SWEET. SPICY. CRUNCHY. YUM!

BY CHEF COLEMAN TEITELBAUM, corporate chef, SubZero Group East

Lamb chops are one of my family’s favorite items to grill or broil and I’m not (too) ashamed to admit that when I was a kid, I loved having them with mint jelly. About 20 years ago while planning a menu, I was remembering those lamb chops and I realized it wasn’t the mint jelly I loved as much as the jelly – the sweet with the salty broiled chops. Not wanting to lose the mint or the sweet, but not wanting a mint sauce, I started playing with a salsa idea. I have no idea how I made it back then, but here’s how I make it today.

This salsa is one of my absolute favorite summer accompaniments. It goes great with bold salty foods like lamb or grilled fish and a glass of cold crisp rosé.  Easily turned into a stand-alone salad (see notes) it is a great twist to take to a picnic or to brighten up your dinner plate. The colors and flavors should really pop. Even the red onion takes on an unexpected bright pink when soaked in the vinegar.

I served it the night this was written with grilled black cod (Wolf charbroiler), coconut/garlic rice (Wolf Convection Steam Oven) and sautéed broccoli greens with onions, garlic and cherry tomatoes (Wolf range burners). 

Minted Watermelon Salsa

INGREDIENTS

4C diced watermelon
(1/3” dice)
3/4C fine diced red onion (about ½ a small/med onion)
1/2C red wine vinegar
1 scallion, thinly sliced on the bias
1 jalapeno, fine diced
(about 2T)
1 ear of corn, shucked
1/2C diced cucumber (diced about the size or corn kernels, seeds removed)
1/2C diced orange pepper (diced about the size or corn kernels)
1C loosely packed mint leaves
1 lemon
1 lime
Salt
Pepper

PREPARATION

Preheat your char-broiler or gill.

Dice the red onion and place in a small bowl. Pour the red wine vinegar over the red onions to let them soak for at least 30 minutes. Set aside.

Place the ear of corn in the center of the charbroiler and allow the corn to grill until it is nicely roasted (not burned). Turn the corn three times to grill all sides. Set aside to cool.

Zest the lime and half of the lemon. Finely mince the zests and set aside (they can be mixed).

Juice the lemon and lime keeping the juices separate.

Slice and dice the watermelon, scallion, jalapeno, cucumber and orange pepper as described above.

Stack some of the mint leaves together neatly, same side up, pointed in the same direction. Slowly, with a sharp knife, slice the mint as thinly as possible. There should be about ½ of mint after it is processed.

Trim the thicker end of the ear of corn so it is a nice, flat surface. Stand the corn up on this end and shave the kernels off. They will run all over the counter; this can be done in a 9x13 dish to help contain them (put a towel under the corn) or even in a bundt cake pan with the corn propped up on the center opening. If a grill isn’t available, the ear can be broiled or the kernels can be shaved off raw, tossed in a little olive oil and sautéed.

Drain the onions reserving the vinegar.

In a large mixing bowl, gently toss all of the diced veggies, watermelon, mint, zests, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and ½ of the lemon and lime juices. Let sit five minutes and then taste for seasoning. Add juices and S&P as needed.

Baking with Love and Memories

Diana Scott, Owner, The Luscious Little Dessert Company

Baking is part of my DNA, having spent the first four years of my life in the kitchen of my great-grandmother’s little A-framed farmhouse at the tip of Candles Mountain in Virginia. As a farmer’s daughter and a farmer’s wife, Big Ma took her time and made everything from scratch. If I close my eyes – even now, years and miles away – I can taste the butter crust wrapped around the tart, sweet Lemon Chess Pie that made my eyes water and my mouth smile.

Through the years, I’ve changed or added a spice or two, but the basic recipes I use were passed down from Big Ma (who got them from her mother, and so it goes). I attended Peter Kump’s French Cooking School only to find that Big Ma cooked and baked in the same way; always fresh, always natural, without preservatives of any kind. Because in her kitchen, it never lasted long.

There is a lot of history in these cakes – from the Country Pound Cake that Granddaddy Howard swore had the power to bewitch a man to the Georgia Peach Pound Cake that Aunt Ula served with mint juleps, even though we were from Virginia.

I bake with flour and butter, love and memories of all that has passed and that yet to come... because we’re all just one sweet bite away from home. 

Georgia Peach Pound Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 ½ cups butter

1 ½ cups brown sugar

1 cup sugar

6 eggs

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups unbleached flour (less 2 tablespoons set aside)

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon each cinnamon, nutmeg

½ teaspoon ginger

½ cup sour cream

2 cups peaches, fresh, diced

4 tablespoons flour

raw sugar

powdered sugar

Toss diced peaches with 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts.

In a small bowl, combine remaining flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Add to the batter alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition. Fold in the peaches.

Spray a bundt pan with baking spray and sprinkle with raw sugar. Spoon batter into prepared pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar.

On the menu - North Fork Table and Inn

If you're feeling a little adventurous as things get festive, here is a tasty alternative to the typical holiday menu from North Fork Table and Inn.

Pan Roasted Venison Loin with Poached Tart Apples, Maple Braised Red Cabbage & Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Yield: 4 Portions

Ingredients:

4 T divided      Grapeseed Oil

3 lbs.                Red Cabbage Head         

1cup                 Dry Red Wine

½cup                Red Wine Vinegar                                                    

½ cup               Maple Syrup

1cup                 Dry White Wine

1pt                    Water

1/2cup              Granulated sugar

2ea                   Tart Green Apples, peeled, cored, 12-16 slices

1 lb.                   Brussels Sprouts

3-4 T.                Olive Oil

To Taste           Salt & Pepper

24oz                 Venison Loin cut into four 6oz portions

To Taste           Salt, Pepper

Preparation

Cabbage:

Slice the head of cabbage into thin strips and sweat over medium heat in 2 T. grapeseed oil. Stir occasionally for 15-20 minutes are until cabbage is tender and has lost it’s crunch. Add one cup of red wine and reduce until the pan is almost dry (20-30minutes).  Once the wine has reduced add half a cup of red wine vinegar and maple syrup. Season with salt to taste.

Apples:

Bring white wine to a boil in small saucepan. Reduce and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Once reduced, add one pint water and half cup sugar. At this point you may add a small piece of ginger or maybe some cinnamon or clove depending on your taste.

Peel and quarter each apple being sure to remove the core and seeds. Add the apple quarters to the boiling liquid, cover with lid or parchment paper and remove from the stove. Let stand 12-15 minutes, remove the lid and the apple should be tender but will still have some structure.

Brussels Sprouts:

Trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts and cut in half lengthwise through the stem end.

Heat oil in large, heavy skillet, preferable cast iron, over medium-high heat.  When the skillet is just short of smoking, place the Brussels sprouts cut side down in the oil turn the heat to medium.  Sear on one side until nicely browned, about three minutes.  Turn the Brussels sprouts over and cook on the other side until nicely browned and tender, three to five minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt & pepper and serve.

Venison:

Remove your venison loin from the fridge and place on a paper towel to dry. Allowing your protein to come to room temperature prior to cooking helps the meat cook more evenly. Heat a sautee pan large enough for the whole venison loin. Add 2 T. grape seed oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Lightly season the venison with salt and pepper. Add the venison to your sauté pan over medium heat. After 5-6 minutes over medium heat the meat will be seared and have a beautiful light brown crust. Flip the loin over and place in a 350 degree oven for 6 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes prior to slicing. 

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto

When I think of the fall, the first thing that comes to mind is something that will warm you up on a brisk autumn day. The weather may be getting colder but you can enhance your fall farmer’s market bounty with these fruits and vegetables that are very popular around this time of year: pumpkin, cabbage, carrots, butternut squash, apples and sweet potatoes. They offer a range of colors, flavors and textures and are great to use in roasts, stews, pies and soups. Not only are these selections delicious, but good for you as well. Many fall vegetables contain vitamins and fiber so you can keep a healthy lifestyle year round!

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The Party Life

When I owned and operated Carole’s Catering, our slogan was “Be a guest at your own party,” and we made this very easy because we did everything. Pre-party planning was the hard part for the client as many decisions were required. I worked with clients to plan the menu, arrange rentals and determine staffing.

During this time, I would learn the background story on the event and get to know the client; this would help me to know exactly what would be most important in making the event as enjoyable for the host as it would be for the guests. The night of the party, our staff would set up the tables and place settings, prepare and serve the food, thoroughly cleanup and have the rentals stacked and ready for pick up. We would leave the house just as we
found it. 

With the right planning and the right menu, you can feel like a guest at your party without hiring a caterer. Set up a serve-yourself bar. Choose a menu with appetizer and main course dishes that can be made ahead of time. A buffet works best, of course. Put out all the dishes out you plan to use and wrap your silverware in napkins and arrange them in a basket on the buffet table.

Cold hors d’oeuvres such as a crudités, a cheese and fruit tray, shrimp with cocktail sauce and chips and dips can be set out for guests to enjoy at the start of the evening. Entrees such as barbecued chicken or ribs can be grilled the day before, refrigerated and then brought to room temperature two hours before you plan to reheat in a 400 degree pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes. 

A pasta salad with grilled vegetables or potato salad and cole slaw can all be made two days ahead; in fact, my potato salad tastes best if it sits for 48 hours. A leafy green salad would round out this menu nicely. Wash and dry the lettuce and have everything ready in the morning and just toss with dressing before you sit down. An alternative would be a cold entree such as poached salmon with dill sauce. If this intimidates you, your fish store would likely poach it and dress it for you. 

A chicken salad or beef salad (recipe below) are delicious options and perfect for summer. 
For dessert, I suggest berry shortcakes and allow guests to make their own. Prepare a dish of berries with a sprinkling of sugar, an ample bowl of fresh whipped cream and a basket of homemade biscuits. 

There are many young people looking for work during the summer months. Hiring someone to help set up, clear away plates and dishes and clean up will make your party really enjoyable for you. The main thing is to enjoy yourself; your guests will love you for it.

by Carole O'Shaughnessy