Hello friends! I realize I’ve neglected you for such a long time. But never fear, (actually I don’t think any of you are scared) but I was still eating and experiencing the most lovely meals. Some of my favorites were from my summer vacation, where I had the privilege and pleasure of dining at Stella! in New Orleans, and the recently Bon Appetit named best new restaurant in America, Husk, located in Charleston, South Carolina. Anyways, I think it would be too hard to recap the past lovely months – that or I don’t really have the patience to type up everything!
Today was a lovely fall day – cooler, so you need a fleece, but not too brisk, and sunny with blue skies and a rainbow of tree leaves. I had the lovely pleasure to get to venture out into the country (okay, it may have been South Jersey, but it was actually really beautiful, and I loved the green pastures with the horses grazing) and visit an apple orchard. Due to the bad weather that came upon us late summer/early fall, the apples were scarce, squash plantings ruined, and the pumpkins were imported from Ohio. As a result, our apples were free! 🙂 I’m not sure the type of the few apples we got, but they were a bit lighter colored, a light green/yellow with a hint of red. They were perfect for the apple crisp we (overseen by Carolyn) made, not overly sweet or tart. They also had brussel sprouts available for picking – it was the first time I’d ever seen sprouts in the wild! Okay, I realize a contrived orchard that imports it’s pumpkin patch isn’t exactly the wild, but the brussel sprouts were growing on actual plants! They grow on the stalk, between the leaves!
After picking out some decent apples and my lovely orange pumpkin (yep, I’m going to carve it and have a lovely centerpiece for Halloween) we left for Carolyn’s house. Why is this relevant you ask? Well, this is where the best part of the day happened. Upon arriving at Carolyn’s house, she served us this amazing bread with fresh rosemary (from her garden!), bacon and blue cheese! Ahhhh-mazing. The bread was soft and a bit doughy (not like it was undercooked, just perfect). After a bite or two (okay, I ate the whole piece of bread, and quite quickly as well) I may have been admiring Carolyn’s crockery on the stove, only to find out she had made boeuf bourguignon – for us!!!!!!! Oh the smells that filled my nose when I lifted the lid to peek in! My eyes took in carrots, mushrooms and beef, while the smell of dry red wine that had been simmered all together drifted up. Heaven. Carolyn has prepared Julia Child’s recipe, but in this instance she used Ina Garten’s, as it is considerably less time consuming and less complicated, but still gives you the wonderful same meal. As a side to soak up the juices, Carolyn had also prepared mashed potatoes for us, red skins left in! She also served a salad with mesclun greens, walnuts, blue cheese, and freshly picked apples, with a raspberry vinegarette. I think there’s a spot in heaven for this girl! The meal was amazing, the flavors so rich, the meat was so tender, it just broke apart when you bit in.
After dinner (with thoroughly cleaned plates as shown above, mine perhaps a little more dishwasher ready than others) we got up to prepare an apple crisp Carolyn had planned. Peeling, coring and slicing the apples proved to be a bit more risky than anticipated – a slippery little apple got away from me and the knife into my finger! My job with the knives was over for the night. Chelsea and Kimmy carried on, while Carolyn and Vince worked on the crumble bit. Apple crisps are quite easy – slice the apples, mix in the sugar and cinnamon, and cover with a crumble made of brown sugar, oats and quite a bit of butter. Set in the oven to bake! Marc and Kimmy ran out to get vanilla ice cream and we sat down to the most amazing apple crisp, far surpassing any restaurants. Must have been those freshly picked apples, farm to table. Oh, and a little bit of love. 😉 xxx