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Posts from the ‘Local Products’ Category

Not So Plump Dumpling

Dumplings with Winter Farmer's Market Veggies (and Siracha of Course)

Everyone loves a good dumpling, but if you’re just ordering from the Chinese place around the corner, chances are their veggie dumplings will be made with thick dough, and filled with little more than cabbage. This appitizer is suprisingly easy to make at home with store-bought wonton wrappers, and it’s possible you can even have a healthy, flavor-filled batch ready before take out could arrive at your door.

You can get pretty creative with how you stuff your dumplings, just decide if the ingredients need to be cooked prior to filling (steaming only takes about 5 minutes, and you want the filling to be soft… so if it won’t be soft (or for a protein, cooked) in 5 minutes give it a quick saute), and then give them a quick chop in the food processor. Even in the winter you can find amazing greens and root vegetables that are in season, and incredibly nutritious (and of course, delicious).

For my dumplings I used some of the amazing produce I got yesterday at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. I got Shiitake and Pioppini Mushrooms from John D. Madura Farm. The Pioppini have a great peppery flavor, and are an excellent addition to stir-frys as well.

Shiitake and Pioppini Mushrooms from John D. Madura Farms at the Union Square Greenmarket

I also diced, and sautéed some Sweet Potato. I also quickly sautéed the Baby Bok Choy, even though it was super tender, I just wanted to make sure the bottoms of the leaves had no crunch in the dumpling.

Baby Bok Choy

While the ingredients cooked, I made a sauce based on a Mark Bittman recipe for Steamed Shrimp and Cilantro Shu Mai . A simple mixture of Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Rice Wine, Scallions, and Fresh Ginger this sauce will hold the ingredients together in the dumpling, as well as serve as a dipping sauce later.

I gave the cooked ingredients a quick pulse in the food processor along with a few tablespoons of the sauce.

Fill the won-ton wrappers with about a teaspoon of the mixture. Moisten the edges with water, fold in half to make a triangle, and crimp the edges just like a pie crust. To make a Shu-Mai shape, just gather the edges around the center instead of folding, pleating the edges, but leaving some filling exposed.

Steam for about 5 minutes (until wrapper is completely tender), or give a quick pan sear like I did.

For Sauce:

1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1 T Rice Wine
1 T Sesame oil
1 T Minced Ginger (or more… to taste)*
1/4 Cup Chopped Scallions (White only)

*To peel ginger try using a spoon, much easier!


Healthy, Delicious, and Dangerously Addictive: Hampton Chutney Co.’s Dosa

Seasonal Dosa at Hampton Chutney Co.

It was a gray February morning, a Sunday. It was wet– whether it was snow or freezing rain I couldn’t tell, but I walked down the cobblestones of Prince Street hoping I could avoid a fall long enough to reach an eating establishment without the usual weekend brunch wait.

Between Broadway and Lafayette, I recognized the familiar grass-green sign hanging above the Hampton Chutney Co., and shuffled a bit faster to get inside.

The Hampton Chutney Co.’s original location is in Amagansett, NY, and while in high school, especially when heading out to Montauk to surf in the summer (or working next door at the surf shop), Hampton Chutney was always one of my favorite spots to stop for lunch. While the Soho location doesn’t have the charm of the swinging screen door, or outdoor picnic benches, and omnipresent wind-chimes– it does have the same mellow meditation soundtrack of indian chants, and of course, what is really important, the ever-so-addicting dosa.

A dosa is an Indian take on the crepe, made with rice batter and black lentils. It is very light, and more crisp than the French classic– but the inside is still slightly tender and chewy. It is filled with a variety of savory items, the most traditional is the Masala Dosa ($7.95) with spiced potatoes– but Hampton Chutney offers many combinations like Avocado, Tomato, arugula, Jack Cheese, and Grilled Chicken ($11.95), a Seasonal Dosa with Roasted Butternut Squash, Portobello Mushroom, arugula, and Jack Cheese ($10.95), they even have a Breakfast Dosa made with Two Eggs, Spinach, Roasted Tomato, and Jack Cheese ($8.95).

Each Dosa is served with a choice of Cilantro, Curry, Mango, Tomato, Peanut, or Seasonal Pumpkin chutney. These chutneys are also available for purchase, and are a really great way to spice up weekday lunches on sandwiches and salads, or even used alone as a dip. Out of habit, no matter which dosa I get, I always seem to go with the Mango Chutney. It is the perfect blend of sweet and tart, with just a little heat. With the flavors in the Seasonal Dosa, in hindsight, I should have gone for a more mild flavor, that would have complemented the flavors a bit more (maybe the pumpkin?).

Daily soups are also offered, as well as the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had (on sourdough with tomato and avocado… yum!). And as for drinks, they don’t offer bloody marys on Sundays, but I was happy with their warming Cardamom Coffee with more than a hint of spice. They also have delicious Chai Tea (iced and hot), and Mango Lassis, a light yogurt drink with mango that is a meal in itself. The freshly baked cookies (especially the White Chocolate Macadamia) where also a favorite of my friends and I, although I didn’t get one during this visit.

Any quick and inexpensive meal that can transport me back to a summer afternoon in the Hamptons in the middle of February is certainly one I’d recommend to anyone, whether they are familiar with the Hamptons location or not. With so many variations, the dosa makes a great breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack that is super healthy and offers something unique if you are tired of sandwiches and wraps. There is also a location on the Upper West Side on Amsterdam Avenue between 82nd and 83rd, and both NYC locations deliver.

The Hampton Chutney Co.
68 Prince St (Between Broadway and Lafayette)
464 Amsterdam Ave. (Between 82nd and 83rd)
Amagansett Square, Main St, Amagansett, NY

Sunday Morning Breakfast Sandwich (After The Saturday Afternoon Farmer’s Market)

Just because I haven’t been blogging for the past few weeks, certainly doesn’t mean that I have not been cooking, or eating (believe me!) I’ve moved on to level III of the Classic Culinary Arts program at the French Culinary Institute, and moved on from Chef Scott, to the infamous “Chef X.” Chef X has a more Gordon Ramsey-esque teaching still, and while we must remain almost completely silent throughout class, his thick accented voice has not problem carrying over our pots and pans, and knives chopping.

There is no debate it has been a tough couple of weeks so far, but Chef X keeps reinforcing something that at this point in the program people really need to figure out. As he sees it “if you cannot cook from your heart, than you shouldn’t be here.” While his criticism, rules, and yelling isn’t easy to deal with after working for 8 hours, I can say that I very quickly have had to lose my bad habits, and get organized, focused, and just COOK!

This means, that when I do have free times on the weekends, I have been doing a lot of cooking also. It’s been a great few weeks while friends had time off for the holidays to get together for some informal dinner parties. A few of my friends became vegetarians, and vegans, for their new year’s resolution, so this has been a fun opportunity to try some new dishes. There have been lots of seasonal salads, fresh pasta dishes, and winter produce such as butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squashes, kale, beets, and when available wild mushrooms.

This is my first full weekend back in the city for a few weeks, and after a couple of fun-filled nights with my friends, I dedicate this post to the very important weekend breakfast sandwich. The sandwich I made today made use of ingredients I purchased at the Union Square Farmer’s Market yesterday afternoon, and while it involves cheese, and just enough grease, it felt a little less guilty than your average Bacon, Egg, and Cheese, because of it’s fresh ingredients.

I got these wonderful Araucana blue chicken eggs from Lynnhaven farm at the market that I couldn’t wait to use. Here is the photo of the finished sandwich on Bread Alone sourdough bread, with a sweet potato shallot hashbrown, scrambled eggs with wild mushrooms, and arugula, with the recipe to follow!

(Makes 2 Sandwiches)

For Hash Brown:
1 Large Sweet Potato
2 shallots
Fresh (or good quality dried) thyme

For Eggs:
Assorted Wild Mushrooms (Oyster, Maitake…)
3 Whole Eggs
Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I used Cabot Clothbound)

2 thick slices bread (toasted)
Vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper
Unsalted Butter

Sweet Potato Hash Brown
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Shred potato over a towel
-Season with salt and pepper and thyme
-Sweat shallots in a small saute pan with butter until some color develops
-In the towel, squeeze excess water out of potato.
-Remove shallots from pan, add to potatoes. Wipe pan clean and add a good amount of vegetable oil. Wait until ripples form in the oil, it is important that it’s very hot, or the potato will stick!
-Add potatoes and press down with spatula. Add more oil if necessary, pull hash brown up at edges to check color. When golden brown, flip. Brown other side, then top with few small pieces of butter, finish in oven.

For Rest of Sandwich:

-First cook mushrooms in a pan with a little bit of oil until golden brown. Season once color is achieved.
-I put my eggs with a little salt and pepper right in the same pan and scrambled. I scrambled them loosely and let them form and cook to the shape of the pan so it wouldn’t be as messy on the sandwich.
-Shred cheddar on top, place in oven until it melts.

To Assemble:
-Butter toast.
-Remove hashbrown from oven, cut in half, place on toast for,one each sandwich.
-Remove eggs from oven, cut in half, place one top of each hashbrown.
-Top with arugula, and a few dashes of hot sauce to taste.

Thanksgiving Recap

Now that we are no longer the stuffed, satiated lushes we were since Wednesday, (and no longer able to sleep in), I figured I have no excuse not to be productive and post about my holiday meal. Thanksgiving went by without a hitch this year… well almost (we won’t talk about my bacon related meltdown at the local Stop & Shop– the result of which my mother officially labeled me as “one of those obnoxious food people”). After trying to go completely local and seasonal, there were a few things that I forgot to add to my list, one of which was slab bacon. But otherwise, besides quite a mess, I feel everything came out really well. By taking on all the cooking, I hope my family got a little more time to enjoy each other’s company, or at least find some amusement or time to relax. The wine certainly helped if my cooking did not.

The Thanksgiving Spread

Vermont Cheeses

For the cheese plate I picked all Vermont cheeses that I purchased at Murray’s Cheese Shop:

Jasper Hill, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar: Nutty and sharp, aged one year.
Champlain Valley, Triple Cream: A buttery and rich creamy cow’s milk cheese from Vergennes, VT.
Consider Bardwell, Manchester: Raw Goat’s Milk, Intense and biting in character, paired best with the Wolffer Big Apple Wine.
Dancing Cow, Lindy Hop: Raw Cow’s Milk Blue, very earthy and barnyardy, also tasted great with the Big Apple wine, could also be paired with something even more sweet.

I served the cheeses with sliced granny smith’s and some La Quercia Proscuitto. I also made some simple maple roasted pecans.

1 bag pecans
2 T Vermont Maple Syrup
2 T Oil
Fine Salt (Sea Salt or I used Fleur De Sel)

Toss all ingredients and bake approximetly 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Sprinkle with salt while warm. Experiment with different herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, or even cayenne.

Uncle Gary Carving the Bird

The turkey came out really well and was extremely moist with I attribute to the brining process, something I have been doing for the past few years. I use Martha Stewart’s Brine Recipe, a mix of salt, sugar, and seasonings. Brining for 24 hours ensures that the turkey will retain much more of its moisture, and absorb much of the flavors added to liquid. I stuffed the turkey with carrots, celery, fennel, sage, lemon and thyme before cooking. We all really noticed the difference in flavor and moisture with the farm-bought bird and plan on making it a tradition.

Brussels and Potatoes

I made mashed potatoes for my two little cousins, and the secret here is as you probably guessed: butter. When you think there is enough butter, add some more.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon:

1 stalk (roughly 16oz) Brussels Sprouts
3 slices thick bacon
3 T Vermont Maple Syrup
3 T Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees. Cut bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Combine all ingredients. Roast 20-30 minutes until sprouts have carmelized.

Acorn Squash with Sage & Cream, Cornbread Stuffing with Dried Cherries, Pecans, and Sausage (and Leeks)

The recipe for the squash can be found in the post below. The stuffing I adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe. I also used a box of Trader Joe’s Cornbread Stuffing Mix because after making pie crust, cranberry sauce, and brining the turkey after arriving in Connecticut Wednesday night, I just didn’t feel like making cornbread too. But here is the recipe for the Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage, Dried Cherries, Pecans, and Leeks.

1 lb bulk sausage
1 large onion
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 leek, white and greens
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 box, bag, or batch of cornbread stuffing, or cornbread
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
3 eggs

Brown sausage in saute pan and place on paper towel. Leave drippings in pan, and saute onions, celery, and leeks until translucent. Add stock to deglaze any sucs in pan. Pour over stuffing. Combine all ingredients and pour into 9 x 13 in baking pan. Cook about 15 minutes in a 300 degree oven.

I will add the photos and recipes of the desserts tomorrow, so keep posted!

Grub Street Food Festival… Some good food, but mostly lines.

After eagerly awaiting the Grub Street Food Festival on Hester Street all week, after finally arriving (despite the MTA’s limited weekend service on almost every line), I almost didn’t enter the fair when I saw the crowd of people overflowing out of the enclosed park-area.

There were some great vendors present, like Luke’s Lobsters, Ditch Plains, Sigmund’s Pretzels, and many more, but the space was really really small for a fair with so many popular stands.

My friends and I fought our way through the masses to reach Luke’s Lobster. Inside the fair was PACKED, it was difficult to move at all, and hungry people were pushing their way through the crowds in every direction. It was really hard to determine where the lines started, ended, and many vendors seemed to have multiple lines. We were accused of cutting a few times, though I’m pretty sure we didn’t. After a good thirty-five minutes we had our lobster rolls, $14, which were pretty good, but didn’t have the amount of lobster most sea-side spots offer up. The lobster meat (claws and knuckles) did taste really fresh and tender, and was mixed just a hint of mayo, and sprinkled with celery salt on a toasted and buttered hot dog bun. Overall, really delicious, but would have been just as good at the store’s 7th street location.

Next we got in line for Patacon Pisao‘s, Patacon, we saw many people eating these messy but tasty looking sandwiches and had to try one. We didn’t know exactly what these Venezuelan snacks were made of until we got up close, and were not disappointed. The outside of the sandwich was made of crispy plantains stuffed with chicken or beef layered with piece of white cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and special sauce. This was definitely worth trying, especially since Patacon Pisao can usually only be found in Elmhurst.

We sampled some beautiful breads from Pain D’Avignon while we waited in line. Their cranberry nut loaf was really great, nice for Fall, and came in many different sizes.

We didn’t even get a clear sight of most of the 44 vendors, and what they had to offer on Saturday, but really couldn’t handle the crowds any longer than we did.

Instead took a short walk around the corner to Broome and Orchard where we discovered Ten Bells, a signless establishment that turned out to be a warm, quiet, organic wine bar that had $1 oysters and Smuttynose Robust Porter. It turned out to be not such a bad Saturday after all.

Burlington, VT pt II: A Tiny House and a Big Farm (A Perfect Sunday).

Photo: Dan Kirk

Sundays in the Fall in Vermont now always remind me of my friend Jess, and our long drives while up at school, through the “country;” peeping leaves, admiring houses, and of course stopping for snacks along the way. Though Jess wasn’t with me this trip, I really had the perfect lazy Sunday in Vermont. The air was crisp, and there was a light breeze throughout the morning. Being out of the city, just breathing seemed like a vacation in itself. It was a beautiful day in Burlington, but it was the quick drive to Charlotte that was really the perfect picture of an autumn afternoon.

Dan’s Microhouse is located on an amazing piece of property, on a dirt road, set way back from the street in Charlotte. All the leaves were really in their peak, a fantastic background splattering lit by the bright sun of brilliant reds, and warm orange and yellow hues. Everyone had already been working on the house for several hours by the time I arrived (I did afterall, say this was a lazy Sunday) and we couldn’t stay long if we were to make it to brunch on time– but we got the full tour of the project, and it was great to finally get to see the real thing!

Mike & Mr. Kirk, hard at work on the Microhouse.

We were all really impressed by what the guys have done so far, especially my dad who still has not stopped talking about it. I look foward to watching the project progress, and can’t wait to see it when it’s all done! You can get additional information, and follow Dan’s Microhouse on his blog.

It was a lazy Sunday for Wyatt too.

After our quick visit at the Microhouse, we headed to Shelburne Farms for brunch. Shelburne Farms is a membership-supported, nonprofit environmental education center, as well as a 1,400-acre working farm, and a National Historic Landmark all right on the lake. The estate, built in 1886, is now home to the Inn at Shelburne Farms, and an incredible restaurant that uses produce from the farm’s market garden, as well as their own dairy, meats from other local farms, and items from Vermont food purveyors.

The Inn at Shelburne Farms

All the fresh ingredients of the day are displayed at the entrance of the dining room:

We had a really amazing meal. I of course started with a bloody mary (which was a little thick for my liking, but still pretty delicious). Both my parents had the Maple Sausage, Apple, and Cheddar Omlette, and I had the Market Garden Fritatta, with sunchokes, foraged mushrooms, and other tasty veggies. The eggs were light, fluffy, and really delicious, and the vegetables were all very mild in flavor, but cooked perfectly, and worked very well texturally. The house-made sausage was really amazing– tender, juicy, and seasoned to perfection.

After our meals we walked around some of the expansive grounds, stopping down at the farm to see all the animals, and the numerous Dutch Brown Dairy Cows.

The farm was crowded with families, and there were a lot of little kids very happy to be around the animals, and having the opportunity to pet them, feed them, and even milk them. The farm is not only a really beautiful place, but the educational programs offered for children and adults are really incredible. The farm has a huge impact on the local community, and is a really big part of organizations such as VT FEED, a group that links Vermont farms to schools throughout the area that has done some really inspiring work.

After spending a few hours at Shelburne Farms, we ventured down the road to another favorite spot, Shelburne Orchards. While we usually go apple picking, this time we opted for some apple pie, and hot cider instead. We sipped our warm drinks, and sat at picnic tables on the top of the hill listening to bluegrass music taking in the view. The pie was delicious, and the sight was spectacular, I’m not sure I could have asked for a more perfect day. And though I love living in NYC, I can honestly say in that moment I didn’t miss the subways, sidewalks, or smells, the attitudes, or the people that posess them. I didn’t even really miss the food.

What’s in Season? August on Long Island.


Some of the selection at Open-Minded Organics at the Hayground School's Farmer's Market

With August quickly coming to an end, summer flavors are still plentiful at farm-stands and farmer’s markets on the East End of Long Island. Harvests this week offer a wide selection of fruit and vegetables that will be in season for the next few weeks.

Bayview Farm and Market in Aquebogue on the North Fork, had huge quantities of tomatoes. Plum and Beefsteak were available in bulk for canning, they also had plenty of heirlooms, and cherries. Giant Summer Squash, Zucchini, and Cucumbers were piled up in buckets, as well as Eggplant, Red and Yellow Onions, Beets, Carrots, and Green Beans. Inside they had local Peaches, Blackberries, and Raspberries, along with their selection of freshly baked breads and pies.

In Bridgehampton, the Hayground School holds a farmer’s market every Friday from 3-6:30pm. Though this is a fairly small market, the vendors offer a really great selection, and have plenty of variety. Eli Zabar (of Manhattan and Amagansett) sells their artisanal breads, Dayboat Fish and Seafood of Shinnecock has very reasonably priced straight-off-the-boat seafood, Wolffer Estate has their renowned selection of local wines, Mecox Bay Dairy had artisanal cow’s milk cheeses, several vendors had sweets, jams, and spreads, and the Hayground School Garden, Balsam Farms of East Hampton, and Open-Minded Organics of Bridgehampton sold produce.

If you haven’t tried Open-Minded Organics Mushrooms, you really must make it a priority over these next couple of weeks. David Falkowski is extremely friendly, informative, and visibly passionate about his food. My friend John introduced me to Falkowski’s mushrooms earlier in the summer, and they are nothing short of outrageous. Earthy, mild, with a wonderful meaty texture, they really could be a dish all by themselves. Open-Minded Organics Participates in farmers’ markets in Sag Harbor (Saturdays), Bridgehampton (Fridays), East Hampton (Fridays), Southampton (Sundays) and Montauk (Thursdays).

Here is what I came home with last Friday:

Baguette, Eli’s
Shiitake Mushroom, Black Cherry Tomatoes, Variety of Hot Peppers,
and Masala Tomato Spread, Open-Minded Organics
Striped Bass, Day-Boat
Yellow Onion, Garlic, Kale, Balsam
Rose Table Wine 2009, Wolffer
Hayground 2

and here’s what I made…

Grilled Bruschetta

Brushed Eli’s Baguette with Olive Oil and crushed garlic. Placed on grill about 10 minutes. Spread a thin layer of Catapano’s chevre. Topped with chopped heirloom tomatoes (Sylvester Manor farms) and some cherry tomatoes, and some fresh basil from the garden. Sprinkled with kosher salt.

Grilled Striped Bass with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes, and Shiitake Mushrooms in a Garlic White-Wine Sauce

In a pan over medium heat I simmered the fresh garlic and onions in a bit of butter. I added black and golden cherry tomatoes, as well as some chopped heirloom’s, and cooked until the tomatoes began to burst. I prepared the fish with kosher salt, crushed black pepper, and olive oil, and placed on the grill until cooked through. When fish was almost done I added shiitakes to the tomatoes, as well as some parsley from the garden. After a few minutes I deglazed the pan with a splash of dry white wine. I served the fish over some of the steamed local kale and some wild rice.

We’re Jamming (and I hope you like jamming too).

Blackberry-Raspberry Jam

While berries are still in season, I wanted to make sure I learned how to properly can things, so that by the time fall hits I’d have reserves of jams and jellies for the rest of the year. While I had made jellies at some point before, I had never sealed them in jars, I had always put it in the fridge and began using it right away.

Like most people my age I first went to the internet for instructions. While there were many great websites dedicated to canning and preserving, most were geared towards bigger batches, and involved a lot of equipment I didn’t have. Luckily before I could get to eBay or, my dad’s friend Mark called me with some advice. He suggested that unless you are making dozens of jars, there is really no reason to get most of the equipment. As long as you have the jars with lids and seals, a big pot (I used a lobster pot) with a lid, and a good set of tongs, you should be all set. He also gave me a few safety tips (above all, be careful when transferring boiling hot jam into the jars). He also told me to except that the jam would be thinner than what I was used to. My Mom’s friend Missy, who has been making amazing jam for years, said that liquid pectin can be used to make jams thicker. Since I couldn’t find this at any nearby stores, I just used the powdered pectin, and stuck pretty much to the recipe inside the box. Here is what I did:

Peach Berry Jam
(makes 4 pints or 8 1/2 pint jelly jars)

Ingredients and Equipment

1 box pectin
3 cups crushed blackberries, raspberries, or both
2 cups finely chopped peaches (about 4 or 5 ripe peaches)
6 cups sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 pint jars, or 8 1/2 pint jars with lids, and new seals
1 large pot with lid
1 saucepan

1 set of tongs (canning tongs are available online or at Agway or other garden supply stores)

1. Sterilize jars and lids by running them through the dishwasher
2. While jars are being cleaned, fill pot with water, bring to boil.
3. In a large sauce pan, mix crushed fruit and lemon juice.
4. Stir in Pectin, bring mixture to boil. (add 1/2 tsp butter to reduce foaming).
5. Add sugar, stir until dissolved. Bring mixture to a full boil.

Once jars and lids are done take them straight out of the dishwasher (they must still be hot to fill with a hot liquid), being careful not to touch the inside of the jars or lids (they have to stay sterile).

6. Ladle fruit mixture into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top.
7. Quickly wipe rim of jar with towel dipped in hot water to remove any seeds or jam.
8. Center the hot lids on jars and apply bands.
9. Place filled jars in pot of boiling water, making sure they are covered by at least 1-2 inches. Cover.
10. Process jars for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and remove lid. Let stand for 5 minutes.
11. Remove the jars, place on a towel to cool for at least 12-24 hours.

To see if jars have sealed, after 24 hours, check to see if lid flexes up and down. If not, it’s sealed! Sealed jams can be stored for up to a year. If jars did not seal, just refrigerate and the jam will stay fresh for about a month.


Billy Goats Not So Gruff: The Friendly Goats and Fantastic Cheeses of Catapano Dairy Farm

Some of the goats at Catapano's Dairy Farm in Peconic, NY

“I don’t like goats.” My mother said, as I put my turn signal on, heading towards Catapano Dairy Farm. “Don’t they have slits in their eyes? and those little horns, and beards…” She continued. “I think they look like the devil!” Not liking goats, it is strange she chose to accompany me to the farm, which is home to just under one-hundred goats of different shapes, sizes, and breeds.

The Catapanos bought the farm on the Main Road in Peconic in 2003, which houses a steel barn and all new machinery for producing cheese in great quantities. Husband and wife team Dr. Michael and Karen bought goats in 2001 as a hobby (Michael works at a very busy walk-in clinic in Wainscott), and by 2005 the couples chevre was awarded #1 by the American Cheese Society.

The male and female goats are kept separately, as well as the kids. Their fenced enclosures are spacious, and extremely clean. The goats are fed a strict diet of alfalfa from a supplier upstate to maintain a consistent flavor in their cheeses, yogurt, and milks.

To my moms surprise, the goats were friendly, and because the mother’s were being milked at the time, the smaller kids, she had to admit, were actually pretty cute. They stuck their heads out of the fence to be rubbed, and tried to gnaw on any loose-fitting clothing. They were friendly and playful, and the Catapano’s are frequently quoted saying they truly are happy goats.

In the small store at the farm you can purchase a variety of cheeses, chevre comes in several different favors, they also make feta, and gouda. Goat’s milk yogurt, and fudge can also be found, along with house-made Hot Pepper Jelly, and Lavender Honey from The Taste of the North Fork.

Karen also makes a line of goat milk body products, including handmade soaps, lotions, lip balms, and more. Goat milk is incredibly beneficial to the skin containing many nutrients including vitamins A, C, B1, B6, B12, and E, minerals, citric acid, amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, enzymes, and she adds almond oil, shea butter, silk, and scents to the products which can also be purchased on their website.

The Farm's selection of flavored chevre

If the friendly kids, and bath products didn’t change my moms opinion on goats, the chevre certainly did. Extremely smooth, creamy, and mildly tart, this cheese is one that must be tried by any fan of goat cheese. Perfect for salads, pastas, sandwiches, or eaten alone on a fresh baguette, the plain flavored batch is delicious enough, but there are many flavors including hot pepper, basil and parsley, sun-dried tomato, and lavender honey. To learn more about the Catapano’s Dairy Farm or to order bath products visit their website here. Or stop by the farm at 33705 North Rd, in Peconic, NY 10am-5pm everyday by Tuesday.

Subscribe to this blog or check back soon for recipes featuring the Catapano’s delicious chevre!

Pick from a Bounty of Island Farm Stands

“Ripe red tomatoes. Bright yellow squash. Sweet melons that perfume the air around them. The bounty of summer is ripe for the picking here on Shelter Island at a farm stand near you.”

For the full article in the Shelter Island Reporter, click here.