Friday, April 30, 2010

Help Has Arrived

After we had agreed to purchase our quarter share of a pig, my husband consulted with a colleague experienced in butchering to figure out how we'd like Harry Ludlow to carve up the meat. In addition to roasts, chops, and bacon, she suggested that we request "as much salt pork as possible." In the middle of the process, Harry called my husband to ask, "Do you really want as much salt pork as possible?" Thinking about it, we guessed that we didn't. Still, we wound up with more salt pork than we really knew what to do with. Thankfully, help was on the way. A kind friend at Wiley who had seen the picture of my freezer sent me a copy of James Villas' recent book, Pig: King of the Southern Table. I will probably have to invest in a second pig, to cook through all of the interesting-sounding recipes in this book that call for salt pork, including Salt Pork and Chicken Liver Spread, Cracklin' Pork Burgers (with ground pork, crisped salt pork, garlic Worcestershire sauce, and bread crumbs--yum!), and the one that caught my eye last night, Piggy Spoon Bread. Mr. Villas recommends serving this pudding-like bread with greens or black-eyed peas, but I thought it would go well with my kale and lentils. You'll have to buy a copy of Pig for yourself if you want the spoonbread recipe, but I'm happy to give you my recipe for lentils and kale:

French Lentils and Kale
Serves 4

The lentils will take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes to cook, depending on how old they are. Mine, from Citarella's, had been sitting in the pantry for quite a while, so they took just as long as the onions to cook. Brown lentils may be substituted, but the dish won't be the same.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup French lentils
2 1/2 cups water
12 ounces baby kale (One bag from Bette and Dale's--if you are using mature kale, you'll have to strip the leaves from the tough stems)

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally until they are golden and just beginning to brown, about 25 minutes.
2. While the onions are cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the kale and cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop.
3. Combine the lentils, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer until the lentils are cooked but not falling apart and most of the water has been absorbed.
4. Stir the kale and lentils into the onions. Cook over medium heat until warm, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Seed Drive Needs Your Help

The Sag Harbor Elementary School's greenhouse is up and running, and there are plans to grow vegetables for the food pantry. They asked for seeds, so today I bought a few packets at the Variety Store (45 Main Street; 725-9706) to donate to the cause.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beautiful Breads

My friend Dan Leader and I have written a new book about simple artisan breads, and yesterday I traveled to the city to "help" at the photo shoot. It was wonderful to watch everyone involved capturing the beauty of Dan's breadsticks, brioche muffins, and Middle Eastern flatbreads. A bonus--takeout breakfast from 'wichcraft! And Dan did let me assemble my favorite, the Monkey Bread. Here it is, ready for its closeup. You'll have to wait until Spring 2011 for the recipe.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tonight's (Pork) Dinner

This morning I decided that I was going to use a half-pound of my Fairview Farm ground pork to fill some Chinese dumplings, but when I got to the IGA, eggroll wrappers had replaced dumpling wrappers in the refrigerator case. So I had to change my menu. Instead, I made an easy pork ragu, seasoning it with my trusty fennel seeds, to toss with rigatoni. Then I topped each portion of pasta and sauce with a dollop of ricotta cheese (alas, not the Narragansett Creamery ricotta that I'm planning on buying at Lucy's Whey on Friday). Here is the recipe:

Rigatoni with Pork Ragu and Ricotta
Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 pound ground pork
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
1 pound rigatoni

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
2. Add the ground pork, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, breaking up the pork, until the meat has lost its pink color. Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated, about 4 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes and juice, bring just to a boil, turn down the heat, and cook at a bare simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and the tomatoes are falling apart, about 45 minutes. Stir in the fennel seeds and season with salt and pepper.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the rigatoni until just tender and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the sauce and cooking liquid as needed to moisten. Divide among 4 pasta bowls, top each bowl with a dollop of ricotta cheese, and serve.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tea & Cookies

I may have to attend this event at the Water Mill Museum on May 8 out of "professional obligation."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Delightful Visit to Lucy's Whey

I finally made it over to Lucy's Whey (80 North Main Street, East Hampton; 324-4428) yesterday and very much enjoyed talking with proprietor Lucy Kazickas about the her hand-picked artisanal American cheeses. It is such a beautiful shop, with such a well-curated and cared for collection. I was impressed by her commitment to the cheesemakers who work so hard to produce these incredible products. So much love and devotion goes into this business! As I had hoped, she had on hand the fresh ricotta cheese I had tried at Exile in Amagansett, made at a dairy in Rhode Island. But since I had a long afternoon of driving ahead of me and had neglected to pack my cooler and ice packs, I was afraid to buy some. Instead, I came away with this amazing truffled salami (made in Utah) and a jar of highly recommended golden-pink raspberry jam from Orient. I had it on toast this morning and it was all that Lucy promised. She also says it would be great on top of vanilla ice cream.

Friday, April 23, 2010

IGA Item of the Week

With all of the excitement surrounding the pig, I've neglected to mention any of the delightful items I've purchased at the IGA in the past two weeks. But believe me, I've still been shopping every day, and have the cash register receipts to prove it. Yesterday, at the request of one of my children, I bought a half-gallon of Newman's Own Pink Lemonade, to pour into an ice pop mold that I found at the Variety Store (45 Main Street, 725-9706). Today, we enjoyed these lemonade pops after school. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Coming Soon

The mind works in mysterious ways, I find, often returning to thoughts of heritage pork. When I was at Pierson last night, for a warm and welcoming Middle School orientation meeting, I saw this poster for the Pierson High School Musical. After I made a mental note to reserve my tickets online, I exercised my brain, trying to recall the plot of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Something about "gin joints" led me to my liquor cabinet, and ultimately to this recipe. My chops are defrosting in the refrigerator now and I'll marinate them tomorrow morning. So I'll be eating them at around curtain time tomorrow night. Will let you know how they turn out.

Gin-Soaked Grilled Pork Chops
Serves 4

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup gin
2 tablespoons sugar
3 garlic cloves, smashed
Four 10-ounce bone-in pork rib chops

1. Whisk together the soy sauce, gin, and sugar in a medium bowl. Place the pork chops in a zipper lock bag, add the soy sauce mixture, garlic cloves, and juniper berries, seal, and turn several times to coat. Refrigerate the pork chops for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours, turning once or twice.
2. Remove the chops from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat a gas grill to medium. Grill the chops until just cooked through, turning three times and basting with the marinade each time, 18 to 20 minutes total. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Inaugural Pig Recipe

Last night I cooked a little bit of my Fairview Farm pancetta and I wasn't disappointed. It had so much more richness and flavor than a commercial product, and made the beautiful baby kale from Bette and Dale's (1726 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike) even more irresistible. Here's the recipe:

Kale with Pancetta
Serves 4 to 6

If you're buying tender baby kale there's no need to remove the stems, but if you have more mature leaves, slice them away from the tough stems before adding the leaves to the pot.

3 ounces pancetta, chopped
10 ounces baby kale
1/4 cup water

1. Cook the pancetta over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pot.
2. Add the kale to the pot, stir to coat with the fat, and pour in the water. Cover and cook over low until the kale is softened, 5 to 10 minutes depending on its toughness and maturity. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with pancetta, and serve.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My New Pig

Yesterday I took delivery on my quarter share of a heritage breed pig from Harry Ludlow's Fairview Farm (69 Horsemill Lane, Bridgehampton). That's almost 65 pounds of pork in my freezer. How long will it last? We will see. I'll start off slowly tonight, sauteeing 3 ounces (out of 4 pounds!) of pancetta along with some baby kale from Bette and Dale's (1726 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike), to serve alongside my Tuscan beans and whole wheat boule from Cavaniola's. I'll post the recipe tomorrow, the first of a weekly feature on how to eat a quarter of a pig. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Washington Street, Thursday, 7pm

As I strolled to Blue Sky for a bite to eat last night, I saw this Vespa with some Conca D'Oro leftovers waiting to be transported home. I instantly wanted to buy a motorbike, even though I know I'd be a danger to myself and others if I tried to ride one. I think I was just hungry, but I did come home and bookmark this page so I have it handy when the Audi station wagon finally dies.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Last Night's Dinner

The edited manuscript for my bread book is sitting on my desktop, awaiting my review and giving me a chance to revisit some of the recipes I developed last year that somehow haven't made it into regular rotation as have the pita breads and sourdough. One of them is for an extremely easy no-knead pizza dough with a moist and bubbly crumb. I mixed the dough in the morning, let it sit at room temperature until dinner time, and then topped it with some drained chopped tomatoes, local spinach sauteed with garlic, and blobs of ricotta cheese. Here is the recipe:

No-Knead Pizza Topped with Spinach and Ricotta
Makes Four individual pizzas

This dough is quite wet, which gives it a bubbly texture and moist crumb when baked, but makes it sticky and a little difficult to work with. So it's best to assemble the pizzas on parchment paper and then just slide them, still on the parchment, onto a preheated baking stone.

For the dough:
1 3/4 cups room temperature water
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

For the topping:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
10 ounces baby spinach, washed and dried
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/3 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Make the dough: Combine the water, yeast, flour, and sea salt in a large bowl. Mix with a rubber spatula until a rough dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours.
2. One hour before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and hot red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted. Season with salt and remove from the heat.
4. Heavily dust the countertop with flour. Turn the dough out onto the counter and heavily dust the top of the dough with flour. Use a bench scraper or sharp chef's knife to divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.
5. Line a baker's peel or rimless baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Transfer one of the dough pieces to the parchment and, with floured hands, gently stretch it into a 4-inch by 12-inch rectangle. Repeat with a second dough piece, so you have two pieces of dough side by side, with about 1 inch between them. Drape the remaining two dough pieces with plastic wrap.
6. Scatter 1/4 of the tomatoes over each dough piece. Spread 1/4 of the spinach over the tomatoes. Place heaping spoonfuls of the ricotta over the spinach. Brush the edges of the doughs with some of the remaining olive oil.
7. Slide the pizzas, still on the parchment, onto the baking stone and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and repeat with the remaining two dough pieces and remaining topping ingredients.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thank you, Save Sag Harbor

Are the children of this town thanking Save Sag Harbor for saving our 7-11 way back when? They should be, judging by how many elementary school kids were enjoying Slurpees after school and band practice on this warm and sunny day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bulgur, Part 2

I was so pleased with the way my bulgur turned out the other day when I cooked it pilaf-style, that I decided to make it again, this time with chickpeas, a cumin-spiced dressing, and some chopped toasted walnuts and dried apricots. It was a great match for my spinach from Bette and Dale's (bought days ago at their stand, 1726 Bridghampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, and look how fresh it still is!), dressed simply with lemon juice and olive oil, and the same old pita breads, which we can't get enough of. Here is the recipe:

Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas and Apricots
Serves 4

1 cup fine bulgur
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

1. Combine the bulgur, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, fluff with a fork, and let stand 15 minutes to cool.
2. Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, honey, and cumin. Pour it over the bulgur and toss to coat. Stir in the chickpeas, walnuts, apricots, scallions, and thyme. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 6 hours before serving.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Updating My Reading List

On my way home from the orthodontist this morning, I listened to Anna Quindlen rave on NPR about The Whale by Philip Hoare. It made me wonder what other new-ish books I might put on hold at John Jermain Library. See my updated list, to the right, for what I found.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Amagansett Baguettes

"Amagansett Baguette": Doesn't it just roll off the tongue? After dropping one of the children at a friend's house in that lovely town, I stopped at the recently re-opened Farmer's Market (367 Main Street, Amagansett, 631-267-3894). "Farmer's Market" is a misnomer, since right now you can't buy any vegetables, only baked goods, cheeses, and prepared foods imported from Eli's in the city. BUT--at the back of the store there is a working bakery, where they are producing these beautiful plain, prosciutto, and olive baguettes (notice the artfully tapered ends). I hear that some day soon these breads will be made with flour milled from the wheat being grown by the Peconic Land trust on the acreage just behind the market. The breads were still warm when I slid them into a paper bag to bring them home. Tonight I will slice them and serve with two toppings: Some goat's milk ricotta from Cavaniola's, and the lima beans I cooked this morning (I'll drizzle those with olive oil and maybe shave some Parmesan on top). How many hours until dinner?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Welcome Home, Bette and Dale

On my way back into town this morning I noticed with excitement that Sag Harbor Village's own organic farm stand was open for business. I didn't see Bette or Dale (it was raining; no, it was pouring) when I bought my spinach and scallions, so I'll say hello now, online. Here is what I made with your lovely spinach and scallions:

Boiled Arborio Rice with Spinach and Mozzarella
Serves 4 as a side dish (you can double the recipe for a vegetarian main course)

Arborio rice can be boiled like pasta, if you'd rather not spend the energy stirring risotto. Save the leftovers and tomorrow you can form the rice into patties, coat with egg and bread crumbs, and pan fry for lunch.

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 scallions, white and light green parts
12 ounces (one bag) baby spinach from Bette and Dale's, stemmed, washed, and chopped
3 scallions, white and light green parts
6 ounces (one and a half little balls from Cavaniola's) fresh mozzarella, shredded
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the rice and a tablespoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 15 to 17 minutes.
2. While the rice is boiling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted.
3. Drain the rice and place it in a large bowl. Add the mozzarella, Parmesan, and spinach mixture, tossing until the mozzarella is melted and the ingredients are well-combined. Serve immediately.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Last Night's Dinner

To match yesterday's crazy warm weather, I cobbled together this preview-of-summer salad from ingredients I had on hand (bulgur from Provisions, a box of cherry tomatoes, a cucumber, a lemon, some pitted Kalamata olives from the IGA). I find that cooking the bulgur pilaf-style (rather than just soaking it in hot water) results in fluffier grains.

1 cup bulgur
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced thin
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano

1. Combine the bulgur, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to low, and let cook for 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, fluff with a fork, and let stand 15 minutes.
2. Stir in the lemon juice, olive oil, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and oregano and serve, or refrigerate for up to 6 hours before serving.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

IGA Item of the Week

Get them while they're hot! Ghirardelli semisweet, bittersweet, and unsweetened baking bars are on sale at my favorite supermarket, so I might just make some chocolate-caramel sauce to go with the vanilla ice cream I'll be picking up at Bay Burger tomorrow.

Chocolate-Caramel Sauce
Makes about 1 1/4 cups

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (go for the 70%!), finely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring the pot to a boil and cook until the mixture turns a light amber color. Do not stir. If part of the syrup is turning darker than the rest, tilt the pan gently to even out the cooking.
2. As soon as the syrup is a uniform amber color, stir in the heavy cream with a long-handled spoon. The mixture will bubble up. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted. Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer and into an airtight container. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Chocolate-Caramel Sauce will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 2 weeks. Reheat the sauce in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes or on the stovetop until it is warm and pourable.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Addition to Main Streetscape

Strolling past the Wharf Shop today, I noticed a new arrival in the window: A miniature Corner Bar, joining the windmill, Sag Harbor Theater, American Hotel, and Conca D'oro. A mystery--what is The Big Duck doing in the middle of our town?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter, Here is a Pound Cake

I hope you all had a beautiful Easter, as we did here in Sag Harbor. Plenty of sunshine sparkling off the bay; the basement is drying out nicely after our little flood earlier in the week. I took the Middle-Eastern route with my dinner today: Yogurt-marinated butterflied leg of lamb, Greek salad, pita breads, and this sesame pound cake for dessert. The IGA had some blood oranges, so I made a little fruit salad (a quart of sliced strawberries, 3 blood oranges, juice from half a lime, and 2 tablespoons of honey) to go with. Here is the recipe:

Sesame Seed Pound Cake
Serves 10

You can buy unhulled sesame seeds at Provisions, where they also stock organic tahini.

4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup well-stirred tahini
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons sesame seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter the inside of a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan and dust with flour.
2. Combine the eggs, vanilla, and sesame oil in a glass measuring cup and lightly beat. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
3. Cream together the butter, tahini, and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on medium-high, add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.
4. Add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, with the mixer on low, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. When all of the flour mixture has been incorporated, beat on medium-high for 1 minutes. Beat in 1/4 cup sesame seeds on low.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame seeds. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a tooghpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, invert it onto a wire rack, and then turn it right side up on a rack to cool completely. Serve immediately or wrap in plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

What Am I Supposed to Eat This Week?


I got a few e-mails yesterday morning commenting on the fact that I bought the IGA's gourmet matzoh on the second day of Passover and then ordered a bacon cheeseburger at Bay Burger on the third day. So when I went to the Museum of Modern Art yesterday afternoon and stared at Magritte's self portrait, a piece of ham on a plate with an eye in the center, I wondered if I was looking at myself. To atone, I went to the 2nd floor cafe and ate this flourless chocolate cake.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Day

Months ago my daughter imagined her ideal burger (bacon, sauteed onions, cheese), and yesterday it became a reality when Bay Burger opened for the season.