Hamptons Epicure: Top 5 Things I Ate and Drank in August

Green padron peppers in the frying pan. pimientos de padron.
Green padron peppers, Photo: Victority/123RF

By definition, “august” is grand; magnificent; majestic; inspiring awe or reverence. Here on the East End the foods of August, much like the weather and the sunsets, do indeed inspire awe. Especially our local, organic produce!

5. You haven’t seen me out at area restaurants, bars, wineries, farmers markets, orchards or distilleries much this season. I haven’t reformed. It’s just—much like doing a photo shoot of strawberry shortcake in February—my love of food has me sort of out of whack. I’m locked in my home kitchen most of the time, darting out now and then to load up on local produce, seafood, beer and wine like a phagomanic hermit. I’m writing a seasonal cookbook with co-author Hillary Davis. Consequentially, food is more a job than a pleasure at times right now.

At first my husband was mystified when I did nothing but cook all day and then suggest we get a pizza for dinner. After three days of mushroom bread pudding, followed by two days of slow-roasted chicken, he picked up a pizza without asking what was for dinner. Our neighbors and co-workers are pretty happy with their “care packages,” but enough already! But then came the day that, having cooked everything in the house while refining dishes for the cookbook, the cupboard was bare save for those three bowls of blue cheese potato salad and it was pouring rain outside. Into the oven went that potato salad and out came The. Best. Home Fries. Ever. Score!

4. A cold house beer—Port Jeff Brewing Company’s Birra Denacola—sipped while comfortably seated at a table outside Del Fuego on West Main Street in Patchogue really hit the spot. So relaxing—I couldn’t quite see Hoptron Brewtique from there, but I thought pleasant thoughts of how beer-rich Patchogue is these days. Maybe next time I’ll indulge in a tray of Del Fuego’s food as well.

3. You know those piles of grilled shishito peppers that every restaurant out here has been serving like mad as an appetizer for the past few years? Love them. They look so much like padron peppers, which are now in our farmers markets, I gave a quart of those a dry fry on a cast iron fry pan, drizzled them with EVOO and “asalted” them with Amagansett Sea Salt. Heavenly hot bliss.

Fresh Watermelon and Honeydew Melon
Slices of melon look like smiles for a reason!, Photo: iStock

2. A honeydew melon from Quail Hill Farm. Yes, all melons are amazing when they reach the peak of their season, and honeydew is fabulous. But it wasn’t just the juicy lusciousness of this perfectly ripe muskmelon that seduced, it was also its size. As soon as I spotted this little baby at the Sag Harbor Farmers Market I knew it had to be mine. So small, so round, with its natural sections protruding outward like an overblown volleyball. I sniffed its stem end, still moist with the morning dew, or was it moist with longing? Perfection. Fine wines can only aspire to smell this good.

1. And a week later Quail Hill Farm’s watermelon looked particularly luscious. And it was!

Stacy’s cookbook The Hamptons Kitchen, co-written with Hillary Davis, is due out from The Countryman Press in July, 2019.

You can follow Stacy’s informed and opinionated foodie adventures on Twitter @hamptonsepicure.

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