Pop Up at the Beach Plum

Though I spend the majority of my time cooking in home kitchens, I love the hustle of a restaurant kitchen. On August 9th chef John Thurgood and I collaborated to make a beautiful five course tasting menu at the Beach Plum Inn and Restaurant.  Though we sat down to build the menu nearly a month before the event, we left room to use the freshest ingredients. On Martha's Vineyard we are lucky to have over forty working farms, and available produce sometimes changes daily.  Using the islands bounty and our imaginations we put together a five course tasting. August brings some of the hottest temperatures we see on Martha's Vineyard so we did not want to offer an overly heavy menu. 

First up was a watermelon cucumber gazpacho with black bass ceviche, lemon basil, and grapefruit oil. 

Next was a coddled egg with lightly dressed purslane, pickled komatsuna, and cured shaved egg yolk. 

Then we served a seafood stew, with both smoked and steamed mussels, clams, squid tentacles, tomato, spring onion, and green coriander seeds in a lobster, and shellfish broth. 

Next up was braised lamb, over a succotash of fave beans, green beans, turnips, black eyed peas and MVM shiitake mushrooms. topped with pea tendrils and lemon zest. 

Last but certainly not least I made mini panna cotta over a strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry compote with crumbled mermaid farm barley cookie. 

After careful planning and a quick team meeting service started strong at 6:00. We where two chairs short of selling out. With a strong team an evening like this goes very smoothly, and after spending years as a restaurant general manager I can tell you this small team was strong! 

Stay tuned, as I plan to do more pop ups in the future!

 
 

watermelon cucumber gazpacho, black bass device, lemon basil, grapefruit oil

 
 

coddled egg, purslane salad, pickled komatsuna, cured egg yolk

 

Watermelon Jalapeno Mignonette

Here on Martha's Vineyard we have access to some of the best oysters on the planet. Katama Bay is home to salty, sweet oysters that are equally amazing raw as they are cooked. While we have access to oysters year round, summer is ubiquitous with raw oysters. Classic mignonette can be found at every oyster bar, and is traditionally made with chopped shallots, vinegar and cracked pepper. The salty brine of the oyster is an amazing platform for acid, spice and sweetness. I have experimented with different mignonettes over the years and I find this one perfect for a summer evening. 


oysters

Oysters can be an intimidating thing to work with at home if you have never opened them before. No need to worry, they are easy to open with a little practice, and can be a fun way to share time in the kitchen with your friends and family.

Oysters have two sides, the rounded belly side, and the flatter top. To properly open an oyster you will need an oyster knife and a towel. Some people also use a mesh glove on their non-dominant hand.  

Place the oyster flat side up on a cutting board. Place the towel over it, leaving the end exposed. 

Insert your oyster knife into the hinge, and push firmly holding the oyster still with your other hand. Wiggle your knife gently as you apply pressure into the oyster. Once you have a little purchase you can twist the knife breaking the hinge. Draw your knife along the inside of the oyster on top to release the mussel.

 Once your oyster is open you can draw your knife along the bottom of the oyster to release the meat completely for easy eating. Try your best not to spill all the oyster liquor inside. 


Watermelon Jalapeno Mignonette

Yields quantity for 6-8 oysters.

Ingredients:

     -4 tbsp fresh pressed watermelon juice

     -2 tsp minced shallot

     -1/2 tsp minced jalapeno

     -2 tsp red wine vinegar 

     - cracked pepper 

Simply mix together your ingredients, and you are ready to top your oysters! You can always double or triple the recipe if you are working with a large quantity of oysters. 

I topped these with some pickled jalapeño and thinly sliced watermelon for presentation and extra flavor. Enjoy!

Asparagus Miso Soup

Spring is in the air, the bulbs are blooming and the spring vegetables are right around the corner. Asparagus is one of my favorite things to eat in season. When you pick fresh asparagus it is sweet and fragrant, the stalks are not woody, and the flavor is indicative of spring. On Martha's Vineyard we are fortunate to have several sources for fresh asparagus. When asparagus is in season you must get to local farms early as this delectable treat sells out in a matter of hours. Any ingredient can become tired if you eat it the same way over and over again. I have tried to think a little outside the box to create a different expression of one of my favorite vegetables. Miso soup is traditionally made with Dashi a soup stock made with seaweed and dried Bonito. This version of Miso soup is purely vegetarian. 

Here is my version of a miso soup with an asparagus broth, shaved asparagus and shiitake mushrooms.


asparagus

 -2 bunches fresh asparagus

-Cut about two inches from the bottom of each stalk of asparagus, set aside.

-Lay asparagus stalks flat on the cutting board. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus lengthwise from the bottom to the tip. Try not to apply too much pressure, the goal is to create thin long ribbons. 

-Set aside your ribbons for later


Shiitake

     -1/4lb shiitake mushrooms

     -2 tbsp butter

     -salt&pepper

 
 

-Remove the stems from the mushrooms, and keep for stock. Hold them in your non dominant hand and gently draw a knife against the base of the stem. If you have not done this you will be surprised how little pressure it takes. (watch your thumbs)

-Place mushroom caps gill side up in a large lightly oiled skillet. sauté for 1 minute add salt and pepper then flip

-Cook for 1 more minute then add butter

-Place place pan into a 350 degree oven as the butter melts

-Cook for 5-10 minutes then set aside 


Broth

 

     -Asparagus stems and scraps 

     -2-3 small onions, skin on (quartered)

     -4 carrots (roughly chopped)

     -8 stalks of celery (roughly chopped)

     -4 inch piece of ginger (roughly chopped)

     -1 whole clove of garlic (halved in the middle)

     -2 Clementine oranges (quartered skin on)

     -3 tbsp salt 

 

-Combine all ingredients into a large stock pot 

-Fill the stock pot with water and bring to a boil

-Reduce heat to a simmer for one hour

-Strain the broth into a separate container


the magic

 
 

     -Miso 1 tbsp per cup of broth

- Place a hearty handful of your asparagus ribbons in the bottom of a serving bowl(s)

-Pour 1 cup per serving of your stock into a large saucepan 

-Bring to a boil 

-Place miso into a fine strainer 

-Submerge the strainer into the liquid and push it with a spoon into your soup

-At this point it is ready to be served, you don't want the miso to sit on the stove

-Pour your miso broth over the asparagus ribbons and top with your shiitake mushrooms

 

This is an absolutely delicious way to eat asparagus, albeit time consuming. I assure you it's worth the wait. hope everyone enjoys!

 

 

 

 

Braised Lamb Shank

Its cold again on Martha's Vineyard... in April... But spring is in the air, and I had a hankering for braised lamb. I decided to ditch the wine, the flour, all the things that can make a braised piece of meat heavy. Lamb shank is inexpensive, and absolutely delectable if prepared properly. Here is a take on braised lamb shank that came out exceptionally well. 

Ingredients

    1 Lamb shank

    1 Onion (chopped large)

    3-4 Carrots (sliced)

    4-5 Cloves of garlic peeled (whole)

    1/2 Can whole peeled tomatoes

    1.5 cups Beef broth

    2 tbsp Herbs de Provence

    1 tsp Smoked Paprika

    1 tsp Ground mustard seed

    .5 tsp Cumin

 

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 250 degrees

-Cover lamb shank in salt, paprika, and mustard seed

-Coat a dutch oven (or a heavy pot with a lid) with olive oil

-Brown the lamb shank on all sides (don't turn the heat up too high or the oil will burn)

-Set the lamb aside, and introduce the onions and carrots into the dutch oven with some salt and pepper

-Once the onions and carrots soften add in the whole peeled garlic and stir for 1 minute

-Add tomatoes (with juice), beef broth, and herbs

- Add the lamb shank, bring to a simmer, cover, then place covered pot into the oven for 2 and 1/2 hours

-Resist the urge to check on it, it is harder for some than others, but trust me. In 2 and 1/2 hours all of your patience will pay off and your worries will subside.

- If you have followed these simple instructions, you are probably in awe of the way the meat falls off the bone at this point. 

I chose to serve this with rice, and asparagus. The rice helps soak up all the beautiful braising liquid, and the asparagus adds a welcome crunch. 

 

 

Chili

It's cold here on Martha's Vineyard. The snow has been falling and the boats have been cancelled. This is the kind of day when there is no substitute for a good bowl of chili. I believe there is a better way than buying the bag of chili mix off the shelf.


Spices

    -1 tbsp salt                                      

    -1 tsp oregano                                

    -1 tsp cumin                                    

    -1 tsp smoked paprika                    

    -1 tbsp ancho chili powder

    -1 tbsp black peppercorns (whole)

    -1.5 tbsp whole coriander (whole)

    -1 tbsp fennel (whole)

 

  -In small pan toast fennel and coriander seeds together until the aroma fills your kitchen   (don't burn).

  -Use a spice grinder to grind your peppercorns, fennel, and coriander.

  If you only have access to ground coriander, fennel, and black pepper it will still be delicious.

  -Combine all of your spices in a large bowl, and set them aside.

Ingredients

    -2 large sweet or white onions (large dice)      

    -2 red bell peppers (large dice)                        

    -2 green bell peppers (large dice)                   

    -1-2 jalapeno peppers (small dice)                    

    -1/4 cup olive oil                                                

    -3 cloves garlic (minced)                                  

    -2 tbsp peanut butter

    -1 (15oz) can kidney beans

    -1 (15oz) can black beans

    -1 (28oz) can whole peeled tomato

    -1 (28oz) can crushed tomato

    -2 lbs ground beef

    -salt & pepper

 

  -Season beef with salt and pepper, and brown in dutch oven or stock pot, then set aside.

  -Leave all the juices in your pot, and add 1/4 cup olive oil on medium low heat.

  -Add in all of your spices and stir until mixture is uniform.

  -Bring up the heat to medium high and add in your fresh vegetables (leave garlic aside).

  -Mix your veggies until they thoroughly coated.

  -Cook your veggies until the onions are soft and translucent (stir regularly).

  -Drain and rinse black, and kidney beans.

 -Once your veggies are soft add garlic and peanut butter. Stir until the peanut butter is mixed in, and the garlic begins to cook. 

  -Add in tomatoes and beans. Add water to the crushed tomato can to get the remaining tomatoes, and pour the water into the pot, and stir.

 -Mix in your beef, and bring to a slow boil. This is the point things tend to stick to the pan so keep stirring. 

  -Once your chili has come to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid, and stir every now and then for 45-60 minutes. (If you have all day you can leave it on the lowest heat and slowly cook it all afternoon).

When your peeled tomatoes start to fall apart its time to eat. 


 

Baked Eggs

Breakfast arguably the most important meal of the day. This is a quick easy way to serve several people an elegant breakfast or brunch and not make too many dishes!

Yield = 6-8 portions

Ingredients:

   - 2 sweet Potatoes grated

   - 6-8 eggs

   - Handful of cherry tomatoes

   - 1/2 medium yellow onion diced medium

   - 1/2 red bell pepper diced medium

   - 3-4 Chicken sausages

   - 1 bunch, or bag of fresh spinach

   - 1/2 tsp cumin

  - 1 tsp fresh oregano

   - Olive oil, salt, pepper, pinch of smoked paprika (optional)

You will need a deep skillet, or large pan that is oven safe, I used a 12 inch enamel coated cast iron pan (if you don't have a big enough skillet, you can prepare your potato mixture in a skillet, and bake in a casserole)

Directions:

   - Preheat oven to 350 degrees

   - In your pan brown your sausage an all four sides

   - While you are cooking your sausage you can prepare your other ingredients

   - When your sausage is fully cooked set them aside but leave any juice left in the pan

   - Coat your pan with olive oil, then add in your onion, red pepper and sweet potato on

     medium heat. Stir regularly

   - When onions begin to soften stir in your tomatoes 

   - Slice your sausage into small 1/4 inch pieces and stir into your pan

   - Stir in cumin, oregano (salt and pepper to taste)

   - Once the potatoes and onions are cooked remove from heat and stir in all of the spinach. It

      may completely fill your pan at first, but it will shrink significantly.

   - Crack your eggs directly over the mixture with enough space that they aren't touching

      (if you are careful not to break the yolks it looks nicer when you are done, but don't worry

       if your yolks break)

   - Sprinkle salt pepper, and smoked paprika over your eggs, and place in heated oven

   - Bake until the eggs have reached desired doneness. (I like my yolks runny, it usually takes

      about 8 minutes for whites to fully cook)

Use a large spoon to scoop out a portion of your veggies and sausage with an egg, plate and serve!

 

  

Arugula Pizza

I previously posted a recipe for pizza dough... here is a simple favorite... Fresh and delicious!

Yield= equivalent of one 12inch round pizza (no, my pizza is not "round"... its "rustic")

Ingredients:

      - Pizza Dough

     -  Extra Virgin Olive Oil

     - Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Basil

     - Fresh Tomatoes (wedged)

     - Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (sliced thin)

     - Shaved Parmesan Cheese

     - Red Onion (thinly sliced)

     -Fresh Arugula

Directions:

     Stretch your dough...

        -At room temperature make sure your dough is in a ball (a little larger than fist size)

        -Lightly coat your hands and pizza pale (or cutting board) with flour

        -Place the dough in the center of the pale, then gently push your fists into it

        -Stretch out lightly with your knuckles and fingers (be careful not to punch holes in the dough) the dough is your friend! The gluten in the dough will allow it to stretch naturally with a little love.  Don't resort to the rolling pin. Get acquainted with your dough and I promise you the end result will be worth all the work!

        -Once the dough begins to form a flat circle, lightly pick up the dough with your fingertips and continue stretching the rim of the dough. 

     - Make sure your pale is well floured and continue compressing and stretching the dough with your fingertips.

     - Once your dough has reached a thickness of 1/4 inch or less let the dough rest and prepare your ingredients.

  Preparing your pizza

   -Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, with a pizza stone, or upside down sheet pan in it

   -Place your toppings on the pizza tomatoes first (for a pizza without tomato sauce I like to      

      drizzle some olive oil on the dough before the toppings)

-Sprinkle some corn starch on your preheated cooking surface then transfer your pizza from the

  pale to the heated surface, and bake until cheese is melted and the crust is at desired crispiness.

-I usually cook between 5-10 minutes depending on the oven. 

-Remove from the oven when ready, and brush a light coat of olive oil on the exposed crust 

-Add a nice heap of arugula on top of the pizza, drizzle olive oil salt and pepper on top, cut and

 serve!

With any luck you should have something that looks like this

FullSizeRender_1.jpg


Pizza Dough

photo 2.JPG

Great dough is the essential building block for one of my personal favorites... Pizza.  After spending years living, and working in restaurants in New York City I can tell you that not all pizza is created equal. In New York the opportunities to try a new pie, or slice where seemingly endless. We all have our favorites, but I personally like a thin crust with simple fresh flavor.  This is the kind of dough that when treated right is the perfect vessel for fresh ingredients.  I have put everything on pizza from fresh tomatoes and mozzarella to Jambalaya. Start here and build yourself a platform that will truly impress your guests.

Ingredients:

Yield = 3-4 small thin crust pizzas

     -3 1/2 Cups flour (you can use all purpose, I prefer bread flour)

     -1 package of dry active yeast

     -1 teaspoon of sugar

     -2 teaspoons salt

     -2 tablespoons olive oil

     -1 1/2 cup warm water (not hot! you can kill your yeast)

Directions:

     -In a small mixing bowl combine warm water, yeast and sugar

     -Let rest for about five minutes to let the yeast activate

     -Once the yeast water and flour are a consistent color and the grains of yeast have dissolved, combine all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl

     -Use your hands to start combining the ingredients (its going to get sticky, but you will survive)

                -Keep some extra flour on hand to prevent your hands from getting too sticky

     - Once the mixture starts to come together as a ball, coat a large hard surface like your counter or tabletop.

     - Knead the dough for about ten minutes

                  -Kneading the dough creates the gluten in your dough, hand kneading is not only therapeutic, it is good exercise and you will have a real feel for the consistency of your product

                  -Again keep plenty of extra flour around, or your dough will stick to everything

     -Once your dough is consistent, stretchy, and one homogeneous ball, put some olive oil in a clean mixing bowl, and roll your ball of dough so all sides are covered. (if you don't cover your dough in olive oil the dough will form a hard crust)

     -Cover your mixing bowl with a towel, or plastic wrap and let rest until the size of the ball is doubled (about 1 hour and 1/2)

Tips:

      -I like to portion my dough into four smaller balls and let them sit over night...

       -You can keep your extra dough in the fridge for a few days and make more pizzas. I personally don't freeze it, but it will hold in the freezer.

       - If you are storing your dough in the fridge make sure that the outside is lightly coated in olive oil, and it is sealed properly. Without those precautions you will get a hard crust that is difficult to work with.

 

     -Once you have your handmade dough.... MAKE PIZZA!


Beginning of the End

Here it is... the Beginning of the end for my old, and admittedly outdated Blog....


This blog will be your exclusive look into my kitchen.  Practical knowledge, recipes, food handling, preparation, and experiments hopefully gone right.  My passion for cooking has driven me to constantly peruse the best methods, flavors, textures and practical skills in the kitchen.  Stay tuned, and join me on my culinary adventures!  


Feel free to contact me foodmindedfellow@gmail.com with any questions, or the recipe for the thing I made that one time that you can't stop thinking about.