It’s no secret that the east end of Long Island is an enclave of great foodie spots and a wine and beer lover’s dream. From its farms and local shops, to restaurants, wineries and breweries, the east end is truly a destination.
Stacy Dermont, a long-time East End resident and local writer, is releasing a cookbook, along with Hillary Davis, focusing on just that — cooking seasonally with local produce, seafood, meat and dairy.
We chatted with Dermont about the upcoming release of the book, “The Hamptons Kitchen,” and why she loves the seasonality of the region so much. Here’s an excerpt from that interview.
Tell us about your cookbook!
Our cookbook, “The Hamptons Kitchen,” is regional to the Northeast and seasonal. We recognize FIVE seasons – as low summer and high summer “bear quite different fruit.” It’s all about making the most of our rich food shed, enjoying the best of every season, paired with our region’s delicious wines, beers, ciders, and spirits.
And we compost to keep all that goodness cycling through our local soils. There’s a succinct compost “recipe” at the end of our cookbook, so you can compost too! Eating locally is promoted as a way to save energy and to help limit pollution in order to combat climate change—it is all that AND more—here we have the very best foods right in our backyard.
What was your inspiration behind the cookbook?
Our inspirations were many – our farms and local seafood, our wineries, our friendship, which has grown over many dinners and food-related discussions. But my main objective was to have even more one-on-one conversations about food. I worked at the Sag Harbor Farmers Market for Dale & Bette’s Organic Farm for eight seasons. There, I met and got to know a wide range of people who cared deeply about eating locally and seasonally, but they had a lot of questions. This book is an answer, a sort of pleasurable how-to guide, as well as an invitation to explore more deeply the edible world around us.
You co-wrote it with Hillary Davis. What parts of the book were you responsible for?
There are over 100 recipes in our cookbook. We each developed over 50. Most are original to us, but you’ll find a few, like my Farmhouse Apple Pie, were handed down from grandmothers. We spent many nights over dinners at Hillary’s home in Bridgehampton deciding what dishes made the most sense for the book. We agreed that most cookbooks, some of our favorites in fact, only offer a couple of “keepers.” We really pushed ourselves to produce simple recipes that stand out on every page. (Both of us try to keep our personal cookbook collections to around 1,000 tomes.)
You include a lot of wine pairings from North Fork wineries. Tell us about that.
I think of local wine pairings much like the two forks of Long Island itself, “the fish’s tail.” Good food and good wine naturally belong together. There are no wrong answers when it comes to what you like to drink with your courses – so I offer options. Our local wineries and breweries produce a remarkable range of choices, after all.
What do you love about the North Fork?
What’s not to love about the North Fork? I live in Sag Harbor now—so two little boat rides and I’m in country-girl heaven! The wineries, boutique shopping, the sights, the friendly people, the rich history, the fun festivals.
I’ve made my home in the Hamptons for over 20 years, but the North Fork takes me back to my rural roots. Its accessibility is a big part of what I treasure about living here!
What sort of events do you plan on hosting around “The Hamptons Kitchen?”
We’ll be hosting many events that feature our cookbook. You can find them all on my website, stacydermont.com, as they are confirmed. Already we’re scheduled to appear at some of our beloved local libraries (Bridgehampton’s Hampton Library Saturday, April 11; Sag Harbor’s John Jermain Memorial Thursday, April 23; Southampton’s Rogers Memorial Wednesday, May 6).
We’re planning a number of intimate chefs’ dinners, where we invite area chefs to riff on our recipes and talk with us and the audience about the seasonal dishes they’ve prepared, and attendees leave with a signed copy of our book.
So far on the North Fork, we’re delighted to be discussing an event at one of our favorite restaurants, Ellen’s on Front, in Greenport. We’d be honored to work with Chef Jennie Werts and excited to see what she creates.
We’re also talking to the good people at goodfood. and at Ali Katz Kitchen, both in Mattituck.
“The Hamptons Kitchen” won’t be released until April 7th, but head over to Amazon to pre-order your copy!