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A proper vinaigrette can make or break a perfectly good salad, elevating it to the status of simple perfection or drowning it in an abyss of wilted leaves. The technique to nailing your vinaigrette is simple and malleable; it all comes down to emulsification, that magic act of suspending water in oil. 

The only real rule: add your oil slowly while whisking quickly. Beyond that, consider vinaigrette your canvas, adding the ingredients of your choosing to achieve the flavor you and your vegetables desire.

Here are some tips from Quinciple co-founder Kate Galassi:

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Weekend Away: The Wassaic Project Festival

The Hudson Valley is already at the top of our list of idyllic easy-to-execute getaways. Just a quick train-ride up the river, you’ll find charming towns interspersed between rolling plains of farmland, where Quinciple producers such as Monkshood Nursery and Hudson Valley Harvest are based.

But this weekend in particular is a plum window for visiting: the Wassaic Project festival is taking place from August 1 to 3 in Wassaic, NY, bringing the rising stars of the arts community into the proverbial and literal barn for an itinerary of art instillations, bonfires, film screenings, live music, and yes, even a late night dance party.

The festival’s magical intermingling of agrarian and artistic isn’t limited to this single weekend. The hosting organization, the Wassaic Project, is a manifestation of this smashing of worlds. In 2008, an old grain elevator was saved from demolition by Tony Zunino and Robert Berry, two New York developers who bought and restored the space. They offered it to a group of artist friends to use it as temporary gallery: Now it boasts a year-round artist residency, exhibits and educational programs, as well as serving as home base for the festival.

The most recent addition to the growing community is the re-opening of The Lantern Inn, a sleepy bar that the owners of the Wassaic Project have morphed into a restaurant, with wood-fired pizza using local ingredients that takes its cue from Roberta’s in Bushwick.

So pack your tent (camping on the property is encouraged) and your appetite for the best of the city in the environs of the farm.

Before you go, don’t forget to order your box for next week

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Burrata has many admirable traits, from its delicate texture to its mild flavor. But one of our favorite things about this all-star cheese is its ability to play well with others. Like the butter from which it takes its name (burrata is Italian for buttery), these milky wheels make virtually everything around them taste better.

That said, there is a method to composing the ultimate burrata-centric plate. The best combinations occur when we set out to hit certain categories of flavor—Salty/Fatty, Acidic, Vegetal, Sweet, and Crispy—which push forward burrata’s inherent characteristics. Once we laid out this wheel of flavor, it became apparent that most of our textbook preparations for the cheese unwittingly follow this roadmap. We’ve broken it down below for your own burrata explorations.

No go forth and spread the curd.

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By Kate Galassi

I love a good picnic in the summer. I prefer to bring a small knife with me and do most of the work when I get there, because what’s the point of a picnic if you spend an hour in the kitchen? My current menu is a greatest hits list of the season, and as about as easy as it gets. The instructions that follow will set you up nicely with a meal for two, but it’s easily scalable for a larger group. 

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(Photo: Frederique Voisin-Demery

Burrata, a kissing cousin of mozzarella, is one of our favorite simple luxuries. Met with bread and the summer produce of your choice (we’d vote for tomatoes or peaches), the creamy, salty cheese is all you need to make a fantastic no-cook meal.

To stretch our knowledge on the subject, we tapped Gizella Otterson, general manager at BKLYN Larder, which boasts one of our favorite cheese counters in the city. Read on for her tips:

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So you’ve roasted, fried or charred your shishitos to blistered perfection. You can finish them with a bit of salt and call it a day; we won’t complain.

But if the name of variety, we’ve created this list of pairings for your pepper, from dipping sauces to drizzling suggestions. These methods have been gathered over the course of several dinner parties, where shishitos in some form have starred as our opening act ringer, captivating our audience while we finish the main course.

Honey + Furikake:

Operating on the same principles of grand-slammers like salted caramel, this sweet and salty combination brings the fleshy fruity nature of the peppers into stark relief.

Sherry vinegar  + Manchego:         

Though shishitos have a Japanese provenance, they share characteristics with the beloved Padron and Gernika peppers that are consumed by the handful at tapas dens all over Spain. Toss the peppers in some sherry vinegar, then blanket them with finely grated Manchego cheese. Serve with a glass of Basque cider.

Lime + Fundido:

We cribbed this technique from Alex Stupak, the chef at Empellon Taqueria in New York City. He drenches his shishitos in lime juice, then piles them over a skillet of melty, gooey fundido.

There are quite a few things taken into consideration when we’re planning what goes in the weekly Quinciple box. First and foremost, of course, the ingredients must be fresh and in season. Second, they must come from producers who meet our standards. But after those two pieces are covered, we have a third agenda: pairing ingredients that work well together in the kitchen.

 This week’s box featured a trio of ingredients that might as well be the holy trinity of summer sweet tooths everywhere: 

Corn. Blackberries. Lemon Verbena.

When in concert with one another, these three pals yield seriously delicious dishes. We could make ourselves sick on pints of Melissa Clark’s corn ice cream with blackberry-verbena sauce, for example, or Mario Batali’s cornmeal doughnuts with blackberries and sweet corn crema.

But since most moderate people would say that dessert can’t count for every meal, we’ve sought ways to introduce this trifecta into other times of day. The result: Cornbread Custard with Blackberries and Lemon Verbena.

Think of it as a lovechild of skillet cornbread and a Dutch baby, and the solution to every weekend brunch plan for the remainder of the summer. We took inspiration from a classic Marion Cunningham recipe, then added fresh corn into the mix for even more flavor.

Makes 6 servings

1 ear corn, shucked

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup stone ground yellow cornmeal

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons honey

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup blackberries, divided

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup sugar

½ cup chopped lemon verbena

Preheat to 375º. 

Place the butter in a 8-inch cast-iron skillet with 2” high sides and transfer to the oven for about 3 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

In another medium bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, honey, and vanilla extract. 

Stir the dry ingredient into the wet ingredients until almost combined. Make sure the melted better has coated the whole pan, including the sides.

Transfer the batter into the skillet and spread evenly. Place the half the berries and kernels evenly over the top. Pour the cream over the berries; do not stir.

Bake the cornbread until the edges are golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan, and a tester inserted near the center comes out clean, 25 minutes. 

While the cornbread bakes, make the blackberry-verbena syrup: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining blackberries and sugar. Cook, stirring for about 7 minutes, until the berries have released their juices and the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the stove and stir in the lemon verbena. Let cool slightly.

Let the cornbread cool for at least 20 minutes. Cut into slices, and drizzle each with a bit of the blackberry syrup, and serve.

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Here at Quinciple, we talk a lot about how to cook with the seasons. It’s why we do what we do.

But it’s also a trope, in danger of jumping the shark: New restaurants tout farm-to-table philosophies with the frequency of a KimYe tabloid appearance, while “green-washing,” the concept of using jargon like “organic” and “local” in reference to things that are neither, is a widely used marketing strategy. With all of the noise, it’s becoming more and more difficult to pinpoint what it actually means to cook seasonally.

It’s a question that Dan Barber, chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and its eponymous sister restaurant in Manhattan, takes to task in his recently released treatise, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food. Barber was an early adoptee of the farm to table movement, always striving to bring attention to the provenance of the components on every dish he cooks.

So his opening thesis was a bit shocking, even contradictory: the farm-to-table philosophy is limited, and it isn’t addressing the larger problems of our food system.

(Pause. Whaaaa?! Deep breaths, deep breaths.) 

He states:

The larger problem, as I see it, is that farm-to-table allows, even celebrates, a kind of cherry-picking of ingredients that are often ecologically demanding and expensive to grow….

Farm to table may sound right—it’s direct and connected—but really the farmer ends up servicing the table, not the other way around. It makes good agriculture difficult to sustain.”

Barber suggests a style of cooking and eating where the ingredient comes first. Rather than shopping to the specifications of a recipe picked out ahead of time, he hopes for an eating culture that takes its cues from what the farmers are growing: ingredients that are in season, but that are also beneficial to holistic agricultural practices.

In his mind, choice cuts of grass-fed meat with a side of heirloom vegetables isn’t enough of a change from the meat and potatoes meals of the 20th century. We ought to shift even further, he suggests, swapping ratios of meat and vegetables, using less energy-intensive crops and cuts; perhaps a “carrot steak, with a sauce of braised second cuts of beef.” Instead of forcing the hand of farmers to accommodate our tastes, we will accommodate our diets to what the land can supply.

For our parts, we couldn’t agree more, and hope that our boxes are one step towards shifting the paradigm towards Barber’s vision of the future, helping subscribers take that first leap in letting ingredients and farmers dictate how you eat and cook.

Buy The Third Plate

See Dan Barber’s awesome TED talk on seafood

See what’s coming up in next week’s box

By Kate Galassi

Sometimes I get myself into trouble when I make pan-blistered shishito peppers: My eyes can be bigger than my stomach. So over time, I’ve developed a few tricks for making the most of the leftovers.

Start by removing the stems.

Chopped:

  • Chop up a handful of shishitos and pile them on top of a couple of cheeseburgers.
  • Chop shishitos and tomatoes or tomatillos (even better if they’re grilled) with an onion for salsa.

 Pureed:

  • Puree a few peppers with chevre, ricotta or feta with olive oil and lemon juice for a divine sandwich spread.

Whole:

  • Add to a cold grain salad with toasted almonds, cubed pecorino and fresh herbs.
  • Pile whole shishitos and scrambled eggs on to warm corn tortillas for breakfast tacos. 

What’s your favorite way to eat a shishito? Tell us on Twitter or Instagram, using hashtag #quincipleshishitos