Tag Archives: New York Times

Black Bean Soup With Avocado Salsa

Black Bean Soup With Avocado Salsa

One of our organic farmers, Manuel, had some beautiful black beans available for sale at the market on Saturday and I couldn’t resist buying them. I soaked the whole bag and cooked them the next day with a chopped onion and a generous amount of epazote (to eliminate gas – or at least we always hope so!).

With some of the soaked beans, I made a slightly modified version of a recipe from the New York Times by Mark Bittman, for Black Bean Soup With Avocado Salsa. I made the soup on the stovetop (not in a pressure cooker), added chopped celery, and did not put the Spanish chorizo in as the recipe called for.

Black Bean Soup With Avocado Salsa

This is a delicious soup and what makes it really special is the generous dollop of Avocado Salsa to garnish. I added a dollop of thick sour cream as well – really nice complement to both the soup and the salsa.

Fresh Organic Strawberries and Blueberries

Our dessert tonight were the beautiful fresh organic strawberries and blueberries that were fresh-picked in nearby Pescadero – unbelievably sweet and delicious!

An Exceptional Evening at Jamison Farm

An Exceptional Evening at Jamison Farm

Ron and I have spoken of viewing some of the properties designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for several years. In late July of this year, Ron read an article in the New York Times that set the wheels in motion, literally, for us to do that and put a plan in place.

In 1991, Frank Lloyd Wright was recognized by the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time.” He believed in “designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture.”

As we always take a different route back to Cabo San Lucas, we decided to make a trip through Frank Lloyd Wright country and visit some of the places we read about in the article. Ron and I both love lamb and looked on the internet to find out more about Jamison Farm, located near Latrobe, Pennsylvania (home of the late, great Arnold Palmer), that the article spoke very highly of. It turned out that a Harvest Dinner was planned for October 22nd, was limited to 18 people, and promised lessons, recipes, stories and dinner. We immediately booked our seats at the table.

John and Sukey Jamison's Farmhouse

John and Sukey Jamison’s Farmhouse

We took our fine bottle of Duoro (the event was BYOW) and made our way from Latrobe to Jamison Farm (thank goodness for GPS!). We were among the first guests to arrive and we were delighted to meet an eclectic group of diners, most of whom were from the area or at least from somewhere in the state of Pennsylvania.

The 210-acre Jamison Farm is owned by John and Sukey Jamison, who have lived here since the 1960’s, and have been raising free range lamb and developing their reputation for purveying America’s best since that time. Their lamb is purely grass fed and free of hormones, antibiotics, herbicides and pesticides. The local geography, selection of natural grasses, rotational grazing, and annual rainfall (approximately 50 inches) provide meat that tastes like the pastures the lambs graze on.

The Black Sheep in the Jamison's Flock

The Black Sheep in the Jamison’s Flock

It had been a particularly cold and rainy day, so walking into the Jamison farm house with fires burning in various rooms made us all feel warm and welcome. John is the story teller and Sukey is the chef – a great partnership that reflected both personalities and complementary talents.

The Jamison’s sitting room is filled with signed cookbooks from some of the world’s most wellknown chefs and of other famous people who have either visited the Farm or dined on their delicious lamb. John and Sukey used to trade lamb for signed cookbooks with Julia Child (John played a voice mail message Julia left on their phone years ago) and have supplied lamb and developed friendships with many of the most prominent and important chefs in America: Palladin, Boulud, PĂ©pin, Ripert (Ron plays tennis with Eric’s wife, Sandra, in the Hamptons – she’s vivacious and lovely!), Keller, and so many more.

Assortment of Appetizers

Assortment of Appetizers

Our evening began with a lovely selection of appetizers: assorted cheeses, lamb sausage (with spinach and feta cheese) and lamb patĂ©. We joined John in the sitting room and listened to their Farm’s history and of some of their colorful stories collected over time. The farm manager demonstrated how to prepare cuts from the hind leg of a lamb, resulting in less than 30% waste, including the thigh bone.

Demonstration of carving cuts from an upper leg of lamb

Demonstration of carving cuts from an upper leg of lamb

We were called to dinner and our group was split between two tables in the dining room. We began with an outstanding Lamb Barley Soup – a perfect start to the evening’s meal. The soup was rich with tomatoes, vegetables and the secret ingredient which was lamb stock. On such a cold evening, it was comfort food at its finest.

Lamb Barley Soup

Lamb Barley Soup

Our next course was a Mixed Greens Salad (with homemade Merguez Sausage and tossed with a Mustard Vinaigrette).

Mixed Greens with Merguez Sausage

Mixed Greens with Merguez Sausage

Our main course followed and we were served Braised Lamb Shoulder, Lamb Shank, Roasted Lamb Chop, Herb Cherry Tomatoes over Balsamic Onions, and Smashed Herb Potatoes.

Our Main Course - Lamb Three Ways

Our Main Course – Lamb Three Ways

During and between courses, we enjoyed more stories from John and conversation with our dinner companions and new friends.

Dessert, although we were almost too full by this point to enjoy it, was a light and delicious Mixed Apple Crisp with Chantilly Crème and served with a piece of their Specialty Brownie.

Our Dessert

Our Dessert

Although we didn’t partake of a cooking class (which we thought we were taking, but got a carving demonstration instead), we enjoyed a stellar evening of brilliantly cooked lamb dishes, prepared simply to fully appreciate the flavor of the meat itself. Sukey is a very talented cook who hand-prepared every dish in their charming farm kitchen. Everything we were served was absolutely delicious! We loved listening to John’s stories and hope that he finishes the book he has started writing (both John and Sukey were English majors) and record the podcasts (a new concept that we introduced to John as he is such a great storyteller) of the many tales they have to tell.

The road less traveled is always the best for us and we’re so glad that we planned our drive through the rolling foothills of Pennsylvania and experience the extraordinary flavor of the lambs that are cared for and graze on Jamison Farm.

img_8022

Melissa Errico’s Spectacular Show at Bay Street

Melissa Errico’s Spectacular Show at Bay Street

Photo from www.melissaerrico.com

Photo from www.melissaerrico.com

Ron and I had the tremendous pleasure last night of seeing Melissa Errico, actress and superb singer, in a one-woman show at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor entitled “Funny! I’m a Woman with Children…“. Ron had seen her perform here in the Hamptons previously, but I had only heard her CD entitled Legrand Affair which was a spectacular collaboration with Michel Legrand, one of Melissa’s lifetime musical idols.

I was excited to see her in person as I have met her husband, Patrick McEnroe, a number of times through our mutual friend, Monte. Melissa and Patrick share a loving twenty year marriage and they have three beautiful girls – all of whom Melissa talked about in the show with great love and devotion.

Photo from www.melissaerrico.com

Photo from www.melissaerrico.com

To see Melissa in person was an absolute gift: sharing her warm personality, the intimacy of her stories about dating, romance, falling in love, motherhood, the importance of her girlfriends, marriage, career challenges, and so much more. She is tremendously talented and, in the words of Stephen Holden of the New York Times, “Melissa has the power to take a sumptuous Broadway ballad to the moon and back!” Her selection of songs was spectacular and we’re hoping that she records them on a CD in the near future so that we can savor the lyrics, the music, and her beautiful voice over and over again.

The Perlman Music Program

The Perlman Music Program Summer Music School, founded in 1994 by Toby Perlman, is an immersive seven-week program for exceptionally talented string musicians ages twelve to eighteen. They host concerts, masterclasses, open rehearsals and events all summer long.

We were finally able to attend a FREE Chamber Music Masterclass at the Clark Arts Centre on Tuesday night which featured Kim Kashkashian, Grammy-winning Armenian-American violist, who currently teaches viola and chamber music at the New England Conservatory. She worked with two quartets on movements from Claude Debussy, String Quartet in G Minor, Op.10 and Gabriel Faure, Piano Quartet in C Minor, Op. 15.

Kim Kashkashian working with her students

Kim Kashkashian working with her students

The talent of these young adults was astounding and watching Ms. Kashkashian work with them to improve their performance and their understanding of the material was inspiring. The format was that the quartets would each play their prepared pieces in their entirety, then Ms. Kashkashian would break it down phrase by phrase, line by line, and constructively critique and draw the very best from these young artists.

Hailed as one of the best violists in the world, Ms. Kashkashian has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “an artist who combines a probing, restless musical intellect with enormous beauty of tone.” The New York Times has joined in these accolades, praising her “rich, mellow timbre and impressive artistry.”

There were similar workshops conducted on Wednesday and Thursday nights which featured two other artist/faculty masters. The culmination of this week is the Chamber Music Workshop Celebration Concerts, matinée and evening, on Friday and Saturday.

These young adults are brilliant musicians and the Perlman Music Program offers unparalleled musical training to young string players of rare and special talent from all over the world. It is a privilege to be able to hear and observe these gifted young people and their instructors who possess such extraordinary talent. They are truly the leaders in the future of classical and chamber music and we are grateful to have been able to watch them perform in such a positive and nurturing learning environment.

View through the trees on the Perlman Music Program grounds

View through the trees on the Perlman Music Program grounds

Dinner With Elaine

We had a chance to visit with Ron’s third sister (he has four of them – lucky man as they are all amazing women!), Elaine, in Los Gatos, CA, on our recent visit in the area. Elaine is a brilliantly talented lady (as are all four of Ron’s sisters), with a burning passion for travel, art, culture, and decorating. Her taste is extraordinary and she is truly a remarkable woman.

She invited us to her new home and we shared a wonderful evening with her and two of her friends: Mary, who she has travelled to Cuba with on several occasions for cultural expeditions, and Nancy, a long-time friend and talented hair stylist. Instead of going out for dinner, Elaine prepared and served a delicious dinner of BBQ grilled salmon, oven-grilled broccoli Romanesco, asparagus, onion and tri-colored carrot, and boiled corn on-the-cob. When we asked what we could bring, she said that we could do the sauce for the salmon.

Ron and I had enjoyed a wonderful chimichurri sauce before we left Cabo, so I immediately thought that would be the perfect accompaniment to the grilled salmon and mixed vegetables. Elaine had all the ingredients and I used this recipe from New York Times Cooking app as my basic guideline: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015299-chimichurri-sauce. Although my picture of my plate doesn’t include the chimichurri, it provided great color and flavor to the salmon and all the vegetables Elaine served. Delicious!

IMG_4866

Leftover chimichurri can be used as the base on toasted baguettes for appetizers, mixed in with beaten eggs for scrambled eggs (green eggs and ham, perhaps?) or omelet, as a pizza or flatbread sauce, or tossed with cooked pasta. It really is a versatile and healthy sauce and I highly recommend you try it! A little taste of Argentina – wherever you are in the world!