Late Summer Pasta Sauce

Well its mid-September here on long island. I have a bumper crop of tomatoes. So, we need to get busy cooking the beefsteaks. First up is a sweet late summer pasta sauce. This will consume four of the large ones, and it will freeze nicely. This way I can have the fresh tastes of the late summer well into the early winter.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Four large tomatoes
  • 3 sausage links
  • Duck Walk red wine
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 Italian peppers
  • 1 cup diced white mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Water (about four cups)
  • Oregano
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt

In a heavy cast pot drizzle a little olive oil. Every good sauce starts with a little olive oil. Then add the minced garlic. Remove the casings from the sausage and crumble the ground pork into the pot. Mince the onion and add that to the pot. Stir this up while the pork browns. A bit of fond should be forming on the bottom of the pot. Deglaze with a splash or tow of red wine, then pour in about four cups of water.

 

Core and de-seed the tomatoes. Dice the exteriors and toss into the pot. Then toss the cores into the blender. Blend to puree. Add this to the pot. Add the tomato paste. Add the oregano, two bay leaves and salt. Let this simmer a while to blend together (about an hour).

 

Dice the zucchini and peppers. Add these to the pot. Check the fluid level. If the sauce is too thick you can always add a bit more water. If it’s not thick enough you can cover it with a splatter screen and cook out the water. Let this cook about fifteen minutes to a half hour and then add in the mushrooms.

 

Let this simmer while you make the pasta. You don’t want to give those mushrooms too much time to cook. You want to keep them a bit firm. If you plan on freezing this batch of sauce, I would recommend not putting the mushrooms. Instead, add them later when you thaw the sauce out. Few things are as mushy and bland as a thawed out mushroom.

tomatoes

Canned Crab Salsa

Yup, that’s no auto-correct gone wild. I make this crab salsa as an appetizer. I slice a baguette into quarter inch slices and toast it just a little and then top them with this crab salsa and serve with a Duck Walk white wine… seems I often have a good supply of white wine around here….

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 ounces of crab meat
  • 3 tomatillos diced
  • 2 chilies minced
  • 2 tsp minced fresh epazote
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

simply combine all these in a mixing bowl. Now, here’s a good handy hint… roll the lime on a good hard cutting board before extracting the juice, and you’ll get more juice out of the lime. Top the toasts and serve it up.

BaltimoreCrabLogo

Duck Walk Shrimp

Its a nice day for shrimp, and yes, I have no idea what exactly that means, but it popped into my head none the less. I have shrimp on my mind, which is better than the alternative, having wine on my mind which is probably just as likely. So, let’s open a fresh bottle of Duck Walk white and talk about shrimp, and pasta, and vino.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of medium shrimp drained peeled and deveined
  • 1 ½ cups Duck Walk white wine
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and fresh ground peppercorns
  • 1 package of linguini cooked and drained

Melt the butter and toss in the garlic and get that browning. Deglaze with a little wine and add the shrimp and the rest of the wine. Cook until the shrimp are done, nice and firm, about six minutes or so. Then remove the shrimp for the pan and set aside. Add the oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste and reduce this down to a little thicker sauce. Then add the linguine and get tit well coated with the pan sauce, and then add back the shrimp. Warm every thing and serve it up shaved Parmesan cheese and with some garlic toast…. And wine!

shrimp2

Butternut Squash with Red Onion

Butternut squash is one of those things that is practically indestructible in the pantry and seem to be plentiful in the fall. Cherry Valley market had a good price on these the other day so I picked one up with a nice couple of red onions and decided to get these two together on an date so to speak.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 medium butternut squash cut into ½ inch dice
  • 1 small red onion sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic sliced
  • About 10 dates diced
  • ¼ cup Duck Walk white
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • Sea salt

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the squash and brown it. Add the onions and garlic, cook till the onions are soft. Add the dates and deglaze with the wine. Cook this down till the liquid evaporates. Mix in the chives and remove from the heat. Serve! Preferable with a stripped sea bass:

BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Summer Citrus Grilled Bluefish

Summer on Long Island and the blues are running wild. It’s a nice way of spending a summer day out fishing, and the bluefish are plentiful. Now many people say they don’t like bluefish as it tends to be oily and has a very ‘fishy’ taste. Well of course it has a fishy taste, it’s a fish, and what did you expect it to taste like… mutton? But, be that as it may, there are many ways to add flavor to this fish while preserving the taste of the fish. One of my favorite ways to do this is be marinating the fish to displace some of its fatty oils. And the taste of summer citrus fruits on the open grill is one of the best things about the season here on Long Island.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 pounds of fresh bluefish
  • 1 cup of fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup Duck Walk white wine
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Chef Bill’s secret citrus spice rub

Place the fish fillets into a large bowl. Pour in the orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil and white wine. Stir to blend and coat fish. Leave the squeezed lemon and lime halves in the bowl too. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat a grill for high heat. When the grill is hot, oil the grate. Season the fish with salt, pepper and citrus rub.

Place fish fillets on the grill, and discard the marinade. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until fish flakes with a fork. Transfer to a serving platter, and remove the dark blue part of the fish before serving and let’s finish that bottle of Duck Walk!

bluefish bikini

Spring Trout with Dijon Mustard

April first is opening day for trout fisherman in the Finger Lakes tributaries. Catherine Creek which runs into Seneca Lake being the most famous, but any tributary to any of the larger finger lakes is likely to host a run of spawning rainbows. Lake fishing gets back in gear with many people running planner boards along the shore line of Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes looking for hungry trout and salmon. So, what to do with some spring caught trout?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 medium trout fillets
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard ( I prefer the stone-ground)
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt

Extra-virgin olive oil

In a wide flat dish, combine the bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt, to taste.

In a small bowl, mix together the mustard and the juice of 1 lemon. Brush both sides of the trout with mustard mixture. Then coat the fish on both sides with the seasoned bread crumbs and press firmly to adhere the crumbs to the fish.

Coat a large skillet with about 1/4 to 1/2-inch of olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Add the fish to the pan and cook about 6 to 7 minutes. Carefully turn the fish over and cook the other side until the fish is brown and crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes. This is where those long thin fish spatulas come in handy. Trying to do this with small spatulas usually breaks the fillet.

Remove the fish from the pan and drain on paper towels. I recommend the Duck Walk white with this and since the trout is packed with strong flavors with the Dijon mustard, I keep the sides simple a spring greens salad and rice.

spring trout

Stewed Mushroom Side dish

The rich meaty flavor of mushrooms make them one of the most popular side dishes with most cuts of steak. Although I prefer to use the white mushrooms for this side dish, you could choose to use the meatier portabello.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound or so mixed mushrooms
  • 1/2 stick Butter
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, chopped, or 1 Tablespoon of dried
  • a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • a splash or two of Duck Walk red wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Trim the mushrooms as needed, removing any tough stems. Cut the larger mushrooms into smaller pieces. Smaller mushrooms may be left whole or simply halved to show off their form. Rinse all the mushrooms well and roll them in a paper towel to dry them off.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter, onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions just begin to turn golden brown. Add the mushrooms and continue. In a few minutes the mushrooms will release quite a bit of moisture and become a bit soupy.
Add the thyme and salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are tender and most of the moisture has evaporated, concentrating the flavor. Add a splash of wine and the cream. Continue simmering until the sauce has thickened once again. Stir in the green onions.

mushroom

Winter Flounder with White Wine

Winter flounder, unlike summer flounder is caught in estuaries close to shore. It’s a common fish caught when ice fishing, but we’ve had no ice around here this season.  You can tell the difference at the fish store by noticing the eyes. The winter flounder has its eyes on the right side of the body, white the summer flounder has its eyes on the left side. The winter flounder is a fish of choice when you want a light ‘white meat’ fillet. The Summer flounder tends to have a darker more ‘fishy’ fillet. So cooking the winter flounder in lighter aromatics like white wine, and serving it up with winter veggies makes a healthy addition to a new year’s menu.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb flounder fillets
  • ½ cup Duck Walk white wine
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • ½ cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • dash of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange fillets in a greased baking dish. Mix wine, onion, mushrooms, and seasonings together and pour over fish. Bake for 25 minutes or until fish is done. Serves 2. Very good served with wild rice and steamed squash.

icefishing

Chicken Schnitzel with Duck Walk White

Chicken thighs are an inexpensive dinner choice. They work well in this recipe as we are going to be pounding the pieces thin. So there is less work when you get the thighs rather than the boneless breasts, and it’s cheaper than getting those thin cut chicken cutlets.  The boneless thighs are best for this recipe, and don’t forget the thick cut bacon from Western Beef.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 4oz chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup of Duck Walk white wine
  • 4 rashers of thick cut bacon
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp minced garlic

Brown the garlic in olive oil and add the bacon. Cook the bacon till well crisp and remove to a paper towel. Now fry the chicken in the rendered bacon fat, garlic bits, and oil. Give each piece of chicken about two minutes per side. Make sure the pan is hot so you get a little burning going on the around the edges of the chicken.

Remove the chicken to a serving plate. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle it over the chicken. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and get that entire flavor into this light pan sauce. Pour the sauce over the chicken and bring it to the table. I like to serve this up with a side of kasha and warm sauerkraut.

duckwalk_vineyards

Steamed Pollock with Tartar Sauce

I got a very good price on some Pollock fillets so I decided to steam them up yesterday. I often use a bamboo steamer rack with my wk to steam fish fillets because if feel that the natural materials add to the cooking experience, even though that sounds way too ‘hippie’. To prevent the fillets from sticking, I use romaine lettuce leaves. Place the leaves over the bamboo slats and then place the fillets on the leaves, yeah its kind of ‘hippie’ sounding.

Here’s that you’ll need:

  • Pollock fillets
  • Romaine lettuce leaves
  • Water
  • Duck Walk White wine
  • Lemon slice

For the homemade tartar sauce:

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoonsIndiapickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

As mentioned above, place the fillets in the bamboo rack. Put ½ cup water ½ cup wine, and lemon slice into the wok. Then place the bamboo rack into the wok and slowly steam the fillets.

In a medium bowl, combine the mayo, relish, onion, and lemon juice. Mix this thoroughly and sever along side the fish.

bamboo steamer

bamboo steamer