A Kitchen Away From Home: Rest and Recipe Development

by Julia Sherman

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I have always identified as a visual artist, but about four years ago, my passion for cooking became a distraction from my studio, and for good reason. In response, I created a website called Salad for President, where I would cook with other artists, photograph their homes, and document the recipes we made together– now a published cookbook. With my constant travel, I suddenly find myself without the time or space to experiment in the kitchen to dream up recipes to inspire my next book. Back in New York after a summer of planes, trains and automobiles, I decided to take my husband, Adam (and one thousand of my favorite vegetables), to a nearby Montauk Airbnb, where we could work, cook, eat and surf for a long, productive weekend away.

We booked a cozy house with it’s own saltwater pool, a fireplace, and a BBQ, close to the beach so Adam could surf and work up a healthy appetite. I always look for a place with a social, open kitchen; I hate to be cut-off from the action when I’m cooking. The layout and light in the space are more important to me than having extensive appliances to rely on when I’m developing recipes. Actually, it can be helpful to not have all my tools, so I know the recipes are doable for even the novice, poorly equipped cook.  With a stove, some cast iron pans, and a hefty mobile pantry in-tow, I had everything I needed to create a handful of new recipes that would make my editor proud.

As someone who is endlessly fascinated by the look and feel of other people’s homes, I choose apartment rentals over hotels when I travel (and I travel a lot). Time away for me is almost always spent in the kitchen, whether it’s for work, play, or a little bit of both. I love to explore a new place by walking the local markets, and cooking with the silly amount of produce I can’t help but haul home. Though Montauk is not so far afield from our Brooklyn home, this weekend would be no exception.

This is my favorite time of year for produce, the time when farms are off-loading the last big harvest. The drive from Brooklyn to the very tip of Long Island is studded with farm stands, but my favorite is Amber Waves Farms in Amagansett. They sell organic veggies and some expertly curated culinary treasures, but their larger mission is to reintroduce wheat to the Long Island food shed. I packed some saffron from my recent trip to Greece, so as I filled my tote bags with sweet peppers and heirloom tomatoes, seafood soup sprang to mind. We made a beeline to Gosman’s, Montauk’s fishmonger with the freshest daily catch and there was no shortage of shellfish to meet my demand.

I spent three glorious days cooking without distraction, making everything from the perfect heirloom beans, to poached swordfish nicoise. Work was punctuated with runs to beach and dunks in the pool. By Sunday night, my husband couldn’t bare to clean another dish, so we ventured into town for one sunset visit to Duryea’s Lobster Deck, where we drank rosé, ate French fries and chowder, and watched the most dramatic sunset imaginable. Even I like being catered to, sometimes.

See more of the home in Montauk here.