Monday August 23, 2010
The Berkshire Grown/Country Living Event was M-A-G-I-C-A-L!!
Here's a short video summarizing the evening by one of the guests!! Thank you Glen Ellen!!
I am exhausted and about to hop on the train to NYC - more to come - PROMISE!!
Love you ALL!!!
Monday August 16, 2010
This week I am all about preparations for the Berkshire Grown fundraiser honoring Sarah Gray Miller of Country Living Magazine. I have my lists, my schedule and I am in motion.
I have contacted the farms and purveyors with my orders, rented tables and chairs, sewed my table runners and have begun the preparations. It's a frenzy of activity around here!!
Yesterday I made peach nectar and lemon simple syrup for the cocktails.
Peach Nectar for our Peachy Keen Martini’s
I wanted to serve a “special” cocktail for this event. With the gorgeous and delicious local peaches that are currently in season, I decided to concoct some peach nectar to be mixed with Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ice Glen Vodka. What better to way to celebrate local everything!!
10 Ripe Peaches from Maynard Farm
3 cups water
Boil a large pot of water and put the peaches in the water for about 5 minutes until the skin is ready to peel off. Remove the peaches into a cold water bath to stop the cooking process. The skin should easily peel off the peach. Slice and remove pit. In batches, put 2 cups of sliced peaches and 1 cup of water in a blender until smooth. Strain and store in refrigerator until the PARTY!!
Simple Lemon Syrup
I am addicted to limonata. But I just bought a Sodastream carbonator and thought, why not make limonata for vodka and limonatas or just limonata. Here’s my recipe:
4 cups organic cane sugar
4 cups water
Zest of a couple of lemons
3 cups fresh lemon juice
Simple syrup is simple - it’s one part sugar to one part water. Cook sugar, water and lemon zest over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved and water boils. Remove and let cool. Add lemon juice and store in refrigerator until the PARTY!! I tried about 1/2 cup of syrup with the liter bottle that comes with the Sodastream and it seemed to do the trick - YUM!!
Monday August 09, 2010
We've got lots cooking but not in the kitchen....
I am in full gear on the preparations for the Country Living Magazine / Berkshire Grown event at my house on August 22nd!! And I know the devil is in the details.
Menu planning is in full swing. I spent Sunday afternoon making my lists!! We are expecting 30+ guests to share in an authentic farm to table dinner. We'll tell all about the menu and the cooking prep as we get closer to the event. Right now - it's all about the table setting....
I was agonizing over finding just the right "tablewear" and just when I was in deep despair I remembered that I have a treasure trove of fabrics in my closet ... and lucky me - do I have the PERFECT fabric for a table runner. Goes to show you that the instincts to buy cool/unique fabric for some future project really do pay off. The sales receipt was still attached - I bought the fabric in 2002.
We are busy as beavers working on the "deets." You are going to wish you were a guest!!
Monday August 02, 2010
Musings about life, happenings and such.
How did August sneak up on us? Wasn't it just days ago that there were buds on the trees and seedlings in the ground? Is it true that I have harvested my garlic and it now hangs drying in my kitchen?
And, am I dreaming that all of my amazing friends, family and fans successfully sponsored my project on kickstarter so I can build a proper website? Am I really planning an event for Berkshire Grown that will honor Sarah Gray Miller of Country Living Magazine at my house on August 22nd? Was Farmer Val ever really here at Boulderwood? She's gone, and seemingly without a trace.
Time marches on for sure. The beauty of life is that there is always something that reminds me of friends and family - be it a scent, a meal and in this case, a plant. So this post is dedicated to the memory of Mike Halko - master garderner, tomato grower and dear family friend. Until this year, the only place I had ever seen a "cigarette" plant was when Mike delivered it to our house each summer and then took it back to his greenhouse each winter. I found this at Ward's this June and it's been flourishing in my old sap bucket all summer. Truly the only cigarette anyone should ever have!! Thank you Mike!!
Monday July 26, 2010
I am reflecting on the weekend gone by and trust me the beach and the environs were lovely but the memories I carry with me are of food, family and friendship.
Food was and is a central theme to any gathering at my parents house and not surprisingly, I enjoyed a weekend with my Mom, Dad, sister and best friend, Anne Marie DeFreest - making and eating amazing seafood. Friday night - fresh scrod baked with a garlic scape pesto, Saturday night - lobsters with homemade cole slaw and Sunday night - fettucine with a tomato pesto cream sauce with leftover lobster chunks. Yep - all concocted, all delicious but all eaten and shared at a loving table.
And now I put out into the universe...please take care of Anne Marie - send prayers and love - she's having surgery tomorrow and I want her to know I love her and am sending every positive vibe I can muster up!! I am counting on you for our "old age" home!!!
Monday July 19, 2010
A picnic is the perfect way to celebrate summer! Here are a few tips for packing a moveable feast easily and safely.
Pack the Essentials
Make sure you're fully equipped for your adventure. Here's a list of essentials for your outdoor excursion:
1. Picnic basket or cooler
2. Bottled water (freeze overnight and use as an ice pack and drinks during day as it thaws. Pour a little water out before freezing to give it room to expand.)
3. Outdoor dinnerware / paper goods
4. Flatware or plastic silverware
7. Corkscrew and/or bottle opener
8. Tablecloth, blanket
9. Decorative centerpiece (hurricane candles, a cup of freshly plucked wildflowers, a beautiful dessert)
11. Bug spray or citronella candles
12. Trash bag and wipes
Pack food in airtight containers or sealed bags to keep freshness in .
Place ice packs on the bottoms of the basket or cooler when you pack your picnic lunch. Arrange perishable items closer to the ice.
If possible - pack drinks separately. It saves space and lightens the load of the picnic basket. Chances are people will be reaching for more drinks than food – so having them in a sep. cooler keeps your food safer, as people won’t be going into the same one over and over – letting the cold out of the food container.
Pack lightweight items and anything that might get smashed last.
Put fragile things like fruit or desserts in hard plastic containers.
Cheers to summer!
Cold Beet and Watermelon Soup
Herbed Brie Sandwiches (Brie Breads)
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies or any cookie of your choice
Arnold Palmers (1/2 iced tea/ 1/2 lemonade)
A true Carole concoction with a grandmother-style non-recipe recipe!! Well it's actually a Carole and Jo (my Mom) concoction that we made up years ago for my famous Murko Open Tennis Party.
Mince a ton of garlic and a mix of herbs - thyme, rosemary, dill - whatever....
Cut open your baguettes and sprinkle with olive oil, garlic and herbs, salt and pepper and add slices of brie (1/4 inch thick should do). Wrap tightly in plastic and put in fridge overnight. When ready to bake them - bake at 350 - remove from plastic and wrap in tin foil for 10-15 minutes until toasted and brie is melted but not runny. Slice into 1-2 inch pieces and enjoy!! For your picnic, place pieces in a plastic storage container and enjoy at room temperature.
Cold Watermelon and Beet Soup
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE gazpacho and anything with tomatoes but I wanted to work with some of the other amazing items available at the markets during the summer. And the combination of beets and watermelon are a match made in heaven for a cold soup on a warm day! Sweet, refreshing and full of nutrients.
1 bunch of farm fresh beets, greens removed, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 vidalia onion, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil +/-
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
2-3 cups watermelon, seeded and chopped. What you want is equal parts beets to watermelon.
Fresh mint (some chopped and soem not, for garnish and flavor) In may opiion, this makes the soup!!
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss onions and beets with oil and place on baking sheet. Roast until beets are soft - 30 minutes. While they are roasting, cut up watermelon. Put beets and vegetable broth in a stockpot and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Strain solids and put solids in food processor (keep the liquid to add back in) Add watermelon to food processor and puree until smooth. Mix the puree and reserved liquid. Refrigerate for several hours. Serve cold, garnished with mint and Enjoy!!
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