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A Rare Farm-to-Table Dinner (Slideshow)

A Rare Farm-to-Table Dinner (Slideshow)

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North Fork food and wine growers put together their own farm-to-table celebration.

Goat Milk?

Our first stop is Catapano Dairy Farm, where Karen and Michael Catapano raise over 100 goats, each mature female capable of producing about a gallon of milk daily. This milk is mostly turned into cheese by Michael, but also into cosmetics by Karen.

Chèvre Talking

Hearn is shopping for cheeses that Eberhard Muller will turn into a dressing for a grilled romaine salad. Karen Catapano runs down the list of possibilities — standard soft chèvre, feta, a Romano-style blend of goat and sheep milk, perhaps even yogurt.

Harvest Moon Oysters

Next, we are off to the New Suffolk docks on the Great Peconic Bay where Hearn greets Josh Clauss, who has just returned from his oyster beds — “I can’t give you the location” — with what will be the evening’s first course. “All East Coast oysters are the same variety,” Clauss notes, “just grown in different places.”

All Hands on Sheep

The name “8 Hands Farm” refers to owners Carol Festa and Tom Geppell and their two children. And the eight hands are never idle, raising sheep for meat and chickens for eggs. Tonight’s main course will be their lamb shanks, which Hearn and co-chef for the day, tasting room director Alicia Ekeler, already have simmering on the stove back at Lieb Cellars.

From Manhattan to Cutchogue

When Paulette Satur quit selling wines and Eberhard Muller hung up his toque, they founded Satur Farms in Cutchogue, today farming over 200 acres of vegetables on the North Fork and another 200 in Florida. Eberhard has just come in from the fields to do dinner prep work with the Catapano cheeses. “I am too direct and too honest to be in marketing,” he laughs.

Steaming Shanks

Back at the Lieb estate, Ekeler gives a visual progress report on the braised lamb shanks, which she has been cooking in a mirepoix. A CIA graduate, she is also preparing a side salad of farro and grilled corn as well as a gremolata. Sound good? We’ll get a recipe for you.

The Table Is Set

On the Lieb estate lawn, finishing touches have been put on the table that will seat a dozen guests, who will be arriving a few minutes. Wines for the evening are ready to be poured — a sparkling pinot blanc, a still pinot blanc and a cabernet franc — all made by Hearn from Lieb

Shucking Developments

Clauss is first to arrive, and he has brought with him his shucking knife and glove. His Great Peconic Bay oysters are being served as a walk-around appetizer and will be garnished with a citrus relish reduction that Clauss says his adaptation of a Bobbly Flay recipe.

The Party Is On

Next to arrive are, from left, Tom Geppell and Carol Festa from 8 Hands Farm, Paulette Satur and Eberhard Muller from Satur Farm and the Karen and Michael Catapano from Catapano Dairy. As it is a weekday evening, everyone has arrived around 6 p.m. for the first course of Clauss’ oysters.

Veggies on the Grill

​Meanwhile, Hearn starts grilling the vegetables and fruits — corn for the farro salad plus strips of red bell pepper and zucchini to go with the lamb shanks and grilled peaches with goat-cheese yogurt for dessert. As he and Ekler have marinated the shanks earlier in the day with a Lieb cab franc, he sticks with that wine to serve with the main course.

Romaines of the Day

Hearn turns over the grill to Muller, who has brought along his homemade dressing of Catapano cheeses that he has whipped up to drizzle over grilled mini romaines. “It’s my take on the classic Caesar,” he says. In order to keep the romaine intact while grilling, Muller leaves the small stalks attached as he slices each head in half.

Our Dinner with Russell

Soon everyone is seated as the sun begins dropping to treetop level. Hearn takes a chair at one end of the table, and Richard Bailey, CEO of Premium Beverage Group, the owner of Lieb Cellars, welcomes guests at the other end. While some of the farmers and fishermen already know each other, it’s been mostly a “hello” or a passing nod. Soon, though, everyone is comparing notes about farming and marketing, fishing and sailing — and providing local gossip and humorous anecdotes. Already, everyone is saying, “We have to do dinners like this more often!”

7 StyleCaster Editors’ Go-To Dinner Recipes

Everyone who cooks has a favorite recipe or two: The ones you go for when you’re feeling too tired or lazy to browse blogs for inspiration or do a real grocery shop, but still have enough wherewithal to make something instead of hitting up Seamless.

Because we can all use more no-brainer, always-satisfying recipes in our lives—auto-recipes, if you will—we asked seven editors what their go-to dinners are when they’re low-energy after a long day, or just because the recipe is so damn good they can’t stop making it.

Click through the gallery of delicious, healthy, editor-approved (and -tested) dinner recipes—then try them yourself.

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“Hot, cold, or room temperature, I love the briny bite of the capers and anchovies against the creamy eggs.” —Dawn Perry, senior web editor

Gigante beans have a nutty, buttery flavor and creamy texture, and hold together when cooked.

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Known as man's best friend for a reason, dogs make some of the best pets. But figuring out which breed is right for you and your family can be difficult, especially with so many to choose from. Each animal has its own personality, smarts, and build, which means each breed brings something unique to the table. Whether you're looking for a breed that's unlike any pup you've met in the past or you simply want to find the best one to match your personality, we're here to help. Ahead, we're showing you some of the most unusual dog breeds around&mdashthey shouldn't be overlooked on your search for a pet.

Perhaps one of the most widely known unusual breeds is the Puli, pictured here. It's a very old Hungarian breed dating back to the Middle Ages. Experts speculate that the Puli is one of the direct ancestors of the poodle to this day, there are a few standard poodles that have corded coats. This unique breed almost died out in World War II but was revived by a group of hobbyists. Friendly and intelligent, they make great pets for people who have time to attend to their high-maintenance coats. Another affectionate group of dogs with unique fur is the Bergamasco Sheepdog. Unlike an English Sheepdog, this breed has long loose mats of fur, creating a unique texture. In fact, three different textures form the hair to create the signature matted look.

A lack of fur can make a dog unique, too, as evidenced by the Chinese Crested breed. Often depicted in films as a pet to the rich and famous, this dog is nothing short of regal. Known for its signature bare skin, it features long-haired fur on the head, tail, and ankles. From the short and long Pekingese to the cloud-like Coton de Tulear, explore a number of unusual dog breeds that until now, you might have never known existed.

Steak Pizzaiola

Season both sides of each steak generously with the salt and black pepper. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the garlic. When the garlic starts to shimmer, carefully place the steaks in the pan. Cook the steaks individually if your pan won’t accommodate both steaks without touching.

Sear the steaks on each side for 7 minutes, or until the meat is dark brown on each side. Transfer the steaks to a large sheet of parchment paper.

Add the bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms to the pan and saute for 5 minutes, tossing frequently.

When the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have browned, add the wine and cook for 2 minutes more.

Place steak back in the pan with sauce and cook for 2 minutes for medium-rare.

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

TIP: If serving family style, slice the steaks on a diagonal and transfer to a warmed serving platter. If serving individually, place each steak on a warmed plate. Spoon the sauce over the steaks.

Fun, fresh farm-to-table dining in the Monterey area

1 of 9 Since 2009, Chateau Julien Wine Estate's Dine in Di-Vine has been a highlight of the Monterey Peninsula's Classic Car Week. The family-style dinner is served in the 5-acre Sangiovese vineyard. Chateau Julien Wine Estate Show More Show Less

2 of 9 The farm at Esalen Farm and Garden provides the ingredients for the meal included at "Experiencing the Esalen Farm and Garden." events. K. Hamblin Show More Show Less

4 of 9 Not surprisingly, Esalen Farm and Garden in Big Sur has a farm-to-table program, which includes dinner prepared with ingredients picked straight from the farm. K. Hamblin Show More Show Less

5 of 9 If your itinerary doesn't include Carmel Valley, you can still drop by a farmer's market in Aptos, Monterey or Carmel. Monterey County CVB Show More Show Less

7 of 9 The tasting room and grounds of Chateau Julien in Carmel Valley. Chad Ziemendorf/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

The same climate and soil conditions that produce the wine that is such an important part of the Monterey Bay area's identity also nurtures a wide variety of crops, with lettuce and strawberries topping the list. Agriculture, in fact, is the region's top earner, bringing in twice as much as tourism. Even if hardly anyone goes to visit grandma's farm on family vacations any more, visitors to this area can eat as if they did, but with gourmet panache. Perhaps the ultimate expression of the "locavore" movement that the Monterey area has ardently embraced is the farm-to-table dinner, sometimes known as a field dinner or a field-to-fork meal. Several variations on this theme pop up throughout the region to take advantage of the agricultural riches. Here's a sampling:

A great catch in Carmel Highlands: Abalone

The Meet the Farmer Lunch Series is more than feasting on local bounty straight from the source &mdash it's an education in how it comes into being, how it gets to your table and how to put it to best use, all delivered with equal parts knowledge and passion by the folks that make it happen. The second lunch of 2012 stars the world's favorite mollusk, which will be both elucidated and consumed high above the ocean waves.

The farmers are Arthur Seavey and Trevor Fay of the Monterey Abalone Co., who will talk about maintaining the long tradition of producing food from the sea, in this case through natural, sustainable aqua-culture. Next up, Matt Bolton, executive chef of the host, Pacific's Edge restaurant at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands. Bolton will present a lunch of three abalone courses, paired with wines, and join the farmers and attendees in the repast. Inspired guests may try to replicate the meal at home from recipes Bolton will provide.

A final &ldquoMeet the Farmer&rdquo lunch, yet to be scheduled, will take place in the fall.

June 9, 12 noon-2 p.m. $75. Hyatt 120 Highlands Drive, Carmel. (831) 622-5445,

Basque cuisine among the vines, eye candy for dessert

If you're not especially interested in the cream of the world's vintage car crop, it might have passed your notice that the Monterey Peninsula's Classic Car Week lineup includes one event that will get any food-lover's motor going. Since 2009, Chateau Julien Wine Estate's Dine in Di-Vine has been a highlight of the motor classic.

The four-course field dinner is served family style in the winery's 5-acre Sangiovese vineyard. Diners choose from several entrees from on chef Terry Teplitzky's Basque menu and select their wine, then adjourn to the chateau after dinner for dessert, coffee, and ogling some delicious vintage autos.

Aug. 15-19, 6 p.m. $63 (2011 price 2012 not set). 8940 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel. (831) 624-2600,

Whole foods, holistic learning at Esalen

It should come as no surprise that farm-to-table manifests in its truest, most holistic sense at Esalen, which has scheduled four special programs culminating in a dinner in which food literally comes from the farm straight to the table. The first is "Experiencing the Esalen Farm and Garden," a week beginning with cultivation, composting, transplanting and harvesting experience on the retreat's vegetable, herb and flower plots. The work is integrated with a series of self-awareness workshops and culminates in a farm-to-table dinner prepared on the farm as a group. The program will be repeated twice in 2012.

The second is a five-course farm-to-table dinner prepared with Big Sur and Esalen farm produce paired with Idle Cellars wine during the Big Sur Food & Wine Festival. Special rates include mineral baths, movement classes and meals, including the farm dinner prepared by Esalen chefs.

May 27-June 1, Aug. 24-26 and Sept. 23-28, Experiencing the Esalen Farm and Garden. Nov. 4-6, Big Sur Food & Wine Festival Weekend Retreat. Call for prices. Esalen Institute, 55000 Highway, Big Sur. (831) 667-3000,

The DIY approach

It's also worth checking in with Chaminade in Santa Cruz and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in coming months. They have staged farm-to-table dinners during later months of recent years but haven't announced plans for 2012 yet.

Farm-to-table dinners are still rare enough that they are occasional events that tend to sell out and cost a lot of money. Visitors without a rich uncle, though, can have a farm-to-table dinner any time without a strain on the budget. Stop in at Earthbound Farms in Carmel Valley, avail yourself of the cut-your-own herb garden or take one of their walks or classes (beginning in June), and grab a bite at their Organic Kitchen. Or just buy a bagful of goodies to take home or to your favorite picnic spot.

And if your itinerary doesn't include Carmel Valley, drop by a farmers' market in Aptos, Monterey or Carmel. They are celebrating their 35th anniversary this year with all kinds of special events, and the growers will gladly tell you everything you want to know about their produce and the best way to prepare it. It doesn't get much more farm-to-table than that.

Lamb may not be as popular as chicken or pork for an everyday meal, but we're here to convince you that this meat really is just as versatile and special as the others in your weekly rotation. The most common cuts of lamb include lamb loins, ground lamb, lamb shoulder, and leg of lamb. While some cuts are more suited to casual weeknight meals&mdashsuch as ground lamb for burgers or lamb loins&mdashothers, like a rack of lamb, are best for an extra-special holiday dinner. Ahead, we're sharing our favorite lamb recipes that will inspire you to cook with this protein more often.

Our Lamb Shoulder Barbacoa, pictured here, is a labor of love but it's just right for a summertime meal. Start by creating a paste of ancho chiles, light brown sugar, chipotle in adobo sauce, the juice and zest of a few limes, and spices. Marinate the lamb shoulder in the paste, then wrap the meat in banana leaves and grill over indirect heat for two hours until it's tender and succulent. The result is a delicious, flavorful meat that you can pile into tortillas and top with salsa verde, sliced radishes, and sour cream.

If you want to get dinner on the table in less than one hour, prepare our Zucchini, Lamb, and Summer Squash Kebabs with Buttermilk Dill Marinade. They're the perfect light summer meal and a great way to highlight seasonal produce and a top-round leg of lamb. On a chilly night, make our Lamb and Bulgur Stew with White Beans. Simmer ground lamb with paprika, diced plum tomatoes, and bulgur in water towards the end of the cooking process, add cannellini beans, baby spinach, and feta cheese until everything is cooked through. It's a hearty dish that you simply can't pass up when the weather turns frosty.

Whether you start by serving something like our Crown Roast of Lamb with Pilaf Stuffing for Christmas dinner or our Grilled Lamb Burgers with Yogurt-Feta Sauce to celebrate the start of summer, you'll quickly see that lamb recipes deserve a place on your table all year long.

2 of 6

Look-Alike Vintage Pyrex Dishes

The classic Pyrex dishes that your grandmother might have used have a long, 111-year history. It all started in 1908 when Corning Glass Works began producing Nonex, a thermally-resistant expansion glass, according to Kitchn. Because the glass could withstand temperature changes and didn&rsquot retain food smells or change the taste of food, it was one of the most innovative glasses for dishware and bakeware on the market, quickly becoming a staple in households for cooking and baking. While the company first started making dishware pieces in clear glass, it began producing the iconic colorful pieces in 1936 using opal glass, which also had the same heat-resistant properties. Shortly after in 1945, the infamous pastel-colored Pyrex nesting bowls were released. Today, we continue to see modern versions of nesting mixing bowls with patterns inspired by some of the vintage Pyrex patterns of the 1950s and 1960s in pastel colors such as as an eggshell blue or a bubblegum pink.


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