Dinner at Blackrock

People in my parents’ generation — and frankly most of the people in my generation — can’t understand the idea that people can meet online and collaborate on projects without ever meeting. But that’s how I made my second book, Starting From Scratch. I hadn’t met any of my co-authors in real life before we worked together.

Now, it’s 1-for-6. We went to meet Kristin at Blackrock, her husband’s family home for eight generations.

I could easily write several posts about the visit: going out on the lake in the boat her husband made by hand; the “short walk” a mile back into the woods, along the ravine, back to where the first waterfall runs during the spring melt; the neighboring town that has been turned into a quaint tourist destination by the local college.

But who am I kidding, this is going to be about the food.

I don’t know if it was just good timing, but we got off a lot easier than Kristin’s sister, who always seems to show up just in time to help fertilize the garden:

Just in case you ever had the thought that perhaps you would like to drop in to Blackrock for a visit, eat some good food, relax on the front porch with the dogs . . . let my sister’s experience be a warning to you.

We, on the other hand, did relax on the front porch with the dogs and eat some good food. Like these grass-fed steaks, supplied by an uncle.

Oh, it wasn’t all sweetness and light. There was a ghost sighting in The Pit of Despair.

Or maybe it was just the girls, and I forgot to use the flash. Whatever … back to the meat.

Kristin’s husband grilled the steaks on this high-end clay pot system he invented.

Yes, that’s a bottle of glass cleaner he used to control flare-ups. It may not have still had glass cleaner in it, I didn’t ask.

And there they are, all done.

Watching to make sure he did it right was the ever-alert Pitty Pet.

Also keeping an eye out were Otty and Mia.

Leda was still up in the woods somewhere, waiting for a woodchuck to come out of its hole. (She got it, eventually. Or we assume she did, since the blood on her muzzle wasn’t hers.)

Finally it was all ready. Along with the steak was rice with butter (my favorite way), greens from the garden, and beats also from the garden.

For dessert, Kristin whipped up some whipped cream to go on the strawberries (from the garden, but frozen since strawberry season was a couple of weeks ago) and shortcake biscuits.

In that area shortcake is apparently a traditional soda biscuit with extra sugar. Try to do it some other way and people will think you’re being pretentious.

And by the way, I’d have shown you pictures of how to make them, but Kristin was so fast that by the time I realized what she was doing she was done. No measuring cups, just throw everything in the bowl, mix, roll and cut in about the time it took me to write this paragraph. I think she’s made them a few times before.

At least it sat still in my bowl long enough to see what it looked like when it was done.

If I can ever convince Kristin to bring the family out here for a visit, we’ll show them all of our cool stuff. Like air conditioning. And … did I mention air conditioning?