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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
July 4th is Independence Day in the United States.
It celebrates the commemorating of the adoption of Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776, stating that the 13 American colonies were no longer part of the British Empire and that the United States of America was born.
It also gives us the right to shoot off fireworks, attend awesome parades, drink beer and participate in some serious grilling.
Let us not, ever, downplay the freedom aspect of the holiday and the respect portion.
Don’t ever let my humor, sarcasm, amazing culinary skills, ninja-esque veggie chopping abilities, outrageously handsome and rugged stature make you think that I am diluting the holiday. Not a chance. I’m just enhancing it with the previously mentioned details…because we live in the most amazing country ever and have freedoms that should never be taken for granted.
Now on to the cooking……
Delicious, Red, Ripe Strawberries.
The Summer season for strawberry picking, strawberry eating and strawberry worship has officially begun and you are right in time to share the love.
So, grab a wicker basket, a napkin and take a walk with me as we pick the ripest, juiciest and most delectable berries you will ever taste and learn a thing or two along our walk.
There’s something about the warm weather that really makes me want to grill.
Is it that I love cooking outside?
Is it because when I’m cooking I feel that I am in my own private world?
Is it because there is that something so enjoyable about drinking a few Summer ales and creating something delicious that comes from your own yard?
I really don’t know the answer, I’ve never really looked into it that hard until now.
What I do know is that I have a full bag of charcoal, a full propane tank, some drinks in the cooler and lots of food ready to hit that sizzling steel grate…so let’s do this.
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.
Springtime is quite literally a magical time: It is a time of rebirth, awakening, and reemergence. We come 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 spring 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.
Spread the Love!
and on Instagram #thefooduluv
Oh, to be asparagus: One of the most vilified vegetables of the bunch. Next to broccoli and Brussel sprouts, asparagus continues to be one of the most misunderstood and underutilized greens in the garden……but not for long.
We’re taking it back to the top, gang.