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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

IGA Item of the Week: Tom Cat Baguettes

Just yesterday I was loudly complaining about the $4.99 price of Tom Cat baguettes, and this morning I see that they are on sale for $3.99 at the IGA! I wonder if it is true, as my children say, that my voice carries all the way from Burke Street to Main Street.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Leftovers

Of the chocolate variety, my favorite kind. Get them while they last, at the Sag Harbor Variety Store.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday Market a Good Place for Cupcakes, Gossip

For days now I've had my eye on the spot where workers are putting the finishing touches on the Mimi Yardley's and Margaret Wagner's Sag Harbor Baking Company (at 51 Division Street, right behind Tim's Prime Meats). This morning at the PTA Holiday Market in the Pierson gym I got the scoop on the grand opening--any day now! I also bought a couple of these delicious Baking Company cupcakes (we just ran out of apple pie at my house) and five raffle tickets. Now I'm waiting by the phone to see if I've won an assortment of Pantigo Farm jellies and jams.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Breakfast Option

If you can't get to Goldberg's for bagels, here's another Thanksgiving morning breakfast option, up on ZesterDaily: My recipe for Pumpkin Churros.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Everything" for Sale at Goldberg's

Yesterday I drove to Goldberg's in East Hampton to pick up my Thanksgiving bagels. I'll freeze them until I need them on Thursday morning when my sister arrives with the lox. At checkout I noticed that they're selling jars of "everything" topping. Now, in addition to enjoying this delicacy by emptying the loose topping from the bottom of the bag directly into my mouth (What? You never do that after you've put away your bagels?), I can sprinkle it on homemade breadsticks or pizza dough whenever I want.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Invest Everything in Gold

Assessing my cookie decorations as I am gearing up for some holiday baking, I notice that I'm heavily invested in metallic sanding sugar, nonpariels, and glitter. In fact, I think I might have a problem. I don't know anyone else who owns a canister of Dazzling Delights Gold Decorating Spray. Half of my household thought that spray paint on cookies was a good idea, but the other half recoiled at the idea. So when I made some Walnut and Brown Sugar cookies, I only sprayed half of them. But I sprinkled all of them with gold sanding sugar. Here is the recipe:

Walnut and Brown Sugar Cookies
Makes about thirty-six 3-inch cookies

3//4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces, toasted, cooled, and finely chopped
Gold decorating spray (optional)
1/2 cup milk, semisweet, and/or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coarse gold sanding sugar (optional)

1. Combine butter, confectioners' sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg yolk and beat until smooth. Stir in flour, cinnamon, and salt until just incorporated. Stir in chopped nuts.
2. Divide dough into 2 equal portions, shape each one into a 5-inch disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Working with one dough disk at a time, roll dough into a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured countertop. Turn the dough often, loosening it from the countertop with a large offset spatula, to prevent sticking.
5. Use a cookie cutter to cut the dough, rerolling scraps and re-cutting until all dough is used. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets, 1 inch apart. Bake until firm, 9 to 11 minutes. Slide cookies, still on parchment, onto wire racks to cool.
6. To decorate, lightly spray with decorating spray if desired. Dip tines of a fork in chocolate and wave over cookies to create a striped pattern. Sprinkle with sanding sugar so it adheres to melted chocolate if desired. Let stand until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. Keep cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Come in and Have Some Turkey!

If you were walking by my house 10 days ago, you might have seen me at the front door with this spice-rubbed turkey. Photographer Doug Young wanted to take advantage of the early afternoon sun for the photos for today's Thanksgiving story in Newsday. So I set up my turkey dinner in the entryway.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The "Death" of Cookbooks and a Bargain Hunter's Dilemma

After reading a depressing story about the death of cookbooks in last week's New York Times, I walked over to BookHampton to reassure myself that cookbooks are not dead. While there, I paged through several that will make excellent holiday gifts, much better than a cooking app! BookHampton has always supported my own books (I even have my own page on their website), but more important to me is that it's right there on Main Street, next to the IGA, when I urgently need a book about root vegetables or Jewish holiday desserts. When I heard that BookHampton is offering 20% off of all online orders until the end of the month with free shipping on orders over $25, I pondered whether it would be silly to go home and place my order online.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

IGA Item of the Week: Anniversary Edition

I reluctantly dragged myself through the rain and to the IGA this afternoon to buy ingredients for dinner. And I was rewarded with a free hot dog! Since raffles are as irresistible as hot dogs to me, I entered to win a $70 gift certificate to celebrate Schiavoni's 70 years in business. Wouldn't the announcement that I won make a great blog post?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Canned Pumpkin Recipes from Sag Harbor

My story on canned pumpkin, including recipes for pumpkin cornbread and pumpkin coffee cake, is up at Thanks again to Doug Young for the pretty photos.

Organic Pumpkin from Oregon

Local pumpkins are scarce, but Farmer's Market-brand organic pumpkin puree is available in the baking aisle at King Kullen in Bridgehampton. Happy holiday baking!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


If you like Brussels sprouts, maybe you'll be interested in my Gruyere and Brussels Sprouts Tart recipe, in today's Newsday. If you don't like them, you have a lot in common with the editors of The Sag Harbor Express, who chose the headline for my column this week.

Monday, October 31, 2011

October 31, 2011: Just Another Day on Main Street

If you live in Sag Harbor, chances are good that you will run into some colorful characters on your way to the IGA for a can of chipotle chiles.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Congratulations, Kara!

I don't know whether Kara grew this pumpkin which is on display at The Country Garden or just guessed its weight, but congratulations to her either way. See you tomorrow on the Pumpkin Trail.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I had an hour to kill in Southampton yesterday, so I stopped by Sant Ambroeus for a cappuccino. What an oasis of civility! But why was it empty in the early afternoon? If Sant Ambroeus moved to Main Street in Sag Harbor it would be packed every day. On the way out I admired their Italian-style cookies, reminding myself to put a recipe for Brutti ma Buoni in my holiday cookies story for Newsday next month.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Last Night's Dinner: Roasted Mini Pumpkins

I bought these mini pumpkins at The Country Garden for a Newsday photo shoot last week (talented photographer Doug Young never accidentally gets the dog bed in his pictures). But in the back of my mind I new they were destined for the dinner table. Last night I roasted them and served them with some skirt steak and kale chips. Here's the recipe:

Roasted Mini Pumpkins
Serves 4

4 mini pumpkins
2 tablespoons butter
Ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty foil.
2. With a sharp chef's knife, slice away the top third of each pumpkin. Scrape the seeds and any stringy pulp out with a spoon.
3. Place a 1/2 tablespoon of butter inside the bottom half of each pumpkin, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and replace the tops. Roast until soft, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Instant Caramel-Banana Ice Cream

Last week I put four over-ripe bananas in the freezer, hoping that I'd get around to making banana bread in a few days but knowing that I'd probably unearth them in April and throw them out during Spring freezer cleaning. Yesterday, ahead of schedule, my daughter reminded me of what happens when you process frozen bananas in a food processor. They become a creamy ice cream-like semifreddo in seconds. For our banana semifreddo, we added a few spoonfuls (a tablespoon per banana) of Fran's Caramel Sauce from Citarella's, and were very pleased with caramel-flecked the results. Do I need to write out such a simple recipe? Here it is:

Instant Caramel-Banana Ice Cream
Serves 4

4 very ripe bananas, frozen
4 to 6 tablespoons best-quality caramel sauce

Peel the bananas and cut them into chunks. Place them in the workbowl of a food processor along with the caramel sauce and process until smooth. Serve immediately or scrape into an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 day before serving.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Literary Importance of IGA Discussed at Library Dinner

Last night I attended a One for the Books dinner at the home of a member of the Sag Harbor Oyster Club, so of course the appetizer was outstanding. The book we were all supposed to have read was Travels with Charley, but as dinner progressed the conversation turned to a Steinbeck novel I didn't know, The Winter of Our Discontent. I was thunderstruck when I learned that a fictionalized Schiavoni's IGA figures prominently in the story!!! I ran over to Bookhampton this morning to educate myself.