Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pumpkin Shortage?

I became so alarmed after hearing numerous reports about a pumpkin shortage on the East End that I hurried over to the one place I usually avoid at this time of year, Pumpkintown (the traffic!) to grab what I could grab. I was prepared to knock down a few preschoolers if I had to, but there was no need. There were fields full of giant pumpkins, and a cart filled with small sugar pumpkins for $3 apiece. I cut up one of these small pumpkins when I got home, and roasted the pieces with a little maple syrup. Here is the recipe:

Maple-Glazed Pumpkin
Serves 6

Smaller pumpkins are easier to cut up than larger ones, and yield a manageable amount of flesh. First, use a sharp, heavy chef's knife to cut around the stem to remove. Scoop out the seeds (you can rinse them and roast them if you'd like). Then cut the pumpkin into wedges, following its natural grooves. Use a paring knife to remove the skin and any remaining stringy pulp from each wedge before cutting into pieces.

1 small sugar pumpkin (about 4 pounds), stemmed, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the pumpkin with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until pumpkin pieces are just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss with the maple syrup, return to the oven, and roast an additional 2 minutes.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Have you responded to your One for the Books invitation? Some of Sag Harbor's best cooks will be hosting dinner parties to raise money for our library. Hosts pick books to attract fellow book lovers to their homes. And there are plenty of food-themed books to choose from, including Plenty, The Man Who Ate Everything, and Blood, Bones, & Butter.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sweet Rosh Hashanah Recipes

My honey-sweetened Rosh Hashanah recipes are out in today's Newsday. You can tell I did the "styling" at the photo shoot. See my jar of Bee's Needs honey in the background of Doug Young's pretty picture?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Last Night's Dinner: Quesadillas with Tomatillo Salsa

It's tomatillo season, and I had a whole bowl of them sitting on the countertop, ripe and ready to be made into salsa. Since salsa alone does not a dinner make, I ran out to get ingredients for quesadillas. I had a can of white beans in the pantry and fully intended to mix them with some cheese for the filling. But standing in front of the refrigerator case at the IGA, I knew I could do better than the shrink-wrapped Monterey Jack. So I grabbed a few red onions and my tortillas and then wound up at Cavaniola's, for the wedge of young Pecorino that you see here. It seemed a shame to dilute its fresh flavor by mixing it with the beans, so the can went back into the pantry for another day and instead I sauteed the onions to supplement the filling. Here is the recipe:

Red Onion and Cheese Quesadillas with Tomatillo Salsa
Serves 4

1 pound tomatillos, husks removed
1 jalapeno or other hot chili pepper, halved and seeded
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 red onions, thinly sliced
One 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
8 ounces mild, melty cheese, shredded
4 large flour tortillas

1. Preheat broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil. Toss tomatillos, chili pepper, garlic, and 1 tablespoon oil on baking sheet. Broil, turning tomatillos, pepper, and garlic once, until tomatillos are lightly charred, 6 to 7 minutes total. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine tomtatillos, pepper, and garlic in a blender and blend until almost smooth. Stir in cilantro and season with salt to taste.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Arrange cheese and onions evenly over half of each tortilla and fold tortillas in half.
2. Wipe out the skillet, add 1/2 tablespoon oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Cook two quesadillas, turning once, until golden and melted, about 5 minutes total. Repeat with remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil quesadillas and serve immediately with tomatillo salsa on the side.

Tomato Jam, Two Ways

On Saturday at the Farmer's Market, Bette Lacina urged me to buy a jar of tomato jam made by Sag Harbor writer and cook Stacy Dermont. All day I looked forward to trying it. For dinner, I spread it on garlicky grilled bread before topping the bread with some homemade ricotta (more on this in my next Newsday column) and some sliced Larchmont Charcuterie salami from Cavaniola's. I must have dreamed about my dinner, because when I woke up I made myself a sweet version of dinner: Toasted bread spread with jam and the ricotta, minus the garlic and salami.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Shakespeare in the Orchard

Quail Hill is not just about vegetables! I spent this breezy afternoon enjoying the Green Theatre Collective's production of As You Like it, performed in the farm's orchard.

Monday, September 12, 2011

First Apple Dessert of the Season

I bought more apples at the Milk Pail's farm market stand on Saturday, and last night I used a package of Dufour all-butter puff pastry I had in the freezer (I buy it at Citarella's in Bridgehampton) to make this pretty tart. Here is the recipe:

Puff Pastry Apple Tart
Serves 8

One 14-ounce sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 apples (I like sweet-tart Jonagolds or Granny Smiths)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon apricot jam

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Unfold the puff pastry onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and prick all over with a fork. Place in the freezer.
2. Peel and core the apples and slice them into very thin slices. Toss them together in a large bowl with the sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Remove the pastry from the freezer and arrange the apple slices in three rows, overlapping them slightly, on top, leaving a 1 to 1 1/2-inch border all around. Brush the border with the egg.
3. Bake until the pastry is puffed and well-browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with the jam. Let cool, slice, and serve.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Enjoying Harborfest

Harborfest is on, and I spent the morning on Long Wharf enjoying some of its delights. The Boy Scouts were grilling hot dogs, Pierson Middle School students were singing karaoke, and the little kids were enjoying a picturesquely situated bouncy castle with a nautical theme. On my way home, I browsed the sidewalk sales, and these half-price drinking straws at Country Lane (I have a newfound love of polka dots) caught my eye. See you at the Whale Boat Races!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Will I Ever Get Out of Here?

It's been awhile since I've left the Village, so today I made big plans to drive over to the Milk Pail in Water Mill for some new apples. Then I discovered that Cavaniola's is selling Milk Pail apples. Will I ever get out of this town?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tuesday Night's Dinner: Summer's Last Pizzas

To combat the chill that accompanied Tuesday's rain, I used the last of my Quail Hill haul--a few tomatoes and a bunch of broccoli rabe--to make two summery but still warming pizzas.

For the tomato pie, I sliced some tomatoes, set them on some paper towels, sprinkled them with salt, and let them stand for 15 minutes to drain away excess moisture. Then I put them on top of my stretched pizza dough, arranged some thinly sliced soppresata over the tomatoes, and sprinkled on about 4 ounces of shredded mozzarella. (To get the pizza into the oven without incident, I stretch the dough on top of a parchment-lined rimless baking sheet, arrange the toppings on top of the dough, and slice the pizza, still on the parchment, directly onto a preheated pizza stone). After baking in a 500 degree oven for about 50 minutes, I grated some Parmesan over the pizza before slicing and serving.

The broccoli rabe pizza was just slightly more complicated. I sliced three large, juicy cloves of garlic and cooked them briefly in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then I trimmed and discarded the tough stems of the broccoli, coarsely chopped the leaves, and added the leaves to the pan with a little bit of salt, stirring for a minute or two to wilt them. I spread the wilted broccoli rabe and garlic over the stretched dough, sprinkled with 4 ounces of grated mozzarella, and baked for 15 minutes in a 500 degree oven. As with the tomato pie, I grated some Parmesan over this one before slicing and serving. .

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

IGA Item of the Week

When my husband heard that some local farmers were collecting canned goods and other needed items to take to flood-damaged upstate New York farms later in the week, he bought a case of Progresso soup at the IGA and took it to the drop off spot at the Falkowski farm, 720 Butter Lane in Bridgehampton. For more information on the relief effort, click here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Things Even Out

I took a break yesterday from trying to figure out how to restore my gingham blog border (mysteriously missing for several days) to shop some Labor Day sales on Main Street. Gingham-bordered cotton tablecloths with sweet matching napkins at the Variety Store were hard to resist. At least something around here will have a gingham border for the holiday.

Friday, September 2, 2011

IGA Item of the Week

Just in time for Labor Day, and to replace what was lost after the hurricane: A fresh shipment of Hershey's Ice Cream has arrived at the IGA.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Time to Consider the Lunch Box

Weeks ago, some of my favorite elementary school students came over to be photographed for Newsday while eating some healthy dips and spreads designed for school lunch boxes. Today, the story is out, and in just one more week Sag Harbor Schools open their doors. Hurray!