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Archive for October, 2009

Dear Mom,

My little group made an amazing discovery this weekend! Warwick Winery is about an hour from where we live, and in the fall is quite a beautiful drive.

We drove through part of New York that is dominated by dairy farms. For a moment, it looked like home. Except that there are a million trees here bursting with color (well, almost bursting. I predict late this week/early next week will be peak).

When we pulled up to Warwick, we were surprised. I had picked it because of the variety of activities they had. You can do a tasting of all of their products (hard cider, wine, cordials, and liqueurs), go apple and pear picking, and eat in their little cafe. It seemed worth the drive, and it was.

The first thing we discovered was their expansive outdoor picnic area complete with outdoor bar and a grill serving up burgers and dogs. We all grabbed a pint and headed out to the orchards.

You could take your cider out into the orchards with you, which was amazing. We just drank and walked around. It was the most gorgeously perfect day. Because they use so many of their apples and pears to make their cider, some of the trees were pretty picked over. But they had barrels of all different types. We did some taste testing.

It was pretty much the epitome of a perfect fall day. Matt ate a roast beef and horseradish sandwich on fresh baked bread, I had a roasted veggie pizza which was delish. And we drank cider. The whole day made me want to make a pie. Can’t wait to start baking some fall desserts!

Love,
Erin

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Coming Home…ALMOST!

Dear Mom,

Speaking of almost (can’t believe it’s near frosting…I had to scrape a little bit of some off of my car yesterday)…it’s almost a month until I come home (for the first time in EIGHT MONTHS). Ok, ok so it’s a month and a week…but that’s almost a month and I’m almost home.

I know I’ve said this a million times, but I can’t believe I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving in four years. It’s one of my favorite holidays with our family – because we’re such good eaters (and not bad cooks, to boot). I definitely am excited to make pies…I’ll stay traditional, I promise.

But I’m more excited to cook some dinner(s) with you at home the rest of the time I’m there. It’s something we haven’t done much in the past, because we’re always focused on the big gatherings, but I think it would be fun to make at least one or two meals together. I definitely have some desserts I’ve been waiting to try out on you and Dad.

I promise to have some pictures and more intelligent thoughts soon…but all I can think of now is pies and custards and puddings and cakes and crumbles. So I’m not much good to anyone, unless they are in my immediate vicinity with a bag of fruit or flour.

Love,

Erin

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First Frost — almost!

sweet bell and italian frying peppers

sweet bell and italian frying peppers

Dear Erin,

It got really cold this past weekend and the weather report said that it was going to frost so we picked as many  mature vegies from the garden as we could.  I don’t think that it ended up frosting at our house so the picking was premature; now I have several boxes of peppers and green tomatoes to cook with or preserve.  I also harvested bunches of herbs which I put into large baggies and keep in the frig.  The herbs have to be perfectly dry and I squeeze as much air out of the bag as I can, then the herbs will keep for weeks (sometimes longer) .   I’m generally still using my home grown herbs at Thanksgiving!  We still have some kale, leeks, and  brussels sprouts in the garden but they can tolerate the cold and actually get sweeter after a cold snap. 

      Soup season is here:  I fixed a kale, leek, potato, and homemade bratwurst soup that was so yummy and warming.  I wanted to use as many things from our garden as I could.  I’m going to use your idea of  beans and collard greens to make a cannelini, kale, and italian sausage soup because Dad says he is hungry for bean soup.  Next year I want to grow some different kinds of kale; we only grew the green, curly kind this year.

     Your vegetarian recipes sound good and I think it is a great idea to take those traditional flavor profiles and use them to create the same flavors for vegetarian dishes.  I clip vegie recipes all year long, anticipating different ways to use our garden bounty.  We still often rely on using meat for flavor though and it would be nice to have those familiar flavors without adding meat.  I have leftover pork roast to use up for supper tonight and whatever I end up making, it surely will include peppers!  What have you been cooking this week?  Love, mom

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