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Didn’t realize we did but it was , we went by the the main convenience store and this is a 2.5 hours north of Portland or something like that. General Bernard of our 45 north from Portland , so you’re 30 years old . You’re in a very small town what’s , what’s that like .
When I came home for the second time it was really because I had no choice.
It threw me there because financially. I didn’t have a penny I you know , I’d lost my home I’d lost my business , and so it was like , okay , this is just survival mode . And then , you know , you start to look around and realize that like this is my home , and this is a place that I love so much . And how can I nurture my life here and live a good life here and you know just figure out how to move forward and you know , for me it’s if you had told me that this is what I’d be doing with my life , I would have said there’s no way and you can’t make a living in freedom you’re told that you have to get away . You have to go to the city you have to , you know , get out of here to be successful and to survive and you know that’s not the case anymore .
So you’re open half the year roughly a little more.
Yes we are our normal schedule is beginning of May 2 New Year’s Eve and Robin 4 nights a week.
So people come to dinner from all over , but you don’t serve wine in the dining room , so you have a wine cellar. So just give us a sense of what are they actually going through the meal here the kitchen .
Yeah , we have , strangely enough in the town called freedom. We have all the prohibition laws that are still in place so we .
Are not allowed to pour wine , but we found a way around that , and it’s worked aren’t really great. We were able to turn some of our basement space into a wine cellar , so guests arrive around 5:30 they had to the wine cellar where we have all of our lovely ladies there .
Greeting them and they’ll share the menu for the night cause no one knows what they’re having it’s basically like going to your friend’s house and not knowing what she’s making for dinner. Until you get there . So we help .
Pick out and pair lines and share the menu and then send everyone upstairs at the dining room for dinner at 6 o’clock. And then we just have about 3.5 hours of food that just starts coming out everyone just sits back and relaxes & Poors online and they don’t have to think about anything . And that’s what I love about this experience . The only decision they have to make is , if they want coffee or tea and that’s it .
Well , like that I don’t like I don’t like big Matthews I get overwhelmed.
You go out and just like I just want to relax and I have to sit here and stress over this menu and it’s got 2 sides or 4 pages and I just want to talk with my friends and enjoy and just how beautiful come out.
So let’s talk about food. I mean the food world has exploded imploded in the last 10 or 15 years , there’s every possible style is a mix from all over the world you’re cookbook , I would say has .
Simplicity of concept probably is the thing that really stands out , she was certainly increased to the food. If you were to describe which is probably stupid question if you describe your cooking what is your cooking .
Yeah , that’s one I’ve struggled for because you know I feel like it’s a blend it’s representative of me , but I would say that the best if I could give you a term I just say it’s kind of a modern version of farmhouse cooking.
And farmhouse there’s lots of different kinds of farmhouses the farmhouses and Alabama other from houses in Vermont is this New England.
Yeah , I mean , definitely , yeah , all of the ingredients that inspire me are the ingredients that I opened my eyes to every day so you know whether at sea foods that are irate from here and of the produce all of my cooking is 100% driven by ingredients I never make a menu and then go searching for ingredients and let the ingredients come and then it’s my job to figure out how to combine them how to put them together.
Let’s talk about some basics. So you have a bread salad , for example in the book just talk about using bread or leftover bread because in a lot of places in the world . You know they make soup Sadr bread obviously like lobby they make Rutan’s out of bread with some have oil salt in a skillet . If you’re talking to somebody who’s a home cook , how do you think about using bread in a different way .
You know , for me I’m pretty simple with it so I’m always first using the first licensed as a slathered with butter and good salt and eat it that way and then taking the scraps and again just I love doing skillet weather storming it would salads are chickens or making bread puddings those of be you know I’m pretty old fashioned this is like grandmother food that’s like my version of it.
Chicken so I’m sure you have a good local supplier for chicken but if you go into the supermarket and you can find Alan Evans for something and you know it’s okay , but did you have some tricks for grilling chicken in a roasting chicken is it to that let it stand for awhile brining or you just have to start with the great chicken. Oh well .
Great. Chicken is obviously key if you can find someone who actually , you know , a local person doing it is that the difference is just unreal compared supermarket chicken . But you can’t you know go with organic or just the best all-natural . You can get , but brining is amazing . It’s easy and you just .
Steep it overnight and the flavor. We’ll just wow everyone and yeah roasting lots of salt salt and butter are my big keys for roasting and salting the cavity and just I’m keeping the skin really dry .
You said it. This is Apple wood grilled spring chicken or says a large pot over medium heat . This is after you’ve brine that bird overnight bring the chicken and Bryant to a slow boil reduce the the summer until just cooked through so you brine overnight and instead of just taking the birds out of the prime you heat the brain what would explain that to me .
Okay , so this is a little hostess trick because the worst thing you want to do is have your friends come over and you’re grilling and it’s already challenging it’s open flames. You know you’re fighting that you don’t want to worry if the chickens come through , so you actually pre cook kind of hard cook that chicken , a little bit in the brine , so you have the flavor and then you have to worry about doing is just Browning it and you know getting it looking good on the girl .
I didn’t think you’d ever use the term hostess trick you don’t look like the kind of person who would say , I said I still 40-50.
I always feel like I’m a host like I’m not I don’t feel like a shove. I feel like I’m a hostess , that’s what I . That’s what I really feel like this is what I was born to do is just like have people over for it and I just want to be a host as it feels real . I do a flower arrangements . You know the napkins that’s that’s my joy .
Spoon cakes rhubarb spoon cake you have cakes made and skill odds. You also have a sort of tart Tower upside down cake with parents so if if someone wanted to people always ask me how do I cook without a recipe i say don’t but it Mbeki is particularly hard but , but as I upside down cake or a cast-iron cake fruitcake Scully cake well there some just a basic recipe for that , I mean how do you think about that .
Yeah , I mean for me I baking yet follow recipe don’t don’t mess with their unless you are really trying to develop something which , if you’re at home , you’re probably not trying to do that , you just want something that’s going to work and you don’t want to waste your ingredients. So for me coming up with a couple of staple cake recipes but then playing with it and working with whatever you have for fruit so you don’t have to be like , oh well , I don’t have pairs well that’s okay you speeches are apples and so it’s kind of a free cake . But if you have that basic batter recipe , have a few good ones have something quite really have something vanilla like , you know , have a few of those tricks up your sleeve and then make it your own . As far as governor .
So you you would cook the fruit caramelize it in the bottom of the pan with some sugar and butter then add the batter. I think one of your batters was half corn meal and half all purpose which Senator .
Yeah , it’s nice because that sort of gives it fluffy , so it’s not like.
That’s over baby cake you want to have a little bit of of fluff to it , so that all purpose pubs cut out of it.
You have a pork burger recipe of course everyone’s going to have burger recipe and you put something on it. That’s a little different .
Yeah , peaches peaches are surprising and then more bacon. So I was like , pork Park , which always makes things better and blue cheese I I love pork and peaches and it’s just summary and it’s a little different . And yeah , I think it’s a really nice combo .
Was there a moment in this process department lot were either things looked really bleak for the first time you thought you were going to make it , they’re just sort of sums up this experience where you.
That’s a , that’s a hard while I mean there’s plenty of moments when I thought I wasn’t going to make it. Yeah , probably after after I I lost that first restaurant I I was just like I was spinning I don’t I don’t know what I was gonna do . I don’t know if I was going to live . There were some very , very dark days and part of coming home was the South for that and food also got me through that . So just kind of discovering myself through food and being back home and being around my friends , my family and just moving forward together .
So I’m 67 still haven’t found myself you’re half my age or something like at 37 and you have and you’ve done it fairly quickly and you’ve done it you come at a very difficult experience how we you out. Did you always know who you were and were very centered or is the process of building this loss kitchen here in the mill was that what we got you there .
Yeah , I , no , I I I feel like I’m I just figured out who I am 30 was kind of the mark of where I knew that I hadn’t and it was terrifying , but you know I really needed to hit a really hard wall and have my life follow apart. I think in order to find myself it basically started .