Strawberry season is sadly at an end here on the East End and despite a fridge filled with bowls of prepared strawberries for yogurt in the morning and ice cream at night, I couldn't resist buying the very last box of these small, sweet delights at our favorite farm stand - Babinski's this past weekend. The question was, what "something special" could I do with them and for that Food52 helped out with a recipe for Strawberry Lime Crostata.
I could be wrong but I'm thinking a crostata is for Italians what a galette is for the French - certainly they are similar in construct and intent. Flakey pastry casually wrapped over a fruit filling creating the simplest and some of the best desserts I've ever enjoyed. I thought the combination of strawberries and lime sounded unusual enough to try and this is the flakiest pastry I have ever made. My husband and I enjoyed this for dessert one evening with ice cream and for breakfast twice ... with ice cream, for him! He has proclaimed this as one of the top 5 "desserts" I've ever made.
Strawberry Lime Crostata
1 9-inch crostata
Tart Crust (makes 2)
2 cups all purpose flou
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into uniformed-sized cubes
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
small glass ice water
1 tablespoon sanding sugar, granulated sugar is fine if you don't have the fancy stuff on hand
4 cups strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved (quarter the large ones)
1/4 to 1/3 cups sugar, depending on the sweetness of your berries
2 tablespoons strawberry jam, preferably homemade
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 lime, tested and juiced
June 26, 2016, the Soap Box Derby will be run on High Street in Sag Harbor for the fourth year in a row. I photographed the first one and can honestly say I hadn't had that much good clean fun in a very long time. Revisit my slide show of that event by clicking here if you want a "preview of coming attractions". The scouts, their families, the event's sponsors, and the entire community pull together and work hard to bring this event to everyone and anyone who will attend. They'll have a lot of fun and reap many rewards whether we're there or not, but I must tell you this is an event not to be missed.
Not many spectators will stay for all 40 plus runs, each of which only runs seconds, but catching just some of them brings joy to one's heart. The energies of all of these people with the organization and enthusiasm of Laurie Barone-Schaefer behind them create memories for everyone and bring them back for some of us.
Sunday at 1:00 p.m. on Main Street in Sag Harbor the parade begins, with the races to follow on High Street. Weather forecast is perfect for an event well worth watching.
Anyone who has followed Open Window over the last six years knows that I love food and photography and have an active imagination. Combine the three and I come up with some interesting and entertaining perspectives on some things, at least for me they are.
Remember Cruella de Vil?
Or the Sprouting Centipede?
Well now we have "ET's Phone Booth".
When I saw this red and yellow striped bell pepper, I knew I had to photograph it, so I bought it and brought it home. As I was shooting it, a character was revealed to me. That little guy peering out from the top resembles ET to me and what must ET do? Phone home, of course ... thus ET's Phone Booth.
What a wonderful summer meal - Herb-Roasted Fish. Here in the Hamptons, we have fabulous farm stands everywhere and many now offer local fresh fish as well. Large coolers with life tops hold Fluke, Salmon, Halibut, Scallops (in season), and even lobsters.
Fluke is a lovely mild flavored white fish that resembles flounder in size and shape. This recipe for Herb-Roasted Fish is full of flavor and can be made ahead. Parchment paper "pockets" seal the flavors in and make this appear to be a fancy meal but it's really very simple. The French call that "en papillote" (in parchment). I've found the biggest challenge is to keep the olive oil and lemon juice from running out of the "pocket" as I'm sealing it shut with the egg white wash. Practice makes perfect and I now make this almost weekly, especially when we can get fluke. Try it. This is a real winner.
4 (12 x 16-inch) pieces of parchment paper
4 (8-ounce) boneless skin-on fish fillets, such as snapper or cod or fluke
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons good olive oil
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
8 sprigs of thyme
8 Cerignola or other large green olives with pits
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
Thanks once again to Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa for her last cookbook Make It Ahead.
"At Sea", a Designer Showcase at The White Room Gallery, from June 7 to June 26 will feature EJ Camp, Michele Dragonetti, Jill Krutick, and me! I cannot tell you how excited I am to be a part of this and can't wait to see all our work hung in the gallery on Main Street in Bridgehampton.
Please come to the Artists' Reception Saturday June 11th between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. We would love to have you join us and are pretty sure you'll love what you see.
See you then!
Some of you have probably heard me say that there's a beginning, middle and an end to this life of ours, and we just don't know where we are on that timeline. This week Peter and I will be attending two memorial services for two very good friends - Harry Spillman and Tom Ward (no relation). One died after a very long decline and the other died suddenly with no forewarning. Each had had a full, rich life and were loved dearly by family and friends.
I'm of the firm belief that death after a long illness or decline is hardest on the patient and easier on the family as there is time to prepare and say goodbye. Sudden death is "easier" on the "patient" and hardest on those left behind as a loved one is abruptly torn from their lives leaving a large unexpected hole. Both are painful and unwanted, but as death is a part of life we all must accept it as it comes.
There's a beginning, middle, and an end to these lives of ours and we don't know where we are on that timeline - celebrate each other and all those who have gone on before.
The Cannonball Train from Penn Station in NY to the Hamptons is the only way I traveled home on the weekends when I worked in the city. Most Long Island Railroad trains from New York to the East End took between 2½ to 3 hours, but the Friday evening Cannonball is an express to "the Hamptons" with the first stop being just 90 minutes after departure, in Westhampton Beach, making my trip home just less than two hours long.
During "the season" (May to September), the Cannonball doubles in size, going from 6 double decker cars to 12, requiring the train to stop twice at each station as the platforms only accommodate 6 cars at a time. I used to position myself in front of the last door of the sixth car ready to leap off the train, dashing for the stairs and Peter waiting in the car to whisk us home before all bedlam let loose. Hundreds of people disembark at each stop with all of the patience of a typical New Yorker and all trying to find their "honey" ASAP. It's a sight to see and one that I took great pleasure in photographing and turning in to a slide show the first Memorial Day Weekend, after the bank let me go.
I rarely repost but this one just makes me laugh. For those of us who live here year-round .... "They're heeeeere!"
See you in September!
I am thrilled to inform you that I have been selected to be a contributing member of The White Room Gallery in Bridgehampton for the year April 2016 - March 2017. You may recall that I participated in a group show last February at The White Room, called "Love & Passion". That led to this invitation which means that I will participate in 2 featured shows and at least 4 group shows over that twelve month period. Artists in featured shows are allotted 35-40 feet of wall space (roughly ¼ of the gallery) to exhibit their work.
The White Room Gallery opened in Bridgehampton in the Spring of 2015 under the direction of Andrea McCafferty (former founder of the Crazy Monkey Gallery in Amagansett) and her partners Sally Breen and Daniel Schoenheimer. The new, and much larger space in Bridgehampton, "allows the continuation of the cooperative ideal, while also representing well-known artists in the community".
"Earth, Wind & Fire" was the first group show that I participated in. It featured June Kaplan, E.J. Camp and Susan Zises with group contributors including Mark Zimmerman, Ellyn Tucker, Kat O’Neill, Ann Brandeis, Michele Dragonetti, Claudia Ward, Melissa Hin, and Sally Breen. Each show is exhibited for about three weeks.
The next show “The Golden Age of Rock n Roll Part II” will be shown between May 18 and June 5 and is already getting great press from The New York Times already. It's dynamic, original and colorful.
The Opening Reception for this show will be May 29th, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Following that will be my first featured show exhibiting June 7 - 26 with an Opening Reception Saturday June 11 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. To see some previews of pieces that will be included check out my page on The White Room Gallery website.
This is going to be a very exciting season at the gallery and I recommend checking out it's entire schedule as there are book signings and music events in the courtyard throughout the summer too.
A while back I came upon website that I fell in love with because all of the recipes are packed with flavor. It's called Once Upon a Chef. I've made and shared a lot of them like the Thai Crunch Salad with a Peanut Dressing and Asparagus Soup, but somehow, I overlooked posting one of our all-time favorite go-to recipes - the Black Bean & Corn Salad with a Chipotle-Honey "Vinaigrette".
We have a container of this in our fridge all summer long, as it's a great complement to nearly every summer menu - fish, chicken, steak ... even Crunchy Chicken. I even take it to the beach and it keeps really well (if you don't add the avocados until serving time). So, drum roll please, allow me to introduce Once Upon a Chef's Black Bean & Corn Salad with Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette.
Black Bean & Corn Salad
(Serves 6 at least)
1 cup chopped red onion
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans
2 ears fresh corn cooked (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh chopped cilantro (plus a bit more for garnish, if desired)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from 1-2 limes
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I prefer 1, 2 is too hot)
Hands down, Crunchy Chicken is one of my all-time favorite chicken recipes. I like it hot for dinner, room temperature and sliced for a buffet, or sliced and cold for a picnic. It's eye-catching, flavorful, and easy to make. I think the hardest, most time-consuming part of this recipe is rolling out the Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix so there aren't big chucks of dried bread and the ground stuffing adheres to the marinated chicken better.
This recipe is all about the "marinade". The tangy combination of sour cream, lemon juice, worchestershire sauce, celery salt and paprika coat the chicken and cling to the stuffing mix, creating a killer combination. Finish it with melted butter (so the bread won't burn, of course), and voilà, one of the best tasting chicken dishes you will ever have.
(Serves 10 or more)
½ pint (8 ounces) sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8-10 boneless chicken breast halves (Bell & Evans thin-sliced boneless chicken breasts)
1 14-ounce package of Herb-Seasoned Classic Pepperidge Farm Stuffing - ground fine
"Gondolier" photograph on canvas © Peter Tooker
This weekend Guild Hall in East Hampton, NY launched its 78th Annual Artist Members' Exhibition which is the oldest non-juried museum exhibition on Long Island and one of the few non-juried exhibitions still offered. Last evening was the opening reception, which was a well attended event. Both Peter and I are exhibiting, Peter his 12x18" "Gondolier" printed on fine wrapped canvas, and I my 16x24" "Shore Break" under matte acrylic.
"Shore Break" photograph under matte acrylic © Claudia Ward
The show is on view from April 23 through June 4 during open hours on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays.
You all have heard about our association with Ashawagh Hall in the Springs section of East Hampton - the “place where two roads come together,” namely Fireplace Road and the Old Stone Highway. We have shown there many times and enjoy the diverse exhibitions that are shown there on weekends throughout the year. This weekend the show is eARThHAMPTONS and our friend Michele Dragonetti was asked to exhibit her boat hull images, along side a variety of art forms from an incredibly talented collection of artists.
Boat Hulls © Michele Dragonetti
eARThHAMPTONS, is the brainchild of artist Anahi DeCanio, creative director of ArtyZen Studios, and is an Earth Day ART & DESIGN WeekendCelebration. (Earth Day was this past Friday.)
The exhibit is showcasing works from Josh Hadar- Dan Welden - Jim Gemake, Christine D'Addario, Lori Horowitz, Geralyne Lewandowski, Michele Dragonetti, Mary Milne, Idoline Duke and Anahi DeCanio. ZCI Woodworks is exhibiting beautiful benches and tables made from reclaimed lumber.
Peter and I attended last evening and can honestly say this is the most fascinating and diverse show that we have seen at Ashawagh - beautifully and simply curated and satisfying for the mind and eye. Sadly this show is only on view this weekend until 5:00 p.m. today, so if you can get there this afternoon do or remember these names to follow for the future.
Peconic Landing is a remarkable non-profit organization and "elder-care" community on the North Fork of Long Island, located in Greenport. It came into being 14 years ago and has grown in to one the largest employers on the North Fork with around 250 employees. More importantly, Peconic Landing is a nationally recognized "person-centered" community.
Everything at Peconic Landing is about the residents whether they are living independently in one of the campus cottages or being cared for in the Skilled Nursing Facility, and that has everything to do with the Landing's mission, their management, and their staff. Peconic Landing is considered one of the best places to work in New York State, and the respect and affection that the residents and staff have for one another is apparent all around the campus - cheery greetings and sincere smiles are exchanged indoors and out.
Care for and stimulation of the mind and body are evident everywhere on this 144 acre campus on the shores of Long Island Sound. The Metropolitan Opera and Broadway shows are streamed, live, into a number of auditoriums, there are numerous libraries, and art is everywhere decorating the halls and, of course, in the art studio. Lifelong learning is a banner cry embraced by residents and staff alike. Fitness centers, a pool, and numerous trails and courtyards are available to one and all.
Today I had the great good fortune to be invited to the Grand Opening of the $44 million expansion of Peconic Landing. The expansion includes a 16 suites for members with memory impairment, 16 additional accommodations for those requiring specialized rehabilitation, 46 additional apartments, and much much more. Some of my wave images are now hanging on the walls of these new wings. I am thrilled and humbled by the company I am keeping, and am honored that I was asked to contribute to this thriving, vibrant community.
Roasting shrimp is easy and it produces delicious results, especially when you add butter, garlic, rosemary, and lots of lemon. Served with rice, you don't miss out on any of the yummy sauce. Remember asparagus and broccoli also love lemon butter. Dipping bread is a must.
Garlic & Herb Roasted Shrimp
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large lemons
2 pounds (8- to 10-count) shrimp, peeled with the tails on
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
4 slices country bread, toasted
Make It Ahead by Ina Garten says "Prep the dish and refrigerate it in the pan. Roast before serving." This works beautifully.
P.S. Here's a photo using a pyrex baking dish instead.
A day in New York was "just what the doctor ordered" - literally. I had to go in to the city this week to see my doctor of 40 years, and in the process found Spring in full bloom. Spring on the East End seems to be in an arrested state. Daffodils were brutalized as soon as they showed their happy yellow blooms, with freezing temperatures and torrential rains, neither of which they could suffer without severe damage. Early hints of green in our endless hedge rows were stopped dead in their tracks and have remained suspended for weeks waiting for warmer weather. Apple and pear blossoms have refused to venture forth and the early harbinger of Spring, forsythia, is just now showing it's true colors. Everything is late here, but in New York the tulips along Park Avenue are standing proudly sharing their warm colors and optimism with us all.
Ambling along 61st Street, this dry cleaner's window caught my eye and made me stop to enjoy this caricature as well as the misspelling. Perhaps that was his ploy to get people to stop at his store - it certainly worked for me.
Over the past couple of years, I've rewarded myself for going to the dentist with a meal at the bar of Il Mulino on 60th Street, and we've come to know the bartender, Mirsada, quite well. The food and service here are superb, but being greeted by a friend truly makes it a warm and memorable meal. When Peter joins me, he and Mirsada talk bartender to bartender, and she's introduced him to Il Mulino's homemade grappas, some vintage ports, and this time, a special small-batch bourbon.
After our leisurely meal, we climbed on the Jitney satiated and ready for the 2 ½ hour ride home only to find our coach had to wend its way through a very animated Trump demonstration in midtown.
For some reason, it seemed an appropriate end to our day in New York.
Irons in the Fire © Peter Tooker
Literally and figuratively Peter and I have had too many irons in the fire. In fact, we've had so much going on that we haven't taken time out to photograph anything this year. Last year by this time, I'd taken at least 1,000 photos and this year the total is 37!
Most of you know by now that we've been undertaking a huge cleaning project and in the process found we have a sizable collection of old cast-iron irons. I mentioned them in the recent "Home Clean Home" post and Peter's cousin commented about our "irons in the fire". As we were just then sitting in front of a roaring fire, his comment sparked an idea.
I went around and gathered up all of the irons, placed them all on the hearth and began to shoot, and, of course, Peter joined in too. An hour later, we'd created this fun collection of images and the photographers in us felt quite satisfied.
Smiling Iron © Claudia Ward 2016
As far as I can tell, the iron closest to the fire is smiling with satisfaction too!
One week ago today was the official first day of Spring and for the second year in a row we had snow. I really don't mind. In fact, I love it - that's one of the many things I love about living in the northeast. Here's a quick look at what Spring looked like on the morning of March 20 in the Hamptons.
Photos & Slide Show © 2016 Claudia Ward
"A Nom de Plume/ Carnivale!" by Alexandre Desplat; Casanova Soundtrack
And 9 hours later it was all gone.
P.S. When I was confirming when the official start of Spring would be this year, I learned something I would probably never have discovered without the internet. Could I have lived without this little tidbit - of course, but I found it interesting in all its obscureness so I had to share it with you.
Spring equinox usually happens on March 20th or the 21st, and this year it will be the earliest since 1896 (120 years ago). Why? Well the reason goes back to Pope Gregory XIII, the guy who created the Gregorian calendar in 1582 (today's internationally accepted civil calendar).
A year on earth lasts 365.242 days which is dealt with by having most years have 365 days and every fourth year having 366 days; those years we call Leap Years. Under this system, a year is 365.25 days which is a hair longer than the actual length of a year. Trying to address this, Pope Gregory XIII declared that "years ending in '00' should not be leap years unless they are also diviseible by 400. So the year 2000 was a leap year but 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not, and 2100 won't be either."
According to EarthSky, via livescience.com, the 2000 leap year caused the Spring equinox to come about three-quarters of a day earlier than it did a century earlier in 1900. Ever since 2000, the March equinox of each leap year has happened earlier than the previous leap year, e.g. 2:25 a.m. EST in 2000, and 1:15 a.m. EDT in 2012 (on March 20th). This trend will continue until the end of this century and will even cross over to March 19th, e.g. 11:50 p.m. EDT in 2020, 11:06 pm. The earliest Spring equinox of the century will be at 10:03 p.m. EDT on March 19, 2096. (Check out the chart below.)
But remember Pope Gregory's rule, years ending in "00" shall not be leap years if they can be divided by 400, thus 2100 will not be a leap year and Spring will arrive later that year, by about a quarter of a day - once again on March 20th, around 9:01 a.m. EDT.
2000 March 20 02:25 a.m. EST
2004 March 20 01:49 a.m. EST
2008 March 20 01:48 a.m. EDT
2012 March 20 01:15 a.m. EDT
2016 March 20 12:30 a.m. EDT
2020 March 19 11:50 p.m. EDT
2024 March 19 11:06 p.m. EDT
2096 March 19 10:03 p.m. EDT
2100 March 20 09:01 a.m. EDT
Home Clean Home is not a typo or an error on my part. As many of you know, we've been decluttering and cleaning for well over a month now and I can happily report that we are finished in the living spaces of the house.
Once upon a time, there were four properties in our family life: my house, his house, his step-mother's house, and our apartment in NYC.
My husband and I renovated the house that he has owned since the early 70s in 2002. At that time, I had just sold the 5 bedroom whaling captain's house in North Haven that I had run as a bed and breakfast. It also had two parlors, a den, a dining room and a sizable kitchen. All of the furniture, kitchenware, china, bedding and art work for this house was placed in storage awaiting the completion of the renovation. Challenge? The Corwin House was well over 4,000 square feet and our new house would be a little less than 2,000 square feet!
With the renovation complete, choices were made and some furniture was given to a cousin of Peter's who was thinking of also running a bed and breakfast. The rest remained in storage.
Peter's step-mother lived just down the highway in a house that was built by her family in the 1730s. She and her ancestors lived there all those years. When she passed away in 2006, we had several tag sales, auctioned somethings off, and then brought the rest to our tiny little house down the road. Never having met a bookcase I didn't like or a book I couldn't probably cherish, the last unoccupied corners and spaces were filled to the brim.
Finally, I was laid off from my job in New York in 2009 which meant we no longer needed the apartment there. Once more choices were made for what we would incorporate into the house. Now the final unoccupied surface spaces were filled with family photos and bric-a-brac. Our house had become an amalgamation of all four of these properties and was exceptionally over-crowded.
When we pulled all four together we had multiples of everything: 13 cutting boards, 11 wooden salad bowls, a dozen large platters, 5 sets of china, 9 crystal decanters, 8 liquid measuring cups, 9 cast-iron irons (the ones without cords), 6 sets of bathroom towels, 7 stand alone bookcases, close to 1,000 books, 7 TVs, 9 VCRs, 5 plant stands, 4 desks, and don't even get me started on our knives. You get the picture, multiples of everything.
The straw that broke this camel's back was this past year when my husband and I ran our photography business out of our house. The tiny den housed most of our large framed pieces with no floor space left for anything else, the queen size bed in the guest bedroom became a working platform for matting/bagging bin photos and for wrapping large pieces for transport, the front hall became a staging area for receiving inventory, and the kitchen became our workspace for doing all of our computer work.
There was chaos everywhere and it finally got to me. So in January we began the decluttering process, sharing books and family documents with relatives, sending excess furniture to storage, and planning for a Spring yard sale by placing sale items in a self-storage unit.
We made it and have survived to tell, so I thought I would share this slide show, of our decluttered little home - our home clean home.
Photos and Slide Show © 2016 Claudia Ward
Music: "Waltz for Peppie" by Ludovic Bource from The Artist Soundtrack
In our house growing up, Sunday was "the cook's" day off, so a big pot of chili or spaghetti sauce was simmering on the stove around supper time, and we were allowed to get some anytime we wanted. I believe the chili recipe was my father's or at least it was one he approved of and true to that period of time the tomato part of the chili recipe was provided by Campbell's canned tomato soup - preservatives and all.
Sitting at the bar at Bobbie Van's one recent afternoon, we were catching up with the bartender Scott, comparing notes about the season, trading jibes about the "beautiful people", and sharing recipes to be cooked on short winter days. Scott said he was about to make a big batch of his chili, a recipe he said he's honed over the years, one that is guaranteed to make the house smell wonderful and to feed you well throughout these winter months, right out of the freezer. As he began to itemize the ingredients, I stopped him and asked for some paper, as it just sounded so good.
The list of ingredients is long but I'm here to tell you this is truly some of the best chili I have ever had, and it is one of my favorite winter dinners topped with some chopped, raw yellow onion, some grated cheddar cheese, and maybe a dollop of sour cream - if I really want to gild that lily. So the house smelled wonderful and my freezer is now stocked with enough chili to get us through to Spring (I think).
Chili Scott's Way
1 large can black beans, undrained
1 large can kidney beans, undrained
1 large can pinto beans, undrained
1 small can black beans, undrained
1 large can stewed tomatoes
1 small can diced tomatoes
1 large (or two small) red onions, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
1 bunch of scallions, chopped (whites and greens)
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 to 5 stalks of celery, washed and chopped
1 decent size jalopeno, seeded and diced fine
3 pounds ground pork
6 to 9 tablespoons of chili powder, divided
2 to 3 teaspoons salt (to taste)
Freshly ground pepper
Tobasco sauce (to taste)
Yes I found another galette recipe, thanks to Food52 (check out their site, it's great!). Listen to those ingredients - wild mushrooms, onions, and brie, how could it be bad, and fresh rosemary lends its essence beautifully.
The original recipe calls for the use of frozen puff pastry, which I do have in the freezer, but I decided that making my own Pâte Brisée would be just as good, if not better. The time it would take for the puff pastry to thaw in the refrigerator would equal if not exceed the amount of time it would take to make my own pastry.
The medley of mushroom flavors and textures complemented the caramelized onions and the brie simply melted into a delightful, subtle layer of cheese. This galette is mild and light, and not a crumb remained by the end of lunch.
Wild Mushroom Onion Galette with Brie
(Serves 8 or 4 hungry people)
1 large onion - peeled and sliced
1 large shallot - peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil + some to drizzle
1½ cups mixed wild mushrooms (Crimini, oyster and/or beech) - cleaned and chopped
½ cup dried porcini mushrooms - chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry - thawed OR 1 recipe of Pâte Brisée (recipe below)
½ pound brie - crust removed
Salt and pepper
Scallions sliced lengthwise - white and some green parts (optional)
1+ tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (Use with puff pastry)
1 egg, whisked with a teaspoon of cold water (Egg wash for Pâte Brisée)
Pâte Brisée = Flakey Pastry
1 cup of all-purpose flour (do not use unbleached)
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¹⁄₈ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons of ice water
Place 1 cup of flour, the butter pieces and salt in a food processor.
Process just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds.
Add the ice water and pulse just until the pastry begins to come together, about 6-10 times. Do not let it form a ball.
Transfer the pastry to waxed paper, flatten the dough into a disk. (If the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle it with additional flour, incorporating 1 Tablespoon at a time.)
Wrap the pastry in waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Roll out to desired dimensions, place on parchment lined sheet pan, chill 15 minutes.
Once tart or galette is assembled, brush with egg wash.
Peter and I are getting a jump on Spring Cleaning while we're house bound in this Arctic blast. We've sent family letters and photos to our family archivist. We've contributed several book collections to my nephew's fledgling library. We've donated bags and bags of hardback books to the local fire department. We've gifted dessert plates and Creuset cookware to a good friend's son and his fiancé. Slowly but surely we're going through every category of things that we have including liquor and look what Peter found in the back of the liquor cabinet. This (possible) single malt Scotch appears to be around 125 years old and it was a gift from Peter's boss, Ted Conklin, in the late '80s.
For those of you who don't know, Peter worked as the bar manager of The American Hotel in Sag Harbor for about 17 years. "The hotel" as it is affectionately called by one and all is owned by Ted Conklin. The Conklins are a longstanding, prominent local family. Ted bought the hotel in 1972, and at that time it "was a decrepit boardinghouse and saloon with four outhouses out back and a cellar full of coal in a depressed whaling village turned depressed industrial village on the East End of Long Island" according to a NY Times article from August 2012. Peter began working at the hotel around 1973 and participated in its transition into a high end French restaurant with an award-winning wine cellar. During the time he was bar manager, Sag Harbor was a haven for artists, and writers. On any evening, at Peter's bar you could see Willie Morris, Wilfrid Sheed, Truman Capote, John Knowles, Irwin Shaw, Lucian Truscott, James Jones, or Tom Harris. Good conversation was king and no one cared about being seen.
Sag Harbor eventually transitioned to an unacknowledged part of the Hamptons - a part with no beach, no pretense, and, for a while at least, little sticker shock. All of that, sadly, has now changed as the simple houses of the town's factory workers are rapidly being torn down and replaced with Mc-mansions. New Yorkers, seeking new frontiers, have "found" the Harbor and are leaving their very large footprint on this formerly small and unpretentious village.
Think we'll sip a little of this Scotch this evening while we reminisce about the days of yore.
"The Kiss" © 2015 Claudia Ward
Now that I have your attention, I'd like to tell you about the 11th Annual Love & Passion Art Show that will be at The White Room Gallery at 2415 Main Street in Bridgehampton NY for most of the month of February. I have been selected to show my image "The Kiss". There will be an opening wine reception on Saturday, February 6 between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m., and a closing wine reception on Saturday, February 26 between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. This is a juried show with the general public voting for Most Original, Most Thought Provoking, and Most True to Theme. The White Room is open Fridays through Sundays between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Best in Show Jurors are Karyn Mannix and Andrea McCafferty and the winner will win a two-week feature exhibition in a 1-3 person show in the summer of 2016.
In 2004, Karyn Mannix collaborated with Vito Sisti creating The Annual Love & Passion Show with the first show taking place at Karyn’s original gallery on Main Street in East Hampton. The show's main purpose was and is to bring the local community together in one common thought…Love & Passion. The show has morphed and moved to a variety of locations over the years; this year karyn mannix contemporary is teaming up with The White Room Gallery to bring the show back to the public with the sub-context being "Peace, Love & Understanding".
In 2000, Andrea McCafferty founded the Crazy Monkey Gallery, pioneering as the first Fair Trade boutique on the east end, selling artisan works from around the world. Within a few years the gallery gradually evolved to display artwork by local artists, and within a short time had transformed into a vibrant member of the Hamptons art community. In November of 2004, the Crazy Monkey reopened as the first co-operative Fine Art Gallery in the Hamptons, with a rotating stable of up to 24 artists, and operated until 2014. In the spring of 2015, Andrea McCafferty, with partners Sally Breen and Daniel Schoenheimer, opened The White Room Gallery in Bridgehampton NY. The new, and much larger space, allows a continuation of the cooperative ideal, while also representing well-known artists in the community.
So if your wondering what you can do on these quiet winter weekends in the Hamptons, visit The White Room (it's right next to the Presbyterian Church) and enjoy each artist's spin on "Love & Passion" ... and don't forget to vote!
It appears that I've never met a galette I didn't like. The Fennel, Onion & Mushroom Galette with a Gruyère Crust and the Tomato and Gruyère Cheese Galette both made wonderful main courses for lunch. The Potato and Thyme Galette provided a welcome change to ordinary potatoes when it accompanied our roast chicken; and, the Peach Galette stood alone in our dessert category of yummy sweet galettes until now, when I must add another - Pear Galettes with Spelt Crust. Served with vanilla ice cream, this galette ranks amongst the top five desserts I've ever had (by taste).
Since there are only two of us (and we only had 2 pears), I split the recipe in half which worked out perfectly. The only real challenge I had was trying to seal the folded edges of the pastry over the pears. They say to add the equivalent of half a pear to each galette which seemed to be too much for each pastry triangle. I would probably roll each triangle out a little more before placing them on the lined baking sheet. However, scrutinizing Food52's photo of this dessert reveals that they added the pears standing on their edges - which would make containing them inside the galette much easier as they wouldn't take up as much room. Next time.
Oh there was one other challenge and that was making room in my freezer to accommodate the sheet pan for 25 minutes without being tilted. The good news is we have a small freezer that holds most of our frozen soups, so we were able to clear out a flat space in the refrigerator freezer for the pan.
I just know you'll like the subtle pear flavors complemented by the apricot preserves with a hint of vanilla throughout - all inside a flakey, tasty pastry crust.
Pear Galettes with Spelt Crusts
(Makes 8 small tarts)
6 ounces spelt flour
6 ounces all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces unsalted butter
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 medium pears, ripe but still firm
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 egg, for egg wash
2 tablespoons coarse sugar, to finish
A pop-up gallery has popped up in Hampton Bays due to the boundless energies of Tom Rickard, local photographer and artist, and Peter and I are exhibiting our images there this month. The gallery is located right in the center of town at 21 West Montauk Highway, on the south side of the street just east of Scotto's, and it's open Monday through Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday between 12:00 noon and 4:00 p.m.
Tom found this space, which is available to us on a month-to-month basis right now, and he invited us to participate in this brave endeavor. Now if you're not local you might be asking yourself why this would be considered "brave" and the answer is "this is the Hamptons in January - it's dead". The throngs that populate our streets "in-season" are happily ensconced in Manhattan or have headed south to do their snowbird thing. But trends and traditions do change so if you are local or are some of those who know how wonderful the Hamptons are when there are no crowds and traffic, please pop-in to our pop-up. You'll be able to enjoy the works of Dennis Bontempo, Jennifer Briand, Julian & Jane Craker, Rich Iaboni, Carolyn Munaco, and of course, Tom Rickard, Peter Tooker, and, yours truly, Claudia Ward.
Open Window was ajar most of 2015 as energies needed to be directed toward our photography business. In fact, there were only 47 posts to Open Window in 2015 compared to 231 in its inaugural year. Sadly I found it much easier to post a photo or comment to Facebook from "the field", and I know many of you don't participate in Facebook.
"Second Thought" © Claudia Ward
At the beginning of 2015, we'd planned on exhibiting in two shows in Florida, the plans for which had to change as Peter hurt his back just before we left and needed surgery once we got there. Brave soul that he is however (and with doctor's approval), we did meet up with our friends in Rincon, Puerto Rico where Peter rested and recuperated, and I got some of the best wave images I've ever taken.
Chatham Arts Festival 2015
Spring, Summer, and Fall were filled with art festivals in New York State and Massachusetts (Memorial Day to Thanksgiving). In all, we participated in 12 art festivals (10 outdoors and 2 indoors). In addition to those, we participated in our own private show at Ashawagh Hall along with two other incredibly talented artists, 4 gallery shows, and one Christmas Fair. There's a lot of work involved in planning and executing the participation in these shows, which I hope explains my absence from Open Window. It simply could not be helped. Not only did we meet incredibly wonderful artists and sponsors, but we also found individuals who truly love our work. Connections have also been made with a Surf Clothing Company, a couple of galleries, and a framer/gallery in the Design Center in Boston. As we all know, "it's not over 'till the fat lady sings" - please pray she sings.
Good fortune had us shooting in the Southern Caribbean for a week just before Christmas. Water may have been the draw but it was the sunrises, sunsets, and fall skies that truly took our breath away, every single day.
The Freedom Tower © 2015 Claudia Ward
As I watched the attached slide show before sitting down to write this, what struck me was how very fortunate we have been in addition to having worked harder this year than either of us have for several. Given all that, the highlight of my year was spending two nights in downtown Manhattan in the beginning of December. Having been on Wall Street on 9/11 and living down there from that day until I left in 2009, I'd seen the cleanup, read about the plans, and watched the beginnings of rebuilding, but it wasn't until December 7th (truly) that I saw for the first time, in person, what has replaced all of that destruction/construction and I must say, it is nothing short of breathtaking.
Past & Present Downtown New York ©2015 Claudia Ward
We came upon the reflecting pools our first night walking back to our hotel after dinner and I can honestly say I wept to see what we have created in memory of so many and despite so few.
The Reflecting Pools in Lower Manhattan After Dark 2015 ©Claudia Ward
The next day we explored it all and Peter was even able to coax me to the top of the Freedom Tower - something I will remember for all of my days to come.
New York After Dark from the Top of the Freedom Tower ©2015 Claudia Ward
Despite all of the despair we all felt that day, there is nothing but hope in the air as you traverse the park, or linger to contemplate - watching the waters cascading into the reflecting pools.
As 2016 begins - there's an Open Window for all of us.
I hope you enjoy the slide show of 2015.
Photos and Slide Show ©2015 Claudia Ward
Music: "Up with End Credits" from the soundtrack, Michael Giacchino
Christmas this year was quite remarkable and very unusual. Leslie, a very good friend, arrived two days before Christmas and would be with us through to the following Monday. Oh what plans we had. As most of you know we love to eat and I love to cook, so I naturally planned menus for everyday built upon requests from our guest. We also planned on showing her Montauk Lighthouse decked out for Christmas, taking her to the north fork to enjoy a meal at the oldest family-owned restaurant in the country - Claudio's, and showing her the latest endeavor that we're participating in - a pop-up gallery in Hampton Bays.
On the first night of her visit, we all went up stairs to admire the Christmas tree shining its lights out onto our balcony and coming down the stairs Les fell as she missed the last step. She was able to get herself up and with some help we got her to her room and bed, all of us believing that she was simply bruised. After a long painful night, the local fire department and rescue team carried her gingerly out to an ambulance that then whisked her off to Southampton Hospital around midday. An x-ray of her left wrist revealed a fracture and a CAT scan of her left leg showed a fracture in her tibia plateau. The hospital staff splinted her arm and braced her leg, sending her home with us on Christmas Eve. Thankfully, a nurse in the Emergency room had been able to contact the fire department and when we arrived at our front door, there were seven angels waiting for us who safely transported our guest to an office chair in the kitchen - a chair that would be her only source of mobility for the remainder of her stay. Pain pills made her injuries tolerable for the next several days, and plans now centered around keeping her comfortable, deciding when to make the journey home, and, of course, food.
As challenging and uncomfortable as this time was for Les, she kept her positive attitude and a healthy appetite. Salmon and lentils; arugula, pear & goat cheese salad with pomegranate vinaigrette; fennel, onion & mushroom galette; prime roast beef; coquilles St. Jacques; and, rack of lamb were all consumed with pleasure and appreciation. Knowing that cooking would be out of the question once she got home, we packed a cooler for her stocked with cream of tomato and turkey barley soups, ham & leek empanadas, leftover lamb, chicken pot pies, chili, and bite-sized apple muffins. For the trip across the sound on the ferry, we enjoyed a picnic of roast beef sandwiches, chips, and iced tea. Given her handicapped status we were allowed to stay in the car and they ushered us to the stern of the ferry so we'd be one of the first cars off and that provided us with a fantastic view of the crossing at water level. The skies were filled with incredible clouds and we all enjoyed our front-row seats.
Finally, at her home-base hospital, we learned that Leslie's leg would heal on its own with time and the wrist would likely require surgery but she'd need to consult with an orthopedic specialist. They released her into the care of her very good friends, and five nights after her fall, she found herself at home enjoying and sharing the meals we'd packed for her.
So this Christmas was all about food, love, and support - wonderful things to share.
Photos & Slide Show ©2016 Claudia Ward
Music: "Leaving Paris" by Alexandre Desplat from the soundtrack of "Julie & Julia"
The 2016 Calendars are available for sale. There are two sizes, a desktop calendar with a sturdy 3" deep standing easel that measures 11" by 6" that features a calendar and one of my wave images for each month, and a wall calendar that measures 21" inches when open and 13" wide with a strong metal spiral connecting a calendar page to a page featuring a single wave image.
Both are printed on high-quality heavy card stock, and either will look great in your house or make a unique holiday gift. The desktop calendar is available for $25 each, including shipping, and the wall calendar's price is $30 including shipping.
If you are interested in ordering one or some of these calendars, please email me at email@example.com and I will expedite your order as soon as possible. Please be sure to include your snail-mail mailing address. An invoice will accompany your order and you can send me a check for the invoiced amount.
I hope you all enjoy the holidays and thanks for all of your support throughout the year.
Every time I make the recipe for Ham & Leek Empanadas, I always have a leftover sheet of defrosted puff pastry and the question begs, "What can I do with just one sheet?" Answer: Mustard & Gruyère Batons. These are easy and addictive. They're great with nearly any kind of soup (shown here with a cup of Split Pea & Ham), make a slightly salty addition to the cocktail hour, and are easy "nibbles" to have around for the holidays.
Mustard & Gruyère Batons
( Makes 10 to 12 batons)
Flour for dusting the board
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed and very cold
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
3 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Flaked salt, such as Malden, for sprinkling
Thanks again Ina - Ms. Foolproof!
These Ham and Leek Empanadas were a Godsend this past summer when Peter and I were doing the outdoor art festival circuit. You cannot imagine how tired and dirty you are after setting up in a field or park on a hot summer day. By the time you're home, it's all you can do to strip off the dirty clothes, throw them in the hamper, put on a bathing suit, and submerge yourself in the hot tub with a cool drink chaser. Once clean and revived from all that warm water, you are bone-weary tired and the last thing you want to do is cook.
Enter, previously made and frozen Ham & Leek Empanadas. One of these with a salad was a frequent dinner for us throughout the summer, and I'm so glad I had the foresight to think of freezing them. They defrost quickly and taste just as good as when they first came out of the oven. I recommend these to anyone managing a tight work schedule who doesn't want to eat processed foods. You won't regret the decision to make these ahead.
Ham & Leek Empanadas
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1½ cups small-diced leeks, white and light green parts
⅓ cup crème fraîche
4 ounces (¼-inch-diced) smoked ham, such as Black Forest
4 ounces crated Gruyère cheese
2 ounces fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted (2 packages)
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk, for egg wash
Flour de sell or sea salt
In Make It Ahead Ina Garten says "Make and fill the empanadas, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Brush with egg wash and bake directly from the refrigerator or freezer before serving."
This summer, I cooked all of the empanadas and then, after they completely cooled, wrapped them in packages of two and put them in well marked freezer bags. When we wanted some for dinner, I placed them on a foil-lined sheet pan and heated then for about 20 minutes in a 250 degree oven.
At the height of the summer season (a wonderful memory now), fresh fruit is at its best and what better way to celebrate and enjoy those fruits than in a tart made with a shortbread crust and sublimely, velvety pastry cream. This is truly easy, as long as you don't make the mistake I did the first time I made it ... I used whole eggs making the pastry cream rather than the called-for egg yolks. What happens when you use the whole egg making pastry cream? You get very peculiar, creamy scrambled eggs. Learn from my mistakes but please don't let them deter you from making this wildly delicious tart. We had it for breakfast several mornings with a hot cup of coffee. Now that starts a day out on the right foot!
(1 10-inch tart)
¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
3 extra-large egg YOLKS, at room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tabledpoon heavy cream
½ teaspoon Cognac or brandy
An assortment of berries and fruit, e.g. blueberries, red raspberries, black raspberries, sliced strawberries, etc.
Thanks to the Barefoot Contessa once again for inspiring me to create something new.
Favorite all-time lunch? A tart of almost any sort, a salad, and a crisp, cool glass of white wine, and I now include galettes in the category of tarts. This one is simple, and light, made with local, in-season, tomatoes - heirlooms when I can get them. And the corn meal in the crust gives it a wonderful little crunch. What a perfect way to end the season.
Tomato & Gruyere Cheese Galette
Cornmeal Galette Pastry
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup finely ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup ice water
1 large or 2 medium (about ¾ pounds) ripe heirloom tomatoes
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg white, whisked, for egg wash
Galettes are the easiest pastries to make and I'm officially hooked. Food52 is a great recipe site and I found a recipe for this galette there and then added mushrooms to make it a heartier meal. The crust is light with the clear flavor of my favorite cheese - Gruyère and you can never go wrong with caramelized onions and fennel - in my humble opinion.
Caramelizing does take time, so plan accordingly - it took me the full hour to get that perfect color and sweetness. I had a box of crimini mushrooms that I peeled and cut up into bite-size pieces before sautéing them in a little butter and olive oil. I simply added them to the fennel/onion mixture and then filled the pastry.
I won't sugar-coat things, this does take some time and a little effort, but we both think it's well worth the results. Yum! (Did I really say that?)
Fennel, Onion & Mushroom Galette
with Gruyere Crust
For the tart crust:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
3 ounces Gruyere, grated
¼ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup ice water
1 egg yolk, whisked, for egg wash
For the filling:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 large fennel bulb, core and tops removed, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves removed from the stem
1 teaspoon brandy
2 teaspoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons dry white wine
1 teaspoon Pernod or Anisette
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, peeled, stems removed, and sliced thin
To make the crust dough:
To make the filling:
October 10, 11 & 12, 2015, I'll be exhibiting at the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton, MA (54 Old Ferry Road). This will be our first indoor show so we'll be rigging the booth with electricity and lights for the first time.
A friend of mine mentioned the Paradise City Arts Festivals to me several years ago and encouraged me, annually, to apply. These are very large, established, and well-thought of art shows, and I honestly felt like they were way beyond my talent. Well apparently the judges disagreed. After three years of being dogged by my friend, I applied to the Fall Northampton and Marlborough, MA shows and got into both. Peter also applied, was waitlisted for Northampton and then got in too, but declined to participate this year given that we have but one booth and the expenses for participating in these shows is significantly higher than the outdoor shows we've been doing.
Guess what, the festival also selected me as one of their "Show Stoppers" which means they feature me in the widely distributed Fall Guide with a picture of one of my waves and a brief write up. They dedicated a third of a page to my work and I've already heard from two people interested in acquiring some of my waves. As a member of Paradise City, I was able to create my own website on the Paradise website linked, of course, to my own (claudiawardphotography.com). How cool is all of this support.
The Armonk Outdoor Art Show in Armonk NY is our last outdoor show of the year. It's on Business Park Drive in Armonk and we'll be open for viewing and business from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
"Named one of 'The Elite 100' Fine Art and Fine Craft Fairs in the US by Art Fair Sourcebook and among the top 'Fine Art and Design Shows' in the New York Metro Area by Sunshine Artist Magazine, the 54th annual Armonk Outdoor Art Show will continue its long tradition of showcasing a fresh and diverse array of art. Over 185 juried artists from 31 states, Israel and Canada, will be featured—42 new to this year’s show."
AND I'M AMONG THEM!
"Crown Royale" © Claudia Ward
Please come if you can. We have so much fun, and the creations you'll see will enthrall and entertain.
How do I relax in the middle of the summer art festival season? I cook. It occupies my mind (a must), I enjoy the required organization (no surprise there), and the results are usually delicious (the reward for a job well-done). I haven't been able to partake as thoroughly as I would have liked in all the incredible fresh fruit and produce we have here on the East End this summer season, but I'm trying at every possible opening, and there was one last week. Guess what? Fresh peaches are here!
Peaches are my absolute favorite fruit on earth and my favorite preparation is the simplest - peeled, sliced, ripe peaches, with a dusting of confectioners sugar and a dollop of cold milk. It is a sublime way to start the day. However, today I started with something new: a Fresh Peach Galette with a dollop of vanilla ice cream (for calcium of course).
I bought almost two pounds of peaches from Babinski's Farm Stand just before last weekend, not wanting to miss them at the height of the season, and then the weekend and another art festival was upon us. By the time that was behind us, I'd lost a couple, which infuriated me, so I peeled and sliced the remaining peaches, and wrapped them under plastic in a bowl and put them in the fridge hoping I could buy myself one more day.
Cooking seemed in order for these peachy gems and I found the simplest recipe - for a galette. What's that? I asked too. It's a simple pastry, wrapped around slightly sweetened cut fruit - making a "rustic" tart. Pâte Sucrée and it's cousin Pâte Brisée used to intimidate me but I can honestly say now that I find it simple to make, easy to roll out, and it makes the flakiest pastry in the world. The filling for this galette is simple too just peaches, a little sugar, a dash of salt, a little lemon juice and some cream of tarter to deal with all that peach juice. Try this before the season is over - it's wonderful for breakfast.
(1 12-13" pastry round)
1 cup all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
2 teaspoons sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ice water
Place 1 cup of flour, the butter, sugar and salt in a food processor. Process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. Add the ice water and pulse just until the pastry begins to hold together, about 6 to 8 times. Do not let it form a ball. Transfer the pastry to waxed paper, flatten the dough into a disk. If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle with additional flour, incorporating 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap the pastry in waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
1 1/2 pounds peaches, sliced 1/2 inch thick (4 3/4 cups)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 disk Pâte Sucrée
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Sanding sugar (optional) for sprinkling
The Paragon Festival of the Arts in Westhampton Beach is being held Saturday and Sunday this weekend and the Paragon Group has used my image "Shore Break" in the promotion campaign for the event. This is one of the top 50 art events in the country. How cool is that! Can you see my happy face?
Please come see me on the Great Lawn at 35 Main Street between 10-6 each day.
"Paragon: always original, always quality, always boutique!"
I am thrilled to be participating this weekend in the 7th annual Westhampton Festival of the Arts in Westhampton Beach, NY sponsored by Paragon. It will be on the Great Lawn at 35 Main Street Saturday September 5th (10-6) and Sunday the 6th (11-6). Bill Kinney is at the helm of Paragon Fine Art Festivals and arranges fine art festivals in premier locations in New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, New York, and all over Florida. This particular show is one of America's top 50 fine art events and features ceramics, glasswork, metalwork, painting, sculpture, and, of course, photography. Jurors, selecting participants, weigh their decisions 70% on the quality of the work and 30% on the artist's booth presentation - I feel quite honored to have been chosen, and guess what I've been told I have a corner booth (#35), which means more visibility and more art hung. The weather report is perfect, cooler (high around 80) and less humid with plenty of sunshine - so come visit us on your way to or from the beach, art won't spoil in the car and there's lots to see.
AND, keep you're eyes peeled in the local newspapers for ads for this event. In July, they asked me to submit copies of my image "Shore Break" with "the possibility of including it in the promotion of the Westhampton Beach Festival of the Arts". Let me know if you see it.
Geographically at the very end of Cape Cod, Provincetown was the original Cape Cod, given the name by Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602 because of the abundance of fish found in its waters. The name was later adopted for the entire peninsula which became a bridged island with the completion of the Cape Cod Canal in 1914.
Fishing has been at the heart of Provincetown's economy since the beginning and its protected harbor was and is unique along New England's coastline. Following the Revolution, Provincetown grew rapidly as a fishing and whaling center. "During the latter half of the nineteenth century, Provincetown was the richest town per capita in Massachusetts, with 54 long wharves, a mackerel fleet, ... and 56 whaling ships; at times, there were 700 ships crowded into the harbor, ... - Provincetown’s Golden Era."
By the 1890s, Provincetown had a small resident population of writers and artists, and summer tourism had begun. As the artist colony and experimental theater developed, so did the gay community in Provincetown which became significant by the 1970s, especially in the summer season. In 1978, the Provincetown Business Guild was created to promote gay tourism ... and the rest is history. "Today more than 200 businesses belong to the PBG, and Provincetown is perhaps the best-known gay summer resort on the East Coast."
All of that adds color, and charm to this small town - the fabric of which P'town is made, and this simply complements the 17 plus square miles of sandy land surrounded by 21 plus miles of coastline. The entire coastline of Cape Cod was preserved as a National Park by John F. Kennedy in 1961 and Race Point in P'town is a place that should be seen.
I grew up on Cape Cod and was visiting P'town on "Sunday drives" when I was young, enjoying the novelty of being surrounded so closely by so much water and of course the New England "narrow street" charm. One or two summers, I ventured forth in the '70s to see the hippies et al, but it's now that I truly appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of P'town.
This weekend August 14, 15 & 16 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. each day, Peter and I will be exhibiting our images in the 44th Festival of the Arts in Chatham, MA. The show is in Chase Park on Cross Street and can be reached by Shuttles that leave every 20 minutes or so from the Chatham Community Center on Route 28 (formerly known as the Middle School) just before the rotary as you're coming in to town (on the left), or from the Creative Arts Center on Crowell Road. Admission is free AND all sales on Saturday and Sunday are TAX FREE - thank you Massachusetts. Our booth is #52 in the back left corner of the park heading toward the windmill. Stop by and say hello. I feel quite confident that you won't be bored. See you this weekend.
P.S. Did you catch my ad in the Cape Cod Chronicle this week? They also interviewed me this week for an article in next week's edition. What a kick!
This is a first - I was named "Outstanding New Artist" at The Mary O. Fritchie Outdoor Juried Fine Art Show which was held on the Westhampton Beach Village Green this past weekend. "Juried" to me has come to mean that a jury reviews your work and booth display before a show and then decides whether or not you will participate. All of the shows I've been participating in this summer have been juried in that way, and I've felt truly honored to have been selected amongst so many talented artists in so many different mediums. This, however, was the first show in which I've participated where judges awarded prizes in a limited number of categories to a handful of artists. So wasn't I surprised and thrilled when the representatives from the Chamber of Commerce stopped in my booth, congratulating me for being selected "Outstanding New Artist".
Although this show is heralded as the 43rd annual Mary O. Fritchie Show that only marks when Fritchie took "lead in orchestrating the annual summer assembly of artists in Westhampton Beach". In fact, the assembly of artists began in the summer of 1937 and probably occurred several undocumented years before that. Visiting artists would gather with "their paints, easels and canvases on the sidewalks along Main Street for a weekend in August to share their techniques." Each year word spread of the informal gathering of talent and more and more artists started appearing every year. "By the early 1950s, Main Street in Westhampton Beach became dotted with artists clad in paint smocks and their talented hands holding paint brushes dabbling in watercolor and acrylic or fervently etching in pencil or ink." The shows continued to grow each year with the involvement and structure of the local business community and chamber of commerce. "By the 1960s, Westhampton Beach had become a destination for those desiring fine art." The caliber of this annual art show event has escalated each year "as the jury selection process has become more stringent and competitive thus gaining higher notoriety as one of the most respected art shows in the Northeast". This year the Chamber reported that over 140 artists displayed their work during the two day show.
This weekend, I'll be showing in the 43rd annual Mary O. Fritchie Juried Art Show in Westhampton Beach in the charming park at the intersection of Mill and Main. The show runs from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. on Saturday August 1st and 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Sunday August 2nd. Please stop by and say hello if you can, I'd love to show you some of my new waves.
The small are not weak and the big are not bullies; and, the big are not always the winners, and the small are not always on the short end of the stick. The small may be more agile and able to turn on a dime, and the large may be able to throw their weight around. I'm not talking about the weight scales but the scale of life.
Given the challenges we face, I think we are each big and small, depending on the day - big in spirit and small on motivation one day, small on energy but big on effectiveness another. We all hear that the big in this world should help the small, and we also hear that the small shall inherit the earth - that's each of us within ourselves as well as with each other.
There really isn't a big and small out there with all the undefinable and definable differences we've heard about or created in our own minds - we are the same and it's our energies that ebb and flow, that give us power one day and drain them another, give us creativity in our ideas one day and require we incubate them another. We're a team, the big and small in each of us, we just need to let both of us play, take the best from each and allow the other to rest, recuperate, and learn.
Now from whence did that all come?
The Hamptons were rockin' this weekend but the biggest attraction of all was the 5th annual Taste of Two Forks, billed by Dan's Papers as "the premier food & wine event on the East End". For those of you who don't know Long Island in the great state of New York, the East End of the island is made up of two forks: the North Fork and the South Fork, so the title is really quite clever.
Sayre Park in Bridgehampton (used as a parking lot for its neighbor the Hamptons Classic Horse Show in late August) was the location where a gigantic tent was erected. VIPs were permitted early access and even had their own seating area where they could watch the GP (general public) mill about, cue up for Casamigos Tequila, or pose for photographs that were streaming to a large screen monitor nearby.
We in the GP loitered about on the grass outside until the "flood gates" were opened at 7:30 p.m. when we funneled ourselves into a forced cue marked by zig-zagging fences that were intended to feed us (pun intended) in a somewhat measured manner into the tent.
The outside walls were lined with double-table locations for each of the 50 odd restaurants that were participating and those who couldn't fit along the walls joined the dessert and beverage purveyors in the middle, with a couple of "hot" cars and a few local designers advertising their wares. Over 16 of the East End wineries also shared their reds, whites, and rosés, and, of course, a band played lively dance music finishing off the party feeling of the evening.
What food did we sample you may wonder? Well Peter tried the tasting dish of 27 of the restaurants represented which included:
Upon arrival we were provided with a clear plastic glass and were told we'd be using it all evening for any beverages we wanted to sample. We tried a couple of wines from the Martha Clara Vineyards on the North Fork which were really quite good, and Peter tried "The Go To" cocktail from Tito's Homemade Vodka which was mixed with elderflower liqueur, fresh lime juice & ginger beer, but our favorite cocktail was the Casamigos Margarita Light, made with the best tasting tequila I've ever tasted and why wouldn't it be? The tequila was created by George Clooney, Rande Gerber, and Mike Feldman to be "the best-tasting, smoothest tequila" the taste of which didn't have to be covered up with salt or lime. Now that was refreshing.
Thousands of people, including us, made their way around the tent several times and after an hour and a half we'd had enough of the throngs, theater, and food, so we walked the length of the park to retrieve our car which had had to be parked at the far end of the park in the long grass.
We were lucky to be on the park property, the overflow parking was down the road in the parking lot at Bridgehampton Commons. Satiated, we smiled as we drove out of the park at sundown, happy to have participated in the Hamptons social scene this year, but even happier to be headed home.
Simple, easy and good are the requirements for meals at our house these days and this recipe from Ina Garten's Make It Ahead meets every one of them. I assemble the packets in the morning, place them on a foil-lined sheet pan in the fridge, and all I have to do at dinner time is preheat the oven and cook the fish for 15 minutes. Peter is wild about this way of cooking fish and moans with pleasure every time he takes his first bite permeated with the flavors of lemon, olives, and thyme.
Easy and delicious it is but beware ... there's a reason I added those "tips". If your kitchen counters are slanted as mine apparently are the lemon juice and olive oil likes to travel and it does so VERY quickly. Like a scout "Be Prepared" - secure those flavors inside the paper packet, it's well worth it.
4 (12x16-inch) pieces of parchment paper
4 (8-ounce) boneless skin-on (or off) fish fillets, such as snapper or cod (or fluke or flounder)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons good olive oil
4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
8 Cerignola or other large green olives with pits
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
Booth Set Up at Amagansett Fine Art Festival July 2015
Small business owners, one and all - I salute you! I salute your courage, your tenacity, your diversity, your patience, your drive, your stubbornness, your independence, your single-mindedness, your vision, your optimism, and your apparent inexhaustible energy.
A veteran of over 25 years working in corporate America, I am now at the helm of a fledgling small business - a photography business to be more specific - and I can, with authority, say this is REALLY hard work - harder than working for a big company. Large corporate business certainly provided its challenges like politics, red tape, egos, long hours, paranoid micro-managers, and endless meetings, but it also came with an already built infrastructure, support systems and procedures, a salary and benefits, several weeks of paid vacation, a distribution system, and departments of experts specializing in things like taxes, advertising, marketing, and product development.
Hayground Photos, Inc. is attempting to create and sell fine art photography with an emphasis on my specialty, wave photography. To accomplish this, I have learned, somewhat begrudgingly, the "80/20" rule - 80% of the time is spent on the business (networking, buying and managing inventory, applying to art fairs and galleries, pricing, filing taxes and organizing business papers, broadcasting significant business events on social media, traveling to and participating in art shows, finding multiple sources for distribution), and 20% of the time is spent creating the images (outside capturing the images). Being in your own business is a 24/7 endeavor 365.25 days a year often without pay and most definitely without paid vacation and you have to work very hard to take even one personal day. I often ask why anyone would do something this hard, and I believe I've been given a glimpse of what the answer may be.
SOLD: "Second Thoughts" © Claudia Ward
20x30" printed directly on aluminum, satin finish, flush-mount silver metal frame
A "win" in my old "corporate-world" was certainly satisfying and could come with some financial reward. A "win" in my new "small-business" world is affirming, exhilarating, and euphoric. To sell an image I've created with all of the decisions that I made from exposure to framing is immensely satisfying unlike anything I felt closing a deal in banking. The money is certainly welcome but it's the feeling of pride that someone else has truly appreciated my creation enough to want to hang it on his or her wall. This "small business" is still fledgling and I am hopeful that it will get its legs under it and stand firmly for some years to come; I'm working hard to make that happen. At this point, I feel a little like the Little Engine that Could "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can" and hope one day to say "I did".
SOLD: "School Colors" © Claudia Ward
16x48" print on wrapped canvas, hard wood frame
16x48" printed directly on aluminum, satin finish, flush-mount silver metal frame
In the meantime, this is not meant to be a "pity-party" but rather a recording of the lessons I have learned and of my admiration for anyone who has gone out on his or her own. It's lonely out there "doing it all yourself" but determination and focus are the underpinnings of any one of you who has succeeded. I have a deep respect for you all and hope to join you soon.
This coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Ashawagh Hall (780 Springs Fireplace Road) in East Hampton, NY, there will be an art show called "Within A Frame" featuring three photographers and one painter, all based on the East End. I am among the photographers and will be showcasing images of my favorite subject - tidal waters and waves. My husband, Peter Tooker will be showing a wide variety colorful and black and white subjects ranging from a bikini-clad lady in a hat to a regatta under full sail "developed" using new digital applications that produce remarkable, eye-catching results. Michele Dragonetti will be exhibiting collections within her remarkable portfolio including her unique thought-provoking images of boat bows and many from her architectural collection. And lastly, Kirsten Benfield, a painter resident in East Hampton, will be showing watercolors created on and of the East End.
Hours will be :
Friday, June 26th 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 27th 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 28th 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m.
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 27th 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Here's a little more about each of us.
Kirsten Benfield is originally from New Zealand and working in East Hampton. As a traveler, observation of her travels has been recorded in watercolor. "In exploring my sense of place on the East End, I bring the two places together in landscapes, and mind-scapes". Please visit her website at: www.kirstenbenfield.com.
Michele Dragonetti finds inspiration for her photography in urban as well as natural settings. Although she doesn't limit herself to one style of photography, there is a consistent approach to composition evident throughout her work despite the wide variety in subject matter. Michele is on the board of Professional Women Photographers, and established and curates their Instagram feed (@pwponline) as well as her own Instagram account (@michele_dragonetti). More of her work can be seen at www.micheledragonetti.com.
Peter Tooker is a long-time resident of Bridgehampton. An art major who loved photography, embracing it from the darkroom in his kitchen developing film to his current digital darkroom. Peter focuses his lens as well as his artistically trained eye on a variety of subjects including landscapes, seascapes, and the human figure, here on the East End, throughout the U.S. and in Europe. Peter's building his site at: www.PeterTooker.smugmug.com.
Claudia Ward grew up on Cape Cod and has called the East End home for more than 25 years. “Retired” from banking for the last five years, she’s turned her life-long love of photography from an avocation to a vocation with a specialized focus on water and waves. Her images have been heralded as “unique” and “painterly”, and are presented in a variety of ways including acrylic face-mounts, printed on aluminum, and gallery wrapped canvas. Please visit ClaudiaWardPhotography.com to see more.
One of the most photographed, drawn, and painted scenes in Chatham, Massachusetts on Cape Cod is a scene including the lighthouse that marks the entrance into Stage Harbor. It is picturesque, standing by itself at the mouth of the harbor, reminding us all of days of yore when the lighthouse and its attendants protected all who approached or passed.
The Stage Harbor Light was installed in 1880 to compliment nearby Chatham Light in guiding the increasing fishing traffic into Old Stage Harbor, especially during bad weather and frequent thick fog. There are fun stories that can be found on the internet about the lighthouse and its keepers, even one about bootlegging liquor and storing it under the floorboards of the passageway between the lighthouse tower and the keeper's house. In 1933, to save money, the government removed the lantern and capped the tower, after which the property "fell" into private hands.
The Stage Harbor Light property was purchased by a school-mate's grandmother and her two brothers, in 1936. This school-mate and I attended the same school over 40 odd years ago where we only knew of one another and knew nothing about our common connection to Chatham - she as a "summer resident" and me as a "townie". It's thanks to the internet and Facebook that we have connected and learned more about one another over the last few years.
Emily's family has many branches these generations later, and the "seasons" (summer and shoulder) are divided as equitably as possible among the many related families. The property and buildings still have no plumbing, except for a single pump, nor do they have electricity - making a week-long stay on the point a wonderful, rustic adventure. Peter and I were recently invited by my former school-mate to see the lighthouse and property firsthand, and we jumped at the opportunity to see one of our favorite photographic subjects "up close and personal". It was a gloriously sunny, breezy Spring day - ideal for being out in the salt-air and ideal for climbing to the top of the tower to take in the 360 degree views of Stage Harbor, Harding's Beach, and the ever shifting shoals and beaches in Nantucket Sound. Emily and her family graciously gave us a tour of the house and tower, and then allowed us to photograph any corner that caught our eye. In our short stay, Peter and I saw evidence that days here are filled with swimming, kayaking, exploring, and reading on rainy days; and, nights are filled with simple food, conversation, laughter, and lots of card and board games.
This slide show is a small representation of the charm and beauty of this unique location, and is a token of our thanks to its current residents.
Photos by Peter Tooker & Claudia Ward ©2015
Music: "Summer Sailing", by Brian Carter
"Harbor Moon" © Peter Tooker
In the world of art shows, there's one little thing each artist hopes to see and that's the "little red dot". The red dot is placed on the label that is on the wall next to each piece and it tells the world that that item has been sold. Recently Peter has been seeing lots of dots.
"Autumn Sky" ©Peter Tooker
Peter and I both now belong to Guild Hall and the Springs Improvement Society (S.I.S.) in East Hampton and participated in their members' shows during the last month. Peter submitted his very popular "Harbor Moon" printed on metal to the Guild Hall show and it sold the first night during the opening reception. For the S.I.S. show in Ashawagh Hall, Peter showed "Autumn Sky" printed on canvas and it too sold early in the show. So Peter's seeing lots of dots and hopes this is "the beginning of a beautiful friendship" with the art-buying public.