Wood-Roasted Menu Selections at Bedford Post, Do-Good Dining at Crabtree’s Kittle House, and Killer Deviled Eggs
On Fire: Bedford Post Inn
Ask many chefs, and they’ll get misty about outdoor cooking—but they’re not dreaming of the way most suburbanites do it, over E-Z click propane jets. The romance for chefs lies in the primal satisfaction of tending a wood fire, and adding rustic, nature-evoking flavors to food cooked in its heat.
Chef Jeremy McMillan has a sweet deal going at Bedford Post’s patio. He’s spending the summer outdoors, manning an elegant stone kitchen inspired by Asador Etxebarri. This is the iconic Basque restaurant that does all of its cooking over charcoal that the restaurant itself painstakingly makes daily from wood. McMillan’s new kitchen – all wood-fueled, comprising a beehive oven and two adjustable grills – was designed by McMillan and Bedford Post’s co-owner, developer Russell Hernandez. The brawny grills were custom-manufactured by an iron-worker of Hernandez’s acquaintance, who re-purposed trailer hitches to allow the grates to move up and down.
Under McMillan’s eye, his triple-flamed behemoth is churning out creamy, smoke-scented figs, skinny stalks of charred asparagus, wood-roasted quail, and grill-striped branzino. According to McMillan, “now, a lot of the vegetables and almost all the meat and fish come off the grills,” and those are charged with an intense, rustic flavor that pairs perfectly with his clean, Italian cuisine. “The outdoor kitchen has given us the ability to keep things even simpler than we usually do. It makes it easier for us to let the products speak for themselves.” Indeed, his outdoor kitchen holds no fussy kitchen crutches: in it, you’ll find only salt, fresh herbs, citrus juice, and some vinegar. When we caught up with McMillan, this native Arizonan was laughing that, when he’d taken this job, he’d never seen a firefly – now, if he’d only turn away from the dupe machine spitting orders, he could see a field alive with them.
A few lucky guests will have a chance to sit at McMillan’s outdoor chef’s table, a slab of polished bluestone attached to one wall of the stone kitchen. The view from the patio rolls across wide fields running to deep woods, and, in summer, this patio offers something that even Blue Hill at Stone Barns can’t challenge. Though there is wonderful outdoor dining at Blue Hill, diners can’t reserve its tables – because, in the event of rain, there would be nowhere to put the displaced customers, who may have reserved three months in advance. (Outside dining is an option for those already booked.) At Bedford Post, guests can call on the day of their dinner and request an outdoor table – though, understandably, these spots go fast. We know that we’ll be competing for them, too.
Crabtree’s Kittle House’s “Sparkle for a Cause Extended” Through Fall!
How’s this for a good deal? Crabtree’s Kittle House is opening its lovely garden outside the Tap Room all summer (and now, early fall), every Tuesday night for charitable events. We contacted John Crabtree, and this is what he says of his program:
“The idea for 'Sparkle for a Cause' evolved from the basic philosophy behind the foundation of Amy's Garden, the new garden that we had landscaped in memory of my wife, Amy, who passed away in November of 2009 after a nineteen-month battle with brain cancer. Amy was a dedicated registered nurse for many years before she decided to give up her career, and come to work with me at the Kittle House in 2003. One of her roles here was to care for the flowers and gardens both inside and outside the Kittle House. The garden that sits just outside of our Tap Room area was always a pleasant place to sit, but Amy always spoke about, and planned on developing it into a very special place, with many species of flowers and a water element that would more aptly fit the mood and atmosphere of the Kittle House—where people would want to come for some peace and tranquility to enjoy a glass of wine and a nice meal, taking a 'time out' from their hectic lives.
When Amy passed away, I named the garden after her, and planned to develop it the way she had dreamed it to be. When I told some friends about my plan, my youngest sister, Rita, who was a close friend of Amy's, decided to take charge. Without my knowledge, she spread the word about Amy's Garden, and, when neighbors and friends learned of her plan, many of them jumped at the chance to help. At some points during the summer of 2010, there were many neighbors and friends pruning trees, planting roses and tulips, and various other of Amy's favorite flowers. A local landscape architect donated his time, and did massive construction at below his cost, and many other local businesses donated their time and products to transform the garden into a magical place. The garden became a place of giving and caring, in honor of the most giving and caring human being I have ever known.
So when we were planning summer events at the Kittle House, it was a simple conclusion to have a 'ladies' night out' (gentlemen are also welcome) in Amy's Garden, where friends could gather and enjoy casual conversation and a glass of wine and a bite to eat with a little acoustical music, while contributing to worthy causes throughout our community.
The first charities were selected from among some of Amy's favorites including Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley, and the Boys & Girls Club, by which she was honored as 'Humanitarian of the Year' in 2006. The list of worthy causes is quite lengthy, so we decided to let the people who came to support the events help to choose the next charities by filling out a comment card and telling us which causes they would like to see supported. That is how we selected Mount Kisco Child Care Center for last night, the Westchester Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center next week, and the Oak Lane Child Care Center on July 26th. On August 2nd, Amy's Birthday, we will be introducing a new 501c(3) charity—The Amy Marie Crabtree Foundation, aka 'Team Amy'.
Since we have received such a tremendous response to this event, we have extended it beyond the summer into the fall. We have so many wonderful charities lined up for inclusion that it will be difficult to fit them all in, but we will give it our best effort, and possibly come up with some other ways to help them out.”
“Sparkle for a Cause” at Crabtree’s Kittle House
5pm to 9pm
Tuesdays through September
July 19 -The Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center
July 26 - Oak Lane Childcare Center
August 2 - A Very Special "Sparkle" Birthday BBQ and Kickoff Celebration of the Amy Marie Crabtree Foundation - aka "Team Amy"
From the announcement: “Join us in Amy's Garden tonight from 5 until 9pm and every Tuesday evening during the summer, weather permitting —otherwise we'll be ‘Sparkling’ in the Tap Room—as we offer a special sparkling wine cocktail menu (Sparkling Margarita, anyone?) and a few summery dishes to compliment them, all designed with ladies in mind. These delicious cocktail concoctions (topped off with the great California sparkling wine, Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2006) are all $12 and Chef Marc's culinary creations—some small bites and some with enough to share—range from $5 to $15.” Menu examples include spicy yellowfin tuna pizza; asparagus-and-goat-cheese sushi roll; fresh black mission figs with Roquefort cream; watermelon, heirloom tomato, and goat cheese salad; mini Maine lobster rolls; summer meze plates; and more.
Deviled Eggs at The Peekskill Brewery
Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with the deviled eggs at The Spotted Pig; I am forever hunting down recipes to mimic their mustardy, chili-spiked perfection. Coming for drinks? Dinner? Maybe lunch? Chances are you will be forced to eat another version of these eggs, so any potential guests of mine will rejoice that I can now get deviled eggs outside of The Spotted Pig (and my own home). While The Peekskill Brewery’s version is more traditional—its mayonnaise-y filling is scattered with paprika—it does hold the killer addition of crunchy, lightly house-pickled carrots. The last offers a vinegary zing to the rich, yolk-and-mayo puree, plus, the four half-eggs are presented on a bamboo board with a sweetly dressed, peppery salad of arugula. Mmmm …and no guest torture.