Tag Archives: summer

Day of the Month

This year has been so beautiful in the Northeast.  Very unusual, long stretches of balmy weather, blue skies, sunlit days.  The Northeast is normally filled with unpredictable weather, ranging from cold snaps, to fog, rainy days and occasional blue skies.

“Climate is what we expect.  Weather is what we get.”  Mark Twain

In my mind, the best days are sometimes “good weather” days.  Especially if the  weather in a given month is unusual.  I’ve decided to chose a “Day of the Month” every month.  It’s another way to make yourself aware of the delight that each day brings.  Something to look forward to, make note of and celebrate.

Day of the Month November

Look for the magical beauty of nature and light.

This month, November, I thought that “The Day” had already arrived on November 3rd. On a long walk through Central Park,  I couldn’t help noticing how the autumn sunlight burst through the trees, amping up the contrasting colors of the landscape.

Such an unusual November!

Such an unusual November!

On this particular day, I thought that the magical transition of seasons was so clearly evident.  The floor of the gardens were covered with fallen leaves, while newly blossomed autumn plants and flowers were peeking through.  The combination was startling and beautiful.

Summer passes the baton to Autumn as the seasons change

Summer passes the baton to Autumn as the seasons change

I find that the complexity of nature reflects the complexity of our lives and can be very reflective of our emotions too.  It’s easy to lose yourself in the beauty of your surroundings, if you simply surrender to it.  On this day, I fully enjoyed the wide range of thoughts and feelings, reflective of the landscapes.

The day mixed together a summer temperature of 72, the blazing reds and yellows of tumbling autumn leaves and the bittersweet reminder that winter will soon arrive.  Yet, the promise of spring was also present in the newly blooming plants poking through.  A truly perfect day.  Perhaps the best “Day of the Month” for November.  Well noted and captured in thought and memory for “A Table For One.”

Copyright 2015 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved.









Dining In…Summer’s Bounty

There’s a sweet moment of time in-between seasons, when the season exiting surrenders one last burst of divine bounty, before giving way to the next season’s start.   If you follow the farm, as suggested in an earlier post, you’ll come away with the cherished fruits of the season.

“Life is like jazz…it’s best when you improvise.”  George Gershwin

Next, what to do with them?  Improvise!  On my recent trip to Augustine’s Farm in Greenwich, Ct., I found lots of extraordinary heirloom tomatoes.  There is no consistency in size, shape, color or taste.  They are all, quite simply, and very individually, delicious.

A great big pot of summer's best harvest! Heirloom tomato sauce.

A great big pot of summer’s best harvest! Heirloom tomato sauce.

Find a recipe you like and adapt it to your own unique taste.  I find that using high quality produce, such as these extra-special tomatoes and herbs are enough to stand up on their own.  I like to keep it simple, because these batches of saucy deliciousness are going to be mostly frozen for the winter.  Cover and leave to simmer slowly for 1 1/2 hours or so and then use an immersion blender to finish.

Later, on a cold and dreary winter’s day, when the days are too short and the skies are too cloudy, I will take out a serving of summer flavor and remember that even the winter season will eventually change too!

Typically, the night after cooking and freezing my tomato sauce, I’ll give it a test run.  This time, I cooked fresh Prince Edward Island mussels for my trial run.  Having left the heirloom tomato sauce as a simple basic, I’m able to make different variations later.  For this test run, I added spicy red pepper flakes and more fresh basil.  Adding a little chicken stock, sea salt and fresh ground pepper is all you need.  Next, I cooked up some al dente whole wheat pasta from southern Italy, to go along with this delicious meal.

Beautiful Summer Bounty with fresh mussels and pasta

Beautiful Summer Bounty with fresh mussels and pasta

I always recommend plating every meal with purpose and imagination.  In this case, I broke out my lovely fall inspired bowls, since the theme is the changing seasons.  What could be better than summer’s bounty served up with a nod to autumn?  Add a special glass of bubbly or your last taste of the season’s rose and you have a wonderful combination of fresh delight.  This is a perfect way to extend your trip to the farm right to your own table and freezer.  You will continue to enjoy these treats all winter long!  And that’s “A Table For One”!

Copyright 2015 Marion O’Grady

All rights reserved

Traveling Solo


My best advice for your first “solo” trip is to select a place you’re familiar with.  For me, that was Nantucket Island in Massachusetts.  I had spent many Augusts vacationing on Nantucket, as a child.  It held memories and enchantment at the same time.  So this was a natural and easy first choice.  I knew that I would feel at ease on the island, while traveling alone.

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.”                               Abraham Lincoln            

I decided to take the “slow” ferry over from Hyannis.  The longer crossing set a relaxed pace from the start.  You’re never really alone, there are so many people everywhere you go.  But the experience of traveling on your own is truly unique.  You have the opportunity to observe more and stretch your imagination.  You are free to make your own plans and go where you want to  go, without consulting others.

You may even find that going on a vacation alone gives you more opportunity to meet other people!  At the very least, you will find that you have more time to explore your surroundings. You’re free to chose exactly what you’d like to do.  Chose a place you know you like first.  There will be plenty of chances to find new destinations, once you’ve experienced your first “A Table For One” vacation.

Copyright 2015 Marion O’Grady