Harriet’s Un-Fruitcake

Thursday, December 15th, 2016



A bunch of years ago I knew a woman named Harriet, a semi-professional cook who worked on developing recipes. One of Harriet’s self-directed tasks was to rewrite fruitcake into a chunky, modern loaf that people begged to receive, instead of what it is, the opposite of all that.

Ingredient by ingredient, Harriet broke fruitcake down, eliminating the most heinous parts (green things) replacing the trademark ingredients with better (candied cherries with maraschino) preserving what worked – pecans. Then she added chocolate.


For the person who likes the idea of fruitcake but not the real deal, here is Harriet’s Un-fruitcake recipe.  I tripled the recipe, because I wanted some small loaves to give as gifts.  Tripling produced two 8″ x 4″ loaves and six individual loaves.



Harriet’s Un-Fruitcake

10 ounces pitted dates, whole
1 8 ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained and dried
1 1/2 cups whole pecans
1 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup honey for glazing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease well a 9” x 5” loaf pan
In a large bowl put dates, cherries, and nuts. Sift dry ingredients, and add to dates. Add chocolate, and toss well, so that fruit and nuts are coated.
Beat eggs with extract until light and fluffy. Pour over fruits and mix well. Pack into loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean. If it starts to brown too quickly lower temperature to 300 degrees and cover the cake with foil.
Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. Brush top with honey.

Fishermen’s Wives Fundraiser

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016


The Sea-To-Supper dinner this past August raised over $7,000 for David Wittkower’s important documentary on the state of Gloucester fishing, working towards the goal of $65,000.

There are some exciting initiatives happening in Gloucester fishing, but first we need to keep the fleet alive. David Wittkower’s film, while presenting the harsh facts of fishing, also illustrates the warmth and heart in this industry, and why it is so important to the Gloucester community. If completed, the film will end with hope, presenting the people who are working hard to innovate Gloucester fishing, leading it to being a sustainable 21st century fleet.  The film will be a plea to the country, asking them to understand the industry, and help save it. (We saved the family farm!   (We saved the family farm!  Now it’s time to save the family fishing boat.)

With help from The Linzee Coolidge Foundation and other generous benefactors, the Wittkower project has received $41,000 to date.

On December 1st we are holding a 50/50 raffle. Half of these funds will go towards the Wittkower documentary. The remaining funds go to a raffle. You have the opportunity to win one of four prizes: $5,000, $3,000, $1,000, $1,000. We need your help. Please consider purchasing a ticket, and/or helping to sell tickets.


The drawing will be held on December 1 at the Elks in Gloucester with a reception catered by the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives.

The tickets are $100 a piece.  To purchase a ticket call or stop by the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association at 2 Blackburn Center, Gloucester, call 978-821-1590 or email

p.s. You do not have to be in attendance to be a raffle winner!

April Bloomfield’s Butternut Squash -Coconut Tart (Pie.)

Thursday, October 27th, 2016



Sometimes you just need one recipe to inspire to you into a holiday.

April Bloomfield’s Butternut Squash – Coconut Tart is my Thanksgiving 2016 inspiration. (She calls it a tart, but, the recipe requires a 9” or 10” fluted pie dish, 2″ deep. It’s a pie.) I loved this pie’s perfect crust and coy departure from tradition.

The sweet, friable pastry refuses to allow a butternut squash filling to soggy it even a day later. Even two days later. The coconut milk in the filling adds a creamy, luscious, mysterious flavor that never challenges the Thanksgiving-ness of the whole thing. There is no mistaking this as a great Thanksgiving dessert, but the coconut makes it better.

For those too busy cooking (or coming up with less fatigued Thanksgiving menus) to pay attention to the hottest new chefs, Bloomfield is the winner of Food and Wine’s “Best New Chef” in 2007, winner of the 2014 James Beard award for Best New Chef in New York City. She has cooked in the The River Cafe and Chez Panisse kitchens, and owns two Michelin stars, one for The Spotted Pig, the first-ever “gastropub,” and one for The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, both in New York City. Carnivores and cooks consider her first cookbook/memoir A Girl And Her Pig exciting bedside reading.

After reading and cooking from Bloomfield’s second book, A Girl and Her Greens. I’m a believer in the accolades. Her recipes are detailed in interesting ways, not “fussy” (her word), but she understands which small efforts really make a difference. For instance, this pie. Bloomfield grates the chilled Pasta Frolla into the pie dish. The result is that decidedly separate but equal pastry.



Dollop whipped cream on a slice, and festoon it with toasted coconut; bring on the pilgrims.

All it took was one good recipe, and my enthusiasm for this holiday with too structured a template, is re-racked.  FYI, Bloomfield’s Slow Roasted Leeks with Walnut Breadcrumbs is also on my Thanksgiving menu. (p. 192, A Girl and Her Greens.)



April Bloomfield’s Butternutsquash and Coconut Tart (Pie.)

– from A Girl and Her Greens


2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large egg yolks lightly beaten
For the filling:
a 3 lb butternut squash, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 cups well stirred unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup superfine sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk


For the tart shell:
Sift the flour into the food processor, then add the powdered sugar, butter, and salt. Pulse the mixture until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and pulse until a crumbly dough forms. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and lightly knead just until smooth. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Cut the chilled dough into 2 or 3 large pieces and grate it through the large holes of a box grater. Use your fingers to press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the pie dish to create an even layer. (I used a 9” pie pan, about 2” deep, and had some pie dough and filling leftover. I was able to make 3 very sweet small tarts with these.) Prick the bottom and sides randomly with a fork to prevent the crust from rising during baking. If you have the time put in freezer for 15 minutes. (Alternately, make this in advance and keep in freezer.)
Remove the dough from freezer and lay a piece of parchment down into it. Add rice or beans or marbles to the pan to weigh down the dough. Bake just until the edges turn golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and allow the crust to cool. (Leave oven on.)

For the filling:
Place the two halves of the squash flat side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until the squash is very tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes.
Transfer the flesh to a blender with the coconut milk, and puree until smooth. Add the sugar and cinnamon with the blender running. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time. Blend well until all is incorporated.
Set the pie dish on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the crust up to 1/4” from the rim. (Again, you will have leftover.) Bake until the filling is set, 45 minutes to 1 hour. If the crust begins to get too brown, cover the pie loosely in foil for the remainder of the time.
Remove pie from the oven, and let cool to room temperature. Serve with whipped cream and toasted unsweetened coconut.

The Best Way To Spend A Sunday on The North Shore.

Monday, October 17th, 2016




Chive Events Sunday Suppers came back today.

The mood was pure Sunday afternoon – muted, reticent, warm sun with just enough breeze to urge a few more leaves off their branches.

The food was like a horn-blowing, marching band of bold deliciousness.




Carrot-ginger-chickpea latkes with house-cured wild salmon. Maitland Mountain Farm kimchee-cakes.  Chef Perkins’ perfect boules baked in his transportable bread oven. Molded beehives of Valley View Cheeses layered with roasted garlic. Roasted sweet tomatoes and Valley View feta. Creamed salt cod and leeks on black bread. Ham and bean stew.

More Valley View cheeses. More Maitland Mountain farm pickles – giardiniera and pickled mushrooms.

Kim Gregory’s organic desserts provided sweetness afteward. That brownie?! If you live on the North Shore, seek out Kim Gregory’s Pure Pastry – probably the most beautifully executed, luscious, all-organic desserts this food writer has been served.

Chive Events Sunday Suppers build community in a bunch of ways. Chive donates their time; local vendors donate food and alcohol. The proceeds go to an organization that often shares the same Chive dedication to community and sustainability. Guests enjoy one of the best meals they could have on the North Shore in a place that surprises: a barn, a field, a former Beverly Farms summer camp with great bones hoping to be a farm school.


The Garden School, formerly Camp Mitchman, in Beverly, MA, was this Sunday’s host and beneficiary. With a song in their hearts, so to speak, Brothers Ben and Jon Zoba purchased this grand but neglected property, designed by the architect James L. McLaughlin, who also designed Fenway Park, two years ago. The Zoba’s plan/dream is to have a school for the “Gap Year Student,” a year for someone in between life decisions to farm in the warm months and read books in the cold ones. It’s a curriculum built on the opposing lessons of physical and cerebral work: agriculture and literature. Dig, till, plant, weed and harvest outside under sun and sky until the ground freezes. Then go inside, light a fire, and talk about what you’ve been reading. (Parents, the Zoba brothers also promise to help that gap year student manage college applications, if need be.)

Watch for more Chive Sunday Suppers. Honestly, they are quietly wonderful ways to spend a Sunday, the North Shore’s secret cultural gems.



Pigeon Cove Ferments, local sauerkraut with Cape Ann terroir

Thursday, October 6th, 2016




Certain Cape Ann grocery shelves now stock a healthful, new local product: sauerkraut made from cabbages grown in Essex, lacto-fermented with salt from the Atlantic Ocean, produced by a young family in Pigeon Cove.

Kristen and Dylan L’Abbe-Lindquist have created Pigeon Cove Ferments, a line of crisp, briny, fresh-tasting sauerkrauts that promise to transform a Cape Ann Reuben sandwich into Brooklyn gold – as in, this sauerkraut is as good if not better than anything from an earthen crock in that pickle and hipster dense borough.




Here’s the story: The L’Abbe-Lindquists, with their young son, Ronin, live in Dylan’s childhood Pigeon Cove home. Kristen has a degree in Sustainable and Equitable Food Systems.  She started a garden and had hopes for a true Pigeon Cove Farm, but a new baby made her rethink what she could do with her degree, and how she could help out the family.

While working at the Common Crow, Kristen noticed that the store dedicated a particularly large amount of shelf space to sauerkraut. Fermentation, she noted, must do well on Cape Ann. Dylan is the head brewer at Cape Ann Brewing, Co. He knows about fermentation. (The couple already had a relationship with Noah Kellerman at Alprilla Farms in Essex through Cape Ann Brewing.)

With a new business plan the gorgeous green spheres of Brassica lolling almost comedically over the Alprilla Farms fields had purpose, destined for the Pigeon Cove Ferments crocks.


The L’Abbe-Lindquists produce the sauerkraut – 4 delicious flavors! – in a kitchen at Blackburn Industrial Park. The Atlantic Saltworks Company, the company that evaporates local sea water down to salt crystals, is conveniently their neighbor, and now their second most important ingredient. We are talking Cape Ann terroir.

Pigeon Cove Ferments is already breaking the sauerkraut rules, becoming a special fermented product in flavors that will make you just want to serve them on their own:

Turmeric & Ginger

Garlic Dill

Peppered Caraway


Two more flavors –

Red Beet, Ginger & Bay Leaf

Curried Carrot Kraut

– will be available in various farmers’ markets. I say look for all of them, but the Red Beet, Ginger & Bay Leaf would earn both beauty and modernity marks on a holiday table.  DO NOT BE AFRAID: these krauts are more cool, bright salad than salty, malodorous vegetables, that thing people fear in sauerkraut.

Serve Salsa Kraut with Trupiano’s sausages on a crusty bun.

Serve Peppered Caraway Kraut with some golden fried hake in a Virgilio’s roll.

Make your own version of a Cuban Sandwich with ham, cheese, pork, mustard, and Garlic Dill Kraut on toasted Portuguese Sweet Bread.

Turmeric & Ginger Kraut with Cabot Clothbound Cheddar Cheese on sliced, buttered, grilled Alexandra’s Whole Wheat Bread might just be the new “Cape Anner.”

You can find Pigeon Cove Ferments on these shelves and at these events:

Common Crow


Lanesville Package Store

Seaview Farms Store

Also, they will be at:

the outdoor and indoor Cape Ann Farmers’ Markets

Rockport’s Harvestfest, October 15th

North Shore Food + Gift Emporium, Turner Hill, November 20th

Ales over ALS, October 22nd

The world needs young people seriously growing food again. It’s old news, but small family farms promote the health of soil, the health of the environment, the health of the people who consume this local produce, and the health of the community that comes together around these efforts.  Sauerkraut is the Superfood to all that.

Here’s some good information on the health benefits of sauerkraut and lacto-fermentation in general:

Benefits of Lacto-Fermentation

Pop-up Farmers’ Market – local pasta meets local produce!

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016


Astrid of Astrofarms at Moraine Farm

At this pop-up farmers’ market, all you need do is walk in the door and a beautiful, fresh, local dinner is practically made. Leave someone at home to start the pasta water boiling while you run out!

This Friday – September 16th, 2016 – from 12- 4 p.m. Astrid from Astrofarms in Beverly will set up her harvest at Pastaio via Corta, 11 Center St. Gloucester.  Astrid will have this and more:


baby mustard greens,

Toscana kale,

red curly kale




shelling beans



hot peppers

The Case

Pastaio via Corta has handmade pasta made fresh every day, often handmade cheeses, olives, and a fine selection of Italian cooking basics.

Go to this pop-up market Friday and take home all the ingredients for pasta fagipoli, pasta puttanesca, or almost all the ingredients for Marcella Hazan’s Linguini with Crab and Arugula or her Pasta with braised Celery, Onion and Pancetta.


A perfect autumn Cape Ann event!

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016


This menu says it all!  – for the Salt Marsh Farms pulled pork alone…



Seafood Throwdown in the Boogie-down Bronx!

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Karen Washington

“Why not the Bronx?!”

When nationally renowned food activist Karen Washington met Niaz Dorry, director of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, at a conference last spring, Dorry explained that NAMA often distributed its message through something called Seafood Throwdowns. Seafood Throwdowns are cooking competitions held in public spaces to promote under-utilized species and to teach people about sourcing local fish.

“Yeah,” Dorry said, “We’re having one in Brooklyn this year – “

“Brooklyn?!” Washington called out, “why does everything happen in Brooklyn?! Why not the Bronx?!”

Inside that question lies almost the entire issue of food justice. Why not the Bronx? Why does society – even the most conscientious among us – systemically omit neighborhoods of color from the good food conversation?

Dorry immediately understood the obviousness of her own omission, and right there began planning with Washington the “Garden of Happiness” First Annual Seafood Throwdown in the Bronx! – between 181st and 182nd.

corn & Garden of Happiness

As Washington declared many times last Sunday afternoon, in between the smiling young DJ’s pulsing Rhianna and Michael Jackson spins, “we’re not in Brooklyn! We’re not in Queens! We’re not in Manhattan; we’re in THE BRONX! – this is the ‘First Annual Seafood Throwdown in THE BRONX! – the Boogie-down BRONX!”

The secret fish was bluefish. Michaela Hayes from Rise and Root Farm and Crock and Jar teamed up with Suzanne Cupps from the restaurant Untitled at the new Whitney Museum.

Suzanne Cupps & Michaela Hayes


They competed against Aneesha Hargrave from the fresh salad franchise Chopt. This Seafood Throwdown attracted social brass.



A very tall New York State Senator Gustavo Riveira, looking like a basketball center at a church supper, joked for a couple of hours with his District 33 constituents, even after admitting that fish creeped him out. But, he added, “anytime Karen Washington says show up, I show up.”

Gustavo Riveira

Aside, he confided that he had five more events to attend that day, and meals to eat at each of them, but he pointed to the opulent display of Rise and Root Farm heirloom tomatoes:

“See those tomatoes over there? I have a nice loaf of whole grain bread at home. I’m going to buy the ugliest tomatoes – the ugliest ones always taste the best – and I’m going to go home tonight and slice some of that bread. I’m going to lay some thick slices of those tomatoes on top, and lay slices of fresh mozzarella over them, and that’s going to be my dinner tonight!”

Rise and Root Tomatoes

I saw him leaving 45 minutes later, happily swinging a plastic bag heaving with Rise and Root tomatoes.

Joe Heller, Resource Conservationist for the USDA and his wife helped to judge the Throwdown. Heller declared his earnest professional interest in seafood issues, saying he hoped the USDA could partner better in the future with fishermen.

Deborah Lomax from the Bronx Health Department and the Center for Health Equity, “responsible for lowering the health inequalities in this borough,” seated herself at the judge’s table, declaring before she tasted her first bluefish dish, “I can’t wait to have the taste of equity in my mouth!”

The New York Botanical Gardens nurtures its 250 acres, 50 gardens and hundreds of millions of plant species just around the corner from this Bronx block party. Built in 1891 upon the estate of Pierre Lorillard, who amassed a fortune with the world’s most popular plant, tobacco, the NYBG has a pedigree peppered with names like Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Morgan and Rockefeller. It’s treasures include 50 acres of Old Growth forest – the original un-cut, un-logged trees that once covered the island of Manhattan. It includes the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden designed by landscape designer Beatrix Jones Farrand. Its library holds the writings of Charles Darwin and Carl Von Linne (Linnaeus), who created our latin system for naming plants. Karen Washington is a New York Botanical Garden board member.

Here is a short history: Karen Washington, single mother of two and a physical therapist, purchased her brick row house between 181 and 182nd in the Bronx in the early 1980’s. One day she saw a man with a shovel in the vacant lot across the street from her new house. She asked him what he was doing, and he said, “I”m going to build a garden here.”

“Well, let me help!” Washington replied. Today that garden, named “Garden of Happiness,” is an extravagant plot of land filled with mature trees, a chicken coop, and garden plots heaving with tomatillas and papalo, Porophyllum ruderale, a tender spicy green similar to cilantro used in Mexican cuisine. To step into the Garden of Happiness on an August morning is to be struck hard by the simple lesson that gardens and trees are easy bandaids to the harsh concrete heat of the city. Temperatures drop and mood lifts when one steps off the street and into this bountiful half-acre of chlorophyll and leafy shade.

Garden of Happiness Bench

Garden of Happiness

garden of happiness trees

Garden of Happiness tree


Here’s a glimpse of Karen Washington’s biography now:

Since 1985 Karen Washington has been a community activist, striving to make the New York City a better place to live. As a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens, she worked with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens. As an advocate, and former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, she stood up and spoke out for garden protection and preservation. As a member of the La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, she helped launched a City Farms Market, bringing fresh vegetables to the community. Karen is a Just Food board member and Just Food Trainer, leading workshops on growing food and food justice across the country. In 2010, she co-founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization supporting growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012, Ebonymagazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country, and in 2014 she was the recipient of the James Beard Leadership Award. Since retiring from Physical Therapy in 2014, Karen is Co-owner/Farmer at Rise & Root Farm.

It all started with a garden, the garden which offered a cool bench at the First Annual Seafood Throwdown in the Bronx. Today Carmen Pepe and his wife maintain The Garden of Happiness, which is also part of the NYBG Bronx Green-up initiative.

Karen Washington & crew

Wearing an untucked button-down shirt and rumpled khakis, Todd Forrest, the Arthur Ross Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections at the New York Botanical Garden, mingled with the crowd and followed the chef’s work throughout the cooking process. Washington introduced him as “a dear friend, and the heart and soul of the New York Botanical Gardens.”

Todd Forest - New York Botanical Gardens

Forrest, in turn, had nothing but deference and praise for Washington. “who has just made the Bronx a more wonderful place.”

The Seafood Throwdown was part of the 181 – 182nd Block Party, a precious time for an urban kid, Washington describes, when New York City actually stops traffic on their street for a day. Washington says, “We try to live in this community, to celebrate a day kids can run around in the streets with no cares, to be free.

181 - 182

At one point, a parked car needed to exit the street, and a pack of adults sprang forward to protect a few young kids still wobbly on their small bicycles. The DJ called into his microphone, “Hey, watch those kids! They’re our future!”

A day to practice bike riding on a wide open street. Gardens. Fresh farm-raised vegetables. Each of these components were treasured this day in the boogie-down Bronx. Each seemed to be valued far higher than communities I see with less concrete and more trees. Karen Washington acknowledged as much, describing the one farmers market in the Bronx, La Famiglia Verde, as an extremely important event for this particular community, important in ways one doesn’t associate with local melons and fresh cut flowers.  Washington said this about working at La Famiglia Verde:

“If I see someone who just got out of prison, and they have nothing to eat, I hand them some food. Or if I see someone walking by, and I know they have no money to feed their family, I hand them some vegetables. They might say to me, ‘but I don’t have a check,’ and I say to them, ‘did I say anything about a check? – just get over here!’”

“I grew up in the projects where people took care of each other. Today, with materiality, the explosion of the media, emphasis has been on things, not basic human compassion. The rise of the individual has taken over, and we have lost community. We lost how to lean on each other, to share things. People don’t want to borrow because they’re afraid they will be thought of as ‘poor.’ It’s become shameful to be poor.”

Washington’s words ring true in communities far beyond the Bronx.

Here is Aneesha’s winning bluefish recipe.

Aneesha's winning bluefish


Chopt’s Aneesha’s WINNING Bluefish “Mejor” – “Better Bluefish”


For the Tomato Sauce:
1/2 cup good quality olive oil + 2 tablespoons (divided)
8 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons “Mama Lil’s Goathorn Peppers” or jarred roasted peppers
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
6 medium – large tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1 diced green pepper
1 cup diced raw bluefish (skin removed)

For the bluefish:
2 pounds bluefish fillets
olive oil
about 4 lemons, sliced into rounds
salt and pepper

For the salad:
2 bulbs fennel, stalks and tough end removed
4 leeks, cleaned, halved lengthwise, then cut into 6” lengths
8 Hungarian wax peppers or your choice of peppers
olive oil for tossing vegetables
1/2 cup diced red onion
kernels from 2 ears of corn
handful of chopped celery leaves
1 teaspoon capers
salt for finishing
Spanish olive oil to taste

To finish:
sea salt
chopped parsley leaves
For the sauce:
Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan to medium heat. Add the garlic cloves, and lower temperature. Cook until garlic just begins to soften but becomes sweet. Add the peppers, and cook to blend flavors for 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan, and stir to blend in the warm pan. Remove from heat.
Pulse very lightly in a food processor, just to mix well and blend in the garlic, not to puree.
Add sherry vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Heat a 10” saute pan to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil, and saute the green pepper until softened, and just beginning to brown. Add the tomato sauce, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the diced bluefish, and simmer until the fish is cooked, another 5-7 minutes. Set sauce aside.
For the bluefish fillets:
Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Brush the lemons lightly with olive oil, both sides, and lay on the grill closely together, making a surface upon which to lay the fillets. Rub fillets lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Lay the fillets on top of the lemon slices, and cover grill. Roast for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through, and flakes easily when pushed with a fork. (Alternately, lay the lemon slices on a foil-covered baking sheet. Lay the fillets on top of the lemons. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees F. until the fish flakes easily, about 8-10 minutes to the inch.)

For the salad:
Chop fennel bulbs into 1” wedges. Toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat a grill or grill pan to high heat, and lay fennel slices on top. Cover grill or pan, and cook for 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until fennel is cooked through but not mushy. Halfway through, toss leeks and pepper in olive oil and salt, and add to the pan, cooking them similarly.
Allow vegetables to cool slightly before tossing. Then put all in a large bowl, adding the onion, corn, and parsley leaves. Toss in the capers. Taste for salt and pepper, and drizzle good quality Spanish olive oil over all to taste.

To assemble dish:
1. On four dinner plates, spoon out approximately 3/4 cup of the chunky sauce. Lay a serving of grilled bluefish on top. Spoon the vegetables over all. Finish with salt, more chopped parsley leaves, and capers.

Karen video

Karen Washington interview

Pastaio Via Corta – pasta is changing Glosta

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016


Danielle at the Seafood Throwdown

Once a softball player, ever a purist, Danielle Glantz has opened a “pastaio,” a fresh pasta shop named “Pastaio via Corta” – “pasta maker on a short street,” transforming “a short Gloucester street” into a Florentine neighborhood.


Glantz will say her palate was actualized as a child at her Lebanese mother’s and grandmother’s sides in her home in western Massachusetts. (Her father is Italian.)  Bold, fragrant dishes created with love and joy in a family kitchen seems to be the Glantz culinary syllabus.

She received a degree and a Brillat-Savarin Medal of Merit from the Culinary Institute of America (after starting out at the University of Hartford on a softball scholarship). She cooked for four and a half years at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA, and returned to Massachusetts as sous chef at Nico and Amelia Monday’s restaurant The Market on Lobster Cove. After a year there Glantz became head chef at Short and Main, the Monday’s and partners’ second restaurant on Main St. in Gloucester. But Glantz still speaks with awe of her grandmother’s shish barak, a tiny lamb and pine nut tortellini served in a yogurt soup, as if that cooking had more power over Glantz’s professional style than the other way around.

Yet, under Chez Panisse chefs Jean-Pierre Moulle and David Tanis, Glantz saw that purchasing locally meant more than the promise of better tasting produce; it meant a commitment to the community.

With this personal canon, Glantz has opened Pastaio via Corta, a handmade pasta and cheese shop on Center St. in Gloucester.

Pastaio Counter

If you have noticed the small chalk sandwich board saying “fresh pasta” on the corner of Main St. across from Passports, follow the pointing arrow; just go. It’s your lucky day if Glantz has made burrata, a sphere of freshly pulled mozzarella so plump with cream that it bursts at the tenderest pressure, and they are not all spoken for.

While I was there last week, a 30-ish year old woman walked in and said, “I came here for your burrata; my mother says it’s the best she’s had in her life, even after living in Italy for years.” Glantz smiled back with her steady, brown-eyed soundness. This is the woman who, when talking about working with the wood-fired oven at Short and Main, said, again with that straight-shooting clarity, “the oven will own you unless you own it.”

Glantz makes burrata, mozzarella, and stracciatella every week, but it disappears as quickly as it goes in the case. If luck isn’t your thing, order ahead: 978-868-5005.


making gnocchi

Pastaio gnocchi

The Case

Glantz makes all of the pasta by hand in her shop. On any day (Glantz is open 7 days a week, from 11:00 – 7:00.) you can walk into the sun-filled store, and she is standing behind the counter rolling dough into long snakes, breaking off thumb-size pieces for gnocchi, and then rolling each on the wooden board that imprints those signature gnocchi lines. Or she is pressing tiny disks of pasta into orrechiette. On Thursdays and Saturday’s she makes ravioli. Last week’s were filled with ricotta, mascarpone, Parmigiana Reggiano, cardoons, squash blossoms, olives and basil.

Glantz makes four basic kinds of pasta: short, stuffed, long, and “pastine” – or soup pastas. She always has a whole wheat pasta made from Alprilla Farm’s milled whole wheat. Flour is now the symbol of Glantz’s conviction.

“I believe that good food should be available to everyone. When I thought about opening my own business, I thought, if I’m entering the market as someone who is honestly concerned about farm-to-table living and sustainability, I’ll start with pasta,” – a product that can make local, healthy ingredients like wheat, eggs, milk and vegetables available to everyone.

Gloucester Italians have already discovered Pastaio via Corta. The day I was there a 40-ish year old man named Caesar, wearing bright orange running shoes to match his silver and orange motor cycle helmet, sat on the bench for a good 45 minutes. He just wanted to talk about homemade ricotta cheese, a certain sign for me that Pastaio via Corta has already improved our community in many ways.

Glantz competed with this dish in last week’s Cape Ann Farmers’ Market Seafood Throwdown.  For the record, Cape Ann Fresh Catch will be selling whiting, so delicious in this summery pasta recipe, this week (8/25).


Seafood Throwdown Radiatore


Pastaio via Corta Seafood Throwdown Radiatore

serves 4 for dinner


1 whole whiting or 2 small (about 1/2 pound of cooked meat)

3/4 cup olive oil, divided (for fish and cherry tomatoes)

salt and pepper

1 pound Pastaio via Corta radiatore

2 tablespoons minced garlic 1 pint cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup chopped basil

1 cup squash blossoms, roughly chopped


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Heat a clean grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Rub fish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap fish securely in aluminum foil, and lay on grill. Grill for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish flakes well when checked. Remove from the grill, and open the foil slightly to stop the cooking. After it is cool enough to handle, pull the flesh from the bones, discarding the skin. You should have about a cup of fish, or to taste. Set aside.

In a large skillet heat 1/2 cup olive oil to medium high. Add garlic, and toss in the pan very briefly, for about a minute Do not brown. Add cherry tomatoes. Toss a bit with the garlic, and let cook until the tomatoes just begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Add the pasta to the water and cook for 2 minutes, if using Pastaio via Corta, or until al dente. (Boxed radiatore will take 5-7 minutes.) Drain pasta but leave a small amount of water on the pasta, just dripping a bit, and toss the pasta into the pan with the cherry tomatoes. With 2 wooden spoons, start tossing the pasta in the pan with the tomatoes. Add the fish, and keep tossing, until the pasta begins to “drape” with the liquid in the pan. (Return the pan to warm heat if necessary.) Toss in the fresh herbs, squash blossoms, and toss well again. Taste for salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

The Best Bacon.

Friday, June 17th, 2016

BLT salad


Make Dad the best bacon in the world for breakfast.  Or make him the best BLT, or if he’s skipping carbs make this BLT Salad draped in homemade blue cheese dressing.: all-natural, no nitrate, chemical free, hand rubbed, applewood smoked from Pennsylvania Amish pigs, created by a guy from New Jersey who grew up kosher.

He’s participated on Chopped. He is a savant with flavors, and has developed his own line of rubs that are nothing short of molecular gastronomy. Jewish kosher thing aside, (and it IS aside!) no one – NO ONE – is as passionate about bacon and grilling meat than Doug Keiles.

A Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned team, he and his crew (which sometimes includes local darling Laurie Lufkin!) travel on weekends to super-charged barbecue competitions and firey catering gigs, where he makes people very, very happy. In June, the team came in 3rd and 4th overall in the first three of the season’s Kansas City Barbecue Competitions in Staten Island, Ridgefield, CT., and Green Lane, PA., taking home the blue ribbon for pork in Green Lane.

Ribs Within bacon is exactly balanced – again, that molecular gastronomy strength Keiles intuitively has.  The beautiful Amish-raised meat flavor is entirely present; it tastes partnered with salt, sweet and smokey, not consumed by it.  This is the blue ribbon, the ultimate, the gold standard of bacon.  Dad’s eggs might be embarrassed beside it.

Since I am late in posting this, you probably won’t receive your bacon by Father’s Day, but don’t let that stop you. If yours is a bacon household, run don’t walk to Ribs Witihin.

Ribs Within

To order, and find out more go here: