Friday, June 29, 2012

Enjoy Learning About the garden At The Garden! NYBG Summer Intensives start soon

Don't Miss Your Chance for NYBG Summer Intensives
"It's like summer camp for grown-ups..."

Have some fun and gain valuable skills. Register today for a Summer Intensive.
Classes start as soon as July 9.
The Garden’s world-class instructors offer hands-on, practical advice and bring
award-winning experience from their fields of expertise.
Class sizes are limited for individualized attention.
   Landscape Design Summer Intensive: More info
   Botanical Art Summer Intensives: More info.
   Floral Design Summer Intensive: More info
   Gardening Summer Intensive: More info

For questions or to register by phone, call the NYBG registration office at 800.322.6924.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Private Oasis: New Book Explores Glamorous & Doable Landscape & Garden Design

Just because I was all whipped up with the launch of my own book, The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook and so regrettably missed the glamorous garden book party for The Private Oasis: The Landscape Architecture of Edmund Hollander Design heralded by its elegant invitation, is no reason you should miss out:

For anyone who loves gardens and good garden design, this swanky-looking book is a beauty to look at – plus it’s like having your own private landscape architect interpret the looks for your own garden space.  Enjoy a good garden read at the beach  -- but then start taking design notes!

From the Amazon review: Whether a home is a great place to live often depends on what lies beyond its walls. The landscape - when it has a well-thought-out shape and character - gives a home much of its character and satisfaction. In The Private Oasis, two of New York's leading landscape architects, Edmund Hollander and Maryanne Connelly, guide readers through a series of remarkable landscapes and gardens, explaining how to apply their techniques, no matter what the size of the reader's property.

Since founding Edmund D. Hollander Landscape Architect Design in 1990, Hollander and Connelly and the more than a dozen landscape architects on their staff have designed hundreds of residential landscapes, from the palatial to the somewhat more modest. Every landscape, they believe, has a story to tell. The aim of the landscape architect, when working with the homeowners, the site, and the architecture of the house, is to decide what that story is, and see that it is told well.

You can't plant whatever you want, wherever you want it. You can't rearrange the earth arbitrarily. You have to respond to the makeup of the land and its water flows, its vegetation, wildlife and other features using that knowledge to fashion a living landscape. That was a key precept Hollander and Connelly learned from the pioneer of ecological planning, Ian McHarg, and it undergirds all their thinking. Hollander and Connelly marry factors from nature to an understanding of human ecology. Says Connelly: "The solution is always driven by who will be using the landscape and how they will be using it."

The Private Oasis focuses on built elements in the landscape including the entry, seating and gathering places, outdoor dining, swimming pools and water features and tennis courts. It is lavishly illustrated with over 1000 color photographs. A successor volume will focus on plantings. Together, the two volumes will give readers a comprehensive orientation to the making of residential landscapes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Horticultural Society of New York Hosted a Glamorous Affair for “The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook” Premiere

It was, among other superlatives, a delicious success.

Pick any evening in New York City and it’s a sure-fire bet there are dozens of top-tier happenings all over town.

Thursday June 14th was no exception. 
There was a Chase Bank 5K race in Central Park.
My Metro Hort association had rescheduled their tour of the NYBG Monet Garden to the same night.  Really, what are the chances?

President Obama and First Lady, Michelle were holding court at a fundraiser hosted by Vogue's Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker – for a dinner at SJP’s West Village home – not too far from our building.  (Shhhh...  As an aside, word here is she and husband Matthew Broderick tried for years to buy in our building, but management at that time was “afraid” stars would bring the paparazzi.  Too bad, they are such nice family people. And true New Yorkers, too.)
The Board here has since given up that “discriminatory” policy and we can quietly boast more than a few artists as building mates, though Julia Roberts flew the coop/co-op.
Enough sidebar scoops.
Just enough so you see what rigorous opportunities peek out from more than a few corners in Gotham.

Further, how tough was it to get a taxi uptown?  Impossible. After far too many minutes, the doorman hailed a yellow hack and I had to beg the off-duty cabbie to get us to The Hort in time. 

See, the thing is, not unlike SJP’s Carrie Bradshaw on-screen character, I am a writer. 
So not like her, I write about food, gardens and restaurants, farmers markets, artisanal food making...
But there was a certain karma-like parallelism in the calendar that night. 
And the fact that I was able to nab this cab – was a made-for-TV moment.

The hack driver spirited us uptown in no time, making up for my last minute script rewrites/cuts, and an all-too-short practice run-through.  

And then, just like that, we were getting off the elevator at The Horticultural Society of New York to be greeted at the elevator by none other than George Pisegna, Director of Horticulture at The Hort.  George is an enthusiastic advocate for The Hort’s mission to sustain the vital connection between people and plants; moreover, he is a garden hero.
He was happy and enthusiastic to see us and elated about the attendance for the evening.
Therefore, I was too. 

Foody's chef Bryan Futerman setting up at The Hort for The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook reading
Already setting up was chef Bryan Futerman, Foody's Restaurant and Cafe Facebook page, Water Mill, and a featured Homegrown chef from the book.   

It seemed natural that chef Bryan and his inspired grower, Jon Snow, from the Hayground School would have traveled to Gotham together. 
There, leafing through the Homegrown Cookbook and smiling as we entered, was the inimitable garden sprite, Master Gardener, children’s garden mentor, and artist, Jon Snow. 
Later, during the presentation, we would learn in a personal, almost poetic prose, how he works with the children – and the plants – to weave a magical relationship with the natural world.  The kids get their hands in the dirt, grow food and learn to cook through the “Young Chefs Program” – designed by another featured Homegrown Cookbook chef: Joe Realmuto from Nick And Toni's restaurant, who created a program that was long a dream of the restaurant’s late owner, Jeff Salaway.   That dream – “to bring together kids, chefs, and food in the spirit of community” is a true success.

And not unlike an aim of the Homegrown Cookbook.

The program and the children’s garden is delightful.

Soon, Chef Tom Schaudel arrived, his food larder in tow in what looked like an oversized mobile cooler. 
Chef Tom Schaudel, CoolFish, sets up for culinary creation at The Hort
He’s done this before. 
Chef Tom is an experienced, much-loved Homegrown Long Island chef.  Chef Tom Schaudel Restaurants
He presides over a virtual empire of restaurants, strung across the Island like jewels on an heirloom necklace.
In fact, he owns Jewel (!) – his Melville restaurant – and CoolFish, A Mano, Alure, and, along with his daughter, Ross Schaudel Catering.  Schaudel has also authored the highly popular book, "Playing with Fire: Whining & Dining on the Gold Coast"

Fans of the chefs arrived early to meet 

Arriving from an account meeting downtown, Kareem Massoud, Paumanok Vineyards' grape farmer and vintner – and inspired grower to Chef Tom Schaudel as written in the Homegrown Cookbook, bringing two of his family’s estate wines: a Rose and a Chenin Blanc. Both were rich, nuanced, and tasty partners to the evening’s recipes, and very popular with the Hort’s guests, too.

Chef Tom and Bryan made a recipe – or two – from the four recipes every one of the 27 chefs graciously and lovingly provided for the Homegrown Cookbook.

With a large Hort audience of food and drink fans eager for Homegrown food and food stories, the guests were soon asked to take their seats.

With lots of beautiful images of the natural landscapes of Long Island and the behind-the-scene photos of the farms, gardens, waterways, honey and duck growers, oyster and berry farmers, I told the story of the making of The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook (a coffee table, hardcover cookbook, also available at B&N and now at bookstores) and the larger, food story that evolved in the world surrounding the writing of the book: from Slow Foods to urban farming to the resurgence in Farmer’s Markets and edible home gardening, including the White House’s edible garden. I noted the First Lady is also doing a book tour for her just published book, American Grown.

I also read excerpts from the Homegrown book from the profiles of chefs Tom Schaudel and his inspiring grower partner, Kareem; and Chef Bryan Futerman and his inspiring garden partner, Jon Snow.  

Jon Snow, Hayground School at The Hort
Growers Kareem and Jon spoke about their successful gardening and farming on Long Island.  Noteworthy was the Hayground children’s gardener, Jon, commenting that his 91-year old Mother commented he was a success at long last, because he was speaking at The Horticultural Society of New York!  

Kareem Massoud, Paumanok Vineyards
And speaking of matriarchs, Kareem shared how his mother had a biblical quote framed in their kitchen admonishing, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.”  Clearly, his mother – and family -- recognized a higher authority to a lifetime of honored labor was calling them.  It shows.  

Following the talk, the guests were led back to the area for the chefs’ food and drink demo highlight part of the evening’s program.

With nothing more than a burner –the chefs made their four-star recipes right at the lovely tables – complete with sweet, picture-perfect pot of herbs growing in tiny wash bins -- set by The Hort.
The Homegrown chefs had the attention of everyone around their individual tables, allowing for interaction with the foodie fans, which were again sipping the crisp, bright flavors of the local Paumanok wines.

Local wine – and beer – naturally pairs better with the food made from the local terroir and sea. 
Just try a Paumanok Chenin Blanc local wine, for example, with oyster farmer, Karen Rivera’s Peconic Pearls – also featured in the Homegrown Cookbook.
Truly, heavenly. 

The two Homegrown chefs wielded their magical alchemy to tease out extraordinary flavors to a delighted audience. They had them crying with gastronomic joy at their creative, distinctive Long Island cuisine.

Chef Tom made his over-the-top Up-Island Lobster Risotto with corn, Heirloom tomato, and basil.  So simple yet so complex and a no-doubt-about-it crazy delicious, with a visual impact too.  Savoring the Up-Island Lobster Risotto is a sensory experience.

The Recipe can be found on page 123 of the Homegrown Cookbook.

Chef Bryan would have made his famous pizza with local vegetables and dough made with fresh, local honey – I am not kidding – but without the wood-burning oven, guests would’ve been shortchanged.  (Gotta get Kalamazoo to donate an oven to the Hort, don’t you think?)
Instead, chef Bryan opted to whip up the Cherry Wood-Smoked Brisket recipe found on page 40.  Again, a few simple, local ingredients, but the end result had guests shaking their heads in culinary wonderment. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender but Rocky-strong in its integrity as a star ingredient.
To add to the standout taste, Chef Bryan served the brisket on dark bread infused with sauerkraut (I am not making this up!) with a smoky thousand islandish dressing and a spicy tomato.  

Foody's Watermelon-Red Pepper Gazpacho
Speaking of tomatoes, there are none in chef Bryan’s Watermelon-Red Pepper Gazpacho. For extra credit, Chef Bryan also made the delightful twist on a summer classic – found on page 41 of the Homegrown Cookbook.  
The cool, sweet watermelon flirts with the spicy hot jalapeno right in front of all the others, er, the other locally grown veggies, including onions, celery and peppers.
A perfect appetizer served in small cups for a BBQ or dinner party. Or a main course for an easy-to-make family meal.  It’s sweet and smoky. Dial the flavors up or down…

Book signings accompanied the food tastings.  It was a sell out!  Food and Hort friends from New York, California, North Carolina and the Garden State were there and recognized the Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown lifestyle as featured in the book is one they admire and can cook up at their own home, wherever that may be.
Jennifer Calais Smith (L) & Homegrown author, Leeann Lavin

George Pisegna adds Homegrown to The Hort's Library
George from The Hort honored this author and the Homegrown chefs and their inspired growers by purchasing some books to give as a gift to some key Hort supporters.  Shhh. It’s our secret until they take the wraps off their “Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook!”  

And words can’t express how honored I was to sign a book for The Horticultural Society of New York’s illustrious library.  A dream come true…

Thank you.

Cheers to a Homegrown life.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Homegrown Chefs & Growers at The Hort for FREE Book Reading, Food & Drink Event

Author and Food & Drink editor, Leeann Lavin tells the good-food stories of farmers who rise before the roosters to bring fresh produce, meats, cheeses, honey, and seafood to these local chefs and area farmers’ markets. She profiles Long Island’s best pasture-to-plate chefs who kick off the day with an early trip to the markets & local growers and wrap it up in the wee hours of the night, after feeding legions of appreciative diners. The food stories are lovingly told—exploring the work and passion of the chefs and the local food artisans, farmers, and fisherman—who together, are dedicated to connecting to the land to produce menus that boast delicious homegrown flavors. The book offers a rare and intimate tour of the kitchens and gardens that create local, seasonal food.

Brimming with food stories from the region’s best real-food chefs and the growers who inspire their homegrown menus, more than 80 tempting recipes, and stunning photographs of the iconic dishes, authentic & sustainable ingredients, and the majestic land and seascapes that are the romantic hallmarks of the area’s food culture. Two chefs featured in The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook
  and the growers who inspire their homegrown recipes will join Leeann to demonstrate their masterful cooking using local, fresh ingredients. Tastings too!
These chefs are Chef Tom Schaudel, CoolFish Grille and Wine Bar Chef Tom Schaudel restaurants 
Chef Tom Schaudel, CoolFish restaurant prepares his lobster risotto at the Hort tonight
(and several other restaurants), 

Chef Bryan Futerman, Foody's Restaurant & Cafe cooks at the Hort
and Chef Bryan Futerman, Foody's Facebook  

The chefs will cook up a recipe featured in the Homegrown Cookbook, using fresh, local ingredients.

Joining the chefs and this Examiner/author at The Hort are the growers who most inspire the chefs and are featured in the book.

Vintner and owner of Aquebogue’s Paumanok Vineyards, Kareem Moussad will talk about growing grapes, making award-winning wine and managing a world-class vineyard on Long Island.  And will bring some outstanding wine to taste too!

Featured vintner & winemaker, Kareem Moussad, Paumonok Vineyards will discuss growing grapes on LI at the Hort (and wine tasting, too!)

Jon Snow, Master Gardener, The Hayground School, Bridgehampton
Jon Snow, Master Gardener and co-founder of The Hayground School and Camp in Bridgehampton will talk about his passion for the Children’s Garden there and teaching kids to get their hands in the soil, to grow food and create a lifetime of better nutrition and diet. 

The Food and Drink event at The Horticultural Society of New York is a fun, free and fascinating must-attend foodie event:

See you at The Hort! 

Doors open at 6pm; talk starts at 6:30pm

Explore the special relationship between a chef and grower....