Tony is all about food. His ongoing food events and special projects have been featured in the press. To learn more, you can view his gallery, read his blog, or simply contact him directly.

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My perfect weekend at the Beekman

Last weekend I checked out from reality and drove to upstate New York to visit my friends at the Beekman. Only a couple hours north of Cornell, I also decided to visit some friends I left behind in Ithaca post-graduation. Everything about this trip was magical, from the gorgeous multicolored foliage that surrounded the highways to the great time I spent with my friends – this was a weekend worth blogging about.

paradise
paradise

day 1

Luck was on my side as I drove up north; on two separate occasions a simple hand gesture from New York State troopers signaled to slow me down, as opposed to their usual merciless speeding fines and lectures. Even better would have been to avoid the encounters altogether, but I was content with the small slap on the wrist. The rest of the drive couldn’t have been better, no deers jumped out in front of me (one of my biggest fears) and my ipod survived the entire trip, a miracle in and of itself.

While I was in Ithaca, I made an obligatory stop at Wegmans (aka my second home while I was in college) and had two lunches with friends, followed by a quick coffee date before getting back on the road. As soon as I arrived at the Beekman, Brent and Josh greeted with even more food. My stomach was telling me no more, but my mouth instinctively kept going for more of the creamy pumpkin risotto and peppery arugula and raspberry salad. Everything, except the short grain rice, was from their garden. I blog about these seemingly minute details because the flavors brought me back to when I was visiting Italy and the Middle East last winter. Although the ingredients were anything but pretty, their flavors were spot on. The arugula leaves were different sizes and carried a real peppery bite as opposed to the pale flavor that I’ve come to associate with the generic 6 oz bags at the supermarket. We finished our wine in front of the fire place and quietly enjoyed our slice(s) of Josh’s ridiculously good apple tarte tatin. It was the perfect ending to my first night at the Beekman.

last raspberry of the season — what a trooper
last raspberry of the season

day 2

I was forewarned that today was going to be lots of work, but I was ready to work off my gluttony from the previous day. When I entered the kitchen, the fireplace was already lit and Josh was working on getting breakfast on the table. I swear I did more than just eat that entire weekend. We had a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, pork sausage, and goat yogurt; all from the farm, of course. By this point, I was convinced I was going to get a farm of my own one day.

Then came the work. By 8:30am we were outside picking the remaining apples to make fresh cider. One deceptive-looking tree produced seven (COUNT: 7!) bushels of apples. We separated the pretty round apples for pies and desserts and the rest were loaded onto the truck for cider. Josh set some goat meat to braise for dinner, then we headed over to the local apple orchard to press our hand-picked beauties into cider.

apples from one tree
bushels of apples
ready to make fresh cider
apples in water
apples float, but pears don’t (fun fact)
floating apples
artisan cider-maker (15 yrs experience)
making cider
fresh cider
fresh cider
capping at lightening speed
capping cider

37 gallons of fresh apple cider and a few apple donuts later, we loaded everything into the truck and returned for an early start at dinner. As soon as we walked through the door we were welcomed by the warm aroma of braised goat that Josh had set in the oven before leaving.

After having played with the goats earlier that morning, I thought I would have second thoughts about enjoying a plate of braised goat for dinner. Not really. After having read Omnivores Dilemma, I was happy to see the goats on the Beekman farm roam freely in a field as opposed to the clustered and inhumane industrial settings most animals are subject to. These were happy goats. It also helped, of course, that I was completely detached and took no part in the butchering process.

the cutest goats
goats

While the goat continued to braise, we went to the garden and picked some fresh vegetables for dinner. It was easy, almost effortless. We ate what was seasonably available and that was that. No qualms about genetically modified produce or harsh pesticides. I rolled up my sleeves and helped pull some fresh parsnips from the ground and we also plucked some fava beans to accompany the goat. The parsnips were roasted and mashed with lots of butter and goat milk to make a creamy, cloud-like parsnip puree, while the fava beans were quickly sauteed in some bacon fat and minced onions. We polished off the meal with plenty of hard apple cider that has been stored in the Beekman cellar since last year and got ready for a night out.

shelling fresh fava beans
fava beans

After dinner, Brent and Josh gave me a tour of the town and we picked up some local ice cream for a quick dessert. Of course, ice cream alone wasn’t going to be enough. Brent served up the ice cream with homemade cajeta sauce, which is a traditional Mexican caramel sauce similar to dulce de leche. The Beekman cajeta, though, was anything but traditional; jalapeños were steeped in goat milk, that was then used as the base for the cajeta. The combination of the spicy aftertaste in the caramel paired with the cold and velvety ice cream was one of those flavor profiles that made perfect sense.

day 3

On the last day of my perfect weekend, we relaxed. I knew I had a long drive ahead of me and didn’t want to get stuck driving at night and miss out on the gorgeous  scenery upstate New York has to offer. At the same time, I didn’t want to leave the farm. We went outside after breakfast where I got to play with the goats one last time; and then Brent and Josh took me on a walk around the entire Beekman property. We were walking for thirty minutes until I realized we were back where we started. Then it was time to go.

Before I left, they showered me with edible gifts from their garden that I will be using in my next post. I also got to take with me bars of their homemade goat milk and olive oil soap that I’ve been using incessantly since I got back. Seriously, I wouldn’t let anything else get near my hands now – it’s that freaking good! Since I have no recipe for you today, I’ll leave you with more pretty pictures from my amazing weekend. I’ll try to load the rest onto flickr soon, but you know how work can get in the way. I think I need another weekend getaway soon…

looking up from paradise
yellow fall leaves
my favorite shy goat
shy goat
wild grapes
wild grapes

Posted in Travel by Antonio Tahhan on October 27th, 2008. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


12 Responses to “My perfect weekend at the Beekman”

Hélène Says:

Wow this is such a nice trip. It’s so relaxing reading about it & looking at the pictures.

Peter G Says:

Sounds like a beautiful weekend away…those apples look awesome. A great write up Antonio.

Bren@Flanboyant Eats Says:

so where’s the recipe to the apple tartine??? hmmm…
pretty looking raspberry.

Nabeela Says:

I would LOVE to have foodie friends like yours!!

maya Says:

beautiful!wow. i love the autumn and these images really show the beauty of the season

Núria Says:

Tony I enjoyed your pictures a lot! Didn’t know that pears didn’t float and apples did… I love learning these kind of things 😀

We also have the best cider here in Asturias…MMMMmmmm I love it!

Adam Says:

Looks like an overall awesome weekend Big T. I just moved back to upstate yesterday, and your right about the scenery and leaves changing… it’s beautiful.

I love all the apple pics the most, and it totally turned me towards some fresh apple cider. With cider donuts… *Homer Simpson drool face*

Brent Says:

Tony,

What a great blog. You write about us and the Beekman better than we do!
We are waiting for your post with a fabulous recipe using the Beekman pumpkins

josh kilmer-purcell Says:

thank you for visiting us tony…you are the perfect guest, and an honor to have you work in our kitchen!

HoneyB Says:

What a beautiful weekend and awesome photos!

Psychgrad Says:

Beautiful! I want friends at Beekman.

Chris Says:

how cool is this! thanks.


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