Thursday, August 14, 2014

One Year

It's hard to believe that it has been almost a year since our move. I was surprised that my adjustment to the change took much longer than I had expected. But we are settling in now, enjoying our new space and our new surroundings and even some of our new neighbors.There is always a breeze on our balcony, and I am astonished that the herbs, peppers and all manner of plants in pots are thriving there.

Although we are only a couple of miles from our last home and about 12 miles from New York City, it is a different world up here. Our community is built on a hill on the site of the former Essex County Penitentiary, a dubious honor at best.We back up to Hilltop Reservation, a 285 acre nature preserve that provides habitat for native wildlife and plant species. There are eight trails covering seven miles.

The preserve was built on the abandoned grounds of the former Essex Mountain Sanatorium where patients were treated for tuberculosis. The Sanatorium was built in 1907 on a large parcel of land occupied also by the Essex County Asylum for the Insane, also known as Over Brook. They both were part of the sprawling Essex County Hospital Center. Quite a pedigree, don't you agree?

Although I can do without the wild turkeys, we enjoy watching the hawks swoop and dive and the myriad birds chasing and chirping. And as we walk out of our community up the hill to the reservation we often see a beautiful blue heron taking flight from Prisoner's Pond. On the other hand,if we turn right when leaving the community we can walk right to the center of town filled with shops, restaurants and a movie theater. The perfect combination of city and country.

So, what does all this have to do with a food blog? All that walking makes one hungry.

As summer draws to an end we still have a long weekend on Cape Cod with friends to look forward to, then a trip to St. Thomas in the beginning of November. In the mean time, enjoy the rest of the summer.

Here are some of the dishes we have enjoyed this summer.

Marcella Hazan's Chicken Cacciatora

Biba Caggiano's Fried Green Olives

Radish Canapes with Black Olive Butter

Cherry Tomato Shrimp Puttanesca

Iced Coffee Ice Pops
And a couple of good reads:


  1. What an interesting spot you live in, Michele. Being able to walk the nature trails and stroll into town for shopping and a movie seems pretty ideal. And living only 12 miles from New York City. You have it covered.

  2. What a delicious summer, wish I lived nearby....those fried olives are enticing.

    I will also be in St. Thomas the beginning of November, I've become a follower on IG, not just to drool over your meals but in case we're side by side in St. Thomas.

    Now if only we could get Denise to join us.

    xo J

    1. Hi flwrjane. Thanks for stopping by. I've become addicted to Instagram--I like the immediacy of it. We have been going to St.Thomas for many years and still love it and stay on the east end of the island. I often think how much fun it would be to meet up in person with online blogger friends.

  3. I am glad you are settling. It sounds like a good location. Those coffee pops looks delicious, as do the fried green olives. Those books have both been my summer reading too. Brilliant, both of them.

    1. Hi, Kath. It is a nice location, and it didn't hurt that this summer we had unusually good weather It doesn't surprise me that we both have impeccable taste in books! I hope your plans are progressing for your baking venture.

  4. Hi Michele--your place sounds ideal--a rural setting, yet close to Manhattan. as Denise says, you've got it covered! thanks for including both of our books in your line up!

    1. Nancy, the location is great. Just wish my son was a little closer than California! Including your books was my pleasure.