Best Of Nantucket 2011

By Cathy Huyghe   |   Thursday, June 2, 2011
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We've said it before and we'll say it again. The Nantucket Wine Festival is THE place to kick off the summer season of wine. Now that it's come and gone, we can put on our hindsight-is-20-20 sunglasses and review the Festival's best highlights. Last weekend's highlights, fortunately, will be there all summer long. Consider this your hit list for the island.

meatloaf sandwich
The meatloaf sandwich pictured here can be had at American Seasons on Nantucket

KIDS MENU AT AMERICAN SEASONS. This secret is so hidden that it literally doesn't exist. American Seasons restaurant, with arguably the best chef on an island of very, very good chefs, does not have a kids' menu. But take some kids in there, and they will not be "cooked down to." No chicken fingers with French fries here. The kitchen will prepare anything from their menu in a plain-ish, kid-friendly style — Wild King salmon, say, but cooked all the way through and minimally seasoned — that wind up being so pure that they may just make the adults at the table jealous.


FRANZ HILL VINEYARD WINE AT CURRENTVINTAGE. Price inflation is the immediate effect for most wines that receive a 90+ rating from uber-critic Robert Parker. Except if your wine is Zinfandel from Franz Hill Vineyard in Napa— despite a stellar score of 93 from Parker for their 2005 vintage, this Zin stays at a very earth-bound price of $30 a bottle. Production is extremely, extremely limited but currentVintage on Easy Street has a direct line to the producer. Find it there. Show it off. Whether you tell your guests what a bargain it is is completely up to you.


BEST NANTUCKET STORY. The tagline for Donelan wines is "Wine is a Journey Not a Destination." For founder Joe Donelan, that journey's gone from college at Holy Cross in Worcester to supplying paper for LL Bean catalogs in Maine to trailing one of Nantucket's greatest sommeliers around the world. Donelan is old-school (he hand-writes some 3000 thank you notes every year) which, in addition to some incredible winemaking, add up to a super-high ratio of customer loyalty. Today Donelan splits his time between his vineyards in California and a kitted-out (for wine lovers, that is) home close to his roots on Nantucket. Look for his wines in shops and restaurants on the island and all over Massachusetts.


BEST BOOKSTORE. There are two, actually— Nantucket Bookworks and Mitchell's Book Corner. Both are excellent because both are oozing with personality. These are not corporations. These are people. They have literally read the books and will gladly share their opinions. But even if you don't actually engage in conversation with anyone working in the shops, you'll feel invited to browse until you find Just The Right Book for your Nantucket getaway.


BEST GUEST SERVICE. It's the high season now and Nantucket's service in dustry has officially shifted into gear. The standard-bearer for guest service is, hands down, the White Elephant hotel and residences. Sure there are the things they offer every guest, like van service to the ferries or into town or to a partner restaurant. But come to them with a particular request or problem and they kick it into overdrive. They take it personal. Call it Humane Hospitality. Or just call it whatever it takes to get you one heck of a restful night's sleep.


MUST-DO ACTIVITIES. Rent a bike, or bring your own. Take a Pilates workshop. Visit the Whaling Museum. Take a walking tour with the Nantucket Preservation Trust. Try ice cream flavors you've never had before. Cake batter, anyone?


Mediterranean Pork Chops
By Annie Copps

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
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pork chops

Pork has come a long way in recent years, so don't look to your grandmother's old cookbook for a recipe. If you do, chances are you will overcook the meat ending up with tough chops. These days most people like to cook pork to a medium pink—I like to lightly dust the chops with flour before cooking which helps protect the meat when you sear it.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Start to Finish Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 1/2-inch-thick pork chops
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons capers
1 14-ounce jar whole artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and halved
3 to 4 cups hot cooked couscous or rice

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper; dredge in flour and shake off excess.

Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.

Add chops and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until browned.

Remove chops; tent with foil to keep warm.

Add broth, tomatoes, olives, capers, and artichoke hearts to pan and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Spoon over pork chops and hot cooked couscous or rice.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)
annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Baked Figs With Shaoxing Sabayon by Ming Tsai

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
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baked figs

One of the first things I had in France as a teenager was figs flambéed in orange liqueur. I realized that's what they mean when they talk about "manna from heaven." Since then I've combined figs with all kinds of spirits, but for one of the best, I reach to the East for Shaoxing wine. This Chinese sherry-like wine is great for both sweet and savory cooking, and today we are going to take a trip on the sweet side with my Baked Figs with Shaoxing Sabayon, a warm dessert flavored with honey and candied ginger.

Serves 4

8 ripe, black mission figs, quartered
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon minced candied ginger
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat broiler Place figs in oven-proof oval dishes. Over a bain marie, whisk yolks, Shaoxing wine, honey and ginger until thickened, taking care not to curdle eggs. Off the heat, whisk in lemon juice. Nap over figs and broil for about 1 minute, until lightly colored. Garnish with extra ginger and serve warm.

Ey Muscat de Rivesaltes
—Roussillon, France

Taste: Rich and velvety, with flavors of orange rind, lychee, peach and spice leading into a pleasantly bitter finish

Aroma: Aromatic and complex, recalling orange rind, fresh figs and apricot

This delicately sweet dessert wine is exceptional on its own or paired with fresh fruit desserts, pastries and custard. Lovely with the Baked Figs with Shaoxing Sabayon.

—100% Muscat d'Alexandrie
ming tsai thumbnail holding limeChef Ming Tsai is a local restaurateur and host of Simply Ming.

Maple, Apple, And Onion Smothered Pork Chops By Annie Copps

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
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Maple, Apple, and Onion Smothered Pork Chops in white bowl

I love pork chops and find them really versatile. I use them in a lot of my cooking repertoire. For this recipe, I use bone-in chops for lots of flavor and thinly cut chops, so that they don't take long to cook. And for today's recipe we are going to quick-braise them using truly New England ingredients. Ring the dinner bell. Delicious.

Yield: 6 servings

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 bone-in, pork chops, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 or 5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups apple cider
3 cups chicken stock
¼ cup maple syrup
3 firm apples, such as Honeycrisp, peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges
Juice of 1 lemon

Pat pork chops dry with a paper towel and season on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large saute pan with a lid, over medium high heat, add oil and brown chops on both sides; about 3 minutes per side.

Remove chops to a plate.

Lower heat to medium and add onions.

Stir onions often, cooking until softened and browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, and bay leaves; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add apple cider, chicken stock, and maple syrup, scraping up any browned bits on pan bottom and bring to a boil.

Lower to simmer. Stir in the apples and return chops to pan, nestling them into the onions and apples.

Cover and cook about 15 minutes (pork will be cooked through and tender).

Arrange chops on serving plates.

Remove thyme stems and bay leaves, and raise heat to high, cooking until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cover chops with sauce and serve immediately.
annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Examining The Science Of Taste

Friday, February 11, 2011
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An Insiders View Of The Restaurant Business

Friday, January 14, 2011
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