Month with an “R”

Even though I misspent some of my youth in Boston, I learned the rule to eat oysters only in a month with an “R.” When September rolls in, I go straight to New York City’s Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal (it’s the beginning or end of the line, not a station). I confess that for this blog, I went at the very end of August to have some Long Island Blue Point oysters.  I not only like oysters, but also seek out Guastavino’s tile work. He did the Oyster Bar ceiling.
Oyster Bar CeilingGuastavino was an architect from Spain who developed a unique method for creating ceramic tiled vaults that can hold a great deal of weight. It was a revolutionary construction concept in the early 20th century.  I hadn’t been to the Oyster Bar since their recent renovation, and was aghast at the results.

What have they done with his tile-work? New Home Depot pieces? And why the tiny white Christmas tree lights over a magnificent architect’s work???? This Witch is not going back even though she loves the restaurant’s emphasis on local oysters…  but it’s your call to visit if you are in NYC.
IMG_8012In August, I traveled with family to Denmark. What’s not to love about Copenhagen?  Strolling along the canals and eating varieties of hot dogs are winners for this Witch.

IMG_7465And, if you’re a foodie about restaurants, you already know that NOMA in Copenhagen is considered the best in the world. We did not have the foresight or the budget to book a table ahead of our arrival.

However, we did eat amazing food wherever we dined. The Danes have a knack for unique combinations. Lobster with slices of fresh plums work for you? Vanilla gelato topped with slivered, salted trumpet mushrooms is better than it sounds. We loved both of these at Geist.

One of our family highlights was going to the Maritime Museum in Helsingor. The train ride from Copenhagen is 30-40 minutes and this museum is not to be missed, if you have time.  It is a tribute to Danish transport on the seas over the centuries. It was built into a dry dock, so if you casually walk by, you might not think to look down to find the museum entrance.
CaptureKronborg Slot is a close 10-minute-walk from the Maritime Museum. After a tour of Hamlet’s Castle, we took a ferry to Elsingborg, Sweden for drinks and dinner.

IMG_8214After dinner, we took the train to Malmo, Sweden that crossed a new-ish bridge spanning the sea to Copenhagen, Denmark. We did this part at night, so we missed the magnificent views. My recommendation is to do it the opposite way we did – start in Sweden!
IMG_8133To be or not to be: the Danes are baking brownies. Methinks Fat Witch should be thinking about a Nordic location.

September is back to school month.  We celebrate with PB & J Bars as our Witch of the Month. They are available only at our Chelsea Market store (too soft to ship, so no online orders). If you don’t live in NYC, you can make them at home and savor every gooey bite. The recipe is below.

The Witch

PB+J_002PB&J Bars

1 cup unbleached flour
Big pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup quick-cooking oats (not instant)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup chunky peanut butter
10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
1 cup strawberry jam

Grease a 9” square baking pan with butter.  Dust with flour and shake out the excess.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Measure the flour, salt and baking soda and then sift together into a large mixing bowl.  Mix in the oats and sugars and combine well.
Add the peanut butter and mix well.  Add the butter pieces, a few at a time, and mix until well combined.

Using clean hands, spread two-thirds of the mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the dough starts to turn brown.  With a spatula, spread the jam gently and evenly over the hot crust.  With your hands, crumble the remaining dough on top of the jam.  Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly even or if every inch is not covered.

Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  The jam should be a little bubbly and the top golden.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a rack for 2 hours.  Cut just before serving. Makes 12-16 bars.