Welcome to My Life at Home, where we slow down for just a minute to share a glimpse into the lives of food lovers we'd love to get to know better. Kick off your shoes and get comfy!
In our ideal world, we see ourselves biking to and from our local farmers’ market at least twice a week―never breaking a sweat, of course―wicker bike basket teeming with summer’s bounty, both gossamer-thin sundress and wind-whipped hair dancing in the warm breeze. It’s a delightful fantasy, really, one we continue to choose to play in our minds when coping with the actual throngs that descend upon the city’s popular greenmarkets during the summer months, when we jostle for prime positioning for thimble-sized Tristar strawberries, nary a French market tote in sight.
I half-kid, of course. But the dream of escaping the city’s bustle and grit every once in a while is very real, and one that ultimately drove food writer and recipe developer Posie Brien to seek out for herself more than two years ago when she and her now-husband Cam (semi-)escaped big city living for the North Fork of Long Island.
“I grew up on a big 600-acre farm in Maryland, and am very much happiest when I’m surrounded by greenery and fresh air,” explains Posie. “Living in New York City since college has been a challenge for me at times... We really love and appreciate having this space we both love, and we’re always remarking to each other how content we feel in our first real home together."
You may already recognize Posie around these parts: She’s a weekly contributor and former staffer of our site, where she continues to regale us with innovative spins on all of the American classics she grew up on (“Biscuit Queen” is her unofficial title, in my book). She has a keen nose for what makes something utterly delectable―and her swoon-worthy, chocolate-filled Instagram is ground zero for her enterprising discoveries.
Have a seat as we visit Posie in her Long Island home. Just be prepared to get hit with some major summer beverage envy soon (don’t say we didn’t warn you)…
HANA ASBRINK: Hi Posie, tell us a little about yourself.
POSIE BRIEN: My job is a fun mixed bag of work! I work for King Arthur Flour, a baking company (225 years old!) based in Vermont—I’m their content editor as well as the managing editor of their beautiful (I’m biased!) baking magazine called SIFT, which comes out three times a year. I also do freelance writing, recipe development, and photography—including a weekly column for Food52—and I write a website of my own called 600 Acres.
HA: Describe your dual living situation, and what you love most about your Long Island home?
PB: My husband and I bought our house two years ago, before we were even married (we got married in April). We didn’t know anything about the North Fork of Long Island, but we rented a house in the little town of Greenport a few years ago with friends. We’d been searching for a little beach getaway from the city and just happened upon a pretty AirBnb here. We fell in love and the rest is history. We spend most weekends out at the house, when we aren’t traveling or busy with other plans, and I often spend more time out there in city since I work from home.
I feel incredibly lucky with my living situation. I’ve finally learned to embrace New York, and soak up the great parts of city life, but it’s made much easier by having regular routine escapes to Vermont for work and to our house out on Long Island. I love how zen and relaxing our house feels. When we bought it, it had this old yellow-ish wood flooring and beams throughout the main floor and we opted to whitewash the floors, then paint the beams white. It now feels beautifully beachy and so calming.
HA: Describe your decorating style. What are you influenced by?
PB: The style in our house is a blend of our own personal style and the vibe of the area. Greenport is a tiny town with a little main street and a town pier—it looks out at Shelter Island (there’s even a carousel on the town green!). It blends maritime culture and that summertime beach culture, plus there’s a big influence from all the farms and wineries nearby. We like a very minimal, clean, white aesthetic so we’ve blended that with a bit of a beachy, laid-back vibe.
HA: What's your organizing style? We love how airy and clean your space feels.
PB: I like a very organized space, even though I am not always naturally that organized! Since I work from home, it’s incredibly important that my space is tidy and uncluttered. I find my mind reflects my space.
That said, I like having things in our house that make it feel personal and cozy. For example, I love big bookshelves and that’s such a reflection of who I am. But I subscribe to the philosophy that everything should have a “place” or “home” where it belongs when not in use.
HA: I know you're one active gal. Tell us about the wellness rituals that help keep you sane.
PB: I am very active, and always have been. Being outside and active is an important part of my days, especially since I work from home. Getting up and exercising—even if that means a short bike ride to the beach or a quick job—sets the tone for my mind to be calm and focused for the day. I appreciate that I have a job that lets me get up and take a walk when I’m feeling restless.
I also always try to take a walk, a dip in the water, or a bike ride before coming home to dinner. There’s a beautiful beach about a mile from our house where you can watch gorgeous sunsets over the sound—when we’re at the house in warmer months, I like to ride my bike there and just sit for a few minutes.
HA: Something you hate-to-love or love-to-hate about your home?
PB: It’s an old house (more than 100 years), so we are constantly finding little problems here and there! While this was at first such a stressful thing, I’m learning to let it teach me patience and how to cope with things outside of my control. Also, I’m learning a lot of practical information and skills about everything from boilers to HVAC.
HA: Where will we find you on any given weeknight?
PB: If we’re out east, Cam is in the garden (his project and his baby) gathering whatever greens and herbs we have, then he’s manning the grill. I’m prepping inside, and then finishing off by plating dinner and getting drinks ready. If we’re in the city, I’m cooking while he gets home from work whenever he can. He’s a triathlete (and training for his 8th Ironman!) so he often has a bike ride or run to do before dinner.
HA: Tell us about these drinks! Do you have a signature drink or dinner party fare?
PB: I love to make Aperol Spritzes in the summertime; otherwise, I’ll do some sort of sparkling wine cocktail (I love adding St. Germain) or a tequila cocktail with lime, blackberry liquor, and simple syrup, which is easy to batch.
My favorite item to have for guests is a bowl of warm, buttery, flaky biscuits to go with any dinner (since what does butter not pair well with?). We have some friends who are lactose intolerant, so one of my most trusted dinner party desserts is the chocolate tofu tart from Food52. Everyone loves it, regardless of whether they can have dairy or not.
HA: What's on your playlist right now?
PB: Lord Huron, Janelle Monae, ayokay, Sam Cooke, Leon Bridges, and always Bob Marley in the summer.
HA: What are your favorite Food52 recipes?
HA: What will we always find in your fridge?
PB: Lemons, simple syrup, coconut La Croix seltzer, kombucha, butter, some sort of greens, almond butter, miso paste, yogurt.
HA: You must have amazing access to all those wonderful farm stands out on Long Island. What are you cooking for yourself these days?
PB: In the summer, we grill nearly every night if we aren’t eating at friends or out in town. Our routine is always the same. We head to a nearby farm (8 Hands Farm) to pick up whatever meat looks good: usually some of their amazing sausages they rotate in flavors (my favorite is the pork with leafy greens, or the pork with mace and nutmeg and other spices), or lamb chops, or their lamb kofte.
We throw the meat on the grill with anything that’s ready in our garden: some kind of lettuce, carrots, zucchini, and so on. All the vegetables just get olive oil, and salt and pepper. Then we toss everything together with some condiment or sauce: miso or tarragon mustard, or fresh herbs like dill if they’ve come up.
I like to make and freeze some baked goods (brownies are great for this, or pound cakes) and when it’s hot out, a frozen slice of cake is killer. We do yogurt popsicles a lot too, or grill some fruit and have it with ice cream or yogurt.
HA: What cookbooks are you into these days (and always!)?
PB: The cookbooks I'm loving lately are Melissa Clark's Dinner, Jessica Battilana's Repertoire, and The Cook's Atelier. The first two are so practical but inspirational, and both women are absolute experts in writing smart, reliable recipes that I know will work. The dishes are just the right balance of unfussy but flavorful—like a salad dressing that's kicked up more than your basic vinaigrette, or a roast chicken with a clever spice twist.
HA: If you could only choose one favorite utensil, what would it be?
PB: Favorite utensil would be a toss-up between my baby offset spatulas and my GIR rubber spatulas. I use the baby offset spatulas for everything from decorating cakes, frosting cookies, and smoothing batters to buttering toast and spreading mayo or condiments on sandwiches. It even makes a good cheese spreader for cheeses like Brie!
The GIR spatulas changed the game for me in the kitchen. I absolutely love them and probably have 20, and I always give them as gifts. Having a one-piece spatula is awesome, as it's so much easier to clean and nothing gets stuck between the end and the handle. Also, the GIR ones are the perfect weight: flexible enough to get into little corners of pans but sturdy enough to really scrape down bowls and browned bits on the bottom of pans as I cook. (See one in action below!)
HA: We love your riffs on American classics. What is your favorite thing to whip up time and time again?
PB: Hands down, I will always love and spread the gospel of two underrated but simple desserts my parents made us: Grape-Nut ice cream (this is a New England classic—a homemade custard-based ice cream with Grape-Nut cereal mixed in at the end. Don’t knock it till you try it!), and a bowl of sliced bananas covered in heavy cream (works best when you have that extra-thick, fresh raw-milk cream), sprinkled liberally with brown sugar.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Easy Summer Grilling Right Here
This article was originally published earlier this month, but we're running it again in case you missed it!
What are your favorite American classic treats? Let us know below!