Tag Archives: with recipe

Greetings from Long Island


6359827257422308901231023530_6358825248226733632106411457_li- Greetings from LI POSTCARD

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then hit the back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone,

WOW !  Summer on Long Island, NY

I hope your summer started off great. The weather in the northeast has been mostly sunny and a heatwave here and there, just the way I like it.

How I have waited for this season to arrive since that first snowflake fell on Long Island this past winter.

Being from an island and surrounded by water, you guessed it, the beach and the ocean play an important role in our summer life.

Long Island is a great vacation spot.

We have some of the best beaches and freshest seafood.


(photo courtesy of pinterest.com)

There are numerous attractions on Long Island; from beaches to wineries, museums to formal gardens and lighthouses to mansions. Too many attractions to mention here without me sounding like a travel agent or a tourist brochure.

I won’t lie though, summer on LI also brings a lot of traffic with all the tourists; but once you get to your destination, it’s worth every minute you were stuck on the road.

So today I wanted to welcome you to 118 miles of fun in the sun

and prepare a Long Island Clambake for you.

 “Summer on Long Island”

2016-06-19 13.50.33 CAPTREE BRIDGE

Captree Bridge- gateway to Robert Moses Beach, Jones Beach and Captree State Park.

2016-06-19 13.51.56 MARINA - FERRY

Ferry to Fire Island from the Bay Shore Marina.


Today I would like to prepare for you a summer tablescape along with a summer seafood dinner as if you were a guest invited to my home.

Sort of two posts in one…

2016-07-04 16.50.52 INTRO

 We are headed outdoors on a great summer day.

I love to entertain in the summer and outdoor dining for me means relaxing and soaking up the sun. Eating al fresco is a joy. 

 Starting off with individual woven place mats in cocoa brown.

2016-07-04 16.32.24- PLACEMAT

I still love a charger plate, even outdoors, so to add to the place setting I am using mother of pearl chargers.

After all, mother of pearl is made from the inner lining of various mollusk shells, so they are just what we need for a seashore place setting.

2016-07-04 16.32.41 CHARGER

The napkins are dark tan (even though the sun makes them look like gold in the pics) and I am using a rope napkin ring in off white for that nautical feel.

2016-07-04 16.40.20 - NAPKIN AND RINGS

The main focus of this tablescape are the salad plates. I found them in Bed, Bath and Beyond last summer and I knew immediately I had to own them. They are just too cute. Since I am a Long Islander born and raised, this just made sense. 

 Melamine salad plates that symbolize Long Island.

They have a beige background with the map of Long Island in brown; complete with surrounding bodies of water and nautical designs in turquoise and white to showcase our lighthouses, boating and sailing. Too cute, right?

2016-07-06 14.43.51 LONG ISLAND PLATE

This tablescape gives me the opportunity to use another recent purchase of mine; glass dinner plates in the prettiest shade of turquoise.

I originally bought these plates to match some nautical glassware I have; but I think they will be a nice addition to this tablescape.

 The dinner plates just remind me of the ocean; and combined with the salad plate- a match made in heaven.

2016-07-06 14.40.56- GLASS PLATE

I am using stemless wine glasses with various seashore designs. The base is also a soft shade of turquoise. 

2016-07-04 16.42.08- GLASSWARE

The flatware is off white pearl which matches the rim of the mother of pearl charger.

2016-07-04 16.39.55- FLATWARE

For a centerpiece, I am keeping it simple so I have enough room for the food; so I am taking out the wooden sandpipers once again. I added a little sand on the table along with some seashore accessories. 

2016-07-04 16.46.25 - CENTERPIECE

One of my favorite additions to this tablescape is a recent gift, given to me from my honey, Bob.

The gift is a sign that says, “Gone Coastal” – that’s me. I keep this on my desk at home. I just love it.

As you can see, the painting on the sign is a crab; also a very important part of Long Island.

And the bonus is that the sign is the same colors as my place setting.

2016-07-04 16.39.27 -COASTAL SIGN - 2

 A few more table accents and this tablescape will be complete. Seashell salt and pepper shakers, clam shell tea lights and some scattered fish net around the centerpiece.

I love this picture of the salt & pepper shaker because the way the sun hits the table, it reminds me of the sun reflecting off the ocean.

2016-07-04 16.39.00 SALT AND PEPPER

I filled the tea lights with turquoise & tan rocks and gems that match the colors of the salad plate instead of a candle.

2016-07-04 16.38.43- CLAMSHELL 2

2016-07-04 16.37.52 TABLE CLOSE UP

I am using a paella pan to serve the shellfish and shrimp.

2016-07-04 16.55.14- PAELLA PAN

and some blue and turquoise Italian made ceramic platters and serving bowls with a fish design for the rest of the meal.

The colors of the platter and bowls pick up the color of the dinner plate. Almost looks as if they were made as a set.

2016-07-04 16.55.34 PLATTER

2016-07-04 16.56.09- SERVING BOWL

The tablescape is now complete.



And now, the clambake menu…

You have many options to get fish on Long Island.

You can start by catching your own fish. There are so many places on Long Island to go fishing. Too many to mention.

One that is close to my heart is Jones Beach Fishing Pier. My dad went fishing every day at that pier and also brought Michael down on many occasions. I think he was getting ready to make Michael a fisherman.


If you are not into fishing, there are many places to purchase fresh seafood. 

You have the option of going straight to the docks and waiting for the fisherman to come in; and see what is available to purchase from the days catch.

If you change your mind about fishing yourself, you could join the fisherman and set sail. Each boat has a schedule posted and they go out daily. It is a four hour fishing trip for around $40 and the rod, reel, bait and tackle are included.

Nice day trip for the kids.

This is a picture of the Captree State Park Fishing Fleet.

a4ef88b6-a493-40bb-ba9c-781edec72fdf- captree fleet - use

(photo courtesy of NYS visitor's guide)

My dad would take Michael to Captree for lunch and time at the playground and wait for the fishing boats to come in.

Captree is a small NY State Park with a beach, fishing pier, playground, bait shop and restaurants.


If you don’t have the time to wait at the dock or set sail, then head on over to a seafood market. 

We have a lot to choose from on Long Island, and many have a restaurant or clam bar attached so you can eat there or take home a meal.

Here is just an example of one of the seafood markets that I shop in. The variety is endless.

“Claws Seafood Market * Crab Shack * Clam Bar”

(Click photos to enlarge)

(Photos courtesy of Claws Seafood Market)

According to my husband, they have the best lobster roll. 

2016-06-22 18.36.53- LOBSTER ROLL

and I am happy with the soft shell crab sandwich.

2016-06-22 18.38.04 - SOFT SHELL CRAB

If you’d rather not cook at home or want more than take out, there are numerous restaurants serving Long Island seafood; some with gorgeous waterfront views.


(photo courtesy of newsday.com)


(photo courtesy of jakerajs.photoshelter.com)


( photo courtesy of eastofnyc.com)

But today, instead of a restaurant on the water, join me at my home as I prepare for you, my version of a

Long Island clambake.

Well, we have to have clams at a clambake and clams are a big part of the seafood of Long Island, either raw, baked or steamed. I prefer to steam clams on the grill with some white wine (some use beer), butter, shallots, garlic and parsley or thyme.

When I was a child, I would go clamming with my family and eat clams raw, straight from the ocean. My dad would shuck the clams and serve them minutes after we got them. You can’t get any fresher than that.

Today, raw bars with both clams and oysters are very popular in the local restaurants.

Raw clams are usually very sweet on their own, but you can also eat them with a little lemon and hot sauce.

clams on the half shell

(photo courtesy of Newsday.com)

Along with the clams I like to steam mussels the same way; and then grill some marinated shrimp and spicy chorizo sausage for my clambake.

2016-07-04 18.14.54 MUSSELS

I’ll add the clams, mussels, shrimp and chorizo all together on the paella pan and then add some finishing touches.

There are so many farms on Long Island, that a stop at a farm stand is all you need to find the additions to complete the clambake. I usually buy local corn and baby red potatoes.

Here is the finished dish.

2016-07-04 19.49.40 PAELLA

Another claim to fame for Long Island are the Peconic Bay scallops; harvested by the most devoted baymen who just love what they do for a living. I love scallops; so they will be on today’s menu as well.

(Bay scallops are small and sea scallops are larger).

0009_bay scallops- mariobatali

(photo courtesy of mariobatali.com)

I don’t prepare the scallops on the grill; instead I marinate them, broil them and add them to either linguine or capellini with a summer sauce of fresh tomatoes, white wine, basil, garlic and broccoli rabe.

2016-07-04 19.49.03 SCALLOPS

 We have a Chef here on Long Island, Chef John Ross, who has earned his place in history as the Chef of North Fork cuisine. He was farm to table before it was popular and the scallop recipe is all his. I found this recipe in one of the many publications he wrote for over his 40 year career.

(I will share his recipe at the end of this post. You have to try it.)


Now the crabs…every kid on Long Island has gone crabbing at least once during summer vacation. I used to go with my dad and spend hours at the docks. Throwing traps in the water with a chicken leg or two inside as bait and waiting patiently for a crab to come along. I still have my dad’s crab traps.

It is a lovely cherished memory I have of him.

My dad was a master at cleaning a crab and my mother would make a delicious tomato based crab sauce with his catch and we would eat the crabs with linguine – for hours.

I am not making a crab sauce today because I have the sauce for the scallops with capellini; so today I am baking the crabs with garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, cheese, lemon and white wine. The same type of stuffing you would use for a baked clam.

Just to let you know, you have to have a lot of patience not only to catch a crab, but to eat a crab. Breaking the shell with the mallet or seafood crackers and digging out the meat with a small seafood pick is time consuming.

But if you are with a group of family and friends, having a great conversation and a glass of wine, the time goes by so quickly and every bite is delicious.


Now some beverages to go along with the clambake.

Long Island has numerous vineyards and wineries on the north shore so we have to include local wine with dinner. One we enjoy with seafood is a Sauvignon Blanc from the Osprey Dominion Vineyards bottled in Peconic, Long Island.

2016-07-04 16.47.24 OSPREY WINE

Long Island craft beer is growing in popularity and Bob likes to sample different varieties when we go out to eat but one of his favorites is the Port Jeff Brewing Company’s Schooner Pale Ale bottled in Port Jefferson, Long Island.

2016-07-04 16.47.01 BEER

If you can find both the wine and beer where you live, give them a try.

And of course, everyone has heard of the Long Island Iced Tea.

This isn’t something that Bob and I drink but I decided to post the recipe because it has become so iconic to Long Island.

Long-Island-Iced-Tea-Recipe FOR BLOG

(photo courtesy of houseofpremiervodka.com)

After dinner there is always room for dessert. We always serve sliced watermelon, fruit, toasted marshmallows and a farm stand pie. 

2016-07-06 14.35.15 WATERMELON

Today I am serving good old apple pie.

2016-07-06 14.36.01 PIE

Last year, Bob and I went to a launch party for one of Long Island’s food magazines and we discovered something new to add to the dessert list for our guests.

Wine sorbet – yes, that’s right, sorbet made with wine from the vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island – delicious.

My favorite is the chocolate Merlot.

choco_cup_1-389x375 WINE SORBET

(photo courtesy Frosae website)


And that completes my summer time meal.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to my home and my version of a

Long Island clambake. 

I wish I could share it all with you in person and I hope this post made you feel  

“Welcome to Long Island”.

Come and visit.

(Don’t forget the recipe at the end of the post)

2016-07-04 19.49.51- FULL TABLE WITH FOOD

Place Setting

2016-07-04 16.54.23 -PLACE SETTING- 2

Table Details

Cocoa brown woven placemats from Homegoods

Tan napkins from Homegoods

Rope napkin rings from Bed, Bath & Beyond

“Long Island” salad plates from Bed, Bath & Beyond

Turquoise glass dinner plates from Pier 1

Stemless wine glasses from Pier 1

Mother of Pearl charger plates from Pier 1

Seashell salt and pepper shakers from Pier 1

Clam shell tea light holders from Pier 1

Off white pearl flatware from Amazon

Wooden Sandpipers from Amazon

Turquoise & Tan rocks and gems from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

Paella pan from William Sonoma

Turquoise Italian ceramic platter and serving bowl from Homegoods

“Gone Coastal” sign from my honey


Broiled scallops with Linguine

From Chef John Ross

1 lb. linguine 

Grated parmesan or locatelli cheese

1 ½ lbs. of bay scallops

For the marinade:

1 tbsp. minced garlic

2 tbsp. fresh thyme

1 lemon – juice and zest

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp black pepper

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

Place 1 ½ pounds of Peconic Bay scallops in a bowl.

Add the marinade ingredients to the bowl and toss the scallops. Let the scallops sit in this marinade while you prepare the sauce and linguine.

For the Sauce:

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 chopped medium red onion

1 tbsp. of minced garlic

1 pint of cherry tomatoes

½ cup of white wine

½ cup of chopped fresh basil

1 head of coarsely chopped broccoli rabe

Heat a large sauté pan and add 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add 1 chopped red onion and a tbsp. of minced garlic and cook at medium heat for 5 minutes.

Quarter 1 pint of cherry tomatoes and add them to the pan. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes before adding ½ cup white wine. Let this reduce and the sauce thicken, then add ½ cup chopped fresh basil and remove from the heat.

Trim the ends off of 1 head of broccoli rabe, rinse and chop coarsely. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 1 pound of linguine. Cook until almost tender and add the chopped broccoli rabe to the pasta. Let it come back to a boil and drain.

Combine the sauce and the pasta/broccoli mixture and keep warm.

Line a sheet pan with foil and spray with a no-stick spray. Spread out the marinated scallops on the sheet pan and place under the broiler for about 10 minutes or until just cooked and browning on the top.

Serve the scallops on top of the pasta and add grated cheese.

* cooks note – I usually use 2 pints of cherry tomatoes along with a ladle of pasta water because I like more sauce with my pasta.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration !



(photo courtesy of liwines.com)

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Dreaming of Tuscany

2016-06-15 15.16.42 MURAL

(photo courtesy:muralsyourway)

2016-06-18 17.13.36- TABLE LONG

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then hit the back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone,

Well, I am back… I have been very busy with my son’s graduation and honestly have not had time to set any tablescapes. I hope you enjoyed the recipes I posted during the time I was away. 

Now that the graduation is over, I have some free time again and that means time for a new tablescape.

My last post was my mother’s recipe for “Sunday Sauce” along with a complete Italian Sunday menu. And for me, what is an Italian meal without Italian themed dishes to go along with it?

Of all the Italian themed dishes I own (yes, I have a few), I think this pattern has to be my favorite. It gives you the Tuscan feel which just happens to be the theme of my kitchen.

The name of the pattern is Sanctuary Wine and they are from Certified International.

The colors are light rust, sage green with just a touch of brown, sunflower, lilac and cream.

2016-06-18 17.46.29 CLOSE -MUST USE

The dinner plate is a scene of a Tuscan village among the fields and the salad plate displays an uncorked bottle of wine with wine glasses surrounded by grapevines and a Tuscan farmhouse in the background. 

2016-06-18 17.32.50- DISHES

2016-06-18 17.33.34- DISHES SET

I am not using the salad plates for the tablescape today, but I am using the appetizer plates which have the same scene as the salad plate.

All of the plates have a crackled finish which adds to their old world charm.

I thought that my every day coasters would look nice on the table. The colors blend together well with the tablescape and they add to the theme.

2016-06-18 17.45.20----TID BIT- USE THIS

When I bought these dishes, I loved the design so much that I bought every type of dish from the set; bread plates, appetizer plates, trays, platters, pitchers, biscotti jar, and an olive oil carafe…. I have it all, except a baker.

That is the one piece they never made for the set – very odd. So I substituted another baker from a different set from Italy.

Here are a few of the other platters.

2016-06-19 03.33.12 - PLATTER A

2016-06-19 04.15.09 PLATTER B

So let’s start setting a table.

 I am starting with a sunflower yellow linen tablecloth and using sage green napkins. I wanted to pick up a few colors from the scene of the fields on the plate.

Since this a rustic, out in the country feel tablescape, I decided to go for natural elements and I am using wooden napkin rings.

2016-06-18 17.19.24- NAPKIN

Olive green woven placemats are added to coordinate with the color of the  napkins. Whenever I am trying to display a natural, outdoor feeling to a tablescape, I always use my brown rattan chargers.

2016-06-18 17.20.08- PLACEMAT CHARGER

I chose long stem olive green wine glasses to bring in yet another shade of green from the plate.

2016-06-18 17.35.26 - GLASSWARE - USE THIS.jpg

 Off white pearl flatware; again nice and neutral and it is an accent color on the rim of the plate.

2016-06-18 17.37.51 FLATWARE

 I just love the Tuscan village scene on the water pitcher and wanted to use the pitcher as a decoration instead of for a beverage. So, I am using the water pitcher as a vase for flowers. 

I have a collection of both dried and silk flower stems that I use as vase fillers for my fresh flower arrangements. 

For this tablescape I am using three beautiful silk stems in shades of a green, shades of light rust and shades of lilac to pick up the colors of the Tuscan scene. 

This works for me as a table accent and brightens up the table.

2016-06-18 17.43.51- PITCHER A

Since the name of the dishes are Sanctuary Wine, this was a great opportunity for me to use my wine barrel tray for my centerpiece and fill it with a bountiful antipasti.

2016-06-19 03.35.21 - WINE BARREL TRAY

(This tray is mango wood and not recommended for food use, so if you buy any mango wood trays, line it with a ceramic or glass plate first before serving food.)

I am using one of the round platters to extend the antipasti with a separate cheese platter. I love this platter because the scene is the Tuscan village among the grapevines.

My cheese platter consists of pepperoncino asiago red pepper cheese, provolone cheese, grapes and honey.

I had honey on provolone cheese as a sample in an Italian deli and I have been a fan ever since. You can also add the honey to ricotta on ciabatta bread, topped with the provolone and make a crostini.

2016-06-19 04.13.58- ROUND PLATTER

2016-06-18 17.14.58 CHEESE A

 The grapevine bread plate is what I am using to display a caprese salad of mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto with farm stand tomatoes, basil & balsamic glaze on a bed of arugula with an olive oil & oregano dressing.

2016-06-18 13.57.35 - BREAD TRAY

2016-06-18 17.14.29- CAPRESE SALAD

I think I could just have antipasti for a meal and be quite satisfied.

My favorite would have to be pickled eggplants, pickled mushrooms, Italian olives, chunks of provolone cheese and soppressata- hot or sweet, doesn’t matter.

I loved the antipasti my mother put together every Sunday; so here is my version.

I hope I am making mom proud.

My antipasti consists of…

Cheeses: pepperoncino asiago red pepper cheese, chunks of provolone cheese and mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto.

Meats: hot capicola, pepperoni, genoa salami, sweet soppressata and mortadella*.

Vegetables: assorted Italian olives, roasted peppers, pepperoncini, artichokes, pickled mushrooms, pickled eggplant strips, giardiniera* and pepperdew peppers stuffed with mascarpone cheese*.

Breads: stone wheat crackers, ciabatta bread and garlic bread sticks.

Fruit: red and green grapes.

*( Mascarpone cheese is basically Italian cream cheese)

*(Mortadella is Italian bologna with pistachio nuts)

*(Giardiniera is pickled cauliflower, carrots, peppers, celery, pimientos and olives)

I think that about covers it.

2016-06-18 17.15.36 ANTIPASTI IN BARREL

2016-06-18 17.36.20 - ANTI - CLOSE UP

It’s a great idea to have an edible centerpiece. Your guests can help themselves while you put the finishing touches on your gathering and you are not spending extra money on flowers or other expensive centerpieces you need to store after your guests leave.

In the past, I have used vegetables and fruit as a centerpiece and it looks wonderful. Artichokes make a beautiful centerpiece, lemons and grapes do as well.

(Remember my lemon centerpiece from the “I Love Lemons” post- 8/29/15?)

I am serving my antipasti tray with one of our favorite Merlot blend wines, Gran Passione Rosso. The addition of the wine makes this antipasti a meal unto itself.

2016-06-18 17.41.24- WINE BOTTLE- USE THIS

Review for this wine by winemadeeasy.com – “There is a strong flavor of dark cherry, black currant, prune, raisin, and dark chocolate with a smidgen of sweetness.” 

Just perfect with the assortment of meats and cheeses. 

An antipasti like this will surely keep your guests busy and satisfied before the entree is ready to be served.

2016-06-18 17.17.33- BUFFET

Now that the table is set, I am ready for my entree of Baked Rigatoni (not specifically a Tuscan meal, but just what I am in the mood for and very simple to prepare). A few side dishes and another glass of wine wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

After dinner, be sure to serve fresh fruit, nuts and Italian pastries and the Italian meal is complete.

Place setting

2016-06-18 17.39.51 PLACE SETTING

(Baked rigatoni recipe to follow below)

Table Details

Sunflower colored tablecloth from Homegoods

Sage Napkins from Amazon.com

Wooden Napkin rings from Bed, Bath and Beyond

Sanctuary Wine Dishes and platters from Macy’s

Wine Barrel tray from Pier 1

Olive green wine glasses from Dollar Tree

Off white flatware from Amazon

Brown rattan chargers from Sur La Table

Olive placemats from Homegoods

Floral leaf vase fillers from Michael’s Arts and Crafts


This recipe for Baked Rigatoni is easy to prepare and is a definite crowd pleaser.

Three rules to live by when you have guests over…

1- always make something easy to prepare. 

2- it’s not a time to try out a new recipe. 

3. prepare whatever you can ahead of time.

Eliminate stress. 

2016-06-18 17.14.00 - TABLE CLOSE UP


This recipe will definitely save you time in the kitchen so you can spend more time with your guests.

I hope you try it and enjoy.

File Jun 13, 7 59 38 PM - BAKED RIGATONI FOR BLOG

Crusty Baked Rigatoni


  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 ½ lb. ground beef or turkey
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 1 TBSP Italian seasonings
  • 1 large can (28 oz) peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz) can of “no salt added” tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Cups whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 prepared pkg)        
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan or Locatelli cheese (or any grated cheese you prefer)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rigatoni, stir well and cook according to package directions. Drain the rigatoni, place in a large bowl and toss with a “little” olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.

In the same pot, heat approx 2 TBSP olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and cook, stirring until soft (approx. 5 minutes) Add the meat and cook stirring to break up the meat, until no pink remains (approx 10 minutes).

Drain off all of the fat.

Add the parsley, oregano and tomatoes, tomato sauce and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the tomatoes break down (approx 20 minutes).

Stir in the cream, raise the heat and return to a boil. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Return the rigatoni to the pot and toss well.

Oil the bottom of a shallow 3 qt baking dish. Spread half of the pasta mixture in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle half the mozzarella and half the grated cheese.

Top with the remaining pasta, the remaining mozzarella and the remaining grated cheese. Bake until the pasta is crusty and golden brown (approx 30 minutes). Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes and serve. (Serves 6).

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!


Please ask your family and friends to follow and share DishingwithDiane.com either on facebook or sign up for emails directly from the web page.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

And please continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.


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