Archive for December, 2011

Must Try: Massa in Scarsdale

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Since this is the last week of filling in on this blog, I want to make great use of it and introduce you to some pretty exceptional places. The first is Massa in Scarsdale. It opened about a year ago in the Five Corners building — formerly occupied by Heathecote Tavern, Bachals, and Citron Bistro. The building has been gutted and looks like an Italian farmhouse: You’ll find huge rustic beams, a gigantic stone fireplace, and wood floors, tables, and chairs. It’s really stunning. Plus, the owners — the Coli family — are from La Villeta, a cozy Italian restaurant in Larchmont. When they outgrew their space, they opened in Scarsdale.

They say fish is the specialty, but everything from the pasta to the soup to the vegetables is delicious.

Here’s the artichoke appetizer. It’s braised in white wine and herbs. So good.





The root vegetable soup has every vegetable you can think of.



But yes, it’s true: Don’t miss the fish. Here, my dorado was topped with an olive, caper, tomato sauce and serve wiht spinach. It was outstanding. I’ll be back to give Massa’ another try. Will you?

Massa’ is at 2 Weaver St, Scarsdale; 914-472-4600;


Christmas Morning Cinnamon Buns

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

If you’re hosting Christmas, then let’s face it: This is going to be a crazy, crazy week. I know I’ll be going through my recipes trying to find the perfect stuff for brunch, dinner, Christmas Eve dinner. Sigh. Here’s a little help. Lauren Groveman, of Larchmont, is coming out with her own cooking show. Journal News reporter Heather Salerno caught up with her a few weeks ago for her best Christmas morning recipes, and these cinnamon buns fit the bill. Take a look:



There’s a picture of Lauren in her Larchmont kitchen with lots of homemade goodies.



Here she is again with her cinnamon rolls in the background.

These photos, by the way, are by Tania Savayan, a Journal News photographer.

The great thing about baking cinnamon buns on Christmas — or anytime — is that your house smells so good! Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!


Christmas Morning

Cinnamon Buns

Yield: 14 cinnamon buns

Ingredients for the dough

Up to 3 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 envelope rapid rise yeast

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 cup water

½ cup milk

¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 extra-large egg, at room temperature

For the cinnamon-raisin filling

¼ cup butter, melted

1 cup raisins (mix light and dark)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon.

For the maple egg glaze

1 extra large egg

2 teaspoons water

1 tablespoon maple syrup

For the powdered sugar glaze

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 tablespoons milk, or as needed

To assemble the dough

In a large bowl, combine 2 ½ cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, and salt. Heat water, milk, and butter until very warm (120 to 130 degrees). Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer (with the paddle attachment), scraping the bowl occasionally. Add the egg and 1 more cup of flour; beat 2 minutes at a moderately high speed. Using a wooden spoon, stir in just enough remaining flour to make the dough leave the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes. Cover with a towel and; let rest 15 minutes.

Gather the fillings: In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon with a whisk. Put raisins in another bowl.

To assemble cinnamon buns: Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions; roll each portion to approximately 12 by 8-inch rectangle. Brush each liberally with melted butter; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (use fingers to help coat dough evenly), then scatter the raisins on top (use half of each for each half of dough).

Beginning at short end, roll up tightly as for jelly roll. Pinch seam to seal. With a sharp serrated knife, cut each roll into 7 pieces. Place, cut sides up, on prepared baking sheet(s). Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Or, for morning buns, cover the buns with a clean kitchen towel, and then again with plastic wrap. Refrigerate. In the morning, preheat the oven to between 350 and 375 degrees and allow the buns to sit out of refrigeration for 1 to 1 ½ hours before glazing.

To glaze and bake: Mix the egg with the water and maple syrup. Strain into another bowl. Brush the buns with the glaze and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and cooked through (rotate the sheet front to back once during baking and, if becoming overly brown, cover loosely with aluminum foil (shiny side up). Remove from the oven and let buns sit on the sheet for 5 minutes.

While the buns bake, assemble the powdered sugar glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and enough milk to make a glaze that’s thick but able to be drizzled luxuriously. Remove to a wire rack that sits over wax paper. Drizzle with powdered sugar glaze. (Alternatively, you can spoon and then spread the glaze over the warm buns.)


This Weekend: Birdall House in Peekskill

Friday, December 16th, 2011

So this time of the day on Fridays, I’m thinking…where should we eat this weekend. And there’s no better Friday night hotspot than Birdsall House in Peekskill. The place is known for amazing craft beers and unconventional Southern inspired menu. Chef Matt Hutchinson was leading the charge in the kitchen until recently when he left to pursue his own entrepreneural endeavors. Now March Walker, another CIA hotshot who has worked in many of Manhattan’s renowned restaurants (the Grammercy Tavern among them), has taken over the reigns. So, is Birdsall still worth a Friday night?

You bet. I stopped in recently and had a pumpkin beer (how seasonal!) that hit the spot. My friend had something darker.




Does that look like Friday night material or what?


Next, I tried my favorite thing on the Birdsall menu: the pulled pork nachos. They comes with black beans, barbeque pulled pork, and apple salsa. I love the roasted jalapenos they add, too. And I always ask for sour cream on the side.



They were just as good as I’ve ever had them at Birdsall. We also tried the corned beef sandwich, which was good but I loved the fries — fresh cut and delicious –even more.




So if you’re up for an interesting night out — one that includes a great beer and an off-beat menu — Birdsall is the place to head tonight. And if you miss it this weekend, no worries: Birdsall is one of the few places in the area that’s open on Mondays.


Here’s more on Birdsall.



Flying Pig to Close in Mount Kisco

Sunday, December 4th, 2011


The Flying Pig has a been a staple in Mount Kisco for 13 years. But it will close its doors on December 31. So if you’re interested in a farm-to-table meal—many of the meats and other ingredients are supplied by nearby Cabbage Hill Farm—at this Mount Kisco staple, you have til the end of the month.



The good news is that we hear that Leslie Sutter, The Flying Pig’s chef, will be running a new restaurant in the near future. And of course, we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, treat yourself to a meal at The Flying Pig this month. We love the pizzas for lunch.

Want to know more about The Flying Pig? Here’s the 411.