Edible Long Island Launch Party Prompts my Resurgence with an Autumn Panzanella Salad

This past week I joined fellow Long Island food and drink enthusiasts at chef Tom Schaudel’s Jewel Restaurant in Melville, New York, to celebrate the much anticipated launch issue of Edible Long Island, a magazine that celebrates the stories of what we eat and drink, season by season. 

In typical Out East Foodie fashion I was tasting, sipping and photographing Long Island’s best food and drink while conversing with like-minded strangers and friends. 

Mirabelle Duck Rilette with cornichon walnuts marmalade

Jewel Restaurant: Oysters with Mango Caviar

Deb Aiza of Sweet 'tauk  

Roots: Dickens Cider with Candied Bacon

T.W. Barrit of Culinary Types blog

As I took a bite of the candied bacon strip that was in my dickens cider by Roots Bistro Gourmand, I locked eyes with my virtual friend T.W. Barritt, a contributor to Edible Long Island and author of his fantastic blog Culinary Types; I felt like I found my long lost friend. After a minute of us enthusiastically greeting each other, T.W kindly states, “You know Laura, you are a week behind on your blog.” Two different emotions came to mind: complete joy that he follows my blog weekly and major anxiety about what seems to be a setback. I am not sure if T.W. noticed but the sweat started to pool on top of my brow—it was a perfect start to our in person friendship. So thank you T.W. for following my blog and the gentle reminder (we chuckled together) on my delay. 

For over a year now it has been one big blur for my husband Chris and me, an amazing race of sorts to get our home Sheridan Green done before the years end. The combination of managing and constructing the building process, our professional jobs (that pays the bills), my blog and trying to nurture relationships with friends and family has been a feat. So once in awhile, sweat pools above my brow for feeling harried and other times overjoyed with excitement. 

Two weeks ago we were able to sneak away from the daily grind to have dinner with dear friends of ours in New York City; we had not seen them in two years. This gathering reminded me of the homemade meals and spirits we would share with family and friends: breaded grilled flounder with the infamous panzanella salad during the summer months on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, gnocchi made three ways for the Gnocchi Fest in December at our friends Bed and Breakfast, The Sea Spray Inn in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, cassoulet at my aunt and uncles in Weston, Connecticut where we would always cook a feast for no special occasion, corn and flour tortillas for fish tacos during the winter months in Todos Santos, Mexico at my aunt’s compound where my brother’s family from Bend, Oregon and other family members would get together for a vacation and last but not least sipping wines from the Willamette Valley visiting friends in Portland, Oregon.

However sad it may seem that we have not seen most of you in a very long time, I have a feeling it is going to be very hard to get rid of you once Sheridan Green is complete.

We are one month away from being moved in and as I type this the kitchen cabinets are being installed and the trim is getting set in place, Yippie! The 7kw solar array is ready to run the geothermal system so we won't have any energy bills or require fossil fuels to heat and cool the house. 

The hot yoga studio is ready for Heat Mizer temperatures, the kind of heat that us Bikram yoga fanatics love. The Edible garden above the carport awaits some attention, so in the meantime I have been taking biodynamic workshops with the great KK Haspel so we can apply those practices on our property. And for the first time in my life I am the proud owner of a car, a Ford CMAX hybrid; it has been one heck of a ride—no pun intended.


Soon all our friends and family from afar can add the East End of Long Island as your next viticultural and culinary destination. Not only will this be a home for loved ones to gather but a place where like-minded people can come together to talk story, enjoy amazing food and drink and share inspiration in a great space.

In honor of our friends, family and all the edible gatherings we have shared in the past I created an autumn panzanella salad to indicate where we are today. I had such fond memories making this salad over the years that I wanted to create one that reflected the season.

Cheers to all of you who have been so supportive, to T.W. Barritt for reminding me how fleeting time truly is and for my husband Chris who is making it all happen—I love you.


Autumn Panzanella Salad

ingredients salad


  • 1 dumpling and 1 acorn squash (you can use butternut squash) 
peeled, sliced and seeds removed and reserved.
  • 1/3 cup of squash seeds
  • 3 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 8 (3/4-inch cubed) whole grain bread
  • 5 red medium sized beets, peeled and quartered (reserve the beet tops for the salad)
  • 2 cups of beet greens roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh sage, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 10 slices of fresh ricotta salata (as you desire)

ingredients for vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cracked pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup




  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toss the cubed bread in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of sea salt. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Take the reserved seeds from the squash and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with dash of sea salt and toast in oven for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Increase the oven temperature to 400°. Slice and peel the squash. Toss in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of sea salt. Bake for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Do not over cook. (note: you may find it easier to peel the squash (for acorn and dumpling) after the slices are baked
  4. Toss the beats in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and cover with tin foil. Bake for 40 minutes or until fork-tender.
  5. Slice the ricotta salata cheese and set-aside

    for vinaigrette
  6. Whisk together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
  7. In a large bowl begin to layer all ingredients (squash, beets, bread, seeds, and beet tops) except for the cheese. Lightly, toss all ingredients with the vinaigrette and let sit for 5 minutes. Place ricotta salata on top of the salad and serve.

    Serves 4 people