Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Food Network to host first-ever virtual Thanksgiving

While every day is a food holiday for food lovers, Thanksgiving reigns supreme as the mother of all things culinary. 
In honor of Thanksgiving, every foodie’s favorite holiday, the Food Network organized a Virtual Thanksgiving: The Communal Table, scheduled for Wednesday, November 16 at noon EST. 

Food writers have been invited to post an article about the dish they are “bringing” to The Communal Table.  The Food Network curates and aggregates the recipes so that readers and viewers can discover what food experts are bringing to the Table. 

There will be a cornucopia of recipes to peruse, try out and serve for an exciting, Thanksgiving menu of unmatched variety.

This reporter is bringing a seasonal recipe from her soon to be released cookbook:  Hamptons and Long Island Homegrown Cookbook. While there are nearly a hundred delicious mouthwatering dishes to be found in the book, all created by local, farm to table and fin to fork master chefs from which to choose to from, here are three to jump start the Thanksgiving holiday:

The American Hotel Peconic Clam Chowder
Serves 8

1 c. smoked bacon, finely diced
1/2 lb. sweet butter
2 medium onions, chopped to 1/4-inch dice
4 c. leeks, whites only, washed and chopped to 1/4-inch dice
1 bouquet garni (2 fresh bay leaves, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, and 6 fresh parsley stalks tied together)
1 c. dry white wine
2 c. Wondra flour
2 qt. clam juice, heated and strained
1 qt. milk, hot
1 qt. cream, hot
3 c. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
1/2 gal. chowder clams, chopped and juice reserved
1 qt. surf clams, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

In a stockpot, render down the bacon until it is light golden brown. Add and melt the butter. Add the onions, leeks, and bouquet garni. Sweat, covered, for 10 minutes (cook gently with a lid on low-medium to low heat). Deglaze with the white wine, and on a low flame, reduce until dry. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 5 minutes, to form a blonde roux.
Gradually add in the hot clam juice, milk, and cream, and any strained juices from the clams. Stir. Add the potatoes, and cook until they are cooked but still a little firm (about 15 minutes). Next, add both chowder clams and surf clams. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir well, and skim off any impurities. Add salt and pepper to taste and chopped parsley. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

Almond Restaurant Grilled Quail with a Warm Beet, Frisée, and Pistachio Salad
Serves 4

4 semiboneless quail (quail with all bones removed except the leg and wing bones)
3 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
2 tbsp. grapeseed oil (canola would also be fine)
3 sprigs fresh sage
1 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
kosher salt, to taste
1 1/2 c. roasted baby beets, mixed colors, chopped to large dice
1 head frisée, cleaned (core and dark green leaves discarded)
3 tbsp. pistachios, roasted and shelled
5 chives, cut to matchstick size

About 5 hours before you plan on eating, lay the quail in 1 layer in a small casserole dish or Tupperware container. They should fit snugly. In a mixing bowl, combine the honey, vinegar, oil, sage, and peppercorns. Whisk vigorously for a moment. Pour the mixture over the quail. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill for about 5 hours.
Heat the grill. Remove the quail from the marinade (reserve the marinade), and season with salt. Put the quail on the hottest part of the grill. You want to crisp the skin before the quail gets overcooked in the middle. Quail is best when pink. If the grill is nice and hot, the bird shouldn’t need to be on the grill for more than 2 1/2 to 3 minutes (2 minutes on one side, 30 to 60 seconds on the other).
While the quail is cooking, put the reserved marinade in a nonreactive saucepot and heat it on high heat. As soon as the marinade comes to a simmer, take it off the heat and pour it through a strainer to remove the sage and black pepper.
Put the beets, frisée, and nuts in a mixing bowl. Season with salt, and toss. Add the warm marinade. (You may not need it all.) Toss again. Divide the salad between four warm salad plates.
When you take the quail off the grill, let them rest for a moment, then cut each in half. Crisscross the halves on top of the salads. Garnish with the chives, and serve.

Vine Street Café – Shelter Island- Sticky Toffee Pudding with Toasted Almond Brittle
Pastry Chef Lisa Harwood
Serves 8-10 people

Sticky Toffee Pudding:
3/4 c. dates, chopped and pitted
1 c. boiling water
1/4 c. brewed coffee (French roast or full bodied)
1 tsp. baking soda
4 tbsp. unsalted butter (room temperature)
3/4 c. sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. plus 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
pinch salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 c. walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted
1/4 c. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
3/4 c. pitted dates, chopped

Preheat a convection oven to 325°F or a conventional oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x5-inch ceramic loaf pan. Measure all the ingredients. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, then add the chopped chocolate and walnuts. In a separate bowl, place the chopped dates and coffee, baking soda, and boiling water. Set aside.
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until blended. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter and mix until just combined. Pour the dates and coffee into the batter, and mix until just combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a spatula, and stir to make sure the batter is evenly mixed. Pour batter into the loaf pan (previously greased). Bake until “pudding” is set and a cake tester (toothpick) comes out clean. It will look like a cake when it is finished.

Toffee Sauce:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
pinch salt

Place all of the ingredients in stainless steel saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Boil gently over medium to low heat until the sauce has thickened (about 10 minutes). Be careful not to over cook the sauce; it should have the consistency of a warm caramel sauce.

Toasted Almond Brittle:
1 1/3 c. water
4 c. sugar
3/4 c. corn syrup
2 sticks (16 tbsp.) sweet organic or unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 c. toasted sliced almonds

To make the caramel, combine the water, sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in a stainless steel pot. Cook without stirring until mixture becomes a light-colored caramel. Turn the stove off, and quickly yet carefully stir in the baking soda. Add nuts. Turn the mixture out onto a silpat/silicone mat or baking sheet, and spread evenly with the back of a wooden spoon. Move quickly and carefully. Caramel cools quickly making it difficult to spread while remaining seriously hot to the touch.
            To serve: Remove the Toffee Pudding from the baking pan, and place on a small sheet pan. Pour half the sauce over the cake, and place under the broiler until the sauce starts to bubble. Take the cake out of the oven, and place on a serving dish. Pour the remaining half of the sauce over the cake. Rough chop the almond brittle and sprinkle it over the cake. The Sticky Toffee Pudding can be served with your favorite ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

Bon Appetit! 

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