Wine Country-Inspired Spring Recipes

Chef Gerry Hayden and pastry chef Claudia Fleming have worked in some of New York City's best restaurants.

Now they're married, and in charge of the North Fork Table and Inn in Southold, N.Y., in Long Island's wine country.

They shared recipes for some of their favorite spring dishes Tuesday as The Early Show continued its latest "Culinary Inspirations" series, which draws on the talent of some of the show's favorite chefs and cookbook authors.

Hayden and Fleming form an amazing culinary team. Their personalities and talents compliment each other, both in and out of the kitchen. Watching them prepare food in the kitchen is similar to watching a dance. They have a quiet way of communicating with each other. It is, observers say, amazing and indicative of their relationship. They even catered their own wedding reception.

They left the hurried Manhattan lifestyle and headed out to Long Island's wine country, where they run a small bed and breakfast with a large restaurant attached.

The North Fork Table and Inn is, they say, their labor of love. Fleming says she loves their slower life, and cooking and doing the things she's really wanted to do.

This isn't the first time Hayden and Fleming have teamed in the kitchen. In 2002, they owned and operated Amuse in Chelsea. The restaurant did well, but they both seemed to have had their fill of Manhattan living.

Hayden honed his culinary skills under the direction of noted chefs such as Charlie Palmer of Aureole, and David Burke and Don Pintabona, formerly of Tribeca Grill.

Hayden knows his way around when it comes to entertaining groups large and small.

Add Fleming to the mix and you have a perfect match when it comes to getting the meal done.

She is the James Beard Award-winning former pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, and author of "The Last Course," a cookbook all about the art of the dessert, published in 2001.


Rhubarb: This is the beginning of rhubarb season. After a long winter, seeing this bright color in the grocery store is certainly a sign of warmer weather to come. Although a vegetable, rhubarb is eaten as a fruit, cooked and sweetened with sugar. It is also called pie-plant, because the slender stalks make a delicious pie filling. Discard the leaves and roots, which can be toxic. Select crisp, firm young stalks and store them, wrapped, in the refrigerator, for up to a week.

Asparagus: Since asparagus starts losing flavor from the time it is cut, it's best cooked the day it's purchased. Wash thoroughly and cut off all hard ends. Asparagus will keep, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, up to four days in the refrigerator, or stored standing upright in a container with about an inch of water covered with a plastic bag.

Risotto: This Italian rice dish is delicious. It does, however, require some attention in the kitchen. You can't just walk away from the stove when you're cooking it. Risotto is a creamy rice dish made with short-grain or arborio Italian rice. The rice is gently cooked in butter or olive oil. Liquid, usually broth, is then added, a small amount at a time, until the rice is cooked and bathed in creamy liquid. Risotto must be stirred almost constantly to release the starch from the rice, so the starch thickens the broth, giving the dish its characteristic creamy consistency. Arborio rice is a stubby, short-grain polished rice grown in Italy's Po valley. Its particular starch composition makes it the preferred rice for Italian risotto. This short-grain rice is perfect for dishes that are expected to absorb the flavor of the liquid in the recipe. Risotto takes more careful cooking than other rice dishes, since the liquid is usually added gradually as the dish is cooking on the stove. Risotto rice should be cooked al dente.

For Hayden and Fleming's recipes, go to Page 2.