The Day Hath Come and Gone!

My thoughts on the meet will have to wait as life has intruded. However, La petite mort is kindly hosting pics until such time as they can be added to wertperch's gallery! (Thank you, LPM!) See them here: http://www.cjcurrie.com/2004jun12/2004june12.html

MORE PICS! Courtesy of Pint!: http://homepage.mac.com/pinteresque/PhotoAlbum3.html

Those who were able to attend: Swap, hyphenated (her husband joined us for dinner), Pint, indigoe, smartalix, wazroth, Chris-O, LadySun, momomom, and yours truly.

For those who are curious, I'm adding some recipes.

Sangria

Makes about half a gallon, but requires a one gallon vessel

Ingredients
1 bottle dry red wine
1 bottle dry white wine
1 cup sugar
2-3 oz. brandy
1 juice orange, sliced, with the pips removed
1 lemon, sliced, with the pips removed
2-4 cups assorted other fruits. I used sliced nectarines, whole cherries, and sliced star fruit.

Mix the wine, sugar, and brandy in a large vessel. The pitcher you're planning to serve it in is usually ideal, unless it's too small. I have a 1 gallon plastic pitcher I use.

Stir until the sugar has dissolved, and add the fruit.

Cover and let it sit in a cool spot or the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. Serve with pieces of the fruit.

This can be made without alcohol by replacing the wine and spirits with lemonade. It's quite good!

Generic Marinade

This was used on the chicken and the portobello mushroom caps. It is also excellent on pork.

Ingredients
3-6 large cloves garlic, smashed
3-6 large slices fresh ginger
0.5 cup (or so) soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil
a pinch of black pepper
optional: a teaspoon or two of chili paste; a splash of sherry or Chinese rice wine

Mix together and add to the meat being marinated, let it sit overnight and then grill as usual.

If grilling giant mushroom caps, do not marinate in advance. Make a small quantity of the sauce and let it sit for several hours or overnight for the garlic and ginger to flavor the soy sauce. Then, when grilling, brush the sauce onto the gills of the mushroom while the tops of the caps are cooking. Only do this once for each mushroom. When you flip the mushrooms over, brush the tops of the caps with more sauce, just once. This will moisten the surface of the mushroom, making it more appealing. The sauce is very strong, and mushroom soak it up like a sponge. If you use too much, you won't be able to taste the mushroom.

The spareribs I made were simply rubbed with a paste made of crushed garlic, black pepper, salt and olive oil night before. The steaks were just dusted with lots of freshly ground black pepper, also the night before. The trout was simply stuffed with a handful of fresh thyme a few minutes before grilling.

Mushroom Salad

This was adapted from a Salatet Futter recipe. It usually also has a green bell pepper, but I forgot! Also, I use considerably more lemon juice and parsley.

Ingredients
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
10 oz. fresh button mushrooms, quartered or halved into bite sized pieces
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 cup. parsley, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
0.25 c. olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (it will require a lot, be especially generous with the pepper)

Toss everything together in a bowl and let it sit for at least an hour. Serve chilled.

Cobbler

This was made in a 10'' x 15'' x 2'' glass dish. I didn't measure the fruit, but instead continued to add fruit to the dish until it was slightly more than half full.

Ingredients
1 recipe of scones from my strawberry shortcake writeup.
A large quantity of fresh fruit. I used mostly sliced peaches and then about two cups of whole cherries (pitted). It was probably around 8 cups of cut up fruit, and filled a 1 gallon ziploc bag.
0.5 cup sugar, depending upon the sweetness of your fruit. A little more if tart, a little less if sweet.
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
2-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
optional: a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg, or some lemon zest and juice for the filling; ice cream or whipped cream for serving.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Rub the bottom of the baking pan with butter. Mix up the batch of scone dough.

In a large pot, mix the cornstarch and sugar together and then add the boiling water. Stir constantly and cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and it is thick. Add all the fruit (and any lemon or spices) and stir to mix. Taste it and adjust the sugar if necessary. When it is thoroughly mixed and the fruit has started to warm, pour it into the baking dish. Dot the surface with butter and then drop spoonfuls of the scone mixture on top of the fruit. Make sure not to have any dough lumps that are more than 3/4 of an inch thick, or it might not cook thoroughly.

Bake for about half an hour. Keep an eye on it. It's done when the scone mixture is well browned and the fruit is bubbly.

This is extremely easy to prepare in advance. Mix up the dry indredients for the scones, cut in the butter, and leave it in a mixing bowl to one side. Mix up all the wet ingredients and leave it in a jar in the refrigerator. Cut up all the fruit in advance and leave it in a bowl or bag in the refrigerator. Measure and mix up the starch and sugar in a small dish. Then, when it's time to bake the cobbler, just preheat the oven and assemble as above. It is so fast, you will probably need to do something else while your oven preheats!


I'm holding a nodermeet! Yes indeedy! I know it's rather short notice, but I hope you can make it nonetheless. You are invited to a day out in the fresh air, amongst the ducks and the trees and the wee fishies.

When: Saturday, June 12th beginning noon-1pm-ish. (subject to change depending upon the group), ending whenever
Where: Round Valley Recreation Area, off Route 22, in Lebanon, New Jersey. (Hunterdon County)
-and- yclept's humble abode nearby.
How: msg or email me (please put "nodermeet" in the subject line), and I'll add you to the list, put you in the planning loop, and answer questions/distribute directions. When RSVPing, please let me know if you have dietary restrictions or other health things that I should keep in mind. Deadly food allergies or aversions, keeping kosher or vegetarian, etc. If vegetarian, please specify type. I like to make sure everyone eats and survives the day.

The Plan part I:

Lunch time-ish - Congregate at the Round Valley Reservoir for a picnic and general outdoors behavior. (Please note that, despite being a reservoir, this location is 'dry')
We can meet ahead at my house and drive over as a caravan (maximizing car efficiency) and/or meet at the park utilizing cell phone technology for the actual finding of one another. Exact details to be worked out later.
Settle down to meet, eat, and figure out how to enjoy the great outdoors until dinner time. It's a beautiful park with picnic tables, hiking trails, fishing, and a small man-made beach for swimming. Boating and camping are permitted as well. There is a $10 parking/entrance fee per car per day.
For more information about the park, you can visit the parks department site: http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/round.html
Also, I found some pictures of the park looking impossibly empty and pristine: http://www.shutterfreaks.com/gallery/albuo04
Note, swimming is probably not something to count on. The small beach is terribly crowded on the weekends. Think people soup. Walking, frisbee, fishing, boating, or just lying about on the grass under the trees will probably be more pleasant. That said, if you really want to swim, there is opportunity to go with motive.
When we're tired of the park, it'll be time for...

The Plan part II:

Evening some time - Trek to chez yclept (a 10 minute drive away), for barbecue and sybaritic lounging. (Please note that, despite being up a small mountain, this location is 'wet')
We'll cook, drink, and be sociable until such time as everyone has to leave or go to sleep. Have I mentioned that I make a really good sangria? Don't worry, you can camp out on the floor without a reservation.
Anyone who stays over gets to have reeeeally fresh eggs and pancakes the next morning. There's also a U-pick strawberry place half an hour from my house, which we can visit on Sunday if desired....

FAQ:

I'd love to come, but I live far away and would need a place to stay. If you need a place to stay, you can certainly be accommodated. Please note, I live with my highly entertaining parents and many many cats. We have one spare futon, and lots of spare floor (sleeping bag required for floor). Msg me if you'd like to reserve some square footage. The futon goes to whomever asks first. Or, for the adventurous, or anyone who hasn't had enough of the great outdoors, you can bring a tent and pitch it on our lawn. It's not as absurd as it sounds. We're well back from the road, in the middle of the woods.

I'd love to come, but I live far away and don't have transportation. Hm, this one is harder. All I can say is, let me know you're interested and maybe someone else in your area will be coming too (I know, I know, fat chance with such short notice). Otherwise, I can arrange for a ride from the train station, but it's not the most convenient train line, especially on weekends. NJ Transit, Raritan Valley Line (commuter train, stop: Raritan). Still, let me know, and if we're lucky we can figure it out.

Hey folks! If I'm picking you up at a train station, bus stop, or other public locale, it might help if you know what I look like. So I've finally put up a more recent pic at wertperch's gallery. It's not the best pic (I'm all purple!), but it'll have to do, seeing as I've managed to avoid getting on that side of the camera so consistently.

What should I bring?

  • Toys, games, etc., anything of that nature as this is something I've never been good at providing. I've got Scrabble; not exactly a great out doors activity.
  • Your favorite SPF and insect repellent for the park.
  • A towel if you plan on getting wet.
  • A sleeping bag, etc. if you want to sleep over.
  • Antihistamines if you're allergic to cats.
  • Food and drink only if you want to. Trust me when I say "you will not go hungry in my house." If you decide to bring food or drink, let me know what it is so we don't duplicate.

What if it rains? Well, do you mind sitting around eating picnic foods and barbecue, watching movies, playing board games or cards, and drinking beer? If the rain isn't too bad, we can go for walks in the area. I live off a dirt road within walking distance of a buffalo ranch....

Honored guests and hopefuls:
yclept (host)
Chris-O
LadySun
Swap Coming from very far away indeed! The tix are bought! Spending the whole weekend!
doyle +1 says if he backs out he's a weenie! Planning to camp out at the reservoir. And bringing kayaks maybe! and homemade ale!
allseeingeye (less and less hopeful)
smartalix +1(?) Taking the 9:14 train from NY Penn.
Scribe (can no longer make it, sad events IRL.)
Walter (hopeful)
hyphenated +1 via train, with spinach dip
cakedamber (can't make it, send sympathy, it's all the fault of a damaged ankle)
wazroth (probable)
legbagede +1 (hopeful)
THE GODS ARE WATCHING AND MAY WALK AMONG YOU
momomom Bringing a tent and taking me up on the ''pitch a tent on the lawn'' idea!
ch'i-lin (held up by vehicular woes.)
ysardo (ditto)
mordel (ditto)
Pint (hopeful) via train
indigoe (hopeful) ditto

A tentative menu to give you an idea of what I have in mind. This is only speculative, and subject to change without notice. Please feel free to suggest additions!

Picnic at the reservoir

Food: carefree one handed food
Whole fruit (apples, peaches, cherries)
Raw veggies (baby carrots, cucumbers, celery)
Sandwiches (ham/cheese, pbj, egg salad, guacamole, tomato/moz/basil)
Cheese (assorted firm)
Olives/pickles (assorted)
Drink:
Lemonade, soda, iced tea

Barbecue at the house

Food:
Deviled eggs (just 'cause I've got soooo many eggs!)
BBQ chicken (usually legs and thighs), beef (some sort of slab), pork ribs
Grilled zucchini, sweet onions, tomatoes, mushroom caps
Grilled fish, prob. trout or some other salmonid; steaming some mussels over wine and shallots
Stone fruit cobbler w/whipped cream
flan !
Corn (this is New Jersey, after all!)
Garlic bread
More fruit
s'mores
Definitly Baked Orodruin, I've already bought the ice cream (Starbucks coffee and B&J's Cherry Garcia)
Drink:
The trinity of beer, wine, sangria
Non-alchy (same combo as lunch)

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