Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It ends with cheese

Party's over. The flowers on the table are volunteers from the terrace - the snakeroot and asters, which are three feet tall, now.

Two good, kind, generous friends came to dinner for the first time - we have been to several lunches in their gorgeous garden in New Jersey, and have been their guests on more than one special occasion. But how to repay the men who have everything?

The least I could do was cook.  

They were good, and kind and generous and the octogenarian gave us stern advice for the decisions we make about where to live, and why.  I tucked my tail between my legs. Then he offered his wonderful garden and kitchen to me if I ever want to cook dinner for rather high-paying guests.

What do you think?

I liked the first course best: two tiny baked potatoes each, slit and stuffed with crème fraîche and shaved bottarga. Carrot, cumin and curry soup followed, then a rather boring salad of quick pickled beets, orange and wild arugula (I know, zzzz - it needed nice nuts and more interesting greens), then roasted monkfish wrapped in happy-pig, no-nitrate bacon, with caramelized grapes and creamy-buttery puréed cauliflower, and finally some brûléed chocolate mousses, white and dark. 

And cheese. We managed to fit in some cheese.


  1. Why not do it? It will be fun and challenging and you like cooking and entertaining. I had a young friend who wanted to compete in rodeos. He asked my opinion and I said "Do it now, it is something you enjoy. You don't want to look back 20 years from now and regret not going after the dream".

  2. Wow. Who knew such gorgeous garden existed in Nutley?
    and more important, who knew that you have ventured out to the "Garden State".
    Now that I know you are not afraid, when are you coming to Summit for a winter dinner in front of the fire, since my garden is almost done!

  3. I think you are pulled between "home" and "roots" and probably should give serious consideration to sage advice. As to that generous offer...go for it!

  4. I gather I do want to know what said advice is, after all, although I suspect I know.

  5. not that you asked, and not really sure if this is the question, and notwithstanding all the disdainful blather about adult children in the home --- but I have never regretted 'being there' for my parents in their waning and final years. I know that I would be regretting it had I done something else.

    Love includes sacrifice but, god willing, life is long and encompasses much.

    go well,
    Melanie, et alia

  6. Marie, all of your table settings are so pretty. Simple and lovely. My guess is the conversation and atmosphere are the same. What a wonderful gift you have.

  7. I wondered what the stern advice was too. They sound like fascinating people.

    Turns out Sonya has been to that garden too! Designed by the friend of a customer. She returned from a trip a few years ago raving about a fabulous garden that had among other things a bowl filled with Hakonechloa. When I clicked through the posts of your earlier visits and saw it, I asked her to check out the post. Sure enough! Small world.


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