Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ken Druse "Real Dirt" Interview episode with me for Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook

It was a double header for me on December 17th
Perhaps a better turn of phrase and a more seasonal reference is to say I got two gifts in one on that Monday before Christmas.

First up was the taped interview with Ken Druse at 9 am.
Ken is a world-class, passionate, garden star.
His bio says it best: He is nationally known as a garden expert, and with the huge success of his six titles -- The Natural Garden, The Natural Shade Garden, The Natural Habitat Garden, The Collector's Garden, and Making More Plants: The Science, Art, and Joy of Propagation, and Natural Companions  -- is America's best-loved gardener.

I am proud to say I own and reference – and revere – all of Ken’s books. They are signed by him too as I have been privileged to learn from his lectures and talks – and those happy educational forays are most often accompanied by a book signing. 

So it was with great anticipation that I looked forward to being a guest on his radio podcast show. 
Well, truth be told, I picked up the phone at our scheduled time but due to multi-tasking, getting ready for that afternoon’s Homegrown book talk and book signing at the United Way of Greater Mercer County at the Nassau Inn in Princeton, I ask “Who is this?” after Ken’s good morning greeting.  Lucky for me, Ken is a bulletproof Jersey & Brooklyn force of nature and didn’t hold it against me. 
We got right to work.
However, it’s not really “work” when we both get to talk about our favorite things: plants and edibles and food and wine. 
So, Ken directed the interview and well, just like that, he said the 20 -- or was it 30? –minutes were up. 
There was the hearty thank you and sign off.  Ken said he’d be editing the interview and let me know when he posted it. 
Ken emailed that he thought I’d like it. I wrote back that I like most everything he does...
But it was with great anticipation amidst all the holiday hullabaloo that I looked forward to hearing the Homegrown interview. 
I posted it straight away to the book’s Facebook page.
This is the first chance I’ve had to post to the Master Chef & Their Gardens blog.

Below is the text from Ken’s Real Dirt page.  

I’ve posted the link to his “Ken Druse Real Dirt” garden podcast

And to his MP3 File.  You can also subscribe and listen on your iPod via iTunes.
From Real Dirt:     
Long Island has rich sandy soil and gorgeous weather with long languid autumns that often do not end until December. For decades, this was farm country, and the number one crop was potato.

(Biodynamic farmer Kathy Keller with chef Robby Beaver of The Frisky Oyster,
Towns on the south fork of the east end of Long Island, NY, are often collectively referred to as “The Hamptons,” today, and are among the top vacation spots in the Country. And as for farms, many are still there, but the crops have diversified to serve weekenders and the restaurants they frequent -- many of which have become world famous.

Nick and Toni’s, Loaves & Fishes, The Frisky Oyster are but three of 27 establishments profiled in Leeann Lavin’s new book: The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook about locavore chefs and their connection to the land, the sea and the artisanal growers who inspire them. Leeann said,      “[It’s about] the respect and reverence the chef & farmer have for each other, their work and passion, and the respect and reverence they have for the land.”

     “Long Island is still recognized as the most productive farming area in New York State,” said Leeann. She profiles the growers on the north and south fork of Long Island and the chefs who are inspired by their produce. The book is filled with signature recipes from the featured restaurants.  The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook is a tribute to the farms, gardens, vineyards and waterways on Long Island. Leeann honors the chefs who are bringing the local homegrown harvest to food-obsessed patrons and in doing so support local farmers and a precious way of life.      To learn more, visit Leeann Lavin’s Chefs and Gardens blog.

The Frisky Oyster’s Roasted Baby Beet Salad with Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese
makes 4 salads

for the beets…
10 baby red beets

10 baby golden beets

10 baby candy stripe beets

1 bunch fresh thyme

2 cups balsamic vinegar

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

for the plating…
roasted baby beets, baby arugula - best fresh from a local organic farm
½ cup sherry vinaigrette
4 slices of Humboldt Fog goat’s milk cheese or your favorite goat’s milk cheese
1 cup salted pistachios
Place the beets, thyme, oil and vinegar in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake at 375 until a toothpick or knife slides into and out of the beets with little resistance.

Uncover and allow to cool in the cooking liquid, then refrigerate for several hours or until cold.

Remove the beets from the liquid and peel each one, removing any peel around the stem end.
Cut them in half and set them aside.

for the pistachios…
1 cup pistachios, raw
1Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Place the pistachios on a baking sheet and put in the 375 oven to toast for 8-10 minutes.

While they are cooking, place a small sauté pan on a high flame to allow to get hot.

Add the tbsp of butter and swirl, remove from the heat and reserve for the nuts.

When the pistachios are done, place them in a mixing bowl, add the brown butter, salt and sugar and toss to evenly coat.

Set the nuts aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

for the sherry vinaigrette…
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 fl oz dry sherry
5 fl oz sherry vinegar
1 cup canola or neutral salad oil
½ cup pure olive oil
3 Tbsp walnut oil
salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Place all ingredients except the oils in a blender and process on high.
slowly stream in the oils, one at a time until the vinaigrette is smooth.
season to taste with salt and pepper to your liking.

Thank you, Ken. 
And of course, thank you to all the Homegrown chefs and their inspired growers and artisanal food makers. 

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