Gigi Tomato Jam

Tis the season for making full use tomatoes! It seems to go from drought to flood overnight when they start turning red in the garden. This simple recipe helps you enjoy their sunny flavor throughout the fall and long winter. Try it on crostini with a shaving of Parmesan or a small dollop of goat cheese, smear on your favorite toasted bread or use as condiment for slow roasted braised dish – many of you have enjoyed it complementing our succulent lamb shanks during the fall and winter at Gigi Trattoria.

Photo by Evan Sung for NYT

 Makes approximately 1 ½ -2 cups

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ Vidalia onion, diced
1.5 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
.5 cup sugar
1 pinch of saffron
1cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes  

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it softens and becomes fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then pour into hot, sterilized 8 ounce jam jars, screw the lids on and turn the jars upside down to cool completely.

Kale Two Ways

Tuscan kale, also known as Lacinato kale, Tuscan cabbage, Italian kale, Dinosaur kale, cavolo nero, and black kale, thrives during all three growing seasons of the Hudson Valley. It’s especially available during these steamy summer months, and we’re taking full advantage….  We present it to you direct from Migliorelli Farms in our retail cases at Gigi Market and throughout our menus in both locations.  I thought I’d give you two different approaches to enjoying it; cooked and raw.

Cooked Kale

Gigi ‘LACINATO’: Sautéed Kale with Towne & Country Sausage

This is a new lunch and dinner side at the Trattoria in Rhinebeck, and part of our new summer menu.  Enjoy this sautéed Italian black kale with Towne and Country spicy sausage or simply with garlic and Gigi extra-virgin olive oil.

Makes 2-3 servings

1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 ounces (about 2 links) Towne and Country spicy sausage, sliced or crumbled
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ pounds Tuscan kale, stems removed and leaves chopped, then rinsed and spun
Salt
2 tablespoons white wine
1 cup water

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the shallots, sausage, and red pepper flakes, and cook until the shallots and sausage just begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and toss to combine. Stir in the kale and season with salt. Cook the kale, tossing or stirring to evenly wilt, then add the white wine and cook until fully evaporated. Add the water and cook until the kale is tender and the pan is almost dry, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy hot or at room temperature.

Click here to watch a brief video of this dish being made.

Raw Kale

Massaged Kale Salad

My friends (and Gigi devotees :)) Peter Amendola and Jerry Paglieri, shared this “massaged” raw kale salad with me, saying they often make it when entertaining and receive consistent raves from their guests. The acidity in the lemon juice “cooks” the thinly sliced kale making it tender and flavorful. Jerry became a fan when first trying Aati Sequeira’s recipe; as a confident cook he fined tuned it to his tastes and made it his own.

Makes 4 servings

1 large bunch Tuscan kale stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
fresh juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds

In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the maple syrup and a healthy amount of freshly ground black pepper. Stream the olive oil into the bowl while whisking.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the peaches and pumpkin seeds. Toss and serve.

Enjoy!

-Laura

Grilling Like a Pro

During the summer months our 2-inch thick marinated Rib-eye steaks fly out of the meat cases at Gigi Market. But we always get the question, “It’s so thick, how do I cook it to doneness without charring the outside?”

Here are some step-by-step directions to have you grilling like a pro!

For a gas grill:

1)    The grill should be about 6 inches from the heat source. Place one side of the grill on high, leave other on the lowest temperature, or even completely off. Have a spray bottle of water handy to extinguish any flare up that might char the meat.
2)    Season meat with salt and pepper and place on hot portion of the grill. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until nicely seared; turn 90 degrees and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.
3)    Move the meat to the other side of the grill, close the cover and allow it to slowly cook, about 8 to 12 minutes to desired doneness.
4)    When it is undercooked it will feel spongy and soft; it will barely spring back when pressed lightly with a finger in the center. The meat will get firmer and springier the more it cooks.

If using a meat thermometer:

125-130 F = rare
130-135 F = medium rare
140-145 F = medium
155-160 F = well

Remove the steak from the grill and place on a cutting board and loosely tented with foil; let “rest” for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice steak across the grain to desired thickness.

Note: The same procedure can be used with a charcoal grill, just make sure all coals are to one side of the grill so that you have a cool side to finish cooking the steak without burning.

And, voila! 

You’ll notice a delicious, fresh marinade on my meat, here’s the recipe for that as well!

GIgi Marinade

(Makes approximately 3 cups)

2 small bunches of fresh sage (about 2 ounces)
1 large bunch fresh Italian parsley (about 3 ounces)
3 large sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves striped from stems; stems discarded
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
3 to 4 cups extra-virgin olive oil

In the work bowl of a food processor or blender, pulse together sage, parsley, rosemary, garlic, and ½ cup of the olive oil. With motor running, pour remaining oil in a thin stream through the feed tube. When combined, but herbs still visible, transfer to a storage container. Store refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Happy grilling!

-Laura