This past August 21-26, I had the pleasure of being invited to the Whitehead Light Station to cook with a group of students who had signed up to spend time cooking in the kitchen with me! Can you imagine? Well, I was geared up to have a great time, but nothing prepared me for the truckload of fun and laughs we had the days that we spent there. I will be covering the trip, day by day with pics and recipes in a few posts, so check back often for frequent updates. The recipes for today’s menu are featured as the monthly recipes at www.daisymartinez.com so stop by and take a look!
I arrived on Whitehead a day early to scope out the brand new kitchen, and get a feeling for the lay of the land, so to speak. The students were to arrive on Friday the 21st, and I wanted to visit the local farmer’s market to see if I could help stock the larder, although native chef and caterer Anne Stires and her husband Jon, had done an incredible job of preparing the space for my arrival. Angela and Carolina accompanied me (Angela to be a guest of the Swans at their compound, and Caro as my indispensible right hand!), and as we cleared the woods after walking from the dock, this is the first thing we saw:
the Guesthouse and Lighthouse on Whitehead Isand, a sight that took my breath away!
After a quick perusal of the facilities, it was off the local Farmer’s Market in the nearby town of Rockland. Caro, Anne and I were taken back to the mainland by Captain Jon (or Tom, as I decided to rename him!), and away we went. Anne cooks seasonally, locally (whenever possible), and organically, and was waxing poetic about the fare at the market. I couldn’t wait.
Daisy and Ann Stires discuss menu options on the way to the Farmer’s Market in Rockland.
The market did not disappoint, to say the least. Anne and I split up after she introduced me to her farmer friends, who beamed proudly in front of their beautiful product (by the way, I have become addicted to a particular “spicy greens” that turned out to be baby mustard greens…I am craving them like Rapunzel’s mama craved radishes from the witch’s garden!). I made my way through the cheese table (be still my beating heart!), the poultry table (free range and organic, including eggs!), and finally to the meat table where I found some absolutely gorgeous pig trotters, that I could not walk away from.
Checking out the cheese table
Taking some trotters back with me to Whitehead Island!
After that, it was time to get busy! I hunkered down in the kitchen after Anne graciously let me invade her domain. I readied my menu: Puerto Rican Style Roasted Chicken with Wet Adobo, Red Kidney Beans with ham and Potatoes, Trotters with Garbanzo Beans, and Guava and Cream Cheese Turnovers. That should settle my guests after a long day of travel! It’s really funny because, as they started to arrive, they would walk in the door, and we would hug, and kiss, and laugh like we were family that hasn’t seen each other for a long time. I greeted Maria and June first, then Eileen came in, followed by Wayne and Dee, and finally Mercedes and Aida. After Anne welcomed the guests with drinks and a little nosh, the party erm, cooking class had begun!
(Left to right) Dee, Eileen, Mercedes, Maria and June
Showtime! Everyone took their place at the table, again, I welcomed the guests to Whitehead, and explained the menu I had prepared (and explained why I had driven poor Chef Anne out of her own kitchen even though she prepared a lovely green salad for our meal!). Carolina helped me bring out platters of juicy roast chicken, rice and beans, the trotters, and of course dessert!
The dining room at Whitehead Light Station Guest House
And so, after a wonderful meal together, and a LOT of getting to know you, we all went to the sitting room, to wind down after a hectic day, and receive our first official “assignment” at Whitehead: retire to your rooms and look over your menu sheets and recipes for tomorrow morning, because we start right after breakfast! I couldn’t wait! To be continued!