The fire is roaring, Tony’s entertaining us with his guitar playing, my brother and his family have arrived safely, and the kids are popping popcorn and roasting chestnuts over the open fire. Another fabulous day.
We ventured off the hill earlier, in an attempt to make our way to the local orchard. There’s one a few miles away, Breezeland Orchard, but it was closed for the season; we zipped past another, but I was driving too fast and we couldn’t tell if it were open. Then, as we were going through downtown Brookfield, we saw a promising sign for Brookfield Orchards– café open year-round.Things were looking up.
After an idyllic drive through the the Brookfields – I say that as, yes, there is a Brookfield proper, a North Brookfield and a West Brookfield; didn’t drive through or see an East or South Brookfield, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they existed – we ambled upon the orchard with ‘The Happy Apple’. With acres of trees, the family who operates the land and facility really have it going on. The area along the orchard itself is lined with playground equipment for those with kids and the shop is part bakery, part yard sale and part purveyors of local fare. And the family running it was super sweet to the extent that they opened a bag of cider donuts and pulled one out as for me as I didn’t want to buy the whole bag.
Upon arriving home, we watered and fed the goats and hens –they’re Red Rhode Island Hens…who knew?!? Restocked the firewood for the evening (we’re going through the wood) and served a sumptuous beef stew to the relations.
Tomorrow is the big day; I’ll be busy burning food…err,cooking so I’m not sure I’ll be posting. That said, I want those traveling to their friends and family tomorrow to be safe and, of course, I wish you all bon appetite.
I’m officially on holiday, much needed if I do say so myself. We started the day with an amazing breakfast and ended it with a stew cooked over the fire; #yummy. In between, Tony made pizza in the hearth while I worked.
We were able to shoot video — pretty good thus far, but not uploaded to the cloud yet. Please bear with us, we are on top of a hill in the middle of the woods operating off of ½ – 1 bar of reception with about 4 machines going at any one time – yes, we are two people who need to learn how to disconnect. I also need to get some sort of video editing software which I think I’m on top of, but their ‘packages’ are a bit weird…we shall see.
I’m holding off on editing in order to inspire you with my pithy words of, ‘I’m in Massachusetts, here’s what I ate.’ However, if I post a video with this article it will be a raw, unedited version to see how the process works and the end product renders. That said, today’s food adventures included:
Pizza Zio Francisco: Tony’s Uncle Frank loved making pizza on the grill;that was just one of the many things he wowed us with when we went to visit himin Florida. In honor of his uncle, Tony made pizza over the open fire, using some sort of pita bread – with a fancy name so they could charge more. For dinner,we had a beautiful stew. OMG so good.
Gingersnaps: Apparently, Tony loves gingersnaps, he’s been chomping on them since we’ve arrived which is odd as he pretty much has eliminated most processed foods from his diet. This is also odd as I made gingersnaps as part of my holiday baking last year (I usually make at least 500 cookies each season for Tony’s students…that’s really not a lot, my relatives in Minnesota make north of 1500 cookies around the holidays…each not combined).
Lodge Fire Mittens:With all our (hmm, hmm…Tony’s) cooking over the flames and my mucking about in the fire; mittens are needed. Mary Jane of course has fire proof mittens which Tony has embraced. I’ve yet to singe myself but am envisioning that coming soon.
I’m off to figure out the video editing software. For those traveling tomorrow, I wish you safe travels and, of course, bon appetite
Here I sit, in front of a roaring fire hunkering down for what I believe is Boston’s first winter weather advisory (not sure if they had an advisory during Thursday’s ‘storm‘); they’re expecting 2 – 4 inches of the white stuff. We’re not in the greater Boston Metro area, we’re close enough that we might get caught up in it. And, really, 2-4 inches isn’t a lot of snow – we’re slogging around in that now; the advisory is for those traveling – and who would that be this Thanksgiving week?!? Considering its one of the first storms of the year, traveling will be less than optimal. Thankfully, I’m on top of a hill, am fully stocked with provisions for, at least, a week; and have plenty of wood. “Let the snow come!” I exclaimed as I realized, I have no where to be and nowhere to go; a rare moment of quiet bliss.
I worked all day — Tony and I were just discussing the wonders of a personal hot spot — and the big man ran errands. We are now completely situated to the extent that Tony is cooking over the open fire – chestnuts as an afternoon treat and a poached pear for dessert this evening. This week, beyond being simply fabulous, will be a foray into film. I’m hoping to take video or two – and obviously posting it – of Tony cooking over the fire. This will be a free-flowing video so if you have anything you want him to discuss or explain about cooking over a fire, do let us know.
Other thoughts on this rainy evening (thus far, we’re only
dealing with rain):
Traveling Off Peak: As I previously mentioned, it really does eliminate stress to travel during ‘off peak’ times. We drove up, from NJ to MA, yesterday afternoon and the 2.5 hour drive was, indeed, a 2.5 hour drive.
Martinis: I love a dirty martini. And now, apparently, I love ‘em in the woods. We bought ½ the ingredients of a Martini with us – the Gin. This morning Tony got the Vermouth and Olives. Of course, nobody considered the toothpicks. Well Tony our fearless mixologist found these tiny little forks and, voila, we had a whole Martini kit ‘picked’ olives and all. What can I say, except ‘What’s a girl to do?’
The Flue: It needs to be primed, there’s no getting around it. After coming home from dinner last evening, we quickly started a fire and immediately the alarms went asunder — annoying for about 10 minutes or so. Yup, while the flue was open, it wasn’t properly primed and the smoke couldn’t deal with itself. This morning, the opposite tactic proved the point of the post — prime the bloody flue.
Assuming we’re able to get off the ‘hill’, prior to the big day, we plan to go to a local orchard to pick up some apples and a farm for some fresh cut meat; we’ll also be nibbling on MJ’s ginger snaps (so #yummy) over the coming days and will be messing around with video…All good stuff.
Until then, we wish you safe travels and, or course, bon appetite.
We’re slogging our way through fall and, unfortunately, I can’t remember the last full week we had without rain. After Thursday’s unexpected, yet beautiful, snow fall it’s apparent that we’re moving full steam ahead into winter.
I finally did my Thanksgiving baking. Thankfully, I only had one thing to make, my mom’s famous pumpkin roll, as we’re having a small group for Thanksgiving — my brother and his family. While he tends to bring a dessert or two, I wanted to make sure my hubby, who has been extremely religious in eating healthy, had the sweet treat of his choosing. I couldn’t find my mom’s recipe and opted for Libby’s recipe (yes, year’s later, I’m convinced the vast majority of my Mom’s ‘world famous’ recipes came off the back of one can or another…sigh). Above and beyond the rolling, unrolling and filling, and rolling back up it’s an easy dessert to make and one that is a crowd-pleaser.
While I’m getting ready for tomorrow’s sojourn up north — going over the Hudson and through the woods of south central Massachusetts, a few random thoughts for this Saturday:
Tastes of Chicago: Not the Northeast, but #yummy anyway. Earlier in the year, a friend sent a 4 pack of Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizzas to my home — some girls from school were coming to visit and it was her way of being with us even though she couldn’t physically be present. Three have been consumed, I’m saving the fourth to selfishly hoard on when no one’s looking. These pies are sooo good (and that’s coming from a Jersey girl) and would make a fantastic gift for the holidays. The company smartly partners with other Chicago-area food purveyors, creating unique gift options above and beyond pizza, including: the Lou’s/Lezza ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ combo, the Ultimate Tastes of Chicago Combo Kit featuring a pie, Vienna beef hot dog kit, and cheesecake among other food stuff, and the Portillo’s Italian Beef Kit. Check it out for the epicureans on your holiday shopping list.
Kayak’s Thanksgiving Travel Tips: Kayak recently posted its Thanksgiving Travel Tips; while most are geared toward flying, the fist tip hit close to home as it’s something I struggle with — packing light. Not my forte and rather silly as I inevitably wear the same 2 – 3 outfits when traveling while packing enough clothes for a month long trip. Lately, however, I’ve been doing a packing reality check eliminating most of the ‘just in case’ items and reducing the amount of stuff I’m toting usually by half.
Baking/Travel Hack: The pumpkin roll needs to get to its destination and among all my plasticware, I don’t have the perfect container for a roll — who does? A great alternative, that acts as a platter for transporting as well as a platter for serving is to use a piece of cardboard (most box tops are usually a good size). Simply cut the cardboard to the size of the item and then cover with tinfoil, it’s that simple.
That’s it for now, I’m running errands today, entertaining friends tonight, and hitting the road in the morning. Next week posts will be from the Woodland Cabin in lovely Warren, MA (a town with less than 10,000 residents!?!). Until then, I’m wishing you safe travels and, of course, bon appetite!