Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Planning a Seasonal Menu From Out of State

We are headed out to lovey Montauk this weekend for my even lovelier Grandma Vivian's 90th birthday: way to go, Viv! I've been put in charge of organizing Sunday brunch, as it is well known that i love cooking and like the chance to try out my recipes on groups of people, especially groups of family members who are forced to try my dishes and respond honestly. ;)

The "Living Room" at our family's Montauk house

The difficulty in this situation is that i'll be planning the meal from halfway across the country, in a very different growing season. That being said, I grew up in Connecticut and should have some idea of what to expect, especially since i've been down here in Texas pining for apple season!

I plan on focusing on fresh, local ingredients with apples (Macoon please) from upstate NY (Thanks, cousin Jon!) and pumpkins and any other produce i find along our drive of Long Island at various market stands. I'll pack herbs and seasonings from my garden and pantry and might even mix up the dry portion of some muffin batter to bring along - cooking outside of your own kitchen can be confusing and distracting, so i want to bring as much with me as possible.

Apple orchard somewhere in the Birshire Mountains

The menu will need to feed brunch to 20 or fewer folks, accommodate vegetarians, children, yankees who can't take much heat, and a certain 90 year old lady who has some limiting dietary considerations (can't eat onions, too much iron, too many greens, chocolate, spice, really anything tasty - ha). This is what i've come up with from down South, i'll report upon my return how it turned out along with some recipes:
  • Homemade Apple Butter/ Apple Sauce from local apples
  • Spiced Muffins, or Bread Pudding with Roasted Pumpkin or Apples
  • Frittattas with Roasted Pumpkin and Herbs (from my garden)
  • Fruit Salad
  • Roasted Potatoes with Smoked Paprika
  • Sausage (if i can find some locally made)
Please feel free to recommend any North East seasonal items i should consider working into the menu. Dang, i'm hungry now thinking about sausage and fresh maple syrup, nom nom nom....... better go take the puppy for a walk to keep me out of the fridge, hehe.

Wow, ps - was looking through my Montauk visit photos from 2005 and found this shot- this is the Miranda my husband met and fell in love with, about 20 pounds lighter than she is today. Gotta love living your early twenties in a town that you can bike/walk for all your transportation... that and eating nothing but salad, apparently. Sigh.


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Thank you so much for your feedback, especially if you've cooked one of my recipes or tried one of my tips: let me know how it turned out!