So Long Montana, Hello Puppy Louis
Good-bye summer! It was a chilly 45 degrees at 3 o’clock this morning, autumn is definitely in the air. If you’re wondering why I know the temp at 3 a.m., it’s not because I was out partying. It’s because we got…a new puppy! Puppy Louis, a mini goldendoodle (will be 45 lbs. full grown), and he is about as sweet and cute as puppies can be. But since he’s also little – 9 weeks old – he needs a bathroom break once in the middle of the night for a few more weeks. Ah, yes, good thing they’re so cute, and good thing he seems so incredibly trainable – all is going very well.
As a result of Louis – who we picked up the day after we got back from vacation, yikes! – I haven’t had a chance to write about our fabulous trip to visit my dad and stepmom Susanna south of Bozeman, Montana. We visited last week, with Stacey and Cooper, my cousin Kim, and Debbie and Stu the Wine Genius Williams. Fly-fishing the Madison River, taking in the beautiful views down the Madison river valley, hiking, playing pool, and preparing and consuming copious amounts of delicious food and wine (thanks to Stu & Debbie) is the grand routine, and we had a blast.
The night after we arrived we celebrated my dad’s birthday in fine style with the largest prime rib of beef I’ve ever seen, courtesy of Jay Taylor. Susanna had to trim it to fit it into a roasting pan (steaks for later, yum)! She roasted it using the classic technique of roasting for one hour, turning the oven off for a few hours, then roasting again for a short period of time before eating (I’ve found so many different versions on the web, I’ll ask for her specific recipe). It was perfect. We made caesar salad and crushed new potatoes (tossed with butter and showered with plenty of freshy minced herbs) to accompany, and hot fudge sundaes for dessert at my dad’s request. Susanna’s brother Jim, his wife Anne, their daughter Farley, and Susanna’s cousin Barbara, joined us for a knock-down, drag-out birthday feast.
The next night we made another classic – the Silver Palate’s chicken marbella. Ah, the Silver Palate cookbook, my friends and I cooked our way through it in the ’90s. It and Bon Appetit magazine defined my generation’s newlywed/new home-owner dinner parties. And for good reason – the recipes are terrific, and fun, and I’m thinking I need to revisit my old pal. Especially after re-experiencing chicken marbella, studded with prunes, olives, and capers, holy moly is it a delicious recipe. Easy too, and inexpensive because the key to the whole dish is to use skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, which can stand up to the marinade and roasting, emerging crusty-tender (whereas breasts, I think, tend to dry out). Recipe here.
But now the vacation is over, sniff, and so is summer. I can’t seem to manage – yet – both the new puppy (watching, watching, outside, outside) and making anything very interesting for dinner. We’re finding a groove, however, and just yesterday I slipped away to spend the afternoon with Birthday Girl Suz. We drove up to darling Lindstrom, shopped for antiques, and downed a totally tasty diner-lunch at The Swedish Cafe. A good session of hooting and hollering and talking about everything from religion to Quick-Curl Barbies was just what my stir-crazy self needed. Happy Birthday my dear Susie, the greatest, most awesome, funniest, kindest friend on the planet!
Today, I’m thinking corn. I’ve had only one piece of corn-on-the-cob this summer (luckily a particularly delicious one) and it’s time for more. Suz and I intended to stop at a stand somewhere along the way and pick some up, but then we got talking…and well, no corn. But today I plan a walk – it’s sparkling and cool outside, how could I resist? – and a stop at some local stand to load up. I think I’ll grill it (a la the State Fair – their sweet corn completely rocks), and serve it alongside steaks. I’d serve tomatoes from my pots as well but…wasn’t meant to be this summer. Luckily Whole Foods has had delicious home-grown cherry tomatoes for the last several weeks; they’ll make a perfect salad.
And oh! Definitely check out the very kindly Saturday, August 22, post on The Lighthearted Locavore, by our friend Lexi Van De Walle. In fact, check out her whole excellent blog, about eating locally in NYC and the Hamptons.
More pics of Montana and Puppy Louis below.
Jake, Dad & Susanna’s dog, aka Jake-a-saurus
Cooper had plenty of room to run!
Stace setting the table
Rib roast generates a lot of smoke! (Totally worth it…)
Rainbow over the Madison range
Stu & Debbie (and wine, but of course)
The Pope and Susanna confer
I caught a nice brown trout, really fun
John preferred a more laid-back vacation
Aspens, mountains, lovely
Heading to the river to pick chokecherries
Kimmy’s faux senior pic
Dad made John lunch – fried potatoes and poached eggs, nice
It’s really hard to photograph a puppy-in-motion!
Love his smile…
…and soft fur