This past Saturday, June 11th, The Upstate Table co-hosted its second gathering with Foxfire Mountain House: a sausage roast supper followed by a roaring campfire. There, under the stars after dinner, three celebrated comedians regaled us with their humorous tales.
The morning of the event, the skies were grey and the air had a chill. By noon, the rain came pouring down. Although the forecast called for clear weather that night, we decided to play it safe. Instead of setting up on the lawn, we arranged two long tables on the Foxfire veranda. We sacrificed nothing—the porch is an exquisite setting with colorful mosaic tiles underfoot and twinkling lights overhead.
A wonderful group gathered for the night's festivities—some guests of the inn, some local folks, and some from further afield including Kerhonkson and even New York City.
Foxfire owner and Chef Tim Trojian turned out three types of house made sausages: a chorizo, a Texas beef, and an Italian-style crowd pleaser. We paired them with sauteed mushrooms, onions and a side of sauerkraut.
We also served two salads—German Potato and Fennel-Mesclun—and grilled seasonal vegetables. A collection of well-worn cutting boards were placed between loose arrangements of freshly cut flowers down the center of the tables. The wood boards were slathered with rich, creamy butter, topped with fresh radishes and Japanese turnips, and generously sprinkled with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.
If you haven't had it before, a butter-radish combo may seem unlikely, but it's truly decadent. The crisp, tangy radishes are mellowed by the smooth, satisfying butterfat. Instead of serving the expected carrot and celery crudité, we aimed to use what was available from our local beloved farmstand, Migliorelli. Radishes and turnips are plentiful right now.
A quick wash, maybe a little peel if needed, one or two cuts, and you're good to go. Make sure your butter is softened to room temperature so you can achieve a nice thick spread, and you've got an instant appetizer or a cool, refreshing complement to a meal, especially a dish that's spicy or rich.
,This is not a time to shy away from butter. In fact, fats were once shunned and low- or nonfat diets were touted as healthy. We now know that healthy fats are essential for proper body function— fats help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins and some high-quality oils can actually increase good HDL cholesterol in the blood.
There really is no replacement for the taste of creamy butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows. A little goes a long way. Hopefully you (and/or your guests) will feel the same love we have for these most under appreciated little gems: radishes and Japanese turnips—plus good, high-fat butter certainly won't hurt the cause.
The weather held, the sun even shone, it was our first gathering—the launch of The Upstate Table.
We celebrated many things this past Sunday—community, food, friends, family, local purveyors—at a very special spot in the Catskills: Foxfire Mountain House. They opened their doors and shared their grand opening night with us. The inviting property, owned by Eliza Clark and Tim Trojian, is exactly what we've dreamed of for years in the Catskills. A place, a big rambling country house, where you can unwind, relax, and meet others. Visit our Facebook album to view photos of the event.
So what is The Upstate Table (TUT) and how is it connected to Foxfire, the Catskills, food, and farmers?
My name is Rebecca, and I founded The Upstate Table, a convivial, thought-provoking dinner and event series that celebrates food and makes meaningful connections.
A resident of the Catskills for over 17 years, I spend my time between Phoenicia and New York City. I have come to know the intricacies of the Catskills' seasons, and along with that, what type of produce is available from where, and what foodstuffs are being produced locally. These cherished foods and harvests are the forefront of every meal served through The Upstate Table.
I am a cookbook author, recipe developer, writer, and events planner. I bring this experience to The Upstate Table meals. I collaborate with local chefs, food makers, producers, and purveyors. It is my mission to share my knowledge of the area and inspire others to take full advantage of what is grown and produced in the Catskill and Hudson Valley region—and use it at their own tables.
Here on the TUT site we will share menus and recipes from events, profiles of local producers, entertaining tips, our favorite sources and more. We will also keep you apprised of any events and parties we're hosting, which will take place in different locales in the region. Hence our relationship with Foxfire. We admire their philosophy, aesthetic and overall graciousness.
The menu from our launch party featured recipes from my newest cookbook, Whole Protein Vegetarian. Check out our upcoming events and stay tuned for our favorite recipes. Hope to see you at our Upstate Table soon.
- Rebecca Miller Ffrench
Recipes for food featured at our Upstate Table events.