Happy 4th, Indeed!

What a delight too not only spend another 4th of July with good friends Suvir and Charlie at their farm American Masala,  but having my Mom and brother join Jon and me for the weekend at the farm in upstate New York was a treat.

Waking at 5:00 am, our friend Carolyn picked us up and shortly thereafter Jon and I were off to MSP for a crack of dawn departure.  Going through security, TSA did a double take with the five pounds of self-rising flour and quart of fresh green beans from the garden that were in my carry-on.

American Masala Farm

We made our way to gate B17, which if you’ve ever flown from that gate, it’s practically at Fort Snelling; it’s that far out.  We waited and waited to board with more waiting involved and still no coffee.  Then there was the announcement stating that we were waiting for the flight crew.  I was thinking to myself, “they couldn’t have over-slept; could they have over-slept?  We’ve got to get going or we’ll miss our connecting flight and then Mom and Kevin will be waiting for us…and I didn’t want that to happen.”

Come to find out the crew had papers to arrive at another gate. Luckily, they arrived soon, we boarded the puddle jumper and off we went to Cincinnati.  We made our connection and set down in Albany, New York about 12:30 pm.  While we waited for Mom and Kevin, Jon secured the rental car so that we could get out of town as soon as they arrived.

About two hours later we turned onto Chamberlain Road.  I knew then that we were within yards of a piece of heaven.  Charlie and Suvir greeted us with a warm welcome as did the geese, ducks, and goats along with their Blue Tick, Aisha and Sebastian their Labrador (I think he’s a Lab, but I’m not up on my dog breeds.)  Poor Sebastian though, had a lamp shade around his head due to a recent surgery.  He seemed to be taking it all in stride. Or maybe it was just too hot to move.

After a rest from our travels, we gathered in the kitchen to start cooking dinner.  The green beans came out of the suitcase and I was in charge of washing, snapping and blanching them.  These would later be sautéed with some garlic in olive oil and butter and topped with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Suvir got to work on the steak au poivre and confit of red potatoes.  What is a confit of potatoes you ask?  These are potatoes that have been blanched, dried, covered with oil to which has been added some fresh herbs and a bulb of garlic.  They are then simmered in the oven for about an hour and come out tender, crispy and delicious.  It goes to show you that you can confit anything.  It just means cooking something slowly that is covered in fat!

By this time, Suvir’s friends Bill and Holly arrived with their daughter Carmen.  Come to find out Holly grew up in Collegeville, near Saint John’s University (SJU), where I went to graduate school.  Her sister owns/owned Kay’s Kitchen in Saint Joseph, MN and another sister used to teach cooking classes at Cooks of Crocus Hill.  Talk about a small world!  Oh and by the way, Holly attended The College of Saint Benedict for a time; the woman’s college near SJU.  Bill and Holly both work now at the C.I.A. in Greystone.  Needless to say, there would be a lot of foodies around the dinner table.

Herb Garden

The new arrivals relaxed while Jon jumped in setting the large farm table in the dining room with silver, glasses, and colorful napkins from India.  With Charlie out of commission, Holly fetched a bottle of red from the wine room and we sat down to a wonderful dinner that began our weekend at American Masala.

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