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Good morning and happy Monday. I had quite the weekend. We had to remove a 60- to 70-foot tall Norway maple tree from our back yard after a limb fell on our neighbor’s roof!

It’s always sad to see a mature tree go, but no one should have allowed this tree to grow here in the first place. I mean, look how close it is to our two houses.

It took a crane, a chipper, and five men three hours to get the whole thing down.

And then they left me with the firewood —

— which it took 2 guys 5 hours to split and stack. Phew!

After all that, I decided to get out of the house and go for a bike ride. I rode down to Piermont — down on the River Road and back on the bike path. Who else besides me would come home from a bike ride with a bottle of bourbon in the basket? :-0

See, yes, I was getting ready for Derby Day. And of course we had mint juleps. I just forgot to take a photo of mine until it was almost gone!

(Did you see my mint julep recipes in Saturday’s paper?)

We had originally invited one friend over, but after the trying afternoon, we extended the invite to the neighbors, too. So along with our supper — our famous hickory-smoked chicken, plus asparagus and bread from the farmers market — they brought along theirs: skirt steak and brussels sprouts. Our chicken:

Asparagus:

Bread (grilled and scratched with a garlic clove, then drizzled with great olive oil):

And then grilled skirt steak:

And roasted Brussels sprouts:

A smorgasbord indeed!

We set the table out in the back yard for the first time this year. Here’s my new Mexican oilcloth tablecloth I brought back from my trip to Texas:

It’s so festive. By the end of the evening we were calling it Frida. As in Kahlo.

On Sunday, I worked in the garden most of the day. I planted some phlox and yarrow that garden writer Bill Cary so generously gave me, plus I got 35 gladiola bulbs in the ground behind a big boulder in my yard. I think they’ll frame it nicely.

I planted seeds for cosmos, daisies and nasturtiums, plus I planted a whole bunch of herbs: lavendar, tarragon, basil, sage and oregano (another gift from Bill).

After all that work I was pooped, so for supper, we just seared the scallops we brought home from the farmers market and threw the mushrooms we got there on a sheet pan to roast. Nope. No vegetables.

Sweet and simple:

I know, I know. The photos from this weekend’s meals are pretty bad. Sorry for that. It’s with the tree and all it was a little stressful, and I didn’t feel like styling and composing food shots. You can forgive me for not wanting to work on my weekend, right?

And with that, here’s what people have been talking about this weekend:

Phyllis Kirigin of Sweet Paprika remembers her time as a student of James Beard. (SP) Speaking of the Beards, I’ll be going to the awards tonight. Peter Kelly is up for Best Chef, Northeast. Let’s all root for him!
Doug goes to the new Chipotle in Rye. (HT)
Rinku gets takeout sushi from Hunan Ritz in Thornwood. (CIW)
MH says Caffe Azzuri in Hartsdale is ‘Worth It.’ (NYT)
And MH likes Bridge View Tavern in Sleepy Hollow. (NYT)
Some hounds weigh in on the new Ehthiopian restaurant in Mount Kisco. (CH) PS: Look for my story and video to come out on Wednesday.
Suggestions for good bread near Armonk or Mount Kisco. (CH) PS: Mount Kisco Seafood carries Wave Hill bread, among the best around IMO.
Box Car Eatery in Mount Vernon is now Azul Latin Fusion. (CH) PS: Hounds are speculating on the ownership; one of the owners is Brian MacMenamin of the Post Road Ale House.

Anything else I missed over the weekend?

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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