Cookbook Lets You Take The Flavors of Chelsea Market Home
BY HEATHER DUBIN | Thanks to the Polar Vortex, this winter has provided many opportunities to stay inside and cook up a storm. And with just under two months until the spring thaw, there’s still plenty of time to work your way through the “Chelsea Market Cookbook: 100 Recipes from New York’s Premier Indoor Food Hall.”
To celebrate their 15th anniversary, Chelsea Market released the book this past October, which includes recipes from vendors and restaurants at the market and celebrity chefs. From cocktails to chili and hot desserts, the cookbook contains many straightforward recipes that even the least skilled of home chefs can master.
Three professional chefs featured in the cookbook recently spoke with Chelsea Now, to share some insights about their recipes and ingredients.
Over at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, David Schuttenberg, executive chef, who has worked in many Manhattan restaurants (including Cabrito, Mexican cuisine), subscribes to a local view on food sourcing.
“It’s 400 miles from farm to slaughter to shop. We’re hyperlocal in terms of beef and pork and lamb. It’s important, that’s what we do,” Schuttenberg said. They only work with small family farms, and have a few different farmers for their meats, including two separate pig farmers.
While the farms are not large enough to afford to pay to be certified organic, their animal rearing and farming methods must meet a high standard to end up on the counter at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats. “We go visit the farms all the time. We’re acutely aware of the animal’s lives and the quality of life they had before they entered the shop,” Schuttenberg said, “That was one of the reasons I was happy to leave the restaurant world and come here.”
Many of his recipes are traditional, and Schuttenberg’s Old-Fashioned Beef Stew fits the profile. The retail focused shop sells lots of skirt steak, ribeye and hamburger, so there are plenty of less popular cuts left for Schuttenberg to create with, like a beef roast called chuck eye, and the neck. He finds that the collagen in these cuts gives richness to a stew.
Schuttenberg also explained that these sections of the cow are flavorful and tough cuts of meat, which require slow cooking and babying. “Some of my favorite cooking is fall/winter, braising and crock pots. I was classically French trained, it’s [the recipe] a nod to a bourguignon, but also a Yankee pot roast,” he said.
Tips for success include taking the meat out when it is done cooking, straining the vegetables and skimming the fat off the top. Schuttenberg then adds in fresh vegetables he wants to eat that have not been cooked long, quartered potatoes and the meat. “And you’re ready for dinner,” he exclaimed.
Mary Cleaver, owner and founder of The Cleaver Co., an event planning and catering company, and The Green Table, is committed to creating healthy food, which is sourced from local family farms. In 1979, Cleaver established Cleaver Co. — and a decade ago, she expanded the practice of her food philosophy to a broader audience at The Green Table.
“I decided it was important for people to be able to experience local, seasonal cuisine without having to make the financial commitment involved in a large event, so I opened The Green Table,” she said.
Mostly organic and sustainable ingredients from small producers and local family farms are used to prepare the menu at The Green Table. These venues are within a day’s drive of Manhattan, and in accordance with Cleaver’s belief to support local farms. Additionally, she feels, “Serving seasonal, local food is tastier and healthier.”
Her Striped Bass En Papillote recipe follows this ideal, and has been in her repertoire for years. “It’s low on fat, high in flavor and is quick and easy for new cooks,” Cleaver said. “The paper will essentially steam the fish, and so there is less risk of overcooking it or drying out.”
Cleaver recommends the fish entrée for a quick meal during the week, which is equally as appropriate for a more formal dinner party. Inspired by “cuisines of the world,” Cleaver is a proponent of seasonal and local ingredients.
At Tuck Shop, Niall Grant, owner, is known for his meat pies. His Guinness Steak and Mushroom Pie recipe is a cultural collaboration between Grant, who is Irish, and his former business partner, an Australian. “It’s a traditional Irish pie in an Australian pastry,” he said, with Guinness Stout as the clear influence from his side.
Grant gets his meat from Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, which delivers it from Creekstone Farms in Arkansas City, Kansas. “It’s not local. It’s all natural, no antibiotics, and not quite the level of organic, but very close,” Grant said.
In Australia, Grant claims the beef used for pies is more mass-produced, and a lower quality. “We’re using an extremely high quality beef, gourmet ingredient. They taste delicious because of that,” he said. The mushrooms used for the pie are from the Manhattan Fruit Exchange, which is located inside Chelsea Market. “I don’t know if it’s local, but I buy it locally — within 100 feet,” he joked.
Grant also purchases cheese from Lucy’s Whey, in the market. “We do try to support each other’s businesses and give each other discounts,” he said. Currently, they are offering a special pie with blue cheese, a Stilton, which is more English, and derived from April Bloomfield, chef and owner of The Spotted Pig in the West Village, where Grant previously worked.
In terms of making the pie, Grant thinks it is not as easy as buying one at Chelsea Market. “It’s a little bit laborious, but worth it in the end,” he said. Two people have told Grant they tried the recipe, but the outcome was not as good as Tuck Shop. Both plan to give it another go.
Grant appreciates being in Chelsea Market, and other small business owners may feel the same way. “It’s quite inexpensive to rent from there. We only have to rent our production, and we don’t have to pay for people to sit down,” he said.
More pragmatically, there is a management team that responds to technical problems, which are usually Grant’s headache and responsibility at Tuck Shop in the East Village. “If the air conditioning breaks down, someone fixes it in five minutes. It’s up and running, and it doesn’t cost me $1,000. That’s great for business,” he added, “It’s a team of handymen fixing your problems.”
“Chelsea Market Cookbook: 100 Recipes from New York’s Premier Indoor Food Hall” (by Michael Phillips with Rick Rodgers, photographs by Jennifer May) is published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, (Hardcover, 224 pages, $29.95).