post no. 22

12 September 2013 0 comments


Asa noticed it first. Our final meal of the spring, our twenty-second overall, was scheduled for June 22nd. Twenty-two on the twenty-second—that little jog of a coincidence gave us the inspiration to create a menu of pairings. One of the trickier parts of having these meals is creating a menu, and this conceit made for good brainstorming. We couldn’t riff on lots of traditional pairings—it was a vegetarian meal, so no pork and beans, or bacon and eggs, or meat and potatoes—but the concept was flexible enough to suggest many  possibilities.

We’d also been thinking for a while that it would be fitting to invite our CSA farmer, John Krueger,John to one of our Sharing the Table meals, since he grew so much of what we’ve served over the years, and this was a perfect opportunity. John’s season was well underway; we could use a lot of his late spring produce; and we had guests who were CSA members or who knew him from the Montclair farmer’s market.

It was a beautiful soft June evening, the second longest day of the year—the solstice took place on the 21st—and so we began the meal outside with a bite and the Tears of the Prophet cocktail. The company, the spirit, the food, a little music afterward—a perfect end to that season of meals.

Table, outside

Here is the menu:

“Soup n Sandwich” — Cold Beet Soup and Sage-Grilled Cheese Sandwich • Tears of the Prophet Cocktail

“Risi e Bisi” — Fresh Pea Risotto

“Wild and Cultivated” — Spring Greens Salad with Garden Fennel Fronds, Purslane, Serviceberries, Mulberries, and Nasturtium Flowers

“Garlic and Onions” — Rigatoni with Seven Lilies Sauce

“Hot and Cold” — Hot Fudge Sundae with Vanilla Ice Cream, Fresh Whipped Cream, and Smoked Almonds

This photo doesn’t do justice to the intense color of John’s beets, once turned into soup:

soup n sandwichOr the beautiful nasturtiums John grows to add to his salad mix:

SaladOne more item that didn’t make it on the menu—a delicious, floral sangria filled with apples and other goodness, brought by one of our guests, Amy:

Amy and JohnBy the way, serviceberries, aka Juneberries, come from a native American shrub called the amalanchier. It’s also known by about a dozen other names, including my favorite, shadbush, because it blooms when the shad start their run from the ocean upriver (which was a big deal where I grew up, on the Delaware). We have several in our yard, including one that’s been trained to grow as a tree, and once its berries ripen our spindly amalanchier is assaulted by birds, who pick it clean in a matter of days. It’s a curious thing to watch birds eat. They land, nervously, then peck at a fruit, and immediately fly away, even though there’s another fruit right next to it. Also, some of the branches are so delicate that even the weight of a bird bends them precipitously, so the birds are forced to snatch the fruit while in the air.

Our charity that night was Toni’s Kitchen. Here are a few more photos, with even more, as usual, on my Flickr page.

Grace and Kevin outside


whole table laughing, my pov




Elise and table laughing


Riddy, looking upAmy and Charles etc singing

heart-shaped rocks



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For Peter

post no. 21

7 September 2013 1 comment

Sharing the Table 21
















Peter Workman died this spring. I worked for him and with him for nearly twenty-five years. He was brilliant, generous, difficult, loyal, entrepreneurial, visionary, and on and on. An amazing person. He was also an inspiration for Sharing the Table. He embodied the spirit of charity—he was a true giver. And, he loved to eat and drink. Once we figured out this idea of having dinner parties for charity, I couldn’t wait to tell Peter about it. It took a while to get him out here, but when he did join us, he arrived with all of his grace, humor, and curiosity. He really knew how to embrace the moment.

One of Peter’s favorite charities was the Goddard-Riverside Community Center on Manhattan’s upper west side. After his death, we had the idea to have our next dinner in honor of Peter, invite people from Workman Publishing, and have the money go to Goddard. It took place on May 18, and it was a lively, lovely evening. Here’s our menu, designed for a group that included a vegetarian and a guest or two who don’t eat red meat. The dessert—aptly nicknamed “crack pie”—was courtesy of Peter’s daughter, Katie, a great cook, writer, food blogger, and—clearly—a genius at coming up with simple, incredibly tasty recipes.

Chicken Liver Crostini • Fava Bean and Pecorino Crostini • Tears of the Prophet Cocktail

Poached Egg over Roasted Asparagus and Prosciutto with Lemon Butter and Bread Crumbs

Seafood Sicilian Lifeguard Style, over Israeli Couscous • Ratatouille with Mushrooms, over Israeli Couscous

Katie’s “Crack Pie” with Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar

Cooking highlight of the dinner: serving fourteen beautifully poached eggs. The secret: poaching them the day before, with no pressure, then reheating in hot water—thank you, Thomas Keller:

Sharing the Table 21The seafood dish came courtesy of Mario Batali. It’s a mainstay of the Babbo menu, and included in the cookbook:Sharing the Table 21

One thing we fell short on was taking pictures, but there are a few:

Sharing the Table 21


Sharing the Table 21

Sharing the Table 21

Sharing the Table 21

Sharing the Table 21

Sharing the Table 21

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