Let’s talk FRIENDSHIP. Yours. Theirs. Mine. Ours. It’s September. Time to do that.
Last week-end my nature-loving colleagues and I spent three days in Rocky Mountain National Park taking field workshops. For me, it was a rigorous three days. By 5:30pm on Friday night, when we were ready to make the 185-mile trip back to Aspen, I was pooped. There was no drive left in me, either for up another mountain or behind the wheel. Having anticipated this, Francine and Carol climbed in the front seat of my car while I folded my wings, crawling in the back.
Four hours later as we crossed the line into Pitkin County, Francine said, “You know, Mary, we love you. We all love you.”
Not to be outdone, Carol chimed in, “You have a great support system here, Mary. Everyone loves you. They do.”
There was more of this chatter, I responded with gratefulness, dropped my friends off and finally drove into The Gant around 10pm. After unpacking, bathing and checking for ticks (a hazard in the High Country), I fell into bed at Midnight, four hours past my norm. But not before thinking about those remarks. What brought that on, I’ll never know. I was weary, yes, but euphoric about a perfect trip. I wasn’t feeling needy, lonely, or abandoned. No propping up necessary. Shall we simply chalk it up to Friendship?
As we all celebrate the long Labor Day week-end why not open the window wider to this opportunity to value our friends more. Let’s be better, try harder and remind them they’re appreciated. Although Frannie and Carol have now probably forgotten those remarks, I have not. Besides wishing you Happy Labor Day Week-end with the following cast iron menu, I’m sharing snapshots of my local supporters who have enriched my 2015 summer. Hopefully these photos will encourage you to acknowledge your own.
Some women in the following photo have been friends since 1988. This is the only time I was with this gang all summer!?! And, that took 40 e-mails, determination and a surprise 60th birthday party to make happen. Some gals work and many, like me, are dedicated volunteers for this and that. The activities we did together ten years ago, Saturday biking adventures and Sunday hikes up Aspen Mountain, I’m no longer strong enough to do. However, after obviously too much vino, I agreed to a winter bike training program put together by Californian Terry Durham, far right, to bring me up to speed by Summer 2016. I’ll gear up if they’ll slow down.
Since It only takes one small spark, there’s no balcony grilling allowed at The Gant. For whatever reason, cast iron cooking makes me feel all outdoorsy. What I know for sure is my three cast iron skillets conduct heat superbly, can travel from stovetop to oven without talking back and will last my lifetime. I’ve linked to recipes and include John’s at the end of this post.
1. Cornbread with caramelized apples, onions and thyme, Bon Appétit magazine. I’ve made this cornbread before but never posted the menu.
2. Cherry-Almond Clafoutis by David Tanis, A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes. Although I chose David’s, your favorite clafoutis recipe works also. Or, click on links of Dorie’s or Julia’s for their delicious recipes.
3. Cauliflower Parmesan by Melissa Clark, The New York Times. Three words: To Die For.
4. Filet Mignon by John Lester. John, who blogs with his wife, Susan, on Create Amazing Meals, grills this amazing, no-fail filet mignon INDOORS. The recipe is at the end of my Post.
I would be remiss if I didn’t honor the friendship of you supporters of my blog. Whether you visit my posts for recipes, stories or just to see the photos, I’m just thrilled you’re here. Thank you.
I hope you are relentless in your enjoyment of this weekend. It’s a good one and we’re lucky to be breathing in it. Joy the Baker adaption
FILET MIGNON by John Lester, Create Amazing Meals, Susan & John Lester
• 2 8-ounce Filets
• Salt and Pepper, to taste
• Vegetable Oil
1. Remove steaks from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking and sprinkle with salt & pepper on both sides.
2. Coat the inside of a cast iron skillet with vegetable oil.
3. Place pan on the stove over medium-high heat.
4. When oil begins to smoke, sear steaks on both sides, about 3 minutes a side.
5. Place a baking rack over a sheet of foil and place steaks on the rack.
6. Allow to rest at room temperature for ½ hour.
7. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
8. Place steaks back in cast iron skillet.
9. Place skillet in oven for 5 – 12 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the steak and the way you like them.
10. Remove pan from oven and allow steaks to rest for 5 minutes before serving.