Every January we go to Cancun, Mexico to relax and rejuvenate for the coming year. It is a needed time off after the craziness of the holiday season. The jam pots at the factory have been at a constant bubble and the ovens at the bakery have been puffing away—day and night. It always amazes me how much we produce in such a short period of time— it all begins about two weeks before Thanksgiving and slows down right after the New Year. Sitting on the beach and looking into the ocean quiets our minds and allows Bill and I to reflect on our previous years accomplishments. We talk about the new projects and goals that we have committed to for the coming year.
Unfortunately, reading books that are not food related is a luxury in my life. The newspaper is a must everyday, and business oriented matter is a given. This year I made a commitment to read biographies about people who have changed our world and made a huge contribution to mankind. I was sitting in my office and sending an email, from my MacBook Air. Next to my computer was my new I-phone and the new I-Pad. Such amazing technology and design. Everything that Steve Jobs created became the new benchmark in the industry.—I am such a sucker for beautiful things. Yes, Job's was a genius—I got up from my seat and dashed across the hall to Posman bookstore to buy a copy of "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson. This was someone I wanted to know everything about—after all, who doesn't love the Disney/Pixar movie "Toy Story"? And, anyone who helped make that happen must be pretty special! I bought the book and made sure to tuck it in my carry-on luggage.
I am really proud of my green thumb. Just look at that bag filled with basil from my little garden. This is only a small amount compared to what is still growing. I keep pruning the plants and adding the emerald colored leaves to my salads and grilling marinades. What a welcome abundance! This past weekend I stuffed an Eva Scrivo shopping bag — I save good ones for such occasions— with some cuttings and brought them back to the city to make a batch of pesto for our sandwiches at the bakery this week. By the way, the Eva Scrivo Salon is just the best. When my grill blew up in my face last month, and singed off quite a bit of the hair around my face and my eyebrows, Donna, my hairstylist at Eva's salon, came to the rescue and gave me a great haircut! Check out Eva's Scrivo's new book on beauty and hair. Yes, I do read non-foodie books.
Never thought I would admit how much I enjoy a good turkey burger. Yes, it is true, and the ones at Citarella are the best. They are made from freshly ground white and dark meat turkey, studded with diced red and yellow peppers, onions and herbs— and you can actually order them on line! The flavorful dark meat keeps them juicy and they are are not over handled when shaped. Bill was in Chicago this past weekend for the Kehe Holiday Food Show. Opting for a quick and easy dinner, I jumped in the car and drove over to Citarella's. The man behind the meat counter knew us from previous visits and commented on my single burger purchase. "Eating alone?" Not surprised by his question, I responded with a nod. Cooking for one can be a drag, but if you make it easy on yourself, it can be fast, fun and delicious. The rainy weekend forced me to cook the burger inside and I must say I was pleasantly surprised.
Photograph by Karen Weiss
SILVIA LEHRER, is a culinary professional, cooking teacher, author, and a weekly columnist, "Simple Art of Cooking", for Dan's Papers in the Hamptons—and Silvia has been cooking for over 50 years.
Interestingly, I met Silvia's husband Fred around 1981 when I opened my first little bakery. Fred would drive into the city and purchase cases of my still warm marmalade to sell in their shop. They owned a high end specialty table-top store and a very respected cooking school called Cooktique, which was located in Tenafly, New Jersey. Fred managed the store and Silvia taught and ran the cooking school. She had studied abroad at Le Cordon Blue, La Varenne, and in the United States with some of the worlds greatest chefs and cookbook authors, (Giuliano Bugialli, Jacques Pepin, Simca Beck, Marcella Hazan and James Beard, to name a few).The New York Times hailed Cooktique as "one of the best and most comprehensive schools in the nation". Silvia organized tours to Europe, traveling with her students to the kitchens of the most accomplished chefs and authors. In the early '90's, Silvia and Fred sold the store and cooking school and moved permanently to Water Mill, New York. Surrounded by numerous local farmers, chefs and wineries, she has continued teaching, writing and cooking.
YES, believe it or not, Bill and I are on vacation. For many years we have come to our rustic little place, Club Baccara, in Cancun, Mexico. We usually take this time to recuperate after the busy holiday season at Sarabeth's. Every few years, the hurricanes come and go and sometimes they have been damaging. It is always a surprise for us when we arrive, as we never know what has been washed away while we are gone. Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised and other times we are sad. The beach appears and disappears depending the the severity of the hurricane. This year everything is perfect. Cancun is as beautiful as ever and if you stay away from the party scene you can have an amazing time.
We have a tiny little kitchen in our time share and I love to shop in the markets and cook during the day. In the evenings we always go out for dinner and enjoy the food of this rich and beautiful culture. I will be posting when possible, as I have to go to a local coffee shop for the internet service. When I see something special I will tweet you from my phone.