Blue Hill in Basking Ridge – Part One

Yellow Bean and Watermelon Radish Salad I love food… plain, simple, approachable food… in it’s most unadulterated state… fresh, seasonal, and delicious. These words define the way I love to cook. Fresh ingredients taste their best when only a slight amount of seasoning is added. I want to taste the flavors of the actual main ingredient come to light… rather than the douse of spice or flavoring that has been added to it. This is why I try my best to support our local farmers and buy seasonal ingredients as often as possible. (By the way, the image above is a delicious way to use fresh, summery ingredients. I used watermelon radishes as I found them at the farmers market in the early summer. Click on it for the link to the recipe!)

There was a time when it didn’t matter how expensive the entrees were, or how elaborate the wine list was when choosing a dining venue. Fortunately (for the practical me) those days are long gone, and now I look for places that are inspired by the seasonal flavors that I speak of above. Local venues are always a plus, and in addition to everything else, being a BYO is usually a deal breaker. More than half the bill can go towards beverage consumption, and that just makes me angry.

But…. when there is a restaurant that far surpasses others with their dedication to supporting local, sustainable, and incredibly fresh ingredients (i.e. farm to table restaurants,) I always give them a second glance (even IF their wine list is beautiful but oh so pricey!) Oh and how thrilled I was when Blue Hill at Stone Barns came into my research. I feel so lucky to say that I’ve had the opportunity to dine at Blue Hill twice in my life – once last year in the early spring, and once in the summer. Both times, I (and the group that I dined with) ordered the Farmers Feast – a tasting menu of sorts showcasing the incredible bounty that the chef had decided to dedicate the meal to that day. The menu changes daily, and the tasting menu is catered around the diner’s dietary preferences. This is really not a tasting menu – it is an experience. I will elaborate on my favorite dining “experiences” in a later post. But I had to mention Blue Hill today as I write about the dinner that I had over the weekend.

Blue Hill in Basking Ridge…. Now before all you locals go and google where Dan Barber’s new location is… please read on! For the sake of keeping my dear friends’ phone from ringing off the hook after reading this post, I will abstain from mentioning their names. These dear friends that I speak of invited me to one of the most memorable meals of my life – at their home in Basking Ridge. They are two of the most generous individuals that I have ever met, and I feel very lucky to have shared this culinary experience with them. We share 2 major common interests, which I assume you can figure out just by reading this! I will elaborate on our exquisite dining experience in my next entry as my husband once advised “if you have to scroll more than once to read a post on a blog, it’s too long!”

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