Archives for posts with tag: Lake Champlain

And I’m back!

My three-week summer sojourn came to a close this Sunday when I returned to Brooklyn. My travels took me to Vermont; Northampton, Mass.; Woodstock, NY; Philly; and a stop-over in Westchester for a weekend-long Indian-Domincan wedding on the Long Island Sound with lots of teary speeches, delicious dahl, and of course, dancing. Each guest got his or her own mason jar to drink from.

The following day, on our way up to Woodstock for Jivamukti’s annual August yoga retreat, Melony and I got off the Thruway just so I could go to Lagusta’s Luscious, a vegan chocolate shop in New Paltz. I’ve been reading Lagusta’s blog, Resistance is Fertile, for the past year and told myself the next time I pass through NP I’d have to stop by. We pulled in when a downpour began, and picked up the almond and lavender cupcake below—which we ate in the car—in addition to a few chocolate truffles. All vegan and sooo good.

I always love my time in Vermont and this last visit was no exception. With sun gold tomatoes ripening in the garden, swimming holes around every bend in the road, bon fires in the mountains, and a mangy mutt at my side (my sister’s dog Julius), my two weeks in the Champlain Valley were a summer idyll. As much as I love ocean (Fire Island, the North Fork), there’s no place I rather be in the summertime than Vermont and Lake Champlain.

I was lucky to be there for blubbery season, a good two or three weeks earlier than previous years because of the dry, hot summer Vermont’s been having. My sister and I picked seven pounds of blueberries at Pelkey’s in Charlotte, with my friends Aimee and Matt in tow from Brooklyn. Once home, some got frozen, but most got eaten.

One evening my friend Kate came over with lamb from Duclos Sheep Farm in Weybridge. We wanted to grill lamb burgers for dinner, served with a salad of tomatoes, cukes, and corn, all from the garden except the corn which I got up the road.

We prepared the burgers with a generous spoonful of goat cheese in the middle. I chopped up some fresh herbs from the garden (parsley, mint, chives) and blended with the cheese before filling the burgers.

 

You make really thin patties, place a spoonful of the herbed cheese on top of each one, then place another thin patty on top, pinching the edges to make for one seamless burger. When grilled they are delicious — we got rained out on that particular evening so made do with browning them in a cast-iron skillet on the stove then finishing them off in the oven at 400 degrees. We served them on baguettes with pickled tomatoes.

I was more than happy to come home to NYC for Monday night’s concert of The Very Best and Seye at the Gramercy Theatre. Here’s a link to a 30-second video I took at the show, it gives you a sense of how much fun they’re having on stage.

The Very Best is an Afro-Pop duo that has an infectious, joyous, jubilant, bouncy quality to their songs. The front man is Malawian, and his DJ/producer is from Sweden. Seye, a British-Nigerian musician, is along for the tour.

Yesterday began a month-long trial as per my naturopath to get to the bottom of some health stuff. This means, for four weeks, no wheat, dairy, soy, corn, caffeine, refined sugar, eggs, citrus fruits, or seafood. At least I get to take advantage of the best month all year at the farmer’s market. I’ll be eating lots of  greens, peaches, plums, tomatoes, beets, blackberries, eggplant, cabbage, melon, fresh herbs. If I can come up with an enticing enough recipe that excludes all the things on my do-not-eat list I’ll be sure to mention it here. (I’m thinking a peach pie with gluten-free crust, coconut oil instead of dairy, and no sugar…)

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I’m back up in Vermont for two glorious weeks. The first part of this trip I’m dog-sitting for my sister Emily. To me, her pup Julius sometimes looks like the bat, Fidget, from Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective. We were lucky to be joined by my dear friend Melony and her dog Kima, who came up from Boston for the weekend.

We swam in Lake Champlain, hiked along beautiful trails flanked by wildflowers, and made some good grub. This chilled avocado soup is a snap to make and dairy-free (but can also be made with regular milk). All it takes is a few raw ingredients and a blender. No cooking, and not much chopping. We were nearly melting in the hot sun yesterday so the thought of using fire (even the grill) did not call to me. In addition to this soup we had chilled soba noodles with ginger, scallions, and wasabi (see this post from one year ago for how to make). Cold summer food for those hot summer nights, even in Vermont.

Chilled Avocado Soup
Serves 4

2 ripe avocados
2 c milk (coconut milk, whole milk, etc.)
1 clove garlic
Juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 c fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
Chopped scallions and lime wedges, for garnish

Scoop the flesh from the avocados and place into a blender. Add the milk (in order to keep it vegan I used Coconut Dream Coconut Milk—you could use whatever milk you prefer), garlic, lime juice, and cilantro. Blend until smooth and creamy. Thin out with water or vegetable stock if too thick.

Top with chopped scallions and cilantro. Serve with fresh lime wedges. You can also serve topped with fresh crab or lobster meat for a more decadent meal. Or a dollop of sour cream, crumbled ricotta salata, or homemade crème fraîche, which I’ve been meaning to make. Eat up!

I’ve been having a ball in my home-away-from-home state of Vermont. I drove up last Friday with my sister Emily and her dog, Julius. I’ve swam almost every day in Lake Champlain or Goshen Dam, avoided stepping on zebra mussels, eaten sweet and drippy peaches, visited the Middlebury food co-op (3x), walked around the Middlebury College campus with Arianna and Rafa, read and napped in a hammock, eaten maple cremees, accompanied friends on a blueberry-wine tasting, and tonight might go to the drive-in. I love summer!

 

I’m usually in Vermont this week every year, and in this post and this post from last July 4th I blogged about living the good life in Vermont too. In fact, I think I’ll make that cashew spread again. Why am I returning to Brooklyn tomorrow?

Before arriving last week I told my stepmom Bonnie that I wanted to make a French potato and green bean salad, like the one David Tanis wrote about recently in the New York Times. Think of it like an improved upon summer potato salad, with a mustardy vinaigrette instead of mayo, tossed with green beans, olives, and lots of fresh herbs. I made it Vermont-style, meaning, whatever Bonnie had in the garden and local eggs. From the garden I picked chives, purple and green basil, thyme, and flat-leaf parsley. I wish I’d remembered to toss in the remaining scapes we had, but used garlic instead. This salad can be prepared ahead and served room temp or cold, perfect for a summer picnic or barbecue.

Vermont Potato and Green Bean Salad

1 3/4 lb small red potatoes
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 large thyme sprig
1-3 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste, to taste
1 tbsp anchovy paste
1 tbsp chopped capers
2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound small French beans, or green beans
4 large eggs
Handful of chopped herbs: chives, parsley, basil
1/4 cup pitted, cured black olives

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the potatoes, a bay leaf, and the thyme. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are still firm but can be pierced easily with a fork. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and cool. Don’t drain the water because you can use this later for the green beans.

2. Make the vinaigrette: In a bowl combine the garlic, anchovy paste, capers, mustard, and vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

3. When the potatoes are cool, cut into thick slices. Season with salt and pepper, and cover with half the vinaigrette. Set aside.

4. Trim the ends of the beans and simmer in salted water for 3-4 minutes. Drain and cool under running water.

5. Cook the eggs: bring a pot of water to boil. Add the eggs gently and cook for about 8 minutes, 9 for a firmer yolk. Crack and peel immediately to cool. Cut each egg in half and season with salt and pepper.

6. When ready to serve, coat the green beans with the remaining dressing, and add to the potatoes. Arrange the eggs and olives on top. Garnish with the fresh herbs and serve.

Below are shots of the purple basil in the garden; ice cream from Middlebury; and I just had to have a picture with this teal green bug in town. There was a summer in California I drove around in a bright yellow one, I’ll see if I can find a photo of that. Happy 4th people.

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