Summer

lobster-roll-lobster.jpgIn Maine finding a good lobster roll is like finding a needle in a haystack. Some places buy some pre-made lobster salad, with a 30 day shelf life, that is pale pink, loaded with cheap quality mayo and then placed on a roll that is not even toasted. The view, the sound of gulls and the sweet smell of the Atlantic helps to elevate the taste of a mediocre lobster roll. Really what is so complex that it eludes so many restaurants in Lobster land?

I feel that the humble hot dog roll is the perfect base and that is what the original creator of a lobster roll had in mind. A good quality commercial hot dog roll and not homemade, that wouldn't give it the proper feel in your anxious hand or the right texture. Freshly cooked, cooled and shucked lobster from a pound and a half lobster.  Sounds like a lot? I did mention “perfect” didn’t I?

In a bowl cut up the lobster meat (tail, claws and knuckles) with a handy pair of scissors into medium size chunks, add chopped fresh chives to taste and then add the smallest amount of good quality mayonaise. Remember you can always add more, but it sure is difficult to take it back out. 

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Strawberry-Banana-Crumble-from-Noble-Pig-the-perfect-dessert-with-ice-creamIt's strawberry season and the markets are filled with this seasonal gorgeous red fruit. Just a great reminder that it's spring and summer is right around the corner.

One of my favorite fruit combinations is strawberry-banana. It's perfect for smoothies, yogurt and even ice cream. I figured why not put these two together and make it into an irresistible crumble. What a good idea that was. It is delicious. And the topping...I could eat it by the bowlful.

I washed my strawberries, hulled them and cut in to quarters lengthwise. This keeps them mostly intact as they bubble away in the oven. I decided to use my smallest cast iron skillet for this rustic dessert. I love the way it heats up and keeps things warm once removed from the oven. My whole family loved this dessert. I think it's the perfect ending to a summery meal. Next time I'm going to serve it with this fried chicken.

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harry-224x300.jpgI’m crazy for the farmers’ stands that dot the landscape out here in the Hamptons. Oops, sorry – I heard yesterday that the proper designation for this area is “The East End.” If you say, “The Hamptons” they know you don’t really belong here.

We’re still in rehearsal, so we haven’t had full days to explore the back roads and dig out the farmers who still have dirt under their fingernails. But we found a stand the other day that’s the best so far.

It’s called Fairview Farm at Mecox and it’s the proud enterprise of Harry Ludlow and his family. Harry is a charmer and one gets the feeling that he had some dirt under his fingernails not very long ago. And his wife and daughters bake fresh fruit pies that are to die for.

We found him on our way to a brunch at the house of a very famous dead person. I’m not going to drop his name because it has no relevance to the story, but the very famous dead person – when he was alive – bequeathed this house to friends of his, who happen to be friends of some friends of ours. That’s how we got to see it.

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blueberrysaladMoms and grandmas love blueberries. Think about it. Doesn't your family have cherished recipes for blueberry pie and blueberry muffins? What about blueberry cobbler and frosted blueberry sweet rolls?

Why are blueberries so beloved? It could be their association with lazy summer days, Fourth of July cookouts, or time spent baking in grandma's cozy kitchen. Whatever it is, blueberries are sweet and easy-going, like the girl next door.

But like the proverbial librarian who lets down her hair, blueberries can also be sexy. That's right. Sprinkle plump, juicy summertime blueberries on peppery wild arugula or watercress for a stylish salad.

Top crostini with warm goat cheese, fresh blueberries, and rosemary for a sleek summertime appetizer. Add them to a martini made with blueberry vodka for a sophisticated summertime cocktail.

So while they're in season, explore the sexy side of blueberries. Just don't tell grandma. She wouldn't approve.

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zucchininoodlesandfreshtomatosauceMy love of pasta is no secret, but I’m cutting back. An article in the New York Times covering the latest research about the benefit of low carbohydrate diets has me rethinking my noodle consumption. I won’t give them up completely but now and again I can see trying something different. Something like zucchini noodles.

For a long time I’ve wanted one of those spiralizer type tools. But they are rather expensive and I just wasn’t sure how much use I’d get out of them. There is actually an easy way to make “noodles” out of zucchini or other vegetables using a box grater. You just lay the grater on its side like a mandoline! But I’ve just recently tried out the Microplane spiral cutter and it’s an even better option. At $14.95 it’s a lot less expensive than some of the other tools and takes up very little space. It also has two sizes so you can shred larger or smaller vegetables.

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