Out East Foodies Top 10 Holiday Gifts From The East to West

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Are you inundated with holiday cyber blasts from the usual? If you stroll down Main Street in Riverhead, a holiday market and gift boutique of edibles and handmade gifts from local artisans are sure to please. In Bridgehampton, Almond restaurant is cooking up a special meal to support a charity and the Topping Rose House is hosting a holiday market with over 50 vendors who will be showing off their edibles and crafts. If you simply cannot peel yourself away from the computer visit Salt of the Earth Seed Company for that certain someone who is a seed saver with a green thumb. Or perhaps some edible reads on wine, food and homegrown cooking to whet your appetite. Have you been contemplating a chicken or egg share for your family? Browder's Birds has it. Or maybe even a Christmas Stollen for a friend who has a sweet tooth; both forks are baking up this German specialty. These are just a few of my favorites to put you on your merry way. Let your local love shine, and support those who are the makers, the folks that enrich our souls with love and special care. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season. Happy shopping!

  1. East End Holiday Markets: Locally handcrafted presents showcasing edibles, jewelry, soaps, pottery, arts and crafts.

    Topping Rose House Holiday Market: On Saturday, December 20th from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm, 50 local vendors will be selling beautiful holiday gifts. Show-off your local holiday spirit by tweeting @ToppingRose and #TRHFarmersMarket. On the 3rd Saturday of each month through May they will be hosting an annual Farmer’s Market.

    Address: 1 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, NY. Phone: 631.537.0870 

    Happy Holidays Gift Boutique: Tuesday, December 16th from 4:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Local vendors: Southampton Soap Company, All Natural Bath & Body, Designs by the Sea Jewelry, Backyard BrineBizzy Bee DesignsTemptressYarnHamptons Mermaid CompanyMary Jaffee Pottery, Bonac FarmsValentines FarmLorna's Nuts & GoodiesLulu KnitsDanielle Leef photography.
    Door prizes, refreshments and lots of good, old-fashioned holiday spirit. 

    Address: 832 Scuttlehole Road, Water Mill, New York. Phone: 631.613.6041

    Riverhead Farmer's Market: Every Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. On February 1st, the indoor market opened its doors at the 8,000-square-foot old Swezey's Department store downtown in Riverhead. Hundreds of eager attendees piled in weekend after weekend elbowing their way to vendors. They quickly outgrew the space and moved a few doors down to an even bigger venue for more vendors and shoppers. 

    Address: 221 Main Street Riverhead, New York.

    East End Arts: Holiday Gift Boutique: East End Arts is a multi-award winning 501(c)3 not-for-profit arts organization serving the five East End towns of Long Island since 1972. East End Arts is committed to building and enriching community through the arts by way of education, support, advocacy and inspiration. At the holiday gift boutique you will find artful gifts made by local artists who are members of EEA. Members receive a 15% discount on all purchases. Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Sunday Noon – 4:00 p.m. Closed Monday. Open until December 23, 2014. 

    Address: East End Arts Gallery, 133 East Main Street, Riverhead NY

  2. Almond Christmas Eve: 13th Annual Suckling Pig Roast: Would you prefer eating a suckling pig on Christmas Eve instead of The Feast of the Seven Fishes? For 13 years, Almond restaurant has been getting their hands on a few pigs from some local farmers. Chef Jason Weiner, roasts the pig in a hearth oven, carves them and serves with a couple of winter sides. A portion of the proceeds from the evening goes to the Pajama Program that gives pajamas to less fortunate children. They will also have an à la carte menu available. Call for reservations: 631.537.5665

    Address: One Ocean Road, Bridgehampton New York

  3. Edible Reads: Some of my favorite local folks who know a thing or two about food, wine and cooking homegrown:

    What the Fork are You Eating, by Stefanie Sacks is about what’s hidden in your food, an action plan with 50 time-tested recipes and how small changes in your food choices can make big everyday differences for your health. Stefanie Sacks MS, CNS, CDN is a Culinary Nutritionist, author, radio show host for Stirring the Pot on Hamptons NPR, educator, speaker and consultant. Sacks has been studying food and healing for 25 years, has her Masters of Science in nutrition from Columbia University, is a Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Dietitian Nutritionist and is a graduate of Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. 

    I like Pig, by Jimmy Carbone, the owner of Jimmy’s No. 43 and producer of Pig Island, New York City’s definitive annual pork fest, teamed with James Beard Award winning cookbook author Rachel Wharton to create a cookbook (e-book) full of porcine goodness. Every year dozens of chefs come together and celebrate the agricultural bounty of the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) at Pig Island. I Like Pig serves up some of the most popular recipes from the first four years of Pig Island.

    Behind the Bottle: The Rise of Wine on Long Islandby Eileen Duffy tells the story of Long Island wine from the people who made the region what it is today.  Long Island’s wine country draws 1.3 million visitors a year for their award winning and highly acclaimed wines. This book profiles owners, winemakers, and personalities from around the country and the world who make Long Island one of the hottest wine regions in the country. Eileen Duffy, Edible East End’s deputy editor, holds a diploma in wine and spirits from the International Wine Center and has been writing about food and wine on the East End since 2003. The book will be co-published with the Edible magazines group which includes Edible East End, Edible Manhattan, and Edible Brooklyn magazines, all of which will promote the book. Pre-order your book now for the release date of April 2015.

    The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook, by Leeann Lavin features local food, local restaurants and local recipes. This book takes the reader on a private tour of outstanding chefs & artisanal growers of the Hamptons & Long Island. Great book for a cookbook collector or lover of the Hamptons and Long Island food scene.

  4. Christmas Stollen: During Christmas time fruitcakes of all shapes and sizes turn up, especially the American version that weighs a ton and is re-gifted more than any edible gift in history; I happen to like this version. The German fruitcake, Christmas Stollen, is made with dried fruits, nuts, spices and covered in lots of butter and sugar. This version I love and pretty sure you will devour it with all your bite.

    On the North Fork
    Junda’s Pastry offers plenty of holiday specialties and is known for their strudels and stollen.

    Address: 1612 Main Road, Jamesport, NY 11947. Phone: 631.722.4657

    On the South Fork 
    Krieg's Bakery 
    has been baking for the South Fork since 1985. Every Sunday my father would buy a bag of donuts; my favorite was the donut dipped in chocolate and filled with vanilla cream. They also make cookies, pies, cakes, danishes, fruit tarts, bread, gingerbread houses and their renowned holiday stollen, that is made with butter, nuts, green and red cherries, sweet pineapple, black and white raisins, almond marzipan and rum. You can get the top dusted with powdered sugar or leave plain.

    Address: 39 West Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays NY. Phone: 631.728.6524

  5. Balsam Farms Gift Baskets: Hundreds of different vegetables are grown in fields between Amagansett and Sagaponack. They offer beautiful baskets filled with their own jarred goods and locally sourced specialty items. Your choice of 6 jars (3 large and 3 small) of Balsam Farms products packaged in a farm basket. You can customize your basket by adding: additional Balsam Farms jarred goods, Balsam Farms Trucker Hat, Balsam Farms T-shirt, Balsam Farms Gift Cards, Amagansett Sea Salts and Bee's Needs Honey Products. Phone: 631.316.8784

  6. Long Island Beer Tours: Long Island's craft beer has award-winning breweries, festivals dedicated to the hops, and an active and impressive homebrewing community. Take in all the sights and flavors with a tour and tasting. There is sure to be a Long Island brewery to suit your tastes. Phone: 631.913.3817.

  7. Salt of the Earth Seed Company: All heirloom seeds are grown on the North Fork of Long Island by farmer Stephanie Gaylor of Invincible Summer Farms. I am a huge supporter of Stephanie. She specializes in growing rare, and endangered heirloom vegetables, herbs, flowers, and has over 350 varieties of tomatoes; she is the tomato whisperer. Anyone who has a green thumb and is dreaming about sunny days ahead will appreciate these open pollinated, NON-GMO seeds.

  8. Browder’s Birds: The Browder’s Chickens are certified organic by NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC. Their hens are fed certified organic laying rations and live on a certified organic pasture benefiting greatly from the ability to forage daily. They have a pretty snazzy outdoor pantry of their own brines, pickled eggs, duck eggs, Christmas quiche, mayo, golden honey and dry rubs. Last time I was there they offered farm boots and some wool socks.

    Chicken Share: Their Chicken share runs for 20 weeks for a full share & 10 weeks for a half share and guarantees you a chicken each Saturday during your share time frame. 

    Winter Egg Share: Receive 2-dozen organic eggs twice a month.  

    Gift Certificates: These can be used to purchase organic chickens, organic eggs, and other products in season. If you want to shop from the comfort of your home they are offering free shipping for that special someone. They ship to the lower 48 states only, all others should call Holly and Chris at: 631.599.3394 for shipping information.

    Address: 4050 Soundview Avenue, Mattituck, New York. Hours: Fridays 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday & Sundays Noon – 5:00 p.m.

  9. Edible Communities Publication: Edible Publications is in 80 distinct culinary regions throughout the United States and Canada. They connect consumers with family farmers, growers, chefs, and food artisans of all kinds. Locally, in the tri-state area we have Edible East End (I contribute to the magazine and write a column for What's in Season), Edible BrooklynEdible Manhattan and Edible Long Island. Check out their 80 Edible Publications to subscribe to a local or favorite edible region near you.

  10. Valley Wine Merchants Wine Club: Out East Foodie went west to Oregon this summer and visited with Andrew Turner, the proprietor of Valley Wine Merchants. He is a renowned chef and connoisseur of the best wines of the Willamette Valley and beyond. I am hoping in the near future East will meet West and Valley Wine Merchants will offer Long Island Wines. In the meantime, if you have a sweet spot for West Coast and International wines like myself, the custom wine club that caters to collectors, novices and wine enthusiasts may be for you. As a member you receive 15% off all retail prices automatically. You can read about Andrew in the Oregon Wine Press and The Oregon Wine Country Travel.

    Address: 112 S College Street, Newberg Oregon. Phone: 503.538.5388

 

 

 

Peconic Bay Scallops with Figs

My father is an excitable person, especially when it comes to fishing, shellfishing and his fig tree. During the last week of October until Election Day, he prepares to close down the East Quogue house and gets ready to winter in the Florida Keys. Not a bad gig for an avid fisherman. Before he left for paradise, he stated two things, “Laura, the Baymen are harvesting basketfuls of Peconic Bay scallops and the fig tree is exploding with fruit. I sensed my father’s envy of the sweet and tender mollusks and figs he would be missing.

I think the polar vortex (cold temperatures) from last winter had something to do with the banner bay scallop harvest we are having on the East End, and strangely enough, an impressive amount of juicy figs for the picking on my father’s fig tree. 75% of the tree was damaged and he was forced to cut it back; we thought it would not survive. As the weather got warmer, the tree grew exponentially, skipped the first harvest in early spring, and the second harvest was delayed (the second harvest happens later summer) and produced ripe fruit in October; it truly is the almighty fig tree.

I picked a little over 3-dozen figs and scored (they were going fast) a pound of Peconic Bay scallops at Cor-J’s Seafood. I was inspired to create something yummy.

The best way to eat a fig is straight off the tree. The same sentiment rings true about a bay scallop, eaten raw is divine. Thankfully, I restrained myself from indulging on these delectable morsels and made a delicious dish that involves three simple recipes for one composed plate.

RECIPE: Peconic Bay Scallops with Figs

Balsamic Fig Sauce

  • 1 pound of fresh figs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoon of good balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Pinch of salt


Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, until fruit has broken down, 30 minutes
  2. Let cool slightly; remove thyme sprig. Press mixture through a medium size sieve with a rubber spatula.
  3. Place in a glass jar and refrigerate for later use or set-aside to use immediately.

    Note: reserve the fig pulp to use as a spread on toast or to put in yogurt.

Baked Figs

  • 8 figs
  • 1 tablespoon of good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of goat cheese, puréed
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. With a knife, cross hatch the top of the figs; place in a small shallow oven safe dish.
  3. Puree the goat cheese with pepper and salt.
  4. Dollop a ¼ teaspoon of goat cheese purée in each fig. (where the cross hatch is)
  5. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  6. On the top rack, bake for 15 minutes or until the fig is warm to the touch, slightly soft . The goat cheese should be golden brown on top.

    Set-aside for assembly

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Sautéed Bay Scallops

  • 1 pound of bay scallops
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

Directions

  1. Salt and pepper the scallops.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet, place 1 tablespoon of butter and heat over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Place half the scallops in a single layer into the skillet. Sauté the scallops about 2 minutes per side until the scallops are nicely browned. Repeat with the rest of the scallops.

    Set-aside for assembly

Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons of walnuts, chopped
  • 8 large nasturtium leaves and 20 smaller leaves (you can use watercress if you cannot find nasturtium, I had them handy in my herb garden)
  • ¼ pound of shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan toast the walnuts; set-aside
  2. In a medium saucepan sauté the shiitake mushrooms in olive oil, until brown. Season with salt and pepper; set-aside

Assembly (Serves 4)

  1. Place (2) large and (5) small nasturtiums leaves on each plate.

    note: I used a rectangular plate, but use whatever you have handy.
     
  2. Place (2) baked figs on the larger nasturtium leaves. Then dab around the dish the fig balsamic sauce. Disperse ¼ pound of the bay scallops on each plate, along with the walnuts and shiitakes.
  3. Serve at room temperature.

How to Make Chive Butter and Oil

I adore my herb garden. I spend a considerable amount of time nurturing the 3- by 11-foot planter bed that sits just outside the kitchen windows. My morning ritual of picking off bugs and dead leaves, running my hands through the oregano and rosemary to release their fragrant aroma, and yes, talking to the plants does not get old. In fact, I find it relaxing, and so does my dog Trixie.

I harvested plenty of herbs for for tea and cooking at the end of summer. Along the way, I learned a valuable lesson to not uproot a perfectly happy pineapple sage—or any plant for that matter—when it is hotter than hell; I dug up and turned the salvia because it looked crooked. Within minutes it wilted and stayed that way for two weeks, I was devastated. The saying, "leave well enough alone" rings so true. By the third week, it made a come back.

It is the last week in October and my herb garden is bustling with lavender, nasturtium, mint, calendula, parsley, lime basil, Christmas basil, Italian basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, pineapple sage, Vietnamese coriander and the subject of this post, chives. My friend Kim Dyla who lives in Southold, N.Y. with her husband Bill on their edible 1/2 acre landscape, inspired me to make flavored vinegars from basil. Kim grows over 150 varieties of plants on her property and makes everything by scratch. The story I wrote about the Dyla's for Edible East End's Fall 2014 Issue can be read here; you may be inspired too.

Besides the infused vinegar made from Christmas and lime basil, I made chive butter (I tried my hand at making homemade butter that is fairly easy to do) and oil. Chives add a nice grassy allium flavor to any dish. Chive butter is great on steak, clams, potatoes, corn on the cob, and fish. Chive oil is a perfect match for pizza, salads, soup, eggs, and bruschetta. Chives are an underused herb, in my opinion, so turn it into something luxurious and silky to spread and pour on everything.

Recipe: Chive Butter

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh chives
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Directions

  1. Pour the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, process for 10 minutes, or until the butter separates. 
  2. Strain off the liquid (buttermilk) into a small bowl.

    note: you can refrigerate the buttermilk for future use.

     
  3. Add the chopped chives to the bowl and use the paddle attachment to mix in.

    note: if you do not want to make butter you can use 4 sticks of unsalted butter. At room temperature mash and add the chives.
     
  4. Spread the butter on plastic wrap and roll the butter into a cylinder inside the plastic wrap. Use a piece of string to tie off the ends.
  5. Keep in refrigerator or freeze for later use.

 

 

Recipe: Chive Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fresh chives
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the chives and blanch for 10 seconds. Drain and transfer to paper towels to remove as much of the water as possible.
  2. Roughly chop the chives and transfer to a food processor or blender. With the machine running, add the oil and salt and process until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate overnight. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing against the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much oil as possible.
  4. Transfer to a jar or squeeze bottle and refrigerate until needed.
  5. Bring to room temperature before using.