Ric Orlando's Crab and "Zucca" Risotto from Albany Wine Dine for the Arts 2013

Crab and "Zucca" Risotto

Crab and pumpkin (aka Zucca), in this case butternut squash,  creamy mascarpone and a drizzle of olive oil is both luxurious and comforting at the same time. Served with a nice bitter endive salad and a big fat white wine, life is good!

There are three steps to this recipe. Cleaning the crab, making the stock and building the risotto. There are no real shortcuts for this--do it all. --life is way more fun when you give it your all....

serves 4
1 Dungeness Crab, Live or cooked (available at a local Asian market)
or 3 Jonah Crabs
or 8 Blue Crabs
1 butternut squash, peled and diced ( about 1 1/2 cups diced butternut squash)
2 cup arborio rice
olive oil as needed
butter as wanted
1 small onion, diced (save peelings)
1 leek, cleaned, white and light green parts diced, green tops reserved for stock
1 large carrot, peeled and diced (peels reserved
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 small bunch of sage, leaves chopped
2 bay leaves
4 oz tomato paste
2 cup white wine
Juice and zest of two lemons
1 fresh nutmeg
1/4 cup marcarpone cheese
Grana Padano cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

FIRST Make the crab-squash stock.This can be done a day in advance.
Blanch the crab:
Preheat oven to 450
In a heavy pot bring 1 gallon lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Drop in the crab and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the crab and cool under running water. Discard the water. ( if you have purchased already cooked crabs, skip this)

Clean the crab: SAVE THE SHELLS! That is what we are making stock from. Pull off the legs and claws and pull off the back shell.  Any liquid and fat that is in the back also goes into the stock. Remove the “fingers” or the greyish gills from he torso and discard. Pull as much meat from the body as you can, Using a scissors, mallet, vice grips, back of a pan...(get it?) crack the claws and legs and extract as much meat as you can there also. Use all the shells, roe, green stuff and drippings for the stock.The reserved meat will last refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

Make the stock:
Put all shells and shell pieces on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until he shell edges lightly brown.
Use a heavy stock pot over medium high heat. Add all crab shells to the pot. 
Add half of the diced onion and the onion peelings, half of the diced carrot and carrot peelings, the bay leaves, half of the parsley bunch and leek greens.
Now add the tomato paste and stir it in coating all of the veggies and crab shells. Add one cup of the white wine and stir that in well also.
Add one gallon of lightly salted water to the pot.
Bring to a rolling boil.  Skim and reduce heat. Cook for at least one hour or up to four hours gently. It should reduce by about 10%. If it reduces too much, lower the heat and add a little more water. Strain, discard solids, save the liquid.

Now make the risotto.
Dice the butternut squash meat.
In a heavy casserole pan over high heat coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. If you like, add a little knob of butter and let it foam up.
Add the diced onion, leeks and carrot. Lightly season with salt and pepper and sauté for 3-4 minutes to soften the onions. Add the diced butternut squash and sauté for 3 more minutes.
Add the rice and stir to coat, adding a little more olive oil if needed. Saute for three minutes.
Add the cup of wine all at once and stir in well.
Now start adding the stock, about 6-8 ounces at a time, and gently stir constantly until the stock is mostly evaporated. Continue with this technique, adding stock and stirring it down ladle by ladle, until most of the stock is gone and the rice is creamy and tender.
Finish by adding the lemon juice, reserved crab meat, the mascarpone, a nice knob of butter and the chopped parsley. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg, Grana Padano, chopped parsley and a little lemon zest. Serve at once.

Ric Orlando Makes Ceviches

Here's a Time Union Instruction video from the archive...

Ric Orlando Dry Rub Cooking Video

From the Albany TU Archives--Cajun and Latin dry rubs

Quick perspective on Obamacare

Too many Idiots --too much Hostility--
If Obamacare effects me as a business and my costs go up, my prices will go up accordingly. That is how the world works. But if the middle class workers of America's health care is covered, they will have more money to spend, so a small % increase in prices will be a wash. What is the big deal?
The big deal here is that there are too many companies in America that sell GARBAGE/POISON for CHEAP to people who don't  know or don't care about QUALITY. If you need to eat at Denny's and a 5% increase in the price of grand slam will drive you away you should be cooking those eggs at home.
These companies who are trying scapegoat Obamacare are substance-free ideas that create demand for GMOs, cheap labor, styrofoam, HFCS, and more--they are leading contributors to Diabetes, obesity and a general retardation of America-they do nothing to advance our humanity and only bring our culture down anyway.
So I say, let em squirm.
Here is the recipe kiddies!

Simple Gluten Free Gnocchi by Ric Orlando

Ric Orlando's Gluten Free Gnocchi
Yes you can!
Gnocchi are simple potato dumplings, easily done gluten free! The most important aspect of good gnocchi is the cooking of the potatoes! If you boil them , they will absorb lots of water. Who wants a soggy potato? Baking them will concentrate the starches and keep your gnocchi together! 
I like my Gnocchi to have a little spring and chew to them and these will. I don't like super dense leaden gnocchi on one end of the spectrum, but I HATE the little airy pillows that are referred to as gnocchi on so many menus even more. Gnocchi are "Piatti Povere" or poor people's dish ---designed by Nonni to fill you up cheaply! They need a little body.


Potato meat from baked potatoes
rice flour
tapioca flour
xanathan gum

You’ll need about 5 or 6 large russet or Yukon gold potatoes to yield 1 pound of "meat". If you have more, make hash browns tomorrow.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through. When cool enough to handle, cut in half and scoop out the cooked potato meat. (You can fill the skins with cheese, chili, bacon, or whatever stuff you think would rock and bake as another dish tomorrow.)
It is best to press the potato through a ricer or food mill. If you don't have one, put the potatoes in stand mixer and mix until there are NO LUMPS.  (Note: If you have cooked the potatoes in advance and they are cold, warm them up in the microwave for a minute and they will go through your ricer much easier.)
 Put the all of the ingredients in a mixer in order, one at a time and blend to make a smooth dough or work it on a rice floured surface by hand
Divide into 3 balls. Use rice flour on your surface and using your hands roll out into a ½” thick tube. It takes a little working of the dough but just think Play-Dough! There is no gluten so you can't over work the dough. Just keep working it until you have a nice smooth tube. Cut into ¾ inch lengths and blanch in boiling, well salted water.  Once boiled, coat with a lil oil and store up to 4 days refrigerated, or freeze indefinitely.

Here are two sauces that work well with these hearty potato gnocchi

Tomato Butter Glaze 
1 small can plum tomatoes, squished through your fingers, juice reserved
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled sliced thinly
2 tbls onion, diced small
salt and crushed pepper to taste
Italian parsley, chopped
3 tbls butter 
Grated Grana Padano or Reggianato cheese

In a heavy skillet heat the olive oil. Add the onions and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. When the onions are beginning to become golden, add the garlic and cook until it gets a little golden color as well. Add the tomatoes and their juice all at once and cook at a nice brisk simmer for 15 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half. Taste. Add salt and a little crushed pepper to taste.
When ready to serve toss cooked hot gnocchi with the warm sauce, add the butter, a handful of chopped parsley and more cheese and toss to coat .

Charred Tomato Amatriciana
6 medium ripe tomatoes
olive oil
1 onion, cut into thin, short strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 strips bacon, pancetta or guanciale, diced small
chopped parsley
crushed red pepper
Pecorino cheese
Preheat oven to 400.
Remove the cores from the tomatoes.
Put tomatoes on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until softened but not mush.
Remove from the oven and, using a blow torch, burn all of the skin until it is black and peeling.
Use a heavy skillet here, not a pot.
Add some olive oil and add the bacon. Cook over medium low heat until golden. Keep the fat in the pan.
Add the onions and sprinkle very lightly with salt. and caramelize, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook until golden. Add a pinch of crushed pepper to taste.
Add all of the tomatoes and any accumulated juices.
Turn heat to high. Using a spoon, break up the tomatoes as best as you can.
Cook for 4-5 minutes to “melt” and fold in  lot of parsley.
Toss with the cooked gnocchi.
Add plenty of cheese.
Serve hot!

Ric Orlando at Mohonk's Hudson Harvest Recipes featuring CHILES!!!

This weekend, 9/15, I am cooking at the magnif Mohonk Mountain House and their Hudson Valley Harvest Festival. It is my 4th year there and it is a great busman's holiday! If you cannot make it, I am posting my recipes for this weekend....
Food is from ( among others Brook Farm Project, Story Farms, Red Barn Produce and Sea2Table.com --alas, the chocolate, figs, Ancho chiles and Salmon are NOT local, but sustainable --  we do our best!

Hudson Valley Harvest 2012

Chiles, Sweet, Hot and Mysterious.
The mystique of chiles--some fear, some revere, some steer clear! But today we will utilize this healthy harvest of chiles and show just how anyone can enjoy the magical fruit of the capsicum family.  What is the reason over 75% of the people of the earth eat chiles as a regular part of their diet? Well, they are delish AND are one nature’s better healing foods.
Yes, Chiles have numerous benefits for our bodies and minds.
Rich in vitamins, that is not all they offer us.  They actually help maintain proper digestion in numerous ways. First the encourage proper release of disgestive fluids, so your food is assimilated into your system more effiently. Yu get more nutrients from less food--now there;s a diet idea! The hile Diet!. Second they help kill parasites and balance good bacteria which also maximized your digestion!

Recent studies have shown that the alkaloid in Capsaicin, the active componenet of chiles that causes the “burn”, actually attacks cancer cells.

Also, the “burn” of peppers tricks that brain into believing it is being burned by actual heat, so it releases endorphins, the natural pain killer chemicals made in our brain. The more we release endorphins, the happier we are. There is a direct correlation between healthy endorphin release and lowered stress. So live, love, laugh..and eat your chiles!!

Three recipes
Fire Roasted Jalapeno and Local Pear Mostarda
with Sprout Creek Ouray cheese

Apple-Potato-Green Chile Soup

Pan Roasted Pork Loin with “Dirty Blonde” Tropical BBQ Sauce

Chocolate Chile Pot du Creme

LOCAL CHEESE with Fire Roasted Jalapeno-Pear “Mostarda”
A Mostarda is an Italian condiment, almost like a chutney, made by candying fruit with the essense of mustard added. It is sweet and aromatic, almost Middle eastern in character. It excels with cheeses, sausages and cured meats. It is even good on a simple cracker with cream cheese or goat cheese.
Serves 4 with extra mostarda.
8 oz Sprout Creek Ouray cheese or .. Manchego, White Stilton, Aged Cheddar...any good firm ,salty cheese
Grilled bread or rice crackers

Mostarda Recipe
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbs mustard seeds1
1 1/2 tbls good Dijon mustard
2  bay leaves
2/3 cup water
2 cups firm pears, peeled and diced 3/4 inch ish
1/2 cup dried figs, diced
3 jalapenos, charred, stemmed, seeded and roughly  peeled
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp mustard oil
salt to taste

First, char roast the chiles by cooking them over an open flame until the skin is blackened, like a roasted pepper. When cool enough to handle, scrape off most of the black skin (a little remaining is a nice touch). Remove the seeds and stem and dice small.
Put everything except the chiles, salt, fruit and oils in a heavy skillet and bring to a rolling boil. As the sugar turn to a light syrup, add the fruit and chiles and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the fruit begins to look soft and glazed. Add a pinch of salt and the oils and stir well. Store in a glass jar, refrigerated, for up to 3 months.

Present cheeses, toasts and mostarda on the side, or spoon on top of the cheese is you like.

Apple-Potato-Green Chile Soup 
Serves 4
Ric-ter Scale:  3.5

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup chopped leeks
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
6 medium Macintosh, Rome or Empire apples, peeled and chunked
6 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1-2 cups Anaheim or Poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and diced ( about 6-8 medium peppers)
1 quart chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
1 quart apple cider
1 pinch each dried sage, thyme and rosemary
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Generous cracking of black pepper
2 cups cream (optional) and/or 1 cup creme fraiche or yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, optional

Roast the peppers just like you would a red bell pepper—over or under fire.
Coat the chiles with a SMALL amount of neutral oil and place over the burners of a gas stove or under a broiler. Watch them carefully and as the skin turns black, turn them until the skin is evenly charred. Place in a container with a tight fitting led and allow the chiles to steam for at least 5 minutes to loosen the skin. Time to peel; you may want to use gloves here. Lay the chile flat on a cutting board. Use the edge of a knife to carefully scrape and peel off most the burned skin. (A lil remnant of skin is pretty tasty!). Now cut off the crown at the stem and split each chile length wise. Open up and carefull scrape out the ribs and seeds. Use a paper towels to get any stray seeds out. Roughly chop the chiles and reserve. See Note*

In a large, heavy pot, melt the organic butter over medium heat and in it sweat the leeks and onions (cook them slowly, stirring often, until soft).
Add the apples and potatoes and sauté lightly, but don’t brown them.
Add the stock and cider.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a strong simmer, stirring occasionally.  When the potatoes are softened, add the chiles, herbs and seasonings.
Puree in batches in a food processor.
Add heavy cream for a traditional Vichyssoise, or leave as is.
Garnish with creme fraiche or yogurt and chives.  Serve hot or cold.

* Note- During harvest season we buy chiles by the bushel roast them off. We measure 1 cup portions of the roasted and clean chiles and pack then into zip lock bags and freeze them. All winter long we can capture the flavor of fresh chiles!

Dirty Blonde BBQ Salmon
Ric-ter Scale *8.5

Dirty Blonde is one of signature Hot-Swet-Savory-Addictive concoctions, devised for everything from BBQ’d chicken, ribs and  shrimp, heavy ish cheese, ravioli and French Toast. You are first hit by the sweet and tangy, followed but the searing habanero heat, ending with a little glow of spices. You can cut the heat back but using less chile ( shame on you), or folding in a little little sour cream or yogurt.

serves 4
4 6 oz Salmon filet
2 tbls butter
2 tbls vegetable oil
flour (optional)
kosher salt to taste
1 small bunch scallions, chopped
2 cup pineapple, diced small

makes about 1 quart
8 oz. honey
1/4 cup red onion
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbls allspice allspice powder
2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup orange juice
3 oz cups grapefruit juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup dark um
1 oz diced bonnets (about 2 peppers) pureed in cuisinart, no stems
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp tbls dry mustard
2 tsp arrowroot

In a non reactive pot, bring everything to a boil. 
Simmer for 20 minutes.  Mix the arrowroot with 2 oz water to make a slurry, and whisk into the sauce well. Cook another minute to thicken. Cool. Store refrigerated for up to one month.


Season the salmon with kosher salt. You may or may not dust the salmon with flour before sauteeing, your choice. In a heavy skillet, (non stick is ok) Add the oil and butter. Melt the butter until foaming. Place the salmon filets top side down into the skillet carefully. COok for 4 minutes over medium high high, or until it begins to get golden brown around the edges. Turn over and cook for one more minute. Remove the salmon to a platter, and pour off the grease. Put the salmon back in the pan and ad the pineapple and scallions. Add about 4 oz of the Dirty Blonde sauce and cook another 2-3 minutes until all is glazed and thickened, Put the salmon on a plate and smother with the sauce, pineapple and scallions.  It is great with rice and beans, mashed potatoes or mashed winter squash!

Mole Truffle POT of Chocolate
New World’s signature dessert for 18 years, this is New World meets Old World in the best sense, combining choclate, fig, cinnamon and dry chiles!
Ancho chiles are dried red ripe poblano peppers. They are bitter sweet and smokey and match up with chocolate like magic!

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
3 oz ancho-fig mixture (see below)

Beat egg yolks until smooth.
Heat Cream and sugar over medium-high heat until scalded.
Add chocolate all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until all smooth.
Fold in eggs and return to gentle heat, stiring softly to incorporate eggs fully.
Remove from heat.
Stir in ancho mix and vanilla.
Use a pitcher and pour 4 oz portions NEATLY into cups.
Chill for 2 hours before serving. 
Serve lightly dusted with cinnamon and poked with a cinnamon stick.

Ancho-fig Puree (aka "mole mix)
1 cinnamon stick
4 ancho chiles
4 oz (weight) black mission figs, stems removed
4 cups water

Heat 4 ancho chiles in 400 degree oven for 1-2 minutes to soften.
they will plum up and release their toasty aroma.
Cool and remove seeds and stems.
Place in pot with cinnamon stick, figs and water. Bring to a boil, turn off heat and cover with a plate. Let soak for 15-30 minutes until figs and chiles are fully softened.  Remove cinnamon stick.
Puree solids in blender, using water to assist in pureeing until you have the consistency of ketchup. DO NOT STRAIN. Discard any remaining water.

Conventions 2012

Watching the Democratic Convention made me very hopeful and happy--multitudes of skin colors, of creeds--old young, simply beautiful...and the message? What it should be. Hope for a greater society. Hope for the middle class. Equality for all. 
The Republicans? All i get is hate, fear, xenophobia, impending doom and selfishness...a Harlan Ellison novella would have painted this picture.
A country is NOT a business. WE are a society. A country does NOT need to make a profit, WE need to be sustainable. There are some who would let us "go out of business" because higher profits can be made by doing it elsewhere. Great. Then what?

menu updates on the way

As summer nears it end and fall begins there is a menu dilemma here in the Hud-Val.
Every year the local produce supply goes through its changes before the seasons do. Corn, tomatoes, cukes, all here today, gone tomorrow. Sometimes it ends without warning. Last year Irene finished off the bursting fields in one day of Poseidon like saturation, irrational wind and then...Gone.

Forbidden Pleasures--The Magic of Offal

The Food of the Gods or Forbidden Pleasures?
It is amusing how we attach biblical status to something as primitive as organ meat or offal.  Heavenly or Devilish—which is it?
It is something that is, in the supermarket at least, the dregs, with the lowest prices and the least desired part of an animal. A huge percentage of organ meat now ends up in preformed burgers, hot dogs and other products.  Ever wonder what is meant in the advertising campaign “100% Beef” ? Sirloin? Filet? I doubt it. Try hearts and hooves. Yes that is the way most Americans get their lesser cuts!
For centuries, Sweetbreads, Pates, Marrow Custard and Anticuchos were and still are considered specialties in many parts of the world, reserved for the refined, wealthy and sophisticated eaters. James Beard and Julie Child, icons in he American culinary revolution revered a good chicken liver appetizer or kidneys in sweet and sour sauce.   But to mention these items many today in America, and you receive a groan or my least favorite response --- eeeuuwwwe, gross!
In a case of mistaken identity, offal, variety meats and many “good fats” have been much maligned in the modern food media, until recently that is.
Chefs enjoy working with them for three main reasons. First of all, they are complex and delicious, The layers of complexity in organ meats---nuances of mineral and floral aromas, layers of subtle sweetness and bitterness, the supple texture---these are the same descriptions we use for fine wine.  This is the good stuff, not the house pour, and chefs like that!
The second reason is that chefs need variety to show off their creativity. After your 100th filet mignon special, chefs need to explore new things to keep their edge and offal is a great opportunity for that.
The last reason that offal is making a comeback is because of the Global influence on modern chefs. Organ meat is still revered in all, I mean ALL parts of the world except America, where we think that a boneless skinless chicken breast has flavor!  From Asia to Argentina, livers, kidneys, tongue, heart, and more are relished by the rich and poor alike. In my travels to Europe and Central America, the most memorable meals I had included some form of “forbidden pleasure”. It is what the locals encouraged you to enjoy, as a way of making a connection and creating a bond with our cultures!
On a serious note about health; organ meats from naturally pastured animals are, contrary to contemporary myth, quite healthy for you in moderation. They contain many elusive nutrients, minerals, “good” fat, cystine, elastin, collagen and other alkaloids and enzymes that are essential to the development of our own organs, joints, brain and blood. According to bone and fat enthusiast Jennifer McLagan, [author of Beard Award-winning cookbook Fat  “marrow is full of minerals and good fat. Queen Victoria ate marrow every day and, while she may have had a full figure, she lived to be 81." That was when life expectancy was much shorter than today! Studies back her claim up, showing that marrow is a good source of protein and is high in monounsaturated fats, which decrease bad cholesterol levels.
Finally, using the entire animal is the essence of the sustainability movement.  If all we desire is round cutlets that fit perfectly on a bun, the processing industry will continue to develop “Franken-meat” to fulfill our desires. We are what we eat and we get what we ask for!
In trying to be sensible and sustainable in our meat choices, we must honor and use the entire animal in a holistic way. New World is way on board on this fact! Use it all----make stock, and in the words of the immortal Julia Child
“Save the liver!!!”