Archive for October, 2013

Cappon Magro, Genovese Pirate Food

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

 

 

Paolo Laboa of Pride’s Osteria in Beverly, MA quickly became famous here for his world-winning pesto and silken pasta, but home in Genoa, Laboa was equally revered for his “Cappon Magro,” an enormous butte of fish and marinated vegetables, crowned with battling lobsters, ornamented with buttery browned scallops and rosy pink shrimp.

Cappon Magro is one of those gothic masterpiece sorts of dishes that Italians love.  It has all the drama, color, and power of a great tenor aria.   Bellissimo.  Grandissimo.  Bravissimo.

The recipes online come with modern warnings:  “If you’re wealthy enough to make this…”  “If you’re still standing when you’re finished making this…”  It is one of those macho dishes that Italian restaurants with grand egos place in their windows; blue blood Genovese families prepare it on Christmas Eve.

“It is very special to the Genovese,” Laboa says.

Genovese Pirate Food, he calls it.  The name’s origins are mixed:  The original Genovese fish used was Cappone, but some sources say the dish is “magro,” or lean, because it was served on holidays like Christmas Eve when meat was not allowed.  But Cappon Magro’s origins are straight from the sea; on pirate ships,and then the renowned Genovese schooners, Cappon Magro developed as a means of preserving both fish and vegetables; it required no refrigeration, and was prepared with whatever fish they were catching.  The bread was originally the Genovese “gallette,” but after Columbus, potatoes became part of the recipe.  When the wine on the ship went bad, turning to vinegar, they used it in the Cappon Magro.    In fact, the initial layer of Cappon Magro, the foundation upon which the rest is built, was once hardtack soaked in seawater and vinegar.  Laboa uses bread soaked in vinegar and fish broth.  The rest is layer upon layer of cooked seafood – monkfish, hake – each prepared separately.  The cooked vegetables are always green beans, beets, cauliflower, and potatoes, marinated lightly with vinegar.  In between every layer and spread over the entire form, is Paolo’s salsa verde, a sauce of parsley, lemon, pinenuts, anchovies, olives, hardboiled eggs, and soaked bread.  The dish lasts for up to a week, and, as Laboa says, “today it’s very good; tomorrow better.”

 

 

 

“It takes a while to understand the balance of this dish; it’s a balance of strong flavors and sweet flavors,” Laboa says.   – the sweet fish and vegetables, the sharp vinegar and bright taste of the salsa verde.

Laboa creates this masterpiece for weekend diners; it takes two days to prepare.  All the vegetables are cooked, peeled, finely chopped, and allowed to stand at room temperature, marinating in oil, for 24 hours.  All the fish is boiled, and allowed to cool in its own broth.   Each layer is finished with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and salsa verde.

The shellfish studded magnificence stands in the center of the dining room a crowning monument to piracy and the Maritime Republica, the great sea power – Genoa, Venice, Pisa and Amalfi – that once controlled salt and spices from the East.

There are not many restaurants in the U.S. that still prepare this sort of dining room centerpiece, served to order.  I watched Laboa assemble it one Saturday afternoon, a process that took long enough for him to tell good stories, one of which was about the Maritime Repubblica.  At war with Tuscany, the Repubblica refused sell Tuscans salt, so until very recently traditional Tuscan bread still had no salt.

Besides having a long history representing Genovese maritime life, Cappon Magro is extremely healthy.  Repeatedly, Laboa emphasized how the balance of bread, vinegar, vegetables and fish is “very good for the digestion – it makes your stomach feel good.”

Better emphasized is that balance of sweet and strong.  One bite of Cappon Magro, and you taste all the care, the complexity, the history, the magnificence to this dish.  To describe it as a marinated fish appetizer is like calling Luciano Pavoratti a singer.

Because the entire recipe far exceeds the word count here, I am including only Laboa’s salsa verde, which is just plain wonderful on fish or grilled chicken.  The Cappon Magro fundamentals are as I described above.  If you would like more details  don’t hesitate to email me.

 

 

 

Paolo Laboa’s Salsa Verde

 

four portions of sauce

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup  extra virgin olive oil

1/2 a clove garlic

1 tablespoon capers

1 salted anchovies (rinsed, and peeled from spine)

4 taggiasca olives (Ligurian olives – small, black)

1 tablespoon pinenuts

1 cup italian parsley rinsed, dried, and de-stemmed

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 hard-boiled egg

1/2 slice white bread soaked in 1/4 cup vinegar

Instructions

 

Put in a blender:  oil, garlic, capers, anchovies, olives, pine nuts.  Blend well, or until smooth.

Add parsley, salt, and egg.  Blend again.  It should be green and smooth at this point.  With your hand, squeeze the bread dry, and add it to the blender.  Blend until creamy.

 

 

 

Broccoli Stufati al Vino Rosso #dinnerwithmarcella

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

 

 

Cathy Barrow, who sometimes writes for The Washington Post, and is also known as  Mrs. Wheelbarrow of the blog Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitcheninvited the world to prepare a Marcella Hazan dinner October 26th, tonight, in Marcella’s honor.  (Hazan, doyenne of Italian cooking, passed away September 29th.

This day ended up being about yard work and cleaning recycling bins, not about putting together a beautiful meal.  Still, with a Marcella cookbook on the shelf no dinner is ordinary.  I ended up preparing something, decided at the very last minute, that proves either Marcella’s, or Italy’s, genius.

 

 

Broccoli Stufati al Vino Rosso is unlike anything I’ve ever imagined could happen to that vegetable:  the florets are cut off from the stems.  The stems are peeled, sliced into lengths about 1/3 inch wide.  Prepared this way, broccoli stems remodel themselves as an entirely new vegetable.  These thin lengths are layered in a sauce pan with sliced onions, olives, anchovies and parmesan cheese.  The florets are piled on top of the whole thing, and red wine is poured over all.  Cover it, and cook it for an hour.

The red wine, parmesan, olives and anchovies merge into a luscious, slow-cooked sauce that cloaks the now tender broccoli and sweet onions.   I see this vegetable stew simmering slowly in an ancient Roman clay vessel, filling the Atrium with winey, earthy aromas.  That Marcella; she’s not one to let a good technique – no matter how antique – be forgotten.  Not only is this dish fascinating – to cook broccoli this slowly with these flavors was a broccoli born-again moment for me – the distinctively delicious result was simply a surprise.  This is fall-evening food.

My impromptu Marcella dinner doesn’t stop there.  Just because Marcella’s recipes are often lessons in the complex promises simplicity can bestow, fresh out of garden gloves, I made her Pollo al Limone, Roast Chicken with Lemon.  A chicken, two lemons, salt and pepper; leave it to Hazan to make alchemy with only those ingredients – it’s really the only roast chicken recipe anyone ever needs.

 

 

 

The chicken recipe is all over the web, so I’m printing the broccoli, which is from More Classic Italian Cooking.  Hazan recommends serving it with a simple meat course; that simple chicken was it.  I happened to see a photo of the stufati served on toasts, which would be dinner enough for me.  Hazan would cringe, because she is never casual about pasta, but, I think tossing the broccoli with fusilli might be yet another born-again broccoli moment.

 

Broccoli Stufati al Vino Rosso

 

1 bunch fresh broccoli, about 1 1/2 pounds

2 cups onion sliced very thin

1/2 cup black Greek olives, cut in half and pitted

4 flat anchovy fillets, roughly cup up

1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, cut into thin slivers

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup sturdy dry red wine

 

Instructions

Cut away about 1/2 inch from the tough butt end of the broccoli stalks.  Separate the florets from the stalks.  With a sharp paring knife, peel off the dark green skin on the stalks and stems.  Cut the stalks, lengthwise, into strips about 1/3 inch thick.  Divide the larger floret cluster in two.

Take a large saute pan, and cover its bottom with a thin layer of onion slices.  Over this spread a layer of broccoli stalks.  Dot with a few olives, some bits of anchovy, and a few slivers of Parmesan.  Sprinkle with a little salt.  Just a small pinch will do because the olives, anchovy and Parmesan are already salty.  Moisten with a thin stream of olive oil.

Repeat this entire procedure, alternating layers of sliced onion with broccoli stalks, moistening them each time with a little olive oil.  Save the broccoli florets for the top layer.

When all the ingredients have been used up add the red wine.  Cover, and cook for 1 hour over medium heat, or until all the wine has evaporated.  Do not stir.  Serve promptly when done.

 

Threshold Salad

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

 

My Threshold Salad began with the last of the CSA’s radicchio and some CSA broccoli I had preserved in a light “pickling” a few weeks ago.  Those were the frugal, using-up-the-crops, sad-that-summer-is-over part of my salad.

But then there was the crumbled gorgonzola, warm toasted almonds, dried blueberries (which, while not fresh, have their own virtues), all drizzled not with just honey, but with buckwheat honey, where earth meets beehive.

 

 

This side of my salad said, “yahoo! Summer’s really gone!  I can stop eating tomatoes and get on to toasted, drippy, winey, earthbound foods again, if not smellier cheeses and strong honey!

The sun still heats up the granite in the afternoons here, but it sets much earlier.  About to plunge into braising and baking, I’m liking lingering on the threshold between autumn and winter, even if it just means clinging to salad for lunch, albeit drizzled with dark honey.

 

 

 

 

Threshold Salad

makes 1 large serving or 2 medium

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tablespoon Braggs Cider Vinegar

2 cups sliced radicchio

1/2 cup raw broccoli florets (mine had been “pickled” for a few days)

2 tablespoons gorgonzola cheese

2 tablespoons toasted almonds

dried blueberries

drizzle of buckwheat honey

 

Instructions

Whisk together until emulsified olive oil and cider vinegar in the bottom of a salad bowl.  (I use a large wooden salad bowl even to make one portion of salad.)  Pile on top of the emulsified oil all the remaining ingredients except the honey.  Toss well.  Serve in a bowl, and drizzle with the honey.

The Best Ever Chicken Recipe. Ever.

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

 

 

 

I’m willing to nominate James Beard’s Mustard Chicken, my favorite made-by-mom dish, The Best Chicken Recipe Ever.  If you have doubts, try it.

It doesn’t photograph well; Dijon mustard, sauteed onions, wild mushrooms, cream, parsley, and caramel-browned chicken breast ends up a study in brown with some green parsley flecks, but it is iconically magnificent deliciousness on a fork.

Everything about it says James Beard – the liberal use of cream, the bone-in, skin-on chicken breast, the trustworthy delicousness.  It may appear dated, but ignore your 2013 inclination to add sriracha, avocado, and matcha to everything.  The people at your table will be fighting for the leftover sauce here.  Make sure there’s crusty sourdough bread, or Parker House Rolls – more James Beard-like.  Prepared as a weekday meal, you will suddenly love the week.  Prepared at a dinner party, people will love you.

 

 

 

 

As mentioned, this was probably my favorite dish made by my mother.  I couldn’t find it in the one James Beard cookbook I have.  A few google searches told me that many people feel as I do – James Beard’s Mustard Chicken is a miracle of a recipe, but very hard to find online.  It was published in “Beard on Food,” and its online absence is proof that not every single great recipe is searchable.  Or at least not without digging past the first google page, which I had to do.  I consider it a public service to publish it here; hopefully we elevate one of the world’s Best Chicken Dishes to the top of the search.  Happy mid-week!

– some notes on my dinner:  I only needed three chicken breasts, and so adapted the recipe.  That’s why you only see three in my photos.  Also, I used the wonderful wild chicken mushroom Sandy Farrell had foraged, but Beard is fine with completely ordinary mushrooms.  I served my chicken with my favorite black rice (Thank you, Mary Hughes!) which has great chewy bite and gutsy character.  Willowrest sells it.

James Beard’s Mustard Chicken

 

Ingredients

4 half chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

Italian parsley

1 cup heavy cream

olive oil

butter

flour

Dijon mustard

salt and pepper

lemon juice

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dust chicken pieces with flour and saute in heavy skillet with 4 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil until nicely browned on all sides.

Remove the chicken to a ceramic or glass baking dish.  Spread the chicken liberally with mustard on both sides.

Reheat the skillet with the remaining fat.  Add the chopped onion and mushrooms.  If you need fat add 1 tablespoon of butter.  Cook until the mushrooms are cooked through.  Add parsley, salt and pepper.

Stir cream into mushroom mixture,and heat through.  Pour over chicken, and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or chicken is done.

Remove from oven.  Plate chicken, and heat remaining sauce in the dish on top of the stove.  Whisk in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and pour over the chicken.  Garnish with chopped parsley.

Apple Howling

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

 

“To appreciate the wild and sharp flavors of these October fruits, it is necessary that you be breathing the sharp October or November air. The out-door air and exercise which the walker gets give a different tone to his palate, and he craves a fruit which the sedentary would call harsh and crabbed.

They must be eaten in the fields, when your system is all aglow with exercise, when the frosty weather nips your fingers, the wind rattles the bare boughs or rustles the few remaining leaves, and the jay is heard screaming around. What is sour in the house a bracing walk makes sweet. Some of these apples might be labelled, “To be eaten in the wind.” – Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples

There is nothing American about the apple.  The proverbial symbol of our fallen selves traveled to us with Tumeric and cinnamon via the Silk Road from Central Asia, specifically Kazahkstan, where apples, plum, cherry, pears, apricots, and walnuts all grow wild, ancient forests of them.

Nowhere else in the world do apples grow in forests, and for that reason the famous plant scientist Nikolay Vavilov in 1927 declared Kazahkstan the apple’s most likely hometown.  If there ever was a first apple that was too lovely to resist, it came from a tree in Kazakhstan, where genetic diversity was helped along by gigantic mountain ranges that fragmented and isolated the land.  Pollen, and therefore the species, didn’t get all mixed up with any other.  Pure wild apples, pure species.  All the domestic apples cultivated today trace back to these forests, which – here’s the tragic part – are disappearing.

In the last four hundred years there were 16,000 varieties of apples identified as growing in North America, all having traveled here from Kazhakstan.  In 1904, North America was down to 7,098.  Now?  There are about 300 varieties left in cultivation.

But, supposedly all those lost species in this country have continued thriving, unblemished by civilization, in that apple-gene warehouse, the forests of Kazhakstan.  If there’s a blight pandemic that wipes out the apples of North America, can’t we go appleseed shopping on the hillsides of Alma-Ata?

Not so much anymore.  Scientists have drawn up a “Red List” of forty-four species of Central Asian fruit trees that could soon disappear, including ‘Malus sieversii 3,’ the species most of our grocery store apples call “Mom.”

Almost 90 percent of the fruit and nut forests of Central Asia have been destroyed in the last fifty years, by development, excess logging, fires, and war.  (In world war II Russian soldiers burned acres of apple forests.)   But there is hope;

The Global Trees Campaign, a partnership between Fauna & Flora International, Botanic Gardens Conservation International and many other organizations around the world, aims to save threatened tree species through provision of information, conservation action and support for sustainable use.   Go to The Global Tree campaign at http://www.globaltrees.org.

“Apple Howling,” as described by Thoreau, is that when boys go circling through dark orchards in mid-December, wishing for a good crop, probably meaning a good vintage of cider the following year.

Guess what else Henry David Thoreau says?  “It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple-tree is connected with that of man.”

 

 

Rockport’s HarvestFest, Saturday October 19th

Monday, October 14th, 2013

 

HarvestFest, brought to you by Rockport Festivals, the same people who synchronize Motif No. 1 Day and the Rockport Farmers’ Market, is back under the big, white Local Fare Food Tent on T-Wharf.  Celebrating the diverse local food culture in our little corner of the world, Rockport’s HarvestFest will offer local specialties from Sasquatch Smoked Fish to Top Dog Hotdogs to Fish Shack Bread to Harbor Sweets Chocolates.  If you’re over twenty-one you can enjoy a large cup of locally brewed Mercury Beer with that fish taco from The Happy Taco, or raw oysters from the Shuckin’ Truck.  If you’re younger, or not a beer drinker, Rockport’s iconic Twin Lights Soda will be serving sodas from the old delivery truck which once delivered Twin Lights Soda door to door.  The full line-up of vendors is here; for more go to the Rockport Festivals website.

 

The cooking entertainment begins at 11:00 a.m. with Paolo Laboa of Prides Osteria, who will be demonstrating how to make his world-famous pesto.  For those who haven’t heard the story yet, Laboa won the “World’s Best Pesto” competition in his native city of Genoa, Italy.  He worked at Farina in San Francisco, making his ethereal pasta until moving with his wife, Mercedes Flavin, to Cape Ann.  Laboa now creates Ligurian specialties at Prides Osteria on Rantoul St. in Beverly.

At HarvestFest, Laboa, with mortar and pestle, will demonstrate the secret of his creamy pesto.  He will also be showing the crowd how to make Foccacia di Recco, a thin, delicate Ligurian pizza weeping with warm melted cheese.  Pride’s Osteria will have a table in the tent selling bowls of warm, wild boar ragu over creamy polenta.

At 1:00, Laurie Lufkin, host of the local access cooking show “Inspired Cooking,” and one of our favorite local cooks, will be addressing a subject that haunts the giver of dinner parties: easy appetizer ideas.

The Seafood Throwdown, the centerpiece of the Local Food Fare, begins at 2:30.  The seafood is kept a surprise until the last minute, but local fisherman Paul Theriault, of the fishing vessel The Terminator in Pigeon Cove, will be cooking against Addison Gilbert chef Dave Gauvin, each sauteeing, grilling, searing or poaching their hearts away, hoping to create the prettiest, most delicious, best use of the entire fish dish for the judges, our hardworking Rockport Selectwomen and men.  While the chefs work, Steve Parks, facilities and waterfront manager at Maritime Gloucester, will demonstrate what we all need to know living on Cape Ann:  how to fillet a fish.

It’s not called HarvestFest for nothing; two local farms, First Light Farm of Hamilton and Moraine Farm of Beverly will be there with the best of their harvest, so bring your farmers’ market shopping bag, too.

Children can put on their favorite costume – or not – and chase the  scarecrow down Bear Skin Neck.  For pet owners who need an excuse to dress their dog up in a silly sweater, The Doggy Parade, sponsored by Cape Ann Animal Aid, begins at 11:30 in Harvey Park.  Prizes will be awarded!

There is music around town all day:  Old Cold Tater will be under the tent at 12:00, then  The Sturdy Oaks, a Rockport Festivals’ favorite, will start picking.  Sasquatch’s Bluegrass Band (no, he doesn’t just smoke fish; he’s a musician, too.) will be in Dock Square  at 11:00.   There’s much more, including polka music on Bear Skin Neck!  Bearskin Neck Leathers, the legendary shop on Old Harbor Road, is sponsoring the special appearance of equally legendary The Buddy Walker Band, a classic Polish polka band founded nearly 65 years ago.

The Contra Dancing begins at 2:30 in Dock Square; when was the last time you danced in Dock Square?

The best of local food and music, HarvestFest is changing the way we live in Rockport, and the way visitors visit in Rockport.  So lift a glass of locally brewed beer, and kick up your Contra Dance heels; Rockport celebrates autumn with old fashion fun in its own style.  Speaking of style, every year graphic artist Darren Mason creates a HarvestFest poster that reflects the best of the day.  That’s the one in the picture.  Join the wonderful, delicious local fun, and start your poster collection this year!

 

 

Chai Pear Shortcakes

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

 

 

 

Frog Hollow Farm, consider this my “Prepare a Pear Contest” entry, although your Bosc Pears are pretty much perfect naked.

 

 

Dressing for autumn is all about layering.  This dessert is that homey favorite, fruit and whipped cream stacked shortcakes, layered in fall flavors – pears, clove, star anise, brown sugar, and chai, which, not for nothing, easily equates with October tastes.  With an ingredient list like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and pepper, chai tea is a useful accessory to the autumn repertoire.

 

 

The biscuity shortcakes here are baked with a chai tea infused cream.  I simply heated the 1 1/2 cups of cream, and put in two generic “chai” flavored tea bags from the grocery store, allowing it to steep, and therefore cool, for about a half-hour.  In truth, I had hoped to steep the tea in the warmed cream, chill it, and then whip it, but I learned that when heating milk or cream the proteins that facilitate volume are denatured, or restructured.  Heated cream, even chilled later, will not whip.

Quatre epices, a classic French spice mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger (Mix together your own if you don’t have “quatre epices” in your spice drawer.) is added to the biscuit dough; these are crumbly, scone-like shortcakes that smell like Russell Orchards when they’re making cider donuts.

 

A half of a tea-poached bosc pear lies upon a halved shortcake.  Cinnamon flavored whipped cream robes it.  The other shortcake half covers that, and a syrup of the reduced poaching liquid gives everything a good soak.

Homey, autumnal, this dessert is a tower of layered flavors and textures, but its components are all surprisingly light; it’s not a dense tweedy fall dessert like applesauce cake; it’s more camel hair and cashmere.

 

 

 

Chai Pear Shortcakes

 

Poached Pears

 

3 Bosc pears

tea to cover (rooibos, chai, or any tea with spice)

6 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

Instructions

Brew tea.  Half pears and cut out core and seeds.  In a medium saucepan heat tea with brown sugar, cinnamon stick and star anise to dissolve sugar.  Add pear halves, and cook until tender, approximately ten minutes.  Leave pears in tea to steep for at least a half hour.

Remove pears to a bowl, and reheat tea to a simmer.  Cook until reduced by half, or until thickened.  Remove cinnamon stick and anise,and reserve this syrup to cover shortcakes.

 

 

Shortcake recipe

 

Ingredients

2 tea bags chai tea – optional

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon quatre epices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ground clove, and ginger)

Instructions

Heat the cream to scalding, and add the tea bags, if using, to steep.  Allow to cool.  If not using the tea there is no need to heat the cream.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, quatre epices, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the cooled cream and mix until just combined.  Drop mounds of dough approximately 1/4 – 1/3 cup large onto the pan.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until crispy and brown on top.

Remove shortcakes from pan and place on a rack to cool slightly.  Split each piece in half horizontally.

Lay a pear half and some of its syrup onto each shortcake bottom. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and then the shortcake top. Spoon more syrup over the top and serve.

 

Whipped Cream

 

Ingredients

1 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons sifted confectionary sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

In a mixer whip cream just before soft peaks are formed.   Add cinnamon, confectionary sugar, and vanilla.  Finish beating until fluffy.

a Pop-Up Dinner at Moraine Farm

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

 

Pop-up dinners are the one-night-stands of the dining world, minus any lingering questions or ill-will.

Pop-up dinners almost always happen in wonderful if not surprising settings: barns, fields, museums, empty factories, warehouses, churches, any place but a conventional dining room.  The people who host pop-ups often see the world through the “wouldn’t this be a great place to serve a dinner?” lens.  No beach, no mountain top, no city street is seen without measuring a tablecloth in one’s mind.

The food at a pop-up dinner is almost always memorable to exceptional, because the one-off hosts are so excited about the event’s uniqueness, (and they only have to prepare it once, not every night for the next two months) that the extraordinary motors whir.  It’s is really more of a party that way,  because everything is new and fresh, even to the hosts.  “We’ve never prepared cassoulet beside polar bears at the zoo before!”

Pop-up dinners add a pinch of cayenne pepper to a community’s restaurant culture.  Sure, there’s your favorite pizza place, the place you go for seafood, and the slated anniversary restaurant, but what about when a beloved caterer creates a pop-up dinner in the barn at Moraine Farm on a Thursday, a night that will never happen again?

 

Welcome to Chive Events pop-up dinners.  This Thursday’s dinner began with passed skewers of breaded calamari and tomatoes.  At the long farm table, we sipped wine, got to know our neighboring guests, and tasted from the local cheese boards.   Plates of beef carpaccio dressed in ginger greens, zucchini shavings, and husk cherries arrived as our first course.  For dinner platters of local monkfish skewers over couscous and roasted tomatoes were passed family style while Lindsey served us squares of a sweet and savory swiss chard tart.  Dollops of butternut squash puree mildly sweetened all.  (I’ve been waiting months to place this quote from Nicie Panetta’s aunt:  “I never met a dollop I didn’t like.”)

 

Caterers who don’t just walk the sustainable/local walk, Chive Events cooks, pours, serves and decorates the sustainable/local walk.  Almost all their events are zero waste.  Chive creates some of the most original, flavorful food on the North Shore, and now you don’t have to wait to be invited to a bridal shower to taste it.  Go to their website and sign up for their pop-up dinner announcements.  Maybe I’ll see you there, wherever that may be.