cooking up a storm

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, designing, food and garden, projects

on monday we left maryland under overcast skies and headed for new york state to spend a couple of days visiting with friends. we had a wonderfully relaxing evening and overnight with them and i got lots of knitting done on my french quarter socks while we visited. i think that was the longest stretch of continuous knitting time i’d had in quite some time and it felt great.

tuesday morning a gentle snow began falling soon after we were up and about, which seemed innocent enough as we sipped coffee and knit some more. once the car was packed and we headed of to our next destination, all of that changed almost at once—the snow became a storm almost before our eyes.

it was a little slippery, yes, but our minds were on our next stop; a greatly-anticipated lunch date at CIA, yay.

you might remember that that this is a favorite stop for us during our rhinebeck trip each october and i was excited to be bringing david as my dining companion his time.

david and i joined nathalie and john fischer for a really fun afternoon of sampling food in the american bounty restaurant.

where we dove in to a beautiful three-course lunch of appetizers, fish entrees, and luscious desserts (sorry you weren’t there, kim!)

outside, the snow continued to fall and get heavier as the afternoon progressed, but we didn’t care, except to admire its prettiness. we had the restaurant almost entirely to ourselves, which made the day feel even more special.

afterward, they treated us to an “insider” tour of the school—looking into the kitchens, storerooms, and classrooms down in “the bowels” of the building.

chefs in training are scurrying back and forth in one classroom after another. in the store rooms, massive quantities of this and that are carted from the loading dock to their temporary homes on the shelves—the quantity of ingredients is truly impressive

but not surprising when i think about it—the kitchens at the school turn out dishes at a constant pace throughout each day and into the evening, to supply their many restaurants and classes

see these onions?
below, in one of the classrooms, students were busy at work, mincing them for a timed exercise (sorta like that scene in the julia child movie)

we even got invited into a pastry class to watch the chef put the final touches on a beautiful cake—a flower, some fruit and a marzipan basket to hold them. when he was done, he turned to me and asked if i would like to take it home! since my mom has a birthday this weekend, i accepted this unexpected gift for her.

back upstairs, we walked through some of the “dressier” parts of the school—the first stop was the main dining hall, which used to be the chapel in the old seminary

we took our leave of john, who had to get back to work, and followed nathalie through a few winding hallways and out into the weather for the first time in hours

the world outside was transformed—snow was piling up everywhere and that hushed quiet that comes along with it had descended. everything was so pretty!

we headed next to the library building, which is the home of nathalie’s office—she is the director of the school’s publications division and she has lots and lots of pretty cool books.

she sent me home with a few that are right up my alley—bread, soup, and cheese (i could live on just those foods . . .).
see that top book? take a closer look at the author

this is john’s new book cheese—part of the school’s pro kitchen series. he told me about it back in october and now i have my very own copy.

cheese is my favorite food (well, ok, maybe i have a few favorites) an this book is the kind of guide that i love to have for learning more about specific foods.

instead of organizing the contents alphabetically, as do the other cheese books i own, this one organizes the contents by type; when i look up a specific cheese, i can learn about similar ones at the same time (good when i need to substitute or want to explore further).

and who can resist a book with a full spread of cow photos?
i’m looking forward to reading more of it in depth. i’ll keep you updated on the books as i get to explore them more. that soup book couldn’t have come my way at a better time—i’ve been wishing all winter long for new, interesting soup recipes.

after visiting the publishing department, we realized that we had to get serious about getting back on the road—the weather outside was looking nastier by the minute and we had to drive north to albany yet.

it was smart of us to get going while it was still somewhat light—the roads were slippery and the driving was slow, at least on the east side of the river. we fell into line with a bunch of other intrepid travelers and made our way slowly upstate.

our delay could have been worse—it took about an hour longer than usual, but we still arrived in albany ahead of the biggest part of the snow dump—by morning it would be much, much worse, with widespread school closings and power outages.

once we were there, we settled in to watch the olympics and enjoy some knitting time by the fire. i finished my french quarter sock (my third olympic sock to be completed).

i love the way it feels on my foot, too—cozy-warm and yet, sleek and sturdy enough to wear with shoes. the twist-stitch pattern is delicate, but has strong stitch definition to show of the sheen of the yarn (woolen rabbit kashmir).

kim will be offering kits with sock pattern and yarn from her booth at the SPA event this weekend in freeport, maine. next week, when her online shop reopens, you can find the kits there. the pattern will be available as a standalone item in my own pattern shop as well, beginning monday, march 1.

once i had the sock finished, i finally got to work on david’s cabled hat, yay. i’m having a wonderful time knitting with big yarn on big needles for a quick change of pace (and david is really happy to finally be getting the long-awaited hat). i’ve already changed my mind about the cable and spent some time today doing surgery on it, but i’ll tell you more about that next time.

now that we are settled in one place for a few days, we also had a chance to take some nice photos of the longjohn socks, which means i can finally release that pattern tomorrow . . . just in time for more snow, heh.

well, i think i’ll join my mom and david now to watch some olympic action—can you believe that last night was the first time i actually got to watch any of the games?
i gotta catch up and being snowed in seems like the perfect opportunity.

23 thoughts on “cooking up a storm

  1. Your “insiders” visit to CIA sounds great! And I”m glad you made it safely in the snow – I had a similar trip from my mom’s Sunday afternoon, but luckily was part of a little caravan of cars following a salt truck for the worst of it.

  2. Oh Anne, you KNOW I’m jealous of you eating desserts there without me!!!! So glad David got to go though!

  3. Looking forward to the release of your Longjohn sock pattern. I have my yarn sitting here waiting! This is the perfect weather for knitting-snow & Olympics. I’m getting ready for a trip from Williamtown, MA to Lake Placid & can’t wait to knit in the car. Thanks for all the great designs.

  4. Glad you made it up to Albany without incident – my MIL says there’s a foot of snow at her house and they lost power yesterday. Luckily my parents are here in MA visiting me 🙂 Guess they’ll just have to stay a little longer!

    Good luck with your class this weekend…

  5. What a fantastic tour. Looks like the weather may hold you captive for another day or so. Good to be where you want to be.

  6. I am so glad you had a safe trip to the CIA and back home, especially under such conditions. It sounds like it was an amazing adventure and you were guaranteed a great meal, of course.

    I will be looking forward to the French Quarter socks. I love cables. They slow me down, but I just love the look of them on anything.

    I hope you can continue to sit and relax for a while now and enjoy more knitting. 🙂

  7. Anne- That looks like a gorgeous place, but what struck me most was the pic with David, and the Fischers- they are both wearing marvellous pumpkin orange.

    Not unlike The Woolen Rabbit’s pumpkin.

  8. I love food books. I remember devouring (heh heh) the Time Life series on different culture’s cuisines, and their recipe for Scots Shortbread is still my favorite.
    You might enjoy my recipe for Smoky Squash Soup (tagged recipe on my blog)

  9. Wow-what an amazing trip you’ve had. That Cheese book is sort of a Knitter’s Book of Wool-with cows, and cheese. Mmm…cheese. Happy birthday to Anne’s mom! I hope we get to see a picture of the cake–it sounds marvelous. I’m glad your driving was uneventful, even if a little slower than ususal. Have fun!

  10. What a lovely lunch. Thanks for pictures and descriptions of CIA. Somewhere I really want to go one day.

    LOVE the French Quarter Sock. And what is the lovely yarn in David’s hat?

  11. Wish I could have made it up there,too! Notice how the cover of John’s book matches their outfits :). I have a skein of Kim’s pumpkin kashmir which I covet and will make into an awesome shawl someday….

  12. Ah, snowed in with a full tummy and knitting to finish, sounds blissful! You must try Brillat Savarin cheese – it even has its own facebook fan page! Triple creme decadence.

    I will have to get to CIA someday – sounds like a really fun place!

  13. You timed that exactly right! Just enough snow to make the CIA fun, but not enough to stop your driving until you’re in the right place to be snowed in. Enjoy the rest of your trip! 🙂

  14. Happy birthday to your mom! So sweet that the pastry chef gave you a cake for her. It’s been a while since I visited the CIA, but I remember how much I enjoyed it.

    Mmmm, strong and stinky cheese…

  15. I will forever remember Kim loving her desserts at the CIA…it was the highlight of my Rhinebeck weekend! I’m so happy that you and David were able to share the CIA experience together. 🙂

  16. So glad to read your trip was full of beauty in all that snow! I’ve been offline for a few days; what a pleasure to arrive at your site full of exciting details from your adventure. The tour of CIA was a treat for your readers too!

  17. Comments are still open! Yay! Wow, looking at all that snow is giving me the heebie-jeebies! But the CIA trip looks like it was lovely, and who doesn’t love a book with a section called Smelly cheese???

Comments are closed.