So as I sit here on the Sound, home to dear friends of mine, watching the rain come down in sheets, I contemplate the nearly last two weeks -- in awe of how much has already happened and how much is still to come.
I have cooked nearly every day and brought my A-game with favorites like watermelon, heirloom tomato, goat cheese, mint and reduced balsamic salad that has already made a second appearance on the Sound.
Israeli couscous and Blazin' Asian glazed roasted Salmon with Baby Backs for an informal sit down.
Italian Fish Stew with a French influence of tarragon and fennel and my famous Caesar Salad at my bff's country retreat in lovely Rhinebeck on the Hudson.
Earlier I made a blueberry crip with the freshest, brightest blueberries for my man from Essex and his close friends. No stress -- just cooking for complete strangers in a strange place... Essex is a brand new territory for me by the way that I am quickly falling in love with... the territory that is.
Fell in love with a few new dishes like roasted tomatoes sprinkled with thyme and honey served on crostini... served my traditional Filet Mignon Roast alongside pasta studded with haricot verts, crisped shallots and garlic, lemon juice and lemon zest, parmiggiano and roasted potatoes in the shape of small dice. And perhaps the best pecan mini muffins that were sweet, crunchy and practically sticky without all the sticky bun mess. All easy recipes with an emphasis on flavor and key ingredients that surprised the palate.
And how could I forget the pots de cremes served with framboise and whipped cream just to give my guests a little respite from the chocolatey velvet interior of the verrine. Last night I also made a deeply satisfying cheesecake with an extra thick buttery graham cracker crust toppped with blueberries slowly cooked with sugar and lemon before piling them on the cooled cake. It took all my willpower not to enjoy more than the merest of slices after we returned from a boat ride on the inky Sound marveling at the lights on the shore and the moon above.
On deck is a party for fifty in Brooklyn Heights on Thursday where I'll be serving many of the dishes already mentioned with an appearance of these new favorites: lattice peach pies with caramel sauce.
Maybe one too many good things on the menu as I've got a load of cooking to do tomorrow but in the end it's all worth as the party is for a woman named Annie whom I've never met in honor of her "Surprise 60th Birthday Party" and by the end of her special day we will be friends and I will have contributed in my small way to celebrating her milestone 2500 miles away from my home.
I'm so insanely grateful for the opportunity to share my gift for cooking and entertaining in my home away from home knowing that as long as I can serve a beautiful meal to friends and new friends I am right where I'm supposed to be... at peace with myself and those around me. Cooking is its own special language of love.
More to come... there's nearly two weeks left!