The Simple Art Of Cooking: Halloween Style

Since devilish eggs, black and white cheddar sticks and mini caramel apples with mini orange candies are not my thing I simply offer the color orange for Halloween. I just happened to be preparing Peruvian roast chicken, which roasts to an orangey glow with the help of cumin and paprika, sautéed carrots with scallions and parsley and Bette Lacina’s roasted organic sweet potatoes for dinner one night. These were just dishes I wanted to have for dinner and when I realized everything would have an orange hue I dotted the food with freshly chopped Italian parsley. PS: the next evening I made up for the green with my kale and currants reconstituted in orange juice from my book Savoring the Hamptons. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’re in the right season, and it’s just delicious.

Bette Lacina’s recipe came about when I attended a Slow Food potluck dinner at South Fork Kitchen. Several farmers, artisans and vintners including friends Linda and Jim Slezak of Red Barn B & B in Jamesport attended, bearing platters and bowls of delicious foods made with locally grown ingredients. There were platters of Swiss chard, a variety of mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, the crispiest, crustiest and moist fried chicken, Bette’s roasted sweet potatoes, Milk Pail’s apples, apple pies and crisps and so much more too numerous to mention. [expand]

However you plan to celebrate Halloween – with a dinner the color orange or mini caramel apples be sure to stop by the Sag Harbor Farmers Market or your local farmstand to pick up the best of the local offerings, no matter the color.


How many ways do I love roast chicken? A visitor from Peru gave me still another way to love roast chicken, heady with exotic spices and the slight acidity of red wine vinegar.

Serves 4 to 5

1 free-range chicken, 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 pounds

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon sweet or smoky paprika

3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 package Sazon (a special mix of seasonings from Goya)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


1. Clean chicken thoroughly by removing any pin feathers and cutting away any excess fat. Wash the chicken and thoroughly dry with paper towels. In a small mixing bowl, stir in remaining ingredients. Rub the chicken inside and out with the seasoning mixture (Can prepare up to several hours ahead). Refrigerate covered with plastic wrap until ready to roast. Can be prepared up to one day ahead to this point.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place chicken in a roasting pan just large enough to hold it and put into a preheated oven breast side up with legs facing toward the rear of the oven. Roast for 50 minutes to one hour, according to size, turning chicken after 20 minutes, then breast side up for the final 15 minutes until done. Baste chicken with pan juices each time you turn it. Check doneness with an instant thermometer with readings of 160 degrees for breast meat and 170 degrees for thigh and leg meat. Transfer to a carving board and let rest 10 to 15 minutes before carving. With a sharp knife, carve the leg and thigh meat away from the breast meat first, then cut through joints to separate the leg and thighs. Angle your knife along part of the breast to cut through the joint of the wing bone. Then carve thin slices of white meat away from the keel bone.

3. For a natural juice to serve with the chicken spoon off excess surface fat from the roasting pan, add one-half cup of water or broth and place the pan over medium-low heat. Heat liquid to a simmer deglazing the pan to stir the brown bits into the juices. Spoon juices over the chicken and serve.



Students often ask if I use both white and green of scallions, which I do. Simply remove any bruised outer leaves of the scallions.

Serves 6

1 bunch local carrots, trimmed

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (white and green parts)

Freshly ground pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1.     If using organic carrots, just scrub them clean, otherwise peel them. Cut the carrots on the diagonal about 1-inch thick. Place carrots in saucepan of boiling salted water and cook at a brisk simmer with cover ajar, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and dry well.

2. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet, large enough to hold the carrots. When butter

foam subsides put in the scallions and sauté for a minute or two. Add the carrots, cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Note: I have made this recipe completely ahead and microwaved for 1 1 /2 minutes or reheated in the skillet.


Bette Lacina, of Dale and Bette’s organic vegetable farm in Sag Harbor prepared this recipe for a recent pot-luck Slow Food event and she happily shared it with me.

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons coconut oil*

1 1/2 pounds locally grown sweet potatoes, peeled

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Amagansett sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°F

1. Spoon the coconut oil onto a baking sheet and place in preheated oven for about 1 to 2 minutes until melted. Remove tray from oven.

2. You can opt not to peel the potatoes if organic, but I find the skin gets in the way when eating them. Scrub potatoes if not peeled. Slice the potatoes 1/2-inch thick and place the slices in the melted oil, turning them to coat both sides. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the sliced potatoes. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and turn each slice. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes longer. The potatoes emerge a deep orange color. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve hot or warm.

*The brand of Coconut oil I used is organic, (available in some supermarkets and health food stores) a plant based, saturated fat with claims that it is expeller pressed and non-hydrogenated.


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