier and scarier, what with the pink slime in school lunch meat (can we get any more cavalier – or gruesome — about how we feed children?) and arsenic in apple juice and e. coli everywhere…I am sick, not just because it’s a horrible thing nutritionally, but because I am sick of reading about it, sick of worrying about it, and sick of how complicated it has become to get simple healthy food on the table these days. Heavy sigh.

Can you guess what this is?

But, let’s brighten up and lighten up here.

Here's another look!

We recently spent an amazing couple of days out on the North Fork of Long Island (our Bordeaux on the Sound, as it were), picking up wine from Paumanok, spending quality time with Deborah Pittorino Rivera at The Greenporter Hotel  which she and her husband, Bill, own and where she also serves up incredible food at La Cuvee Wine Bar & Restaurant (see her blog, Seasoned Fork,  here), riding the carousel — Leandro learned how to grab the rings — and watching the Shelter Island ferries shuttle cars back and forth.

We  stopped by one of my favorite places to get fresh, organic eggs. Ty Llwyd Farm has the best fresh eggs (duck eggs too! More on that later), organic vegetables, and sometimes flowers (pussy willows right now!) in Northville on Sound Ave. They also have manure and hay – they do a bit of everything and are moving into dairy. If you blink, you might miss the homely wooden sign – look for a big nursery (van der something or another) across the road and you are close.

It is an egg sorter!

This time I hit pay dirt! The last few times I have stopped for eggs, Leandro was asleep in the car, so he didn’t get to see the cool old egg sorter in operation. This time he was wide-awake – on fire and crunchy from too much enforced restaurant sitting, in fact – and the sorter was in use to sort eggs for the cognoscenti stopping by for the their weekly supply. So owner David Wines was kind enough to let the little guy sort his own eggs…you roll them onto a little chute and they travel along a line of egg-sized scales measuring jumbo, extra-large, large, etc. and the egg rolls off when it tips the correct weighted scale.

We then proceeded to visit all the animals – you may remember that Leandro is very found of chickens – only the egg-layers, though — so we saw the pullets, the free-rangers (who came running to see my little hen-whisperer), the cows, the geese marching in formation, the ducks…

The henhouse...a pretty nice set-up if you are a hen!

When I asked Dave how long he has been there, he said, “Oh, about 300 years” or something like that. Turns out, his people were farmers from Cornwall who came to the North Fork via Connecticut centuries ago and the family still farms. The name Ty Llwyd (pronounced tee clewed) is from his Welsh wife, Liz, also from a farming family.

It was a wonderful couple of hours we spent and we came home with two dozen fresh hens’ eggs and two duck eggs ($0.75 each) which I fried up a few days later.

The duck eggs

The taste is very similar to chicken’s eggs, but denser and richer somehow. One egg on one slice of toast was enough to fill me for hours. Very satisfying!

So no recipe for today, aside from a teaspoon of vegetable oil heated at medium high, crack two eggs in, sprinkle with good salt, lower heat and cook for four minutes or until they reach your preferred doneness. I covered the eggs to make the heat more even to be able to cook them at lower heat and more slowly. As adaptable as eggs are, a lot of high heat doesn’t do them any favors.

So, duck eggs (which are said to pack more nutritional punch that hens’ eggs) were a great success. People bake with them, but I don’t think that is cost effective. I’d rather enjoy them on their own!

Success from the Cellar: The Paumanok 2001 Grand Vintage Reds

21 Aug

In 2005, I spent a glorious summer pouring wine and learning about vid and vino in the tasting room of Paumanok Vineyards http://www.paumanok.com/in Aquebogue, here on the North Fork of Long Island, where wine has become an incredibly important industry over the last 30 years or so.

That year, the 2001 Grand Vintage collection was among the reds we were pouring and selling. One of the things I said, over and over to tasting room visitors was: “These wines are meant to drink now or ten years from now.” I took myself seriously and not only did I drink loads of it “now,” I also bought a number of bottles to store in the basement.

The Bordeaux-style blend – Assemblage – was then a favorite. Over last Christmas, both my father and I opened bottles of it. It was so luscious that I felt the time to open the lot had come, before the lovely tannins and fruit faded.

That was a very significant summer for me and the relationships that I began then are still strong and warm and growing now. What better way to express that to friends then to ask them to share and see what those bottles — a merlot, a cabernet franc and the Assemblage — held inside?

I took a few days off from blogging —  indeed, from cooking! — to visit friends in Greenport, in the wine country. We were staying with my dear friend, Deborah Rivera Pittorino, owner of The Greenporter Hotel http://greenporterhotel.com/and chef-owner of its restaurant-wine bar La Cuvee. So she was in, as was my colleague from the tasting room days at Paumanok, Karen Ward Kankel (now doing the sales for the vineyard offsite) and Salim Massoud, one of the sons of the founding family of the vineyard. Later some of the La Cuvee folks, Laura and Werner also joined us.

All the bottles were in good shape — they had been stored on their sides in a relatively cool basement. There was quite a bit of sediment in the Assemblage and cab; not so much in the merlot — the only one we did not decant. We sat on La Cuvée’s outdoor patio and amidst some very good nibbles (oh, lord, the duck spring rolls and plum sauce…) and got to the fun part.

I am not a wine critic, so I will not attempt that now, especially because it is days later and I have no notes to speak of. This was more about enjoyment and fun and conversation. In short, all the wines had developed beautifully; the merlot was still rounded and fruity, the Assemblage was still complex and rich (and still my favorite!) and the cab had very good structure and a fine finish. A pro would have much more to say, but hey, they tasted like that delicious and magnificent  summer of 2005. We savored them and exchanged memories and laughs and didn’t rush. And most importantly, by sharing I was able to demonstrate to my friends how much I value their friendship.

So, if you’ve got any of the Paumanok Grand Vintage wines from 2001, by all means, go ahead and open them (not right this minute necessarily, but they are at a particularly good point in their development and I don’t know how long that will last).

But the whole experience reminded me also, that sometimes it makes more sense to use the fancy crystal, wear the fabulous jewelry, put on the silky lingerie, open the treasured bottle of wine. Why store the good stuff, when you could be enjoying it and creating new memories and experiences and relationships?

So, that’s what I’ve been doing over the last few days…more recipes to come…

For your reading pleasure: Seasoned Fork

10 Apr

A new soup recipe is in the works, but in the meantime, I’d like to direct your attention to one of my favorite blogs. In the interest of full disclosure, be advised that this is also a bit of shameless self-promotion for the book reviews that I write for the blog, including the one posted today about a collection of stories about real-life gardens and how they feed the soul.

My dear friend, Chef Deborah Rivera Pittorino, has a laid-back boutique hotel and delicious wine bar/restaurant (http://thegreenporter.com/) in Long Island’s North Fork, where real farms and vineyards and aquaculture feed a burgeoning foodie movement while also keeping it grounded in reality and New England-y good sense. It is one of my favorite places in the world (and one day I will figure out how to live there full time). Deborah’s blog has a back-to-the-land vibe with a contemporary perspective that keeps me in touch with the feeling even when I am far away.

I said that I would be directing you to a particular review, but the real bonus is that Deborah introduces it with her own musings on gardening for the restaurant kitchen with her neighbor (who is the same guy who helped me start my first tomato garden when I was neighbor to both, as it happens). It is a very, very nice way to welcome the gardening season!   http://seasonedfork.com/book-reviews

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