Sunday, February 27, 2011

IGA Items of the Week

I remember once, years ago, when I was running low on Hershey's Cappuccino Crunch ice cream, I ran into the IGA to re-stock. As the usually reticent check-out person handed me my change, she said, "You sure do buy a lot of that stuff." Did this out-of-character comment mean she thought that I was eating too much ice cream? Just a little defensively, I told her that I couldn't risk running out, since the children couldn't live without it. It was only then that I started to wonder if she noticed other items I bought in disproportionate quantities, such as Smuckers peanut butter and Bonne Maman jam. But there is security in knowing that I always have something to eat. I've just returned from a week-long visit to my parents' house, and the refrigerator is empty. But I won't go hungry, with my peanut butter and jelly. I could even make these bar cookies (from my pantry desserts story, just out in this month's Bon Appetit!) to bring to Bay Street's Oscars broadcast tonight, without actually going shopping. For the recipe, click here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Parsnips, Part 2

The IGA always has parsnips, but who knew they'd inspire two recipes in one month? My parsnip spice cake recipe went up on Zester today.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February Necessity: DIY Garlic Knots

It is February, and the people at Conca D'Oro are taking their annual vacation. How I miss the aroma of yeasty dough and sizzling garlic as I walk down Washington Street towards the IGA! To combat the Winter doldrums that affect so many of us when we realize we can't even get a slice of pizza in this village, I mixed a batch of pizza dough, cut it into strips, and made my own dough knots. When they came out of the oven I brushed them with garlic butter and sprinkled them with Parmesan and parsley. My kitchen smelled just like Washington Street on a breezy day in March. Here is the recipe:

Garlic Knots
Makes 16

1 cup room temperature water
3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt or kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Combine the water, yeast, flour, and 1 teaspoon salt in the workbowl of a food processor and pulse several times to form a rough dough. Let the dough stand for 10 minutes in the bowl, and then process until it is smooth and elastic, 30 to 45 seconds.
2. Spray the inside of a dough rising container or large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise voluminously (the dough will triple or quadruple in size) 3 to 4 hours.
3. Place a baking stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Line a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the butter, garlic, hot red pepper flakes if using, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and heat on medium-low until the garlic is just fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
4. On a lightly floured countertop, turn the dough out, sprinkle with flour, and gently roll into a 10-inch square. Use a pizza wheel or sharp chef's knife to cut each square into four 5-inch squares. Cut each 5-inch square into four strips.
5. Gently pull each strip to elongate slightly while tying into a knot. Place each knot on the parchment-lined peel, leaving an inch between each knot. Sprinkle the knots with flour, lightly drape with plastic wrap, and let stand 30 minutes.
6. Slide the knots, still on the parchment paper, onto the preheated baking stone and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
7. Slide the knots, still on the parchment, onto a wire rack. Brush with the garlic butter and sprinkle with the cheese and parsley. Let cool 5 minutes and serve warm or let cool to room temperature before serving.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011, Main Street, Sag Harbor

I've admired these inflatable hearts for weeks as I've rushed by Sylvester & Co. in the cold, but I stopped to enjoy them and take a photo during the lovely weather this afternoon. Happy Valentine's Day. XXOO

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Parsnip Pops, Salad

Researching a story for Zester on root vegetable cakes, I came across this British wartime photo, of children eating carrot "pops." Since I had some leftover parsnips from the cake I baked this morning, I thought I'd offer parsnip pops to the children as an after-school snack. Let's just say that they were not persuaded to become raw foodists today. I had more luck when I roasted the parsnips and mixed them with chickpeas and the amazing goat feta from Cavaniola's. Here is the recipe:

Chickpeas with Roasted Parsnips
Serves 4

5 parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise if very thick, and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Two 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon lime juice or more to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss the parsnips, garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, paprika, cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread them on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until soft, 20 to 30 minute.
2. Combine the chickpeas, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, feta cheese, and lime juice in a large bowl. Add the warm parsnips and salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine's Day Treats

My chocolate recipes are up at Chocolate-Coconut Fondue, Mocha-Almond Fudge, Mini Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies, White Chocolate Cherry Bark, and Easy Truffles. Thanks again to Doug Young for the pretty pictures.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

If You Caught a Cold After Saturday's Frosty Plunge...

The Express published this great photo of Saturday's HarborFrost highlight, the Frosty Plunge. I hope no one caught a cold. But if you have the sniffles, check out this link from my friend Gayle.

Monday, February 7, 2011

IGA Item of the Week

Last week, some of us had sore throats. So I made a big pot of chicken soup, along with matzoh balls. You know what they say about chicken soup--it's Jewish penecillin. I am not surprised that everyone is healthy now. I still have a couple of quarts of broth in the refrigerator, so this afternoon I bought a package of these delicate imported tortellini at the IGA and served some Italian-style soup for dinner tonight. Here's the recipe:

Tortellini in Brodo
Serves 4

8 cups chicken broth (here's my recipe)
One 6-ounce bag baby spinach, washed
One 8-ounce package Bertagni Ricotta and Parmigiano Reggiano Tortellini
Parmesan cheese for garnish

1. Bring the broth to a simmer in a large pot. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt. Turn the heat to low, cover, and keep warm.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the tortellini until tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
3. Ladle the soup into bowls. Use a slotted spoon to transfer some tortellini into each bowl. Use a vegetable peeler to grate some cheese curls on top of each portion if desired. Serve immediately.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Music Man, Musical Cupcakes Both Sell Out

The Middle Schoolers played to an appreciative (and packed) house last night. Audience members showed their appreciation for Cathy Capozzola's baking skills by snapping up every last one of her musical note-decorated cupcakes. Not to worry. Fresh batches will be delivered to the concession stand before every show.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Welcome Back, Old Friends

A little over a month ago, for no reason at all, Sag Harbor Days subscribers with an optonline e-mail address stopped getting my e-mail alerts. I did try to figure out how to fix this problem, but about two minutes in I realized it was beyond me. So I just sort of hoped that the problem would disappear, and yesterday it did. Suddenly, everyone was getting my e-mails again, for no reason at all. Welcome back! And hope to see you at Pierson tonight through Sunday for The Music Man, and off of Main Street this Saturday for HarborFrost, where I'm sure I'll be taking a break from the ice sculpting spectacle to admire this big, beautiful whale-printed whatever-it-is (a sarong? a small table cloth? I want one!) in the window of Matta.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ice Storm Produces Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Polenta Bread

After my 5:30 wake-up call from the Sag Harbor School District, letting me know that Pierson classes wouldn't begin until 9:25, I had plenty of time to make pancakes for the children before getting to work on this quick bread with cornmeal, peppers, and provolone for lunch.

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Pancakes
Serves 4 to 6

You can serve these with maple syrup, but they're also good with strawberry or cherry preserves.

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cups milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the sour cream, milk, egg, and butter in a large measuring cup. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to moisten. Stir in the chocolate chips. Don't worry about a few lumps--it's more important not to overmix the batter.
2. Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high. Turn the heat down to medium. Spoon the batter into the pan (I use a 1/4-cup measure) and cook until the tops of the pancakes begin to bubble and the bottoms are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until their golden on the other side, another 2 minutes. Serve immediately.