What a glorious long weekend. Kramer and I really made the most of it, which is always a good feeling. On Friday, we left work a bit early, hopped in a Zip car and started the drive up to the Catskills. We definitely underestimated our ability to beat any Memorial Day traffic. We thought that we’d be at least a little ahead of the crowd if we got on the road by 3:30. Of course, we weren’t actually on the road until 3:45, as was the rest of New York. It took us about two hours just to get out of Manhattan, but after that it wasn’t so bad, despite the additional two hours of driving that lay ahead of us. When we finally got to the house, though, it was totally worth it. We’ve never really been upstate before and the quiet was both eerie and calming. We grilled up some burgers, opened a nice bottle of bourbon and enjoyed the view. The scene was perfectly set for our next move, which was watching the season finale of Hannibal (how is it already over??) while we tore through half a bag of pistachios, because who doesn’t stress eat when watching something so intense? We then flipped through the channels a bit, enjoying the plethora of television not normally available to us at home, and fell asleep.
Me feeling like Iceman in my new shades.
Saturday, we slept in and made a big breakfast of eggs, bacon, avocado and some vegetables (for balance), then wandered around the property a bit. We kept taking deep breaths because the air smelled so good. The trees and grass were so green that I felt like I was walking around in a world where someone had turned the vibrance and saturation all the way up. It was magnificent. It started to drizzle a bit later in the day, so Kramer built a fire, we had some wine and charcuterie, and read for a few hours. I can’t remember the last time I curled up with a book, other than right before bed. We played a few board games outside, then pulled out some thick steaks for dinner. Of course, as soon as I added them to the pan (with lots of butter), the fire alarm went off and we could not figure out how to turn it off. At least it made me feel like I was staying somewhere really safe, ha! Anyway, as a result of the two of us running around, trying to make the screeching stop, the steaks got way overcooked. We like our red meat on the rare side of medium-rare, and these steaks got cooked to exactly well done. Never fear! We still had lots and lots of charcuterie, and a big caprese salad. We ate, then did a bit more reading in front of the fire, before watching a PBS documentary about New York (typical) and falling asleep.
While we did make burgers this weekend, we didn’t save enough of this delicious relish to top them with, which is just sad. I’m a big fan of that bright green, almost neon green, classic relish that you get at ballparks, but this is an excellent alternative. I made this for the program I’m doing with Vlasic Farmers Garden, and it is full of both flavor and texture. There are bread and butter pickles, shallots, artichoke hearts, red bell peppers and more, plus lots of fresh herbs. Add this relish to any grilled meats you cook up this season, or even to a pasta salad for some extra umph. Additionally, Vlasic is still running its sweepstakes where you can win a summer entertaining package worth $1,500, so be sure to enter and check out #FarmtoJar on Twitter and Instagram!
What are trees?
Cute little salamander that I’m sure was incredibly poisonous because all brightly colored creatures are, right?
Kramer doing a little reading by the fire.
Caprese salad with colorful heirloom tomatoes.
Beautiful steaks that I ruined – they can’t all be winners, guys.
Creepy fog rolling in.
Mix up your relish ingredients and let them sit while you cook your burgers, or refrigerate until ready to use.
While you let your relish sit for a bit so that the flavors develop, cook up your burgers – I opted for the urban variety, seeing as how I live in a backyard-less Brooklyn apartment.
Always add cheese.
Top your burgers with your relish and dig in.
- 1 jar Vlasic® Farmers Garden® Bread ‘n Butter Pickles, drained
- 1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion or shallot
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 roasted red pepper, thinly sliced (from a jar or freshly roasted)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, but recommended)
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Slice Farmers Garden® pickle chips and carrots from jar in half. Add remaining ingredients and toss until combined. Store refrigerated until ready to use. Use as a topping for hot dogs, hamburgers, or other tasty grilled meats.