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


Harvest East End Cheers to 40 Years of Winemaking on Long Island

Long Island Wine Country had a lot to celebrate about. In fact, 1,300 enthusiasts of wine and food, including Governor Andrew Cuomo joyously gathered under a festive billowing tent to raise a glass and cheer for 40 years of winemaking at the 4th Annual Harvest East End at McCall Vineyard & Ranch in Cutchogue New York. The regions farms, fishermen, 34 local top chefs and 43 vintners showcased the bounty of the land, sea and vines. It was the first year that this vinous and edible gala was held on the North Fork of Long Island and how fitting considering two pioneers were honored for giving rise to one of the world’s most exciting viticultural and culinary destinations: Louisa Hargrave co-founder of Hargrave Vineyards (now known as Castello di Borghese Vineyard) for planting the first vitis vinifera grapes with her former husband Alex Hargrave, and John Ross, who established Ross’ North Fork restaurant that featured local wines and grown food that helped ignite the farm-to-table movement on the North Fork; all of which was 40 years ago.

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo. Photography credit: Jessica Guadagno

“Put tourism together with the wine industry, and they can grow an entire region,” says Governor Cuomo. “And that’s what you’re seeing here on the North Fork of Long Island.”

The Master of Ceremonies was Joshua Wesson, a leading authority on wine and food pairing, the founder of Best Cellars and author of Williams-Sonoma Food & Wine—A New Look at Flavor that he signed for fans. Harvest was presented by Wine Enthusiast Magazine and organized by the Long Island Wine Council with support from Merliance, that benefited four important regional charities: East End Hospice, Group for the East End, the Peconic Land Trust and the Long Island Farm Bureau.

And to top it off Out East Foodie has come full circle—It was my first anniversary. Last year’s Harvest East End was my debut where I was introduced to the edible artisans of the East End: chefs, fishermen, farmers, cheesemakers, and vintners to name a few. I am humbled to be surrounded by the people of this region who are passionate and dedicated to their craft or cause. I have told the stories of a few over the course of the year, shared recipes that have been inspired by the bounty of the two forks and am honored to continue to do so. This fall our sustainable home Sheridan Green will be complete. It will be a place where like-minded stewards of the land and sea can come together to talk story, enjoy amazing food and drink and share inspiration in a great space.

A wine and food celebration

Guests were given their own personal wine glass that was attached to a lanyard like strap to put around your neck to ease the juggling dilemma between holding a wine glass and a plate of food; thank you Harvest East End for this welcomed convenience as balancing the glass, camera, plate of food, iPhone and purse is a social media hodgepodge. 

Beautifully designed wine labels by Bouquet Wines from Mattituck, New York

My husband Christopher enjoyed the wine tasting and particularly liked Mattebella Vineyards Old World Blend.

Coolfish Grill and Wine Bar served bay scallops mango ceviche; the mango was an unexpected twist.

Mirabelle at Three Village Inn served a unique Crème brûlée that was made with duck eggs, infused with vanilla bean and topped with a sprinkle of maple bacon crumble, simply fantastic.

A refreshing and delicious watermelon gazpacho that was garnished with a Koppert Cress micro shiso amongst a beautiful flower arrangement.

First and South restaurant may have topped their chocolate covered pork rinds from Dan's Taste of Two Forks. In an oyster shell they baked an edible cracker mocking the shell and placed the oyster, and a dollop of homemade horseradish and ketchup on top, brilliant.

The North Fork Table and Inn made a spicy marinated McCall Ranch Beef summer roll with wasabi aioli.  This tasted as beautiful as it looked.

Gourmet Sorbet by the Sorbabes: Top-strawberry rhubarb crumble (my favorite), Right-pistachio with sea salted caramel, Bottom-coconut chai with macaroons and Left-passionfruit lychee. All gluten-free and non-dairy made with seasonal ingredients.

Jewel restaurant by Tom Schaudel served a corn chowder with crab. The balance of this dish was singing the bounty of the two forks, was truly lovely.

A Taste of the North Fork made meatballs with cHarissa, hummus and cilantro. The meatballs had a Moroccan flare of interesting spices from the cHarissa, really tasty.

To continue with the meatball theme a Mano Osteria and Wine Bar made a veal meatball with a lobster bisque sauce. I was unsure about the veal and lobster combo, but it was a match made in heaven.

The heart of the billowing tent was lit up with colorful lanterns, as the VIP attendees sipped older vintages and special selections of East End wines presented by Empire Merchants. Although there was a white picket fence that separated the VIP's from the rest, we all had a few things in common, the love for wine and food in Long Island Wine Country.