Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Reason to Go to the Beach?

Bringing a pie to a beach picnic isn't really practical. But these hand pies are a different story--no need for a pie server, plates, forks. Now I have no excuse to stay inside. Here is the recipe:

Blueberry Hand Pies
Makes 6 hand pies

3/4 pound (enough for a single crust) pie dough, chilled
3/4 cup blueberries, rinsed and picked over
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Sanding sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the blueberries, vanilla, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl and let stand, stirring occasionally and mashing a small amount of berries with the back of a spoon, until the sugar is dissolved.
2. On a lightly floured countertop, roll out the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness. Use a 5-inch round saucer as a guide to cut out as many circlesas you can from the dough and transfer to the prepared baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with flour.
3. Working with one circle at a time, place about 2 tablespoons of filling on one side of the circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold dough over blueberries. Use the tines of a fork to seal the edges. Repeat with the remaining dough circles and blueberries.
4. Space the pies at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Use a sharp paring knife to cut three 1/2-inch vents in the top of each one. Brush with the cream and sprinkle with the sanding sugar. Freeze for 15 minutes. (At this point, you can slide the hand pies into a zipper-lock bag and freeze them for up to 2 weeks before proceeding.)
5. Bake the pies until golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tasteful Show at Gallery Valentine

 Have you seen these giant layer cakes in the windows of the Gallery Valentine in East Hampton?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Quick Dinner Makes Up For Time Stuck in Traffic

The summer traffic hasn't really bothered me lately, because I've spent most of the week in Sag Harbor Village, walking to the IGA when I needed groceries. But yesterday I had to drive to East Hampton to buy some movie tickets for that evening (I wouldn't risk waiting until just before the show), so I decided to do my marketing at Citarella's. So many cars! So little parking! I grabbed some of the Aidell's chicken sausages with habanero chiles (already cooked, just heat through) and mixed them with some whole wheat couscous (10 minutes and it's ready), a nectarine, some scallions, some lime juice, and some curry powder for a super-fast dinner that got me back to the movie theater in time to get a good seat. Here is the recipe:

Whole Wheat Couscous with Chicken Sausage and Nectarines
Serves 4

1 cup low-sodium canned chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup whole wheat couscous
2 spicy chicken sausages, cooked and sliced
1 medium nectarine, pitted and chopped
3 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
Ground black pepper

1. Bring broth, water, and butter to boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous, cover, and turn off heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
2. Stir sausages, nectarine, scallions, olive oil, lime juice, curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste into couscous. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day and let come to room temperature before serving.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vegetables for Breakfast

Farm stand etiquette prevents me from peeling away a bit of husk from each ear to before I buy my corn. So I always buy an extra ear just in case I discover a bad one when I get home. What to do with the leftover ear of corn? This morning, I removed the kernels and added them to some polenta. With a sprinkling of brown sugar, blueberries, and a spoonful of sour cream, it made a delicious breakfast. Here is the recipe:

Breakfast Polenta with Fresh Corn
Serves 4

4 cups water, plus more if necessary
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 large ear of corn)
Sour cream or plain yogurt
Brown sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (optional)

1. Bring water to boil in a medium nonstick pot (nonstick is essential here--polenta is a pain to clean up). Slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking, until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the salt. Cover, turn the heat to low, and continue to cook at a bare simmer, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the polenta is smooth and thickened but not too stiff (it should be the consistency of runny yogurt, thick but not able to hold its shape).
2 Stir in the corn kernels and cook until heated through, about 1 minutes.
3. Spoon polenta into shallow bowls, top each bowl with a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Scatter berries over polenta if desired. Serve immediately.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tasty Postcards to Camp

I've just returned from visiting day at my daughter's sleepaway camp in Maine. Now that I'm home, I have to start sending mail to her again. So I felt lucky to find these food-themed postcards from Museum of Modern Art collection in Romany Kramoris' sidewalk bins for $1 each.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Squash Blossom Quesadillas!

I always wanted to make these, and yesterday I took my chance when I saw rows and rows of blossoming zucchini plants at Quail Hill. The Poblano peppers were from the IGA, but I decided to make a suicide mission to the incredibly crowded Citarella's in Bridgehampton for the better corn tortillas. Was it worth the odyssey? I think so. Here is the recipe:

Squash Blossom Quesadillas
Makes 6 small quesadillas

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 poblano peppers, roasted, seeded, peeled, and chopped
24 squash blossoms, washed and dried, stems and stamens removed, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
Ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
12 small (4-inch) corn tortillas

1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add poblanos and cook another minute. Stir in squash blossoms and cook, stirring, until wilted and liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
2. Sandwich some filling and 1/2 cup grated cheese between 2 tortillas. Repeat with remaining filling, cheese, and tortillas.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook quesadillas one at a time, turning once and adding more butter to pan as necessary, until cheese is melted and tortillas are browned on both sides. Cut into wedges and serve hot from the pan.