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

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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

Braised Red Cabbage w Bacon

This side goes well with the crock-pot pulled pork. A nice head of red cabbage and good thick cut bacon are the real stars of this dish. As always, I highly recommend the thick cut bacon from Western Beef (now where’s my check for product placement!). This is also one of the sides that’s great a room temperature, even if that room is outside. The weather is fantastic way are you not picnicking.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 medium red cabbage shredded
  • 6 rashers of bacon chopped
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Duck Walk red wine
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp caraway or rye seeds

In your cast iron pot, brown the bacon  then saute the onion. Te crispiness of the bacon is up to you, i tend to prefer mine non-crispy more chewy. Add the cabbage and the caraway, or rye, seeds and season with a little salt and pepper ‘to taste’.

Toss this until the cabbage wilts down, about four minutes or so. Then add the water and wine, cover and turn the heat to low. Let this simmer about 15 minutes.

Add the vinegar, cover and cook until the cabbage is tender. As this is a personal test for done-ness, I prefer firmer, crunchier cabbage so I only cook this for an additional five minutes or so.

Extract the cabbage with a slotted spoon and pack it for your picnic.

 

Simple Seared Scallops w German Coleslaw

The fresher the scallop, the more I prefer the simple sear cooking. I picked up some very nice large sea scallops and, as Best Yet market was running a sale on red cabbage, I figured that I would keep things simple, and use up the bacon I had left over in the fridge. Now, I know, most people would reflexively wrap the scallops in the bacon and grill them up, but I would rather add the bacon to flavor the coleslaw and leave the freshness of the scallop alone.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the scallops –

  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds dry sea scallops, approximately 16
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To prepare the scallop, remove the small side muscle, rinse with cold water, and pat dry thouroughly.

In a nice 12 inch non-stick sauté pan add the butter and oil. Turn the burner on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the butter/oil begins to smoke, gently add the scallops. This ensures that the oil is indeed hot and the scallops will sear on the oil and not stick to the pan (if you’re not using a non-stick pan). Make sure they are not touching each other, or they will stick to each other. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center.

For the coleslaw –

  • 1 red cabbage
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 rashers thick cut bacon, diced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2/3 cup beef stock
  • 1/3 cup duck walk red wine
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • salt and black pepper

Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Cut into quarters, cut out white trunk. Slice cabbage into very thin shreds.

Set large heavy pan over medium-high heat. Melt butter and add the bacon and caraway seeds. Cook until the bacon starts to brown. Add sugar and onion, cook until softened and translucent. Add cabbage, stir to coat well with the fat then add the salt.

Next, add the beef stock and red wine. Cover and bring liquid to a boil, cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and add the vinegar, stir well, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the scallops and serve with a refreshing beverage…

As an option for you picnickers out there… You can let this refrigerate this slaw for a couple of hours and serve this cold, or room temperature.

Blue Point Oyster Stuffing

Oyster stuffing makes a wonderfully flavorful side dish. Oyster stuffing, or in this case, dressing (I don’t cook this in a turkey), has had a long and storied existence here on Long Island. From per-colonial times right through the near recent past it had enjoyed a regional popularity. However, with declined in the shellfish population of the late 1900’s, and declination of domestic culinary skills (personal observation), store-bought off the shelf stuffing surpassed to historic side-dish. But, with sustainable farming of oysters, especially our local blue point variety, its well time to rediscover this culinary accompaniment.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 40 medium oysters, such as bluepoints,  shucked (about 1 lb.), with 1 cup of the liquor reserved
  • 11 cups 1⁄2″ cubed white French bread (about 14 oz.)
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1⁄4″ strips
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for
  • greasing the pan
  • 6 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1⁄4 cup Duck Walk red wine
  • 1⁄3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp. chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp. chopped sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

First we need to dry out the bread; heat the oven to 250˚. Arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake, stirring occasionally, until dried but not browned, about 10 minutes.

Now, lets build the stuffing; put the bacon into a 12″ skillet; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until crisp and its fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Add 4 tbsp. of the butter and heat. Add shallots and celery, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add oyster liquor, stock, wine, parsley, thyme, sage, oregano, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the bread cubes and oysters. Set aside to allow the flavors to come together for 10 minutes.

Now bake the final product; raise the oven temperature to 400˚. Put the  mixture into a lightly buttered 2-qt. oval baking dish and cover with foil. I use the oval to avoid the ‘hot spots’ that build up in the corners of rectangular dishes. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, drizzle with remaining butter, and continue baking until golden brown and crusty, about 20 minutes more. Serve immediately, with the rest of the Duck Walk wine…

and remember to enjoy sustainable oysters often –Oyster Sustainability – Monterey Aquarium

Giants!

Giants… yup.. the Giants. In this case we’re talking turkey… drumsticks to be precise. These make a main course fit for football kings, especially when you have them served up by someone wearing a jester’s hat.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 or 2 drumsticks per person
  • A grill!
  • Sauce!

SAUCE!

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup Duck Walk red wine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

Make the sauce ahead of time. In a medium saucepan, add olive oil, garlic, chipotle powder, and cumin. Allow to heat through, while stirring, for 1 minute. Add red wine and brown sugar. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add in soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat, allow to cool before using.

Game day – fire up the grill… remove the skin from the drumsticks and trim off any excess fat. Put sauce on them and on to the grill. Baste with the sauce as they cook. When ready… put them on a platter and call for the Jester.

What, you have no in-house jester you say… here’s how you make your very own jester:

Take little pieces of paper and make numbers 5, 10, 15, 20, all the way up to fifty. Put these pieces of paper in the jester’s hat. As your guests arrive, they have to pick a number. As the game starts, and the opening kick off is returned, find out who has the number that is furthest away from the starting yard of scrimmage… THEY’RE the jester!

Anchovy Pasta Sauce with Olives

Well, getting back on track here with the recipes! Today we’ll be whipping up a little pasta and sauce. The sauce features on of best, healthiest, most under-appreciated, sustainable seafood choices…. Anchovies! With a healthy dose of olives, this sauce is perfect for meatless Friday meals.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  •  4 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tin of anchovies packed in oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 large onion minced
  • 1 can black olives chopped
  • Two dozen green olives sliced
  • 2 tsps capers drained
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 2 tsps oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 16 ozs can of crushed tomatoes
  • 6 ozs tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup marsala
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

In a medium saucepan combine olive oil and anchovies. Cook them over medium heat, stirring to mash them, about three to five minutes. Add garlic and onion and cook until tender, five minutes or so. Then stir in remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, half an hour or so. It will take a while for the flavors to coalesce into a unified sauce.

As the sauce is cooking, start your pasta. I like to use the mezze penne, and take a moment or two to call up some friends and invite them to lunch.

Pop the top of a bottle of local Long Island red wine and serve up some home entertaining.