Greetings Long Islanders! Long Island is the only home I know. Some of you may know me from the eateries I've worked in around the island during my career. Coyote Grill, Duke Falcon's or Chesapeake Bay. I most recently open & closed my first restaurant in Rockville Centre a short time ago, but that was a learning experience I think a lot of chef's encounter on the way to finally opening their own place. I'm glad to have built up
a name as a caterer on Long Island over the years.
So I will always have that.
The summer is over and I know us Long Islanders get a little bummed but not
to worry! The fall brings us a lot to celebrate! The kids go back to school! No, no, that's not it...Autumn brings us a lot of great seasonal ingredients like squash, pumpkin, apples & pears. We will see on restaurant menus thicker soups, more game meats, fresh corn and heartier meals.
When cooler weather approaches, nothing comforts like hearty stews and casseroles, made with a host of wholesome ingredients and simmered in a soothing blend of seasonings.
Stew is low in cost and high in flavor and nutrition. The stewing process is an excellent method for cooking leaner cuts of meat as the long slow cooking breaks down the connective tissue, resulting in very tender meat. Nutrients are conserved, as the cooking liquid is eaten along with the dish, and it's a great way to use leftover vegetables. As a meal in one dish, stews and casseroles can be quite a time saver in busy households. Make stew in a slow-cooker, or prepare it in advance and reheat according to your family's hectic schedule. Many stews taste best when made in advance so the flavors blend. Casseroles can be assembled in advance and baked just before serving.
Vegetables for stews and casseroles should be cut into uniform size to ensure even cooking. To lower stew's fat content, put more vegetables and less meat in your favorite recipes.
First, brown the meat without added fat. Degrease the stew after cooking by refrigerating it until the fat rises to the top, then skimming the fat off with a spoon before reheating it. Stew doesn't have to include red meat. Some of the most delicious ethnic recipes are based on poultry and seafood, such as coq au vin or Louisiana seafood gumbo. Also, you can make a garden stew any time of year out of vegetables currently in season.
I won't be having any recipes in this column, but I will have fall recipes on my website FourStarChef.com if you want stop by!
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Photo credits: Alex Kaplan