Monday, August 31, 2009

Shop Local

Just after I received a message from Save Sag Harbor about the organized effort to patronize local shops, I passed by a local teenager chalking this sign in front of Flying Point (34 Main Street, 631-725-0705). It took him quite a while on his hands and knees as the ridiculous crowds tramped by, so I think buying a pair of half-price Havaianas for next summer is the least that we can all do to reward his effort.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Harbor Pet

Too bad the rain this morning stopped me from parading my dog up and down Main Street after she was groomed. Isn't this the perfect Sag Harbor poodle cut? Elegant, but not over-the-top. They really know how to walk that line around the corner at Harbor Pets (12 Bay Street, 631-725-9070).

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tonight's Dessert

I’m having some friends over tonight for dinner, and look what I just pulled out of the oven for dessert: A peach tart with a super-simple cream cheese dough crust. I’ll serve it with small scoops of pistachio ice cream that I picked up at Bay Burger this morning. Here’s the recipe:

Peach Tart
Serves 6 to 8

For the crust:
½ cup (4 ounces) chilled cream cheese, cut into pieces
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into pieces
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the fruit:
3 medium peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons apricot preserves

1. Make the crust: Combine the cream cheese, butter, flour, ½ cup sugar, and salt in the workbowl of a food processor and process until the dough just comes together in a ball.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll the dough into an 11-inch round on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Use a 10-inch cake pan as a guide to trim it into a neat circle. Fold a ½-inch of the edge of the dough circle toward the center to create a rim to catch the peach juices. Slide the dough, still on the parchment, onto a baking sheet and freeze for at least 30 minutes or cover the baking sheet in plastic and freeze for up to 2 days.
3. Combine the peaches, lemon juice, ¼ cup sugar, and ginger in a bowl and let stand, stirring occasionally, to dissolve the sugar, about 10 minutes.
4. Arrange the peaches in 2 concentric circles on top of the dough. Brush the edge of the dough with the egg yolk. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the crust is deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
5. Slide the tart, still on the parchment, onto a wire rack. Brush the peaches with the preserves. Let stand 15 minutes and serve warm, or cool completely and serve at room temperature.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Tomato Lady Eases the Way

As I drove into town on the way home from the airport on Tuesday, I noticed that The Tomato Lady's Stand on Main Street, right next to the Cove Deli, was up and running. To ease back into cooking after my long vacation, I took a walk over there yesterday to buy a few tomatoes, which I turned into bruschetta. I could live for a month on tomato bruschetta alone, but must admit that supplementing the meal with some grilled garlic and cheese sausages from the IGA was not a bad idea at all.

Tomato Bruschetta
Serves 4 as a light lunch or hearty dinner accompaniment

I used Maldon Smoked Sea Salt (a souvenir from London) to season my tomatoes, but any good quality sea salt or kosher salt will do the trick.

4 medium tomatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
Eight 3/4-inch-thick slices country bread (if your loaf is large, like the pane di casa from Citarella's that I used, cut each slice in half)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled

1. Heat a gas grill to medium-high.
2. Combine the tomatoes, basil, and salt in a large bowl.
3. Brush both sides of each slice of bread with some olive oil. Lightly grill the bread, turning once, until golden, 1 to 3 minutes.
4. Rub the grilled bread slices with the garlic clove. Spoon some of the tomato mixture over each slice of bread. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Quick Dip, and $1 Ice Cream at the Variety Store

We returned to Sag Harbor yesterday afternoon, just in time to meet our delightful house swappers from London before they headed to JFK. It was about 2pm, and I wanted everyone to stay awake until it was dark, to beat potential jet lag. So after a little bit of unpacking, mostly to admire all of the stuff we spent all of our money on, we headed to Sagg Main for a quick dip to keep us going. The ocean was beautiful, and free. Almost as inexpensive, and just as refreshing on these last days of summer vacation, are the ice cream sandwiches, creamsicles, and strawberry shortcakes selling for $1 at the Variety Store. These are my favorite affordable indulgence during these final days of summer vacation.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Final Days of Food Orgy

Yesterday we used the excuse of visiting the Brick Lane and Spitalfields markets to have lunch at St. John Bread and Wine, an unbelievably great restaurant serving beautiful food with some British ingredients we had never heard of, including mussels with samphire (a kind of seaweed), Smoked Sprats (little golden fish) with Horseradish, and Courgettes with Butterbeans and Fat Hen (which we expected to be some kind of chicken but turned out to be a delicious double-thick cream). Sorry--the salad of Crispy Pig's Skin, Chickory and Mustard was eaten before I had a chance to photograph it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Trip to the Market

I am wrapping up my vacation, trying to see and eat as much as possible. A trip to London's Borough Market yesterday was an efficient way to get this done. Among the things that I saw and ate: meat pies (although by the time I arrived, the Mr. Porky Pies were gone), Turkish delight (recurring nightmares stemming from reading about this treat in "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe 35 years ago notwithstanding I still had to buy some), and "unruly" caramels (my new favorite adjective). But the best thing I saw was this communal table at a fantastic coffee stand, where you can sit and eat bread and jam all morning while drinking your coffee if you like.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We Need a Neighborhood Bakery!

This place would fit right in on Main Street and I would be the first on line to buy a mocha cupcake or a crumpet.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gastropub Love

Checking in again from our townhouse in Kentish town. The first day we were here we walked to the nearest pub, called The Bull and Last, for lunch, and I've been wanting to return ever since. Here are some photos of what I ate--anchovy beignets, a salad of baby artichokes with melted sheep's milk cheese and greens, and a "chocolate fondant" with house-made caramel ice cream for dessert (okay, that was a child's dessert, but I helped with it). I do love the Corner Bar, but wouldn't it be great if they would move their menu in this direction? Must go, because we are getting ready to return for tonight's dinner.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Greetings from London. My computer is up and running now so I thought I'd check in and say hello. There are so many wonderful things to see--and eat--in London. Yesterday we went to the National Portrait Gallery and had a delicious lunch of sole with "bubble and squeak" at their elegant restaurant. Here are the children, perusing the menus. Wouldn't it be great if the Whaling Museum opened a place serving local specialties to attract visitors?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Taking a Break

I saw this vintage MG parked on Main Street yesterday--just the sign I was looking for to tell you that I'm taking a break. It' s time for our annual house swap. This summer we are going to London for 3 weeks, and a delightful family from London will be staying at our house. I'm leaving them a bottle of Channing Daughters Rosato and some of the Congo Bars I've been making all summer to take to parties, picnics, Cousin-paloozas. And of course there is a plastic bead project on the counter to welcome them to town.

I'm not sure if I'll be posting from Kentish Town (that's the neighborhood where we will be staying), so you may not be hearing from me for a couple of weeks. In the meantime, try this recipe! These bars are really delicious, pack well, and make a good beach snack. Go to Provisions (Corner of Division and Bay; 725-3636) for the unsweetened coconut.

Congo Bars
Makes 16 bars

3/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, making sure the foil is tucked into all the corners and there is at least 1 inch overhanging the top of the pan on all sides.
2. Place the coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, stirring once or twice, until golden, about 5 mintues. Set aside to cool.
3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
4. Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture. Stir in the coconut, chocolate chips, and nuts.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake until the bars are just set in the center, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
6. Grasping the overhanging foil on either side of the pan, lift out the bars and place them on a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares. COngo bars will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 days.

Sag Harbor on Toast

Would you like to see what your favorite Sag Harbor image would look like on a piece of toast? It's fun and easy and for each piece of bread art you create, the Grain Foods Foundation will donate $1 to Feeding America. One dollar provides seven meals or four bags of groceries to the 25 million npeople served by food banks annually. Click here to get creative with your bread (thanks to Lenorenevermore for this link).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Delectable Fashions

Sometimes on my way to Java Nation I stop to salivate over the Chanel handbags and Manolo Blahnik shoes displayed in the windows of Collette (78 Main Street; 725-9300). Yesterday, I experienced a surprise sugar rush when I peaked in.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Super Saturday

Yesterday, we took our younger daughter to Connecticut for a yearly Bishop family reunion called "Cousin-palooza" because, well, that's what they call it. On the way to the ferry in Orient, we stopped at D'Latte in Greenport (218 Main Street; 631-477-4060) for muffins.
They make the BEST muffins. So hard to choose between the blueberry and the lemon-poppy seed.
Some of the more musical Bishops joined in when the professionals arrived to play folk songs and bluegrass music.Our hosts, Tom and Katherine, arranged for a local baker to make an excellent carrot cake since several cousins had recently celebrated birthdays. When it came to inscribing the cake, something got lost in the translation.
Did I mention that our older daughter attended the famous Super Saturday benefit in Bridgehampton with her aunt on the Chattman side, before heading off to her first Quinceanera celebration in East Hampton? While she was at the party, the poodle, who had stayed home all day, enjoyed the goody bag very much.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Art, Literature, Ice Cream: It Must Be August in Sag Harbor

Tonight, Eric Fischl will be signing copies of his monograph, Beach Paintings, at the Rizzoli at Empire Gallery (197 Main Street) from 6 to 8 and a few blocks away Colson Whitehead will be signing copies of his novel, Sag Harbor, at Bookhampton (20 Main Street) at 8 o'clock. Keeping it low-key are the congregants of the Old Whaler's Church (44 Union Street), who are holding their annual Ice Cream Social tonight from 5 to 7. Where is the cute sign that they usually display before this, one of my favorite events of the summer? From the looks of the lawn this morning, you wouldn't know that hot dogs, ice cream, carnival games, and pony rides will all be enjoyed in just a few hours. Go here for more information.