Tuesday, May 31, 2011

South Fork Wine, North of the Border

I was thinking of home while in Montreal for the holiday weekend, especially when I noticed that renowned restaurant Joe Beef was advertising Channing Daughters' Tocai Friulano '08 (which is sold out in Bridgehampton--if you want some I guess you'll have to travel North) on the famous blackboard!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Special Protege of Itzhak Perlman (and Karl Lagerfeld?)

This is the best head shot ever of a classical violinist! I have already contacted the Old Whalers' Church and reserved my tickets.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Anxiously Awaiting Summer

I've been feeling almost anxious (if you're a local you know what I mean) about the coming holiday weekend. Will I be able to get all of my errands done before the crowds arrive? In my travels today, I saw signs of life, but no actual produce yet, at Sag Harbor's newest farm stand, Serene Green. And I'll have to wait until Friday, like everyone else, to confirm the rumor that there will be a mobile wood-burning pizza oven at the Bridgehampton Farmer's Market. To calm myself down, I stopped by Long Beach, where some smart and lucky people were getting a jump on summer, to admire the view and take a few deep breaths of salty sea air.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwiches for Everyone

Just in time for the warm weather weekend, my story on homemade ice cream sandwiches is up on Zester. I made them with coffee ice cream from Bay Burger. Coincidentally, and happily for those of you who would rather not make your own ice cream sandwiches, Bay Burger has just this week started selling their own house-made sandwiches.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Reason to Go to Riverhead

Even though it was pouring as I was leaving Riverhead yesterday, I couldn't resist stopping again at the Euro Deli for more kielbasa. On my first visit, I was mesmerized by the sausage selection, but this time I turned around and saw a collection of authentic Eastern European rye breads near the cash register, just like the ones Dan Leader describes in Local Breads. I bought this wonderfully sour and moist one, which the counterman called "Farmer's Bread," to go with the sausage. And then I bought a big bag of spinach at The Green Thumb, to make this spinach salad with warm mustard dressing to complete my dinner:

Spinach Salad with Warm Mustard Dressing
Serves 4

1 pound spinach, washed and dried
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Ground black pepper

Place spinach in a large bowl. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in vinegar, mustard, and sugar and bring to a boil. Pour over spinach and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Strawberries on the Way

I picked up a box of these Virginia strawberries at The Green Thumb yesterday. They're almost as good as the locals we'll have in a week or two, if this rain lets up.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Last Night's Dinner: Radish and Arugula Salad with Yogurt and Tahini Dressing

Before my older daughter had a chance to tell me that she was growing weary of Middle Eastern food, I mixed together this yogurt and tahini dressing for a beautiful bunch of local baby radishes (look for them at the opening of Farmer's Market on Saturday!), some arugula, and a cucumber. Oh, well. I didn't get any complaints at dinner, where I served it with some flatbreads and grilled chicken. Here is the recipe:

Radish and Arugula Salad with Yogurt and Tahini Dressing
Serves 4

You could put half a small garlic clove, minced, into the dressing if you'd like. (I skipped it because I really went crazy with the garlic on my flatbreads and chicken.

3 tablespoons plain yogurt (preferably Greek-style)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon well-stirred tahini
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
Ground black pepper
10 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced thin
1 small bunch radishes, sliced thin

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, mint, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Combine the arugula, cucumber, and radishes in a large bowl. Toss with the yogurt mixture. Season with salt and pepper if necessary and serve immediately.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hamptons Baby Gifts

I got a nice note from Scot Bogetti of Hampton Babies in Montauk this morning. He and his family design onesies and t-shirts with local themes. I like the onesie simply inscribed with a big SH. But my favorite is food-related, the one that says "Eat Fish Surf Ditch." For info, click here. (They're having a pre-season sale--15% off if you order before Friday!)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Back to Bulgur

Last Spring, I discovered a way to make bulgur, pilaf-style, so cooked up light and fluffy, a perfect base for light main course salads. Now that it's warming up again, I've gone back to bulgur. Last night, I tossed it with some grilled fennel and onions, and served it over spicy, tender baby arugula from Bette and Dale's. Some grilled bread (brushed with olive oil and rubbed with a clove of my North Fork Garlic), rounded out the meal. Here is my latest bulgur salad recipe.

Bulgur with Fennel and Feta
Serves 4

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 red onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 cup fine bulgur
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups Dijon mustard
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Ground black pepper

1. Preheat a gas grill to high. Brush fennel and onions with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill until the vegetables are softened, with dark grill marks.
2. While the grill is heating, combine the bulgur, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, fluff with a fork, and let stand 15 minutes to cool.
3. Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard. Chop the grilled vegetables. Add the dressing, vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and thyme. Season with salt and ground black pepper and serve.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tasteful New Signage Beautifies Main Street

I am hopeful that the menus at our two brand-new restaurants, Page and Pomme Cafe, will demonstrate the same good taste.

Weird Stuff You Can Grill

My grilling story is up on Newsday.com, along with plenty of Doug Young's photos. Among other things, I grilled clams, avocados, and dessert quesadillas. That's me in the gingham shirt, in my Sag Harbor backyard.

Monday, May 9, 2011

My North Fork Farm Stand Dinner

I couldn't resist posting a photo of my garlicky chicken, asparagus cake, and arugula salad! More on the garlic tomorrow, you can bet.

Mother's Day Bouquet

Yesterday, my family treated me to lunch at The North Fork Table. And because it is normal for us to think several meals ahead, we stopped at a farm stand on the Main Road to pick up dinner supplies before arriving at the restaurant. We bought some asparagus, some garlic, and some arugula, but back in Sag Harbor we were too full from lunch to cook dinner (we also had this crazy idea that after lunch we would pick up sandwiches at the "lunch truck" for later, but we were way too full to do that either; the artisan frankfurter and wild-caught lobster roll will have to wait). When I got home, I put my asparagus in a vase with a little bit of water, and put the vase in the refrigerator, so they'd stay crisp overnight. This afternoon I made a savory asparagus and Gruyere cake, which I'm planning on serving with intensely garlicky chicken brochettes and an arugula salad. Here is the cake recipe:

Polenta Loaf with Roasted Asparagus and Gruyere
Makes 1 loaf, about 12 generous slices

Roasting the asparagus before adding them to the cake batter intensifies their flavor and gets rid of unwanted moisture.

3/4 pounds asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) grated Gruyere cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
2. Turn oven down to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk together flour, corn meal, baking powder, black pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the eggs, milk, and remaining 1/2 cup olive oil in a large measuring cup.
3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir in 1 cup cheese and asparagus.
4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until loaf is golden and a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, invert onto wire rack, re-invert, and let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cookies for the Candidates

Are you going to Pierson's library tonight to meet the Board of Ed candidates? I've been testing recipes today and I'm bringing these cookies tonight.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo

When I picked up my sixth grader at Pierson this afternoon, she reminded me that it was Cinco de Mayo, and asked if we could get some nachos at the festively decorated Cilantro's (138 Division Street; 725-4555) to celebrate. As I watched her eat them, I decided to make myself a watermelon Agua Fresca to drink while I prepared dinner. Here is the recipe:

Watermelon Aguas Frescas
Makes 2 drinks

1 pound seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/3 cup ice water
4 ounces vodka or tequila (optional, but it is a holiday, after all)

1. Combine the watermelon, sugar, lime juice, and ice water in a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Fill two glasses with ice, add vodka or tequila if desired, and pour agua fresca into each glass.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Trip to Polish Town

In an effort to avoid the soul-destroying effect of a trip to B.J.'s in Riverhead, I decided to take a detour into Polish Town for some kielbasa on my way home from the big box store. A friend pointed me toward the Euro Deli (517 Pulaski Street; 516-727-1635), and when I stopped in I was overwhelmed by the selection of sausages! On this first foray I stuck with what was familiar, and last night I grilled the sausages along with some onions (which I tossed with caraway seeds; why not?) and served with mustard. They were delicious!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Last Night's Dinner: Spinach and Mozzarella Quesadillas

I spent yesterday afternoon grilling for an upcoming Newsday story, and I had some leftover cheese and tortillas from the photo shoot. So today, when I picked up a beautiful bunch of local spinach at the newly opened Green Thumb, I sauteed it with an onion and used it as a filling for these grilled quesadillas. Not authentic Mexican, but authentic Sag Harbor. Here is the recipe:

Spinach and Mozzarella Quesadillas
Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 ounces spinach, washed and chopped
Ground black pepper
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Four 8-inch flour tortillas

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a colander and press on the spinach to drain off any excess liquid.
2. Preheat a gas grill to high. Sprinkle some cheese on one half of each tortilla. Spread spinach mixture on top of cheese. Fold tortillas over and brush outsides with the remaining tablespoon olive oil.
3. Clean grill. Turn heat down to medium. Grill quesadillas covered, turning once, until golden with darker grill marks on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes total. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Friday Night Plans

This invitation is crammed with type, but three words--Sag Harbor Baking Company--jumped out at me and spurred me to buy my tickets online. See you at the dessert buffet.