Wednesday, March 28, 2012

High School Musical Inspires Craft Project

After I picked up my "Anything Goes" tickets, I went to the Variety Store for a piece of rope. Then I came home and made this bracelet to wear to the show. Click here for very simple instructions.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Last Chance Dinner: Peconic Bay Scallops

A friend called me a few nights ago and told me that there was a pound of very fresh bay scallops (pulled from the water that day) waiting for me at his fisherman friend's storefront on Main Street. The next morning I picked them up. They were pristine-- I wish you could breath in their briny aroma from this photo. I rinsed them, removed the little muscle from each one, and stirred them into a pot of risotto. Peconic Bay scallop season ends on March 31st, so I was happy to enjoy this delicacy at such a late date. In case you have a generous fisherman friend who is going out in the next week, here is the recipe:

Peconic Bay Scallop Risotto
Serves 4

2 cups bottled clam juice
4 cups low-sodium canned chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound Peconic Bay scallops, rinsed and muscles removed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Ground black pepper

1. Warm the clam juice and broth in a medium saucepan.
2. Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large, heavy pot.
3. Add the shallot and cook over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring freuquently, until the rice absorbs the liquid. Continue to cook, adding the clam juice mixture in 1-cup increments, always stirring, until the rice is al dente. If you run out of liquid, heat up some water and continue to add it to the pot until the rice is done.
4. Stir the scallops and remaining 2 tablespoons butter into the rice, cover, remove from the heat, and let stand until the scallops are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pet Projects: Walk the Dog, Poach Some Eggs

Because my miniature poodle is more pet than I can handle, I have not taken advantage of the new zoning ordinance allowing villagers to raise chickens in their backyards. I selfishly encouraged a neighbor to build a coop, hoping to score some surplus eggs this spring. My strategy has worked beautifully! It's spring and the chickens are laying more eggs than my neighbor can eat. I was available a few days ago to take a dozen off of her hands. Yesterday I poached a few for lunch, and they were so good that last night I poached some more and served them over spaghetti tossed with fresh bread crumbs, parsley, and bacon. Oh, my God, this dish was good! I could eat spaghetti with poached eggs every night. Here is the recipe:

Spaghetti with Bacon, Breadcrumbs, and Poached Egg
Serves 4

4 ounces bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Ground black pepper
3/4 pound spaghetti
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Parmesan cheese for serving

1. Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until ust crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and drain off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Add garlic to pan and cook 30 seconds. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water and a 12-inch saute pan with 2 inches of water to boil. Add the spaghetti to the large pot. Set a kitchen timer for 6 minutes.
3. Crack the eggs into custard cups or small teacups. When the timer goes off, remove the skillet from the heat and add the vinegar. One at a time, slice the eggs into the water. Cover the pan and let stand until the whites are just set, 4 to 5 minutes depending on the size of the eggs.
4. Drain spaghetti and return to the pot. Stir in the bacon, breadcrumb mixture, butter, and parsley. Divide among 4 pasta bowls.
5. Use a slotted spoon to lift eggs from saucepan and place on top of pasta. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Corned Beef and Cabbage Redux

My grandparents wouldn't approve of these corned beef, cabbage, and muenster cheese panini that I made for lunch (they're a far cry from the kosher deli sandwiches I grew up with), but how could I resist, with last night's leftovers sitting in the refrigerator? Here's the recipe:

Corned Beef and Muenster Cheese Panini
(loosely adapted from Panini Express)
Makes 2 sandwiches

1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Four slices country bread
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
6 ounces thinly sliced corned beef
3 ounces sliced Muenster cheese

1. Combine the cabbage, water, oil, and salt in a small skillet and heat over medium-high until the water comes to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is wilted. Remove the cover and continue to cook until the water has evaporated.
2. Heat a panini press. Spread mustard on two slices of bread. Arrange corned beef on top of the mustard. Spread an even layer of cabbage over the corned beef. Top with cheese and the remaining bread slices.
3. Grill sandwiches until the bread is browned and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Soda Biscuits

Oh, no! I missed the Lion's Club corned beef dinner on Thursday at the Old Whaler's Church. I guess I'll have to make my own. I baked these Irish Soda Biscuits to fortify myself before heading out to the IGA for ingredients:

Irish Soda Biscuits
Makes 6 to 8 biscuits

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons honey

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the caraway seeds.
3. Whisk together the egg yolk, buttermilk, and honey in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix.
4. Turn out the clumps of dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead once or twice until the dough comes together. With one or two passes of a lightly floured rolling pin, gently roll the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Dip a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter into some flour and cut as many rounds as you can from the dough. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Gently pat the scraps together and cut out more rounds with the remaining dough.
5. Bake until the rounds have risen and are light golden, 12 to 13 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm with butter and jam.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Community Cookbook

I was happy to see the PTA doing a brisk business in Multicultural Festival Cookbooks at today's parent-teacher conferences in the gym. No surprise that it is beautiful, since it was packaged by the artistic people at Edible East End (the photographs are by Edible's photo editor and Sag Harbor mom Lindsay Morris). If you missed the Festival, here is your chance to enjoy our community's diverse cooking. Send a $15 check to the Sag Harbor PTA and you'll be on your way.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy Pi(e) Day!

My daughter made whoopie pi(es) to celebrate Pi Day (3/14) with the Pierson Middle School Math Club. Here's the recipe:

Whoopie Pi(es)
Makes 20 small pies

For the cakes:
1 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 cup boiliong water
1/2 cup sour cream (not low- or non-fat)
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

For the filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
3/4 cup Marshmallow Fluff

1. Make cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchmet paper.
2. Whisk together cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside to cool. Combine sour cream, egg yolk, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add butter an mix with an electric mixer on low speed until butter pieces are no bigger than small peas. Stur in sour cream mixture until ingredients are moistened. Stir in cocoa mixture and beat well to combine.
4. Use a small ice cream scoop to drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch between each cookies. Bake until tops are cracked, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove sheets from oven and let cookies stand on sheets for 5 minutes to firm up. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Make filling: Mix together butter and confectioners sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Stir in corn syrup, vanilla, and salt. Stir in Fluff and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
6. Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling onto the flat side of a cake. Sandwich with another cake. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Friday, March 9, 2012

It's On: Porkfest 2012

I picked up my quarter share of a Fairview Farm pig a week ago, and so far I've enjoyed pork tacos and ma po tofu with some of the meat. Tonight I doubled down, defrosting pancetta and ground pork for dinner. My bet paid off with this delicious rigatoni dish:

Rigatoni with Pork and Pancetta
Serve 4 to 6

2 ounces diced pancetta
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound groudn pork
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
One pound rigatoni
Grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese for serving

1. In a large skillet, cook pancetta over medium heat until just beginning to crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat, add onion, and continue to cook until onion is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until lit loses its pink color.
2. Stir in tomatoes and sage and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.
3. While sauce cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook rigatoni until just tender, toss with sauce, and serve with cheese on the side.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Where to Get Pretzel Bread in Sag Harbor

In today's Newsday, Joan Reminick has a mouthwatering story about where to find pretzel bread on Long Island. Sadly, the closest restaurant to home serving this newly popular specialty is The Grind Cafe in Wading River. Happily, Newsday also asked me for a pretzel bread recipe, so now I know how to make my own. To make your own pretzel bread, click here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

IGA Item of the Week

When vegetable fatigue sets in at the end of winter, I turn to my oven. In the last month I'e roasted cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots in a 425 degree oven until they're tender on the inside and nicely caramelized at their edges. Yesterday I bought two pounds of asparagus at the IGA, snapped off their tough ends, tossed them with some olive oil and kosher salt, threw them on a foil-lined baking sheet, and roasted them for 40 minutes (these were skinny ones--fat asparagus will take 5 to 10 minutes longer). The tips got crunchy while the stalks cooked through. So good as an accompaniment to my homemade pizza.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sag Harbor Under Wraps

I'm looking forward to a renovated Sag Harbor, but right now I'm enjoying the sight of the Watch Factory, John Jermain Library, and several other prominent village buildings encased in Christo-like coverings.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Art Before Pork

I have a busy day planned (I'm picking up my new new pig!), but I have to make time to visit this exhibition and sale at Pierson, a fundraiser for a student trip to Italy. I love the modesty of the sign--"by professional artists."