Well, It’s the 1st week of October and I am told that the first day of Autumn was almost 2 weeks ago.
I didn’t buy it then and I don’t buy it now. It’s 80 degrees currently!
How could that happen?
It seems as if it was just a few days ago that I was starting to turn the air conditioners on, lather up my little boy with so much sunscreen he looked like a ghost and laughing with friends while having beers in the backyard until well past 9pm.
It’s not 90 degrees any more and it’s dark around 6, but I haven’t seen any other indicators that cold weather is on it’s way.
As I was cleaning some leafs off of my bbq last night I really took a step back to look around and think about what a great year I’ve had so far.
In addition to the great times with family and friends, the fresh caught seafood, weekly trips to the farmer’s markets and visits to the wineries really made it memorable so far.
I was going to go to my favorite farm stand on Saturday morning, but I’m just not in the mood to get stuck in “Apple Traffic.”
You know what I mean… the traffic that just covers the local roadways with weekenders going out to pick apples and sample homemade donuts and cider.
Well, I have to make this a short post as I need to get some pictures on Instagram, send out some tweets and go into the attic and pull out my crockpot, a few sweaters then settle down and blog about a couple seasonal Oktoberfest beers that I love.
Summer may be “officially” over but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the outdoors, supporting local farms and farm stands, wineries, breweries and start cooking with some awesome root veggies.
Hey, I love the Fall. Bring on apples, root veggies and slow cooked dinners!
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This year, Heaven on earth could be found by way of Little Italy, NYC from September 13th to the 23rd on Mulberry Street, between Canal and Houston Streets.
The 11 day festival includes live music, entertainment, carnival attractions, vendors, the procession with the statue of San Gennaro and so many delicious treats that you will need to renew that gym membership very shortly.
Last week my wife tells me that her friend is out of town on vacation and she needs a big favor?
She has a large garden that needs to be watered and as a “Thank You”, we would be able to take as many cukes as we wanted.
So, I grabbed a basket, a colander and my favorite helper. My little guy.
It’s hard to believe that 17 years ago life changed…for everyone.
I’m not going to lie, it’s a hard day for me and for many.
Today I reflect, go to church, pray, spend time with the ones I love and let them know how much I really do appreciate, need and love them.
Sorry for the non-foodie chat… It’s just one of those days.
Usually through reflecting and memories I think about food and I’m sure today will be no different.
Check back tonight if you’re hungry for comfort food… Because again, it’s one of those days.
Enjoy your day and thank you very much for following me on my food journey.
I wish you peace.
Oh yeah…. the Summer of Seafood continues and the way it is going now, I hope it never ends.
One of the freshest, easiest and most rewarding seafood recipes that I have in my culinary treasure chest is for Baked Clams.
Baked Long Island Cherry Stone Clams, to be precise.
Simple, delicious and a big tradition on Long Island.
Long Island has been very popular in the clam business for generations and for good reason.
The Great South Bay of Long Island produces some of the finest clams as well as numerous bays and areas scattered throughout the North Fork of Long Island and I, have the pleasure of residing around them all.
What does this mean?
Never frozen, always fresh.
No chemicals, no preservatives.
Easy to come across and at a good price.
It’s very much a fishing town that people flock to because of it’s dock to table seafood, relaxed atmosphere, awesome waves and the tranquil vibe it leaves you with.
It’s gotten more developed, more trendy and more inhabited over the years, but to me it will always be a place where I learned to swim in the ocean, respect the waves, appreciate amazing sunsets, develop my love for seafood and a place where beautiful memories were made.
There are so many places on Long Island to get great seafood, but to me the best places are the closest to the water.
The dockside restaurants where industrial fishermen haul back monster tuna and tremendous shark to be sold at markets as well as off the map seafood shacks and small restaurants where amazing recipes are developed after the patrons have left, the last table is cleaned and they break out the beers.
“This is about chicken wings, right? Why all the talk about fish?”
We’ll, I’m glad you raised your hand and asked this question.
Over the last few years the foodie focus has not only been on seafood, but tavern and beach hut type eats such as innovative salads and finger foods like creative chicken wings.
Originally, it was down to earth fish like fried flounder, but then as tastes developed, family cooks became chefs, new inspirations were created, fancy foods were introduced and celebs bought restaurants… the times changed and so did the menu.
Restaurants that were known for having the reliable chopped steak and crab cake all of a sudden replaced these standards with sushi grade tuna, chilean sea bass with mango chutney, steak tartare and dishes revolving around molecular gastronomy, like edible sea foam.
What the hell is edible sea foam?
It’s just lecithin powder incorporated with other ingredients to look like a wave, rolled up on your plate and left it’s nasty, greenish residue.
Sexy, right? How about edible sand?
How about no!?!
The trend is going back to eating what you like, not what’s trendy and what the local celebs are chowing down on.
What a concept.
Fresh cut fries with sea salt and garlic butter is coming to mind, sweet and smoky short ribs and Smoked Cheddar and Pulled BBQ Chicken Mac & Cheese all lend their notes to how I created my wings.
These wings are simple, even though there are numerous ingredients, the process is easy and your taste buds will thank you.
Sure, if you look hard enough you can still find a free range, grass fed elk burger with a raw quail egg and shaved wheat berry truffle infused olive oil on it being eaten by someone who wants to be seen eating something like this, but for me, I’ll stick to eating what I want.
Check out the full recipe below and…
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- 20 chicken wings
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 cup high end, store bought regular bbq sauce. Noting too fancy or anything with added heat.
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 4 tbsp ketchup
- 3 tbsp Frank's Red Hot Sauce
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 cup honey
- 5 tbsp salted butter
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Wash wings with cold water and dry well with paper towels.
- In a large zip lock bag, add the pepper, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder and brown sugar.
- Place wings, 5 at a time in the bag and coat well.
- Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray or if you are using a great non-stick cookie sheet, lightly coat with a little canola oil.
- Place the wings in a single layer on the cookie sheet.
- Cook for 35-40 minutes, turning once.
- While wings are cooking, make the sauce by simmering the ingredients on very low.
- As the wings are just about finished done baking, brush the sauce all over them, and put them back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
- While the wings are cooking, simply make the sauce by simmering all of the sauce ingredients for 10 minutes, under very low heat.
- Go to Costco for napkins.
Summer is here and my inner caveman needs to be near fire, sticks and raw stuff every night.
( ok, and beer or wine or martinis..but mostly beer..ok, never martinis or wine..I just wanted to sound classy)
Why is that?
Is it the great outdoors? The freedom of the backyard? The smell of freshly cut grass ? Or perhaps it’s the stress of trying to cook a great meal while making sure that my toddler and black lab don’t knock over, fall into or throw toys into the crazy hot BBQ?
Whatever it is…I’m taking advantage of the beautiful Long Island weather, the bounty of fresh basil growing in my garden and the massive bag of charcoal at my disposal.
Summer. I don’t know about you, but there is something so special and pure about the Summer.
Hell, think of all of the songs created in honor of this warm and wonderful season.
“Ain’t no cure for the Summertime blues.”, “Summer in the City”, “Surf City”, “Endless Summer Nights” “Surfin’ USA”, “Hot Fun in the Summertime” and one of my favorites, “Summer Nights”, by Van Halen. If you haven’t heard it..get ready to blast it.
Oysters. Love ’em or Loath ’em, they are not going anyway, so deal with it.
Since the dawn of time humans have been eating oysters.
In New York, the proof dates back to the early 1600’s, with Henry Hudson sailing into New York harbor touching ground and finding people eating oysters.
In fact so many oysters have been eaten that laborers would use the discarded oyster shells to pave the roads.
Damn, that’s a lot of oysters. Now just imagine all of the Guinness that was consumed with that. So I guess this was the first baby boom? ( sounds of crickets)
I could go on for hours talking about my love for this beautiful bivalve, but I won’t.
In celebration of National Oyster Day, Saturday August 5th, I want to share one of my favorite oyster recipe with you and that is…
There’s a game I like to play every spring and summer evening when walking our dog: What’s on my neighbor’s menu.
It’s an adventure in olfactory exploration. One house has the charred and robust smell of slow smoked brisket, and another the garlicy aroma of vegetable kabobs. Perhaps there is the yeasty scent of grilled pizza and then the unmistakable smell of beer can chicken. Potatoes, corn, hot dogs, burgers – you name it. I can sniff it out with my nose.
Summertime is quite literally a magical time: It is a time of rebirth, awakening, and reemergence. We are well out of our winter stupor, let go of our soups and our casseroles, and make way for fresh, crisp, vibrant foods that rise like a phoenix during the sunny summer days. It is the time of Farmer’s Markets and vegetable stands on the side of the road. It is the season of grass-fed beef, copper river salmon if you’re in the pacific northwest, or lobster if you’re on the east coast. It is the time to unleash all of the amazing ingredients that hid quietly and unassumingly during the winter months.
I love grilling for so many reasons. The cleanup is easy, the act is social, and there is something beautiful about cooking a meal with the wind blowing through your hair and the sun upon your face. Beyond that, grilling is a method of cooking that releases subtleties in flavor that simply sautéing, baking, or frying just cannot compete with.
If you want to maximize your spring and summer culinary game, just follow these easy steps:
- Talk to the farmer or butcher Some of the best meals start with the following phrase: “What would you recommend today?” Farmers and butchers are more artist than grocer. These are the people that know their produce and meats. They can tell you not only what is best in the bunch, but how best to prepare it.
- Get spicy Or herby. Whatever you choose, choose fresh. Use old coffee cans to grow your own herb garden and simple pick and choose your spices and herbs straight from the plant.
- Let your meat rest This is good advice anytime you are cooking meat, but it is crucial when grilling. The super heat of the grill can char and beautify a piece of meat, but without the proper rest time, your grilled meat will be an utter disappointment.
And if you’re looking for inspiration, I encourage you to walk through your neighborhood and follow your nose: You never know what inspiration you might find.
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