You know how when you order food in a restaurant and you wait and wait and wait and it’s been like 45 minutes, so then you get up to use the loo and lo and behold, your food arrives at the table? That’s what this column is about. Eastern European food. The hearty, heavy, frigid-weather cuisine that keeps the Georgians and Hungarians and their neighbors fortified during long miserable winters.
My friends Cindy and Jimmy have a huge glass jar filled with pistachios on their kitchen counter. When I say huge, I mean it. It is the size of a Southern church lady’s iced tea dispenser. And it’s always full.
I find this comforting . . . and tasty. When I remarked on it the other day, Jimmy asked, “Why haven’t you ever written about nuts? They’re good for you!”
So thank you, Jimmy, here it is.
This recipe is based on Union Square Cafe’s bar nuts, but I use a healthier, less fattening variety of nuts. I pack bags of this for long-distance travel and add dried cranberries or cherries and sometimes dark chocolate chips.
Makes about 41/2 cups, more if you add dried fruit and/or chocolate.
11/2 lbs. variety of unsalted nuts; I use:
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
I used to keep a menu book. No one seems to know what those are anymore. If you Google them, all you get are restaurant supply stores offering you big leather-bound menu covers, or books like “7-Day Menu Planner for Dummies” and “Dinner: The Playbook — a 30 Day Plan for Mastering the Art of the Family Meal.” In other words, all you find are books for people who hate to cook, or don’t have time, and probably don’t even want to sit down to dinner with their family and friends.
Butternut Squash With Ginger and Rosemary
Here’s the recipe, again, for my oft-repeated butternut squash. I got it from my Korean stepmother-out-law. Figure that one out.
6 cups cubed butternut squash
2 Tbsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. dried crumbled rosemary leaves
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Abraham Lincoln’s Favorite Chicken Fricasee
This recipe is from one of my favorite books, “The First Ladies Cookbook,” which is “compiled and edited by outstanding culinary and historical Authorities.”
It sounds more like fried chicken with gravy but it is called a fricasee in the book. I told you Honest Abe was not a foodie.
No serving amounts given.
2 to 3 fryers, cut up
Flour, for dredging
1/2 pint cream
Mary’s Pie Crust
This is Mary Schoenlein’s most excellent pie crust recipe.
Makes one double-crust pie, enough for an eight or nine-inch pan.
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
10 Tbsp. butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
5 Tbsp. shortening, also chilled
4 to 6 Tbsp. ice water
I have always wondered why there is the expression “easy as pie.” Pie is not that easy to make! Turns out the expression began as “easy as eating pie.” Now that makes sense. However, I am hoping that this pie column will encourage you to take the leap, perfect a piecrust, make a bunch, and keep them in your freezer so you can whip one up on a whim.
The following is excerpted from Laura Donnelly's restaurant review in this week's Star. More ideas for meals on the go can be found in the Star's Restaurant Guide: easthamptonstar.com/restaurants.
It's Columbus Day weekend AND the Hamptons International Film Festival is on the East End so I know all of you ladies and gentlemen and black-clad cinephiles want to know where to eat. With movies being shown in 6 locations from Southampton to Montauk your dining options are plentiful.