Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Icebox Desserts on Martha Stewart Radio This Morning

After I walk Mount Misery with Barb and pick up my vegetables at Quail Hill, I'll talk to Sandy Gluck, the host of Everyday Food on Sirius XM about icebox cakes and other desserts. It's so great to be able to do this without leaving my kitchen in Sag Harbor, where I made all of these and dozens more when I was writing my book. I'm on at 11:15am. They've linked to Sag Harbor Days on their website!

Monday, June 29, 2009

My New Apron

I was inspired by the 5&10's Fourth of July display to make myself a new hostess apron. I went to the back of the store to pick up this flag bandana and two yards of canvas webbing that I attached to the top edge. I guess I'll have to have a party this weekend, now that I have something to wear.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Last Night's Dinner

I was too tired to cook last night (we were up before 5 to get the children to the sleepaway camp bus in the city), but too hungry to skip dinner. So I picked up this creamy goat cheese from Massachusetts at the cheese shop, and assembled a plate of figs, IGA Black Forest Ham (left over from the ham-and-cheese sandwiches I packed for the kids' trip) and blanched hazelnuts (my friend Gail ordered a 5-pound bag from Nuts Online for us to split--it's amazing how quickly they get eaten). No complaints.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It is True: Fresh Fish in Sag Harbor Village

I've seen it with my own eyes at 89 Main Street.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another Dream About to Come True

After my first visit to Cavaniola's Gourmet (89 Division Street; 725-0095) a few years ago, I turned to my husband and asked if I had been dreaming. A cheese shop of this caliber just a few doors from my house? I could hardly believe it. Now Michael and Tracy are expanding, with a prepared foods shop in the same building. The sign isn't up yet, but they will be open for business tomorrow morning. If the rumor is true that there will be fresh fish for sale as well as a variety of expertly prepared salads and entrees, I will surely experience a hallucinatory state of rapture surpassing even my cheese experience.

News Flash: Spanish Chorizo Arrives at the IGA

I was beside myself when I saw imported Palacios chorizo at the IGA today. Previously, you could only buy the Goya brand (which tastes more like Hillshire Farms Kielbasa than the real thing; I'm embarrassed to admit I'm qualified to make that comparison) on Main Street (Cavaniola's has been carrying Palacios since it opened). I'm busy getting my kids off to sleepaway camp, so a recipe will have to wait until early next week, but I didn't want to hold onto the news in case anyone wants to enjoy this spicy cured sausage over the weekend. I might very well try these Fresh Garlic, Chorizo, and Pork Burgers on Sunday.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Black and White

Last night we attended a delightful piano recital at Ellen Johansen's Music Studio in East Hampton. Ellen is one of the most inspired and inspiring teachers I've ever met, and her students play with sensitivity and amazing skill. After enjoying a well-rounded program that included a Haydn Quadrille, a Persichetti March, a Beethoven Sonatina, and a Chopin Waltz, we enjoyed dessert in Ellen's dining room. What to bring to such an occasion? These Mini Black and White Cookies were just the thing.

Mini Black and White Cookies
Makes about 30 cookies

For the cookies:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

For the white icing:
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar
5 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the black icing:
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium-size bowl.
3. Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.
4. Add the egg and vanilla and beat at medium speed until combined. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, add the flour in 2 additions and the sour cream in 1 addition at low speed until combined.
5. Drop heaping teaspoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. With a moistened palm, slightly flatten each mound. Bake until the cookies are dry and just golden on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, and then transfer with a spatula to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. Make the white icing: Whisk together the confectioners' sugar, cream, and lemon juice until smooth. Use a small metal spatula to spread the icing on one half of the top of each cookie. Let the cookies stand for 15 minutes to allow the icing to firm up.
7. Make the black icing: Place the heavy cream in a c in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until it just comes to a boil. Add the chocolate chips and corn syrup and whisk until smooth. Spread the icing on the other half of each cookie. Let the cookies stand until the icing is set, about 1 hour.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Good Idea

How to deal with dueling benefit posters? Gail S. e-mailed me this great idea: Spend the afternoon of July 10th enjoying the John Jermain Library House Tour, and then attend the Whaling Museum Luau in the evening. And if you're registered voter of the Sag Harbor school district, don't forget to go to the library on June 29th, between noon and 8p.m. for the referendum vote on the library's renovation and expansion.

Pierson Middle School Moving Up Day

Just back from the short and sweet 8th grade graduation celebration. The students marched, accepted awards (some signed by President Obama), and mingled with family and friends afterwards, enjoying beautiful baked goods produced in the Pierson cafeteria. Bravo to the graduates and to the pastry chefs.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

IGA Item of the Week

King Kullen never has buttermilk. The IGA always has it. Just another reason to appreciate our local market. Somebody there must be a baker.

Buttermilk adds tangy flavor to everything from chocolate cake to waffles to muffins. The acids in buttermilk react powerfully with baking soda and baking powder, resulting in incredibly bubbly and light baked goods.You can experience these effects in minutes if you make a batch of buttermilk biscuits. Bake them at a high heat for the best rise, and pull them from the oven as soon as they are golden on top. They're small and will dry out quickly otherwise. I added some parsley and chives from Quail Hill and served them last night with pan-fried, panko-coated chicken breasts and spinach salad.

Buttermilk Biscuits with Parsley and Chives
Makes 10 biscuits

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into bits and frozen for 10 minutes
3/4 cut buttermilk, plus 1 or 2 tablespoons extra if necessary

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the flour, baking powder, bakign soda, sugar, salt, parsley, and chives in a mixing bowl and mix by hand or on the lowest speed with an electric mixer until combined.
2. Add the chilled butter to the bowl and mix (you can rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers if your hands are cool, or use a mixer on the lowest speed if you are afraid your hands will melt the butter) until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk until the dough just starts to form large clumps. Do not overmix!
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop, gently roll it out to a 3/4-inch thickness, and use a 2-inch biscuit cutter to cut as many biscuits as you can from the dough, transferring them to the baking sheet. Press the scraps together and cut more biscuits (don't re-roll the dough or it will toughen up in the oven) with the remaining dough.
4. Bake the biscuits until they are light golden, about 10 minutes. Serve them warm or at room temperature. They're best eaten an hour or two after baking.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ideal Redux

I felt so much happier about the gift card from Gamestop that my 10-year-old wanted to give to a friend, once it was packaged in one of my new gift bags from The Ideal (102 Main Street; 725-1670).

An Ideal Father's Day

I thought my brain stored a complete catalog of the party goods available on Main Street in Sag Harbor. But as I complacently made my way to the back of The Ideal (102 Main Street, Sag Harbor; 725-1670) a few days ago for some printer paper I was stopped dead in my tracks by a new carousel dripping with retro-styled birthday hats and loot bags from Party Partners. What was this merchandise and how long ago had it been sneaked into town? Luckily, I was able to buy these gingham print backyard barbecue party picks before Father’s Day. My purchase guided me in planning the rest of the day—Wusthof steak knives from Williams-Sonoma as a gift, strip steaks from the IGA for dinner. The fried olives were inspired by a bar snack we had when we were in the city last weekend. They are irresistible right out of the pot, but too hot to handle, so the picks came in handy for those, too. And since I had a few extras, I stuck one into each serving of our strawberry-rhubarb cobbler.

Fried Olives
Makes 24 olives

I used the pitted green olives from Citarella, which were perfect. Or you could buy stuffed olives—Cavaniola’s sometimes has olives already stuffed with anchovies or blue cheese—and use those.

1 ounce fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
24 large green pitted olives
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg lightly beaten
1/3 cup dried bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil

1. Place a piece of mozzarella in the cavity of each olive. Place the flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in three shallow bowls. Roll each olive in the flour, then in the beaten eggs, then the bread crumbs. Transfer the breaded olives to a plate and let stand for 10 minutes to allow the breading to dry a bit.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil to 350 degrees. Lower the olives into the hot oil, and fry until golden brown, a minute or so. Remove the olives using a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Serve warm.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sag Harbor Origami

I stopped at the Golden Eagle in East Hampton (14 Gingerbread Lane; 631-324-0603) and was mesmerized by the beautiful paper they were selling. So I bought two sheets and made these origami whales. For directions, go to www.origami-instructions.com

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Power of Advertising

I had never been inside, but today I was drawn to the Sag Harbor Ship's Store (53 Bay Street; 725-3838) by this strangely compelling advertisement, from yesterday's Sag Harbor Express. I didn't find anything for my dad, but I did see a beautiful canvas tool bag and some colorful doormats that I'm considering for myself. The cans of water made me worry. Do I need some of these, too?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pig Roast Alert

Who can resist a pig roast? With a margarita bar? Especially if it is in support of the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, which needs funds for the upkeep of its magnificent building. They could also use a new bulletin board over there. The event is scheduled for July 10th at 6:30. For more info and tickets, call 631-725-0770.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Last Night's Dinner

I had a few handfuls of pea shoots that I picked at Quail Hill yesterday, and I wanted to use them for dinner. Trolling the internet for pea shoot recipes, I found this delightful British website devoted to the subject. Since I am going to London in August, I studied it carefully (check out the “contact us” Queen Elizabeth stamp). The following recipe is adapted from this one (I fried my egg instead of soft-boiling it, and frizzled the prosciutto before tossing it with the pea shoots). As they say on www.peashoots.com, “Serve with fresh crusty bread, or if you’re feeling really naughty a generous portion of chips...”

Pea Shoot Salad with Prosciutto and a Fried Egg
Serves 2

4 cups pea shoots, washed and dried.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices prosciutto, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2 large eggs

1. Place the pea shoots in a mixing bowl. Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the prosciutto and cook until it just starts to crisp up, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the prosciutto and oil into the bowl, add the lemon juice and mustard, and stir together. Add the pea shoots and toss to coat. Divide among two plates.
2. Heat the remaining ½ teaspoon of oil in the skillet over medium-low heat. Crack the egg into the skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Check the egg and, if necessary, continue to cook, covered, until it is just how you like it. Slide the one egg on top of each portion of the pea shoots and eat immediately.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Bookstore Reminds Me of Cookies

On Sunday I took a stroll over to the new Rizzoli bookstore at the Empire Gallery (197 Madison Street). It was wonderful to page through sumptuous art books in the sunny space. After using the Japanese vintage photo generator and visiting the Whaling museum last week, I am seeing Victoriana wherever I go. At Rizzoli, I went straight for the silhouettes in the Kara Walker catalog, After the Deluge. Of course I was struck by the artist’s use of old-fashioned silhouettes to explore the politics of race and gender. But more than this, I was struck by the coincidence that just the day before I had bookmarked these silhouette cookies, determined to figure out a way to link to them on my blog because they are so extraordinarily beautiful.

Monday, June 15, 2009

IGA Item of the Week

It was Sunday night, I didn’t have a lot of time or a lot of ingredients on hand, and I had promised to bake cookies for a class party. So I turned to this IGA Item of the Week, which you can find right next to the Smuckers Grape Jelly at Schiavoni’s, to make some simple bar cookies. Unlike a lot of jams, Sarabeth’s jams really taste like fruit. That’s important when it’s the jam that’s going to give your cookies character and flavor. I used strawberry-rhubarb, but I also like orange-apricot, plum-cherry, and pineapple mango.

Jam and Shortbread Squares
Makes 16 squares

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons best-quality jam

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an oven rack in the bottom third and the top third of the oven. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, tucking the foil into the corners and leaving about 1 inch overhanging the top of the pan. Spray the bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Use a small metal spatula to spread half of the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place the pan and the remaining dough, still in the mixing bowl, in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up.
4. Spread the jam on top of the dough in the pan. Drop pea-size pieces of the remaining dough evenly over the jam.
5. Place the pan on the bottom rack of the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to the top rack and continue to bake until the top is golden, another 10 minutes.
6. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely.
7. Grasp the overhanging foil on either side of the pan, lift out the squares and place them on a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares. Jam and Shortbread Squares will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.

Photo credit: Eve Bishop

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Vintage" Photos

I don't think this is quite as fun as the tilt shift photo tool, but it comes close. Take any of your recent Sag Harbor photos (here's one of my house, taken 3 minutes ago), and transform it into something you might see on the walls of the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, with this the help of the Bakumatsu Koshasin Generator (it's Japanese!).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Early Bird Picks Lettuce, Hunts for Houses

The Domino tag sale wasn't open for business at 8:30 when I stopped by, but these birdhouses in front of 133 Cedar Street in East Hampton were available. I didn't want to break up the block so I just went home and washed my vegetables from Quail Hill.