Tomatoes are Trending at Mohonk Mountain House Hudson Valley Harvest Festival

Tomato Time in the Hud-Val by Ric Orlando!

We just nipped it! Mid September in the Hudson Valley is when the last of the tomatoes are just about to fade from sight! We got some! And here are my recipes from the Hudson Valley Harvest Weekend at Mohonk Mountain House.
I present a veggie specific demo here for this fest every year, and this year, tomatoes it is.
First installment-- tomato bouillon and tomato sorbet!
  Here is a FABU way to use up the inexpensive end of season cracked, ripe canning tomatoes for this recipe. The bouillon can be eaten a lot of ways.
Try is simply hot, garnished  with herbs
Use it as a broth for tortellini or little ravioli, with orzo or tubetti and Romano cheese
Poach lobster, scallops or shrimp gently it.
Freeze it into ice cubes and drop them in bloody marys, martinis, gin and tonics, mojitos and more.

Harvest Tomato Bouillon
Since Campbell’s has defined our American concept of tomato soup, I have designed a cleaner and lighter version that captures all of beautiful essense of harvest tomatoes. You can use really ripe split or cracked “canning” tomatoes in this recipe which are available at a discount at most  farmstands. This recipes freezes perfectly, so make plenty while you can!
10-12 really ripe tomatoes ( about 3 lbs)  cored but left whole
1/8 cup black peppercorns
2 tsp kosher salt
1 bottle dry, unoaked white wine
24 oz. vegetable or chicken stock
(you may substitute low sodium canned broth)
64 oz  water
1 tbls of your herb of choice...thyme, rosemary, savory or tarragon
In a big pot bring to all ingredients to a rolling boil.
Boil for 5 minutes and skim then reduce to a simmer.
Simmer gently for 45 minutes.
Using the finest strainer lined with cheesecloth, strain into a clean vessel by ladling in a little bouillon at time until most of the liquid has been through the strainer. Now put the cooked tomatoes into the strainer, but don’t press down! . Just let them drip their remaining nectar into the broth for an hour or so or as long as overnight. Now strain again, This bouillon can be served as a hot or cold soup, used for cocktails or as a sauce for lobster, or sweetened and frozen into excellent sorbet!

It is best to make this in peak harvest season to capture the essense! It is luscious with salads, fish, lobster or made a little sweeter, it make a fun dessert complimented by figs, blue cheese, peaches or pound cake.
Makes 2 quarts
4 cups tomato bouillon, chilled
1 lb ripe tomatoes, cored and peeled
½ cup lemon juice
2 cup sugar
1 oz vodka
Warm the sugar with 2 cups of the bouillon to dissolve the sugar into a simple syrup, and let cool.
In a blender, puree the tomatoes with enough of the bouillon to make a smooth puree.
Combine the puree, the lemon juice, the remaining bouillon and the simple syrup. Add the vodka.
You can either process through your home ice cream maker according to the manufacturers directions of try this the no machine method.
Cool the mixtire down completely. 
Pour the mixture into a cake pan and put it in the freezer.
Set your oven timer for 1 hour.
When the timer goes off, stir the slightly slushy mix up.
Set the timer for another hour. This time the sorbet should be starting to look like a slushy. Stir it again and set the timer for 45 minutes. The third time remove the contents from the pan and process in a food processor until very smooth and aerated. Return to the pan and allow to freeze. 

Tomato pic by Ric Orlando
Tomato sorbet pic courtesy of Canard inc

Ric Orlando's Summer BBQ Clams

BBQ Clams in the half shell.

After a long Hudson Valley its time for dinner on the deck.
Nuff said.
One of my fave dishes ever is simple BBQ clams on the half shell.
They take twice as long to prep as they do to eat but it is worth every second.
I have had parties where I am shucking for hours while my guests are slurping up hot, buttery, spicy clams faster that i can cook 'em!
So here is where to start.
Get some fresh littlenecks. Nothing else will do.
Maine clams? Cheap yes, but they suck.
Cherrystones? Too big.
Go with Rhode Island or Long Island Littlenecks.
Trust me.
So you have to shuck them first, just like for clams on the half shell.
Don't cheat and steam them open or you will not have the same dish.
Instead of me showing you, 
here is Rich Vallante, Legal Seafood's executive chef doing a quick shucking video.

Ingredients (serves 2-4)
36 Rhode Island Littlenecks
1/4 lb excellent butter
choice of hot sauces

First thing to do is fire up the grill. If you are using gas, it will take about 10 minutes but if you are using charcoal, it may take 20-30 minutes. We need a HOT grill.
While your grill is heating shuck your clams.
Now here is the easy part.
Melt your butter.
Any butter will do but excellent butter will make for an excellent clam!
If you are using unsalted, add a lil salt to taste.
 Now hit each clam with a few drops of hot sauce. I like simple with Louisiana style sauce for mild, Good Caribbean style scotch bonnet sauce for hot and of course SriRachi for the masses.
A little dab will do ya. Don't kill the clams!
Next spoon on the melted butter.
Be generous. Fill the shells right up.
Now put the clams in the grill carefully. Try not to spill too much butter.

Let the clams grill until they start to simmer right in the shell like this.

When they are sizzling they are done. The clam will turn slightly opaque and that is when you know they are done. Don't over cook them.
And then drizzle on a little more butter, let then cool for a minute and enjoy like Lizzie and I am here!

Oh, by the way, all of that juice that spills in the serving platter?
Drink it! You'll thank me later!


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