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Posts tagged ‘Local Farms’

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!

Upcoming Events in NYC

There are a few really interesting foodie events coming up in New York City starting tomorrow, all featuring some really amazing local talents, and plenty of cocktails, beer, and meat.

Sunday, January 22nd:

Cochon 555
Only a select number of tickets ($125) remain for this event, but it sounds like a really great way to spend your Sunday. Five chefs (Bill Telepan, Peter Hoffman (Savoy), Brad Farmerie (Public), George Mendez (Aldea), and Sean Rembold (Marlow & Sons), will each prepare a different breed of heritage pig, and the winner will go on to the national tournament. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Brewery will be serving beer, Murray’s Cheese will also be there, and according to NYMag there will be wine, oysters, and caviar as well.

Tuesday, January 25th:

Good Spirits at Le Poisson Rouge
From 5-8pm Edible Magazine will host this seasonal cocktail pairing event where they have matched “mixology-minded chefs and food artisans” with “spectacular, storied spirits.” Tickets are $40 and available here.

Hidden Treasures from the Cellar, Vintage Beers from Brooklyn Brewery at Back Forty:
Back Forty(190 Ave B at 12th st) will be hosting Brooklyn Brewery for a special pairing event featuring some of their vintage unreleased brews. The menu is available on the restaurant’s website, and tickets are available here for $103 (including tax and tip).

Wednesday, January 26th

SLOW U: Good Meat with Author Deborah Krasner at Brooklyn Kitchen

Deborah Krasner author of “Good Meat” the “The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat” will talk about the good meat movement and how it impacts the environment, our diet, and the way we cook. Tom Mylan of the Meat Hook will do a beef sashimi tasting to demonstrate the qualities of different meat cuts. Proceeds of the event will benefit Slow Food NYC, and Krasner will be signing copies of her new book which features over 200 nose-to-tail recipes.

6:30 pm at Brooklyn Kitchen, 100 Frost St, Brooklyn, NY. Tickets $25, available online.

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!

Ingredients
(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)

arugula
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.
-Enjoy!

Dinner at John’s (the Winter Edition)

The days were just starting to get shorter,and the weather colder. I broke out my scarf, my gloves, and that is when it hit me. Maybe it was school, or work, whatever it was, I needed a break from the City. Going out to Shelter Island for the weekend is always proves to be a great escape, especially when you have a dinner party with a great group of friends planned.

I visit the Union Square farmer’s market weekly, and other outdoor markets like the New Amsterdam Market have a great selection of produce and other food items even during the colder months, which is also true for the farm stands on the East End. I didn’t get a chance to go while I was visiting, but the Sag Harbor Farmer’s Market has moved indoors for the winter and runs on Saturdays at 34 Bay St. from 9am – 1pm as well. I took a Jitney in the afternoon and missed the market, but had access to another great local food that is in season… bay scallops! While my family usually purchases scallops from our neighbor who is a commercial fisherman, we went to Commander Cody’s on Shelter Island to pick up a couple of pounds for dinner.

Bay Scallops, Parsley Coulis, Fennel and Orange Slaw

Since I had already promised John I’d make Sweet Potato Gnocci for the meal, I thought the scallops would stand out better on their own as a first course. Scallops, especially fresh bay scallops, have a sweet and delicate flavor that can easily get lost among a starch, or a strong sauce. I like to serve them seared, without any batter or coating. I bring oil up to a med-high temperature in saute pan, and allow the scallops to develop a golden “crust” on both sides, and finish them with some butter, salt and pepper, off the heat. They cook extremely quickly, and it is important not to leave them over the flame for more than a few minutes at most, as they can become very chewy. I served them over a parsley coulis which added just a little zest without concealing the flavor of the scallops. See a quick recipe for the coulis at bottom of post.

Vanessa brought a really beautiful salad featuring some really spicy young arugala her mother grew. Borrowing a recipe from my favorite, Ina Garten, she added roasted butternut squash, roasted pecans, and a warm shallot-apple cider vinagrette. Instead of dried cranberries she tossed in some pomegrante seeds, which were tart, sweet, and a nice seasonal touch.

Sweet Potato Gnocci

The Sweet Potato Gnocci were a little intimidating, but I chose to use a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis that featured ricotta cheese as an ingredient, as I recalled a Mark Bittman article earlier in the month stating the light fluffy texture of gnocci made just with the cheese. The dough was a bit difficult to work with, which made for some interesting looking gnocci– but they tasted really great, and that’s all that really matters, right?

Instead of Giada’s sweet sauce, I did a brown butter sauce with a little fried sage, pancetta, and because it was a dinner party at John’s, we had to incorporate some gently sautéed oyster mushrooms. Connor did a wonderful job of finishing the plate with just a little freshly grated parmesan cheese, a component which really tied all the flavors together. While extremely rich, this dish was excellent. The gnocci had a nice soft texture, and the sauce had really wonderful warming flavors that were so enjoyed on a cold winter night (the red wines John picked for the evening didn’t hurt either).

While we couldn’t sit out back on the porch and drink lovely pink gin cocktails, and look out at the water front– we stayed cozy inside and were full, happy, and warm. Winter is a great time for food, and so many ingredients are still in season to create hearty, and memorable meals.

Parsley Coulis:

Ingredients:
2 T oil
2 shallots (minced)
1 oz mushrooms (chopped finely)
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 bunch parsley, stemmed
S & P
Lemon Juice

-Bring water to a boil in small sauce pot, add parsley for a few seconds, drain, and quickly place in ice bath. Drain on paper towels, squeeze out all excess moisture. (This step helps parsley retain vibrant color for finished sauce).

-Sweat the shallots and mushrooms in a pan with 2 T oil, without achieving color. Add 1/2 cup stock, cook until mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat.

-Pour contents in food processor or blender, puree about a minute. Add parsley. Pour contents back into pan, season to taste. Keep warm for service.

Burlington, VT: Slow-Food Burgers at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill

Misty Knoll Free Range Turkey Burger at the Farmhouse

If you turn onto Bank Street, off of the pedestrian-only cobblestone Church Street– where you once could find a McDonald’s tucked behind the shops and restaurants– you will stand before The Farmhouse Tap & Grill: a gastropub “dedicated to showcasing and supporting local farms and food producers.” A clear victory for the local food movement, and a perfect example of just how progressive Vermont is, I was excited to see what the menu had to offer.

We travelled down from Mike’s house to meet his parents, and Dan, who were in the outdoor beer garden. While it was quite a bit colder than NYC, there were still quite a few people outside enjoying beers from the extensive selection. We sat inside quickly, and our drink order was taken immediately. I took Dan’s advice and tried the Victory/Stone/Dogfish Head DeBuff, a collaboration between Victory Brewing Co, Stone Brewing Co, and Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales. With a hoppy front, and an herbal finish, the crisp beer is infused with (cue the Simon & Garfunkel) parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

Photo: Dan Kirk

We started with a selection of Vermont Cheeses, served with local Red Hen bakery bread, Vermont apple butter, and maple candied walnuts. Favorites included the Jasper Hill/Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Peaked Mountain Farm VT Dandy, and the Consider Bardwell Farm Equinox, a hard, sharp, raw goat’s milk cheese. Mrs. Kirk shared the interesting story of Consider Bardwell’s farmer Angela Miller, and how she ended up in West Pawlet Vermont (after spending many years on Shelter Island).

The restaurant is known for its burgers, which are all composed of local meats. Their beef burgers are made with Maple Wind Farm Grass Fed Beed, from Huntington, VT– and are topped with Landaff Creamery cheese, VS&C bacon, and house pickled red onion (other toppings are available for all burgers such as Laughing Lotus Farm Kimchi, House Pickled Jalapenos, and Wilted Lacinato Kale. They serve a Pork burger with a sunny side up local egg, Vermont Cheddar, and tomato (the pork is farm pasture raised at Winding Brook Farm in Morrisville), and I had the Misty Knoll Free Range Turkey Burger with Taylor Farm smoked gouda, grilled local apple, charred onions, and arugula. They also had several specials (Dan had the special Venison burger), as well as vegetarian options (Farmhouse Veggie Burger, and Portobello White Bean Burger).

Photo: Dan Kirk

My burger was moist and flavorful, which is not always a given with turkey burgers. The toppings offered the perfect blend of sweet and savory, without over-powering the mild taste of the turkey. The fries were hot, crispy, and served with a variety of condiments brought out to the table (the garlic aioli was a favorite).

Photo: Dan Kirk

The Farmhouse was very crowded, almost all of the tables seemed to be full, and the bar was pretty packed by the time we left. Like it’s sister restaurant American Flatbread (which we ordered take out from the night before, see menu here,) it seems to be quickly becoming a Burlington favorite. The atmosphere wasn’t amazing, the room was large and fairly impersonal (it was after-all, a McDonald’s) but we had a great table of people, interesting conversations, and plenty of beer, all of which allowed one to easily ignore their surroundings. With it’s impressive locavore (or as Dan might prefer it, localvore) menu, and not to mention it’s beer list– it’s not difficult to see why this is such a popular spot.

Upcoming Events: Eat Drink Local Week

Click Here to find out more about the second annual Eat Drink Local week, a collaboration of Edible Communities, Grow NYC, and local restaurants, wineries, breweries, farmers, food artisans, and more. Described not just as a restaurant week, but as a get-to-know your local food market, farmer, and artisan food-maker week. Events feature locavore meals and deals, the Sotheby’s Vegetable Auction, the Stone Barns Harvest Fest, and more.

Butternut Squash, Wild Mushroom, and Sage Risotto

That brisk breeze in the air this week has been quite the relief. No more air conditioners, and hopefully a final farewell to the general stickiness, smelly-ness, and other joys that make up summer in the city. Fall is also a time to welcome back our favorite sweaters, scarves, flannels, the warm colors of the changing leaves, and some of the most comforting ingredients from local harvests. Fall means apples, winter squashes (Butternut, acorn, spaghetti, pumpkin), leeks, root veggies, Brussel sprouts, and beans. These are some of my favorite vegetables, and autumn dishes are some of my favorite of the year. I am looking forward to doing a lot of experimenting while practicing my knife skills and cooking techniques for school.

This week I made a simple Butternut Squash, Sage, and Wild Mushroom Risotto. Risotto is easy to make, inexpensive, and can make a hearty main dish as well as a rich side to meat dishes. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash
1 cup Arborio rice
1 quart homemade or free-range chicken stock
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 T butter
1 T chopped fresh sage
Hen-of-the-woods (Maitake) mushrooms
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Procedure:

1. Peel the squash, remove seeds, square off, and chop into 3/4 inch cubes. Put on a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper Roast about 30 mins.

2. Mince shallots, and in a large pot, melt butter. Saute shallots until clear. Ass the rice and cook for about 3 minutes.

3. Add stock one cup at a time, simmering on low heat, about every ten minutes.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the mushrooms in a rough chop. Saute in oil or butter, adding water, until somewhat soft (about 10 minutes, but it’s best to taste for doneness).

5. Cook for about 45 minutes total (until rice is al dente). Remove from heat.

6. Add squash, and stir in cheese and chopped sage.

7. Garnish with cheese.

Stay tuned for my next fall recipe, Savory Polenta with Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes, Japanese Eggplant, and mozzarella Cheese.

Maitake Mushrooms, fresh from Union Square.

So Long, Sweet Summer.

It is a bittersweet thing to say goodbye to summer, but there is nothing like a colorful bounty of late August produce straight from the farm to bring the season to an end. John decided this would be exactly the way our summer should come to a close, by enjoying all our local community could offer us before I had to depart back to city life–and the French Culinary Institute! Oh, yeah, and… work– full-time.

While I had been anxiously awaiting John’s party all week, myself and the rest of the Island were also just as anxiously anticipating Hurricane Earl. Determined that the show must go on, John ventured to the East Hampton farmer’s market early Friday morning before the storm could get really bad (which it never did, excluding our very wet entrance, and a brown-out that killed our melancholy mix of music for a brief moment).

John had picked up a diverse and mouth-watering wealth of produce– from red, orange, yellow, green, and deep purple heirloom tomatoes of varying shapes and sizes, scallions, vibrant (and incredibly fragrant) basil, and of course no meal would be complete without some of David Falkowski’s mushrooms (this time they were oyster, which John had been telling us all summer, are the absolute best). He had also picked up some mozzarella cheese, made that morning in East Hampton town. And Vanessa and Conor had brought over a selection of veggies from their garden as well, including carrots, plum tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.

Straight from Vee's Garden

While sipping Campari and Sodas (though we agreed given the weather, Dark and Stormys may have been more appropriate), John prepared our first course, a really simple dish that he promised would really surprise us. Sautéed Scallions with a little ground black pepper and sea salt– it doesn’t get easier than that, yet I had really never thought about serving them alone. The fresh scallions were so flavorful, and incredibly delicious.

For our next course, I prepared stacks of heirloom tomato slices, the FRESH (did I mention it was made that morning?) mozzarella cheese, and basil, topped with a little extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and just a fine drizzle of a really beautiful bottle of balsamic. We soaked up the tomatoes’ juice, oil, salt and vinegar with some fresh baguette.

Now with the flavors of this mild, sweet, airy cheese, the occasional salty bite, or zesty and herbal from the basil, we moved on to our fourth bottle of wine, and the main dish.

The Impossible-to-Describe-How-Good-They-Are Oyster Mushrooms

The main course would really be a showcase for the beautiful oyster mushrooms. Sautéed lightly in butter and garlic, he served the mushrooms over fregola, with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley and shaved parmesan.

Our conversation, the music, our wine, and most of all our food was spectacular. The mushrooms stole the show– we dedicated a solid five minutes to trying to put together some words to describe just how amazing they are. If we came up with anything, that thought out definition must have gotten lost in the wine.

For Dessert I baked a really simple Kutchen with some sugar plums I had bought on the North Fork. Not too sweet, with just a hint of cinnamon, topped with some vanilla frozen yogurt, and of course, paired with some more wine, it made for a pretty fabulous finish to an incredible meal.

We held toasts to many things that night. To great friends, great food, and some new and exciting things happening this Fall. Outside, it no longer seemed like summer, but we were full and warm from wine and the comforting of the season. Autumn will arrive soon with new ingredients for another dinner party, and the promise of more fond memories to come.

About the Wine (Thanks for helping me remember John).

With Appetizers:
Chateau Le Thil Comte Clary Pessac Leognan 2004 White Bordeaux. We loved this. Great light wine with a beautiful lychee finish.

With Mozzarella:
Domus Vitae
Brunello di Montalcino 2004. Started great but faded quickly. Started with a smoke and cherry front, after breathing a bit flavor became less complex and more fruity.

Then…
Clos Del Conde
PRIORAT 2004 Spanish Grenache/Carignan/Cabernet/Syrah Blend. We loved this.

With Dinner:
Patrick Lesec
Chateauneuf Du pape “Galets Blonds” 2006. We really loved this. With a higher alcohol content, this flavor quickly hit the back of the tongue. Full-bodied and complex, we tasted fruit flavors and a sweet tannin along with a hint of richer, darker flavors like espresso.

Thank you again John for being a wonderful host, and to Vanessa, Conor, and Jim as well for being the best company!

What’s in Season? August on Long Island.

Hayground1

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.

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!