When there really isn’t enough. Food Insecurity.

I read this article (click for link) this morning, and it actually enraged me, first that there is a person who’s job is writing about food who would put raw cucumbers in a burger (not on, but in) but also that this is such a ridiculous and trite representation of what it really is like to live with food insecurity.

As you can tell from my blog, I cook, alot, I have a great interest in food, in fact right now it’s 10 am and there is a fennel dusted organic chicken roasting in my oven on a bed of fennel, concord grapes foraged from a fire escape in Brooklyn and red onions.

I’ve always been interested in food and cooking  and yes I do spent more money on food than I do on a lot of other things.  There have been times in my life, like after my restaurant closed and I was absolutely unemployable and depressed when I’ve had like $25 a week to spend on food and I did it, I ate a lot of pasta and luckily was invited to a lot of free drink events so I was able to leave my house and socialize.

That was the past and now my husband and I may not exactly be well off, but we are getting by, we’re better than many that’s for sure, and we keep to a budget for food it’s $100 a week (not including paper goods, cleaning supplies, pet food & wine/beer) for the most part I come in under that (when we are not entertaining that is)- which works out to 3.33 per meal per person per week which is about what the US allows per person per DAY!

We have a farm-share which costs us $26 a week, we limit our consumption of processed and prepared foods to canned beans, English Muffins, and the occasional American Cheese my husband loves. I buy the majority of our pastas, grains etc either on sale or bulk, I buy larger cuts of meat on sale and portion them myself. I have skills and enough extra income to live well on this budget. But I buy local and I spend more money at the Farmers Market than I would at Walmart, because I opt to do that over having nicer clothes or coloring my hair or having dining room chairs that match.

So when I see that someone says its totally possible, though kind of a bummer to live on $4 a day because she tried it for 5 days I say…please, do it right give it a month, give it 2 months let it really weigh on you, and don’t buy raspberries, because your 3.99 half pint of raspberries could have been a bag of carrots on sale, a pound of bananas, a bag of frozen spinach, some bruised apples and can of tomatoes.

This genius who was exhausted after having to go to two supermarkets- and actually had to split it up into two days of shopping because it was too much for her also purchased whole wheat pasta, tofu, eggplant and tomatoes. For her same money she could have bought: 2 boxes of regular pasta, chicken legs, sweet potato, frozen broccoli, dried lentils, an onion, a head of garlic, white mushrooms, a bag of rice and a couple cans of tomatoes.

And by the way $4 per person per day is the maximum, and awful lot of people who require  that don’t get it.

To get personal my mother and her husband lived on the combined income of her Social Security and his Disability which was about $1800 a month – their mortgage is $1100, medicare part B is combined $150, their medications cost about $200, car payment $150, utilities (phone, gas, electric, basic cable, internet) $300- which leaves them -$100 a month, but really counting things like gas, cleaning supplies, debt repayment they are actually behind by $300 a month.They were recieving about $200 a month in SNAP which combined with visits to the Food Pantry kept them fairly well fed, without crazy luxuries but they weren’t living on beans, rice & turkey thighs (the cheapest food one can find to live on).

Until last month when he turned 65.

Since her husband turned 65 their SNAP allowance was reduced to $78 a month. Because he now receives Social Security instead of Disability, and his PRE TAX income shows that they make too much money to qualify for more assistance, even though his actual cash in hand is less than it was before. So they have less money coming in and less resources to buy food. Good thing we keep pushing for tax breaks for Millionaires.

They are not likely to get jobs at any point in the future, they are both over 65, she’s had a stroke and he’s blind in one eye, diabetic and has a heart condition. And yes they could move to a cheap apartment, and yes they don’t need cable, and yes they made ALOT of bad choices and that lead them to the place where they are at, but still.

It’s heartbreaking to hear that my mother doesn’t have enough food, and yes I help her when I can, but we are not exactly living large and we both work.  I sent her a gift the other day, part of it was extravagant- because she has major Maine lobster envy- but via Fresh Direct for $48 I sent her :

  • 2 Lobsters
  • 2 Denver Cut Steaks
  • 1 Pork Loin
  • 2 Melons
  • 1 LARGE Heirloom tomato
  • 3 Ears of Corn
  • Half a Dozen Bialys

Yes for the same money I could have sent her alot more food, but I know my mother, I know that she needs treats and that the $1.50 Heirloom Tomato and the Lobsters helped her feel good and human and less needy. because it fucking sucks to have to define yourself and your life by being needy. Sometimes you have to feed your soul as much as your body.

I wish I could gather a legion of home cooks, armed with spoons and spatulas to help make sense of SNAP to work with Americans to show them how to feed themselves, nourish themselves and their families on what they have available, because not everyone has a relative who can send them a bag of groceries when they need it. I wish I could teach everyone not  just to put food in their mouths but good food, delicious, healthful food, joyful food even.

I sent an email to our local Food Pantry/ Soup Kitchen offering my time and assistance, and I have yet to hear back from them. I hope I do, I hope I can start my revolution as they all begin with one small step.

It’s Too Much and It’s Not Enough…

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All these flowers are from my garden!

Have you ever loved someone too much, and not enough? Well that’s how I’m feeling about my farm share, it’s both too much and not enough. And so it goes when eating locallly and seasonally, little did I realize just how many carrots would be in my life.

I have nothing against carrots, they are a necessary part of my culinary arsenal, there are a million things I cannot make without carrots, unfortunately I don’t want to make any of them in the summer. I am considering building a root cellar contraption.

As far as not enough there may never be enough onions to satisfy me, tomatoes I will gorge on willingly for these short late summer months, I never tire of  them, peppers pile them on, chard, well I’m starting to wane on that too. Eggplants… well I like eggplant 3 ways only and one of them I only sort of like it. I’m drowning in cucumbers and am surprised that I am not buried under a pile of zucchini, but I’m not.

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Never enough tomatoes!

 

In this post I am sharing  three of my favorite recipes that make the most out of summer vegetables, the eggplant parm is perfect for anyone who doesn’t like eggplant …it will change your world, also its a great Meatless Monday meal, freezes beautiful and makes a super decadent leftover sandwich.

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Eggplant Parm from above

 

MY EGGPLANT PARM

Serves 6 (ish)

  • 2 Medium eggplants ( about 3 pounds)
  • 2 Zucchini or Summer Squash
  • 1/4 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 3 Cups Chopped Tomato (Fresh or Not)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Fennel
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Red or Yellow or Orange Pepper (NOT GREEN)
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Rosemary
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Panko
  • 1 Tsp Red pepper Flakes
  • 1 1/2 Cup Fresh Ricotta (drained)
  • 3/4 a Pound Fresh Mozzerella, sliced thin or shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 10  Fresh Basil leaves

Stuff you need 4 sheet pans, a casserole dish & some heavy stuff

  1. Slice the eggplants & the squashes lengthwise in about 1/4 ” thick slices (you can peel them if the skin skeeves you)
  2. Lay them out on a sheet pan covered with a clean kitchen towel
  3. Sprinkle them heavily with salt
  4. Cover with another clean towel, then another sheet pan, place some thing very heavy on top, like a bunch of cans or cookbooks
  5. Let sit at least 1 hour
  6. You don’t HAVE to do this, but it will be better if you do
  7. Remove the heavy things take the eggplant & zucchini slices and dab off all the extra water..dry them well, wipe away any visible salt
  8. Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a clean sheet plan
  9. Place Eggplant & Zucchini slices on the pan, drizzle on top with Olive Oil
  10. Sprinkle with Bread Crumbs & Half the Parm
  11. Bake @ 425 for 15- minutes
  12. You can do all of this a day before if you want.
  13. While the Eggplants are on the oven
  14. Heat a about Tablespoon of Olive Oil in a pan
  15. Add Fennel & Peppers
  16. Season with Salt, Pepper & Red Pepper Flakes
  17. Saute until soft
  18. Add Tomatoes Garlic & Rosemary
  19. Season again with Salt & Pepper
  20. Cook until tomatoes break down if using fresh, about 10 minutes
  21. Now all you have to do is layer:

Parm : Eggplant : Sauce : Mozzerella : Zucchini : Sauce : Ricotta : Basil Leaves: Sauce : Eggplant: Mozzerella : Parm: Drizzle Olive Oil

Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes, let sit about 10 minutes before serving, even better if you make a day ahead and reheat.

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Sometimes we don’t use plates.

 

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CAPONATA

Caponata is another great eggplant dish for people who don’t like eggplant.

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Ingredients…all picked yesterday!

Caponata always makes me think of that scene in True Romance, with Christopher Walken & Dennis Hopper. It’s very Sicilian with capers and dried fruits, chilies and vinegar..it’s sweet sour and spicy.

Hmmm…

My favorite thing to serve with Caponata is Goat Cheese.

A perfect summer lunch is a jar of caponata, some good bread, fresh goat cheese and a glass of Fiano D’Avellino. It makes a great condiment for roast lamb, or swordfish, also nice on pasta, in an omelet or on served cold on top of a warm goat cheese & potato pizza  (that’s what I’m doing) or on a sandwich.

Oh just thought of a sandwich… warm Semolina spread  soft goat cheese on one side and smear caponata on the other, drizzle on a good amount of good olive oil  then add a split grilled lamb sausage top with a bit of arugula & shaved fennel tossed in lemon juice and olive oil…YUM! even without the sausage, but why would you want to not have sausage???

There are alotta caponata recipes out there, this one came right out of what is in my kitchen right now. I used what I had, you can add or take away several components. Celery really should be in there but I didn’t have any. Zucchini or summer squash would work as well. You can use dried figs,cranberries or the traditional raisins in place of dried cherries. Pine nuts are traditional, but I never have any, you don’t have to use saffron, olives are a good add in and it wouldn’t be terrible if you threw an anchovy or two in there in the beginning

This takes some time to cook, but once you do all the chopping you can pretty much leave it be while you write your blog post or something.

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Mise en Place

 Caponata

  • 2 Cups Diced Eggplant
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Diced Carrots
  • 2 Cups Diced Fennel Bulb
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Red Pepper
  • 1 Diced Jalepeno or Serrano Pepper
  • 1 Cup Diced Red Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Garlic
  • 2 Cups Chopped Tomatoes (I used a combination of Tomatillo & Red Tomatoes)
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Rosemary
  • 1/4 Cup Capers
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Cherries
  • 1 Stick Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Pinch Saffron (optional)
  • 1/4 Cup chopped Basil & Fennel Fronds
  • 1/2 cup Toasted Almonds
  1. Heat Oil in a Heavy Bottomed Pot
  2. Season Eggplant with Salt & Pepper and Saute in Batches till it browns slightly
  3. Remove from Pot and Add the Carrots, Fennel, Onion, Peppers & Cinnamon
  4. Season with Salt & Pepper, Saute till Fennel is Translucent
  5. Add Garlic, Rosemary & Tomatoes
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  7. Season Again
  8. Dissolve Sugar in the Vinegar + add the saffron if using
  9. Once the tomatoes start to break down add all the reaming ingredients
  10. Cook over LOW heat 45 minutes to an hour, maybe and hour and a half
  11. Remove from heat stir in Basil & Fennel Fronds and Toasted Almonds if using.

You can serve this hot or cold, it will last about a week or so in the fridge, if you are a canner it cans beautifully.

 

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BEETROOT & CARROT CUPCAKES MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

 

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(Makes @ 2 dozen full size cupcakes or @ 60 minis)

Beetroot & Carrot Cupcakes

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Toasted Ground Cinnamon*
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 Cups Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Browned Butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Raw Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Cherries
  • 2 Cups Shredded Carrots
  • 1 Cup Shredded Beets
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Fresh Ginger

Pre Heat Oven to 350, Prepare Cupcake Tins with Liners

  1. Sift together the Dry Ingredients
  2. In the Bowl of a Stand Mixer Mix Eggs, Oil & Butter on Medium High Speed
  3. Add Sugars & Vanilla
  4. Beat on High for 3-4 Minutes
  5. Turn off Mixer Gently Mix Dry into Wet
  6. Beat another 3-4 minutes
  7. Remove bowl from Mixer Stir in Carrots, Beets, Walnuts, Ginger & Cherries
  8. Ladle in to Prepared Pan
  9. Bake 25-30 minutes until Toothpick inserted in the Center comes clean

* Please toast the cinnamon, I mean you don’t have to but it makes such a HUGE difference, in fact I sometimes even burn it slightly to get an extra layer of flavor

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 Oz (2 Bars) Cream Cheese- Room Temperature
  • 1 Stick Salted Butter- Room Temperature
  • 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Burnt Cinnamon or Just Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Milk
  1.  Beat Cream Cheese & Butter together about 6 minutes on High
  2. Add Maple Syrup & Cinnamon
  3. Add Powdered Sugar & Milk in alternating increments until you have the desired consistency— Sugar will make it Stiffer, Milk Softer
  4. Transfer to Pastry Bag or Bowl
  5. Wait till cupcakes are cool before frosting,but no one could blame you if you spread some frosting on a warm cupcake while you were waiting for the other cupcakes to cool and ate it standing in the kitchen before cleaning up.

Garnish with Candied Ginger & Candied Carrots if desired

Candied Carrots

  • 1 Cup Shredded Carrots
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Strong Cooled Earl Grey Tea (or water)
  1. Bring Tea & Sugar to a Boil
  2. Add Carrots
  3. Cook over Medium heat– Stirring occasionally but watching closely the whole time until all liquid has been evaporated
  4. Cool on parchment or wax paper

 

SNAPSHOTS FROM THE WEEK:

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Sexy nectarine….

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Ginormous Tomato from our garden…next to grapefruit for scale.

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Ugly Tomato

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PIE! Black Bottom Chocolate Stout Caramel Cream Pie with Cashew & Speculoos Crust. I made this just for my sister-in-law…for her birthday.

 

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This is where we had breakfast last Sunday

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We went to Trattoria Athena for a Charlie Trotter Dinner on Sunday… this is Calamari stuffed with Braised Oxtail with Corzetti (??) squid ink pasta shaped in rounds & embossed. It was OK the Calamari could have been more tender and the Oxtail should have been hot not luke warm.

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Duck Livers with Honey Glazed Turnips & Wild Mushroom Vinaigrette… again almost great, the livers should have been cleaner and had a better sear, it was a bit muddy.

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Braised Short Rib, Horseradish Mash… a gremolata would have elevated this to spectacular.

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This was the best dish of the night Pork Belly Stuffed with Ground Pork & Chantrelles w Garlicky Salty Grilled Zucchini

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Loverly and very nice…. the Square is Pressed Duck Confit, the Yellow is carrots , pureed carrots, there’s a tangle of Tatsoi & Grilled purple potatoes that should have been better more vibrant or not there, Sticky ribs with coriander honey…could have been meatier, they were kind of tough…but pretty good

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And of course a Cat Picture….My sweet boy Hank loves nothing more than terry cloth, except when there is a body, warm from the shower underneath…

 

We Ate All the Foods and Drank All the Wine

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THURSDAY

Our dear dear friend Jenn Pitt came to visit this week, and the goal was to give her a real Taste of Maine.

She arrived late Thursday evening. It’s a family tradition of sorts to make roast chicken the first night of a visit, and so I did.A Roast Chicken dinner opens its arms to you, it’s comforting, calming and homey, perfect after a day of travel.

I used Jody William’s method in the Buvette Cookbook and it’s mine now… I think letting it sit a room temp for a hour is key, though would make most germaphobes go completely apoplectic. It was fragrant & crispy & juicy.

For starters we had Proscuitto & Peaches and a nice runny Goat Brie from Canada.

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The remains of a Roast Chicken with Fennel Pollen, Cous Cous with Roasted Carrots & Dried Cherries & a Cucumber Salad

 

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Wild Maine Blueberry Pie with Lavender Honey & Balsamic Vinegar – Sugared Lard & Butter Crust

I know my pie was spectacular because my husband asked if he could bring it to work, and he never asks.

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The greatest pie tin EVER! My pie was perfect, the bottom crust was crisp thanks to those tiny holes & a double bake.

 FRIDAY

We decided that the weekend was all about our faux Bon Appetit photo spread:

“A Long Week-End in Mid Coast Maine”

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This is not us.

 

We weren’t sure if we could find enough -chic-ly shabbily well dressed attractive ethnically diverse people with tattoos and adorable tow headed children, much less a herd of dwarf goats or at least an interesting dog but we would do our best to get some good food pics in.

 

 

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“Greet your guests with an attractively dressed table, flowers, fruits.  A grouping of random objects creates a welcoming space”

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I am currently obsessed with Buvette, I bought the cookbook in Kindle and may need to own the actual book.                  Toast Soldiers Wrapped in Proscuitto & Parm- and egg that should have been soft boiled.

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I could only find 1 of my egg cups

 

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Ripe peaches & runny cheeses.

We set off on an adventure in town, first stop was the Farmers Market. I found a Bocce Set on the local yard sale facebook page, and I was meeting up with the lady at the market. My husband was on a Bocce League in Philadelphia and I know he misses playing. It was all very small town and charming. Also we pet some lovely bunnies.

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We had  few goals for the day, but one of which was to find egg cups & forks, a suitable “Bon Appetit” type outing…

Our first stop was Wyler’s & Local.

I’ve not stepped foot inside Local since my time working there.

I really like Sylvia & Sharon, so I feel healed enough from the experience and now I  can go buy good cheese & freshly sliced pancetta.  (oh & Weck jars).  I would much rather shop there than work there. I’d rather shop anywhere than work period, lets be honest.

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Nail Art Philadelphia

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Making our way down Maine Street, we stopped at few touristy places so Jenn could buy lobster shaped stuff to bring back to Philly. Then it was off the Old Mill to go antiquing.

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We touched a lot of things and bought nothing, mostly because there were no egg cups or forks to be found (there were lots of butter knives though). Also I may or may not have broken a large and unwieldy barrel type thing.

Since it had been like 3 hours since we last ate it was time to refuel with a drink and a snack at Frontier.

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The Frontier Dining Room…so pretty!

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Beet infused Vodka & Ginger Beer….

We split a cheese plate with fresh goat cheese, salami, olives & grainy mustard. I had a Prosecco & Jenn had a fabulous cocktail. I abstained mostly because I was wearing a white dress and I tend to spill.

Our goal was 3:30 Happy Hour at Enoteca Athene, so we only had 1 drink each. On the way to Happy Hour we stopped at The Gelato Fiasco so Jenn could charge her phone.

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She had a small Wild Blueberry Crisp, and I sampled 5 different gelatos without getting any. Jenn didn’t want to try them so I dutifully took over for her, I was particularly fond of the Coconut and the Chocolate Orange Straciatella.

FINALLY it was 3:30 and we went to Happy Hour!

We got a bottle of Sparkling Rose from Greece that was pretty good, my only ish was they were out of the wine we wanted so the bartender suggested an alternative which she said was only $24 and it was happy hour so half off so I thought it was going to be $12, she meant it was $48 and $24 at Happy Hour. Oh Well.

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Randi met us for a drink, and my husband came by after work.

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We had a few snacks.. the best of which was Bone Marrow Butter… the Skordalia was meh…but I don’t love Mashed Potatoes hot , so I wasn’t expecting to care for cold garlicky mashed potatoes. The Bone Marrow Butter was terrific though…we saved half for dinner later.

Yes we had more eating to do.

Apres Happy Hour it was off to the Farm to pick up our Farm Share and hang out with our newest friends The Pigs. We love love love The Pigs. Last week my husband accidentally punched one in the face.

It turns out the fence was electric and when he reached over to feed the pig a carrot his elbow hit the rope, he got shocked, his arm jerked and he punched/shocked the pig. He probably should have asked Farmer Seth if the fence was electric and not me. What do I know from pig fences? I’m from Manhattan for God’s sake.

Anyway no one died and there was an ever so faint smell of bacon in the air, and now when Farmer Seth sees us near the pigs he  quickly walks over to supervise.

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We pet them and scratched them behind the ears and let the snurffle our hands with their big wet noses. One pig gave himself a shock leaning his butt on the fence , but this time we had nothing to do with it.

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After picking Flowers and Herbs we were off to Freeport to pick up Dinner.

Oysters & Steaks.

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Broiled Oysters with Spicy Herb & Garlic Butter

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New York Strips w Bone Marrow Butter, Roasted Local Maine Potatoes with Dill, Mixed Tomato Salad with Cucumbers & Basil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s possible that by the end of Friday we had all contracted Gout.

SATURDAY

Saturday was Lobster & Clam Day.

First,we went to the Saturday Farmers Market for corn for the Lobster Bake and tomatoes for Sunday Dinner Party. We grabbed some Iced Coffee and a Pretzel Logic Cheddar Pretzel, and I pet lots of different dogs.

Then it was off to Portland for a few errands. One of which was to the Portland Public Market… which contrary to it’s web presence touting framers from around the state and cheese shop with over 300 types of cheeses,  no longer exists. So we did a bit of shopping, Jenn got a fabulous clutch and I got new sunglasses & 2 shirts for my husband. Then we went to Trader Joes and bought all the wine.

Then the fun part of the day… Fat Boys, Bailey Island and Lobstermen.

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Lobster Rolls, Onion Rings , Fried Clams & Maine Root Beer

We drove to the end, Land’s End to be exact to forage seaweed for our Lobster Bake.

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Then to Glen’s for Lobster’s … I love doing this, you go to the dock and signal to the Lobster men how many lobsters you want, then they pull out a big cage from under the water and boat your lobsters over to you.

This was the first time I did it without my husband, and I was a bit nervous that there was some secret handshake or something … but there wasn’t and all was well. 8 lobsters $39 –love Maine!.

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When we got home we needed a bit of rest.. which we did until I “lost” my phone. In a panic, we ran around looking for it… calling everywhere we’d been. Then Jenn found it, it the fridge, in the bag with the Lobsters… clearly they had stolen my phone and were planning an escape.

The adrenaline rush from the crisis woke us up and it was time for happy hour.

Thankfully the daily rain ended, and then the second double rainbow of the week popped up.

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The Mainebow… Bulliet Bourbon muddled fresh peaches, lemonade, strawberries & sparkling water garnished with basil leaves & cape gooseberries.

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Our Stove Top Lobster Bake was AMAZING!!!!

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After clean up we inaugurated our fire pit.

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And had a few bourbons on the rocks…the ideal fireside drink.

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And of course S’Mores… with Chocolate Espresso Cookies, Speculoos Cookies & Dark Chocolate with Ginger.

———————————MUSHROOMS IN MY YARD—————————–

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SUNDAY FUNDAY!

I got up super early on Sunday to Make Lobster Chili Oil for our Dinner Party later in the day.

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Fry a bunch of lobster shells + aromatics ( I used chili d’arbol, lemongrass & black peppercorns) in oil..cool then process in food processor… strain and keep in freezer. Drizzle on stuff like pasta, eggs, risotto, chowder , lobster salad,salad without lobster.

Then we all piled in the car, Me, Husband, Jenn & Babe of Brew and drove an hour to Rockport for Brunch at Salt Water Farm.

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First I will say that it was gorgeous and the food was terrific… though service was not the strong point, the food and the view are worth it, as long as you are in a relaxed mood..

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Not pictured a lovely selection of copper pots for sale starting at $600.

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The view….

While we were drinking our Bloodies we were joking around about our “Bon Appetit” spread and how Bon Appetit Salt Water Farm is and just playing around. The lady at the table next to us must thought we were with the magazine. She was sooo eavesdropping! She turned her chair to better hear what we were saying…and kept trying to talk to us, sort of like making mm hmm faces as though she were part of the conversation.  

We kind of ignored her and she went back to flashing about the Sunday NYTimes & her 8 carat emerald cut diamond. Her husband was a total cock. I shall call him Cockface Fucktard McAsshattington III, and which may very well have been his real name.

He yelled at the server, twice… yelled! Raised his voice in the same manner that one would speak to a bad dog…if one was a total douchebag.

The restaurant seemed to have an issue with beverages, specifically delivering them to the table while there was food on the table…but no need to yell or to leave $2 on what was probably a $40 check. Anyway we totally over compensated and I think left our server like a 45% tip at the end.

Our Breakfast was DELICIOUS!!!!

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Fried Eggs, Ham & Breakfast Potatoes– proof that Brunch does not need to have a zillion ingredients to be perfect.. this was the best ham I’ve ever eaten. Ever.

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Black Trumpet Mushroom Gravy & Biscuits… Sublime

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Duck Egg over Gruyere & Leek Toast… it was perfect, and I love love love a salad with my eggs.

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Drippy Duck Yolk

Not Pictured…but amaze-balls.

Vegetables & Farm Egg in Chicken Broth  
tuscan kale, farro, squash, turnips, and crouton
 
 

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My Husband wearing his “Bon Appetit” approved vintage plaid

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The ‘Hitch” – Espresso with Sweet Cream &  Dark Chocolate— in the background a demolished Blackberry Buckle

Apres Brunch we did some wine tasting at Savage Oakes & Sweet Grass..

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Then we sped home for our 5:30  BOCCE Party!

Randi & John from next door came by, so did our Pretzel Logic Pals.

We played a very convoluted messed up game of bocce/petanque.

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Some insane French Person drew this info graphic… this is supposed to tell you how to play Petanque.

 

But of course we ate well….

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Shishito Peppers, Coppacolla, Proscuitto

 

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Always ask Amy Harkins Gross to bring a cheese plate….. Grilled Halloumi with Lemon & Thyme, A fresh Ashy Goat, a Cheese I can’t remember, Apple Chutney, Herb Grlic Fromage Fresh, Fig Jam, Fresh Figs & Black Grapes…she even brings her own pepper grinder !

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The only picture I have of the Bocce game.

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MVP of the Bocce Game… my Team Mate Randi Davis Landry– We won 12 to 7!!!!!

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Some people who were in a Bocce League yet their team lost are sore losers.

Dinner time: Spaghetti with Lobster, Sungolds & Gunaciale… pictures hence forth are a bit blurry there was much much much wine consumed.

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Fruit, Cookies & Rhubarb Cordials for Dessert

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MONDAY

 Jenn & I went to the beach….

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Had lunch by the Marina in Bath..

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For our last supper we had Mussels cooked in Beer with leftover Smoked Sausage from the Lobster Bake

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And a Mushroom Pizza with lots of leftover Cheeses, Truffles, Chantrelles & Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms.

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We sat in the backyard and watched the Super Moon.

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It was a good week… and we were sad to see Jenn return to Philly.

Tomatoes! Tomatoes! Tomatoes!

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..

I am a late comer to the cult of the tomato, I hated them when I was younger and even now its not like I’ll eat one out of hand, I need to gild them if only with a pinch of salt. This week we had our first farm-share Heirloom tomatoes and our first little ripe Sungolds popped up (or out is more accurate)…I am very excited for the tomatoes yet to come.

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This first night I made a Pizza– Italian Sausage (from our farm) &  Fresh Mozzerella, Chile’s d’Arbol (from our garden) dusted with Fennel Powder and topped with Chopped Fresh Tomatoes & Basil dressed in Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper.

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  Omygosh it was so good, and I didn’t even make my own crust… I am ashamed to say where I got- let’s just say we had to get a bed frame there was only one place to go and while we were there we got sucked into the vortex of laziness and bought a bunch of stuff like a lamp, a mat for the kitchen, pizza dough, beer, cat litter, deli turkey, sliced cheddar cheese, and a watermelon. We felt dirty afterwards.

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Went to put away my laundry and found this…

I digress… their whole wheat pizza dough was not bad..even after a couple of weeks in the freezer.I opted not to sauce the pizza because it was late and I forgot to take the sauce out of the freezer and it seemed a shame to cook down a tomato so gorgeous so ripe and still warm from the sun.

I love how it came out!

I covered with dough with a few slugs of good Olive Oil, some Chopped Garlic, Mozzerella Cheese, Cooked Sausage, Shaved Pecorino Cheese, Chopped Chiles and a wee bit of Magical Fairy Dust Fennel Powder…Set the oven on Broil and got it up to 525 (as high as it would go).

It cooked for about 10 minutes…then I piled the fresh Tomatoes, shreds of Basil and all their Juices on top. It was amazing, this will be my Pizza Method for the summer. Hmmm wonder what other combos will work…

Clams + Pecorino + Fresh Oregano + Shaved Raw Zucchini & Yellow Sungolds

Goat Cheese + Proscuitto + Fresh Arugula + Plums

Ricotta + Mozzerella + Pecorino + Squash Blossoms + Fresh Nasturiums + Chopped Pink & Yellow Tomatoes (prettiest pizza ever)

Scaramoza + Salami + Chilies + Shaved Fennel & Green Olives

Mozzerella + Pancetta + Fried Egg + Fresh Herbs + Crunchy Bread Crumbs + Sweet 100’s

Mozzerella + Blue Cheese + Bacon + Chopped Tomato & Romaine

Blue Cheese + Roast Chicken + Hot Sauce + Shaved Celery, Celery Leaves, Arugula & Cucumbers

Brie + Caramelized Shallots + Chopped Raw Peaches & Toasted Almonds + Warm Honey

Smoked Mozzerella + Provolone + Chiles + Cold Roasted Pepper Salad

Robbiola + Mortadella + Raw Raddichio + Pistachios

Mozzerella + Goat Cheese + Fresh Figs, Mint & Toasted Pine Nuts

I could go on forever thinking up ideas…

Sunday Morning we had

The Sandwich I Have Been Waiting All Year For

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Toasted County Bread + Mayo + Slice Tomato +Lettuce + Bacon + Over Easy Egg

Sure I could’ve had one of these anytime, but without the top tier A one ripe tomato, it’s just a breakfast sandwich, with it is Magic, and coupled with a good Bloody Mary, some strong Iced Coffee, a Sliced Peach..maybe a bit of Blackberry coffee cake and the Sunday NY Times… it’s the perfect late summer brunch.

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We FINALLY went to the Beach on Sunday!! And of course my phone battery was dead so I took NO PICTURES— there are all from Google Image.

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Fort Popham- There’s nothing my Husband likes more than an old crumbly fort.

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It’s just not Summer without a few of these– Black Raspberry on a Sugar Cone

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Post Beach Snacks on Sunday Night: Tomato & Mozzerella Bruschetta with Mint, Chantrelles with Butter & Thyme on Toasts, Zucchini & Red Onion Pancakes w Cucumber Yoghurt & Zhug

We have a lot going on the next couple of weeks...

Tonight

Cheeseburgers + Baked Onion Rings + Faux Fried Zucchini

Tuesday

We’re going to hang with Pretzel Logic et al and do some lake stuff like boating and swimming & grilling Have to find out what to bring but probably bring

Goat Brie with Peaches & Blueberry Upside Down cake.

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Wee Harvest

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Wednesday

We are going to the Demolition Derby at the Topsham County Fair-!!!!-

Seriously we really are!! Remember Pinky Tuscadero? on Happy Days…she got hurt and The Fonz had to take over for her at the Demolition Derby? The one he didn’t want her to do in the first place because she could get hurt?

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(if you have 22 minutes to spare this is hilarious!)

The Wednesday Night Schedule

5:30pm Bad Penny Band (Country Music)

5:30 Pig Scramble 7 yr olds

6:00 4-H Sheep Show Show Ring A

6:45 Demolition Derby Car Auction Area 1

7:00 Steer & Oxen Pulling 6 ft elimination 2000 & 2400 run together – Pulling Ring

7:00 Demolition Derby Area 1

I really hope we get there in time for the Pig Scramble!

 

Thursday:

 JP Arrives From Philly!!!!!!!!!… Here are the menus I’ve planned for the week:

Everything Flat Bread + Goat Cheese + Caramelized Raddicho

Chicken Under A Brick w Zhug  + Warm Cous Cous Grilled Vegetable Salad

Pie TBD

Friday:

Grilled Scallops + Chantrelles

Grilled Steaks + Tomato & Cucumber Salad

Leftover Pie

It’s possible we may go watch some Professional Bull Riding  at the Fair and then have a late Dinner.

Saturday

Faux Clam Bake – Steamed Clams, Sausage, Lobster, Corn, Potatoes

Biscuits

S’mores w/ Speculoos Cookies + Dark Chocolate Ginger

Sunday  

Maybe Homemade Paparadelle (or Regular Spaghetti Depends on the day) with Lobster, Chilies, Oven Roasted Tomatoes + Lobster Oil

+ whatever we find on our adventures

Monday

Some kind of delicious something on toast

Roast Duck with Wild Blueberries + Wild Rice with Caramelized Onion + Roasted Carrots

Oh and THANK YOU to Zester Daily & Chronicle Books for my new Cookbook

I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!!

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Click on the pic to buy the book- which you should do if you love cheese – the pictures are beautiful and you’ll want to make & eat absolutely everything!

Later gators—XOXO

First it was a Box of Rain

 

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Jerry & Jerry

The first Dead Song I fell in love with was Box of Rain, it was the summer of 1985 and I was a first year Mugwump at Camp Betsey Cox in Rutland VT.

Throughout the years it probably wasn’t obvious, I didn’t follow the Dead, wear a lot of tie dye or drive a Volkswagen but in my heart I was Deadhead true and true, by and by…why? Because the music makes my soul want to get up and dance, it fills me with joy and bliss (well except for Touch of Grey I really don’t like that song)…when I am twirling and shaking and twisting my hands above my head like a sufi I am at my happiest.

My Dad and I listened to this in the car alot:

I walked down the aisle to this song :

 

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It’s Jerry’s Birthday…peace and love man, peace and love and the music…

Wild Chantrelles and my Sh***y F***ing Vacuum

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I did like 5 things on this list..so far.

The day did not start out well…I’ve been having trouble sleeping which is making me into a huge beeyotch and so husband and I are not getting along,I woke up this morning spooning Jerry in the guest bedroom with Farrah’s tail in my face and Hank right on top of me…and we were out of coffee.

So instead of taking the cowards way out…running across the highway for Cumberland farms coffee, I put my big girl pants on got on my bike and went to town, taking my neglected overdue library books with me. It was a beautiful morning for a bike ride.

Got town by 9:15, returned my books in the slot since the library wasn’t open yet and went to the bank to deposit a check…

Which was when I discovered that my wallet was still sitting on the dining room table. Now I was going to try to beg and plead with them to please let me go online and show them that I was me and to please let me take out some cash so I didn’t have to ride all the way back home (which would most like quash any desire to return to town and I would have to play frogger to go get Cumberland Farms coffee).

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I didn’t have to do that because the amazing awesome ladies in my bank were like we know you..what’s the matter did you need some money??? And they let me take money out of my checking with out ID or a card…of course when I asked for $1,000 in nickels they hesitated slightly and offered to call my husband to come pick me up.

That’s not what really happened, what really happened was I took out $40 and then Clover told me it was Coffee & Douhgnut Day and offered me a delicious doughnut hole from Frosty’s. ( I think, it certainly wasn’t dunkin’ donuts)

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I went to the supermarket, then the farmer’s market where much to my delight and frankly joy and rapture,  at the very last stand  (or the very first, depending on what direction you are coming from) I found a pile of bright yellow CHANTRELLES!!!!  I was so happy I decided to pass on the gladiolas, since as we know I had limited funds… though yes I could’ve run back to the bank and gotten more money, but that would be ridiculous.

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$10 worth – a whole half pound of these beauties awaits butter and garlic and thyme…..

I have been wanting them so badly… so badly… I want to make lobster and chantrelle pasta, so I hope they are still there next week so I can. Because to much going on this weekend to make it properly. but ’tis the season … so hoping thy’ll be around for the nest few weeks. But they will be either topping a pizza either tonight or on Sunday, depending on my our moods because….

I CAN’T COOK WHEN I FEEL SHITTY.

I have just this very week realized that when my mind is occupied with unhappy or unplesant thoughts I cannot multi-task, when I m thinking of good things I can juggle tasks like crazy. But when I’m sad or mad it drop things I can’t follow directions, I just mess stuff up.

Hence my awful Zucchini Scones with Blueberries… my husband did not come home for lunch , which pissed me off because I had lunch waiting for him. I don’t know why I even decided to make them since I really don’t like scones.

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Gross

But my mind is clouded by negative thoughts. I should have made savory zucchini pancakes and frozen them or brought then over to neighbors tonight. I love zucchini pancakes they are delicious. My scones are not. First I did something stupid with the butter, then I forgot to add salt & for some reason I mixed the blueberries in instead of folding them in the batter so they got all smushed and gross. Uch these things are rubbery and taste like bland butter.

So then since things were going so well I decided to fix the vacuum.

I noticed a clog in some tube in the back. I spent 20 minutes pulling and absurd amount of dusty cat hair out of the hose, I used a chopstick and a wire hanger, I cleaned all that crap out.

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This is about the same size as Farrah….

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                       =

I was hoping that post cleaning the vacuum would miraculously pick up dirt instead of shooting it out the back and on to my feet. I was ridiculously proud of myself for not only figured out how to open up the hose, but using a tool of my own creation to remove the clog.

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It worked no better than before. Why? Depends on who you ask… if you ask my husband he will tell you that I do not use it properly.

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Asshole Vacuum

If you ask me its because its a piece of crap hand me down that in its previous home, functioned more as a carpet smoother than a vacuum, and no one noticed this because it was the upstairs vacuum in a home that had not seen children or pets upstairs since the early 90’s. It’s easy to clean a place with no dirt.

While engaged in my vacuum operation I burnt the cookies I was baking off (found cookie dough in the freezer, figured why not).

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So what now….clean up the mess in the kitchen, shower, go to farm to pick some flower, beans & tomatoes and try to be nicer to my husband so we can be happy and joyful the way we want to be.

Too Many Veggies? No Such Thing.

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This is not my farm share, but it is representative of a farm share

 

I have a bit of produce overload going on right now, we have leftovers from last weeks farm share + this weeks farm share + some odds & ends from the family’s rental house last week. ALOT of Veg for two people with a broke juicer.

Yes, had I not accidentally dropped the top of the juicer (stupid flimsy plastic) in a crazed fit of pique sometime before we moved out of Philadelphia, Yes if the juicer was still intact we would be making short work of all beets, carrots, swiss chard, kale,and cucumbers that are threatening to take over our lives. But it’s not.The juicer my husband insisted he would use every single day but used only once before deciding it was too much work to clean- which is what I told him it would be which is why I wanted to exchange it for one that would be less work but we couldn’t because his mother gave it to us ’nuff said.

 

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See that top part…the clear plastic bit– that’s what broke

In lieu of juicing and faced with all the vegetables I made a dinner that used; carrots, beets, onions, eggplant, kale, snap peas, kohlrabi cabbage and cucumbers, and I thought that I would share these mutable recipes with you…

 A Fritters & A Room Temperature Pasta

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEmJ-VWPDM4

I was Feeling Japanese-a after reading about the Chinese Caesar Salad in the last Sunday’s times..I realize that makes no sense..but reading about toasted Kasha (aka Buckwheat Groats) made me think about buckwheat Soba Noodles, and a room temperature Soba Noodle Dish served with Hot Miso Soup on the side and garnished with Toasted Kasha.

I originally planned to top this with a few pieces of Tempura but that seemed over whelming and so I made some Tempura Fritters as a starter, I will say that though the beets were tasty they made the whole thing a rather nasty shade of pink, golden beets are probably a better choice for this. I used shaved kohlrabi in place of daikon in my tempura dipping sauce, because I had it, and it worked, but it was something you could easily do without.

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RECIPE

Tempura Fritters

  • 1 Cup AP Flour (I would have used Rice flour if I had it)
  • 1/2 Cup Cornstarch
  • 1 Beer
  • 1/2 Tablespoon grated Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
  • A  few good grinds of Black Pepper
  • 3 cup Jullienned Vegetables* I used Onion, Beets, Carrots & Savoy Cabbage**
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut/Canola Oil or any Vegetable Oil
  • Salt
  1. Whisk the first 7 ingredients together to make a batter – let sit 10 -15 minutes
  2. Mix Veg into batter
  3. Heat oil over medium high heat in large, deep frying pan until it starts to shimmer, or when you stick the tip of a chopstick in tiny bubbles surround it or when you drop a tiny bit of batter in it bubbles up immediately
  4. Using a large soup spoon as a guide or a tablespoon dollop a few mounds of Veg Mix into the hot oil, you want them fairly well spaced so they don’t steam
  5. After about 2-3 Minutes you’ll find that they easily lift up from the bottom of the pan, flip them over and fry until brown & crisp
  6. Remove from pan to a waiting sheet pan with paper towel or brown paper and salt while hot, keep in warm oven.

Serve warm or a room temperature, also you can freeze these on a sheet pan until frozen solid, then keep them in a baggie for later use– just pop in hot oven or toaster oven for 12-15 minutes.

Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • Juice from 1/2 a Lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Grated Radish or Kohlrabi
  • 1 teaspoon Grated Ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sesame Oil

NOW  lets just say you were not feeling the Japanese Vibe- easy peasy- here are a few changes you can make

Indian- Replace Flour & Cornstarch with Chickpea Flour, Don’t use Soy Sauce, Add 1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds, 1 Teaspoon Cumin, 1 Mashed Garlic Clove, 1 chopped green chili  replace sesame seeds with 1/2 Cup Cilantro Leaves

-Dipping sauce: Prepared Mango Chutney or Cilantro Mint Puree with Garlic & Cumin

Provencal - Replace Cornstarch with Chickpea flour- Replace Beer with 1/2 Seltzer 1/2 White Wine Replace Soy with pinch salt, replace ginger & sesame seeds with Fresh Rosemary + Pinch Herbes Du Provence, Replace vegetable oil with Olive Oil, Keep heat at Medium

-Dipping Sauce:  Red Pepper Aioli (Not up to making Aioli? -mix 1 clove mashed garlic + 1 tablespoon finely chopped roasted red pepper + 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes & squeeze of lemon into prepared Mayonnaise)

Greek- Replace Ginger, Sesame Seeds & Soy  with 1/2 cup feta cheese, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon lemon zest- Replace vegetable oil with Olive Oil, Keep heat at Medium

Dipping Sauce- Plain Yogurt w Garlic, Fresh Mint & Oregano & Grated Cucumber + Salt, Pepper & Lemon Juice

Middle Eastern: Replace Flour & Cornstarch with Chickpea Flour, Replace Beer with Seltzer Water, Replace Soy Sauce & Ginger with 1 teaspoon each Cumin, Sumac, Fresh Thyme -Replace vegetable oil with Olive Oil, Keep heat at Medium

Dipping sauce: Harissa or  a mix of Tehina Lemon Juice, Salt, Garlic & a bit of Hot Water (or both)

Korean- Replace Black Pepper with 1 tablespoon Kimchi Liquid +1/2 cup Chopped Kimchi

Dipping Sauce: Replace Shaved Kohlrabi with Gouchuchang

Vietnamese: Replace AP Flour with Mung Bean Flour, Replace Ginger, Black Pepper & Soy with Lemongrass, Lime Juice & Fish Sauce + 1 /2 cup Cilantro (add Siracha if you like it spicy)

Dipping Sauce: Nuoc Man or Siracha

* Take the time to julienne your veg instead of grating them, it’s so much nicer and more of a Tempura mouth feel

** Other Veggies that would work : String or Wax Beans, Zucchini or Summer Squash, Sweet Potato, Golden Beets, Scallions, Garlic Scapes, Snow Peas, Bean Sprouts, Peppers, Kale, Eggplant, Turnip, Kohlrabi, Okra – veggies that would NOT work: Tomatoes & Cucumbers

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Cool Soba Noodles with Fried Kasha & Vegetables (serves 6)

  • 1 Package Soba Noodles
  • 1/2 Tablespoon sesame Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Grated Ginger
  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Scallions
  • 1/2 cup Kasha
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Furikake
  • 1 Cup Julienne Snap Peas
  • 1/2 Cup Julienne Carrots
  • 1/2 Cup Cubed Roasted Eggplant (roasted in sesame oil & tamari)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Quick Cucumber Pickle (see below ) or 1 Tablespoon chopped Umeboshi
  • 1/2 Cup Julienned Nori (see below recipe for fake Nori-using Kale)
  • Toasted Salted Sesame Seeds

6 Cups Hot  Miso Soup (UnSalted Chicken Stock + 1/2 cup red Miso Paste)

  1. Cook Soba Noodles according to package directions, drain toss with Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce, Scallions & Ginger – keep Room Temperature
  2. Heat Oil in a frying pan, when hot enough (see above fritter recipe) add Kasha fry approximately 3-4 minutes until they turn from light to dark brown
  3. Remove Kasha from oil & drain ( if you are making both recipes you can use left over Tempura oil)
  4. Toss Snap Peas, Carrots & Eggplant with Furikake
  5. Pour about 1 Tablespoon Hot Miso Soup into a bowl
  6. Top with Soba Noodles
  7. Top Soba Noodles with Vegetable Mix
  8. Top that with Pickles, Nori & Sesame Seeds
  9. Serve with Hot Miso on the side

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Other things you can add: Teriyaki Meatballs, Shrimp, Sliced Raw or Seared Tuna, Chicken Breast, Fresh Shiso Leaves, Pickled Ginger, Soft Boiled Egg, Hard Boiled Egg, Pork Belly, Tofu, all kinds of other Vegetables

Faux Nori

  • 1 head Lancinato Kale
  • 2 Tablespoon Furikake
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Fish Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  1. Remove the Stems, and cut Kale in to Ribbons
  2. Toss with remaining ingredients
  3.  Spread on a sheet pan and bake @ 400 for 5 minutes or until crisp
  4. Let Cool

Quick Cucumber Pickles

  • 1/4 Cup Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 1 chopped Chile d’Arbol
  • 2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 Medium Cucumber sliced thin (Peeled if non organic)

Mix it all together & let sit for at least 1/2 hour the longer it sits the stronger it will be pickled.

CHANGING IT UP

Italian 1:

Replace Soba Noodles with Capellini, Replace Kasha with Toasted Pine Nuts, Replace Sesame Oil with Olive Oil, Remove Soy, Ginger & Scallions . Replace Furikake with More Olive Oil + 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes + 1 Tsp Salt & Black Pepper Replace Snow Peas &  Carrots with Chopped Tomato & Julienned Zucchini – Roast Eggplant with Olive Oil  only, Replace Nori with Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, Replace Pickles with Fresh Basil

Do Not include Miso Soup

Italian 2

Replace Soba Noodles with Farfalle Replace Kasha with Crisped Prosciutto Strips, Replace Sesame Oil with Olive Oil, Replace Soy, Ginger & Scallions with Red Wine Vinegar , Thin Sliced Red Onion & Fresh Basil Leaves,  Replace Furikake with Olive Oil + 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes + 1 Tsp Salt & Black Pepper Replace Snow Peas &  Carrots with Chopped Roasted Peppers & Artichoke Hearts – Roast Eggplant with Olive Oil  only, Replace Nori with Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, Replace Pickles with Kalamata Olives

Do Not include Miso Soup

Peanut Noodles

Replace Soba with Chinese Egg Noodles or Spaghetti, Replace Kasha with Toasted Peanuts, Add 2 Tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter + 1 Teaspoon Honey to Sesame Oil, replace Furikake with Lime Juice, Replace Eggplant with Firm Tofu Strips, Replace Nori with Cilantro Leaves, Replace Pickles with Fresh Cucumber

Do Not include Miso Soup

Hipster Ramen

Replace Soba Noodles with Ramen, Replace Kasha with Chunks of Slab Bacon, Replace Eggplant with (3) Quartered 6 minute eggs, Replace Furikake with 1 teaspoon from Ramen Seasoning packet, Add 1 Tablespoon Siracha & 1 Tablespoon Melted Butter to Noodles while hot – Add 1 Tablspoon Butter to Miso soup and serve in Mason Jar

Mediterranean: 

Replace Soba Noodles with Orzo Replace Kasha with Toasted Almonds, Replace Sesame Oil with Olive Oil, Replace Soy, Ginger & Scallions with Lemon Juice & Chopped Rosemary  Replace Furiake with Olive Oil + 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes + 1 Tsp Salt & Black Pepper Replace Snow Peas &  Carrots with Aspragus &  Chopped Tomato- Replace Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Replace Nori with Parmegiano Reggiano Cheese, Replace Pickles with Slivered Green Olives

Do Not include Miso Soup

Rainy Days and Mondays Won’t Get Me Down

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I feel like I shouldn’t be saying this, but I’m so happy its raining today.

I have indoor stuff to do today,  I planned on making a Miso Soup tonight for dinner with Soba Noodles & Japanese Eggplant (Farm Share!) + Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs and if it was hot and sunny I would a) feel obligated to go outside a lot and b) probably wouldn’t want to deal with soup. Also my new Kindle arrived today so I can sit on the couch and play around with it without feeling like I should be outside, weeding or riding my bike or something like that. Our Wifi Signal doesn’t go outside…its kind of annoying.

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Speaking of Kindle, am contemplating Amazon Prime– what say you all? Free Shipping + Movies + 1 book a month? I signed up for 1 month Kindle unlimited (books & audiobooks) to see how that works, I can’t sleep without a bedtime story and Audible is PRICEY!

We have been listening to the same podcasts & Bill Bryson books for years, its time for an upgrade. (Sorry Mr. Bryson, I really heart you, alot, you inspired us to try small town living , really we LOVE YOUR BOOKS, but sometimes you need a bit of a change).

Also on board today Zucchini Muffins, have an enormous summer squash that was left here post family vacay, and it needs to be re-purposed, maybe with walnuts., dried cherries and a brown sugar crumble- Gonna have to wait for tomorrow, its 2:30 already, where did the day go?

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Thursday I made a pie, then we went out to the Island for Lobster Dinner with the Family….My littlest nephew and I spent some quality time chasing and tickling and turning upside down, 

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1/2 Butter 1/2 Lard

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Vanilla Sugar

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It was an everything I had in the house pie, Local Raspberries, Wild Maine Blueberries plus a couple of Nectarines I had leftover from Sangria

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Friday night we went out with the family for Last Night in Maine at a restaurant in Harpswell called the Dolphin. It has a beautiful view, I mean just gorgeous, and the food was well, exactly like the food at most places with a view, not so much.

The Mac & Cheese for the kids was Kraft! And my husband got a Haddock Basket, the fish was fresh but the fries were of the batter dipped, frozen variety and get this the “basket” was like $13.95, and the Kids Meal Fish & Chips was about $6… and they were exactly the same size the only difference was the Adult meal came with a dish of cole slaw.

I shouldn’t complain because Husband’s Mom’s Fiance treated and we had a really nice time. It’ll be a great place to go for a drink, not a great wine list but a cheap one and to sit and have a $28 bottle of Prosecco and some calamari looking out at the ocean won’t be so bad at all.

 

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The VIEW

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The Deck

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The Dining Room

I got pretty tipsy Friday, a rare thing, though I sobered up by the time we got back to the House on Bailey Island, it was nice sitting around the fire pit listening to the waves crash.

On Saturday we went to the Farmers Market then fought all morning over something ridiculous.

Oh My God It’s seriously POURING outside Thunder and Lighting right now! My tomatoes are going to monsters.

OK back to Le Weekend. Saturday, day was pretty uch. On Saturday evening we hung out next door, and that was fun. When we came home we ate an unfortunate steak that just was not able to live up to its original potential, thanks to poor scheduling over cooking and over salting- totes my bad- and then I passed out half way through Inglorious Basterds.

On Sunday we had an adventure!

First we went to breakfast at The Kopper Kettle, where I had a pretty good Veggie Omelet and Chocolate Bread. Chocolate Bread is thick sliced brioche swirled with semisweet chocolate, Chocolate Bread is then toasted with salty butter for like breakfast dessert… I shared it with my husband because I am nice.

Then we headed Northwest to check out Augusta the Capital of Maine.

August did not have much to offer, in fact it seemed closed. Most of the people wandering the streets, were pretty much doing that wandering the empty streets on a Sunday with nowhere else to go. It was pretty sad, you’d like to think  a state capital would have some energy but nope not really.

Actually it was kind of spooky.

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The drive there and back was just spectacular, we live in an absolutely beautiful place. It takes my breath away…and while on one of these beautiful country roads what did we spy but a sign for a Winery. Union, Maine is Wine county, they have 2 wineries and we went to both of them.

 Sweetgrass Winery 

The wine tasting at the vinyard was $2.50. Two Dollars and Fifty CENTS!!! And we got to keep our glasses and try 5- FIVE things… um in Sonoma it was like $25 for 3 tastes and then they’d let you get 1 for free if you bought at $30 bottle of wine.

Sweetgrass is both a Winery and a Distillery, their wines are surprisingly tasty for non-grape wines. They weren’t cloying and syrupy, they tasted like the fruit from which they hailed. The Peach wine was heady like ripe peaches and just tart enough, and the Apple wine tasted like a crisp fall day. The surprising wine was an oak aged Blueberry wine that was really complex, we even bought a bottle. I have it bookmarked for a dinner of Pork Loin glazed with Spiced Wild Blueberries, sometime in the winter when summer days like this are a memory.

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I tried to get a picture of the 2 peacocks that came out to greet us, but they were too fast, also I stubbed my toe on a rock, damn flip flops.

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Such beautiful country out here.

Their booze was pretty good too, I’m not much of a gin drinker but it made a pretty good G&T. They have these things called Smashes. Cranberry, Rhubarb and Maple. I liked the Maple the best the cranberry tasted like candy and the rhubarb was good too. The Rum was a light rum ( I prefer dark), but it certainly packed a punch. It would be fabulous in a hot cup of tea,  on a blustery day, maybe while sitting out near my new/old fire pit.

I’m waiting for the Apple Brandy & Vanilla Extract to return, I have plans for them… big plans, pie shaped plans.

 

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Sorry the pics a bit blurry post- tastings

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This Overalled Dude from a nearby farm, came by to pick up some Cranberry Gin and Cranberry Smash for Sunday night cocktails…I LOVE MAINERDS.

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Savage Oakes was the next winery we stopped at and they had sausage!… I love sausage.

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We bought some Chorizo from these absolutely LOVELY people (they raise the pigs) and some leaf lard, which is a part of my Pie Shaped plans.

Their wines were grape wines, and they were just ok, The dessert wines, however, were delicious, all three of them. We finally had to choose between the Blueberry Pi and the First Kiss (a muscat type). After some eeny meeny miney mo we ended up with a bottle of Blueberry Pi which will be used to glaze a duck from the farket when JP comes to visit in 2 weeks.

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We took the coastal route home through the rain and fog, stopping at the State of Maine Cheese Company for some Gouda and Garlic Cheese spread. They make the cheese on premises using milk from only 20 miles away.

We didn’t have much time to dawdle, but we’ll be back, to visit the attached butcher Maine Street Meats, and for some Cocoa Rubbed Dry Jack- hopefully its 1/2 as good as Vella Dry Jack, one of my Favorite Cheeses.

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Lady Cow named Jacob

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Cocoa Rubbed Dry Jack

We were home by 5, opened a bottle of wine and had some Gouda and pPums before a dinner of Cream Crab with Buttered Rice & Sugar Snap Peas and a Summer Vegetable Salad with a riff on Catalan dressing. It was all very old fashioned-y new fashioned, and really delicious.

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Have you read Jerry’s Poem? Also, please follow Gourmandatory, I just wrote my first article for them, it should be coming out soon.

XOXO

Ali

This Weeks Farm Share

  • Japanese Eggplant
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Lettuces
  • Radicchio
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Onion

This Week’s Menu

Monday

Miso Soup with Soba Noodles Japanese Eggplant, Kale & Tempura Carrot & Beet + Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs

Tuesday

Soft Corn Tacos with Chorizo, Avocado & Fresh Cucumber/Tomato Salsa

Wednesday

Spaghetti & Swiss Chard laced Meatballs + Oven Fried Zucchini & Raddichio Salad

Thursday

I’m a working … Big Salad with Chicken for the Husband

Friday

Working Again… Cheeseburgers & Veggies for The Husband

Saturday

Working- Take out From Work: Green Papaya Goi w Shrimp + Pork Egg Rolls + Pho Noodles with Beef

RECIPES

Cream Crab

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Cream Crab does not a Pretty Picture make

Serves 2 – 4 depending on appetites,

  • 1/2 Pound Fresh Picked Crab
  • 1 Cup the Best Heavy Cream you can find
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Dry Sherry
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Parsley, Tarragon, Chives & Chervil (one or all or any combo)
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  1. Gently Heat Cream, Butter & Sherry  in a saute pan
  2. When just bubbly add Crab
  3. Stir and cooked gently over low medium heat till cram thickens
  4. Remove from heat, season generously with Pepper, sparingly with salt
  5. Whisk in Herbs
  6. Serve over Buttered White Rice or over Toast Points for an Retro Appetizer or for  Lunch or even Breakfast over a biscuit or  topped with Poached egg YUM!

Summer Vegetable Salad with Curried Tomato Dressing

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This isn’t the most beautiful plating either.

I wanted a good counterpoint the subtle creaminess of the crab, and the taste I was looking for was the salad dressing I’ve found at old-time Spanish places in NYC, sweet, sour with a tiny bit of spice, almost like “French” dressing, this is a my riff on a sort of Catalan Dressing. If you skipped the creamy crab and just served this salad with cooked Fresh Crab or Grilled Shrimp as part of the Salad I think it would be kind of amazing you could also add some Avocado or Hearts of Palm, just saying…

Dressing

  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Curry Powder
  • 1 Tabelspoon Chopped  Fresh Tarragon
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Smashed & Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Mild Vegetable Oil , Canola or Grapeseed
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Whisk  together the first 6 ingredients
  2. Slowly whisk in Oils to Emulsified
  3. Season Salt & Pepper to taste

Alternatively put everything but Salt & Pepper in a Jar with a lid, Shake really hard for a few minutes then season with S&P

As far as lettuce goes you want crisp and hardy. Romaine, Iceberg, Little Gem, Escarole- Stay away from Mesclun Mix and Arugula, they will wilt. I am NOT  a fan of any Mesclun Mix not straight from a farm I find it tasteless tough and dull and avoid it like the plague. Its one of the reasons I rarely order salad in restaurants…unless I know it’s not that fake fancy mix of dead baby lettuce.

I used

  • Small head of Iceberg from my Farm Share, cut in quarters
  • Thinly Slice White Onion (you could use Red if you prefer)
  • Shaved Summer Squash
  • Shaved Carrots
  • Shaved Beets
  • Thinly Sliced Cucumbers
  • nasturtiums from my Garden
  • Borage Flowers also from my Garden

Guest stars: A Poem to Jerry (includes audio)

aliwaks:

Wrote this poem about Jerry, my lovely cat of 13 years…

Originally posted on Katzenworld:

Hello everyone,

Today we have a special poem from Ali to Jerry the tuxedo cat.

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“Jerry a tuxedo cat, is always dressed for dinner. The elder-statesmen of our home he is particularly fond of turkey, cheese, tuna and the poetry of T.S Eliot. He suffered a devastating loss of his friend Ed 5 years ago, but recovered when he met Hank, who is now his best friend. Jerry and I found each other on a hot July day 13 years ago and he has slept between my knees ever since.”

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Audio version of the poem:

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse

A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

Let us dine then, you and I,
As the dinner hour is nigh

How I wish I could dine…

View original 1,128 more words

New Looks, New Locks and Nu? Lox?

So, the blog looks different no? Do you like it? I upgraded as well, so I have an actual domain name now Ourmainecourse.com. Woohoo, I’m all legit and shit.

Also I upgraded my own look and got a haircut…I LOVE IT…and have a new Hairdresser Shauna Adams, at Starz on Maine Street in Brunswick. She is amazing, undid years of shitty haircuts in just a few minutes. Also she totally understood what I meant when I said… So what I’m looking for is sort of a Shag/Modern Rachel, with layers that hit my cheekbones and jaw and make me look 10 pounds thinner. She nailed it!

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Just took this , no make up no nothin’

So this week has been exhausting, I’m still recovering from have 4 under 4 in the house, lots of crying, lots of naked little butts, running in and out and in and out of the house, plus fat hank escaping the yard, and having to run around shaking cat treats to get him back.

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This is a 20 pound cat.

All this after working 2 doubles, cleaning house and cooking a huge dinner for 8. I will say though that it was way helpful to have all those hands at the farm share upick- they picked 3 lbs each of peas & beans in the time it took me to pick a few flowers and say hello to the new pigs. (I LOOOOOOVE the new pigs, they like to be scratched behind the ear, and maybe I have some pig whispering abilities)

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It was great to see everyone, and I had some nice moments with my nephews, but my goodness it takes a lot out of you.

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Wanted to take more pictures, but the kids were swimming and naked most of the time, they are at that age, and well, not pictures for a blog that’s for sure.

I went to work after they left, and when I got home I was so tired…. ready to spend my first night alone, in the house.

I should have been able to kick back and revel in all that privacy  but honestly I was terrified. I convinced myself that someone was going to knock on the door in the middle of the night, which lead to a million terrifying scenarios in my head from murderers to supernatural soul stealers. See those triangle windows in the door? Now imagine a face looking at you from one of them…F’ING SCARY Amiright?

This specific fear never bothered me when I lived in apartments because well, if I didn’t open the door they couldn’t get in… but in this house they could climb in a window, or be hiding in the basement or the closet or behind the shower curtain. I must have checked behind the shower curtain 4 or 5 times. I even considered peeing outside so I didn’t have to go upstairs, but I was scared to go out in the yard lest some murderer be hiding in the bushes, or god forbid creep into the house while I was outside. I’ve read too many scary stories, especially of the Are You in the House Alone variety.

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Scary Dude who could have been in my closet.

Also we sort of have some ghosties in the house, not ones you can see, and they don’t throw stuff around but you can hear them walking around upstairs from time to time. And its not that I’m scared of them, I just don’t want an encounter and sometimes my imagination kind of sees a rather skeletal face in the window or a mirror just from the corner of my eye, at night, when my husband is sleeping and I am not. But its not like Amityville Horror or anything.

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I’ve always felt safer in cities because I’ve felt there’s safety in numbers, crowded busy streets feel safe, quiet isolated houses not so much.This was some really intense fear, the reflection on the TV in the window, the cats walking upstairs, every noise and creak had me on high alert, phone clutched in hand, heart racing..

After a welcome 2 hour phone call to one of my Besties, I tried to calm myself down further by watching How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days…figured the stupidity of the plot device plus shear inanity of Matthew Mcconaughey coming from Staten Island coupled with Kate Hudson’s awesome portrayal of a well dressed pouty faced block of wood would lull me into a coma.

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It kind of worked and I finally fell asleep at 3 only to wake up at 8 and start to restore some order to the house. It wasn’t that bad, I had time for a half a cup of coffee, and a breeze through the paper before heading to Bailey Island to spend the day.

This is the view from the House on Bailey Island…its fantastic

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Kids require a lot of stuff

Times like this make me wonder if I could handle having kids, I like quiet and I can’t stand brightly colored plastic things especially the ones that make noise…can you have kids without all that stuff??? I don’t know anymore.

And I am craving NYC Bagels…and Lox, I’m going to pick up some smoked salmon & cream cheese for Sunday..and have a quiet morning with NYTimes and my Husband, and then hopefully go swimming somewhere. Or just relax in my new/old lawn chair in my own backyard.

Anyway… So life being at 6’s and 7’s plus Husband with a toothache, our menu is out of whack. Last night I just sauteed some scallions, zucchini, tomatoes and fennel with garlic in olive oil, added a chicken breast and we had it with boxed Almond Pilaf it was pretty good though the rice mix was away too salty. Tonight I am going to grill some steaks and make a big salad with radicchio and blue cheese and hopefully we can nice dinner, but who knows whats in store for us. (PS– we went to the Mexican Place across the highway- it sucked and cost $50 for 2 Margaritas with negligible amounts of tequila, a Burrito, Cheese Enchiladas and tiny dish of Guac- Not worth it)

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Our Tomato Patch…I think we’re a few days away from total cherry tomato domination and a few weeks from Cherokees

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Crazy productive Borage…

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One of my 3 Nasturtiums…we are awash in edible flowers!

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Our first cucumbers, found the big’un hiding behind some weeds…

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The remains of my Chocolate Cream Pie with Speculoos & Grapenuts crust

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Last week’s Buffalo Chicken Salad

This week’s Farm Share:

  • Raddichio
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Carrots
  • Snap Peas
  • Green Beans
  • Head of Iceberg lettuce (WEDGE SALAD, WEDGE SALAD!!!)
  • Zucchini

Lots of Salads, and I think I’ll pack up some Carrots & Snap Peas to snack on during my breaks for the next 2 days, when I work doubles.

RECIPE!

I made a really terrific cake for my Husband to bring to a work BBQ yesterday. I made it as a sheet cake, but it could easily become 2 -8″ rounds, maybe even a bundt. The cake was so soft and buttery and delicate, it’s going to become my go to for Birthday Cakes. I am really getting in to baking lately, loving it it! I just don’t know what to do with everything I want to bake, certainly don’t need to eat it.

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Butter Cake with Smoked Salt Brown Sugar Butter Cream

Cake

  • 1 stick Salted Butter, Softened
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 2 cups Raw Sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups Cake Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract or 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Brandy (optional)
  • 1 Cup Milk

PREHEAT OVEN 350

  1. In Bowl of Stand Mixer : Cream Butters & Sugar together until light & fluffy about 4-5 minutes
  2. While butter & Sugar a creaming, sift together Flour,Salt & Baking Powder– its a good idea to sift this onto a parchment paper covered sheet pan, rather than a bowl. When it is time to add dry to wet, you can easily use the paper as a shuttle.
  3. Add the Eggs & Egg Whites to the Butter/Sugar ONE AT A TIME, allowing each to fully incorporate before adding the next, you can add the whites together
  4. Whisk the Vanilla & Brandy in to the Milk
  5. In 3 Increments add the Flour & the Milk, alternating like 1/3 flour, 1/3 milk mix on low medium speed
  6. Don’t mix too fast or you will get flour all over the place and don’t mix too much or it will get tough, you just want cohesion at this point.
  7. Pour into prepared cake pan (buttered & floured or buttered and sugared if you want a crunchy sugar bottom, and really who doesn’t?)
  8. Bake in Middle rack 30 -35 minutes, until toothpick or skewer comes clean from the middle
  9. Cool on Rack

Smoked Salt Brown Sugar Butter Cream

  • 1 stick Salted Butter, softened
  • 1 stick unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 1/2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract or  1/2 T Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Cream or Milk
  • 2 Teaspoons Flaky Smoked Salt
  1. In Bowl of Stand Mixer with Whisk Attachment: Whip Butter & Brown Sugars on High for around 8 – 10 minutes
  2. Lower speed, add Powdered Sugar, Cream & Vanilla
  3. Bring Speed back up… beat until fluffy and most of the brown sugar is incorporated, it will still be a bit crunchy
  4. Lower Speed again and beat in Salt for 1 minute
  5. Keep Refrigerated until ready to use.

This makes enough to frost a sheet cake if you are making a layer cake or cupcakes you may want to double the amount. If you make layer cake, you could use the leftover 2 yolks to make a pastry cream to fill the layers, that would be delicious, a chocolate one or a brandy or cognac flavored one would stand up nicely to the smoky salty butter cream.

I decorated the cake with some things form my garden, a blueberry branch, candied borage flowers, pansies, lavender but crushed Speculoos Cookies would be another way to go or Shaved Dark Chocolate.

 Ok, this week I promise more pictures, more food stuff

xoxo