Category Archives: Entrees

Turducken or Turkey Ballotine? It’s Our Recipe!

“a post-mortem on our favorite Christmas dish”

Let me first say it didn’t start out to be a “turducken”, that is a chicken, stuffed in a duck, stuffed in a turkey. It really was a “ballotine”, a French name for something stuffed inside a boneless poultry.  The turducken to which I refer is a Cajan creation involving andouille sausage, cornbread etc.  I wanted a long cylinder filled with something delicious, suitable for a Christmas-type dinner celebration. What I came up with was a boneless turkey breast wrapped around a chicken mousse that was studded with confit of duck. All poultry, all delicious, seemed like a winner. I later added prunes and some spinach for contrasting color. It turned out fantastic! Trouble was very few people had heard of a ballotine.

Turducken Recipe Hit (…or Miss!)

Food Arts Magazine, a popular food industry publication for chefs, that is heavy on recipes, has a wonderful semi-regular feature titled “Hits & Flops”. It’s quite  interesting because everyone has them, hits and flops, that is. What fun to read about high profile chefs having to pull something from their menu! Usually it’s a matter of wording, timing, or ingredients that are too unusual. It could even be that it’s too much work for the kitchen staff.

Technically this dish worked quite well, it was beautiful and delicious. It was hardly a flop, but I think customers were afraid to order it as no one knew what it was…  “Turkey Ballotine with chicken and duck”. I think next year with a few pictures and a better description it could be a big hit. I was quite pleased with it. Not much new under the sun these days, but I’ve never seen or heard of a similar dish. I’m not quite ready to call it a “turducken” just yet but when I described it to people that seemed to be the word that really gave a visual. So the next time you’re looking for a fabulous dish to entertain your guests, give the turducken a try – then tell us what you think?

And as for the recipe? There are so many steps and it’s so time-consuming, that we recommend you let us do all the hard work! Order ahead, then come in and get it from us!

Enjoy the slideshow of how we made the turducken.

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Wild Mushroom Lasagna with black truffles

Some dishes are carefully planned and executed and others just seem to happen by themselves.  Yesterday was an example of the latter.  Wild mushroom and black truffle lasagna an accident!!  Let me explain.  Several days ago a salesman left some pasta samples from Italy, paper thin sheets of egg pasta, absolutely gorgeous!!  My first comment was I’d like to do a different type of lasagna with this, not really knowing what that might be.  The next day, a local forager came by with beautiful chanterelles, black trumpet mushrooms, some boletes, and one I’ve never heard of, “cinnabar”, a brilliant orange cousin of the golden chanterelle.  The wheels were starting to turn…last night after a long Friday preparing for weddings and keeping the storefront filled with food it all came together.  A quick canvas of the walk-in turned up the perfect amount of bechamel, nice fresh ricotta, and a small wheel of sublime black truffle cheese.  Some fresh thyme, Portobello stems and truffle oil and it was happening. Within minutes onion and chopped mushrooms were sweating on the stove and the ricotta was being whipped with bechamel and grated cheese.  A layer of pasta, a layer of mushroom-cheese mix, and so on…and finally a shower of the sautéed mushrooms on top and bam, in the oven!  I’ve never put together a lasagna so quickly.  There it was and here it is! Just out in the store and going fast!

Eggplant Okra Bhadji


Our friends at Gill Farms in Hurley, New York keep surprising us with beautiful, tasty, healthy vegetables. Life is too short to only eat broccoli! So come on in and try some of the wonderful vegetables we have been preparing. Expand your mind and your palate!


Today’s delivery included multicolored mini-eggplants and gorgeous okra.  There is definitely much more to do with okra than making gumbo, (which we love) so to highlight these fascinating vegetables I made an Indian inspired dish, called a “bhadji”, delicately seasoned with ginger, tamarind and chili for today’s plat du jour.


The fresh cranberry beans we cooked yesterday are another late summer treat, truly amazing!  I folded these into a clove, cardamon scented rice, sort of like an Indian version of the Cajan “dirty rice”.

To finish the dish we’ve paired  a nice cool cucumber yogurt raita, with cucumbers from Gill Farms, of course, and some fresh herbs from our garden out back. We’re loving the bounty of the harvest in August, come share it with us!

Farm-to-table Gardiniera

We were just asked to provide a “farm-to-table” recipe for a local magazine called VISITvortex and of course we knew that we had to create something with the fresh produce we’re getting in every day from our local favorite Gills Farm in Hurley, New York. I turned around to ask our chefs what they had in mind and Jonathan had just put out our plat du jour today, Fresh Trout with Olive Salad (inspired by Muffuletta Olive Salad Recipe from New Orleans).

We make our own version of “Gardiniera” with the beautiful tri-color (purple, green, and white) cauliflower from Gills Farm. Cut the cauliflower into similar sized florets and blanch. Then lightly toss with red wine vinegar and cool. Insert this simple version of Gardiniera in the following recipe to create the topping you see for the trout.

Muffuletta Olive Salad
1 1/2 Cups Picholine Olives, Pitted
1/2 Cup Calamatta Olives (or Black) Pitted
1 Cup Gardiniera (Pickled Cauliflower, carrots, celery, Pepperoncini)
1 Tbsp. Capers
3 each Fresh Garlic cloves, chopped
1/8 Cup Celery, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. Italian Parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Fresh oregano (from our garden) or 2 tsp. dried
1/4 Cup Pimientos (Roasted red peppers)
1 Tbsp. Green Onions, thinly sliced
1 finely diced jalapeno pepper
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil about 1 – 1 1/2 Cups
Finely mince first 11 ingredients and then combine with the red pepper flakes, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly, let stand for one hour for flavors to marry.

This is a great condiment for grilled fish, steak, chicken or as in New Orleans – on a sandwich – Muffuletta or otherwise!

Opera! Jazz! R&B! Classical! Choral! World! Childrens! Gospel! : It’s a World Class Opera Festival / Music Festival – in Upstate New York!!!

Live From (Phoenicia) New York – It’s Saturday Night (Live) Opera in the Park!!!!

It’s almost here! One of the Ulster County region’s most awaited summer event – the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice. Mother father son and daughter having a picnic and chatting.

At Blue Mountain Bistro, if we have a day off, our favorite thing to do is to go to an outside event.  This summer is so full of concerts, festivals and theater – from Woodstock’s Bird-On A- Cliff Shakespeare outdoor productions, to the Belleayre Music Festival, to the second season of Phoenicia’s 4-day town wide International Festival of the Voice – and it is inspiring to be able to enjoy art and music in the Catskills.  All these events create delicious opportunities to bring along a gourmet al fresco picnic!

Since Blue Mountain Bistro-to-Go is located on the way to the fun on Route 28 in Kingston, it’s easy to phone ahead and order a delicious entrée, drink and yummy dessert to take with you. The Bistro-to-Go is the Go-To place for take away!

For a relaxing time wherever your day takes you – Woodstock’s beautiful Comeau property or Opus 40, Phoenicia’s Parish Field or kid-time at the Empire Train Museum – we have created a variety of box lunches and dinners that will be freshly made and ready to eat under the twilight stars or sparkling sun.

Made Especially For the Phoenicia Voice Fest – Your ‘Opera Box’ Dinner To-Go

On August 4th, Thursday evening, consider a concert by R & B and gospel artist Roz Morehead along with a picnic of steak kabobs, Israeli couscous salad roasted patty pan squash, a giant gourmet cupcake and refreshing drink.

Patrons enjoying the Phoenicia Festival OperaOr on August 6th, a night at the opera underneath the shooting stars of summer, listening to Mozart’s Don Giovanni or the voice of Lauren Flanigan echo off the encircling Catskill Mountains while dining on grilled salmon with summer salsa, bistro potato salad, green beans vinaigrette, delicious dessert and a beverage.

Kids have concerts to go to as well – Ralph and Ralph August 5th & 6th @11:30am & Uncle Rock August 6th @4:00pm – and if you are in a rush to get there, you will want to order a few boxed lunches to bring before they get on the Esopus stream side train that follows the shows!

We have a breaded chicken cutlet (or grilled tofu), pasta salad with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella and a huge cookie along with a bottled drink all ready for when hunger strikes!

Don’t forget the day concerts with the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Choir, Mid-eastern ‘oud master Simon Shaheen and concert pianist Justin Kolb!

For a hot day, we have created a cold plein air dish of cold sesame noodles, spicy Asian slaw, grilled tofu, choice of Melinda’s giant cupcake and bottled water, ice tea or lemonade.

How Do I Get My Food?

Your orders need to be placed early enough so we have time to prepare them just for you – It’s easy and convenient – pick out your delicious ‘Opera Box’ take away choices (below) and phone us at:

845-340-9800Romantic opera picnic with wine.

Please order by 4:00 pm the DAY BEFORE the event you are picnicking at!

Put your portable gourmet dinner order in – then swing by on your way from the NYS Thruway to Phoenicia – and pick up.  It will be like having a personal restaurant cater your outdoor summer concert fun! (The folks sitting next to you will be really jealous!)

Here is a complete list of our offerings:

Box #1
Grilled salmon with summer salsa
Bistro potato salad
Green beans vinaigrette
Choice of Melinda’s giant cupcake
Bottled water, ice tea or lemonade
$18

Box #2
Steak kebobs
Israeli couscous salad
Roasted Gill Farms patty pan squash
Choice of Melinda’s giant cupcake
Bottled water, ice tea or lemonade
$18

Box #3 (Vegetarian)
Cold sesame noodles
Spicy Asian slaw
Grilled tofu
Choice of Melinda’s giant cupcake
Bottled water, ice tea or lemonade
$16

Box #4 (kids)
Breaded chicken cutlet (or grilled tofu)
Pasta salad with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella
Cookie
Bottled water, ice tea or lemonade
$8.95

…and for tickets and concert schedule, please go to Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice

Porchetta, a New Year’s Treat

New Year’s musings from Chef Richard Erickson

I have been wanting to eat porchetta ever since I first heard that Sara Jenkins (daughter of the famous cookbook author, Nancy Harmon Jenkins) opened a place in the East Village by the same name.  In Central Italy a whole pig is roasted and then sold from a cart, (street food – this has to be the epitome of “slow cooked fast food”).  A pork loin covered with garlic, fennel and rosemary wrapped in a pork belly and slow roasted for hours is how they do it.

“Amazing”, I thought. “The loin is continually basted as the belly melts around it. We HAVE to do this.”

Well, with the end of the year drawing quickly to a close we still hadn’t done it.  Summer catering ran into Thanksgiving ran into Hanukkah ran into ….. you get the picture.  Well, I’m sure the kitchen staff thought I was nuts but sure enough, right in the middle of Christmas and New Years preparations came a whole pork belly from Hudson Valley Meat Co.  We opened it up, scored the skin in a diamond pattern, seasoned it with plenty of chopped garlic, salt and savory herbs. After sitting for several days we wrapped it around one of our Berkshire pork loins tied it up and set it to slow roast for almost seven hours.

 

Crispy skin, fatty belly, and lean loin all heaped on a semolina baguette make a killer sandwich. We’ll also be serving it as a plate with garlicky greens and cannellini beans.  Stop in today and have some, the parking is easier and the price much cheaper than on E. 7th Street!

Brine your bird!

Thumbs down on dried out turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner, once you’ve brined, your turkey will shine! So what the heck is “brining” – an old-fashioned word and a technique that is now being enthusiastically embraced by many. If you’ve wondered what it is and /or been afraid to try it – worry not – it’s easy. A brine is salt water with sugar added to temper some of the harshness,  then herbs and spices are added to enhance the flavor.

Modern chefs have adopted the technique relatively recently to correct for the lean pork and poultry being raised commercially.  Turkey that is cooked over 150 degrees has all the juices squeezed out as the meat contracts during cooking. Brining will counteract that and give you a juicy, tender and flavorful bird.  Really!!

For a 20+ lb Turkey
Here’s what you do, it’s this simple:

To make two gallons of brine:
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 head garlic
bay leaves,
fresh thyme, sage or rosemary
peppercorns

Bring 2 cups of water to boil with salt, sugar, herbs and spices.  Crush the head of garlic, add 3 or 4 bay leaves, a good branch of thyme, sage or rosemary and a sprinkling of peppercorns. Let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes and then cool.  Now add two gallons of cold water less 2 cups.

Remove the neck, giblets and liver from the cavities or the turkey, rinse and put into a large pot or plastic pail that will hold the turkey comfortably and cover with the cooled brine, put a plate on top to keep it submerged and leave refrigerated for 24 to 48 hours depending on the size. It is important that it remain at 40 degrees or less.

Remove from brine, pat dry and roast in the usual way however do not add salt, the bird has already been seasoned.

Rub the skin with a bit of oil and some of the herbs used in the brine.   Internal temperature should be 145 when done.  Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes after removing from the oven before you carve and serve the turkey.

Now enjoy one of the most tender and delicious turkeys you have ever had.  This recipe also works well for chicken and pork, soak for shorter periods of time depending on the size of the piece of meat.  You can also add brown sugar, apple cider, mustard seeds, cinnamon, and / or cloves. The variations are endless so have fun with this and don’t worry – be happy – and enjoy!