What is it about a short week that feels so long?
It probably doesn’t help that I’ve spent most of my free time looking through vacation pictures or that I spent the rest of it traveling for work.
Actually, if I can be real here for a moment, what really makes this week rough is that we’re heading into one of the most painful stretches of the working year: that depressing time between Labor Day and the holidays when you have to make it basically until Thanksgiving without a day off.
Does any cancel work for Columbus Day anymore? I mean, I know he’s basically just a lying conquistador but still. What about Yom Kippur?? I’m not Jewish but I could get down.
Oh well. I’m determined not to get my spirits down, and further determined to throw myself headfirst into fall. It doesn’t start until September 23rd but I will be ready.
I already found a year-old box of Trader Joe’s pumpkin muffin mix in my pantry and preceded to bake and burn them. How does one mess up muffins from a box, you might ask? Why would you share this information on your cooking blog?
All valid questions; just a day in the life of me.
Anyway, before I let my fall spirit carry me away I wanted to share photos from my trip to Hudson, NY last weekend, along with a recipe to take advantage of summer’s last tomatoes.
Hudson is just a two hour train ride from the city but it felt worlds apart. We stayed in this amazing, perfectly curated, insanely white AirBnb. And when I say white I mean, like, EVERYTHING was white.
It was a little nerve wracking but we drank red wine anyway because we like to live on the edge.
Aside from the fact that there were no curtains by the bed and I woke up every morning when the sun came up in a panic, convinced it was noon because I had NO IDEA the sun could be that bright at 7am, it was a perfect place to stay.
We ate so many things. Friday night we went to Swoon Kitchenbar, a nice farm-to-table-ish restaurant, and had oysters and homemade pappardelle with beef Bolognese.
Saturday we woke up, at daybreak, and had an amazing breakfast sitting outside at Bonfiglio and Bread. Have I mentioned that breakfast is my favorite part of being on vacation? I love actually sitting down and enjoying the first meal of the day, not eating it at my desk whilst also checking emails and counting down the days till my next vacation. (Who does that? Not me…)
I had the Kate Smith, a seemingly weird combination of fried egg, mushrooms and cream cheese on a bialy that was actually life changing. Afterwards, we hit up the farmers market where I tried a husk cherry which is similar to a tomatillo and not like a cherry at all.
We also bought cherry tomatoes – this is relevant I swear. Because after a sightseeing cruise, with dinner still 5 hours away, we were hungry and I had the somewhat inspired idea to make some bruschetta in our perfectly white kitchen from our farmers’ market tomatoes.
First I had to test all of the balsamic vinegars at the specialty foods store next door, obviously. I also had to hunt down a loaf of bread which was surprisingly difficult at 4pm on a Saturday. Apparently in places outside of NYC they run out of bread at a certain point in the day? Small town America, you’re too much.
I won’t bore you with the details of the rest of our trip, like how much wine we drank at the Hudson-Chatham winery on Sunday, or how we went to a vintage bookstore afterwards and I bought a Nancy Drew book in a fit of nostalgia. Speaking of bookstores, there’s a bar in the one in Hudson and my boyfriend and I have now found our life’s ambition.
I will mention that we had an AMAZING meal at Wm. Farmer and Sons, including a country ham board with delicious homemade biscuits – biscuits plus pepper jelly plus homemade pickle plus country ham = a fantastic combination. I ordered the roasted chicken, which I never do at restaurants – I think it’s a reaction to the fact that my mother only ever eats chicken, sorry Mom. But this chicken was…truly something else.
It came decorated with little flowers which I imagine were hand-placed there by fairies in a lush meadow, on top of a bed of succotash with something cheesy and fried. And it was so incredibly moist. If only I hadn’t filled up on bruschetta beforehand…
Last but certainly not least, on this trip I learned that dairy-free mozzarella exists and that it is a very, very good thing.
And in answer to your unasked question: how many days till my next vacation? Feels like a million. Sigh.
Measurements are approximate – I’m not my most precise on vacation – but somewhat unimportant.
2 cups cherry tomatoes, fresh if you can get them, quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons good balsamic vinegar*
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice baguette and place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Slice one garlic clove in half and rub each piece of baguette with garlic, discarding what’s left of the clove. Drizzle bread with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until toasted.
Meanwhile, mince second clove of garlic. Combine tomatoes in a serving bowl with garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Let sit until bread is ready or for at least 10 minutes for maximum flavor.
Arrange toasted bread on a plate and serve with tomatoes.
*: I never do that whole “I only cook with the best quality ingredients” thing – after all, I’m not Ina. But here it kind of matters…you’re going to taste the vinegar so make it count.