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Fantastic food

Cookbook author praises Devonshire’s amenities, including the cuisine

Created date

April 6th, 2017
Silvia Lehrer prepares food from scratch in her modern kitchen.

Silvia Lehrer prepares food from scratch in her modern kitchen.

For readers who select a book by the interest its title provokes, Savoring the Hamptons should give them pause.

As its author writes, “Savoring the Hamptons focuses on the bounty and the beauty of the part of Long Island known as the Hamptons.” Yes, Silvia Lehrer’s book—published in 2011 and available at Amazon.com—is more than a collection of recipes.

Silvia, who spent 30 wonderful years as a resident of Water Mill in the area’s Southampton Twp., now lives at Devonshire at PGA National, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Palm Beach Gardens. 

A certified culinary professional, Silvia studied at venues like the Cordon Bleu and with such cooking icons as Jacques Pépin and James Beard. She founded her own renowned New Jersey cooking school, Cooktique. For decades she wrote a weekly food column for the Hamptons weekly newspaper, Dan’s Papers.

Jam-packed with 176 tempting recipes featuring fresh, locally sourced ingredients, her book is a culinary tour of the area. Silvia’s special joy was meeting and profiling the area’s farmers and fishermen, restaurateurs and vintners. 

Although retired, she still can’t help but slip culinary tips, recipes, and colorful turns of phrase into any conversation: For example, she recommends dressing a pasta dish with roasted plum tomatoes and a “freshly grated shower” of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

At home at Devonshire

Silvia and her husband moved to Devonshire last October largely because of the warm welcome they experienced when they visited. 

Prior to their move, they spent two nights in a Devonshire guest room, sampled cuisine in some of its five clubhouse restaurants, and experienced what Devonshire’s lifestyle is actually like.

“We enjoyed it very much, and the food was fantastic,” Silvia says. 

She was equally impressed by the two-bedroom, two-bath apartment style they chose. 

Its large dining area, which was a delightful surprise, easily accommodates Silvia’s treasured eight-foot-long oak country table and eight antique Windsor chairs.

She worked with Devonshire’s custom interiors department to add custom touches. Silvia had laminate flooring installed. And she created a study by glassing in the home’s patio and removing the doors between it and the living room. 

Her good-sized kitchen, updated with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, has enticed Silvia to cook more often than she expected.

Last fall she prepared her mother’s Thanksgiving stuffing. “I just had to,” she says. “It brought me home for Thanksgiving.”

For Hanukkah she prepared potato pancakes from scratch. “I love eating them as I cook them,” says Silvia. “I invited a neighbor to join us, which was fun.”

When she invites guests “for wine and a nibble” before dinner in a Devonshire restaurant, she prepares a quick, simple hors d’oeuvre and pairs it with an appropriate wine.

Silvia is thrilled to have been asked to serve on Devonshire’s culinary committee. She’ll offer suggestions about menu selections, give cooking demonstrations of simple-to-prepare hors d’oeuvres, and help in Devonshire’s herb garden.

Fresh herbs play an important role in Silvia’s recipes, and Devonshire’s herb garden, she says, is fabulous, beautiful, and abundant.

Silvia graciously shares a pasta recipe from her book (see above). While created for the home kitchen, it could readily be expanded for Devonshire’s professional kitchen.


Silvia Lehrer’s linguini with slow-roasted plum tomatoes

Serves 4–6

Roasting late summer or early fall plum tomatoes heightens their sweetness for this simple pasta dish. The tomatoes are slowly roasted in a low oven and can be completely prepared ahead for your convenience.

Ingredients

6 to 8 plum tomatoes

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 to 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tbsp kosher salt, plus more to taste

freshly ground black pepper

3 to 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb linguini

5 to 6 tbsp freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 250°F.

Rinse the tomatoes, pat dry with paper towels, and cut in half lengthwise. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat and place the tomatoes cut side up on the baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix the thyme, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle over the top of the tomatoes. Drizzle with the oil and bake for 2 to 2 ½ hours. The tomatoes can be roasted up to several days ahead and refrigerated in a suitable container. 

If the tomatoes are refrigerated, bring to room temperature. When ready to cook the pasta, in a large saucepan bring about 5 quarts of water to boil and add 2 tbsp of the salt. Add the linguine, stirring gently to separate the pasta. Cover and return to a rolling boil. Uncover and cook for 9 to 12 minutes until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 2 to 3 tbsp of pasta water. Spoon the reserved pasta water over the tomatoes. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the roasted tomatoes and the grated cheese. Serve on warm plates and pass additional cheese at the table, if desired.  

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