We are so thrilled to share with you a guest message by Steve Poses, self-described home entertaining coach, who writes about his summer visiting farmstands as well as his trip to our market last Saturday and subsequent meals. Steve is a longtime Philadelphia restaurateur and caterer. His Frog Commissary Cookbook, celebrating 25 years in print, is the largest selling cookbook in the history of our region. Steve has recently published a new book -- At Home by Steve Poses: A Caterer's Guide to Cooking & Entertaining, available online from his website – athomebysteveposes.com. Steve's wonderful message follows below - enjoy!
Don't miss the market this weekend, we'll have crafts from the Handwork Studio for the kids to enjoy while you shop. We'll see you at the market this Saturday!
by Steve Poses:
The summer of 2010 was my summer of farm stands. Beginning in June, I visited farm stands stretching from the western edge of Lancaster country to the eastern tip of Long Island and from the southern reaches of Salem County to the northern reaches of the Hudson River Valley. A week in Nova Scotia included the behemoth Halifax Farmers' Market -- established in 1750 and the longest running market in North America, and the wonderful community market in Lunenburg. It is hard to imagine anyone who has recently spent more time looking at tables laden with the bounty of our farms.
Each week I wrote about these trips for my At Home blog. I began with a photo-laden post called On the Road. The final photo being my home kitchen counter filled with the day’s purchases. This post would be followed up with On the Table, a look at what happened to all that good stuff as it made its way to friends and family. Often a third post would include a recipe. The entire series – with some installments still in the works – are on my blog that also includes over 100 recipes. By subscribing you can be sure to get these posts as well as regular posts about home entertaining.
Why am I doing this? From the outset of my career in 1973, food has largely been a vehicle around which I have sought to bring people together. As I note in the Introduction to At Home: “… I believe in the value of human connection. And there is no better way to make that connection than sharing the warmth of your home and a good meal.” I am concerned that many people have given up on home entertaining because they just don’t have the time, and our Martha Stewart-inspired “foodie culture” has raised the bar too high. As a self-identified Home Entertaining Coach, my goal is to change how you think about and go about home entertaining – that home entertaining can be a pleasure and not a chore.
My point in doing this Farm Stand series is to encourage, inspire and guide people in bringing the bounty of our local farms and food artisans into our homes and sharing.
In preparation for my upcoming appearance at your Bryn Mawr Farmers' Market, I visited this past Saturday.
You have a wonderfully complete market with providers aplenty to satisfy the most ambitious locavore.
My purchases included heirloom tomatoes, hardneck garlic, celery root, thyme, boneless pork shoulder, chicken legs and thighs, beets, whole chicken, oak leaf lettuce, lima beans, peanut potatoes, corn, cherry tomatoes, banana peppers, onions, okra, sharp chevre
Over the course of the past five days I turned my Bryn Mawr bounty into a series of dinners that have included:
Heirloom tomato salad (Sunday)
Oak leaf lettuce with roasted beets with sharp chevre (Sunday)
Salt roast whole chicken with lightly roasted cherry tomatoes (Tuesday)
Roasted chicken breast and thigh with fingerling potatoes (Sunday)
Roasted peanut potatoes (Tuesday)
Celery root remoulade (Sunday)
Slow roasted pork shoulder with onions, garlic & thyme and apple cider (Wednesday)
Corn, pepper & lima bean salad (Sunday)
Pickled okra (Sunday)
Pictured above was Sunday night's dinner: Roast chicken legs and thighs with fingerling potatoes, pickled okra, roasted beets, celery root remoulade, corn, pepper and lima bean salad.
There is a recipe for Easy Pickles on my blog and it works for everything from traditional cucumbers to okra and watermelon radishes. The beets were oven-roasted in foil, peeled, sliced with a little added red onion, red wine vinegar and olive oil. The celery root remoulade was a matter of peeling and shredding celery root and carrots -- I use an inexpensive plastic mandolin - and combined with mayonnaise seasoned with a little mustard and horseradish. Finally, for the corn salad, the corn was blanched and scraped from the cob and combined with blanched lima beans, some diced sweet and hot peppers, scallion, red onion and cilantro. It was dressed with rice vinegar and olive oil, salt and pepper.
Here's the chicken and potatoes ready to roast. Quick and easy.
First I crushed some coriander and fennel seed, peppercorns and salt, coated the roast and seared it in the Dutch oven. I removed the seared roast, cleaned out some charred bits of spices and lightly sauteed onion and celery, added back the roast on top, added apple cider, some orange peel, a few star anise, thyme and cilantro. It went into a 250 degree oven, lightly covered with a piece of foil -- not sealed -- and slow roasted for seven hours.
Here it is. I let it set about a half hour. While it was sitting I strained the cooking liquid - after fishing out some onion as a little "garnish" and reduced the liquid by half and poured it over the roast. Quite tasty and easy taking maybe a half hour of actual "effort."
My basic thesis is that home entertaining is a matter of aspiration and organization more than any particular culinary skill. If you plan ahead and spread your tasks over time -- "If you leave everything until the last minute you will only have a minute to do everything." -- you can be assured of having one relaxed hour prior to guest arrival. And when it's over, you will have the satisfaction of bringing friends and family together over a good meal.
I hope to see you on Saturday, October 23rd at the Bryn Mawr Farmers' Market so I can share more of my approach to home entertaining.
Your Home Entertaining Coach