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Sunday
Jul122009

Now In Season...

We just returned from a dreamy week spent on a lovely little lake in Monroe, NY. Most of the time it was just TC, Lobo, Benito and I (yes, we took the cat) but last Sunday we had some friends up for a day of swimming and grilling. The houses owner had told us that our best bet for fresh produce was a place called Blooming Hill, where a farming family has transformed its barn into a green market, cafe and weekend restaurant, with tables and umbrellas set up on a mostly flat stretch of mowed grass along the edges of the small stream.

The farms jolly owner and his extremely friendly staff and family stock tables with their produce as well as mason jars full of icy lemonade with fresh mint and even a local selection of local cheeses in the barn. A few simple grills outside are used to make fresh egg omelets with sides of perfectly grilled baby carrots arranged on mismatched plates and, at least last Saturday, a teen-aged girl with a flute supplies background music, playing beautifully and intently, even while a resident tom-cat climbed onto her lap to give her instrument a close inspection (we saw him again later inside, lounging in the chard, and when we returned on Sunday he was napping with complete abandon in a round basket of zucchini). Utterly inspired, we bought a few bunches of baby carrots and some corn and headed back to the lake for some pre-party recipe testing.

I love carrots, and was thrilled to discover a new (to me, at least) way to cook them. It was hard not to eat them raw in the car on the way home. My mothers vegetable gardens in Vermont could always be counted upon for mid-play grazing. My sister and I picked and ate everything and anything, except raw broccoli of course. Our tee shirts were always stained across the belly from where we wrapped and twisted little carrots until they were clean, or clean enough. I remember that my patience was annually and thoroughly tested by this vegetable in particular, I was forever yanking them up prematurely only to find barely a thread of range root, then shoving them back in and hoping no one would notice. By the time we had two or three inch carrots we were eating them as fast as we could pick them. Did you know that the baby carrots that you buy in the grocery store are often made from big carrots? Whittled and shaped? Except for the ones you get at Farmers Market, of course, and the ones at Trader Joes, which I highly recommend. Grilling the baby carrots turned out to be very easy. We cut the carrots greens to about two inches, washed and patted them dry, and rolled them around in a little olive oil and sea salt (I used about 1/3 cup oil for a large bunch of baby carrots) and tossed them onto the grill alongside everything else. They took about the same time to cook as a few medium steaks, maybe 7-10 minutes. We knew they were ready when we could spear them with a plain old fork. Extremely delicious.

Corn, too, was always a mid-late summer crop in Vermont. "Knee High by the Fourth of July" was the rule of thumb, at least for the large crops of feed corn that the dairy farmers in our town depended on. We could usually start eating our own sweet corn by mid July, and our neighbors would be setting up crates full of fresh ears on their front porches, with a sign that read "ten ears (the six, then four) for a dollar" propped up by an honor system coffee can. At least with corn, if you weren't quite sure, you could pull back the top bit and check to see if the kernels were plump and crowded or still widely spaced, pale and translucent before you picked it. We ate so much corn. My boy cousins would compete, ear for ear, except for the summer that at least two of them had braces, which put a serious crimp in the tradition. Back in the days when butter and I were good friends (pre 30's metabolism) I was convinced that this was the acceptable condiment with which to eat corn , but now I realize my long standing ignorance. We soaked the ears in water for a bout an hour, then pulled back the husks and removed the silks (Did you know that there is exactly one piece of silk for each kernel on an ear of corn? Thats what we learned by having a science teacher over for dinner) and tied the husks into bunches using a single piece of husk. Then, we patted the corn dry and rolled it around in olive oil and salt. I know, its a theme with me. Then, we rolled them around in chopped italian parsley, and put them on the grill for about 10 minutes, turning them a few times and being carefully not to let the husks catch fire (I draped the over the side of the grill so that they weren't over the fire) It sounds simple, right? You won't believe the flavor.

TC was in charge of cocktail hour, which was usually spent lakeside. His masterpiece was a frozen strawberry mojito, which he made by combining together (in a blender) 1 can frozen limeade, 1/2 can (the one that held the limeade) rum, 2 cups frozen strawberries, and a muddled mixture of a few leaves of fresh mint and the pulp of two limes. This combination yielded two very large servings, which could easily have worked for four normal sized portions. I lost the ability to play backgammon after four sips, so watch yourselves. 

Its good to be home and partly back to a normal eating schedule after gorging myself on fresh food and slushy cocktails for a week. It would be even better if the elastic in my underpants wasn't cutting off my circulation as I type this, or if I could fit into any of my pants. 

 

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Reader Comments (21)

I still have carrots left from our CSA last week, I am going to try grilling them. Thanks for the idea. I'm glad you had a good week week away!

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRegina

Gorgeous, how delightful! Now I'm STARVING!
:)

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkristi

Sounds like you had an awesome time. Thanks for sharing such great pictures (and corn recipe :)..
Blooming Hill Farms looks like a place we would love to go to. It's a brilliant business idea.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnn's FAshion Studio

What a wonderful (and delicious) escape you had! I'm glad to know your kitty wasn't left home to wonder why the dog got to go with you ;) He (she?) looks so happy to watch the world go by through your car window--so cute!

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter*gemmifer*

I love the restaurant/farm you went to! The food and setting look wonderful. The corn and carrots look so yummy and have me wishing I had gone to the farmers market yesterday. Such beautiful photos. I love the one of your cat looking out the car window. Our cats usually hide and complain when they are in the car.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

How fun - I'll have to try the cocktails soon! And the pic of the cat is great (that's a pretty big cat too)!

July 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

what a grand time! The photos are wonderful - I want to hug that cat.

July 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterstacey

With respect to the corn, did you then grill it? For how long? My daughter is in love with the picture of the cat at the market. I keep having to scroll to it for her to see. Its too bad I'm allergic, for she has a lot of lovin to give to a good cat. Probably just as well, I'm sure she would love him/her to death.

oops, sorry! Yes, we grilled it!

July 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle W.

Oh lovely summer in the northeast, we lived in NY state for about seven years. I love Texas but its sooooo hot down here. We went on a weekend trip and were flat out exhausted from the heat. All your pictures are great. I love the pic of your cat looking out the window, how cute is that?

July 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkathleen

Here in West Virginia we got a late start on our garden. But the corn was definitely knee high on the Fourth. We can't wait for it to come in. I think I'm going to use your method for freezing the corn, after consulting with my grandmother, of course.

Any fab ideas for tomatoes? We have nearly 100 plants.

July 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarey

I love those b/w photos of you and TC! You'll love looking back at those when you're old and gray - so charming. And like everyone else, I was captivated by the sweet photo of Benito looking out the car window. Bet you had to get a dog harness to fit him, didn't you? LOL

July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeeann

OMG! What fun! I love that you brought your cat and dog! What a darling family you have!!! Your hair looks so awesome! Xo

July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVera

FYI it looks like a repeat of your Martha Stewart appearance is airing tomorrow (7/16). Just thought you'd like to spread the news :-) I made my own shirred dress the other night and can't wait to make another. And another and another and another.. I think they are the perfect summer dress.

July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrittney

I love that your kitty is chilling in the car watching cars go by like a dog would - I'd love to take my cat on a road trip!

July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmiko

your lake escape looks as good as ours...and that is high compliment when considering how much i love our lake. the food sounds wonderful, i have to try the corn and the drink recipe, underwear elastic be damned.

July 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermamie

Gorgeous you both look like you had a blast!

July 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMiss B

I've pretty much decided that I like your taste in food. Those mason jars of lemonade have me frothing at the mouth.

July 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterApril

sounds like really nice hols ! in Europe it's holiday time as well.
Got your weekendsewing book weeks ago and just love it, simple and so pleasant to read before actually sewing.
A bientôt
Stéphanie

July 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStèphanie

That's funny, I made grilled corn at your house too (the Cuban way). Since I still have corn leftover (bad???) I'll try this way. P.S. You two look adorable! PPS, Don and I need to hang out with you!

July 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

What a wonderful place it could be...

The mojito recipe is a quick and easy lets start drinking kind of recipe, and love the fact that after a couple of sips you lost the ability to play backgammon - sounds like too much fun!

August 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

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