A white Boer pumpkin stuffed with pumpkin polenta. (Credit: John Ross)
Across the United States 90,000 acres of farmland are devoted to pumpkins, producing about 1.5 billion pounds annually. About 15 percent of the crop is processed into canned pumpkin purée and the area around Peoria, Ill., is the largest producing area. Libby’s (a Nestlé company) and Seneca Foods are the major processors.
Prince Edward Island mussels with gnocchi and tomato sauce. (Credit: John Ross)
Mussels have been a nutritious source of protein for thousands of years, coming from both fresh- and saltwater sources. They are bivalve mollusks like clams and oysters and, like them, are filter feeders — feeding on plankton and other microscopic sea creatures. (more…)
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.
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.
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…)
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…)
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.