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Sunset in July…First Farm to Table Dinner of the Season

In The Kitchen on June 20, 2011 at 6:43 pm

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille is excited to announce the opening of the second Farm to Table Dinner Series season.  The first scheduled event is on Friday July, 8th at Sunset Meadow Vineyards in Goshen.  Last years dinners were hosted with March Farms (Bethlehem), Miranda Vineyards (Goshen), and Sunset Meadow Vineyards (Goshen).

Each menu is created by Chef Albert Clugston III and features fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs from Litchfield County Farms.  Some items such as a very special Muskmelon, Green Zebra Tomatoes, Rhubarb, Eggplant, and Squash Blossoms come from the Chef’s very own garden.  The July 8th menu includes grass feed beef from Litchfield’s Laurel Ridge Farm as well as dairy products from the highly acclaimed Arethusa Cow Farm (Litchfield).  East Coast Shellfish is always incorporated into the menu because there is such an abundant amount of fresh local oysters, scallops, clams, and fish to draw from.

The style format of each menu varies.  July 8th is a casual stationary style menu.  Check out the complete menu here… and remember menu items are subject to change in order to bring you the freshest ingredients available.  There are quite a few farm to table dinners being hosted these days and one of the most unique qualities about our dinner series is the variety of menu items offered.  The July 8th event starts with an iced down raw bar display.  Shucked to order by our raw bar chef guests are welcome to enjoy as much as they would like of Blue Point and Stonington CT Oysters, Baltimore Style Shrimp Cocktail, and Rhode Island Little Neck Clams.  Hors d’oeuvres are passed during the first hour followed by a dinner with two main stations. An Antipasto Bar Style station will include seven interesting dishes (Grilled assorted squashes from Sun One Organic Farm, and Prosciutto Muskmelon Carpaccio to name just a few).  The grill station will serve skirt steak with a green goddess dressing and Tuna skewers with a Ponzu, lime, cilantro vinaigrette.  There are so many different menu items that is hard to believe you could actually have time to try them all.

My favorite part is the strawberries with anglaise for dessert.  Mr. and Mrs. Skilton’s strawberry farm in Morris produces small strawberries that are so jam packed with flavor.  The anglaise sauce is made with local cream and poured while still warm on the strawberries then garnished with mint from The Saltwater Grille’s own garden.  The July 8th event will feature Sunset Meadow Vineyards wines by Goshen wine make George Motel. Tickets usually sell out fast so sign up early.  Sign up here…

View the complete menu here…

More info here…


Connecticut Caterers Summer Lobster Bakes…

In The Kitchen on June 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm

The summer party season is in full swing! Connecticut Caterers is a family run company that has been traveling throughout the tri state region hosting Lobster Bakes for over 35 years.

For every lobster bake we cater the lobsters are shipped fresh the day of your event. These are 1 1/4 pound hard shell, cold water, Maine lobsters. Our staff sets up a cook tent outside and the Chef cooks the lobsters at your party! We bring all of the necessary tools to eat your lobster: crackers, cocktail forks, lobster bibs, and wet naps.

Clients can customize their own menu to their liking and many include the following: Local Corn on the Cob, Tri Color Fingerling Potato Salad, Honey Jalapeño Corn Bread, Garlic and Oregano Crusted BBQ Chicken, and much more! View more Summer BBQ Menu items here…

Connecticut Caterers also offers an extravagant raw bar display. We bring our own raw bar, fill it with ice, and display Blue Point Oysters, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, and Rhode Island Little Neck Clams, along with all the necessary accoutrements: mignonette sauce, cocktail sauce, and horseradish. There are still a few prime party dates available for this summer. Call Party Planner Brett Clugston at 860.567.4900 to inquire about your party date.

Lobster Bake Packages: click here…

Kentucky Flavors…

In The Kitchen on April 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille will be hosting a Derby Day Party on Saturday May 7th starting at 5pm.  Makers Mark, Knob Creek, Jim Beam, and Wild Turkey Mint Juleps will be available all night long!  We pick our mint fresh from our gardens, make our own simple syrup, and use crushed ice to serve you the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby in it’s traditional form.

Chef Albert Clugston III has created a Southern Style bar menu featuring a Knob Creek Bourbon Infused BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich served with Fried Pickles and Potato Salad.  For the full Derby experience try our Grilled Shrimp and White Cheddar Grits served with Jalapeño Corn Bread with Sea Salt and Cayenne. More of this menu here…

Our dessert chef will be baking traditional Pecan Pie and a special “Derby Pie” a decadent chocolate pie made with Makers Mark Bourbon.  Call early to reserve your table in our lounge so that you can watch the race Live on TV at the Saltwater Grille 860.567.4900 And don’t forget to wear you hat!

Easter Traditions …

In The Kitchen on March 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm

My favorite tradition for Easter is the Easter bread my grandmother gives me each year. It’s a sweet bread that’s braided, topped with sprinkles, and decorated with colored Easter eggs embedded in it. She gets it on Mamaroneck Ave in Westchester, NY from an Italian bakery and I eat it with a ton of butter spread on it. Egg hunts, visits with the Easter bunny, and gifting of morning Easter baskets are just a few more of the many traditions people partake in on this Spring holiday. For dinner, most families serve traditional dishes such as honey glazed Ham, Roast Lamb, root vegetables like carrots and turnips, and potatoes . If you choose to dine out this year The Saltwater Grille will be offering many of these time-honored Easter dishes as well as a few with our own twist. For lamb we will be serving grilled Lamb T-Bones with mint jelly as well as a very special Roman Easter Soup made with lamb and egg. Lamb is probably the most recognized symbol for Easter with Easter eggs coming in at a close second. Both represent new life and rebirth. Lambs, born in the Spring, have been recognized in religious history as “the lamb of God,” and were selected for the purpose of honoring Christ. In Christianity, Easter was the first chance to enjoy eggs and meat after a long Lenten season. Our Roman Easter Soup is made with a broth thickened with egg yolks (its a bit like stracciatella soup). Lemon, marjoram, parsley, and other herbs are added to the broth. The soup is served with tender lamb, a homemade toast crostini, and allot of grated Parmigiano. Many fish dishes will be offered during dinner as well including Swordfish, Salmon, Sole, and Tuna.

If you choose to celebrate during brunch there will be quite a few different egg dishes to choose from. The Baked Eggs Strada, a layered dish made with garden tomato, spinach, mozzarella, fresh basil, and red peppers is always a hit. A Spring Vegetable Quiche and a Smokehouse Quiche with andouille sausage will be served with a fresh micro greens salad. Other more modern brunch dishes such as the Farmers Market Zucchini Pancakes with creme fraiche will also be on the menu. And for kids delicious silver dollar pancakes with fresh strawberries and whipped cream might be the favorite. Visit our website for the complete ala carte brunch menu as well as Easter dinner specials. Happy Easter!

Brett Clugston

Easter Dinner Specials here…

Easter Brunch Specials here…

If I Knew You Were Coming I’d’ve Baked a Cake

In The Kitchen, Uncategorized on March 27, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Have you ever eaten anything that you just could not stop thinking about? Something that you just had to have over and over again. Maybe a meal from your childhood, or a dish that you enjoyed at that trendy new restaurant. Sometimes in life you come across that one dish that is so good you want to tell the world. What better way to make sure everyone hears about it, why not sing about it.

Lots of great singers and song writers have expressed their love for foods with both tasteful and humorous versions of enduring melodies. Some great song writers use food names to portray the singers love for someone.  Like Van Morrison’s “Tupelo Honey” or Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Cherry Wine”.  Tunes like Don McLean’s “American Pie” and Warrant’s “Cherry Pie’ are nice but their only scratching the crust with synonyms like these. What we really want is a song that gives us a little more juice or a lot more meat if you know what I’m “Singing” about?

In the sixties James Brown taught us all a lesson in table manners by screaming out his love of food with his hit “Pass The Peas” only to be backed up with the sound of his soulful passion for snacks in “Mother Popcorn” and “The Popcorn Song”. Other groups showed us their love, like The Beatles who sang about “Glass Onions”, “Honey Pie” and even “Strawberry Fields Forever”. You can sweeten the taste of any hard rock song when you roll like the Rolling Stones with songs like “Brown Sugar”, or “Pass the Wine”.  During the eighties when dining at more sophisticated restaurants became vogue,  Boston’s own The Dead Kennedy’s sang about “A Growing Boy Needs His Lunch”, and “Soup Is Good for you”. Where would we all be if not for songs like “One More Cup of Coffee’ by Dylan or “Canned Ham’ by Norman Greenbaun or even “Cheeseburger In Paradise” by Jimmy Buffet?  The B52’s “Rock Lobster” and the smoky jazz version of “Peel Me A Grape” by Diana Krall will always make me hungry for more.

Now that I have worked up an appetite, this could be the best time for me to share my top ten “Menu” of delicious food melodies that have inspired me over the years to keep cooking….

#10…”Lime in The Coconut” By Harry Neilson, maybe one of the worst songs ever written but when it comes to curing a hangover all remedies are welcome.

#9…”Turkey Zenyatta with Tofu Wrap”. My own version of a gangster rap song teaching overweight inner city kids the importance of eating healthy.

#8…”Spoonful of Sugar” by Julie Andrews for the movie “Marry Poppins “in 1964

#7…”Beans And Cornbread” sung by Louis Jordan at every “Saturday Night Fish Fry”

#6”…Chicken Soup with Rice” Carole King warmed our souls with this delicious tune in the seventies.

#5…”The Eggplant Song” Michael Franks said when my baby eats her eggplant she cooks it 19 different ways.

#4…”All That Meat and No Potatoes” dinner was never the same after hearing this one from Fats Waller.

#3…”Escape the Pina Colada Song” Rhuppard Holmes Likes getting caught  in the rain, he’s not into health food but he does  like Champagne.

#2 “Alice’s Restaurant’ Arlo Guthrie brought the life of Alice and her Restaurant to the entire world one long ago Thanksgiving.

#1…”Savoy Truffle” The Beatles gave us Crème Tangerine and Montelimar, a ginger sling and a pineapple tart. “Yes you’ll have to have them all pulled out after the Savoy Truffle”

When you’re cooking up a storm in your kitchen and you need a little extra sugar, try singing about the food you love and everything will taste better.  And by the way my honorable mention on my top ten song menu goes to Eileen Barton for kicking it all off in 1950 with her tasty voice on “If I Knew you were coming I’d’ve Baked a Cake”.

Albe Galotta SWG Wine Cellar Master, Chef.




Recipe Spring Strawberry Salad with Baby Romaine Hearts, Maytag Blue Cheese, Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

In The Insider View, The Kitchen on March 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm

For the Vinaigrette:

1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 Cup Olive Oil (Good Olive Oil for dressings)

A few basil leaves, chopped

1 Clove Fresh Minced Garlic

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Julienne two cups of romaine lettuce.  Slice or quarter one cup of strawberries.  Crumbled Blue Cheese to taste.  Toss ingredients with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.  Garnish with tomato, red onions, and radishes.

Reserve some dressing and marinade shrimp for 20-30 minutes before grilling.  Add grilled shrimp to the salad if you would like.

Chef Albert Clugston III

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille

Or: Come in to The Saltwater Grille during Administrative Professionals Week and let us prepare this special Spring dish for you.  View the complete luncheon special here…

What’s the soup of the day?

In The Kitchen on March 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm

You would think soup was the only thing served at The Saltwater Grille.  All day long everyone asks, “What’s the soup of the day?”  The phone rings ten times every morning before we open for lunch and more than half ask “What’s the soup of the day?” Every great restaurant has to back their reputations by serving great food. What better place to start than with a bowl of soup?

Many famous restaurants around the world have found serving a great bowl of soup is worth its weight in gold. In New Orleans, the famous chef Paul Prudhomme at his very famous restaurant K-Paul’s, serves a bowl of steaming hot seafood gumbo with the gumbo poured over the rice tableside giving you a face full of Southern charm, a style chefs around the world love to copy.  Molyvos, in New York City, a bustling, longstanding and well received Mecca for great Greek food has served more Avgolemono soup (Chicken, lemon and egg) than you would want to count the calories in. Any great Jewish Deli or sandwich shop has its own famous “Borscht” fresh puree of Beet soup with sour cream, made their special way. Just a bit north of Santa Barbara in California in the town of Buellton you will find Pea Soup Andersen’s a landmark place serving hundreds of people a day, a place I’m sure you figured out  what their famous for.  And let’s not forget all the new kids on the block with their fast food menus and their relaxed spaces. Customers flock to Panera Bread Bakery for their wonderful Broccoli and Cheese soup. My favorite has to go to Maxim’s in Paris for serving the best French Onion Soup in the world in the most romantic location for over one hundred years.  With all that noted, here at the Saltwater Grille we pride ourselves on serving the most famous Clam Chowder on the east coast. Chef Albert’s Connecticut Clam Chowder has earned followers from all over the New England area making the SWG Connecticut Clam Chowder the famous Chowder that it is.   Using local clams and potatoes plus all the best of what the area’s farms have to offer, this satisfying soup really makes the grade.  The SWG kitchen also flavors this amazing crowd pleaser with special double smoked bacon made just for this recipe by our very own local, world famous smokehouse “Nodine’s Smokehouse” in Goshen Connecticut. With this soup you don’t have to ask me “What the soup of the day is?” just come in and order some. It’s available for sit down service along with take-out all day and every day.

The Saltwater Grille crew of hard working soup chef’s also makes great Bisques such as Lobster Bisque, Crab Bisque, and even Mussel and Purple Potato Bisque. Lately the rave has been about the Artichoke and Lump Crab Bisque; I am sure this one is going to be famous some day.   Seasonal soups are always the order of the day in this kitchen, making hearty bean and root vegetable creations, or soups with pasta or rice in the colder months and lighter versions in the summer. Cold soups always get a lot of attention in warm months using local fruits and vegetables when they are at their peak. Even the seafood used in our soup’s get’s chosen due to what comes off the docks that day.

Many times every day I get asked “What’s the soup of the day”? And every time I do I am glad to tell them what seasonal delight we have to offer. We do serve other things at the SWG but I guess everyone just wants to have a bowl of soup before they really get down to business. There goes the telephone, looks like I have to go, someone wants to know, “What’s the soup of the day?”

Chef, Wine Cellar Master, Albe Galotta

Pub Style Irish Beer Tasting Dinner…

In The Kitchen on March 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Looking for a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year?  Call now to make your reservation for our Irish Pub Style Beer Tasting Dinner.  Spots are filling up fast.  This year for $30 each guest will enjoy four courses and three beers (each beer is a 6 oz pour).  The menu, by Chef Albert Clugston III begins with a choice of either Potato Leek Soup or a Salad served with homemade Irish Soda Bread.  This starter course is paired with Guinness on draft (see the picture above for me w/ Guinness in hand).  Next is the traditional Irish sausage, Bangers commonly served at breakfast.  Our contemporary American twist on the dish is to wrap them in phyllo with cheddar cheese and caramelized onion.  Sort of like pigs n a blanket.  This course is paired with Smithwicks Ale.  For the entree course you can choose from Corned Beef and Cabbage (of course!), Sheppard’s Meatloaf (very popular last year), or  Salmon Bromley. For the Salmon Bromley we use fresh Atlantic salmon sauteed with white wine, lemon, butter, and leeks, topped with julienne apples, and served with baby potatoes.

And for dessert… Baileys Chocolate Bread Pudding with a Toffee Sauce.  Feel free to order an Irish Coffee as well (if you have room).

Reservations can be made for March 15th, 16th, or 17th starting at 4pm until 9:30pm.  Large groups are welcome!  If you have a person in your party who would like to enjoy this Irish menu without the beers the price is $24.  Call 860.456.4900

View the complete menu here

Credits: Food by Executive Sous Chef Eric Frost

Holiday Brunch Ideas from Champagne Cocktails to Baked Eggs Strada…

In The Kitchen on December 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Try hosting a brunch this holiday season instead of your yearly cocktail party. By choosing to host a brunch you will combine both breakfast and lunch into one meal.  Choose a Saturday or a Sunday with a start time around noon and your guests will sit back and relax for hours. Serve hot apple cider with cinnamon sticks and be sure to have the cider on the stove when guests arrive for a truly sensory effect.  Here are a few delicious and seasonal suggestions:

Elderflower Champagne Cocktail

Made from fresh elderflower blossoms, St Germain has a floral nose.  This is the perfect festive cocktail for your holiday brunch.  And very easy to make!

Elderflower Champagne Cocktail

½ part St Germain Liquor

Your choice of any dry sparkling wine or Champagne

Served in a Champagne glass and garnished with fresh raspberries or strawberries

Coffee and Tea Coffee is a must for any brunch.  You can also add specialty teas for an added touch.  Harney and Sons (originally based in Connecticut, now in Millerton NY) has a beautiful portfolio of interesting teas.  Specifically “Paris” a black tea with vanilla and caramel flavors is delicious.  For a seasonal tea try the Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice.  Set out a few agave nectars as well as sugar and milk for guests to go with the tea.

Baked Eggs Strada

Quiche is a traditional brunch favorite be it Lorraine style, Florentine, or Broccoli and Cheddar.  For a more filling dish as one of your parties main events try serving a Baked Egg Strada.  This dish can be made the day before and popped in the oven before your guests arrive leaving you plenty of time to mingle.  A strada is a baked dish like a casserole that can be made in many styles.  Connecticut Caterers makes a tomato, basil, mozzarella, smoked bacon, and bread crust strada that is very popular.  Or you might opt to serve a three cheese zucchini vegetarian strada.

Combine breakfast dishes with main entrees.  For example start with smoked salmon and bagels when guests arrive then later on put out your buffet of Hot Shrimp Newberg, asparagus with hollandaise, assorted green and pasta salads, and the baked eggs strada.  Towards the end offer guests mini chocolate mousse cups.

Connecticut Caterers offers brunch party platters to go.  Set up and local delivery is included.  Call 860.567.4900 to speak with party planner Brett Clugston.  View the complete list of brunch platter offerings here.

Brett Clugston, Special Events Planner

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire…

In The Kitchen on December 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Holiday dinners are always fun, filled with lots of joyous memories of family, friends, and food. Enjoying the traditional home cooked dishes that people bring every year adds to the excitement and anticipation of the holiday season.  Making the time to relax and spend with your family, makes all the extra rushing around worthwhile. I have always enjoyed the types of foods that get everyone at the table working, talking, eating and enjoying together. Never has there been an Italian Feast worth its weight in Mozzarella, that didn’t near its end with a large pan of hot oven Roasted Chestnuts.  This abundant Italian nut can be roasted on open coals, cooked in a wood stoked fire, or simply roasted in a heavy pan in a gas oven. Chestnuts are the perfect treat that get the whole family involved while enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Most local produce markets carry fresh Chestnuts; buy about 8 to 10 per person a few days before you are going to serve them. First step is to wash the chestnuts then with a sharp knife put an X style cut in each chestnut shell. Roast the chestnuts in their shell on a small cookie sheet or a more traditional black iron skillet in a preheated oven of 425degrees. Twenty to twenty five minutes should make them tender on the inside along with a crisp “very” hot shell on the outside. Directly after they come out of the oven they should be served to the family at the dinner table. Many families like to serve them in a clean towel as to keep them warm as possible.  Have your espresso, and Sambuca ready if you like because it’s time for everyone to start shelling while their hot. Using your two thumbs, working from the cut in the middle of the shell, push the hot shell backwards to expose the warm nut. The shell should come off easily making them ready for the enjoying. A large batch of hot Chestnuts always gets everyone at the table interacting, laughing, eating, and truly enjoying the holidays together.

Albe Galotta , Chef and Cellar Master SWG