As we begin to close in on the last weekends of summer I jumped at the invitation for a weekend upstate shared among friends. The cool mountain air, quiet afternoons for reading and home cooked meals filled my soul and recharged my batteries. We stayed in this amazingly redesigned Catskills home where nature was the framed art and dancing light our whimsical entertainment. Now the only problem I have is how to stop day dreaming of this peaceful place at the end of the road between tucked between a mountain and a creek…
This summer I have been reading photographer Sally Mann’s memoir Hold Still. There are some books I read on my kindle and then some I have to physically buy so that I can mark them up, make notes in the margins and revisit or even research what I find among the pages. One of my favorite underlined parts so far:
“Because I am still that girl when it comes to developing film. There is nothing better than the thrill of holding a great negative, wet with fixer, up to the light. And, here’s the important thing: it doesn’t even have to be a great negative. You get the same thrill with any negative; with art, as someone once said, most of what you have to do is show up. The hardest part is setting the camera on the tripod, or making the decision to bring the camera out of the car, or just raising the camera to your face, believing, by those actions, that whatever you find before you, whatever you find there, is going to be good. And, when you get whatever you get, even if it’s a fluky product of that slipping-glimpser vision that de Kooning celebrated, you have made something. Maybe you’ve made something mediocre- there’s plenty of that in any artist’s cabinets- but something mediocre is better than nothing, and often the near-misses, as I call them, are the beckoning hands that bring you to perfection just around the blind corner.”
The Egg Scramble
In a cast iron skillet sauté mushrooms in coconut oil then add a few handfuls of arugula. Season with salt, pepper and garlic to taste. In a mixing bowl add two eggs per person and whisk before pouring into the skillet to finish the scramble.
The Power Smoothie
In a blender combine frozen banana, arugula, coconut oil, chia seeds, almond milk, water and avocado.
Camomile Mint Iced Tea
In a pitcher make the tea concentrate by adding 5 bags camomile tea, 5 cups boiling water, 1 bunch of mint leaves, and 5 teaspoons honey. Let sit as long as you want or an hour or two. Finish by filling the rest of the pitcher with cold water and ice. Garnish with lemon and mint.
After training since January, our friend Marcus recently swam around the island of Manhattan – for 8 hours straight!
In the summer months I love to drink a chilled Pinot Grigio, a light crisp white wine. This season fashion designer Zac Posen dressed Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio bottles in a beautiful floral which felt appropriate for this weekend surrounded by wild flowers and adding a little style to our simple country set up. It worked nicely with our cheese plates and fish dishes.
I have never seen a steak this big in my life. Jared brought what they refer to as “The Man Steak” from the Meat Hook in Brooklyn to grill up and serve up family style.
Every night the guys built a fire to keep us warm while we watched shooting stars over conversation and nightcaps, however, we all know the real soul purpose was absolutely for s’mores.
The Watermelon Smoothie
In a blender combine banana, arugula, mint ice, watermelon, chia seeds and honey.
In one of our local market runs we found a wonderful Wildflower Honey from Fox Farm Apiary that has quite the wonderful approach to the honey bee.
In a cast-iron skillet sauté any left over veggies you have lying around, sliced button mushrooms, arugula, basil, chopped green onion and sea salt. Once cooked set on top two eggs per person and then put the skillet in a oven at 420 degrees until the whites are not too gooey or clear but not to over cook the yolks. Top with a fresh herb such as thyme.
I finally got to put to use my new Ralph Lauren swim suit I bought at the beginning of summer which is now on sale!
Sweet Potato Chips
Slice sweet potatoes (skin on) as thin as possible or use a mandolin followed by rubbing coconut oil over the slices with course salt. Bake on a single layer at 250 for 45mins or until crispy.
We adventured out a couple of times to explore the local areas which included a trip to the “big deep” which was neither big nor deep.
My friend Theresa Drapkin had a gallery opening of new works we stopped by and ended up buying a painting titled “Yellow light” which is pastel on Rives BFK 100% cotton French paper. How the story goes, the artist attended a picnic on the banks of the Hudson River over looking Rhinebeck, New York. A Spaniard joined them having baked eggs in a skillet he brought along as they dined by a birch tree before a surprise fireworks show over the Hudson River.
Afterwards we visited Theresa’s husband Mike’s wine store, Kingston Wine Co. Having been friends with Mike for years we always make a point to stop in and say hello while we restock on some of our favorite wines we get in our monthly wine share from him.
Of course we did some nature walks, arguably the best aspect of the Catskills.
Baked Red Snapper
In a cast iron skillet place red snapper fillets topped with breadcrumbs, hot pepper infused olive oil, basil, thyme and lemon slices. Throw on the grill with the lid on until cooked.