Tag Archives: Hampton Bays

Everything Old is New Again!

Driving back from Southampton to Hampton Bays a few years ago, Ron and I came across an elderly gentleman who had some old treasures for sale beside the highway. He had an old and very rusted cast iron Griswold No. 8 Tite-Top Dutch Oven for sale. I hummed and hawed and we finally decided to buy it for $55 (that was before cast iron became incredibly popular, especially for an antique piece). I was just learning about the magic of cooking with cast iron at that time and wasn’t sure how I would clean it up, what I would cook in it, never mind how we would transport this heavy piece back to Cabo from New York. At the time, I also mistakenly thought that I’d paid too much for this old rusted pot.

I wasn’t in New York with Ron last summer, so I decided to take on the task of rejuvenating this old piece this year if I possibly could. I googled to find if there was any information on how to clean rusty cast iron and there was a great deal of resource material available, thank heavens. I chose one that looked simple and used natural cleaning ingredients. Here’s what it looked like when I started:

I made a paste of baking soda and water and spread it over the entire pot; bottom, lid and insert.

The next step was to pour white vinegar over each component separately and start scrubbing with a Brillo pad until the rust was lifted. It took lots of elbow grease, but when I rinsed everything off, the results were amazing!

I find the best thing to season (to seal the surface and give your cast iron a beautiful black patina) and maintain (apply after every use) my cast iron with is ghee (clarified butter) as it has a high smoke point and keeps the rust away. Here is the finished product:

I was thrilled with how it turned out! I wonder who owned it before and what delicious food was cooked in it. I love that the pot has some history! It was definitely worth the money we paid and I’m very excited to bake some sourdough bread in it very soon!

From Mediocre to Sublime

From Mediocre to Sublime

We were invited over to our friend Monte’s for dinner last week. Monte, Ron and I all love mussels, so I offered to prepare them as our contribution to the meal. One of my missions on this last trip to New York was to enjoy as much seafood as possible, so buying mussels at Cor-J Seafood (a great place for the BEST fresh fish and seafood in the Hamptons) and bringing them to Monte’s fit in well with my plan.

Steamed Mussels

Steamed Mussels

I’ve prepared mussels a few times and was looking for a new and different way to do them. In a large stockpot on Monte’s grill, I browned a quarter pound of porchetta (which Ron and I had purchased at Scotto’s, the local pork store in Hampton Bays), cut in small cubes, in 1 tbsp. olive oil, then added a generous pinch of hot red pepper flakes, a medium onion, diced, and one large clove of garlic, finely minced. When the onion was cooked to translucent, I added a bottle of beer and the fresh mussels (approximately 3 dozen) that had been thoroughly rinsed in cold water in a colander (be sure to tap any mussels that are opened and, if they do not close, throw them out as they are bad and should NOT be eaten). Once the contents of the pot were boiling, I lowered the heat to medium, covered the pot, and simmered for approximately 7 minutes or until the mussels began to open. I turned the heat off and added 2 tbsp. butter (for flavor) and 2 tbsp. of fresh parsley, chopped fine, for color and garnish.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder

The mussels prepared this way were fine, but I’ve had better recipes. We had a lot of leftover porchetta/onion/beer/mussel broth left over and I decided to make a Manhattan Clam Chowder the next day to use it up. I found a great recipe for Manhattan Clam Chowder by Sam Sifton in the NYT Cooking App and modified it to make the BEST, and I mean the BEST, clam chowder I’ve ever tasted, or certainly made, in the past. Using the broth from the steamed mussels from the night before created the most delicious broth – seriously, like the best bouilabaisse you’ve experienced. Here’s what I did and what I’ll definitely do again:

1). Over medium-low heat, melt 2 tbsp. butter and added 1 large onion, diced, and 2 large cloves of garlic, minced;

2). Once the onion was cooked to translucent, add 4 ribs of celery and 4 large carrots, all diced into small cubes;

3). Stir in 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed, and 1 litre of low sodium chicken broth and bring to a simmer;

4). Add the leftover porchetta/onion/beer/mussel broth from the night before, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp. of dried thyme, 1/4 tsp. of black pepper and a generous pinch of hot red pepper flakes;

5). When the potatoes are tender, add 1 – 28 oz. can of Italian whole tomatoes and, using your hands, squeeze the whole tomatoes into large chunks and add to the chowder with all of the juice;

6). Add 2 small (284 g) cans of chopped clams with their juices and allow to simmer for 5 minutes;

7). Remove stock pot from heat, and remove and discard bay leaves;

8). Let the chowder sit to allow the flavors to blend and reheat to serve. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and garlic toast or, if you’re on the East coast, oyster crackers (traditionally served with chowders and bisques).

Even though the initial mussel recipe wasn’t my favorite, I would make it again in a heartbeat to repeat this Manhattan Clam Chowder. Like any good stew, this chowder got better and better every time we reheated it and was truly delicious!

The Best Omelet Ever at The Hampton Maid!

Twice a year, Ron and I have the great privilege of traveling from Cabo San Lucas to Southampton, New York and then back again. (over 5,100 miles each way). I joined him in early October this year so that we could do a little touring and exploring before we hit the long road back to Mexico.

We took our car in for servicing one morning before we left to ensure that it was road worthy and ready for the long trip and walked to a well-known restaurant in Hampton Bays for breakfast while the car was being worked on. The Hampton Maid, established in the year I was born, offers lodging, a great little gift ship and a restaurant that only serves breakfast (www.hamptonmaid.com). When you serve breakfast that is this good, you only need to be open for this meal every day!

The staff was very friendly and the service was excellent. Looking around the room, it was apparent that the restaurant was enjoyed by lodging guests, locals reading the latest Dan’s Paper or the morning’s New York Times, and people meeting for business. Our waitress delivered a carafe of coffee to the table while we considered the menu and the specials that she described for us. Ron chose Eggs Benedict and I ordered their featured omelet and we decided to share a side dish of corned beef hash. The food was prepared and served to us quickly; beautifully plated and presented on warmed plates. Ron’s dish was very good and the beef hash was home made and delicious. The omelet, however, was truly outstanding – without question the very best omelet either of us had ever tasted. The omelet itself was the lightest and fluffiest I’ve ever had and they flavored it with very thin julienne slices of ham, Brie, and a locally grown Honey Crisp apple. It was not only visually colorful and appealing, but the combination of sweet and savory flavors was a delightful surprise.  This omelet was so good that we stopped to pass along our kudos and compliments to the chef and his team.

When we’re back in the Hamptons next summer, we’ll definitely return to The Hampton Maid for another fabulous omelet, hunt for Honey Crisp apples and try to recreate that delicious omelet all year long until we’re back to enjoy the very best once again at The Hampton Maid.