The Fabulous Beekman Boys, as Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell are known, have published numerous cookbooks, but the latest, says Ridge, “is our most personal yet.” That’s because A Seat at the Table pays homage to the couple’s adopted hometown of Sharon Springs, New York – and all the kind souls there who nurtured the newbie farmers while they learned the ropes. One gifted local cook, Rose Marie Trapani, even co-wrote the thing. The goal, per Ridge, wasn’t just to salute their neighbors, but to encourage you to connect with your own. So, the following recipes aim for potluck perfection, yielding transportable, crowd-pleasing fare with make-in-advance components.
Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Focaccia
The Beekman 1802 empire got its start when Sharon Springs farmer John Hall moved onto Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell’s property with his goats. The animals’ milk still goes into the brand’s soaps, as well as an aged cheese and a soft cheÌ€vre, which is paired here with onions, walnuts, and honey atop focaccia.
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large Vidalia onion (halved then thinly sliced)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil spray
- 1 pound Beekman 1802 pizza dough (see below) (or, substitute with good-quality store-bought)
- 1 teaspoon each chopped fresh parsley, rosemary, and thyme
- 1 cup crumbled cheÌ€vre
- 1â„4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
- Rosemary sprigs for garnish (optional)
- Honey for drizzling
Beekman 1802 Pizza Dough
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 1â„2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1â„2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 1â„2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1â„2 teaspoon salt
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally and adding remaining olive oil if needed, until golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
With oven rack in lowest position, preheat oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, coat a 10-by-14-inch rimmed baking pan with olive oil spray. Place dough in pan and use your fingers to push and stretch out dough evenly to cover entire surface. Sprinkle parsley, rosemary, and thyme evenly over dough. Cover with a cotton dish towel, making sure fabric does not touch dough, and allow to rise 30 minutes in a warm, draft-free place.
- Top dough with reserved onions, cheÌ€vre, walnuts, Parmesan, and rosemary sprigs, if using. Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes; cut into 12 squares. Serve warm or at room temperature, drizzled with honey.
Beekman 1802 Pizza Dough
In a glass measuring cup, combine the first 4 ingredients (water, yeast, sugar and olive oil) and let stand 5 minutes or until foamy.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse together 5 cups flour (save the last 1â„2 for later) and the salt.
With the machine still running, pour the liquid mixture through the feed tube and pulse until combined, then add the additional 1â„2 cup flour and continue pulsing until dough comes together and forms a ball.
Remove dough and place in a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until double in size, about 1 1â„2 hours.
Divide dough into 2 balls. (Makes two 1-pound portions. You can freeze extra dough for up to 3 months.)
When the Beekman Boys are asked to bring a dish, this salad is usually their answer. It take mere minutes to prepare, actually tastes better if made the night before, and can be served at room temperature. Check, check, and check.
- 1 quart mixed olives (such as pitted Sicilian green and Kalamata)
- 1 jar 12 ounces roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips
- 1 jar 7.5 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
- 1â„2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 stalks celery (thinly sliced)
- 1â„2 cup tender celery leaves
- 1â„2 small red onion (thinly sliced)
- 1â„4 cup fresh Italian parsley (roughly chopped)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 small hot pepper (such as serrano, finely chopped or a pinch of red pepper flakes)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve immediately, or make a day ahead and refrigerate to allow flavors to marry (then serve cold or at room temperature).
Chicken-Apricot Pot Pie
All of the Rhode Island Reds on the Beekman farm are raised for eggs, but when the hens age past their prime, Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell don’t let the meat go to waste. They credit neighbors Sharon and Peter Cookson for showing them how to humanely harvest the birds for use in stews, stocks, and pot pies. This version gets its slightly sweet, exotic flavor from dried fruits and spices like turmeric, saffron, and ginger.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion (finely chopped)
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 1â„2 pounds boneless chicken breasts (cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ginger
- 1 1â„2 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
- 1 1â„2 teaspoon powdered turmeric
- 2 cups slow-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
- 2 cups diced tomatoes
- 1 1â„2 cups dried apricots (chopped)
- 1â„4 cup sliced almonds
- 1â„4 cup golden raisins
- Juice of 1 lemon ((3 tablespoons))
- 1â„8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
- 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh cilantro and Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon orange-flower water (such as Nielsen-Massey or 1â„2 teaspoon orange zest)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1â„4 cup all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling out dough)
- Beekman 1802 Pie Crust (see below)
Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes more. (You want to brown, not steam, the chicken, so work in batches if your skillet isn’t large enough to t the meat in a single layer.) Add cinnamon, ginger, salt, pepper, and turmeric; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add broth, tomatoes, apricots, almonds, raisins, lemon juice, and saffron; increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then quickly lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove from heat, stir in fresh herbs and orange-flower water, and set skillet aside.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; then stir in flour a little at a time to make a roux. Return skillet to medium heat, add roux to chicken mixture, and stir to combine. Simmer about 8 minutes, or until sauce thickens and coats chicken. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside to cool.
Spoon cooled pot-pie filling into a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie crust into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle, then lay crust over the filling. Next, ute edges of crust: Push one thumb into edge of dough; with index finger and thumb of other hand, pinch to make a ruffle. Repeat pattern around entire edge, moving your index finger into impressions made by your thumb. Cut slits in several places on crust to allow steam to vent. Bake until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
Beekman 1802 Pie Crust
Instead of using a food processor to integrate cold chunks of butter into the dry ingredients, the Beekman Boys recommend grating the butter before gently incorporating it by hand – a method that practically guarantees a flaky crust by lessening the risk of overworked dough.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 tablespoons ice water
In a large bowl, stir together our, sugar, and salt. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the butter into the our mixture, making sure to coat butter with flour as you grate. Add oil and mix quickly with your hands. Add ice water and mix just to bring dough together. Divide dough in half and form into two disks; wrap each securely in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. (You can freeze extra dough for up to 3 months.)
SauteÌed Beet Greens
Sharon Springs’ resident heirloom-vegetable guru, Barb Melera, made a convert out of the formerly beet-averse Kilmer-Purcell. In fact, he and Ridge grow so many ‘Chioggia,’ ‘Cylindra,’ and ‘Detroit Dark Red’ varieties that the couple devised a delicious way to use the root vegetables’ leafy tops.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 9 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
- 3â„4 teaspoon red pepper akes
- 3 pounds beet greens (washed and drained)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1â„2 cups panko breadcrumbs (toasted)
- 3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano
- In a large pot over medium heat, combine oil and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes. Add greens, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens wilt, about 5 minutes; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add breadcrumbs, toss to combine with greens, and transfer to a platter. Just before serving, sprinkle cheese over the top.
Grilled Garden Vegetables
Every September, thousands of visitors hit town for the Sharon Springs Harvest Festival. The best way to cook all that peak-of-season produce, according to the Beekman Boys, is very, very simply. This endlessly adaptable recipe – almost any fresh vegetable will do – calls for little more than olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- 2 medium eggplants (cut into bite-size pieces)
- 4 large tomatoes (cut into bite-size pieces)
- 4 medium zucchini (cut into bite-size pieces)
- 1 large red onion (sliced into bite-size pieces)
- 2 green bell peppers (cut into bite-size pieces)
- 2 red bell peppers (cut into bite-size pieces)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1â„4 cup olive oil
- 1â„2 teaspoon kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper Olive oil spray
- 1â„2 cup grated Pecorino Romano (plus more for serving)
In a large bowl, toss together vegetables and garlic. Add oil, salt, and pepper to taste; toss again to coat vegetables.’
Stack 2 large sheets of heavy-duty foil; spray top sheet with cooking spray. Transfer half of vegetables to foil and sprinkle with 1â„4 cup cheese. Fold foil to cover vegetables, then fold sides up to create a packet. Repeat with 2 additional sheets of foil and remaining vegetables.
Heat grill to high heat. Place foil packets directly on grate and cook for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Before opening packets, carefully cut a slit in foil to release steam and pierce vegetables with a fork to test for doneness. If vegetables are still al dente, return packet, slit side up, to grill and cook for a few minutes more. Transfer vegetables to a serving dish. Serve with additional cheese, if desired.
“One Perfect Mouthful” Taralle Cookies
“Anyone lucky enough to live near our co-author, Rose Marie Trapani, knows that these Italian cookies will appear on their doorstep at some point during the holidays,” says Kilmer-Purcell. A single batch yields more than five dozen of the bite-size goodies, designed to withstand a quick dunk into coffee.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1â„2 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling out dough)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3â„4 cup vegetable shortening
- 4 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Nonpareils or other sprinkles for garnish
- 1 teaspoon salt
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment. In a small saucepan, cook granulated sugar and milk over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes; set aside. Cool to room temperature, then stir in vanilla.
Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. With your hands or a pastry cutter, work shortening into our mixture until well blended. With fork, slowly incorporate lightly beaten eggs. Add reserved milk mixture, and mix with your hands until you have a smooth dough.
Place dough on a lightly floured wooden cutting board and shape into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle that’s 1 1â„2 inches thick. Cut rectangle into 4 equal-size pieces, then cut each of them into 16 equal-size pieces. Roll each of these pieces into an 8-inch-long rope; bring the ends of each rope together, overlapping slightly, to form a circle. Place on prepared cookie sheets. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat egg whites, lemon juice, lemon extract, and confectioners’ sugar. Dip cooled cookies in icing and garnish with nonpareils. Transfer to a wire rack or serving plate to dry. Serve immediately or store in cookie tins for up to a week.