From the Hands of Babes…
The ostrich egg was larger than Lire’s hands. Lire (pronounced Lee Ray), age 7, diligently inserted the metal tip of the Bosch hand drill into opposite ends of the egg, then proceeded to blow through the hole at one end, forcing the albumen to slip heavily out the other end and into a waiting bowl. The egg was destined for a frittata, prepared at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton on this sunny morning in April. The student chef culinary program, founded by Arjun Acuthan, Hayground faculty member and culinary arts instructor, consists of rotating “kitchen groups” made up of children ages 5 to 12. The students, three or four at a time, spend mornings working with Ella Engel-Snow, teaching assistant, as they plan, budget and prepare meals at Jeff’s Kitchen (built in memory of Jeff Salaway, one of Hayground School’s founders).
Working assembly-style, teaching assistant Ella showed Lire, Lucien (age 7) and Elijah (age 12) how to stretch and shape the already-prepared focaccia dough on a pizza board. The dough then continued down the assembly line to pretty 7-year-old Daniele, who proceeded to delicately top the focaccia rounds with roasted onions, garlic and peppers, fresh spinach and fresh herbs, all of which were laid out before her in small individual bowls. The outdoor, mobile, wood-burning pizza oven was ready for the focaccia breads to be slipped off of their peels to bake, soon to emerge crisp, golden brown, and well-puffed.
A pre-cooked mixture of sautéed red onions, red peppers, and fresh spinach leaves coated the bottom of an oversized cast iron skillet for the frittata. Lire poured the liquid egg over the vegetables, covered the skillet with foil, and then Arjun whisked it out the back door to place in the pizza oven to set. A salad of mixed greens with a special apple-cider vinegar and basil-infused olive oil accompanied the frittata and focaccia for lunch this day. Sixty-one adorable, chattering students swarmed into the communal dining room to take their seats.
With the focus of using foods grown and harvested locally and in season, the 44 student chefs in the program are constantly developing an understanding of how to use food groups for a balanced meal and to make connections with what they grow, cull, prepare, and eat. The school’s campus boasts two vegetable gardens, an herb garden, greenhouse, and chicken coop in the heart of the Hayground community, all overseen by faculty member and farming-enthusiast Jon Snow.
Recipes courtesy of Arjun Acuthan
OSTRICH EGG FRITTATA
Asparagus and spinach from Marilee Foster’s Farm
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
3/4 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds,
cooked in our outdoor, mobile, wood-burning
2 pounds spinach, washed well and drained
1 ostrich egg from the Union Square Farmers Market in New York (equivalent to a dozen hen eggs)
Salt and pepper
1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 10- to 12-inch cast-iron or non-stick pan. Add the onion, peppers, and asparagus to the oil; sauté for at least 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add spinach and stir/sauté into the mixture for a couple of minutes until limp.
3. Add the well-beaten egg (or eggs) to the vegetables, and season again with salt and pepper.
4. Place pan in wood-burning pizza oven (or in a 375 degree home oven) until set.
Homemade dough with Amber Waves wheat
For the sponge
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup wheat + additional 1/2 cup wheat
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Antimo Caputo “00” flour
For the toppings
Arlotta rosemary-infused olive oil
Fresh thyme and rosemary grown at Hayground
Onions, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper.
1. Mix the yeast and wheat together. Let rise for 30 minutes.
2. Add the water, milk, olive oil, salt, additional 1/2 cup wheat and Antimo Caputo flour. Mix and let rise for 2 hours.
3. Punch down and let rise for an additional 40 minutes.
4. Roast vegetables (can be roasted in a home oven).
4. Place toppings on the dough and cook in the pizza oven.
FRESH SPRING SALAD
Greens from Sang Lee Farms and Hayground
Cucumbers, peeled and sliced
For the dressing
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Braggs Amino acids
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove fresh pressed garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Arlotta basil-infused olive oil
1. Mix all ingredients together, except the olive oils.
2. Slowly drizzle the olive oils into the salad and toss to coat.
Visit Silvia’s website at www.savoringthehamptons.com to see her blog and more recipes.