This past weekend found us on the road to one of my favorite places within an hour of NYC. You'd never imagine that just up the Hudson River lies 80 acres of rolling farmland that encourages trespassing. In addition to plump pigs, moo-cows and feisty chickens, Stone Barns is home to one of the most talked about restaurants in the NYC, Blue Hill. A real "foodie's paradise," Blue Hill at Stone Barns embodies the locavore attitude in full, sourcing their ingredients from Stone Barns and surrounding farms in the Hudson Valley. I've only read about the infamous $140 no-menu prix fixe but it seems to rival Napa Valley's French Laundry in mystery.
But what I do know is that the Blue Hill Cafe at Stone Barns is the "everyman" version of the restaurant, with equal deliciousness. We saved our appetites for the drive upstate and feasted on spring quiche with broccoli rabe and goat cheese, a sweet beet salad, a fingerling potato frittata, a cheddar and jalapeno scone and warm cookies straight from the oven. Uh-mazing.
After stuffing our faces we walked off some calories with a tour of the grounds, including face time with some of the farms most charming inhabitants. As we came full circle I almost caved and bought one of Red Barn Bakery's beautiful apple/rhubarb pies that were for sale at the farmers market on the grounds. But, my full belly got the best of me and I shuffled into the car to head back to the city.
I got home and inspired by my time at the farm got to thinking about how to make my baking dreams a reality. So with some encouragement from a few friends, I'd love to hear from you. There are tons of "mail order" bakeries online, but would you consider signing up for a CSA-style bakery that delivers seasonal baked goods (e.g. apple pies and zucchini bread in the fall, rhubarb and strawberry tarts in the spring, etc.) on a bi-weekly or monthly basis? Kind of a surprise goodie basket filled with deliciousness - bringing the neighborhood bakery to you. Let me know your thoughts - ya'lls opinions count!
No real recipe post today - I spent my baking energies on a chocolate chip-walnut banana bread by request for a friend. It's a tried and true recipe (despite the author of it), and you can find it here if you're in the mood for some warmth. Try this toasted with a smear of almond butter, cold for breakfast, or warmed with fresh butter for dessert.
I'll be back later in the week with some sweets but in the meantime, please leave a comment about my business plan concept. It's time to get this thing off the ground!