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

 

 

 

A Winter Farmers Market to Warm the Stomach and Soul

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One way or another we all have been affected by the polar vortex, a new weather phenomenon that has been coined by AccuWeather or as they prefer to say, "extreme arctic air coming south". Winter is a time where the earth breathes in, a moment for pause and most of all for me — reflection. I have been doing my fair share of reflecting and 2013 by far has been one of the most challenging, creative and enriching years of my life. The construction of Sheridan Green has been an amazing feat — as some of you know — and confidently I can say that this week a final inspection is scheduled; prayers are welcome for a certificate of occupancy. And in between managing and nurturing the building process I have met some of the most amazing edible artisans and craftsman of the East End and made new friends along the way. 

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We may not be in the height of a bustling harvest or running into one another at a local farm stand, but in the middle of winter there are plenty of artisanal edibles and chitchat to warm the stomach and soul, you just need to seek it out. A dash of craft and a dose of local nibbles were what I needed and what better way to combat the polar vortex than at a winter farmers market in Bridgehampton on the grounds of the Topping Rose House in the restored barn. This gathering was a celebration and thaw from the frigid grasp we have all been under for the past month. As attendees mingled with artists, artisans and local farmers inside, it seemed Heat Miser made a deal with Snow Miser for a bit of warmth and sunshine outside; It was a balmy 47 degrees and sunny.

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The turnout was so sensational that some vendors ran out of items. Holly Browder of Browder's Birds was selling pickled eggs, dry rubs, barbecue sauce, brine and of course fresh farm eggs; I snatched the last dozen — lucky me. Kate Pratt of East Hampton Gourmet had to call her partner Michel Mazuret to bring her more of their signature Lentil Rice Crispbreads as they were selling out. Mecox Bay Dairy was inundated with cheese lovers hovering over their table to nibble on their most celebrated varieties: Atlantic Mist, Sigit and Mecox Sunrise. I walked away with a pound of their grass-fed ground beef and a farmhouse cheddar. Deborah Lukasik of Southampton Soap Company was selling her sudsy craft left and right; thankfully I got to her table in time to hoard the evergreen soap that she featured in a 2013 holiday pack, truly invigorating. Long Island Mushroom was showing off their finest fungus and I took away a 1/2 pound of shiitakes. Chef de Cuisine Ty Kotz of Topping Rose thanked all 31 vendors personally for participating in their first ever farmers market — I thought this was a warm touch. I first met chef Kotz at the Great Chefs Dinner and I was blown away by his beet risotto that tasted equally as beautiful as it looked; fingers crossed that he puts it on the menu.

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Topping Rose plans to host another winter farmers market on Saturday, February 15, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. If you cannot wait that long and tired of hibernating under Snow Misers ice plunge the Riverhead farmers market opening day is February 1, at 117 East Main Street, in the old Swezey's building and will be open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., from February 1 — May 17.

I had big plans for my edible purchase. A dish that would leave you feeling warm and comforted, just like I felt at the Topping Rose winter farmers market.

How does homemade egg noodles with grass-fed beef meatballs in a Parmesan shiitake broth sound? This dish is all about comfort and will take you out of your icy doldrums.

Egg noodles with grass-fed beef meatballs in a Parmesan shiitake broth

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ingredients

Egg Noodles

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup water

Meatballs in Parmesan Shiitake Broth

  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound of shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium - large Parmesan rind 
  • 1 lb ground grass fed beef
  • 1 cup of whole ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fresh italian bread chopped (trim the crust)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of italian parsley, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • flour for dredging meatballs
  • 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil

directions

Egg Noodles

  1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in center and crack eggs into it.
  2. Take a spoon and mix together gently. Add water if dough is not forming a ball. Begin to use your hands when dough begins to come together. It should be slightly tacky.  
  3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes. You can refrigerate the dough up to a day. Be sure to have it rest on the counter for 30 minutes to bring to room temperature before rolling out.
  4. Lightly flour your working surface. This will keep the dough from sticking. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, working from the middle out.
  5. When the dough is about a 1/4 inch thick, cut the dough into strips with a pizza cutter. I found the pizza cutter to be the best but you can use a large knife. If you have a hand crank pasta machine or kitchen-aid attachment you can use that too. But this pasta is super easy to do by hand and is fun. Do not worry if your noodles are crooked, this is all about comfort. I cut them in long strips at a 1/2 inch wide.

    Note: When the meatballs in Parmesan shiitake broth is almost done, cook the noodles in boiling salted water until they float, about 3 minutes.

    Meatballs in Parmesan Shiitake Broth
     
  6. In a large pot add the chicken stock and Parmesan rinds.; cover and let simmer.

  7. In a large skillet over medium heat add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot add the Shiitake mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes. Then add the shiitakes to the broth and continue simmering.

  8. In a large bowl, combine the beef, bread, garlic, ricotta, parmesan, salt, pepper, milk and parsley. Lightly mix everything together without overworking the meat, should be light and not compact.

  9. Once everything is combined, place a large piece of parchment or tinfoil on a baking sheet. Roll the meatballs into 1-inch round with your hands and then dredge in flour and place the meatballs on the baking sheet.  Repeat until all the meatballs are ready to be seared.

  10. In the same skillet you used for the shiitakes, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs, working in batches to not overcrowd the pan. Use tongs to turn the meatballs and cook until all sides are browned, approximately 5 minutes. You are simply doing a quick sear not cooking the meatball entirely. Place the meatballs in the broth as you go.

  11. Let the broth and meatballs simmer for 30 - 45 minutes.

    Assembly
     

  12. When done place a laddle of the broth on the bottom of the bowl, add he egg noodles and then a few meatballs with the broth and shiitakes. If you desire sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with some crusty bread.

Mashing Up An All Natural Food Supplement For Dogs

While I was washing my dog Trixie with the Shampoo Bar for Dogs, by the Southampton Soap Company, I realized that I needed to get on my own soapbox and share with you a recipe for an all natural food supplement that I developed for my dog Trixie. "What are we feeding our four-legged friends? Shouldn't the same amount of concern to our own health and nourishment be given to our furry family members?"

In March of 2008, my husband Chris and I adopted our dog Trixie from a high-kill shelter in Kentucky. Rescuers and volunteers from states as far away as New Jersey were working together to save these animals. Trixie was placed on a flatbed truck with a group of other lucky dogs and transported to their foster families in hopes to find a forever home. It was a rainy Saturday, March 8th to be exact, and I remember the drive from New York City to Atco, New Jersey where Trixie was being cared for. I grew up with: cats, dogs, birds, fish and even snakes, but it never occurred to me the responsibility we were about to undertake. The closer we got to our destination the more I thought about becoming a parent to this furry fellow; I guess this is how someone would feel when adopting a child. The list of concerning items were rambling off in my head, particularly “What should we be feeding her?”

Left: Rainy Saturday, March 8th, 2008 we adopted Trixie.  Middle: Driving back to New York City.  Right: First time at the dog run and first family photo

 

As we pulled up to the house the barking was most alarming. Chris said, “I hope that is not Pixie [now Trixie as we renamed her] howling on the top of her lungs.”  When we walked into the home there was a family meeting their new dog for the first time, and three dogs in the backyard who were insistently barking. As I looked more closely across the room into the kitchen area, I finally saw Trixie, who was wiggling and yelping her way out of the crate to meet us. Thankfully, Trixie was not the barker, but she was and still is the jumper; any opportunity to give you a sloppy kiss she will. Before we drove back to New York City, I was given a bag of low-grade kibble that was being fed to Trixie (foster families do the best they can to provide shelter and food for animal rescues so this is not a judgment on their heroic and thankful efforts) and it was noted that we should find a better diet for her.

Since then, with a little bit of trial and error, Trixie’s diet has evolved. My formula has been to use organic, pasture-raised, all natural products whenever possible, just as I would do for myself. In fact, one thing a veterinarian and a nutritionist would agree on is a balanced and wholesome diet that is not filled with chemicals and words you cannot pronounce.

For the first few years, Trixie had bouts of gastroenteritis; an irritation of the stomach and intestines, usually resulting in diarrhea and vomiting. For us folks who live in New York City we are required to pick up our dogs poop; a law that I feel is a blessing in disguise, to closely analyze how our dogs are feeling.

Depending on who is walking Trixie the conversation between my husband and I go like this, “Chris, how did Trixie’s poop look?” “Perfect”, says Chris. When you become dog parents, it all comes down to analyzing dog poop.

I don’t know about you but Trixie inhales her food. I said to myself, “If she is swallowing un-chewed food I am sure she is not getting the proper health benefits, which is causing havoc in her digestive system." Three years ago, I started to experiment; making a vegetarian based puree, called DOGMASH™ for optimal nutrient absorption. This is not a meal replacement but a supplement that is added to Trixie's food; her digestive tract has improved considerably, not to mention a shiny coat.

All natural wholesome foods contribute to a healthy life for us humans and for our four-legged friends. Next time you are shopping for dog food, take a look at the ingredients; if you cannot pronounce half the words you may want to leave it on the shelf.

The recipe below is one of a few DOGMASH lines I am developing. Here is a list of dog friendly foods for you to experiment with. 

Green DOGMASH

ingredients

  • 1 bunch of organic parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup of Bob’s Red Mill organic brown flaxseed meal
  • 3 large organic carrots, chopped in chunks
  • 1 large head of organic broccoli, chopped in chunks and fibrous stalks peeled.
  • 1 organic apple cored, chopped in chunks with skin
  • directions

    1. In a food processor or blender place the parsley, flaxseed meal, apple and broccoli stalks. Pulse until the consistency is smooth and green.
    2. In a medium pot steam the broccoli heads and carrots until just tender. Do not over steam.
    3. Let the steamed carrots and broccoli cool for 5 minutes; then place with the green mixture and pulse until it is puréed.

      note: If the mash looks dry add some of the steamed water; 1 tablespoon at a time. The consistency should look slightly wet.

    4. Yields 4–6 cups. Refrigerate for up to 5 days and freeze for future use; up to 1 month.

      note: I mix 1 heaping tablespoon of DOGMASH™ with Trixie’s food in the morning and once again at night.