Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

Watermelon. So refreshing in hottest humidity of summer. Recently at Nougatine restaurant had the most sinfully simple salad.

Cubes of seedless watermelon with dollops of whipped goat cheese. Drizzle with virgin olive oil and finish with cracked white pepper.

Superb. Jean-Georges prefers white to black pepper in most things.


Note: Just whisk softened goat cheese by itself. Don’t add cream cheese or anything else.


Watermelon Laced Gazpacho

It’s that time of year again. Chilled sipping soups.

Watermelon and cucumbers balance the acid for this twist on a classic.

Serves 4.

6-8 pickle cukes, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 ripe garden tomatoes, peeled, cored, de-seeded
2 bell peppers, de-seeded, chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, de-seeded, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 slices day old bread, crusts cut off
6 2″-cubes watermelon, de-seeded
1/4 cup olive oil
6 tbs. red wine vinegar
Celery salt, ground black pepper to taste

Soak the bread in water and wring dry.

Put equal parts bread and above ingredients in stages into a blender and pulse so consistency is smooth.

Stir and taste for seasoning, vinegar balance. Adjust as needed.

Pour each stage into a pitcher.

Pour into bowls with chunks of veggies, onions and parsley to garnish.


Hadley Grass 2016

Last year for Hadley Grass.

Sweet out of the fertile Connecticut River Valley earth.

Asparagus. From Hadley, Massachusetts. Finally here!

There is nothing like it. Will they have it at UWS Farmer’s Market?

We’ll find out next year.

Steam it until tender but still crunchy. Quick cold water bath.

Pat dry.

Add Oregano. Ground black pepper.

Balsamic vinegar.

That’s it.


October Veg Terrine

Serves 4 as a side dish.

Cut 2 large eggplants into 1/4″ lengthwise slices. Place in one layer on a colander. Sprinkle kosher salt liberally over both sides.

Place a bowl on top and put 2 full cans of something to weight down the bowl so eggplant slices will release bitterness and moisture. Thanks for the tip, Lidia B.

After at least 20 minutes, rinse the slices and place on paper towels and dry both sides.

Slice 4 zucchini into same thickness as eggplant, lengthwise. All slices should be flat on both sides.

Season with garlic powder, ground black pepper, pepperoncini to taste.

Pat eggplant and zucchini slices into panko crumbs to coat.

In a large skillet, add a little olive oil and brown slices on both sides in stages. Set aside on paper towels after each stage.

Slice 2 large heirloom tomatoes.

Slice your favorite combination of cheeses. Fontina. Parmesan. Asiago.

In a small baking dish, drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom.

Add half the slices of zucchini, eggplant, cheese.

Add tomato slices.

Repeat another layer of zucchini, eggplant, cheese.

End with a layer of tomato slices.

Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Drizzle olive oil on top.

In a preheated 400 degree oven, bake for 30 minutes.

Turn oven off. Keep dish in for another 30 minutes.

Take out of oven and let cool.

Refrigerate. Best next day.

Zucchini Rollatini

Serves 4 as a side dish.

Slice 2 zucchini squashes lenghwise, into thin flat strips.

Dip each slice in milk, then panko crumbs.

Sauté each slice in a large fry pan with a little olive oil until golden brown on each side.

Set aside and place slices on paper towels.

Put 1 leaf fresh basil, a slice of mozzarella cheese, crushed oregano, thin prosciutto on each slice and roll them up and secure with toothpicks.

Place rolls into heated fry pan with a little more olive oil to a deep brown all around.

Add 2 native tomatoes seeded and diced, a little butter to finish.

Cover for 5 minutes on low heat.  Eat.

Delicious 4th!

DSC_0110-2Red White & Blue Dessert

Fresh strawberries, sliced with fresh blueberries in small bowls. Melt Herrell’s malted vanilla ice cream and pour over the berries.

Or. Berries over homemade shortcake with fresh whipped cream.

Grilled Corn in Husks

Fresh corn on the cob as soon as it hits the stand. \

Peel back the husks and take out the silk.

Put the husks back up and soak the corn in a pot of cold water until ready to grill.

Place soaked corn with husks still up on the hot grill and turn as necessary on the outer edge of the grate, so as not to burn.

Cover to heat and eat. No need for butter.

Grilled Flank Steak

2 lb. flank steak.

Pound with pyramid meat mallet to tenderize.

Season with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder.

Sear on both sides quickly over hot coals, then cover so it stays moist. 8-10 minutes.

Rest 5 minutes off heat. Slice against the grain and add favorite barbecue sauce.

Summer Slaw

Red cabbage slaw is my favorite.

I shred a small fresh cabbage into a large bowl.

Toss in-
3 thinly sliced scallion ends
2 tbsp. Boar’s Head Pepperhouse mayonnaise
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
A handful of sesame seeds
1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. celery salt

Check for tanginess, I like it more vinaigry than mayonnaisey.

Toss well to coat the cabbage. Cover, refrigerate.

Cucumber Salad

Into a salad bowl toss-
6 pickle cukes, thinly sliced
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp. each oregano, basil, celery salt, black pepper

Proportions vary to your taste, could use some fresh basil instead of dried.

Serve chilled or at room temp.

Quick Slaw

Quick side dish for 2.

Shred a quarter green cabbage into a small bowl.


1/8 cup whole grain Maille mustard
1/4 cup plain yogurt or mayonnaise
cracked black pepper to taste
celery salt to taste
snipped garlic chives to taste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Toss and refrigerate.

Spring Herbs Couscous

Serves 4 as a side dish.

In a casserole dish, pour 1 cup dry couscous.

Add 2-3 fresh basil leaves chiffonnade.

Add fresh cut sliced garlic chives, oregano, thyme to taste.

Add dry cracked red pepper flakes.

Add your other favorite fresh garden herbs to taste.

In a medium skillet, sauté sliced scallions and a mound of fresh kale in a little olive oil. Heat until kale is wilted.

Add to couscous dish.

Boil 1 cup chicken broth in a small saucepan with a pat of butter.

Pour over couscous and herb kale mix in dish.

Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Fluff with a fork and enjoy with a glass of Sancerre.

First Hadley Grass!

125-50_Hadley_grass_feature_250Finally here! The best day of the year. Farm stand opens with Hadley grass. The Pioneer Valley’s world-renowned asparagus. Steam it. Roast it. Break it where it naturally splits. Never peel it. Steamed: I like to steam it until still firm. Blanche with cold water to stop cooking. Serve with vinegar & oil, cracked black pepper, oregano as a salad with fish or chicken. Roasted: Place stalks on a baking sheet so not touching. Drizzle olive oil. Roll around in the oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, cracked peppercorns, shaved asiago. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until crispy. Good with anything.

Photo: James Baigrie, Saveur 2007