04/14/13 7:45am
04/14/2013 7:45 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Earl and Gloria Fultz, who make cHarissa, a Moroccan-influenced food seasoning.

If you want to spice things up in the kitchen, but your busy schedule prevents you from taking the time to try new things, a North Fork couple has a suggestion for you.

Earl and Gloria Fultz, who live at Peconic Landing, want you to try “cHarissa,” a Moroccan-influenced food seasoning created by Ms. Fultz.

“Moroccan cooking is very complex,” Mr. Fultz said. “The great thing about this spice that Gloria created is it’s a quick way to bring Moroccan flavor to American food.”

The seasoning is a milder version of the Moroccan spice harissa, which uses the very hot jalapeño pepper commonly found in Moroccan cuisine. Instead, cHarissa uses cumin and cayenne pepper to pump up the heat.

Aside from the taste, the seasoning’s real back story is the love story that brought the little $12 jar of spice to life.

“The romantic story is, she did it for me,” Mr. Fultz, 89, said on a recent morning as he prepared a cup of coffee for his wife, who is 85. The two are approaching their 50th wedding anniversary. “Gloria came from Morocco and I came from Montana,” he said.

Ms. Fultz came to the United States during World War II. Her father brought her and her four siblings to America to escape religious persecution. The family endured a 26-day boat trip during hurricane season, Ms. Fultz recalled. Her mother had already made the trip.

She ended up in New York, where Mr. Fultz was attending Columbia University. He began working as a writer and Ms. Fultz’s aunt was his literary agent. That’s how the two first met.

Fifteen years later, with unsuccessful marriages behind them, the couple found one another again, Mr. Fultz said.

Food has always been a passion for the couple, who are both the children of mothers with superb cooking skills.

“Gloria’s mother certainly set the bar high for food,” said Mr. Fultz.

“And his mother, she was really an incredible baker,” his wife countered.

“Good cooks are competitive, and good cooks need a good eater,” Mr. Fultz said. Being the good eater was his job.

Moroccan cooking was a staple in the home Ms. Fultz grew up in, and she continued that tradition with her husband and children. She created the recipe for cHarissa over the course of their lives together and has been serving food with her seasoning for close to 25 years.

“Moroccan cooking, people like it but it’s complicated. It takes two or three hours,” she said. “The genius of this — this makes it instant.”

“The eureka moment was when we threw a party for all of Gloria’s relatives and we served it to everyone,” her husband said. “These people of Moroccan heritage — who feel away from it — they suddenly had a taste of the past. Her family told her to push the product.”

About a year ago, Mr. Fultz got to work and called Jeri Woodhouse, owner of A Taste of the North Fork, a local specialty food purveyor.

“He wanted to start a food business, and so I helped him,” Ms. Woodhouse said.

Since then Ms. Woodhouse has helped the couple with production and marketing for cHarissa. They’ve also been working with Rita Hagerman of Academy Printing in Southold on product labeling.

Mr. Fultz recently introduced cHarissa at the International Restaurant and Food Service Show in Manhattan. With the help of Ms. Woodhouse, the animated Mr. Fultz used his Montana country charm, complete with his cowboy hat, to drum up over 200 potential leads for distributing his wife’s product.

But local residents don’t have to wait for those leads to develop to try cHarissa out. It’s available at A Taste of the North Fork in Southold, The Market and Bruce’s Cafe in Greenport, The Fork & Anchor in East Marion, the Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck and Braun’s Seafood in Cutchogue.

cmiller@timesreview.com

04/01/13 12:51pm

FILE PHOTO | The Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport is among a dozen North Fork restaurants that will participate in Hamptons Restaurant Week April 7-14.

Hamptons Restaurant Week returns Sunday, April 7, and 12 North Fork restaurants are participating.

The annual spring event, known for providing prix fixe menus offering some of the most sought after cuisines at a discounted rate, runs from April 7 to April 14.

Below is a list of participating restaurants in our towns and a link and phone number for reservations:

BAITING HOLLOW 

Cooperage Inn

(631) 727-8994

CUTCHOGUE

Touch of Venice Restaurant
(631) 298-5851

GREENPORT

Blue Canoe Oyster Bar & Grill
(631) 477-6888

Noah’s
(631) 477-6720

JAMESPORT

Jamesport Manor Inn
(631) 722-0500

Jedediah Hawkins
(631) 722-2900

NEW SUFFOLK

Legends Restaurant
(631) 734-5123

RIVERHEAD

All Star, The
(631) 998-3565

Bistro 72 at Hotel Indigo
(631) 369-3325

Tweeds Restaurant and Buffalo Bar
(631) 727-6644

SHELTER ISLAND HEIGHTS

La Maison Blanche
(631) 749-1633

SOUTHOLD

North Fork Table & Inn, The
(631) 765-0177

WADING RIVER

La Plage Restaurant
(631) 744-9200

Read more in Thursday’s paper.

02/24/13 12:00pm
02/24/2013 12:00 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Stephan Bogardus of North Fork Table & Inn will take his cooking game to the small screen next month on an episode of Food Network’s ‘Chopped.’

If you watch the popular Food Network contest show “Chopped,” you’ll have a local chef to root for in an episode airing next month.

Stephan Bogardus of Southold, chef de cuisine at The North Fork Table & Inn, will appear in an episode set to air at 10 p.m. March 12.

Mr. Bogardus, 25, learned his way around the kitchen working at several East End eateries. The chef, who speaks four languages, originally planned on attending law school, but was not accepted into any good schools, he said. On the advice of another chef, he attended the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 2009.

Not long after, he made his was back to the North Fork.

Mr. Bogardus said Gerry Hayden, executive chef of The North Fork Table & Inn, recommended him to “Chopped” producers.

The show pits four chefs against each other competing for a chance to win $10,000. The challenge is to take a mystery basket of ingredients and turn them into dishes that are judged on creativity, presentation, and taste — with minimal time to plan and execute — a description of the show reads.

We sat down with Mr. Bogardus this week to discuss his career and his experience on the show:

Q. What would you say your specialty is?

A. What we have here at the North Fork Table & Inn, American cuisine and comfort food. Fresh local ingredients, they naturally display the pristine of the North Fork.

Q. Were you able to bring any North Fork flare to any of your dishes?

A. Absolutely. I like to feel being a native and a local out here, I brought a lot of personality and Long Island pride to the show for sure.

Q. One of the ingredients in the first round was beef tongue, had you ever worked with it before?

A. I make smoked beef tongue here at the restaurant. We purchased all the cows from Russell McCall at McCall Ranch this year, and so every two weeks we received a whole cow, that had the tongue in it. So I always did some kind of cure. I was quite aware of the ingredient.

Q. What was the most challenging aspect of the competition?

A. The timing is really, really hard. I had practiced a couple of times with twenty-minute increments and mystery baskets and things, it goes so much faster when you are in the studio.

It was hands down the most challenging 20 minutes of my life. Not only having to do what they ask you, to put together the best plate against these talented individuals, then there are cameras and lights and cords running across the floor you had to jump over. Something they did in the pantry, they put ingredients all over the place. It’s not all organized and together. There’s a lot of hunting and pecking that you have to do to assemble.

Q. Do you think your young age was an asset, or did it hinder your performance?

A. It was definitely a double-edged sword. It was great because I feel like a lot of the competitors underestimated me, but it was also challenging because my level of experience did not match most others. I would consider myself the least experienced of all the individuals.

Q. How did it feel to be selected as a contestant?

A. I knew I was being considered to be a contestant, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be selected. I’m just a 25-year-old from Southold, I never thought I’d be on TV.

It was a life-changing experience. It was truly an honor to be chosen as a competitor. There was really an acknowledgment toward years of hard work and experience, on a national level, which is pretty sweet.

cmiller@timesreview.com

02/18/13 4:00pm
02/18/2013 4:00 PM

SAMANTHA BRIX FILE PHOTO | Today is National Drink Wine Day.

Today is not only President’s Day, but National Drink Wine Day, a great reason to pick up a bottle of your favorite local wine to help celebrate the three-day weekend. The “holiday” is touted as a way “to spread the love and health benefits of wine.”

As you get cozy at your home or favorite local winery, take a minute to tell us:

What’s your favorite North Fork wine?

02/17/13 8:00am
02/17/2013 8:00 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Mike Engle, Byron Preston and Keenan Zach of The Mike Engle Vibratrio perform at Palmer Vineyards in Riverhead Saturday afternoon.

Snow flurries fell as wine lovers and jazz musicians kicked off Winterfest’s Jazz on the Vine series Saturday afternoon. Originally scheduled to start Feb. 8, the series was postponed by last weekend’s blizzard.

Going on its sixth straight year, the Jazz on the Vine series is designed to bring visitors to the North Fork during the winter season. It will feature more than 80 concerts at local vineyards. Events are also scheduled at the newly renovated Suffolk Theater, Hotel Indigo and the Hilton Garden Inn in Riverhead.

“In the dead of winter, to see a full tasting room, it’s amazing,” said John Larsen, tasting room manager at Pellegrini Vineyards in Cutchogue. “It makes the winter go by that much quicker.”

Related: Jazz on the Vine schedule

Pellegrini Vineyards featured a Spherical Flamenco Jazz Trio, with Emma Larsson also performing.

“It’s nice to be able to sit, listen, and enjoy a glass of wine,” said Katie O’Callaghan, who traveled from Manhattan with Steve Messemer to enjoy a Valentine’s Day weekend.

“This is great, the place especially,” Ms. O’Callaghan said. “The acoustics are great, and its not all traditional jazz. It’s nice they do a different style.”

“The fact that it’s actually snowing adds to the charm,” Mr. Messemer said. “This is something we will definitely make into a yearly thing.”

The couple had never been to a Jazz on the Vine event before.

Pellegrini Vineyards will be hosting three other events throughout the series, Mr. Larsen said.

The Mike Engle Vibratrio, a three-man band led by Mike Engle, performed at Palmer Vineyards in Aquebogue Saturday. It was the band’s first time performing in the Jazz on the Vine series.

“We’re loving it,” said Keenan Zach, who plays bass. “It’s a great atmosphere. Exactly what the winter needs.”

“It’s inspiring to see so many people,” added Mike Engle, who described the trio’s music as “organic, spontaneous, but rooted in tradition.”

Mr. Engle said he would be honored to play in the series again.

“They are so nice and they sound great,” said Robin Helmer-Reich, who was cuddled up in a booth, sipping on red wine and listening close by. “Jazz on the Vine is a great program.”

This was the second year Ms. Helmer-Reich, of Center Moriches, has attended the series. “It’s a great thing to do in the dead of winter, when there aren’t too many choices of what to do.”

Blanche Pesc traveled from Rockville Center with her husband Dan and their dog to enjoy the afternoon.

“Every time we’ve come it’s been a great experience,” Ms. Pesc said. “You always end up meeting great people.”

Last year’s series brought more than 7,500 people to the North Fork, up from 6,000 in 2011. Events cost $20 at the door and include a glass of wine. You also get the chance to win a free night’s stay at an East End hotel with a gift basket of Long Island wines.

The events originally scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 8-10 have been postponed until March 22-24, extending the series another week.

Winterfest is produced by East End Arts, the Long Island Wine Council, the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Suffolk County Office of Economic Development. For more information visit www.liwinterfest.com.

cmiller@timesreview.com

01/20/13 10:05am
01/20/2013 10:05 AM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | Papo Vazquez Pirate Troubadors performing at Raphael during Jazz on the Vine 2012.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | Papo Vazquez Pirate Troubadors performing at Raphael during Jazz on the Vine 2012.

The 2013 edition of the Winterfest Jazz on the Vine series kicks off February 8. Tickets to the concert events are $20.

Check out the complete schedule below:

A complete list of events for Long Island’s 2013 Jazz on the Vine Winterfest concert series

01/18/13 3:00pm
01/18/2013 3:00 PM
COURTESY PHOTO  |  Louisa and Alex Hargrave left Harvard University, where they met, 40 years ago to head to Long Island's East End.

COURTESY PHOTO | Louisa and Alex Hargrave left Harvard University, where they met, 40 years ago to head to Long Island’s East End.

The Long Island Wine Council celebrated its 40th anniversary Thursday night at Raphael Vineyards in Peconic. The North Fork wine industry began when Louisa and Alex Hargrave took a chance to try something never before done here. In the winter issue of the Long Island Wine Press, published by Times/Review, the Hargraves reflected on how it all began.

Louisa and Alex Hargrave stood under a sunny sky one unseasonably warm winter afternoon with two grape experts who had come from afar to take a gander at Long Island’s very first vineyard.

The young couple, neither of whom had any viticulture experience, were soliciting advice on growing stronger, more fruitful grapevines. The expert, who grew grapes in California, told them to keep the vines with the thickest wood and cut off the side shoots.

The Hargraves exchanged puzzled glances. Just minutes earlier, a grape expert from Cornell University’s Agricultural Experiment Station in upstate New York had given the exact opposite advice: Keep the thinnest wood and do not cut off the side shoots.

COURTESY PHOTO  |  Alex Hargrave majored in Asian studies before turning attention to wine making.

COURTESY PHOTO | Alex Hargrave majored in Asian studies before turning attention to wine making.

“We decided not to take anyone’s advice,” Louisa Hargrave recalled in a recent interview. “We had to inform ourselves. We couldn’t rely on anyone else.”

Exactly 40 years ago, the Hargraves left Harvard University, where they met, and headed for Long Island’s East End, a rural landscape covered with potato farms, cornfields and churches. There was not a single grapevine in the region, now characterized by a bustling wine industry.

The Hargraves had driven across the country to Napa Valley to visit vineyards and explore owning one but were disappointed at the time by the quality of the West Coast’s highly oxidized wines. They knew they wanted to grow vinifera grapes, which grow well in Europe, and were told by Cornell University researcher and agricultural scientist John Wickham that the climate and soils on Long Island were similar to those of France and other regions where vinifera grapes prosper.

And so, they set their sights on grape-growing on Long Island.

“We weren’t satisfied with anything else,” Hargrave said of their decision. “We were young and we thought we had nothing to lose.”

Alex Hargrave had majored in Asian studies and his wife earned degrees in teaching and government. If college taught them anything, though, it was that experts didn’t have all the answers. They couldn’t farm — neither had grown so much as a cherry tomato in a backyard garden — but they knew how do research and banked on their learning skills.

Hargraves2“We took a huge risk,” Hargrave said. “It’s the arrogance of youth — you think you can’t fail. You do what you want to do and just go for it.”

Sixty-six acres and many challenges later, the Hargraves had created a small winemaking operation, population two. The early days were fraught with challenges: diseased plants, destructive birds, natural disasters and nosy, anti-alcohol neighbors.

“There were people who would call reporters every time they saw a bug on a grape leaf and then there’d be some big story,” Hargrave recalled. On the whole, the couple were well-received by fellow farmers on the North Fork, but the “small but vocal faction” caused them their fair share of headaches.

Not having anyone to look to for advice or examples, the Hargraves made fresh decisions — and tragic mistakes.

Eric Fry, 20-year winemaker at Lenz Winery, which was founded a few years after Hargrave Vineyard, said other early vineyard managers and winemakers looked to the Hargraves to glean insight on what to do — and what not to do.

The biggest lesson the fledgling Long Island wine world learned from the Hargraves was where not to plant, Fry said. The Hargraves had planted vines in low spots, which turned out to be a vine’s arch-enemy. Lower ground is typically wet and cold — destructive conditions for a grapevine.

“They didn’t exactly know what they were doing and they made a lot of mistakes,” Fry said. “They were experimenters. Someone had to do that for us to find out.”

 

Their first wine, Hargrave admits, was a disaster. They stored a sorry Sauvignon Blanc in whiskey barrels instead of customary oak barrels.

“We didn’t know how important oak was,” she said.

The whiskey barrels stripped the wine of its color and added a heavy char flavor.

Though the early days were peppered with flops and faux pas, the Hargraves had fallen in love with the art of grape-growing and winemaking.

“I wanted to do work that was physical and meaningful and for my children to experience work effort,” Hargrave said. “I wanted our work to have results — something we could eat and drink.”

The couple’s two children did learn the hard work of farming a vineyard. Their son, Xander, remembers the endless work and spirited energy of each fall’s harvest — and his parents’ faithful devotion to their love of wine.

“They were stubbornly committed to wines they enjoyed drinking — wines that had an old world connection and quality,” said Xander Hargrave, who is now assistant winemaker at Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue.

He believes the local wine industry’s prosperity is rooted in a like-minded community with the same goals. “The health and success of the wine industry is linked to the health and success of the community,” he said. “Forty years of the wine industry is just the beginning.”

The Hargraves ended up selling their beloved vineyard just after harvest in 1999, leaving behind two decades of winemaking and a burgeoning wine region now dotted with dozens of vineyards.

True pioneers, the couple set the stage for scores of winemakers who would produce world-class, award-winning wines.

To this day, Louisa Hargrave wants not much more than an alluring glass of wine to relax with. Her idea of a great wine, she said, is one with subtlety, “an interesting and intricate aroma that doesn’t hit you over the head.”  She likes dynamic wines with energy, fruitiness and earthiness.

“Making wines that are very dynamic and have energy from the first taste to the last,” she said. “That’s where I think we succeeded and that’s where winemakers on Long Island today succeed.”

01/12/13 5:33pm
01/12/2013 5:33 PM

BARBARALLEN KOCH PHOTO | Blue Duck Bakery owner and master baker Keith Kouris of Aquebogue hands out tastings of sunflower rye bread with creamy dark mushroom topping which was paired with 2007 Sherwood Manor red wine blend.

Nancy and Keith Kouris had never given much thought to which wine might go best with their artisanal breads and spreads. But that was the task the Blue Duck Bakery owners were faced with for Saturday’s ‘Winter Foodie Series’ event hosted by Sherwood House Vineyards.

With notes on the wines from Sherwood co-owner Brian Sckipp, Ms. Kouris researched the spreads as her husband made the breads.

“We tried to match the notes on the wines with the spreads and breads,” Ms. Kouris said.

The result was five pairings: classic Parisian with tarragon/lemon butter spread and 2011 unoaked chardonnay; Italian Pugliese Sesamo with smoked brie and 2010 chardonnay; raisin walnut Levain with olive tapenade and 2007 Oregon Road merlot; pain Levain with roasted red peppers and 2007 cabernet franc; and the last one was German sunflower rye with dark mushroom cream sauce and 2007 Sherwood Manor blend.

“This is always my favorite,” Mr. Sckipp’s told the tasters of the final wine.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Sherwood House Vineyards co-owner Brian Sckipp tells the tasters about the Sherwood House Manor wine, which he said was one of his favorites.

Mr. Kouris said that the final pairing was one of the easiest.

“I thought out of the box on this one,” he said. “It was rich and creamy with the earthy mushroom spread. The sunflowers adds the nuttiness to it.”

Mr. Sckipp said the duo did “an excellent job of pairing the nuances of the wine with the nuances of the bread.”

“We are truly fortunate to find wonderful local purveyors on both forks,” he said.

Sherwood House Vineyards, which has vines planted on 28 acres in Mattituck since 1996, is in its second season of their ‘Winter Foodie Series’ organized by tasting room manager Ami Davey. The tasting room is in Material Objects in Jamesport and the wine and food pairings take place once a month from November  through February in a cozy barn on the back of the property. So far this season they had tastings with Catapano goat cheese of Southold and a charcuterie platter from Lombardi Market of Holtsville.

Next month the tasting will be spaghetti and meatballs prepared by Jamesport’s Grana Wood Fired Pizza’s chef David Plath.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Mr. Kouris hands out tastings of sunflower rye bread with creamy mushroom toppings.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Blue Duck Bakery owners Nancy and Keith Kouris of Aquebogue talk about how they researched pairing their artisanal breads with the wines.