Holidays

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The Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center at Stony Brook University Hospital has ten safety tips this July 4th Weekend as families continue to practice social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many will spend the holiday in their backyards for barbecues, cookouts or build fire pits where there’s a greater risk to sustain a burn injury. To avoid injury, Dr. Steven Sandoval of SBU Hospital says “The best way to do this is to prevent the burn in the first place with safety tips and precautions to eliminate potential dangers.”

1. Fireworks are safe for viewing only when being used by professionals.

2. Sparklers are one of the most common ways children become burned this holiday, even with a parent’s supervision.

3. Do not have children around any fireworks, fire pits, barbecues or hot coals. Teach them not to grab objects or play with items that can be hot. Go through a lesson where they learn to ask permission.

4. Limit the use of flammable liquids to start your fire pits and barbecues. Use only approved lighter fluids that are meant for cooking purposes. No gasoline or kerosene.

5. Don’t leave hot coals from fire pits and barbecues laying on the ground for people to step in.

6. When cleaning grills, the use of wire bristle brushes can result in ingestion of sharp bristle pieces requiring surgery.

7. If you are overly tired, and consumed alcohol, do not use the stovetop, fire pit or a fireplace.

8. Stay protected from the sun. Use hats and sunblock, and realize that sunblock needs to be reapplied after swimming or after sweating.

9. Use the back burners of the stove to prevent children from reaching up and touching hot pots and pans.

10. Always use oven mitts or potholders to remove hot items from the stove or microwave. Assume pots, pans and dishware are hot. 

Attendees and marchers during the annual Port Jefferson Fourth of July parade in 2019. File photo by Kyle Barr

*Update* Officials confirmed Thursday, July 2 the Port Jefferson Village board was issuing a permit for a car parade this Saturday after the permit was deemed complete by Village Administrator Joe Palumbo. 

Original Story:

After the Port Jefferson Fire Department announced it was canceling this year’s Fourth of July parade due to the ongoing pandemic, a local conservative group announced it would host its own parade to mark the standout American holiday. However, this new community-run parade has made some waves within the village because of the event’s political undertones.

The Setauket Patriots, a local right-wing social media group, established the event they called Patriot Day Parade which was advertised on Facebook. They invited local fire departments, floats, classic cars or anyone else looking to participate. Because of concerns with distancing, Village of Port Jefferson officials requested the parade take place in vehicles. The Setauket Patriots also advertised for people to wear masks.

“All politics aside, this is not a political event, all people are invited,” said a representative of the Setauket Patriots who asked not to be named so as to not be attacked on social media. “We should come together for the birth of our nation.”

The parade is scheduled to meet up at 10 a.m. at Railroad Avenue then start marching at 11. The Facebook event said it has been in contact with Suffolk County Police who will escort the parade and close all streets along the route, though police did not respond to requests for confirmation. The route will take it down Main Street, take a left on West Broadway and stop in front of Village Hall where it will disburse, according to Village Administrator Joe Palumbo.

The parade has at least partially been in response to a recent protest march held in Port Jefferson. The Setauket Patriots description of their parade on Facebook incorrectly states that the Village of Port Jefferson canceled the regular July 4 parade, as that event is instead handled annually by the fire department. The post points to the recent Black Lives Matter march held in Port Jefferson June 18, which village officials granted a permit for, as why a 4th of July parade should be hosted as well. That June protest was created by students at Stony Brook University, who submitted the permit application which was unanimously approved by the village board at its June 15 meeting.

The Setauket Patriots’ post said that march shut down Main Street for four hours, but a TBR News Media reporter who was on the scene said it only lasted for two, and after holding speeches at Village Hall the crowd quickly disbursed.

The Setauket Patriots also wrote that despite comments from detractors that the parade would be a rally for President Donald Trump (R), the march “is a July 4th Parade PERIOD.”

“It’s not a Trump rally, but anyone who attends is free to wave whatever flag they want because that’s what this country  is built on,” the post continued.

As of Tuesday, June 30, village officials said they have worked through the application with a Setauket Patriots representative. The group paid the application and safety fees attached to the permit application, which has been sent for review. Because the next official village meeting is scheduled for July 6, Palumbo said the village trustees and mayor are to be polled on the application, but no decision has been made as of time of reporting. Because July 4 is a federal holiday, the decision on the application must be made before that date.

In mid-June, the Port Jefferson Fire Department announced it would not be hosting its annual parade, and in a letter, Todd Stumpf, Port Jefferson Fire Department chief, cited COVID-19 concerns as why it was being canceled.

In May and early June, the village considered hosting its annual fireworks show at a later date than July 4, but by June 15 had canceled the show it usually hosts at East Beach, with officials citing safety needs and an inability for people to socially distance considering the numbers of crowds who usually come down for the annual display.

This post was updated July 1 with a comment from a Setauket Patriots representative.

Fireworks Cupcakes

By Barbara Beltrami

When it’s not dark enough yet for fireworks or when the fireworks are over and you’re hankering for a nice cup of coffee, it’s time to bring out the dessert. The following recipes are delicious finishes to a long day celebrating our independence They all are patriotically correct red, white and blue and sure to please.

Fireworks Cupcakes

YIELD: Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes

INGREDIENTS: 

For the cupcakes:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 2/3 cups sugar

3 egg whites, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 cup vanilla cookie crumbs

For the frosting:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1/2 tablespoons milk

Red, white and blue sprinkles

Star sprinkles 

DIRECTIONS:

For the cupcake batter:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 cupcake pans with cupcake papers. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add one egg white at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In another large bowl, thoroughly combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Fold in cookie crumbs. 

Fill prepared cupcake tins two-thirds full; bake about 22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

For the frosting:

In a large bowl combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract. Add the milk very gradually to form a stiff frosting; beat until smooth. Spread the frosting on cooled cupcakes; top with sprinkles. Serve with coffee, milk or fruit punch.

Fourth of July Pie

YIELD: Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

One baked 9” pastry crust

1 pint raspberry sorbet, softened

2 cups sliced strawberries

1 pint strawberry ice cream, softened

2 cups blueberries

1 cup sweetened whipped cream

DIRECTIONS:

Spread baked pastry crust with raspberry sorbet; top with half the sliced strawberries; and freeze for one hour. Spread strawberry ice cream evenly over the strawberries; top with half the blueberries; freeze two hours. Top with whipped cream; arrange remaining berries in an attractive pattern on top. Let sit in refrigerator half an hour before serving or freeze, covered, for up to 48 hours. Serve with coffee, milk or fruit punch

Strawberry, Raspberry and Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler

Strawberry, Raspberry and Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler

YIELD: Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

1 pint blueberries

1 pint raspberries

1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup flour

1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup milk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8” x 8” square baking dish. In a large bowl toss together the berries, the half cup sugar and cornstarch.; transfer to baking dish. In a large bowl with mixer on medium speed, beat together the one-third cup sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes; add egg and vanilla and beat until well blended.

In a small bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture; beat on low speed just until combined; beat in the milk, then the remaining flour mixture. Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto the berries; bake until berries are bubbly and top is golden, about 45 minutes to one hour. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

 

Somber day marked with wreath-laying event

By Heidi Sutton

In Setauket, Memorial Day is usually marked with a parade from Main Street to Route 25A followed by a remembrance ceremony, but these are not usual times.

For the first time in recent years the parade was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Veterans of Foreign War Post 3054, which hosts the Three Village Memorial Day Parade each year, decided to hold a brief wreath-laying ceremony at Setauket Veterans Memorial Park to memorialize those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.

The park’s monument honors members of the community who perished in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

 “As long as two comrades survive — so long will the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States render tribute to our heroic dead,” said Post Commander Jay Veronko, who led the 10-minute remembrance event.

“On this day, forever consecrated to our heroic dead, we are assembled once again to express sincere reverence. This monument represents the resting places of many departed comrades who served in all wars. Wherever the body of a comrade lies there the ground is hallowed,” Veronko recited. 

As in years past there was the traditional rifle salute, a prayer, the playing of taps and rousing renditions of our country’s national anthem and “God Bless America” by Arleen Gargiulo of Setauket, albeit with face masks while adhering to strict social distancing measures.

Kellen McDermott of Cub Scout Pack 18, Beverly C. Tyler representing the Three Village Historical Society, and Tim Still and Jack Cassidy from VFW Post 3054 presented wreaths.

“Our presence here is in solemn commemoration of all these men — an expression of our tribute to their devotion to duty, to their courage and patriotism. By their services on land, on sea and in the air, they have made us their debtors, for the flag of our nation still flies over a land of free people,” Veronko said.

The Post also paid their respects to their departed comrades Edward Arndt and Walter Denzler Sr. and “a solemn tribute to all comrades wherever they may rest.” The group also laid wreaths at the Setauket Village Green Memorial and the Stony Brook Village Memorial. 

Veronko thanked the participants for coming. “Hopefully next year we can have a parade,” he said.

Photos by Heidi Sutton

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By Barbara Beltrami

Most likely, it’s not going to be a traditional Memorial Day barbecue this year. No backyard crowded with family and friends and neighbors bearing salad bowls and foil covered platters. No cooler filled with beer and soda on the deck. No trays of hot dogs and hamburgers. Just you and your family or maybe even just you. So … since it’s going to be a different kind of day anyway, why not dispense with the usual menu and go for something different but very easy? How about steak with butter and garlic sauce? Chicken under a brick? A watermelon, feta, arugula and tomato salad? Grilled potatoes and Vidalia onions? And to remember the red, white and blue, how about a strawberry, blueberry and vanilla ice cream tart for dessert?

Watermelon, Avocado, Feta, Arugula and Tomato Salad

YIELD: Makes 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS: 

1 ripe avocado, peeled and cubed

Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon

4 cups diced watermelon

4 ounces diced feta cheese

4 cups arugula, washed, dried and coarsely chopped

2 large tomatoes, diced

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, toss avocado with lemon juice; set aside. In a large salad bowl, toss together the watermelon, feta, arugula and tomato. Just before serving, add the avocado, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to the watermelon mixture. Toss to thoroughly coat with oil and vinegar. Serve with steak, chicken or any grilled meat or poultry and grilled potatoes and onions.

Steak with Garlic Butter Sauce

YIELD: Makes 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS: 

One 2-3 pound boneless steak

Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

2 ounces unsalted butter melted

4 cloves garlic, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat grill to hot. Rub steak generously with salt and pepper. Smear one side with two ounces of the softened. Grill, buttered side down, until browned on that side, about 5 to 7 minutes; turn and smear top with remaining softened butter; sprinkle with half the garlic and grill until meat reaches desired doneness. For medium rare, a thermometer should read 135 F, for medium, 140 F, for medium well, 145 F (4 to 7 minutes per side). Reheat melted butter with remaining two minced cloves garlic. Slice steak and drizzle with melted butter mixture. Serve hot with salad and grilled potatoes and onions.

Chicken Under a Brick

YIELD: Makes 2 to 4 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

1 small chicken, split down the breastbone and pounded flat

Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon

1 garlic clove,  minced

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

4 tablespoons olive oil

Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste

1 ordinary brick wrapped in foil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat grill to medium-low. Rub all ingredients well into chicken’s skin. Place chicken on grill, weight down with brick and cook until crisp and golden, about 20 minutes each side, or until juices run clear. Serve with grilled potatoes and Vidalia onions and salad

Grilled Baby Potatoes and Vidalia Onions

YIELD: Makes 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS: 

2 – 3  pounds baby potatoes, scrubbed 

2 Vidalia onions, peeled and sliced thin

1/2 cup olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Prick potato skins with a fork. In a large saucepan, parboil the potatoes in salted water until they’re still slightly hard in the center; drain. In a large bowl combine them with the onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let sit for 30 minutes until they have absorbed all the oil. Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium-high. Transfer potatoes and onions to grill basket and grill until potatoes are cooked through and onions start to brown. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot or warm with steak, chicken or any grilled meat or poultry and salad.

Red, White and Blue Tart

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

1 pie crust, pre-baked

1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened

1/2 pint strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

1/2 pint blueberries, washed and drained

1/2 pint raspberries, washed and drained

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Spread ice cream evenly in pie crust.  Cover and freeze. Twenty minutes before serving, remove from freezer. In a  medium bowl, toss berries with granulated sugar, then sprinkle or arrange them over ice cream; dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately with iced coffee, iced tea or lemonade.

 

SPRING GARDEN

Stony Brook Camera Club member Pam Botway snapped these gorgeous photos to share with our readers  in perfect timing with Earth Day. The East Setauket resident writes, “Here are some cheery photos of spring. Reminding people to look for the good or be part of the good, during these scary times.”

'Nature's Best Hope'

Reviewed by John L. Turner

Author Doug Tallamy Photo by Rob Cardillo

Authors have differing goals for writing. For some, the motivation is to entertain, for other’s it’s to illuminate some slice of life, and for others still it’s to explore some fascinating historical event. In rare cases, though, the author writes with the not-so-modest goal of changing the world by presenting a new and novel way of looking at things, the result being a change to a person’s perspective on an issue, concept or their set of values.

Changing the world, or at least a part of it, by shifting our collective mindset is Doug Tallamy’s goal in his highly insightful book Nature’s Best Hope. The target of this change? The front and backyards of suburbia, dominated as they are by grass lawns and non-native shrubs. As Tallamy makes clear our yards are a virtual dead zone, biologically speaking, requiring vast amounts of water and chemicals and which provides little to no food or shelter for wildlife, large and small.

In its place, Tallamy sees a suburbia vibrantly alive with wildlife — butterflies and moths, pollinating bees, and abundant birds — all sustained by widespread plantings of native, life-sustaining plant species — white oaks, willows, and black cherry trees; elderberry, arrowwood and spicebush shrubs interspersed among beds of wildflowers including goldenrods (not the producers of hay fever!), asters, evening primrose, blazing stars, and milkweeds. He sees residential landscape design incorporating new values beyond just aesthetics to include the needs of the local ecology by providing species that help maintain, and to a large degree enhance, local food webs. 

What does he call this interconnected webs of land with interconnected native plant and animal species flourishing within? Homegrown National Park, a place every bit as diverse as any national park existing today and “Nature’s Best Hope” for restoring highly important ecological relationships.

‘Nature’s Best Hope’

As Tallamy makes clear, the spread of “sterile suburbia,” dominated by turf grass and exotic trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, is not a small problem. Collectively, lawns take up approximately forty million acres of land in the United States, equivalent to the combined size of the states of New York and Massachusetts. And it is growing daily.

And as Tallamy further makes clear, this growth has come at a high ecological cost. Forests and fields, filled with native plants that sustain caterpillars, bumblebees, squirrels, and Scarlet Tanagers, are replaced with exotic and sterile plants — Callery Pears, Arborvitae, hostas, and English Ivy, to name but a few. These plants and other exotics are fed upon by very few species, causing food webs to fall apart, a trend that portends an ominous future.

Here’s but one example — butterfly and moth caterpillars are the major source of food that songbirds feed their young — and oak species sustain 557 caterpillar species! If there are oaks, and other native trees, then the local food web is intact; remove and replace them and other native plants with non-natives and it unravels — insects decline followed by birds and mammals.

And this unraveling, happening quietly before our eyes, means that Tallamy’s idea isn’t just an interesting one — it is vital to our survival! Birds are not the only group of animals dependent on insects for their survival — we humans depend upon insects too. If we were to do away with all insects, human society would soon collapse and humanity would simply not survive long-term for there would be no replacement agent to pollinate the nearly 90% of all plants that they currently depend upon insects for.

Many insects are in trouble, a trend which scientists have labeled the “insect apocalypse.” Several North American bumblebees have already gone extinct and 25% of our other native bumblebees risk extinction. Many other of the continent’s 4,000 bee species are in trouble too, not to mention countless moths, butterflies, and beetles. Even the workhorse European honey bee is in trouble.

Tallamy is a fine writer with an interesting and clear style and he presents subjects and concepts in logical sequence. Color photographs of numerous plants and butterflies (and their famous larvae-caterpillars) fill the book and there’s an informative question and answer section in the back of the book. Also, an extensive bibliography is available if the reader is interested in digging deeper into some concept covered in the book.

And the most important chapter in the book? Chapter 11, entitled “What Each of Us Can Do.” The chapter includes a bunch of common sense ideas: shrink the size of your lawn; remove invasive species; plant native plants that are ecologically important like the aforementioned oaks and goldenrods and be generous with these plantings; talk to, and team up, with your neighbor to coordinate plantings; install bee hotels; place covers over sunken window wells that can serve as death traps for small mammals and amphibians; use motion-sensing security lights that only go on when needed (security lights that stay on all the time can kill hundreds if not thousands of moths attracted to the light); and do not spray or fertilize — native plants don’t need it.

Each of us can do some or all of these things. If we do any of them, we are helping to expand Homegrown National Park!

Released in February through Timber Press, Nature’s Best Hope is available online at www.timberpress.com, www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. For more information on the author, visit www.bringingnaturehome.net.