Idle, Idyll

17 Oct

Ok. Ok. Ok.

Athens, NY

I know you’re all thinking, where’s our usual Monday morning post Ann? Well, to be honest, there hasn’t been that much to write about chez Granny Cart.

The Berkshires

I’ve wanted to cook, but there hasn’t been the time. I’ve got a new boss at work, which has meant more late nights at the office, and the weather just hasn’t been conducive to spending time in the kitchen on the weekends.

Athens, NY

And, well, I’ve felt a little too stressed and uninspired to come up with anything exciting and new to share with you. The planning process has begun to stress me out and I don’t know why. Deciding on a dish and then procuring the necessary ingredients, two things that in the past have brought me tremendous joy, have, for the past couple of weeks, become a chore and are no longer fun.

Athens, NY

But the itch, she is coming back. Especially since I know there won’t be time for cooking this weekend (my Aunt L (of spätzle fame) and cousin S are coming to pay me a visit, and I’m so excited). And there wasn’t any done this past weekend either. Two weekends. No cooking. I’m already looking forward to next weekend.

Athens, NY

So where we were last weekend? Oh, just Upstate, peeping at leaves, peeking at houses, frolicking in nature, hanging out with my folks. We stayed in the ridiculously picturesque town of Athens, just on the other side of the Hudson from the town of Hudson. It’s so quiet and peaceful and full of gorgeous Victorian and Colonial homes and mansions. I could have stayed there forever.

Columbia County Sunset

But we had to eat, so we met up with my mom and step-dad at Local 111. If you ever find yourself in the town of Philmont, this restaurant is your chestnut. They cook with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible and put them to dazzling use in a beautiful, chic, über-sophisticated space that was once, wait for it, an auto body shop.


The next day we rambled about the grounds of Olana, the estate of Frederick Edwin Church, one of the founders of the Hudson River School of painting. The weather was so perfect and so spectacular we didn’t even bother going inside the house. I think Church would have appreciated the sentiment.


And then we came home. We’d eaten a late lunch at the Old Chatham Country Store (still as delicious as I remember, but filled to the gills with the sort of people I spend every waking hour trying to avoid here in the City) so we supped simply on a tomato, cut into slices and lightly salted. It was perfect. Light, redolent of summer and a little ascetic.


I have some recipes tucked away that I really want to share, but I just can’t find the right words for them. Perhaps there’s some weird outer-boroughs writer’s block plaguing Luisa and I.


I’ll be back next week, hopefully with something interesting to say about a few quince I got my hands on. That is, if I can find the time to do something interesting with them.


17 Responses to “Idle, Idyll”

  1. Lydia October 17, 2007 at 7:23 am #

    Sometimes you just need a blogging break… happens to all of us. And a cooking break. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos in the meantime.

  2. mary October 17, 2007 at 7:59 am #

    These photos and your narrative were satisfying enough fodder for this week. Can’t wait to see what you do with the quince.

  3. Jennifer Hess October 17, 2007 at 9:44 am #

    You are certainly entitled to a break – you do have a life away from the internet, after all!

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous. I love fall. :)

  4. wednesdaychef October 17, 2007 at 11:23 am #

    Oh, sigh. I don’t know it’s the outer-borough or the month of October or the fact that I’m up to my eyeballs in work, but I sympathize and empathize. Somtimes, you just need a break, yes ma’am. (And if you want something insanely good, check out the apple-quince pie in my archives from the LAT – seriously, Best Pie Ever.) (See you Friday?)

  5. Lisa (Homesick Texan) October 17, 2007 at 11:28 am #

    I don’t think the writer’s block is limited to the outer boroughs! I’ve been feeling blah and stumped myself lately. I think it’s a sign from the universe to go outside and enjoy autumn–a season wondefully captured in your exquisite photographs!

  6. Christina October 17, 2007 at 8:39 pm #

    I think it is October. There is no natural break in October that allows one to get refreshed and back on a creative roll. I’ve been feeling exactly the same way as you describe here.

    As for the quince, do try Clotilde’s (of Chocolate and Zucchini) Grandmother’s Apple Cake, but substitute the apples for thinly sliced quince. You won’t be disappointed. That perfume-y goodness of the quince with the rich, simple batter is delicious. I made it last night and both ECG and I were in the swooning stage.

  7. Kevin October 17, 2007 at 9:55 pm #

    Great photos, as usual. And completely understand ‘blogger-itis’. We need to rest our inner blogger once in a while.

  8. Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita October 18, 2007 at 8:16 am #

    Ahhh! My beautiful Hudson River. I live Upsate so I know how beautiful it is. I’m glad you had a great time visiting.

  9. ann October 18, 2007 at 8:17 am #

    Lydia — My pleasure! Happier to share the pictures than to share the awesome gnocchi I had on the same trip ;-)

    Mary — Thanks! If all goes according to plan, the quince should be awesome!

    Jen — Thanks, I love fall too, obviously!

    Luisa — I’ve actually made a pie like that before, and you’re right, best pie ever. The aromas that emanate from the oven are out of control!

    Lisa(HT) — Good point. I can’t wait to do that this weekend with my aunt and cousin. We’re planning a serious ramble through Prospect Park. Can’t wait!

    Christina — Ooooooooh… goooood recipe! Thanks! Good point about the natural break, I’ve never thought of that.

    Kevin — “rest our inner blogger” LOL. that’s a great turn of phrase! thanks!

  10. Terry B October 18, 2007 at 3:09 pm #

    In the meantime, you have us feasting on some beautiful photography, Ann. Very lovely.

  11. izzy's mama October 18, 2007 at 10:23 pm #

    Athens…I did once spend a night there with my honey, pre-Izzy. But I don’t remember there being anything good to eat. What I do remember is awakening to the sounds of some sort of bar brawl.

    I think we were there after a visit to Olana. We are huge fans and used to travel up there frequently. Haven’t been in awhile so it was nice to hear about it. I love the Hudson Valley, so much so that we were married at Wilderstein..have you ever been there?

  12. ann October 19, 2007 at 8:10 am #

    Hi Maryann — I’m so happy I’ve only spent 4 years of my life living away from the Hudson. I don’t think I could handle that.

    TerryB — Thanks!

    Izzy’s Mama — Thank you so much for the clue-in to Wilderstein! It’s just a bit too far south from where I grew up to have ever been on my radar, but it certainly is now! It looks like a magical place to tie the knot.
    Athens: there weren’t many places to eat, and there was a mini bar brawl, so I guess some things never change, but boy is it a pretty little town. And you can’t beat the location!

  13. Toni October 19, 2007 at 3:20 pm #

    So it isn’t about cooking……It’s beautiful photographs of fall — a recipe for soothing the soul? I always love the photos on your blog! And we all take breaks. Some of us announce them formally – like, “I’m taking a break for a while”, and some of us just don’t show up for a while. You’ve chosen the middle ground. You showed up, but without a recipe. Good for you!!!

    Enjoy this most spectacular season – that is, if the storms heading your way don’t blow every firey leaf off of every tree! It will pass, and then there’ll be winter – a time for staying indoors and cooking!

  14. Ulla October 20, 2007 at 10:22 am #

    Your photos are amazing!
    You really captured the fall!

  15. ann October 22, 2007 at 8:11 am #

    Toni — Thanks! I did, it was amazing. I love hewing to the middle, it makes me feel so normal (just kidding!)

    Ulla — Thanks! Your photos are amazing too :-)

  16. vanessa October 30, 2007 at 12:55 pm #

    Thank you for the virtual trip – I feel very relaxed now :)

  17. Will B October 30, 2007 at 8:58 pm #

    Next time in Chatham’s downtown (all three blocks of it!) check out the Chocolate Moose – great stuff for those late October blues!!! Creams and hand-dipped dried fruits to die for! And the chocolate is the freshest around! Not bad for ‘way up here in the sticks!

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