8 Surefire Tips for Labor Day Grilling Success

Labor Day’s not the end for this year’s outdoor cooking—depending on where you live, you’ve probably got at least a couple more months’ grilling time. But there’s no time of year with a bounty of produce better suited to cooking over the coals, nor a m…

Labor Day's not the end for this year's outdoor cooking—depending on where you live, you've probably got at least a couple more months' grilling time. But there's no time of year with a bounty of produce better suited to cooking over the coals, nor a more pleasant time to linger in the yard all day, sipping on something frosty.

Labor Day is often considered a last hurrah, a till next year to summer. And so we better honor it! Check your charcoal stores (or propane levels) and start dreaming up a menu—and keep these 8 tips for successful, memorable late-summer grilling in mind:

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Hamptons Fall Baking Workshop October 6-7

This October 6-7, Susan Spungen and I are holding our 2nd annual Fall Baking Workshop in the Hamptons!We will gather at Susan’s light-filled home in Amagansett during one of the mo…

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This October 6-7, Susan Spungen and I are holding our 2nd annual Fall Baking Workshop in the Hamptons!

We will gather at Susan’s light-filled home in Amagansett during one of the most beautiful times of year to bake, harvest, share farm fresh meals, and most importantly demystify homemade pie crust so you can impress all of your friends and family this holiday season and hone those skills you’ve always longed to master.

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Saturday morning we will meet at Amber Waves Farm for breakfast and farm tour before heading to The Milk Pail in Watermill to pick fresh apples (weather permitting). Then we will head to Susan’s home for pie crust class where Yossy and Susan will share their favorite pie crust recipes, teach you how make pie crust by hand, and using a food processor. Everyone will work hands-on to make their own doughs. 

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We will cover the best crusts for sweet and savory treats and how to incorporate whole grains into pastry crust. We will enjoy a seasonal lunch together at Susan’s home, then a brief photo lesson for those who are interested and a bit of afternoon free time. The group will share a cozy fall dinner complete with treats we will make together. 

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Sunday we will start the day with breakfast at Susan’s house and a visit to Quail Hill Farm farm to pick vegetables. Susan and Yossy will demonstrate pie decorating and galette making techniques. Susan will give a Tarte Tatin demo to demystify this special dessert that relies on good and precise technique. Then we will let you loose in the kitchen to make your own galettes to take home. We will enjoy savory galettes for lunch before sending you all home with fresh pies and fresh confidence for the holiday season.

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  • Baking Lessons - We will each demonstrate our favorite pie crust techniques both by hand and using a food processor, and show you how we use them in sweet and savory treats all season long. We’ll cover the basics, like proper rolling technique, how to use a French rolling pin, how to keep your dough at the right temperature, how to pick up dough to transfer it, and so much more! We’ll show you blind baking techniques, decorative pie crusts, and traditional lattice topped pies. Then we will let you loose in the kitchen to bake your own galette to take home. You will receive one-on-one instruction from each of us.
  • Farm Visits - Fall in the Northeast is a beautiful and abundant time in the orchards and fields. We will visit a local pick-your-own apple orchard for perfect baking apples, tour at Amber Waves, and stop by Quail Hill Farm for greens and herbs to make into savory galettes. 
  • Fresh Seasonal Meals - We will gather together around the table for breakfasts, lunches, apertivo hour, dinner, and snacks along the way all made from fresh local ingredients.
  • Photography and Styling - While this isn’t a photography workshop specifically, we will all want to share our creations so we’ll spend a bit of time photographing our beautiful work to share on social media.
  • All skill levels are welcome. This will be a perfect opportunity to enjoy fall on Eastern Long Island and polish your skills so you feel confident in your holiday pie baking and pie-making skills.

Transportation to the workshop and lodging is not included. We have identified a few local hotels and inns for the weekend. See list below.

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The Details

When: October 6-7

What: 2 days of baking, tasting, harvesting, learning

Number of participants: 8 

Price: $950

What's included:

  • Two lunches, one dinner, two breakfasts, and snacks along the way
  • Baking lessons and ingredients
  • Farm visits
  • Treats to take home

What's not included:

  • Transportation to and from the workshop
  • Lodging during the workshop
  • Meals when you’re not with the group
  • Any activities or items not listed above

Cancellation policy: Please be sure you can attend before booking. All payments are non-refundable. We reserve the right to cancel the workshop at any time. In this case all payments will be refunded.

All activities are weather permitting. 


Lodging

Gansett Green Manor - Gansett Green normally has a three night minimum, but they are happy to host our guests for two nights instead. Mention Susan when you make your reservation.  Gansett Green Manor is in the center of town and walking distance from LIRR station or Hampton Jitney stop. Perfect for two people traveling together as they have many suites. Charming property

434 on Main - A Bed and Breakfast in town, which is walking distance from LIRR station or Hampton Jitney stop, 2 night minimum

Inn at Windmill Lane - If you are looking for a super luxurious getaway, there is also The Inn at Windmill Lane $$$

Air BnB or VRBO - most activities will take place in Amagansett so that's a great place to start your search

Note: If you do not have a car, we will shuttle people from a central location in Amagansett. Susan’s home is 5 minutes from the center of Amagansett (Uber is also available)

Options a little further out of town (you'd need a car)

East Hampton House

The Maidstone Arms

White Sands Resort Hotel

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Blueberry Galette with Cornmeal Thyme Crust

I’m thrilled to be officially married to my best friend! At the moment, married life does not feel very different, but I suppose when you have been together over eight years you ar…

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I'm thrilled to be officially married to my best friend! At the moment, married life does not feel very different, but I suppose when you have been together over eight years you are comfortable in your relationship. Although this day was a long time coming, it still feels strange to call Chris my husband.

Our wedding day was a hot, humid ninety-degree day with no wind to provide relief, but the rain blessedly stayed away. The sun was covered by a hazy sky from wildfire smoke which made the dappled, diffuse light perfect for photography. Although the groom was recovering from the flu, the illness was quickly forgotten in the emotion of the day. In front of our immediate family, we said our handwritten vows and became husband and wife.

Our wedding day may have had its share of imperfections, but to us these imperfections are what made it a perfect day.

With no honeymoon planned, we are trying to enjoy the last few slow days of summer as a married couple before the school year begins again. To add a special touch to our evenings, I made us a dessert to share as newlyweds. This blueberry galette made with a cornmeal thyme crust is perfect for both of us—Chris loves desserts with a chewy texture and I adore the flavor of late summer blueberries.

For this galette, the added cornmeal in the pie crust lends a chewy, flaky texture, while the fresh thyme adds a subtle herbed flavor. However, the real star of the galette is the blueberries. While the galette works beautifullywith frozen blueberries, I recommend you find the ripest berries of the season to take it over the top. The wild blueberries I found at the local farmer's market made this galette disappear quickly.

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This Blueberry Galette with Cornmeal Thyme Crust allows late summer's seasonal offerings to shine. A galette is similar in many ways to a pie, but I find it easier to throw together, which makes it perfect for the lazy days of summer. The cornmeal thyme crust gives the galette additional flavor and texture, which makes this dessert stand out from others. Serve the galette warm or cold with a scoop of ice cream or coconut whipped cream.

One Year Ago: Fresh Herb Bread
Two Years Ago:  Fig Oatmeal Bars 
Three Years Ago: Iced Matcha Coconut Latte 
Four Years Ago: Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies & Citrus Zucchini Muffins
Five Years Ago: Blueberry Braided Bread, Date Flapjacks, & Nordic Pancake Cake
Six Years Ago: Summer Berry Pavlova, Mango Coconut Popsicles, French Silk Pie, & Blueberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes
Seven Years Ago: Coconut Pancakes, Chocolate Beet CakeZucchini Bread, & Lemon Blueberry Scones
Eight Years Ago: Chocolate Pear Cake & Brown Sugar Coconut Bubble Tea

Blueberry Galette with Cornmeal Thyme Crust

Yields 8-10 servings

Cornmeal Thyme Pie Crust
1 3/4 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (108 grams) yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped and lightly packed
1 cup (225 grams) butter, cold and cubed
4-8 tablespoons ice water

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and fresh thyme. Add half of the cold cubed butter and rub the butter and flour between your fingers until it resembles coarse sand. Add the second half the cubed butter and rub in into the flour, but leave it in larger pieces (approximately the size of your thumbnail). Add four tablespoons of ice water and mix the dough together until uniform. Gradually add more water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together when squeezed in your hand. 

Place the dough on parchment paper and use the paper to press the dough into a uniform disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least a half hour (or up to 2-3 days). For a step-by-step tutorial in making pie dough, follow the instructions here.

Blueberry Filling
2 pints (24 oz or 680 grams) blueberries
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons granulated sugar*
Egg wash (1 large egg + 1 tablespoon water, whisked)
2 tablespoons demerara or raw sugar, for sprinkling

In a mixing bowl, fold together blueberries, cornstarch, and sugar until uniform. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough into a circle roughly 1/8-inch thick. Place the blueberry mixture into the center of the circle and spread out until it is a uniform thickness, leaving a two-inch border on all edges. Fold the border of the pie dough over the filling, pleating the dough every two or so inches. Brush the visible pie dough with egg wash and sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly over the dough and the filling. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes to firm up the crust.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the blueberries have released their juices. Cool slightly before serving. Serve with a topping of whipped cream or side of vanilla ice cream.

*Add more or less to taste, depending on the sweetness of the berries.