Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tonight's Dinner: Pan-Fried Gnocchi and Local Spinach

On my way home from Bridgehampton this afternoon, I stopped at Bette and Dale's to take a peak inside their cooler. I finally got my hands on a bag of local spinach. (There was beautiful baby kale, too. Hope they're still selling it later in the week--that's going to be the subject of my next Newsday column.) I had already picked up some gnoccchi and leeks at Citarella's, so I decided to pan-fry the gnocchi and serve them on a bed of sauteed spinach and leeks. Easy. Here is the recipe:

Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Spinach and Leeks
Serves 4

1 pound fresh potato gnocchi
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts, washed and finely chopped
1 pound spinach, washed, coarse stems removed
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound potato gnocchi
Parmesan for serving

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook until just soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and heat through. Scrape into a bowl and cover to keep warm.
3. Melt the butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi in a single layer and cook until golden on both sides, shaking the pan occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt.
4. Arrange the spinach on serving plates, top with the gnocchi, and serve immediately with Parmesan on the side.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lunchbox Request

This weekend, one of my children begged me to make that Springtime specialty, potato-leek soup, for her lunchbox on Monday. But, since I was busy putting together her chocolate-raspberry birthday cake (the recipe, from Susan Purdy's book, The Family Baker, and it is the most requested birthday cake I've ever baked), can you blame me for buying Citarella's creditable version instead?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Lamb in a Freak Snowstorm

A few weeks ago when my friends and I were picking up our new new pig from Harry Ludlow at Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton, he wondered if we might be interested in a Spring lamb being raised by his brother at a farm in Connecticut. Did he even have to ask? We placed our order immediately. I picked up my portion this morning, in some decidedly un-Spring-like weather. By this evening the snow had melted and I told my husband to get outside and start grilling some rib and loin chops. To go with them, I made charmoula and whole wheat couscous with apricots. Yum. Here are the recipes:

Serves 4

2 garlic cloves, skins on
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
1/4 cup packed parsley leaves
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teapsoon cayenne pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Place garlic clove in a small skillet over medium heat and cook until toasted and fragrant (turn the garlic clove a couple of times), 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, then peel and coarsely chop.
2. Combine the chopped garlic, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and oil in the workbowl of a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Scrape Charmoula into a small bowl and season with salt. (Charmoula can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.)

Whole Wheat Couscous with Apricots and Almonds
Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups low-sodium canned chicken broth
1/2 cup apricots, finely chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 scallions, white and light greet parts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add couscous and cinnamon and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, to lightly toast the couscous, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil. Cover, remove from the heat, and let stand 5 minutes.
2. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Stir in the apricots, almonds, scallions, and lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.

Multicultural Festival Celebrated in New Blog

Gifted local photographer Lindsay Morris (her work can be seen every month in Edible East End; she took pictures at my cookie swap) has recently started to blog. The subject of her latest post is last week's hugely successful Multicultural Festival at Pierson. As soon as I saw these pictures, I was filled with regret that I had missed the event. And of course I immediately googled chicken okonomiyaki. Recipe to follow shortly.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Love a Silent Auction, Especially When it Includes Cake

When I attend the Rainbow Pre-School's silent auction on April 2, I'll have my eye on that cake by C.A.K.E. Hampton.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Good Bread Recipe to Begin Tonight If You Have to Go to the City Tomorrow

You can hear me on Martha Stewart Living Radio tomorrow at 8:30. I'll be discussing my new book, Bread Making: A Course! I don't like to run out of bread, so I just mixed the dough for a raisin and walnut boule (page 76). The recipe calls for a nice, long, 18-hour rise. So my dough will be ready to shape and bake when I get off the Jitney tomorrow afternoon at 2. This is how it will look (I hope!) when I slice it for dinner at about 7. Here is the recipe:

No-Knead Raisin Walnut Bread
Makes 1 large round

5.3 ounces (1 1/2 cup) walnut pieces
10.6 ounces (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for dusing
5.3 ounces (1 cup) whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or fine sea salt
13 ounces (1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) room temperature water
4 ounces (3/4 cup) raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the walnut pieces out on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Cool completely and then coarsely chop.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, water, nuts, and raisins. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until it comes together into a rough dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough stand at room temperature overnight and for up to 18 hours.
3. Place a piece of parchment paper inside another large mixing bowl, with its corners overhanging the edges of the bowl and spray the parchment with nonstick cooking spray. Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Sprinkle the dough with a little more flour and knead it two or three times, folding it over itself, flattening and folding over again. Form a ball by gathering the edges of the dough together and twisting them into a topknot, topknot side down, into the parchment-lined bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
4. An hour and a half into the rise, position an oven rack on the bottom third of the oven and place an 8-quart cast-iron or enamel Dutch oven on the rack. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
5. Sprinkle the dough with flour. Use a sharp serrated knife or razor blade to slash two intersecting lines, 1/2-inch deep, into the loaf to create an X. Carefully remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid. Use two hands to carefully place the parchment, with the dough still on it, in the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the loaf is well-browned, another 20 to 30 minutes. Lift the bread, still on the parchment, from the pot and place on a wire rack. Cook to room temperature, about 2 hours, before serving.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Celebrating the Spring Equinox with What Should Have Been Spring's First Pizza

Can you believe the boldness of these turkeys, who were making their way from backyard to backyard along my block this morning? They were big and scary. I don't live in Sag Harbor Village to be close to wild life! If only I had stuck to my plan of visiting Bette and Dale's at 10am, I would have missed this terrifying sight. And I also would have been able to buy some local spinach. By the time I got to the stand at 4pm, it was gone. I had planned to wilt the spinach on top of my pizza (which I topped with 6 ounces of a delicious Gruyere-like Italian cow's milk cheese from Cavaniola's) a few minutes before pulling it from the oven. Instead, I used a few handfuls of baby arugula from the IGA, and drizzled the finished pizza with olive oil before serving. Great, but not the perfect pizza for the Spring equinox.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Signs of Spring in Sag Harbor

Crocuses in my yard, summer dresses at newly re-opened Marie Eiffel.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Last Night's Dinner: Penne with Artichokes

While I wait for the first local early Spring vegetables to arrive, I am faking it with items like Birdseye frozen artichokes from the IGA. Roasted until brown and crispy, they are really good along with whole wheat pasta (my new obsession). Last night I stirred in some grated Parmesan, but I'm thinking that next time some of the goat feta from Cavaniola's would be even more Spring-y and delicious.

Whole Wheat Penne with Roasted Artichokes
Serves 4Az

Two 9-ounce packages frozen artichokes, thawed
4 garlic cloves, peeled
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
12 ounces whole wheat penne
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the artichokes, garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste in a large bowl. Arrange them in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with heavy duty foil. Roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until the edges are nicely browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
2. While the artichokes are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the penne until just tender.
3. Remove the artichokes from the oven, chop the roasted garlic cloves, and transfer the artichokes and garlic to a large bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup water and drain the pasta. Add it to the bowl with the artichokes and toss with the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and reserved cooking water, as necessary, to moisten. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

If You'd Rather Not Make Your Own Corned Beef and Cabbage

Last year I made my own St. Patrick's Day dinner. Should I take the night off this year and go to the Old Whaler's Church for corned beef and cabbage?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Look at What I Made!

It's been a long time since I made something that didn't wind up on my hips. But over the weekend I saw this necklace online and it inspired me to recycle my lace dish from last Spring into something I could wear around my neck. So this morning, in between a flourless chocolate cake and a batch of chocolate-and-toffee matzoh (I'm working on Passover desserts for Newsday), I used a scissor, needle, and thread to sew a piece of lace onto an old chain. I have plenty of leftovers, so tomorrow I might go crazy and make a bracelet. If you see someone walking down Main Street dressed as a giant doily in the next week or two, you know I've been shopping at Carol O'Neill's (114 Division Street) again.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dinner Reservation Reminds Me of Banana Bread

Making my dinner reservation tonight for the American Hotel's dinner and a movie tonight reminded me to tell you that my Brown Butter Banana Bread recipe is up on Newsday.com. See you at Bay Street!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Java Nation Flyer of the Week

When I saw this flyer at Java Nation today, I felt like calling the number and saying, "Forget babysitting and go into advertising!" What a cute and seasonal drawing! It made me rush over to Bette and Dale's (1726 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike) for a half-dozen fresh organic eggs. In no time, I had made some egg salad with fennel and pancetta, which I enjoyed on a toasted ciabatta roll from the IGA. Here is the recipe:

Egg Salad Sandwiches with Fennel and Pancetta
Serves 4

4 pieces panceta, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teapsoon Dijon mustard
Ground black pepper
8 large eggs, hard-boiled, cooled, peeled, and chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, trimmed, tough outer layers removed, finely chopped
4 ciabatta rolls, split and lightly toasted

1. Cook the pancetta in a small skillet until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all but 2 teaspoons fat from the pan, add garlic, and cook until just fragrant.
2. Scrape the garlic into a large bowl, add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Stir until smooth.
3. Add the eggs, fennel, and pancetta and gently stir, adjust seasonings, and serve immediately on toasted ciabatta rolls or refrigerate for up to 6 hours before serving.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Byproduct of 10th Grade Spanish Assignment

Last week, I bought this jar of roasted peppers at Citarella's under the mistaken impression that my daughter needed peppers for her tapas homework. I was afraid that if I put it in the cabinet I would forget about it, along with other random items I've bought by accident over the months (years)--Newman's Own salsa, carrot juice, canned cherries, concentrated beef broth. So I just let it sit on the counter until I remembered this savory red pepper loaf cake recipe:

Polenta Loaf with Roasted Red Peppers and Provolone
Makes 1 loaf, about 12 generous slices

Sliced and then cut into cubes, this made a great snack with my Channing Daughters Rosso Fresco.

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teapsoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablepsoons sugar
4 ounces Provolone cheese, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup roasted red pepper slices, patted dry and diced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together the eggs and milk in a large measuring cup.
2. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Cream together with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary, about 3 minutes. On low, mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture. When incorporated, mix in half of hte milk mixture. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk mixtures, ending with the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for 30 seconds. Stir in the cheese, peppers, and parsley.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until the loaf is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, invert onto a rack, re-invert, and let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Monday, March 7, 2011

IGA Item of the Week

I have it on good authority that Bionaturae whole wheat pasta is the best, so when I saw it at the IGA today I snapped it up. Then I used it to make this dish with a half a head of leftover cabbage. I didn't want to get too crazy-healthy, so I made sure to add a good quarter pound of my Fairview Farm pancetta to the mix. Here's the recipe:

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Cabbage and Pancetta
Serves 4 to 6

4 ounces pancetta, chopped
4 garlic cloves
1/2 head green cabbage, cored, tough outer leaves removed, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
Ground black pepper

1. Place the pancetta in a large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just crips, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.
2. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the cabbage, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover, and cook until the cabbage is softened and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just tender. REserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Return it to the pot, along with the cabbage and Parmesan, and stir, adding reserved water as necessary to moisten. Adjust seasonings, divide among bowls, and sprinkle each portion with some of the pancetta before serving.

A Surprise in Southampton

I must tell you about a Chronicles of Narnia experience I had a little while ago. I opened a door to a warehouse wedged between Riverhead Building Supply and an auto body shop in Southampton and found myself not in a storage space or grimy garage but in the light-filled and elegant Plain T loft. If I had run into Mr. Tumnus at Riverhead Building Supply I wouldn't have been more amazed. After letting me gawk at everything in the pretty space, owners Tathiana and Alex Teixeira showed me some of the many fragrant and beautiful loose teas that they import from around the world and sell to the finest restaurants in the city, and gave me some lessons in the right way to make tea (Lesson 1: Don't let the water come to a rolling boil. Who knew?). The loft is not quite a tearoom or a retail space, although if you give a call you can arrange to stop in to taste and buy some of the company's exquisite artisan teas. While you are there, take a minute to admire the mobile they've made from muslin tea bags that are hand-assembled in Southampton.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Love the Farmer's Market

My trip to the Winter Farmer's Market on Bay Street was full of small thrills. I walked over there for some Milk Pail apples, but before I could feel disappointed that there were none today, I spotted a basket of those elusive Blue Duck whole grain seeded baguettes that I love. "Are those whole grain seeded baguettes from the Blue Duck?" I asked the owner of Greeny's, ascertaining their authenticity before I shelled out $8 for two of them. So what if they traveled from Southampton to Shelter Island to Bay Street before they wound up in my kitchen. While I was paying, a potato farmer from an adjacent table came over to show us his heart-shaped potato. It would have been too cute to bear, if it hadn't been covered in real Hamptons dirt. And then, on my way out, I saw a sign that made me shout for joy (luckily, those are new windows on the Bay Street building and none of the vendors could hear me). Geek Hampton, the best Mac dealer and advice/repair operation ever, is moving into the building! I rushed home to send a message to head Geek Sheryl (who always returns my calls of distress, and is usually able to solve my Mac problems by advising me to unplug something for 30 seconds and then plug it back in) to confirm the good news. They'll be up and running in a matter of weeks. Then maybe my new neighbors will be able to help me with my ongoing Optimum e-mail subscriber problem.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

10th Grade Spanish Assignment Inspires Pizza Recipe

Yesterday afternoon, my daughter prepared a tapas recipe she had downloaded from the internet, to serve to her Spanish class. Unlike most of her homework, which makes me feel stupid in the extreme, this assignment made me feel that it might be fun to return to high school. Tonight, with her leftover ingredients, I made a giant pizza version of her manchego and chorizo bites. Here's the recipe:

Pizza with Manchego, Chorizo, Tomatoes, and Honey
Serves 3 to 4

1 cup room temperature water
3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
3 ounces thinly sliced Spanish chorizo
4 ounces shredded Manchego cheese
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon honey

1. Combine water, yeast, flour, and salt in workbowl of a food processor and pulse several times to form a rough dough. Let the dough stand for 10 minutes in bowl, and then process until smooth and elastic, 30 to 45 seconds.
2. Spray large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and let triple in volume, 3 to 4 hours.
3. 45 minutes before baking, place a baking stone on middle rack of oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Spray a 12-inch round pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray. Press dough into pan, all the way to edges. Scatter chorizo over dough, then sprinkle with cheese and tomatoes.
4. Slide pan onto preheated baking stone. Bake until edges of dough are deep golden and cheese is bubbling, 12 to 15 minutes.