Thursday, January 13, 2011

I am not in Florida...yet

Does anyone notice a theme here? After Tuesday's non-blizzard in NYC, our Thursday flight to FL was cancelled. Please don't ask me to explain it. Wednesday morning we awoke to clear skies, snow stopped, traffic zooming along barely slushy streets...yet Delta cancelled our flight more than 24 hours in advance. But they're really sorry, so that's nice.

It only took a whole day to reschedule our flight, hotel, rental car, car service. We'll still get there, but not till Saturday. As soon as the details were arranged, we high-tailed it out of the city to PA. And what better use to make of a found day than to do something I've been meaning to do for ages? Rearrange the wine closet!

Rack the elderberry wine.

Decant the beet-infused vodka.

And create a cocktail using said beet-infused vodka.

I wasn't wild about The Ruby (a martini variation) but fared better with a twist on The Manhattan. A couple ounces of bourbon, beet-infused vodka instead of vermouth, a sploosh of lime seltzer, and instead of a maraschino cherry I whipped up a ginger simple syrup for sweetness. It's a work in progress...I fear more research will be required.

Oh, and because my camera was packed for Florida, you're stuck with cell phone pictures again!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

such a day

(photo by Mark Hardy)

I crammed all my city work into a single day (it's winter, I'm a gardener, it's not so hard) and hightailed it back out to PA. The rationalization is that I need dedicated writing time to work on the outline for my new book. Which I pretty much finished last night.

So this morning Mark and I went on a hike we'd been meaning to do for years: Stairway Lake, between Milford and the Delaware. The trail was almost immediately insanely gorgeous. And almost immediately I realized that while I'd brought my camera, I had left the battery in the battery charger at home. What an idiot!

Please forgive the pathetic cell phone pictures that follow.

shagbark hickory

streams to cross

I don't know yet, but I'll figure it out.

Watercress! Delicious watercress!

The prize: Stairway lake.

Young blueberry wood is red in winter.

Or maybe this was the prize: looking down to the Delaware. See it? No? You would if I'd had my camera battery.

rocks & lichen

Even the debris is somehow poetic.

It was a fantastic day. The hike was followed by Brunswick Stew a la Hardy, minimal outline tweaking, and wine making (beet and elderberry, separate batches). Sigh.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

and then the rest

The New Year has come and I won't lie: 2010 was tough in many ways. But we sent it out in style:

First course: REAL eggnog (bourbon, rum, raw eggs, fresh grated nutmeg, cream, sugar, milk, more cream) Thanks to Mara for lending us the punch bowl. Do I have to give it back?

Next: Tom & Sue made smoked trout mousse on brown bread and also brought garlicky olives. I'm sorry. I forgot to photograph it...too busy eating.

Michael grilled his green chile/cilantro/lime shrimp outdoors, but we got to eat them inside, along with Scott & Fred's homemade bread. The loaf had the perfect consistency: hard and crusty with a spongy, airy interior. It was made with beer and vinegar!

Lauren & Vic couldn't make it this year, but we still made Lauren's spinach salad with toasted pecans, golden raisins, and grated onion dressing. It wouldn't be New Year's without it.

Homemade wild mushroom ravioli (puffballs, chickens, oysters, & honeys) in sage butter. My first time making this and it's a keeper.

Notice how the pictures are getting worse as the alcohol consumption increases? Ann brought a sparkling shiraz for the ravioli: Uncle Dick's. I kid you not. I'm in love with Uncle Dick. Sorry Michael.

Mark braised local beef short ribs, steamed asparagus, and whipped up some garlic aioli.

Then gianduja mousse cake. No pictures at all. Not even thinking about them at this point. Too much rich chocolate, creme fraiche and chopped hazlenuts being consumed. All focus on food. Oh, and the ridonculous Barros lagrima white port that Ann brought which is so much the perfect accompaniment for gianduja mousse cake that now I must have it every year.

The luminarias lit the driveway to show the way home as the last guest staggered out the door sometime after 1 am. Happy New Year to all. I'm feeling very optimistic.