Friday, February 14, 2014

The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook "Look Book" Part 2

Picking up The Hampton & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook thread from the previous Look Book Part 1 post...

Let’s see – we had just ended a magical, delicious, Homegrown event at the Hayground School for the Great Chefs Dinner.

East Hamptons Authors Night
Next up was the annual East Hampton Authors Night – also a benefit – for the East Hampton Library.  The event is the brainchild of actor, thought-leader and philanthropist, Alec Baldwin, and his Founding Co-Chair Barbara Goldsmith. 

Authors Night for those of you who haven’t attended, is held under the tent at Gardiner Farm and there are hundreds of famous, illustrious authors, writers, celebrities and literary lions who come out to meet and greet the authors.

It’s an intimate one-one-one affair, and at the same time, can feel a bit like a pep rally before the big game because there is a determined frisson in the air --  with all guests and attendees tucked into a place and fueled with anticipation and one goal: 
Buy as many books as you can and get them autographed while posing for photos.

As the evening progresses and the audience size swells and the humidity rises and the refreshments are flowing – there is an undeniable crescendo. 
I rather melt at that point but my enthusiasm and joy buoy my diminishing look. 

My publisher graciously provides two or three cases of books for the benefit.
We sold out of all the books within the first hour or so. 
Sooo thrilling!  I am so proud. 

Thank you to all the Hamptons & Long Island fans who made this happen for the East Hampton Library.
This gave me the chance to walk around a bit and capture some of the surrounding star power – right next to me that I hadn’t notices because I was working so focused on signing my Homegrown books.

Plus, this year, I had the great honor to host both Toni Sabatino and Chef Bryan Futerman as my plus+ones at the Authors Night – and later for the Hamptons Magazine event – so I had Homegrown support.

My Homegrown blog post from the Authors Night details my astonishment at finding that Gwyneth Paltrow was in my “table tribe.”  

I was especially over the moon when I sat down next to her as she was racing and working hard to sign books for all her fans, and as we exchanged greetings, she learned I was the author of The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook to say,
“That’s YOUR book? 
I LOVE your book”….
And the Homegrown love went on from there...

Padma Lakshmi was to have been my tablemate at the East Hampton Library benefit but only her books were there – we didn’t get to meet the star of Top Chef till later at the Hamptons Magazine Authors dinner celebration. 

Alec Baldwin and his gorgeous wife, Hilaria – who at that moment was über-pregnant and oh-so-adorable - spent time with Gwyneth and her children. 

And then Hilaria and I chatted. 

FYI, I have been a member and student of Hilaria’s Yoga Vida studio around the corner from our apartment before I even knew they were dating…
She’s a doll.

Hilaria Favorited my Twitter post too. 

Hamptons Magazine Authors Party

After meeting so many fans, authors and celebs, it was time to head to THE event of the summer and the premiere dinner party in the constellation of author parties that follow the East Hampton Library Authors Night.  

Me, Toni Sabatino, and Chef Bryan Futerman -- my Homegrown Plus+One Guests, headed to Michael Braverman’s home: host to the Hamptons Magazine party.  

Braverman wrote a feature story in Hamptons Magazine about the featured authors and his party gala and its debut marked the event.  

Braverman’s library-designed home, the gardens and pool; the exquisite cocktail hour around the Slim Aaron’s photoscape of a landscape was pure magic.

Dinner was held under a big tent at the far end of the pool area. The twinkling lights beckoned, there were maybe a dozen tables all accessorized with fresh floral designs. 

All evening the “Water of the Hamptons” was poured -- otherwise known as Rosé wines provided by Château D’Esclans.

Our tablemate was Paul Chevalier, the vineyards’ National Fine Wine Director. 

At Paul’s invitation, I have since attended his Wine Seminar: “The Rosé Lifestyle of St. Tropez” at the recent Food & Wine Festival in NYC.  

After the catered meal and before a delicious dessert, each of the featured authors were asked to stand as their profile and the thumbnail of their book was read to the guests.

The magnificent Debra Halpert, Publisher, Hamptons Magazine
Debra Halpert, the very elegant, classy, kind, and cosmopolitan Publisher of Hampton’s Magazine read my bio as I stood before the dinner guests.
It was an out of body experience, as you might imagine.
It remains a remarkable honor…
I am eternally grateful for this moment.

Later, the authors were asked to retreat to Michael’s library for photos.  

This was followed by more Hamptons-in-the-summer bonhomie with all the guests eventually joining us before it was time for the glass slipper to come off…

(See detail news of the event here:)

The Homegrown App

I always knew there’d be a kind of App for the Homegrown Cookbook. 
I didn’t know what it would be or how it would work. But I knew.
I was taking video of the chefs and growers during my interviews and the photo shoots in anticipation of the App.

As I wrote in Homegrown “Look Book” Part 1, I was first approached by the App developer at the Cook Book Conference.
We first met in July, at the too precious, Buvette Restaurant in the West Village where you feel like you’ve stepped into a Paris café, complete with garden! 

Here we talked about the Homegrown look, the content – to embrace the gardens and the food and recipes; the recipe steps…
It was all so interesting – fascinating, really – and I learned a lot. 
It was a fortuitous start. 

We touched base again in the fall, after my publisher’s new CEO started the conversation to approval and "Yes."

Rizzoli Bookstore Feature

Thank goodness, Chef Guy Reuge alerted me to a jewel of a Homegrown high point: that Rizzoli Bookstore was featuring the Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook as a Rizzoli Recommendation. 
This I had to see.  
After I dropped off Chef Eric’s Homegrown Cookbook at Le Bernardin, I made my way to 57th Street to see this overwhelming and humbling turn of events.
It’s hilarious that I was so thrilled to see the Homegrown Cookbook sitting pretty on an end cap bookshelf that I just about missed the main attraction! 
But there it was, cozying up to the likes of Bobby Flay and other famous “faces.” 
If I wasn’t propped up against the opposite wall’s books, I think I would’ve fainted dead away with joy and pride.

This “Rizzoli Rhapsody” was on top of a book signing I’d done there previously with the help of a featured Homegrown Chef: Joe Isidori.  (I’ve just learned that Chef Joe is opening a new restaurant next month in SoHo!  I will visit with Chef Joe for coffee next week and report back!) 

These Rizzoli moments are even more dramatic given that just last month it was announced that the building where Rizzoli is located might be demolished!!  

This is too gruesome to comprehend.

The Paris Review wrote:  "It’s the sort of place that inspires breathless exaltation in book lovers, or even merely book likers; if you were to publish a magazine of bookseller porn, Rizzoli would be the centerfold. Put more baldly, it’s magical."

I couldn’t agree more.  
Photo courtesy of Rizzoli, David Hager

On Rizzoli’s Facebook page I wrote:                                     

            The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook ‪The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook hugs for having featured me and my Cookbook for a ‪Rizzoli Bookstore book signing. Thank you for allowing me & one of the chefs featured in the book, chef Joe Isidori to accompany me. Chef Joe provided the tasty food treats that night. It was an extraordinary honor and a high point in my life - as it is for any author… And thank you for featuring the book this summer as a Rizzoli Recommendation. More Homegrown love… Rizzoli is the epitome of book & literary culture. Rizzoli must endure.            

Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook poster next to door on left 

Please join me and sign the petition to save Rizzoli Bookstore. 
Designate the building as Landmark in order to preserve this mecca of all things literary and beautiful:

The Library

On a happier note, it was an impossibly beautiful Indian Summer day in early September for Sachem Library’s first-ever Author Book Fair.  

The Sachem Library has a very well designed and tended garden – an idyllic spot to enjoy both garden art and literary art.
It was a smooth as silk day and everyone was in good spirits, happy to be surrounded by so much beauty.
I was positioned at the entrance to the garden and I was so happy to share my Homegrown stories and sign books.  

I noted that here, so many teens were edible and homegrown fans!  

During this time, I also learned that the Homegrown Cookbook was made available to the library systems that buy it and make it available as an E-Book, in addition to the print copies of the book.

And I also learned that the Homegrown Cookbook was selling as an E-Book on its Nook via Barnes & Noble!

Life's a Beach, Parties, Giveaway Contests, and Holiday Gift Guides and Eating Green
Cruising through Autumn and teeing up for the Homegrown Holidays were lots of articles and newsletters and blogs and then we arranged a Homegrown book giveaway with Long Island’s Macaroni Kid, which was great fun. I loved working with Ellen and was giggly hearing how happy the foodie winner of the Homegrown Cookbook was to receive her signed copy. 

It was a high point to attend the launch of Edible Magazine’s newest jewel in their Edible crown: Edible Long Island

The launch party was held, accordingly, at Chef Tom Schaudel’s Jewel restaurant (

The refrain from “At Last” might’ve been heard lilting through the many tiers of Jewel’s lofty, airy, restaurant spaces.
The time for Edible Long Island had indeed arrived; at long last. 
And judging by the huge crowd in attendance, it promised to be a spectacular party, marked by pride of place. Edible put the count at nearly 400. 
I got to visit with Long Island Farmer's Market Bernadette Martin and What's Cooking Smithtown, Nancy Vallarella.

I hope it’s obvious that I couldn’t agree more with the celebration of Long Island Food & Drink.
A big Homegrown Thank You to editor Betsy Davidson and her team for allowing me and my Farmigo friends a corner table to share my Homegrown Cookbook stories and food adventures.  

All the chefs, growers, fishermen, brewers, and artisanal food makers at the event presented exciting and delicious offerings. 
I was so very happy to see our host and featured Homegrown Cookbook chef, Tom Schaudel. 
His oysters were scandalously good!  I had more than a few… 

And of course, Mirabelle’s Chef Guy Reuge, another favorite chef from the Homegrown Cookbook, along with his gorgeous wife, Maria, served up exquisite fare: Long Island Duck confit.  

There was also Long Island Spirits – my favorite vodka for my evening martini. 

I missed meeting Deb from Sweet’tauk Lemonade (
But shortly thereafter I was introduced by way of my dear, Homegrown foodie friend, Laura Luciano, blogger at OutEastFoodie (

Laura thought the Homegrown Cookbook would be perfect for Sweet’tauk’s Holiday pop up shop and so faster than you can say Homegrown Long Island, we got some books to Deb and were in business. 
Homegrown love for sure… Thank you, ladies.

Then, Edible East End Magazine included The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook as part of their Holiday Gift Guide.
The connection here runs deep. 
Brian Halweil, Edible’s editor and co-publisher wrote the Foreword for The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook and Lindsay Morris, Edible’s photographer extraordinaire was also a photographer for the Homegrown Cookbook.

Thank you, Brian and Lindsay.  Can't say it enough.

And thank you for including The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook in the Edible Holiday Gift Guide

Beach Magazine chose The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook as one of the top cookbooks of 2013.
As an author, there I was, "sandwiched" between Ricky Lauren and Katie Lee - and in the company of Ina Garten…

Right after Christmas, I had the opportunity to connect with Bhavani Jaroff, Long Island’s natural foods chef, educator, food activist, and radio host. 
This iEatGreen’s initial news about the interview:

We talked for I think an hour about Homegrown food and edible gardens and eating local, fresh food.
Here is the link to the interview:

Thank you Bhavani.  Keep it green… 

I had almost forgotten about WellWed Hamptons Magazine… Egads.  

And I didn’t even know about the Bridal Booty Homegrown Giveaway until just now while I was looking for the link to the Gift Guide! 

This is so cool. The editors of WellWed poised a Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook in a picnic basket – don’t you adore picnics? – along with Fare Isle Herb de Provence Finishing Salt

See, it turns out it was a contest.  In November.
I didn’t know. 
I didn’t get to thank the editors, nor to congratulate and sign the winning bride’s Homegrown Cookbook.

I will make amends on this toute-suite.

If you follow the above link, you will see the cute Contest reads:

Happy Wedding Wednesday Brides & Grooms! We're so delighted to be giving away the innovative Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook along with fabulous Fare Isle Herb de Provence Finishing Salt!
This special cookbook written by Leeann Lavin is a resource any bride would be lucky to have in her possession. Not only will you find recipes that are to die for, but you will also be enlightened about the local culinary masters who created them, taking all the stress out of figuring out who will cater your very special day. To the chefs in this book, locally sourced is not just a trend but rather a way of life. All recipes are made with the freshest ingredients from local farms and the end result is homegrown, delectable cuisine that also promotes sustainability. To aid you with all the cooking you're going to be inspired to do, we are also giving away Fare Isle's Herb de Provence Finishing Salt. Made from fresh Nantucket grown herbs, this finishing salt will be the perfect seasoning to delight your palate. Given the artful packaging, these little bottles of herbs make for adorable wedding favors that guests will be sure to love!
Don't miss your chance to win this incredible cookbook and finishing salts!
For a chance to win the cookbook & finishing salts "like" this post on WellWed Facebook Page ( and message us your email address. One lucky winner will be chosen at random and will be notified via email within a week.

What was enchanting was to receive the beautifully curated and written WellWed Hamptons Magazine.  The very professional editorial team sent me a copy with the page marked where the Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook is featured as a perfect wedding gift.  Sweet…

I love the size of the magazine – it’s more of a square – and one you want to hold and peruse.  The photos and layout are gorgeous.  Very inspiring. Especially when love is in the air.  
Thank you for a year filled with Homegrown Love. 
It’s been a thrilling, too-good-to-be true year – thank you for sharing the journey with me. It’s truly an honor to share the stories of the Homegrown chefs and the growers and artisanal food makers who inspire them.
Our reverence for the land and sea that provides us the Homegrown ingredients is boundless.
And that Homegrown should start off 2014 still selling half the volume online as it did at its peak at the time of introduction and that I am ranked a “top” author in the mid five digits - out of more than 8 million is an achievement of which I am most proud.  Thank you for your continued interest and support and sharing the good news of Homegrown food and drink.
You can purchase The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook from local, independent bookstores:
Online at Amazon:

Or Barnes & Noble:
Or from me…

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