Rona Boyer

Millbrook R & B has closed its doors after a representative from the state liquor authority entered the bar and took their license off the wall.  We are unsure what caused this drastic action but the village is abuzz with rumors. Millbrook Gardens is the new name for the landscaping specialists now located where Rollins Landscaping & Gardens used to be on Route 44. The Rollins sold their place this summer to new owner, Patrick Murphy, who is at already at work getting ready for the holidays.  Frank of the The Belvoir Gallery reports that business has been good and that he expanded his collection to include a number of new and local artists whether or not their focus is on sports and wildlife.
It was during my trip to Auvergne, France this summer that opened my eyes to just how many dishes can be improved  by melting cantal cheese (or tomme fraiche) on top or into the casserole. Melted cheese is a part of lasagna, pizza, fondues, quesadillas, Welsh rabbits, mac and cheese, the cheese burger and so many more dishes. But cheese doesn't always melt the way you want it to. You'd like it to be smooth and saucy, and instead it turns stringy, or it separates, or maybe it won't melt at all. Here are some tips that will help you select the right cheese for different dishes and cooking techniques.
In just two weeks, the season for outdoor farmers’ markets will come to a close. In yesteryear that meant closed until next spring, but recently some of our local farmers' markets have found winter quarters and will continue to offer our neighboring farmers, producers, bakers and craftspeople a place where they can sell their goods and foods. You will find seasonal vegetables (winter squash and greens, carrots, beets, potatoes), meats (lamb, pork, beef, veal), farmed trout, eggs, pickled and preserved foods, granola and granola bars, soaps, oils, salves, herbal teas, breads, cakes, cookies and take-out meals.        
I have been encouraged to continue my columns on kitchen essentials, so the first thing I would get for an underequipped cook is a set of stainless steel mixing bowls. Mixing bowls may not seem as sexy as an electric appliance, but every chef I know uses them daily for mixing, tossing or just holding ingredients.  These bowls are lightweight, unbreakable and easy to clean, and they have rolled rims, making it easy to pour liquids from them. They nest inside one another, so they do not take up much space, and they are both freezer- and dishwasher-safe. They are also fairly inexpensive. A five-piece set ranging from 1- to 5-quart sizes sells for $49.95 at William Sonoma. Less expensive sets may also be available elsewhere, but make sure they are stainless steel and have rolled rims. I have seen designer sets that cost as much as $60 for three bowls, which seems to me to be over the top, especially since few people other than the cook and his- or her kitchen helper ever see them.
"Limone"  now operating in Mabettesville has taken the space on Franklin Avenue which until recently was occupied by The Pumpkin House. Just back from a buying trip in Italy, Limone owners, Brenda & Al DeBonis, are set to open the new shop on November 2nd when they will be offering unique gift items they selected for Millbrook shoppers. Kicking off the pre-holiday is an exceptional sale of exquisite porcelin and ceramics by famed wildlife artist, Lynn Chase this weekend near the Massachusettes border just about an hour from Millbrook. (See her ad on Page 4 for details.) On the weekend of Oct. 26th-27th Millbrook Antiques Mall is conducting  a store-wide 20% off sale which will be the perfect time to shop for gifts for antiques aficionados.

One of the most intriguing trends in food this year is toward the sweet and salty. Dishes that combine these two conflicting flavor directions are appearing everywhere. I was reminded of this last week at Stissing House when Michel Jean made me his new dish—the Mushroom Tarte Tatin. He is famous for his delicious Tarte Tatin (on top of which he piles spun caramel), so I was happy to try this savory dish as an appetizer. Over the five types of mushrooms (none of which is easy to find) sautéed in olive oil was placed an upside-down caramelized puff pastry.  From the first mouthful, the sweetness of the caramel shocks the savory mushroom flavors and blends into the light puff pastry.

I have been a fan of Kate Weiner's puff pastry since I moved to Millbrook. She makes it perfectly. And having hand-made puff pastry tarts to enjoy within a few short days or even hours of their baking is a luxury offered to few outside of France.  Kate makes both sweet and salty versions (none combined -that I know of), but her newest creation is my favorite: Caramel Pear Tarts.  Serve for dessert or a snack with coffee or tea.  This and other The Art of the Tart creations are delivered to both Quattros and Marona's Market on Fridays-just in time for a weekend indulgence. 
Asado is the national dish of Argentina as well as the Spanish and Portuguese names for "barbecue". Millbrook culinary cullture has been deeply affected by the many Argentine polo players and their families who spend their winters (our summers) here playing at Mashomack and dining al freesco at their Asados. Sunday we attended one of these excellent feasts of beef, pork, sausages and veggies that were grilled on open fires. It was all very good, but most impressive were the lovely hand made beef and also chicken empanadas. This will probably turnout to be the last big barbecue of the season so it's it was nice to finish with the big bang of an asado. 
More vendors and more visitors than ever before, the sixth annual Fine Home Source show hosted by Crisp Architects brought over 600 visitors last Saturday to the Millbrook Band Shell. Each year Crisp showcases high end experts and craftspeople he truly admires and works with in building and renovating homes for his clients. Artisanal furniture makers, specialty iron workers, millwork, fine art and many crafts people have traditionally exhibited at this event, as have upscale building products floors, windows, doors etc. Luxurious gardens, backyard waterfalls, ponds, swimming pools, saunas, putting greens, home theatres, state-of-the-art telephony, gourmet kitchens and wine cellars were all in view.  
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