Tuesday, August 21, 2012

News & Events for The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook this weekend


Me and THE HAMPTONS & LONG ISLAND HOMEGROWN COOKBOOK will appear at two events on Long Island this week, discussing the making of the book and signing the new book, along with several of the chefs featured in the book.

Fabulous Homegrown Menu, created by Chef Guy

Beginning at 6:00 p.m. at Mirabelle at the Three Village Inn in Stonybrook. 
I will join Chef Guy Reuge and biodynamic farmer KK Haspel, who will be hosting a special, four-course meal featuring all local ingredients.
Chef Guy Reuge, Mirabelle Restaurant, harvest herbs from his potager
Chef Guy will most likely be harvesting herbs and vegetables from his own potager, located just steps from the kitchen door. Doesn't get more local than that...

Chef Guy Reuge presides over his kitchen garden at Mirabelle Restaurant

And KK will talk about her organic, biodynamic farming practices.  Perhaps she will share how she talks to her plants and the conversations they share and her use of dousing rods.  
I mean "magic wands!"

Biodynamic Farmer, KK & her dousing rods

Organic farmer, KK, shows off her superior LI growing soil in her raised beds

Mirabelle at 150 Main Street, Stonybrook.  For Reservations call: 631-584-5999.

HARVEST East End Wine &Food Classic from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. 

Chef Meredith Machemer from the Grey Horse Tavern will be at the annual
HARVEST East Wine & Food Classic, at The Hampton Classic Horse Show, 240 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton. 
Chef Meredith and I are excited to discuss the importance of locally-sourced foods for health and for great flavor. 
Chef Meredith will also be making a recipe from the cookbook, "Organic Peach & Beefsteak Tomato Salad." 
Both will be signing copies of the Homegrown cookbook. Books are not available for sale at the Harvest East End event, so foodie fans can purchase the books now and bring their books to be autographed.  Readers can also leave their contact information with me and I will send the book to them after the event. 
The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook will be part of the Silent Auction package.  So get your bidding hand in shape for Saturday!  

In addition, so many of the celebrated chefs at Harvest East End event are master chefs featured in the Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook, including:

Chef Bryan Futerman, Foody's Restaurant, Water Mill
Chef Jason Weiner, Almond Restaurant, Bridgehampton
Chef Keith Luce, Jedediah Hawkins Inn, Jamesport,
Chef Lia Fallon, Amarelle, Wading River
Chef Kevin Penner, 1770 House, East Hampton
Chef Guy Reuge, Mirabelle Restaurant, Stony Brook
Chef Rosa Ross, Scrimshaw Restaurant, Greenport
Chef Robby Beaver, The Frisky Oyster, Greenport
Chef James , The Living Room at the Maidstone Hotel, East Hampton
Chef Terry Harwood, Vine Street Cafe, Shelter Island 
Chef Joe Isidori, Southfork Kitchen, Bridgehampton
Chef Star Boggs, Starr Boggs,  Westhampton
Chef Tom Scheudel, A Mano
Mecox Bay Dairy
North Fork Oyster Company

Presented by Wine Spectator, this gracious charity fundraiser celebrates the wine region at the East End of Long Island, and is organized by Merliance and the Long Island Wine Council. Net proceeds benefit three important regional charities–East End Hospice, Group for the East End and the Peconic Land Trust. www.harvesteastend.com.
The Hampton Classic Horse Show, 240 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chef David Burke's Kitchen has a Treehouse Bar

Chef David Burke reigns over his Kitchen Treehouse Urban Garden 

Why go out to eat? 
Especially when so many of the leading foodie fingers are pointing gastronomy lovers to the homegrown taste and health benefits of meal fixings made at home. 
And then there is that pesky saving money thing.

You can have it both ways....

There is surely a magical check list of bountiful reasons to dine out that we all hold dear, not the least of which includes, extraordinary who’d-of-thought-to-put-these-flavors-together recipes; superlative, eye-rolling-humming-heavenly taste sensations, along with the charming, seductive ambience that can turn a date or a milestone celebration or business exchange into a memorable feast.
With a discerning wink, a practiced authority, and rivers of irrepressible discovery – it can be an unforgettable event. 
And of course, a dedication to using local, homegrown ingredients.

Or, one can take that list, reduce it to a simple moniker: Chef David Burke and pocket an outsize culinary bonanza.

Long touted as one of the culinary constellation’s most whimsical geniuses, James Beard Award Winner, Chef David, is that singular, shining star: a true thought leader and innovator, who has more talent than three front lines at CIA restaurant Escoffier – or soon-to-be Bocuse, or any line up of Top Chefs or any other culinary-cued reference point.

Yup. Chef David can’t seem to contain his creativity. It oozes out into so many design-fueled channels at his restaurants, including interior design, garden design, decorating, products, cooking techniques via his “culinology:” the approach described as one that blends food technology, food science and the culinary arts.  
And of course, his over the rainbow menu creations.

Albeit fearless yet modest and so down to earth, (he’s like your irrepressible brother or favorite cousin) one can’t help but think he surely must have his head in the clouds to come up with all this sensuous fantasy spun around the art of dining.

This abundance of the unexpected makes your head spin. In a good way.

I have reviewed chef David Burke’s Rumson restaurant in the Garden State where chef launched his cooking career and the opening of David Burke Kitchen at the St. James in SoHo. 

The unveiling of the new Treehouse Bar and the updated Urban Garden was the cause celebre for the recent Chef’s Table dinner with Chef David, two of his team: the urbane Joel Ehrlich and master manager, Sheila Azadan, and select food and drink journalists, including me!
I was delightfully surprised the evening was in fact, an intimate food celebration. 

Up a flight of stairs, one is greeting by the dazzling rooftop Urban Garden and just like a movie set tableau, there is eye candy all around – full of textures: gleaming glassware, white tablecloths, Chef Burke-designed tree branch chairs and tables, curtained alcoves that look just made for canoodling, and pots and planters brimming with happy, twirling vines and surprise: herbs and vegetables such as broccoli.  

This Urban Garden is like Shoots & Ladders for the cosmopolitan!  

Set above a center courtyard visible below, the Urban Garden wraps and weaves its meandering vistas all the way up to the Treehouse, laden with mystery and surprise.

Over there is the outside bar. 
Farther back is a chef’s table under a white tent, all set for a corporate party.  Lucky.
There is a massage tent where one can indulge pre-dinner.  No joke!
And a rowboat.   
Another set design for Chef David’s creative genius: he often strings clams or lobsters to create a seafood fantasy.  Right there on the roof.
This is not like some West Side Story; rather the look is cool, downtown chic. And a perfect vantage point to take in the neighborhood scene.
Or make one of your own.

This is so romantic. And whimsical.  
There is something deliciously forbidden about being in a fantasy that is neither here nor there – not city, not garden retreat, but all that and more. 
This is a top rate garden design.  

A few more steps up to the Treehouse Bar pinnacle where croquet awaits, plus another bar is perched there, with tall tables, that are ideal for cocktails and “Bites,” as Chef David refers to his cornucopia of hors d’oeuvres.

Friendly wait staff passed the Bites, eliciting more oohs and ahhs than a Tiffany window display, while patiently answering the foodie guests’ staccato query of “What IS this?” while trying each success wonder.  


The full Bite list deserves to be showcased. 
It is a Sisyphean task to recommend one or two as outstanding.
Why try, when there is a plethora of over-the-top Bites that deserve tasting. Often. 
Chef clearly knows how to thrill his guests and that culinary talent should not go the way of a mere mention.  

Tuna Tartare Tacos; Whipped avocado/ tobiko caviar
Maple Bacon Dates: corn flake crusted port wine grapes
Foie Gras Panna Cotta: mango/blueberry beet gelee
Gazpacho: summer squash/chipotle lime cream
Deviled Quail Eggs: American caviar
Grilled Bison Kebobs: pineapple

Everyone was delightfully satiated. 
But wait, there was dinner.
In the Kitchen’s rustic dining room, fronting the real kitchen. (There was threat of rain later, so management wisely determined inside. Nice to have the choice!)

Seated family style at one long table the food journalists and David Burke team settled into an epicurean adventure. 
It can be said that food writers can be inured, or even snarky when it comes to food tastings – after all, they’ve been there; done that a lot.
Not this night. 
Everyone was like a kid at a really good friend’s birthday party.  

And the food just kept arriving.  And the wine flowed. 
Chef David does it all

Strikingly tasty are the two, non-alcoholic waters David also created via a partnership with 12NtM.  It is fantastic! Like a pisco, or a peppermint, citrus iced tea with lemonade and raspberry or… it is difficult to characterize because there is so much flavor.  It can be a cocktail mixer too.  A glass is just 60 calories for eight ounces.
Mayor Bloomberg need not fret about high fructose corn syrup sodas for citizen of Gotham. 
Chef David shared with us that in fact; Hizzoner did give the drink his two thumbs up. The drinks are available at Burke’s portfolio of New York restaurants and also at gourmet retailers in town, including Whole Foods.

Chef’s Amuse Bouche 
Warm Oysters- pickled watermelon rind/duck salad/red currants.

Do not miss this.  It’s textures and balance of hot and cold is considered.

First Course
Asparagus & Buratta Salad: watermelon/basil/tomato vinaigrette  
Calamari Peas & Carrots: jalapeno/ginger orange vinaigrette

Second Course
Angry Octopus: white beans/chorizo/basil
Pan Roasted Scallops: crisp pork belly/summer succotash

The Angry Octopus is a riff on Chef David ever-popular Angry Lobster.  The octopus dish is pure genius; fiery hot with red cayenne, crisp, and nicely complemented with the smooth beans and tasty chorizo and pickled radish.  This is a must have.
Angry octopus & chorizo

Entrée Course
Slow Roasted Peach BBQ Duck: pistachio duck sausage/grilled peaches/sugar snap peas/golden beet

The sweet and savory flavors and textures combined for an overall taste that rockets the palate.  No one can make this at home…

The presentation of the dishes was suburb.  Chef David knows the “eyes eat first” and every serving was constructed like a work of art:  too pretty to eat.  Nawww!


When dessert was presented, it was just like the fireworks display at the end – just when you think you’ve seen it all or couldn’t possibly see another fantasia, there is another clutch your heart moment that sends one reeling.

Pastry Chef Zac Young
The five confections made by the just-installed, former Top Chef pastry chef, Zac Young left the foodie table giddy.  
The disco blueberries best captured the imagination and fizzy playfulness of the evening’s charm and Chef David’s trademark style. 
In fact, Chef David said these are what got Zac the job. 
Kudos.  This is better than any ol’Studio 54 to be sure!   

The other outstanding, wildly inventive creations were cool, refreshing, and just this side of nirvana:
Frozen Arnold Palmer: sweet tea semifreddo/lemon granita/candied wild mint
Key Lime Pie: roasted local strawberry compote/blackberry sorbet
Farmer Zac’s Passion Fruit Cream Eggs: crème fraiche panna cotta/passion yoke/disco blueberries. (secret is Luster Dust).  Great on ice cream and Greek yogurt next day too. See, everyone asked for a take away of these bejeweled blue balls
Toffee Monkey Bread: banana caramel/whipped cream/maple pecan ice cream
Cheesecake Lollipops: passion fruit whipped cream  

The coffee was made in Chef David’s Rube Golberg-like contraption that is exquisite to capture, while brewing. It is nothing short of mesmerizing or intoxicating.
And yet another way that Chef David captures the routine and turns it all around to make theater of the usual.  Salute.

Most of the guests were pleading for it all to stop by this point.  Not really. 
Surprisingly, I was not filled to the gills, but rather, was in what quite possibly could be a catatonic state of food bliss.  See what good food can do!!

Add World’s Best Host, to Chef David’s list of honorifics.

The final, over the top gesture was the swag bag Sheila bestowed.  Like any kid, we eagerly perused the goodies:  One of Chef David’s Cookbooks – he has published several.  I received David Burke's New American Classics 
This cookbook is terrific – the format is so creative, naturally. 
There is Chef David’s rendering or updating of a classic American recipe, followed by his Contemporary or updated recipe, followed by a “Second Day Dish” er, Leftover recipe.
Having already made the Meatloaf Bundt Cake with poppy seed croissant topping, there aren’t any real leftovers to speak of. 
Same was true for the Pretzel-Onion Crusted Barbecued Chicken with Pretzel Latkes, Corn, and Mustard.
Brilliant concept. Brilliant execution. 

There again is that “head in the clouds” Willy Wonka crazy-good inspiration.
And yet there is no doubt the recipes are firmly rooted in the good ol’ American hierarchy of let’s get serious cooking vernacular. 

Oh, and there were the amazing David Burke steak knives. Leave it to chef to design and sell individual steak knives that are fashioned after a chef’s butchering knife.  Too cool.
These knives will make a perfect gift to any foodie, meat-loving aficionado. 

The Take-Away
To inhabit “Burke’s World” one suspends everyday reality.
Chef David takes you on a food journey and entertainment excursion that one is hard-pressed to say is not truly unique.  He is unpretentious to a fault.  He exudes joy and pride and one is sincerely impressed by his irrepressible passion to keep reinventing his culinary art.
He is driven to create.

He never loses sight of the fact that the most important ingredient is love. 
And he clearly Loves what he does.
This chef is relentless in his pursuit of the winsome, fun, delicious recipe.

Do go to David Burke Kitchen while the outdoor garden season beckons.

Go to any of Chef David Burke’s culinary jackpots to embrace the reason we celebrate dining out.

Food and Drink doesn’t get any better.

David Burke Kitchen at the James Hotel
23 Grand Street
6th Avenue
SoHo, NY 10013

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook Stars at East Hampton Library’s 8th Annual Authors Night Event

Billed as the Premier Literary Event of the Hamptons, the East Hampton Library will present its 8th Annual Authors Night benefit event, Saturday, August 11th -- today.

And I am over the moon about being a part of this auspicious book event.
I am on the Hamptons jitney now (love seeing all the homegrown farm and vineyard settings we visited for the book's photo sessions); eagerly anticipating the big night - and an afternoon with my House Beautiful and Simply Delicious jam friend, Sean.  
We will meet in East Hampton for tea and some lunch. 

Author's Night is a big deal.  
I am so looking forward for the opportunity to highlight The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook's authentic chefs and artisanal growers - from Sally Nadler's Bee Sting Honey to Karen Rivera's Peconic Pearls oysters to Doug Corwin's Long Island Crescent Duck Farms and Chef Bryan Futerman's Foody's and Chef Joe Isidori's Southfork Kitchen.

They are in good company. Just look at the star-studded lineup.
The evening’s Co-Founding Chairs Alec Baldwin and Barbara Goldsmith will be joined by Honorary Co-Chairs Ken Auletta, David Baldacci, Robert A. Caro, Dick Cavett, Lynn Sherr, Dava Sobel and more than 125 distinguished authors. Featured authors include Kelly Killoren Bensimon,
Tom Colicchio, Philip Galanes, Oz Garcia, Peter Kaminsky, Robert Klein, Hilary Knight,

Lucette Lagnado, Katie Lee, Robert Lipsyte, Jeffrey Lyons, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, Michael Shnayerson, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Sam Talbot, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and many more! 

The evening begins at 5:00 pm with the Authors Reception under the tent, where guests will enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres and wine and have the opportunity to meet and mingle with the authors, buy their books, and have them personally inscribed. At 8 pm, directly following the Authors Reception, guests will be hosted at dinner parties at private area homes in honor of one of the guest authors.
Location Note: The Authors Reception “under the tent” will be held this year at the Gardiner Farm, (36 James Lane, East Hampton village).
Tickets are available online at the Authors Night website www.authorsnight.org and at the Library. Proceeds from this special event benefit The East Hampton Library, a private, not-for-profit organization
providing outstanding library services to the East Hampton community.
For complete event details, visit: www.authorsnight.org

I am tweeting and will cover news from here and on the Book's Facebook page.  See you at the Library!

159 Main Street, East Hampton, NY 11937 • 631-324-0222 • www.authorsnight.org 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Good News: Best Week for The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook!

This week my publisher informed me that we had the best week yet for book sales of the Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook.

How much do we love to hear that?!

In May, the book was in preorder.
It hit retail in June. 
We have been hard at it to share the good news with book signings, events, and reviews.

Steve, my marketing guru from Quayside/Voyageur Press knows how to keep us diligent and focused. 
He wrote that all the hard work is paying off, according to Nielsen Book Scan
That is music to my ears and some sweet reward.

So first – hats in the air to all of you who have supported the book and the chefs and artisanal growers.
These dedicated crafts people deserve every success.

We are geared up for the East Hampton Library Author’s event, Saturday, August 11, 2012

I am so honored to have been invited to participate in this prestigious and swanky event at East Hampton Author's Night
Authors Night is a lavish fundraiser to benefit the East Hampton Library. All proceeds go directly to the Library. Beginning in 2005 with a handful of dinners and a few hundred attendees, it has grown to be the premier literary event of the Hamptons with over 160 authors and more than 1,000 people in attendance.
The evening begins under the tent at the Library. Guests enjoy fabulous hors d'oeuvres and wine while they meet the authors, buy their books and have them inscribed. The most recent titles for each author are available for purchase at the event. Guests can also bring their own books to have them inscribed.
From there, the evening continues as some of the authors discuss their most recent book at dinner parties held in private homes throughout the Hamptons.

And I was thrilled to come off of beach yoga this morning – too dreamy – to read a Twitter post at my @chefsgardens from @MontaukNiteLife showing a picture/image of the Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook and the post: “A must for any Hamptons foodie!”
How fast can you RT?!

Thank you from the bottom of my Homegrown heart.

Plus, I am going to enjoy some time with my new homegrown Jam friend, Sean, from House Beautiful and his own passion, www.SpectacularyDelicious.com/

And no frets for that NY Times story today about Montauk Hipster Fatigue.  No hats for them.  Literally.  Especially that cursed Fedora J\  New York Times Hipster Fatigue in Montauk

Thursday, August 2, 2012

WOR News Talk Radio Interview with Joan Hamburg

If you squint a lot, you can nearly make out my name in the window! 

I was thrilled to be able to share the good food news of The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook on the popular, WOR News Talk Radio 710 show with The Joan Hamburg Show, radio personality and foodie enthusiast. And a media inspiration....

Joan was very generous and keenly interested, especially about the fact that the Homegrown Cookbook not only featured her favorite food haunts, such as Nick & Toni’s and Almond, but ALL of Long Island’s noteworthy locavore chefs and their growers. 

Long Island is a cornucopia of artisanal food artisans – growing, making, fishing, and breeding the freshest, tastiest, healthiest homegrown ingredients.  And the Homegrown Cookbook is an homage to the land and waters of this very special terroir.
Or as Long Island Newsday referred to it, “A love letter to Long Island.”

If you missed the interview, please listen here:
The Joan Hamburg Show WOR Radio interview with author/me Leeann on the Food Focus segment (10:45 into show)  Enjoy!

The show asked me to provide a recipe to post on the radio show’s web site. 
One recipe??!  I sent five.  Too hard to choose just one. Ha.
Natalie, Joan’s top-flight producer made sure that two made it to the website.
You can see for yourself:

From the Homegrown Cookbook, here is Chef Joe, Nick & Toni’s East Hampton restaurant, recipe for Peconic Bay Scallops
From Chef Matt Connors, The Lake House in Bayport, here is the recipe for Cherry Tomato Gazpacho

You can Like the Joan Hamburg WOR Show on Facebook and The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook too The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Facebook page