Chef Ned Baldwin, who has a house on the North Fork and released the cookbook “How to Dress an Egg” earlier this year, has developed a local following for both his keep-it-simple recipes and his New York City restaurant, Houseman. But while you can’t get delivery from Houseman all the way out here, you turn to the next best thing: Houseman at Home, a meal delivery kit you can pick up in Orient.
“I want to make it as easy as it possibly can be. I really have to visualize what it feels like being in the kitchen,” Baldwin said. “All it should be is open the packages and deal with food. That’s the goal. It should just feel effortless. And the results should be food that they would never think of making at home.”
To do this, Baldwin and his team prep almost everything — meat is cooked, sauces mixed, veggie chopped — so all you do is open, mix and eat. The little work that is required, such as grating some cheese, is all spelled out in Baldwin’s instructions, something he likes to have fun with.
“I’m not sure I call myself a writer exactly but I write a lot,” he said. “For the Hanukkah dinner, I think the text actually sold the kit — ‘Why should a lapsed Episcopalian cook your Hanukkah dinner?’ was the lead in.”
The recipe for that kit was one from his wife’s family, a brisket taught to Baldwin by her grandmother. “I was weirdly the person who was handed down the brisket recipe, I guess cause I was the cook.”
Baldwin started the meal delivery kits back in May and hasn’t missed a week yet. When he thinks of a menu, he often goes to what he is craving.
“What’s appropriate now, like what are you hungry for? What do I want to eat?” he said. This upcoming week, the focus is all on hearty winter vegetables. Cucumbers with toasted sunflower spice; whipped ricotta with preserved maitake mushrooms, fried herbs and toasted hazelnut; white bean gratin with black trumpet mushrooms and artichokes (it’s a vegetarian cassoulet); roasted squash with amba (pickled mango sauce), cilantro and pistachio; broccoli di ciccio, pickled raisins, roasted cippolini onions.
“Normally people in January go vegetarian, they go on a diet,” he said. “I really tried to put myself in the shoes of the people who were buying it. This is a weird year. So, how about we don’t make any drastic decisions like that.” So he created a dish that was still vegetarian and healthy-ish, but took into consideration the comfort people still need during these crazy times and put that into the food.
Orders for the weekly Houseman at Home meal kit can be placed on the restaurant’s website and picked up on Fridays in Orient Village between 4:30 and 5:30pm. Kits come in servings of two or four and start at $75.