Japan

photos: m&j

A whirlwind trip to Tokyo, Sendai and Ishikawa Prefecture to visit dear friends brought so much beauty, love and delight to our hearts and eyes.

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Mary Lous’s garden …

photos: m&j

In late summer with the sun beating down in St. Michael’s, we thought it would be the perfect time to take Mary Lou up on her offer to come harvest some fresh, ripe figs from the famously giant, old tree in her lovely garden. She wasn’t there and, unfortunately, neither were ripe figs (our bad timing had us there just between bumper crops), but we found some lovely pink flowers, instead and a little shed with an overgrowth of climbing hydrangea next to it that seems like a great place for a troll or hobbit to live – so charming. Thanks for letting us sneak around, ML and Bill Mac and can’t wait to come visit you both again (and to taste those delicious figs!) next summer!

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treasured family heirlooms

photos: m&j

The combined blue flow and Staffordshire pottery collections of Mary Alberta Lockwood Ott (1882) and Edna Edwin Lockwood (1884) – we so lucky to still have so many of these charming pieces at our disposal, not to mention, still intact!

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Paupack Blueberry Farm

photos: m&j

The season’s last harvest of tiny, juicy, dark and delicious berries.

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 Tuscany on the Eastern Shore

photos: m&j

A magical evening occurred last month on a beautiful farm by the bay in Wittman, Maryland – an al fresco dinner, to which a few of us lucky souls were fortunate enough to be invited. Both the meal and setting will be remembered for a long time to come. And even more impressive than the natural beauty of the site, the graciousness of the host and hostess and the many talents of those who caught, grew and skillfully prepared the bounty of sumptuous offerings we gorged ourselves upon was the company, itself. It’s hard to recall an evening coming together so perfectly. It was supposed to rain, but instead the sun came out and set with a lovely blush to match the delicate Charles & Charles and Sancerre Rosés. Some of us had not previously met, but we are now communicating regularly and planning future escapades. The event and, indeed, the menu was only casually discussed, but suddenly it all seemed to come together as if it had been planned for months.

This is one of those great evenings that we see in photos and wish we could’ve been a part of. And, delightfully, we were. And it all came together in a relaxed and flawless manner that is the hallmark of great entertaining – thanks to the deft hand and eye (and taste buds!) of delightful Carol Bean (our hostess, chef, stylist and farmer), her charming husband Mark Connolly (a third generation waterman, who, along with his brother, caught the delicious fish we ate), Rachel Vecchio (a super-talented baker and pastry chef who supplied the desserts) and Kathy Bosin (a local blogger who graced us with her presence and charming dinner company).

We began with the lovely wine and worked in some freshly pressed & chilled watermelon juice for pacing. Then came the Red Cloud goat cheese served with grilled French bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and Carol’s special, handmade “fish” crackers with sesame seeds and black lava salt. While the whole rockfish – stuffed with lemon, garlic & fresh mint and wrapped in fresh fig leaves from one of the farm’s three fig trees – was grilling along with eggplant brushed with olive oil & sea salt. The parade of delicacies began to emerge from Carol’s magical kitchen; quinoa cakes with slow-roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes, yogurt and finished with the tiniest micro-arugula we’d ever seen, fresh honeydew melon salad with blackberries and radish micro greens – tossed with a lavender white balsamic vinaigrette, barley salad with fresh, local raw corn, slow-roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes with fresh basil and fresh feta cheese, freshly grown and made chilled cucumber gazpacho “shooters” with a hint of lemon and garlic topped with beautiful, tiny micro greens – all fresh from the garden and Carol’s French green beans, pickled in her own chive flower-infused vinegar. As we ate, drank and enjoyed every nuanced bite of these super-fresh, simple yet complex culinary delights, the dessert table started to beckon …

Carol popped the cork on a bottle of Domaine Du Pre Semele and we started nibbling dates stuffed with mascarpone cheese, rolled in chopped, dark chocolate covered espresso beans, then fresh, local peaches, soaked in a lemon verbena simple syrup, dusted with fresh lavender flowers, drizzled with balsamic reduction which had been grilled on the fire and finally ripe brown Turkish figs fresh from Carol’s incredibly productive tree, sliced over the most delicate and decadent St. Angel cheese, drizzled with local honey. It cannot be stressed how delicious this cheese was (it will be eaten again. Soon!).  And then, just when we all thought things couldn’t get any better, Rachel brought out her now famous honeyed-thyme brown Turkish fig crostatas (made with local figs picked in nearby Neavitt and honey from Sand Hill Farms) served with homemade orange blossom whipped cream and an absolutely out-of-this-world rustic peach galette (made with peaches from Caroline County, and served with lavender-scented homemade whipped cream. Wow. Wow. And wow. We are still quite floored by it all and frankly, just longing for an encore! September, anyone?

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our LA “kitchen”

photos: m&j

On a recent shoot in LA, we were charged with creating a little kitchen on-set and were just delighted by the results – thank you so much to the talented Kate Martindale for your amazing eye, fabulous taste and stellar talent – as always, it was a pure pleasure! And our food stylist, the lovely Rebecca Jurkevich not only whipped up some gorgeous, delicious pasta dishes, but also made a most delightful model, if we do say so, ourselves … thank you, all!

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Oscar’s watermelon …

photos: m&j

This past July in Los Angeles, we were lucky enough to enjoy the craft services of our old friend, Oscar Eufracio -  who, to the entire crew’s delight, whipped up a variety of healthy and delicious on-set treats. One of the most simple and refreshing was this array of spicy watermelon “pops” – thank you, Oscar, for the constant nurturing and inspiration!

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