The Barbara Kruger-designed wine labels for Bedell Cellars.

NEW YORK - In the Hamptons this summer, the farm stands were bursting with an abundant crop of the sweetest corn, peaches, melons and tomatoes. The fields were awash in sunflowers, and the only crisis in the food and drink world was the rosé drought – but honestly, if you want to drink Domaine Ott, go to St. Tropez!  When in the Hamptons, my drink of choice is the divine Taste Rosé by Bedell Cellars with a wine label created by artist Barbara Kruger, and it was in plentiful supply at the parties I went to.

Speaking of sunflowers, I had the pleasure of co-hosting a dinner with Denise Bethel and Henry Buhl, one of the kick-off events to A Show of Hands: Photographs from the Collection of Henry Buhl, which will be held on 12 December in our New York salesroom. The dinner was held at Henry’s beautiful East End home, “Girasole,” adjacent to a sunflower field, and decorated top to bottom with the golden flower, including glassware, artworks, chandeliers, decorative accessories, linens and fabrics, and even a swimming pool.


Collector Henry Buhl mans the grill at his East End home.

I’ve known Henry since my days at the Guggenheim, when he chaired our Photography Committee, and we presented an exhibition Speaking with Hands: Photographs from The Buhl Collection, and so I’m very excited to be involved with the collection again. Henry himself manned the grill and cooked three gigantic steaks to perfection according to a method he has surely patented. The steaks are cut especially for him from a local purveyor, and each weighs about five pounds and is at least five inches high. He bathes them in a tasty marinade, and fires them as his guests arrive. By the time drinks and hors d’oeuvres are over, the steaks are done to perfection, and are served with a piquant horseradish sauce, and sides of mashed potatoes and roasted veggies.


Lobster rolls with fresh tarragon, lemon juice, mayo, and celery, on toasted buns brushed with clarified butter.

There were many more parties and benefits of all sorts, too numerous to mention, except for one that I hosted. The weather was so beautiful at the end of August that I couldn’t tear myself away from the beach, so I thought I’d gather some fellow beach lovers, who also turned out to be artists and art lovers, for a picnic.  The menu was fairly simple – lobster rolls. The poached lobster meat was chopped up and mixed with fresh tarragon, lemon juice, mayo, and celery, on toasted buns brushed with clarified butter. I had the requisite sides of course - coleslaw and potato chips, but because I knew we would gobble them up, I also made some Asian flavored grilled chicken wings; a tomato salad from my garden, seasoned with an anchovy and black olive vinaigrette, and one of my favorite old time recipes, ziti salad from “The Store in Amagansett” cookbook. Before the days of takeout gourmet shops, the late Bert Greene’s store in the seventies was perhaps the first of its kind, and the best in class. I still use his cookbook every summer, and indeed, they still sell his rendition of this salad at Loaves and Fishes for about a zillion dollars a pound. The secret ingredients are pickle juice (I picked up some great gherkins at an Amish farmer’s market when I visited the eastern shore of Maryland earlier this summer) and lots of fresh dill. And for dessert, watermelon of course, and ice cream sandwiches from Tate’s bakeshop, made with their homemade ice cream, wedged between chocolate chip, or cranberry oatmeal raisin cookies. Needless to say, there was plenty of rosé to drink, and no leftovers to pack up and take home.