Food & Drink

Photo from Pexels

By Barbara Beltrami

O.K. We New Yorkers know the value of a perfect bagel with lox and cream cheese. It’s definitely the Sunday morning default breakfast for many of us, but beyond the bagel, smoked salmon is definitely a go-to feature for an elegant brunch, lunch or cocktail party. As we’re thinking outside the box, let’s contemplate a delicate pasta doused with a cream sauce infused with smoked salmon Let’s serve up a savory pumpernickel bread pudding laced with it or easy-as-can-be smoked salmon and goat cheese rollups.

Angel Hair Pasta with Creamy Smoked Salmon Sauce

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

 INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large shallot peeled and chopped

4 ounces smoked salmon torn into bite    size pieces

1 cup heavy cream

Scant 1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions (reserve 1/4 cup of cooking liquid)

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

DIRECTIONS:

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium high heat; add shallot and cook until transparent but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add salmon pieces and stirring with a wooden spoon, cook until it turns a light pink, about one more minute. Add cream and capers, then sparingly the salt and pepper as the salmon and capers lend their own saltiness. In a large bowl combine the sauce and pasta and toss to thoroughly coat. If the sauce seems a little sparse, add the reserved cooking water, a few tablespoons at a time. Toss again and sprinkle with dill. Serve with a delicate salad.

Savory Smoked Salmon and Pumpernickel Bread Pudding

YIELD: Serves 6

INGREDIENTS: 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 loaf pumpernickel bread, thickly sliced, cut into cubes and toasted 

3/4 pound smoked salmon, thinly sliced and torn into bite-size pieces 

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained

2 cups milk

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 Generous handful fresh dill, chopped

1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with butter. In a large bowl combine the bread, smoked salmon, onion and capers. In another medium-large bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, mustard, and salt and pepper; then stir in the dill and cheese. Pour mixture over bread mixture and toss to thoroughly coat; let sit 10 minutes so bread absorbs liquid. Pour entire mixture into prepared baking dish and bake until puffy and golden, about 45 minutes. Serve hot or warm with fresh fruit or spinach salad.

Smoked Salmon Rollups

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

 INGREDIENTS:

4 ounces chive cream cheese at room temp

4 ounces goat cheese, softened

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 to 2 tablespoons cream

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons grated English cucumber 

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 

8 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon 

Fresh dill for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, thoroughly combine cream cheese, goat cheese, lemon juice, cream, chives, dill, cucumber, and salt and pepper. On a sheet of waxed paper arrange the smoked salmon into a 3” x 12” rectangle. With your fingers press slices or pieces together to fill in gaps; gently spread cheese mixture over salmon, then starting at long end, roll up as tightly as possible. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Unwrap and slice into 1/2” discs. Garnish with fresh dill. Serve with cocktails.

Stock photo

Theatre Three Food Drive

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will hold a Theatre Three Cares food and personal care items drive to benefit the Open Cupboard food pantry at Infant Jesus Church on Saturday, March 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Food items needed include Mac & cheese, canned pasta, pasta sauce, tuna, peanut butter, jelly, coffee, sugar, flour, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, cooking oil, oatmeal, pancake mix, pancake syrup, black beans, rice, boxed milk, juice, canned fruit, healthy snacks, fresh chicken and ground beef and hot dogs.

Personal care items needed include shampoo, conditioner, soap, baby shampoo, diapers, pull-ups, baby wipes, deoderant, feminine pads, toilet paper, razors, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Donations will be collected in the back of the theater on the south side of the building. They are also accepting donations of grocery store gift cards and cash to purchase whatever else is needed. If you prefer, you can remain in your vehicle for a contact-free drop off. For more information, call Brian at 631-938-6464.

Photo from Councilman LaValle's office

On Feb. 24 Councilman Kevin LaValle and Suffolk County Legislator Nick Caracappa joined other community leaders in welcoming Lidl Grocery Store to Selden at their grand opening-ribbon cutting ceremony. Located in the Selden Plaza shopping center at 211 Middle Country Road in the former Best Market, the new store is the fourth Lidl location in the Town of Brookhaven, including Lake Grove, Patchogue, and Center Moriches. 

Lidl’s history dates back to 1973, when the first modern Lidl store opened in Ludwigshafen, Germany. With only three employees and about 500 products, this small store became the foundation of Lidl’s far-reaching expansion. During the 1990s, they began opening stores outside of Germany and within a few years, had stores all across Europe.

They now operate approximately 11,200 stores, are active in 32 countries, and employ more than 310,000 people globally. In June 2015, they established their U.S. headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, and now sell their award-winning products in more than 100 stores in nine states across the East Coast.

Leg. Nick Caracappa makes a statement during the grand opening of Lidl in Selden

“I welcome Lidl to Selden, as their commitment to Long Island has been steadfast. I look forward to them servicing our community as well. What makes Lidl a welcome addition to Selden is its commitment to environmental responsibility, and its effort to support groups in addressing hunger,” said Legislator Caracappa.                                                    

“I welcome the new Lidl food market to Selden and encourage people to stop by. They are well known for discount prices and for their community outreach, and I look forward to working with them in the future to benefit the Selden residents. Congratulations and good luck in the new location,” added Councilman LaValle.  

Pictured in top photo, from left, are Linda Miller, President of the Selden Civic Association; Lenore Paprocky, President of Greater Middle Country Chamber of Commerce; Robert Pepe, Lidl Selden Store Manager; Leg. Caracappa; and Councilman LaValle. 

Lidl is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, call 844-747-5435 or visit www.lidl.com/contact-us.

Bryan Beasley and his wife Mary were thrilled to present the gifts to Chief Nursing Officer Mary Jane Finnegan and Chief Operating Officer Michael Silverman who will oversee their distribution to the lucky winners!

Long Island’s newest Chick-fil-A restaurant, located at 530 Smithtown Bypass, officially opened for business on March 4. The restaurant will bring approximately 100 full- and part-time jobs to the community. Long Island-native, Bryan Beasley, the local owner/operator of Chick-fil-A in Commack and Smithtown is looking forward to welcoming and serving the greater Smithtown community, with hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The restaurant will open via drive-thru only. Guests can take advantage of contactless ordering and payment through the free Chick-fil-A mobile app or through online ordering.

In place of the traditional Chick-fil-A First 100® Grand Opening celebration, the restaurant honored 100 local heroes making an impact at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown with free Chick-fil-A for a year on Feb. 26 and will donate $25,000 to Feeding America. The funds will be distributed to partners within the greater Smithtown area to aid in the fight against hunger locally.

 Locally Owned and Operated

Bryan Beasley, a Long Island-native, began his journey with Chick-fil-A after a life-altering medical event made him reevaluate his career in the financial services industry. Beasley realized that while he loved helping his clients give back to their communities, he wanted to focus his career on giving back to his own community. In 2016, Beasley opened his first Restaurant, Chick-fil-A Commack, where he will continue to serve as the Operator while simultaneously leading the Chick-fil-A Smithtown team. Grounded in the vision of serving hospitality to positively influence his community and expanding the reach of Chick-fil-A’s mission and values, Beasley spends much of his free time supporting local youth sports and leadership initiatives within the community.

Bryan Beasley with the restaurant’s mascot.

Beasley and his family continue to honor the medical team that saved his life after a virus attacked his heart in 2011, with what he’s named “The Thankful Hearts Project.” Each year, his family encourages others to join them in performing intentional acts of kindness to honor the medical team.

“Having been born and raised on Long Island, and now raising my own family here, I could not be more excited to expand Chick-fil-A’s reach in the place that has shaped who I am today,” said Beasley. “Chick-fil-A Smithtown will further our efforts to serve great-tasting food with genuine hospitality to our community, while also providing personal and professional growth opportunities that I hope will shape a successful future for our Team Members.”

About Chick-fil-A, Inc.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc. is a family owned and privately held restaurant company founded in 1967 by S. Truett Cathy. Devoted to serving the local communities in which its franchised restaurants operate, and known for its Original Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich, Chick-fil-A serves freshly prepared food in more than 2,600 restaurants in 47 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada.

More information on Chick-fil-A is available at www.chick-fil-a.com

Sheet Pan Chicken and Roasted Veggies. Photo from Pixabay

By Barbara Beltrami

We who are both cooks and chief pot and bottle washers love one-pot meals. How nice to throw everything into a big pot and cook it all together. Then how wonderful to have only that one pot to wash. Well, what one pot is to the stove top, the sheet pan is to the oven. How nice to preheat the oven to a high temperature, then throw everything onto a sheet pan, and bake or roast the whole meal together in just a little time. Then how great it is to have just that one sheet pan to wash. (Invest in a nonstick one while you’re at it). No wonder this cooking method is all the rage and has been for a while now. As you will notice, all the following recipes are for straightforward, no nonsense easy prep dishes which should double their popularity with you.

Sheet Pan Chicken and Roasted Veggies

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

Nonstick cooking spray

One 3 1/2 – 4 pound chicken, cut up

2 large onions, peeled and coarsely chopped

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into1/8ths

4 carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2 diagonally

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 T chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried

Freshly squeezed juice of two lemons

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Wash chicken pieces in cold water and pat dry with paper towels; place, skin size up, at one end of baking sheet. Place onions next to chicken, then potatoes, then carrots at other end. Season everything with salt, pepper and oregano and press seasoning into chicken and veggies; drizzle lemon juice over everything, then olive oil. Place in preheated oven and roast for 30 to 45 minutes, turning chicken when skin is a nice brown and with a spatula, turning veggies to brown on all sides. Serve hot or warm with a Greek salad (if you don’t mind cleaning the salad bowl afterward!)

Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers 

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

8 sweet Italian sausages

6 cubanelle peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1” strips

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 F. If they are linked, detach sausages from each other and space across one end of a rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, toss the pepper strips with the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and crushed red pepper. Transfer to empty part of sheet pan. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, turning everything occasionally, until brown on all sides. Serve hot with garlic bread.

Sheet Pan Balsamic Swordfish with Brussels Sprouts and Fennel

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds swordfish, cut into 4 pieces

1 bruised garlic clove

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup dry white wine

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 1/2 pounds trimmed Brussels sprouts, halved

2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, cut into 1/4” slices

Nonstick cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 F. Press and rub garlic clove against sides of a small bowl to release some of its flavor, then remove and discard; in same bowl whisk together the oil, lemon juice, Balsamic vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, wine and salt and pepper. With pastry brush, coat swordfish on both sides with 1/4 of mixture; let sit 10 minutes. in a large bowl toss remaining mixture with the Brussels sprouts and fennel; let sit 10 minutes. 

Spray a rimmed sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange swordfish pieces on 1/3 of the pan, then veggies on other 2/3; use any left over marinade from veggies to baste fish. Turning once, bake swordfish until it flakes in center when tested with a fork, about 10 to 15 minutes; if done remove and set aside to keep warm. Continue baking veggies, turning once, until al dente, about another 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with sweet potatoes baked in their skins.

Photo from Pixabay

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Historically, liqueur is derived from the Latin word liquefacere and means to dissolve or melt, a fitting term since the process of making liqueurs involves dissolving selected ingredients in a distilled spirit. The term cordial is derived from the Latin word cor or cordis, meaning heart, and was formerly used only for those liqueurs that were thought to have a tonic or stimulating quality because of the medicinal components of their flavorings.

Liqueur and cordial are recognized globally as interchangeable terms for the same product. In the U.S. they are always mentioned together in federal and state laws and regulations. Although liqueur is generally accepted as the European name and cordial as the American, there are many exceptions. For brevity, liqueur will be used in place of the redundant term cordial.

A liqueur is an alcoholic beverage made by mixing or redistilling any type of spirits with herbs, seeds, barks, roots, plants, fruit, flowers, fruit stones, peels, juices, or other natural flavoring materials, and containing not less than 2.5 percent sugar. Most liqueurs contain large percentages (up to 35 percent) of a sweetening agent. There is no minimum or maximum alcohol level mandated by federal regulations; most liqueurs are between 34 to 60-proof, while others are as high as 100 or more proof.

All liqueurs are initially colorless; harmless artificial (and natural) colorants are added, along with sugar, before bottling.

Crème is a French term applied to liqueurs, which refers to sweetness and not to dairy creams. Supposedly, the word crème comes from crème de la crème or “the best.” Crème describes most liqueurs made from one primary flavor. Some examples are Crème de Cacao and Crème de Menthe.

Cream liqueurs are mixtures of dairy cream and whiskey, rum, brandy, or neutral spirits (mostly from Ireland and Scotland, among many countries), usually beige-colored with an alcohol content between 17 and 20 percent. These are best enjoyed chilled from the refrigerator or over ice. After opening, they should be refrigerated and consumed within six months.

Frappe
Photo from Pixabay

Liqueurs can be served at room temperature, chilled from the refrigerator or over ice. A liqueur poured over crushed or shaved ice is called a frappé. Liqueurs are also suitable as “long drinks” (with seltzer) and in cocktails and can be used in cooking. Glasses used for liqueurs should contain 4 to 6 ounces.

Most liqueurs are served after dinner because of their high sugar levels. Liqueurs are also natural digestives because they contain many bitter botanicals.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]

Port Jefferson Village Center. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Take a bite out of hunger

The Port Jefferson Conservancy is currently hosting a food drive at the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson through the month of March. Food pantries are in short supply after the holiday season and need support. If you’re coming to the PJVC to skate, view the latest art gallery exhibit or to visit Harborfront Park, please bring a canned food or non-perishable item to benefit local families. The Center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For more information, please call 631-802-2160.

Vermont Cheddar, Potato and Dill Soup

By Barbara Beltrami

Chunky and hearty winter soups are fine, but there’s something special about a savory, smooth soup, sipped from a mug. Only as far away as a food processor, blender or kitchen wand, almost any soup can become a satiny pick-me-up to chase away the synergism of winter and pandemic blahs and warm your tummy while you work at home, watch TV or wallow in another best seller novel with a predictable plot. Three of my favorites are Bloody Mary Soup (yes, including the vodka!); Vermont Cheddar, Potato and Dill Soup; and Curried Cream of Carrot Soup.

Bloody Mary Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 stick unsalted butter

4 celery ribs, minced

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and minced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 cups canned tomatoes, with juice

3 1/2 cups tomato juice

Freshly grated zest of one lemon

1/4 cup prepared horseradish

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup unflavored vodka at room temperature

Juice of 2 lemons

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Scallions and lemon slices for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan, heat butter over low heat; add celery, red bell pepper and jalapeño pepper. Cover pot and cook veggies over low heat until very soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, tomato juice, lemon zest, horseradish, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes. Puree soup in electric food processor, blender or with wand until very smooth, return to pot and stir in vodka, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce; heat until hot but not boiling. Garnish with sliced scallions and lemon slices, if using. Serve with cheddar flavored crackers.

Vermont Cheddar, Potato and Dill Soup

Vermont Cheddar, Potato and Dill Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

1/2 stick unsalted butter

2 cups finely chopped onions

2 cups peeled and finely chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

5 cups chicken broth

3 to 4 cups chopped peeled potatoes (about 4 medium)

1 cup chopped fresh dill

Salt and white pepper to taste

2 1/2 cups grated sharp Vermont cheddar cheese

Chopped dill for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot melt butter; add onions and carrots, cover and cook over low heat until soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. Add parsley, broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover again and simmer until potatoes are very soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. Add dill; remove pot from heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. 

Pour soup through strainer and reserve liquid; transfer solids to bowl of electric food processor or blender. Add one cup of reserved liquid and process until very smooth; return pureed solids to pot over low heat, and stirring with wire whisk, return 3 to 4 cups liquid to pot until soup reaches desired consistency. Add salt and pepper, and with wooden spoon, gradually stir in grated cheese. Garnish with chopped dill and serve hot with pumpernickel croutons.

Curried Cream of Carrot Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pounds carrots, sliced into 1” rounds

1 large onion, chopped

1 generous tablespoon unsalted butter

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 generous tablespoons curry powder

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup milk

1/2 cup cream

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Plain yogurt for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

In large saucepan or pot, over medium heat warm oil to shimmering point; add carrots and onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until onions start to brown, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add butter, garlic and curry and continue to sauté until they release their fragrance, about 45 seconds. Add stock, stir and bring to simmer over medium-high heat; continue to simmer until carrots are very tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. 

Remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes, then puree in electric food processor or blender until very smooth (this will have to be done in at least two batches.) Return soup to pot and stir in enough milk and cream to achieve a thick but liquid consistency. Over medium-low heat bring to a gentle simmer until hot. Top with a dollop of yogurt and serve with peanuts or garlic croutons.

Owner Bernice Fehringer Photo from WMHO

Chocolate Works in Stony Brook has renamed and rebranded itself to Stony Brook Chocolate to connect to the destination of Stony Brook Village. 

With over thirty years of experience as a certified chocolatier, Bernice Fehringer has crafted Stony Brook Chocolate into a shop with treats for all ages. When she took ownership of the shop two years ago, Fehringer said it was always the goal “to incorporate ‘Stony Brook’ into the name of the shop. I felt that it would be my way of connecting to the community and adding to Stony Brook as a destination.”

Stony Brook Chocolate uses only pure milk and dark Belgium chocolate in their creations. Seasonal kits to decorate at home are available all year round. This February, take-home kits include twin chocolate hearts and milk chocolate lollipops that are accompanied by candy decorations. Also available are hot chocolate bombs in flavors like peppermint, peanut butter, white, dark and milk chocolate.

Stony Brook Chocolate is located at 143 Main Street in the Stony Brook Village Center. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, call their shop at 631-675-9366 or visit www.stonybrookchocolate.com.

Cherry Coffee Cake

The month of February has a few important events to celebrate. One such event is Presidents’ Day, which this year will be observed on February 15. Presidents’ Day honors both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, two influential presidents who were born in February. 

Some may recall a legend about George Washington and a cherry tree, as it’s one of the most popular tales tied to the nation’s first president. The original story has a young George receiving a hatchet as a gift when he is six years old. Young George ends up using it to cut into his father’s cherry tree. After discovering the damage, George’s father confronts him. Rather than lie, George admits to his wrongdoing. George’s father commends him for his honesty, indicating that honesty has more value than a cherry tree.

While no one is suggesting to cut down a cherry tree in February in honor of George Washington, the value of this tale and lesson can be celebrated symbolically with these two tasty recipes, a Cherry Coffee Cake and Martha Washington’s Cherry and Butter Bread Pudding.

Cherry Coffee Cake

Add some sweetness to your breakfast routine with this delicious and easy-to-make morning snack.

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

Nonstick cooking spray

1 can (12.4 ounces) refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing

1 1/2 cups (21-ounce can) cherry pie filling

1/2 cup slivered almonds or pecans (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 375 F. Spray 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. 

Separate cinnamon roll dough into eight rolls; cut each roll into quarters. Place dough rounded-side down in pan. Spoon pie filling over rolls. Sprinkle almond slivers or pecans over cherry filling, if desired. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Invert onto plate or cutting board. Invert again onto serving plate. Remove lid from icing. Microwave 3 to 10 seconds. Stir icing and drizzle over warm coffee cake before serving.

Martha Washington’s Cherry and Butter Bread Pudding

This recipe is rumored to be our first First Lady’s favorite dessert to make. A firm bread like Pepperidge Farm or Arnold is recommended, and while cherry preserves are used for this recipe, any type of fruit preserve may be substituted. 

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

12 slices white bread

Butter or margarine

Cinnamon

10-oz. cherry preserves

4 eggs

2 and 2/3 cups milk

2 tablespoons of sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8 inch baking dish. Cut crusts from 12 slices white bread. Spread butter on one side of each slice. Arrange 4 slices bread in bottom of dish and sprinkle each lightly with cinnamon. Spread a spoonful of cherry preserves on each slice. Repeat, making two more layers. Beat eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Add milk and sugar and stir until well mixed. Pour over bread and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until top is golden brown and the custard is set. Serve warm from the oven. 

This article first appeared in TBR News Media’s Prime Times supplement on Jan. 28, 2021 under Recipe Corner.