A Labor Day Meal To Enjoy Indoors

Actress Meryl Streep attends the premiere of "Julie & Julia" at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York on Thursday, July 30, 2009. In her latest movie, opening on Aug. 7, the Oscar-winning actress channels America's first celebrity chef, Julia Child.
AP Photo/Peter Kramer
Labor day meals generally are cooked on the grill, but if rain dampens your holiday New York City Chef Don Pintabona has some ideas.

He joins The Early Show with a great meal that can be prepared indoors: Tuscan Bread Salad with Summer Peaches; Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with Warm Potatoes, Bacon, and Leeks, Lemon Thyme Chicken Salad with Beefsteak Tomatoes and Fresh Berry Compote with Poppy Seed Shortbread, Lemon Verbena Ice Cream.

The following are his recipes:

Tuscan Bread Salad with Summer Peaches

6 Large Georgia peaches, ripe but firm, diced
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp butter, soft
2 each Beefsteak tomatoes diced
1/2 Cup pitted black olives, sliced
1 Tbsp capers , drained
1/ 4 Cup Chiffonade Basil
1 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 Cup red wine vinegar
To Taste salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 Loaf Tuscan, Rustic or Foccacia Breads- cubed & toasted


  1. Toss the cubed bread with oil, salt & pepper, and toast in a 375 degree oven until golden, remove and cool.
  2. In a large sauté pan, over medium high heat, add the diced peaches, sugar, butter and 1 tbsp of oil, and sauté for about 4- 5 minutes, until peaches take on some color and have softened a bit. Remove from heat and cool down.
  3. In a mixing bowl, Add 2 cups of the toasted bread cubes and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss to mix, Then add in the peaches, tomatoes, capers and olives. Season and toss again.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar to make a dressing, then add some Chiffonade basil, salt and pepper.
  5. Dress the bread salad with enough vinaigrette to moisten, then taste and adjust, if too dry, with more . Reserve extra dressing for another salad.
  6. Garnish with Chiffonade basil and fresh cracked black pepper.

Recipe serves 4 - 6

Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with Warm Potatoes, Bacon, and Leeks

6 oz. slab of bacon, diced small
1 cup leeks, diced, white part only
1/2 cup shallots, finely diced
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Spanish sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
6 each rib eye steaks 10 - 12 oz each (or NY Strip Steaks)
Natural Jus (optional)


  1. Place the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until the fat is rendered out and the bacon bits are very crispy. If necessary, lower the heat to keep the bacon from burning.
  2. Add the leeks and sauté for 3 minutes or just until the vegetables are soft. Remove from the heat.
  3. Whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard.
  4. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, with cold, salted water to cover by 1 inch over high heat. Bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the point of a small, sharp knife. Remove from the heat and drain well. Working quickly, push the peels off the potatoes and cut the potatoes into large chunks. Immediately, place the warm potatoes in a mixing bowl and add the warm bacon mixture, tossing to combine. Pour the mustard mixture over the top and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the top with the parsley. Cover lightly and keep warm.
  5. Preheat and oil the grill.
  6. Season the steaks with salt and pepper to taste. Place them on the hot grill and cook, turning once, for 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare.
  7. Spoon equal portions of the warm potato mixture onto each of six plates. Place a steak on top and, if desired, drizzle the plate with Natural Jus and serve.

For the Natural Jus
3 cups veal, lamb or game stock
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 each shallots, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, chopped
5 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry red wine
Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Place the stock in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Place the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, parsley, peppercorns, and bay leaf and sauté for about 3 minutes or until the shallots are soft. Add the red wine and cook stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes or until the pan is almost dry. Stir in the reserved reduced stock and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer. Serve or place in the top half of a double boiler over very hot water until ready to serve.

Lemon Thyme Chicken Salad with Beefsteak Tomatoes

6 each whole chicken breasts, trimmed (poach in Court Bouillon)
2 heads butterhead lettuce (such as Bibb or Boston)
1/2lb haricot verts, blanched
12 each new potatoes, boiled and sliced
1 Tbsp. lemon thyme leaves
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chervil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 recipe citrus vinaigrette
salt and pepper
2 large red beefsteak tomatoes, sliced thin
2 large yellow beefsteak tomatoes, sliced thin
1 recipe Court Bouillon (recipe follows)

For the Court Bouillon
4 cups water
1 cup white wine
1 large onion, rough chopped
1 carrot, rough chopped
1 stalk celery, rough chopped
1 leaf
5 peppercorns


  1. Bring all poaching ingredients to a boil, add chicken breasts, and lower flame; let simmer about 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through (no pink left).
  2. Cool down in refrigerator.

For the Citrus Vinaigrette
6 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. honey
1 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon thyme leaves
Salt and pepper


  1. In a bowl, mix honey and lemon juice.
  2. Slowly whisk in oil, whisk all together, adjust seasoning.
  3. Add thyme at the end.

To Assemble Salad
  1. Slice poached chicken breasts thinly, on a bias, and fan out into four portions (each breast should yield 2 portions).
  2. Cut knob off of bibb lettuce and wash and separate leaves. Drain well.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the bibb lettuce with the haricot verts, sliced potatoes, vinaigrette, and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. To arrange the sliced tomatoes, use three red slices and three yellow slices for each plate. Alternate the yellow and red tomatoes along one edge of the plate. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper, and drizzle with the vinaigrette.
  5. Take a handful of the tossed lettuce mixture and place in the center of the plate.
  6. Fan out one portion of the sliced chicken over the bibb lettuce.
  7. Drizzle the chicken with a small amount of the vinaigrette, and finish with fresh ground black pepper.

Fresh Berry Compote with Poppy Seed Shortbread, Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

2 Pints fresh raspberries
1 Pint fresh blueberries
1 Pint fresh blackberris
2 Pints fresh strawberries , quartered
1/4 Cup Grand Marnier liquer
1 Liter water
35 ounces Sugar
1 each vanilla bean, scraped
1 batch poppyseed shortbread (recipe follows)
1 batch Lemon Verbena ice cream (recipe follows)
10 each mint sprigs, garnish

For The Berry Compote

  1. In a heavy bottom pot, bring the water, sugar and vanilla bean to a boil, lower flame and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, add the 1/4 strawberries & Grand Marnier and let soak
  3. Add all the berries, except the strawberries, to a deep bowl and pour the hot liquid over them. Set aside and let cool.
  4. When cool, add in the soaked, quartered strawberries and stir to mix in.

For The Poppyseed Shortbread Biscuits
16 ounces all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Ounce baking powder
2 Ounce sugar
1 Each lemon , zested
1 Each orange , zested
4 Tbsp poppyseeds
2 each eggs , beaten
12 ounces crème fraiche
2 tbsp milk


  1. Sift the dry ingredients and place in a bowl of a Kitchen Aid * mixer.
  2. With the paddle attachment, slowly blend all the ingredients together.
  3. Separately, whisk together the eggs, crème fraiche and milk.
  4. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry until well incorporated.
  5. Roll out the dough 1"inch thick, then refrigerate for 3 hours or until well chilled.
  6. Cut out round biscuits with a biscuit cutter, then place the biscuits on a greased cookie sheet.
  7. Sprinkle the biscuits with sugar, then brush the top of each one with heavy cream.
  8. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F. oven until golden brown.

Recipe Makes about 20 biscuits.

For The Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
2 quarts milk
150 grams milk powder
300 grams heavy cream
300 grams egg yolks
500 grams sugar
100 grams glucose
25 grams fresh Lemon Verbena, coarsely chopped


  1. In a heavy bottom pot, boil the milk, milk powder, half the sugar, and the lemon verbena together, then lower flame to a simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks together with the remaining sugar.
  3. Temper the egg mixture by slowly adding the cream mixture to the yolks.
  4. Add the mixture back to the cream and return to low heat, stirring until the mixture has thickened.
  5. Strain the mixture thru a chinoise or fine sieve, cool down in ice bath until very cold, then process in an ice cream machine.

Recipe makes about 1 gallon of ice cream
Note: Can substitute lemon verbena for a similar Australian lemony plant.

Chef Pintabona was one of many chefs who fed the volunteers, firefighters, Port Authority officers, and the NYPD during Sept. 11 cleanup and recovery. He teamed up with Chef Daniel Boulud, Chef Charlie Palmer, and Chef Gray Kunz to feed people on a boat that was anchored near the World Trade Center.

His Tribeca kitchen also fed the many other volunteers and officers near Ground Zero. Though his restaurant was closed for regular business for quite a while, he says he could not be worried about his own wallet, considering what he saw happen from his Brooklyn home. He said that his decision to provide food was simple because it's the only trade he knows and he felt that feeding people would at least provide them some comfort. It was better than staying home, watching television, and feeling helpless, he said.

He has been the executive chef of the Tribeca Grill since it opened in 1990. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. And he considers himself a passionate traveler; he has visited more than 30 countries and regions around the world. He says he hopes that his travels are reflected in his food.