09/02/17 6:00am

Long Island duck, spatchcocked and fresh off the grill. (Credit: John Ross)

I have cooked many ducks in my long career. They were a signature item at Ross’ Restaurant in Southold for many years, helping to define the cuisine of the North Fork. Duck is not only a great part of our Long Island heritage, it is also delicious when cooked properly. Finally, duck is a great complement to good red wine, especially the merlots and cabernet francs of the North Fork.

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08/19/17 6:00am

Season bounty preserved at home (from left): adult applesauce, tomatoes with basil and peaches with cinnamon. (Credit: John Ross)

My parents grew up on farms in Ontario, where their mothers spent much of the summer canning fruits and vegetables for use in the long, cold winter. The produce came from their garden, which was tended all summer long. My wife grew up on a farm in Michigan, where her mother spent much of the summer canning. She would drive all the way to Traverse City to buy buckets of cherries, one of the few things that she didn’t grow herself, to be preserved and end up in cherry pie. Preserving, a necessity for farm families then, is pretty much a lost art now that we purchase most everything ready to eat. But if you want to experience the fresh, preservative-free taste and aromas from our local tomatoes, peaches and apples, here are some small-quantity, easy-to-make beginner recipes. (more…)

08/05/17 6:00am

The younger set at poolside during the author’s recent family gathering. (Credit: John Ross)

This was the summer when the relatives came. Nine grandchildren, three sets of parents, a couple of in-laws and three dogs. A wonderful long-awaited gathering months in the making. Feeding this group is a labor of love, but for a chef who cooks from scratch using fresh ingredients it presents a challenge in 2017.

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07/22/17 6:00am

Shrimp, clams, mussels, potatoes and corn — combined in a large paella pan — are part of a clambake for 12. (Credit: John Ross)

“Gather a lot of stones and lay close together. Gather driftwood and lay it on these stones and build a really good hot fire. Meanwhile, nearby dig an 18-inch or 2-foot hole in the ground, and after the fire has died down and the stones are piping hot, get a stick and roll them into the hole, enough to cover the bottom well. Have ready some seaweed, and (more…)

07/08/17 5:45am

Cantaloupe and cherry tomato salad also has cucumber, avocado and mint. (Credit: John Ross)

As June ends and July begins, the farm stands come alive and we are blessed by an abundance of local produce. After June’s asparagus, spinach, sugar snap peas, rhubarb and strawberries comes the arrival of sweet corn in July. Then the tomatoes, the melons and the berries. And in the midst of all this we still enjoy the bounty of the sea. Here is a meal that includes some of July’s many ingredients: (more…)

06/24/17 5:01am

North Fork Chef John Ross at work in his home office. (Credit: Lois Ross)

As you, my loyal readers, know, I enjoy a little poetry with my food, along with good company. Poems provide inspiration that takes mundane cooking to a higher level. And cooking from scratch, using the freshest ingredients, is therapy for me and almost becomes a spiritual experience.

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