Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Original Conca D'Oro?

I was in Venice for a week, on vacation, but reminded of home every time I passed Conca D'Oro on my way back to my hotel. Happy New Year! Will report tomorrow on tonight's Sag Harbor homecoming dinner!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our Unique Holiday Decorations

Before finishing up some shopping on Main Street this morning, I stopped by Otter Pond to admire Sag Harbor's least explicable but most beloved holiday decoration, the floating tree. Christmas in this town wouldn't be the same without it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Recyling for the Holidays

I have been stockpiling my Sarabeth's jam jars from the IGA for awhile now, and this morning I filled them with cookie mixes to give as gifts. This one has the ingredients (minus some butter, and egg yolk, and a little vanilla) for Cranberry-Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate Chips. Here's the recipe:

Cranberry-Oatmeal Cookies in a Jar
Makes about 12 cookies

6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons white chocolate chips

1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Spoon into a 1-pint Mason jarSpoon oats on top of flour mixture. Spoon in cranberries. Spoon in brown sugar and granulated sugar. Spoon in white chocolate chips.
2. Attach a card to your jar with the following instructions: "Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour contents of this jar into a large bowl and combine with 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, 1 egg yolk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto ungreased baking sheets and bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No Contest in the Lawn Decor Department

If you are competitive when it comes to adorning your lawn with holiday decorations, you might want to avoid the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnipike on the way to K-Mart to buy your inflatable snow globe. You will never outdo Sag Harbor Fireplace, with its Santas, elves, reindeer, and two blazing fires.

Friday, December 9, 2011

First Snow Fall on Main Street

It was 50 degrees today on Main Street, but when I passed Sylvester & Company I saw snow falling.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Produce May Appear Closer Than it Seems

Our winter share at Quail Hill is really paying off, because of the unusually warm weather. Kale is still growing like weeds in the fields. My husband brought home the world's biggest sweet potato, which one of my children promptly christened "the baby," because according to her it looks like (and is the size of) a baby wrapped in an orange blanket. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but the banana squash on my kitchen counter was the size of a small, skinny watermelon. Compare it the normal-size butternut squashes and you'll get the idea. On Sunday we roasted some of it with a little butter. Tonight, I made pasta with banana squash and pancetta (you can substitute butternut squash, since they are very similar). Here's the recipe:

Penne with Banana Squash and Pancetta
Serves 4 to 6

2 pounds banana squash or butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound penne
3 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons half-and-half
Ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Toss squash with oil and salt to taste on sheet and roast until browned and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook penne until just tender.
3. While penne is cooking, cook pancetta in a large skillet until just crisp. Add onion and dried sage and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add squash and toss to combine.
4. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water, and return to pot. Toss with squash mixture, cheese, half-and-half, and cooking water to moisten sufficiently. Serve immediately.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Bakery in Town!

Congratulations to Mimi Yardley and Margaret Wagner on the opening of their Sag Harbor Baking Company at 51 Division Street yesterday. I toured their pristine kitchen and eyed the mini-cheesecakes and lemon tarts. Judging from early customer reviews, I am predicting that the coconut cupcakes will become a favorite snack for Pierson students heading home after school.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tonight's Dinner: Lamb Shank and Barley Soup

The only problem with buying half of a Spring lamb is that you are left, after a few months, with some random pieces of meat that you don't know how to use. I've been considering one lonely lamb shank (I wonder if my friend Nancy is still in possession of the other one) sitting in my freezer for awhile now, and when I woke up to some chilly weather this morning I decided to combine it with some potatoes and carrots I picked up at Quail Hill (hooray for my Winter Share), and some barley I had in the pantry, to make some soup. For fresh flavor, I topped each bowlful with some gremolata. Here is the recipe:

Lamb and Barley Soup with Gremolata
Serves 4

For the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large, meaty lamb shank, trimmed of excess fat
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10 ounces small waxy potatoes (I used fingerlings)
6 cups water
3/4 cup pearl barley
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
Cayenne pepper

For the gremolata:
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1. Make the soup: Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the shank on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.
2. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot and add the onions and carrots. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute.
3. Stir in the potatoes, water, barley, rosemary, 1 teaspoons alt, and lamb shank. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, partially covered until the shank is tender and the meat is falling off the bone, about 1 hour.
4. Remove the shank, shred the meat, and stir it back into the soup. Season with salt and cayenne pepper.
5. Make the gremolata: Combine the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic in a small bowl. Spoon soup into soup bowls and top each with a spoonful of the gremalota. Serve immediately.