Thursday, June 30, 2011

Breaking: Tim's Market is Open for Business

I was disappointed that I was the second, not the first, customer on opening day at this sparkling new market on Route 114, but everything else about this place surpassed expectations. As I waited for my local sea scallops (I was relieved to avoid a trip to Wainscott--I love The Seafood Shop, but parking there on these holiday weekends can be scary!), I made a note to return for hot dogs made with natural casings and I admired Tim's collection of vintage oyster tins.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tonight's Dinner: Couscous with Snowpeas

I still have some Spring lamb in my freezer, mostly the mysterious cuts that I've never cooked before. Until tonight, that included lamb ribs. Happily, yesterday's New York Times Magazine featured a recipe for which I had all the ingredients (yes, I am in possession of Aleppo pepper), so I defrosted the ribs overnight and enjoyed them this evening.
To accompany the lamb, I grilled two bunches of scallions from Quail Hill. Have you ever done this? Make sure you have very fresh scallions, preferably big ones that will hold onto their moisture on the grill. Trim them, brush them with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt, and then grill them over high heat, turning once, until they've got nice grill marks and are softened, about 5 minutes total.
I also had a small bag of snow peas and thought they'd be nice in some couscous. To take my side dish in a Mediterranean direction, I threw some ground cumin into the pot along with ginger and garlic. The peas were so tender I just steamed them for 5 minutes on top of the couscous before fluffing, sprinkling with lemon juice, and serving. Here is the recipe:

Couscous with Snowpeas
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped (or 2 garlic scapes--that's what I used)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup low-sodium canned chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 cup couscous
1 cup snowpeas, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and water and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, dump the snow peas on top, cover, remove from the heat, and let stand 5 minutes.
2. Transfer the couscous to a serving bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice, and fluff with a fork. Season with salt if necessary and serve, or let cool to room temperature before serving.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My New Motto

I went to see The Trip today at the Sag Harbor Cinema, which made me hungry for the duck fat and peanut lollipops featured in the film. There was nothing like that at the concession stand. Is there anything comparable at Dylan's Candy Bar in East Hampton? On my way out of the theater I took a second look at the movie poster and discovered some new words to live by.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Need a Drink!

Looking at these sets of Long Island and Peconic Bay coasters at Country Lane made me want to mix up a batch of summery cocktails.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Last Night's Dinner: Spinach Salad with Chickpeas and Chorizo

The rows of spinach at Quail Hill have almost been taken over by weeds, but I still spent some time picking enough leaves to make one last main course salad in June. I had some chorizo, a can of chickpeas, and some sliced almonds in the house, so I took it in a Spanish direction. The warm chickpeas and chorizo stirred directly into the salad bowl wilted the greens just slightly, tenderizing and dressing them at the same time. Here's the recipe:

Spinach Salad with Chorizo and Chickpeas
Serves 4

10 ounces young spinach
4 ounces chorizo, thinly sliced
One 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds

1. Place the spinach in a large salad bowl.
2. Cook the chorizo in large skillet over medium-high until it begins to crisp and its fat is rendered, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas, 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste, and sherry vinegar and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Scrape the chorizo and chickpeas into salad bowl. Sprinkle with almonds. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tonight's Game

I love our Hamptons Collegiate Baseball team's logo. Sag Harbor's fierce whale is so much more intimidating than the North Fork's Osprey! That arrow is pointing towards Mashashimuet park, the site of tonight's game against the Southampton Breakers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Feel Old!

Can it really have been 10 years since Liz Joyce opened her puppet theater on Hampton Street? I wonder if I am too old to attend her Birthday Beach Bash on June 25th. I wonder if there will be cake.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Caramel and Sea Salt Father's Day

For Father's Day I sent my Dad a box of my favorite Fran's caramels with sea salt. I think he liked them. When he called me to say thank he was chewing on something. After we spoke, I had the strongest desire for caramel with sea salt. So I got out a jar of Fran's Caramel Sauce from Citarella's and made myself a batch of Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with Caramel and Sea Salt to calm my craving. Here is the recipe:

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with Caramel and Sea Salt
Makes 36 cookies

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons caramel sauce
Fine sea salt for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.Whisk toether flour, cocoa power, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Cream together butter, and brown sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add flour mixture a little bit at a time until incorporated.
3. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough between palms of your hands and place on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Use back of a small measuring spoon to make an indentation in each ookie. Bake until just set, about 10 minutes. Press on indentations with spoon again as soon as cookies come out of oven and are still hot. Let cool completely on baking sheets.
4. Spoon caramel into a small microwave-safe bowl and heat until just liquid (do not boil), about 10 seconds. Fill center of each cookie with about 1/2 teaspoon caramel. While the filling is still warm, sprinkle with some sea salt. Let stand until centers are firm.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Last Night's Dinner: Whole Wheat Couscous with Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas

On Tuesday, I ran to Quail Hill during a brief lull in the rain and picked my vegetables. It was muddy and wet, but all week I was glad I had made the trip. Last night I used my share of asparagus and sugar snap peas in this quick couscous salad. Also flavoring the simple dish--a few garlic scapes and a handful of mint and oregano. Here is the recipe:

Whole Wheat Couscous with Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas
Serves 4 as a side dish

1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
12 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup whole wheat couscous (you can buy this at Provisions)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic scapes, finely chopped, or one garlic clove, finely chopped
3/4 cup low-sodium canned chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint and/or oregano

1. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and snap peas and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain vegetables again and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. Toast the couscous in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the garlic scapes to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the broth, water, and lemon zest and bring to a boil Stir in the toasted couscous, cover, remove from the heat, and let stand for 12 minutes.
3. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and salt to taste. Let cool to room temperature.
4. Stir in the vegetables, cheese, and herbs. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours until ready to serve.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Seniors Find One More Use for Pierson Hill Before Graduation

When I arrived a few minutes early at Pierson to pick up my children today, I had a chance to watch the Seniors celebrate their last day of school on the giant Slip-n-Slide they had rigged up on the hill.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Plans for Thursday Night

Slow Food East End will be screening the film Lunch Line at Pierson on June 16th. I wonder if tater tots will be served?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thank You for the Breakfast!

For the last two Saturdays, Quail Hill members have enjoyed a beautiful breakfast set out at the stand. Look at these little quiches, baked in organic egg shells! I enjoyed one along with a cup of Jack's Stir-Brew Coffee from Amagansett, before picking my lettuces.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Most Adorable Self-Serve Strawberry Stand in the Hamptons?

This stand on Long Lane in East Hampton (right down the street from the EECO Farm stand) is certainly a candidate.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

First Farm Recipe

Quail Hill opened its fields to members on Saturday, and I picked up my share of organic vegetables. There was a big basket of garlic scapes, which are the flavorful shoots of young garlic plants, at the farm's stand. To tame their flavor (which is milder than mature garlic), I chopped them and sauteed them in a little olive oil. Then I stirred them into a puree of chickpeas, tahini, and lemon juice, to make Garlic Scape Hummus. Here is the recipe:

Garlic Scape Hummus
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Za'atar is a Middle Eastern blend of sumac, thyme, and sesame seeds. I couldn't resist sprinkling some on top of my hummus after I spread it onto slices of grilled bread.

6 or 8 garlic scapes, tough ends trimmed, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini

1. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic scapes and cook until just fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
2. Combine chickpeas, water, lemon juice, and tahini in the workbowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl, stir in the garlic scape mixture, and season with salt. Refrigerate for up to 1 day before serving.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Buy Sriracha

For months, if not years, I have been reading in various food magazines and newspaper food sections about Huy Fong Foods' Sriracha, a fiery Thai-style hot sauce that has become the darling of chefs across the country. Although Chili Garlic Sauce made by the same company is available at every East End supermarket and specialty foods store, the raved-about Sriracha was elusive. Then late last week I spotted a few bottles of it at Citarella's in Bridgehampton and finely brought some home. I decided to combine it with my last pound of Fairview Farm ground pork to make some spicy grilled burgers. For good measure, I mixed some sriracha with ketchup to use as a condiment. Pea shoots just harvested from Quail Hill took the place of lettuce on my burgers. I enjoyed every bite. Here is the recipe:

Sriracha Pork Burgers
Serves 4

1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sriracha
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
4 hamburger buns
1/4 cup ketchup

1. Preheat grill to high. Combine the pork, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sriracha, and garlic in a bowl and blend with your hands. Shape into 4 patties.
2. Whisk together remaining 1 tablespoon sriracha and ketchup and set aside.
3. Clean and oil grill grids and turn heat down to medium-high. Grill burgers, turning once, until just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to buns. Top with ketchup and serve.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Farm Market Breakfast

Awhile ago I was reading a very interesting story by British foraging expert Nick Weston about how he extracts salt from ocean water for cooking. I considered running down to Sagg Main, collecting some water, and boiling it down until I had some Sag Harbor sea salt. But then I came to my senses, realizing how much work it would take and how little salt I would wind up with. Still, we live so close to the ocean. Shouldn't someone be harvesting local sea salt for our dining pleasure? When I arrived at the Sag Harbor Farmer's Market this morning I was understandably thrilled to meet Natalie Judelson, who, with her husband Steven, has stepped up to fill this need. She is now selling Amagansett Sea Salt from filtered and solar evaporated local ocean water. It has the soft, crumbly texture of the finest fleur de sel or sel gris. I bought a small jar that Natalie had seasoned with lemon zest. Then I bought a cranberry-walnut bread from The Blue Duck, took my purchases home, sliced the bread, spread it with butter, and sprinkled it with some lemony Amangansett sea salt for breakfast.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Strawberries and Honey

Was yesterday the most beautiful day of the year so far? Ask me tonight, since today is shaping up as its only serious competition. I spent the morning happily roaming around, taking pleasure in the breeze and joyfully shopping. I was only briefly disappointed that there were no strawberries at Falkowski's on Scuttlehole Road, since I so enjoyed the drive to Zaluski's in Southampton. With two quarts of exquisite berries sitting beside me in the front seat, I headed back to town but decided on an impulse to take a detour to Marder's to check out their new Honeybee Cafe. In addition to excellent espresso, they are offering all kinds of local, artisanal, organic (yes, all three!) honey products. I learned from the knowledgeable and friendly cafe manager that Sag Harbor Bee Keeper Mary Woltz's Bees Needs honey is made by Italian honey bees, unparallelled comb builders with only a moderate tendency to swarm. That was good news, since Woltz keeps bees right at Marder's, as well as at Quail Hill Community Farm, where I go twice a week to pick my vegetables. Once home, I thought about making strawberry and honey ice cream, before I remembered that my ice cream machine had some kind of freon breakdown last year and is no longer working. So I took a cue from the Circus Man sign outside the Variety Store and made some frozen strawberry-honey-yogurt pops, no ice cream machine required. Here is the recipe:

Strawberry Honey Yogurt Pops
Makes 4 pops

One pint basket local strawberries, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/3 honey
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor and then press through a fine strainer and into a bowl, discarding seeds. Sprinkle the gelatin over berry puree and let stand to soften, about 5 minutes. Place the bowl over a small pot of barely simmering water and heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is warm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Do not overheat!
2. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the honey, yogurt, and vanilla until smooth. Pour into four 1/2-cup popsicle molds and freeze until firm, overnight and up to 1 week. Run the mold under hot water for 30 seconds before unmolding.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Awards and Brownies

It is always wonderful to celebrate the achievements of our high school students at Pierson's Academic Awards ceremony. Last night's brief and dramatic hail storm ended well before the outdoor reception, which included freshly baked cookies and brownies courtesy of Pierson food services.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Placemats to Go with My Zyrtec-D

After weeks of resisting the "Sag Harbor" aluminum tubs and tabletop accessories in the window of the Pharmacy, I went inside for some allergy medicine, saw these paper placemats, and succumbed. They are such a perfect match with my dining room chairs!