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

A Dinner Party from My Jewish Slavic Soul + All’s Well That Ends Well

Two years ago I read this article and I have been somewhat obsessed with it ever since. And I the other day I read Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking which caused my Ukrainian/Romanian/Polish/Russian soul to scream for cherries, walnuts, garlic, cilantro…for plums and berries…for wild mushrooms and butter and dill, for dark sour bread with a chewy crust, and kielbasa, pickles, mustard, vodka.

dinner party themeatic

Table set with Poppies, my great grandmother’s Matryoska Dolls and a photo of Lomna, the Shtetl where my Grandmother grew up in the Carpathian Mountains

 

We are having friends for dinner tonight, my original Moroccan-cum-Persian Style Menu (Charmoula Game Hens, Jeweled Saffron Rice, Beet & Cucumber salad) has shifted a bit to the north and is now a jumble of vaguely Georgian, Isreali-ish, Eastern European-ish, Uzbekistani maybe even.

 

Grilled Cornish Game Hens  with Cherry Herb Salad

(Hens rubbed with Black Pepper, Cumin, Coriander, Smoked Salt & Cinnamon)

Plov with Caramelized Onions & Carrots

Beet Salad with Mint & Feta

Kohlrabi with Dill & Yoghurt

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Cherry Herb Salad, Pickled Kohlrabi with Dill & Yoghurt, Baked Feta & Beet salad with Mint & Dill

 

If I hadn’t forgotten the yeast I would make a flat breads, but I did, oh well. Our guests are bringing Apps (TBD) & Dessert , local Strawberry Shortcake!- Thank god because I nearly passed out from the scent of the berries at the health food store, but they were much more expensive than the farmers market which is tomorrow, so I had to hold back, I’ve been slowly going through a pint + quart this past week, even though I just wanted to sit down and eat them all. I have 4 berries saved  for later today.

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Random Pics from the week: Strawberries + Panna Cotta, Post Dinner Party Rainy July 4th hangover Breakfast (to eat while watching Twilight Zone), Maine-ish Stuff, Jerry Napping

OK that was on July 3, 11 days ago, and I have not written a thing, not that I haven’t had the time, I had the time to catch up on Real Housewives of Both New York and Orange County. ( I can’t tell you how much that Aviva drives me crazy, Uch she’s a bore her father is disgusting and she reminds me of all the horrid people I’ve met who think they are interesting because they are rich, honestly I want to smack her with her fake leg when she starts getting hysterical…even that is so boring it makes me violent)

But I digress, it has been a busy couple of weeks,  I started a new job, which I actually like, waiting tables at a little Vietnamese place, its family owned the food is great and the customers are nice. But no excuse for not writing, I’ve just been a bit uninspired.

So here’s what’s been going on since then:

Umm yeah I finally went to Portland! Babe of Brew & I had an Adventure, we ate and drank and shopped …

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Me and my Hat in Portland

We had Beers & Bacon Fries at Nosh

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A Fish Taco, Shishito Peppers & Cocktails at El Rayo

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Finally we had Oysters at uber fashionable Eventide

 (@3pm is a good time to go… you can actually get a seat, though you miss happy hour)

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 We walked all over the place… so unsurprisingly we found ourselves hungry by Dinner time so we stopped at Harbor Fish and picked up a few things then over to the Farm to get our Farm Share

Dinner that Night was eaten over 4 ours and was all Hands-y:

Okonomiyaki

Thank’s again Food52 Midge ..what a great recipe!

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Grilled Oysters with Porky BBQ Sauce

Grilled English Peas

Grilled Flat Bread

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Grilled Corn with Miso Mayo

Grilled Striped Bass Stuffed with Garlic Scapes & Lemon

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Brooklyn House Chef  and his Lovely Fiancee stopped by for a BBQ. I made my first Kim-Chee (well a fresh one) and served it on top of Hot Dogs Brushed with remaining Miso Mayo (um —Yum).

We got a new bed + a Couch and a Loveseat…getting ready for visitors from Away.

Oh and we finally had Lobster after nearly 10 weeks as Maine residents. We had steamed lobsters on Saturday Night…at like 10pm because that when we calmed down from the Couch Experience- I bought a couch and a love seat from our local Yard Sale Facebook Page, our Fantastic neighbors helped by not only driving me a half an hour to pick up the couches but helped us get them in the house and well basically we had shoe horn them into the house and we have a big hole in the foyer ceiling. ! They are gorgeous and super comfy..so All’s Well That Ends Well, right?

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Last night I turned the remaining 2 lobsters in to a Lobster Pot Pie with Fennel, and Sherry and Bacon… it was pretty delicious.

OH MY GOD TOTALLY FORGOT! I entered the Moxie Recipe Contest in Lisbon Falls…and I freakin’  WON!

I should say we won since My Husband thought of the idea and Babe of Brew helped develop it and ran and got most of the stuff. Very exciting, my pie was even on the news!  Crazy day, I even met a woman who lived in Stuyvesant Town (A development in NYC, where my grandparents lived when I was growing up, 3 blocks from my High School)  and her kids were born in the same hospital I was.

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Here’s a link and a HIDEOUS pic of me... seriously I look so much better in person (see hat pic above)

I made my first batch of good pancakes, seriously I ALWAYS mess them up, and I think it was the coconut oil I used instead of butter, in the pan, it gave them crispy edges.. YUM!

pancakes

 FOR THIS WEEK, we have  so much going on! I’m working 3 nights, we have to find a box spring because the one we it won’t fit up the stairs and on Friday THE FAMILY arrives for the annual week in Bailey Island.. which is kicking off with a night at our place. So have to get all the bedrooms in order, clean, organize & cook for 8 people for dinner on Friday.

Since I’ll be  working 3-4 nights a week from now on, it’ll be a challenge to get through our veggies, but I think we can do it, going to be leaving Husband prepped stuff + recipes so he doesn’t resort to living on crackers and hot dogs, because he’s pretty tired after work.

This week’s Farm Share:

  • Broccoli
  • Radicchio,
  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Zucchini

We are starting to buy Freezer Packs from Bisson’s Farm- hoping $75  worth of meat will take us through a few weeks (entertaining not withstanding) PLUS that means that right now we are eating about 90% Local…seriously local like less than 20 miles away!

It feels amazing to know that we are so close to where our food comes from.

Our Meat Pack

  • 6 pound Chicken
  • 3 Pound Pork Roast
  • 2 Delmonico Steaks
  • 5 Pounds Ground Beef (in 1 pound bags)
  • 1 Pound Bacon

Monday Night

Maybe picking up BBQ from new stand, since we have million errands to run + Salad

Tuesday Night (I work)

Homemade Chicken Fingers  (made from 1 breast of Chicken) w Sriacha Roasted Carrots + Radicchio Salad

Wednesday Night (I work a Double)

Husband Cooks for Himself

Burgers + Salad

Thursday Night (I work a Double)

Husband Cooks for Himself

Sausages & Grilled  Broccoli

Friday Night

THE FAMILY IS HERE!!!!!!!!!! BIG PARTY !!!!!!!

Guacamole

Kielbasa Bites

Slow Cooked Ribs

Sliders

Chicken Nuggets for Caden- Because he is 3

Corn

Cole Slaw

Potato Salad

Chess Pie & Berries

 

And Stay Tuned for info on a  KICKSTARTER Campaign. Babe of Brew and I are planning a Food Truck and we are going to need some help to make our dreams for making fabulous food for the masses a reality. If some guy can raise $40,000 to make potato salad then we should able to do the same.

 

Quick and Easy Kimchee

When I was a little girl and living in East Hampton, my best friend was Gina Lee Miller, her father Mickey was a fisherman and her mom, Cho was a stay at home mom, who  happened to Korean. Cho would make real Kim Chee, by burying it in the back yard. Gina and Cho are both gone now, but I have such great  memories of sitting at Cho’s table, eating Korean Pancakes with Bean Sprouts & Kim Chee, Gina and I teasing her and all of us laughing and  just having a great time. RIP lovely Ladies, you are missed & loved.

  • 1 head Chinese Cabbage
  • 1/4 cup Salt
  • 1/2 cup White Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Fish Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoon Grated Fresh Ginger
  • 4 cloves Garlic Smashed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon GouChuChang paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried Gou Chu Chang
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  1. Chop Chinese Cabbage in to 1″ pieces, and toss with salt
  2. Place in Colander over a bowl for  4 hours or over night
  3. Mix remaining ingredients together
  4. Add wilted cabbage mix all together
  5. Serve

Will keep at least 1 week in fridge, longer if you can it properly, it will get hotter as it sits.

SUPER EXCELLENT on HOT DOGS and Salmon Burgers…

Cooking from Root to Leaf, Recipe: Beet Green Ravioli

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What’s lovely about this dish is it uses the whole beet, except for maybe and inch or two of stem, which can be composted or pickled depending on what you wish. You can make a lot of this ahead of time, for example if you are planning to make this for dinner of Friday… On Wednesday while you have dinner in the over you can make  the filling & roast the Beets on Thursday could make the Ravioli freeze them and early Friday you could  make the Brown Butter and keep it in the fridge  until ready to pull it all together. You can also make the Ravioli weeks ahead and keep them frozen until ready to use and eat the beets a different way.

Beet Green Ravioli w Beetroot & Walnut Sage Brown Butter

 beet ravioli

If you have a Pasta Maker & a Ravioli Press your ravioli will look like the ones in the picture, if you have neither of the those things fear not, Won-ton Skins make a perfectly good substitute and cut your labor by at least an hour. Skip ahead for Won-ton Directions.

PASTA DOUGH

  • 3 Large Eggs, the fresher the better
  • 2 1/2  Cups of “00” flour- this is a finely milled Italian Flour with a high gluten content, it makes very stretchy dough, you can use AP flour or Pastry Flour if you can’t find “00”
  • Ice water
  • 1 cup or so of semolina flour
  1. Put all the flour in the center of a clean wide counter or in a large round bowl
  2. Make a well in the center
  3. Crack the eggs in a bowl, then slide them into the center of the well
  4. Using your fingers or a fork or a tiny whisk if you want to be twee about it scramble the eggs
  5. Using you hand slowly start to cave in the walls of flour around your eggs, mixing a bit of flour in to the eggs each time,  it should take about 8 rotations to incorporate all the dough
  6. Once you have it start kneading the dough, you may need to drizzle a bit of water in or you may not it depends on your eggs, keep kneading until you feel the dough change in texture… it will be smoother, bouncier, firmer, (just like my ass was in my 20’s)
  7. At this point you want to flatten it in to a disk and refrigerate it for at least 40 minutes.
  8. Once out of the fridge , flatten in to a rectangle and get ready to you rolling in the pasta maker
  9. Flatten and roll through with roller set on 1
  10. Fold in Thirds and roll through 1 again
  11. Do it again
  12. Now move through 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  13. At this point you will have a nice flat pasta sheet
  14. Place it on a cookie sheet covered in parchment  with about 1/4-1/2 cup of semolina flour
  15. Repeat until all done

Are you not exhausted after reading this ? .Ready to go out and just buy some won-ton skins? I hear ya, but trust me once you do it a few times its easy and quick. The first time I nearly died from stress and exhaustion, now I can pull it together in an hour including rest time. It’s a fabulous party trick!

 

BEETS

Cut Beetroots from the Stem, toss then in Olive oil & Salt & roast in a 350 oven for 45 minute to 1 hour depending on the size.

When they are cool enough to touch, peel them and slice them into disks

Filling:

  • 1 Bunch Beet Greens (about 3 cups)- washed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino (or other hard cheese, Dry Jack, Parmigiano, Manchego whatever,  I actually used a really pungent aged washed rind local cows milks cheese)
  • 1/2 cup creamy goat cheese (or cream cheese or ricotta whatever you have, I used cream cheese because that’s what I had)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Saute the garlic until soft in Olive Oil
  2. Add the greens Season with Salt & pepper
  3. Saute until wilted
  4. Remove from pan to a colander and push out as mush waster as you can
  5. Chop greens & mix with remaining ingredients

 

 

 

Here’s a great video that explains the ravioli making process (it’s not me, I wish it were if anyone in Maine wants to make cooking videos with me please let me know)

 

If you are using won-ton skins, place about a tablespoon of filling in the middle of a square, using a brush or your fingers wet the won-ton wrapper lightly from filling to edge and place a second won-ton wrapper on top..

Pinch and smooth around the filling until it looks like a ravioli and all the edges are sealed, using toothpick make a tiny prick in each ravioli to let air out.

 

Walnut Sage Brown Butter

  • 1 Stick unsalted Butter
  • 12-15 large Fresh Sage Leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Place the butter and the sage in a large saute pan over low heat
  2. Wait a really long time, like 20 minutes until the butter starts to brown and forth & smell nutty
  3. Add walnuts, saute about 2 minutes
  4. Remove from heat until ready to use

Pulling it all together

  1. Set a pot of heavily salted water up to a boil
  2. Add Ravioli
  3. Cook until water comes back up to a boil (you may have to do this in batches)
  4. Turn on heat under pan with butter
  5. Remove cooked Ravioli with a slotted spoon and add to Pan with Walnut Sage Butter (repeat as necessary)
  6. add 1/4 cup Pasta Cooking  Wate
  7. Swirl & shake pan, you want to cover the ravioli with Butter sauce
  8. Add another 1/4 cup of Pasta Cooking water
  9. Add Peeled Sliced Roasted beets
  10. Place on Warm Serving Platter..Sprinkled with Grated Cheese, Fresh Ground Pepper & Chopped Parsley

=

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Moxie Pies, Rhubarb Sherbet & Beet Green Ravioli

Lots of cooking projects going on around here…

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Easiest White Bean Salad: 2 Can White Beans + zest & juice of 1 lemon, Olive Oil, 1 clove Garlic, some chopped Serrano ham or Prosciutto, Fresh Sage + Sage Blossoms if you have them.

Last week on my way home from a bike ride to the Library I saw a sign by the side of the road : Rhubarb $2.00 a pound. I screeched to a halt and bought 5 pounds, then I rode home with 5 pounds of rhubarb + 4 library books + some groceries on my back. I need to get a bike with a few baskets, like a french lady.

rhubarbplant

When most people think of Maine they think of  Blueberries & Lobsters, and well they should but oh my oh my is there more …so much more.

I could wax rhapsodic over the root vegetables, sandy,salty soil creates the most luscious potatoes, beets and carrots, and the local lamb raised on green pastures plump with sea water, the scent of the sea does something magical to lamb.. next time you find yourself around a lamb chop rub it with anchovy & garlic before you cook it and you’ll see what I mean.

There are incredible local cheeses and the breads are fantastic thanks to clean cold water, there’s just so much incredible food being grown and made here, it brings a tear to my eye.

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Local hand made Camembert

There’s Rhubarb which grows all over the place, sturdy and tart like the best of all New Englanders, rhubarb is spring itself.

And what trip to Maine is complete without a Moxie…MOXIE-010000_1 I can best describe the taste of  moxie as drinking Root Beer while chewing Teaberry Gum. It’s not for everyone, and it’s certainly not my favorite, but my Husband loves it and  there is a cooking contest at the Moxie festival July 11 and we are entering!

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On Rhubarb Day I made  Rhubarb Cordial (recipe courtesy of Food52), Rhubarb Simple Syrup, Rhubarb Sherbet, Rhubarb Hand-pies and froze some Rhubarb for later.

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Rhubarb Hand-Pie with Sugared Lard/Butter Crust

On Moxie Day Babe of Brew and I made Moxie Pies and Moxie Caramel and Vanilla Ice Cream with Moxie Caramel.

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I wanted to add a decorative crust to my pie, and I looked around for something to cut it. My Grandma Bella’s wedding ring was the right size so I used that, I think she would be pleased.

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Chocolate Walnut Moxie Pie

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Moxie Shoo-Fly Pie

Afterwards My Husband drove me to go get our new Dining Room Table about an hour away in Saco. I LOVE IT SO MUCH… (so do Farrah & Jerry those jerks) the house is starting to come together inch by inch.

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Frankly I was exhausted and after our luncheon on Saturday I stopped cooking for a couple of days.

 

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Cold Chicken w Dijon, Salad, Potato Salad, White Beans with Sage, Radishes with Truffle Butter

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Farrah photo-bombing my desserts.

We had truly awful Chinese food on Saturday Night and watched Broadway Danny Rose. Last night my Husband made Old  El Paso Tacos. So now I’m back and ready to cook some more! As soon As I finish this post I’m going to find my pasta maker and make Pasta for dinner tonight which may be Beet Green Ravioli with Walnut Brown Butter & Beets but may also be Papparadelle with Beet Greens, Walnuts & Beets. It all depends on what the time looks like after my Pasta Dough is done.

This Weeks CSA: Salad Greens, Spinach, A Cabbage, Lacinato Kale, A Bunch of Beets and a Kohlrabi

Menu for the Week

Monday: 

Beet Green Ravioli with Walnut /Sage Brown Butter & Beets - OR – Papparadelle with Beet Greens, Walnuts & Beets.

Tuesday:

Chicken Pot Pie with Sour Cream Crust & Kale Salad

Wednesday

Pulled Pork Sandwiches + Cole Slaw (recipe below reprinted from Food 52 Submission)

Thursday

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts + Lemon Rice + Salad

Friday 

Okonomiyaki - Japanese Pancakes with Maine Shrimp & Cabbage, Quick Pickled Shaved Kohlrabi

 

Bella’s Cole Slaw

(feel free to scale down by 1/2 for a smaller cabbage)

  • Medium sized head of green cabbage, like the size of a Child’s head
  • 1/4 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 cup White Sugar
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise (Hellman’s or Best Foods or Home-made)
  • Large Carrots, grated
  • Scallions, chopped,  Green & white Parts
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Dill, Chopped
  • 1/2 Fresh Parsley, Chopped
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 White Vinegar
  1. Core the Cabbage, and slice in a fine Julienne, place in a large bowl, large enough to stir it around without it spilling all over the place
  2. Mix Salt & Sugar together
  3. Rub the Salt & Sugar Mixture into the Cabbage , rub really well, use your hands, get in there, and let it sit for about a half an hour or up to 1 day.
  4. Mix in remaining ingredients, Mayo, Lemon Juice, Herbs, Scallions, Vinegar season to taste with pepper, you probably won’t need more salt
  5. And that’s it.

It’s hard to find a joke about Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi just isn’t that funny, no one writes limericks about or tosses out a few bon mots..except maybe macrobiotic people (are there still macrobiotic people? Have they converted to raw foodisms?). I’m sure the folks in the Portlandia writing room could come up with a few funnies.And really how many macrobitoic funny people are there…I could be wrong, they could be funny, I know they are definitely  farty.

Well a fart joke is a fart joke is a fart joke, and 9 times out of 10 its just funny to say fart.

So basically Kohlrabi, a brassica, which can give you gas can also  be quite delicious. It is rather the bane of the CSA … it’s not as exciting as say a luscious  basket of heirloom tomatoes or a big shiny eggplant. In fact I will admit that this is the first time I have ever cooked a kohlrabi… I always  look at them like wow those are pretty but maybe not something I really need to eat. Well now I have one in my house a little purple guy…begging to be eaten. The new bunch of veggies arrive tonight, and my goal is a produce empty fridge by Saturday AM (not counting things like onions, potatoes, garlic, carrots, celery etc..)

Kohlrabi growing

And it’s Friday afternoon and My husband is coming home for lunch and we’re out of lunch stuff, and there are no leftovers to be had. So what to do…

My mind went right to latkes because latkes are delicious… and a Kohlrabi latke is not so different from the Vegetable Cutlets of my Grandma’s generation. The Vegetable Cutlet, similar to the Kishke was a staple of  the immigrant Kitchen, they are both cheap to make, since they rely on odds and ends, bits and pieces. Kishke is not quite as healthy as a Vegetable Cutlet, but back then they though more about getting enough calories than restricting them.

A Kishke, by the way, is sort of a poor man’s sausage, Onions , Celery, Garlic & Carrots are caramelized in Schmaltz (aka chicken fat) then mixed with Challah crumbs and more Schmaltz, stuffed in sausage casing, poached them generally sliced and fried in a pan.  Aside from straight up Schmaltz, Grebenes and Onions on Rye it is a chicken fat lovers paradise.  Not for the faint of heart or god forbid those who have angina, kenehorah, a kishke can kill, a vegetable cutlet not so much.

Vegetable cutlets, a dairy meal of old, usually served with enormous dollops of sour cream. Sour cream was a food group back then, I remember my Poppa Willy eating a bowl of sour cream with bananas, he also loved herring in sour cream, and my grandmother’s sauerkraut soup so go figure…no one liked the sauerkraut soup.

My modern version of the Vegetable Cutlet is now Kohlrabi Latkes. This recipe can be doubles & tripled, they freeze beautifully, you can make tiny ones to serve as snacketizers…you can dress them however you like. I am opting for Greek Yoghurt & Dill, you could so sour cream or sour cream and bit of smoked trout to be fancy.

You could slip some feta cheese in with the vegetables, you can also switch then up,swap regular potatoes for sweet potatoes, Kohlrabi for carrots, you can add carrots, you can also add broccoli stems. Think of this as a template.

 

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  • 1/2 cup Plain Bread Crumbs or Matzoh Meal
  • 1/4 Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 2 Eggs
  •  Generous Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Kohlrabi
  • 1 Medium size onion
  • 1 Russet, Idaho or Kennebec Potato
  • Canola Oil for Frying
  1. Put first 5 ingredients in a bowl
  2. Grate Kohlrabi, give it a good squeeze to get out all the extra liquid, add dry Kohlrabi to the bowl
  3. Grate Onion directly into the bowl
  4. Grate potatoes in to a bowl of cold water. Squeeze well & add to bowl with the other ingredients (this all seems fussy I know, you can also grate them all with the grate attachment of the food processor, but you still need to squeeze dry the Kohlrabi & the potatoes, I grate the potatoes the water to keep them from turning black just in case I get distracted and have to walk away or something, which happens my life is chaos)
  5. Mix everything together
  6. Heat oil in a frying pan, you want enough oil so there is like 1/8 of an inch of oil in the bottom, we are not deep frying we are pan frying.
  7. When the oil is hot enough (test a tiny bit of latke, if the oil bubbles then it is ready)Depending on the size of  your pan, place 3 or 4 scoops ( about a 1/4 cup or so… the size of regular McDonald’s burger patty\
  8. Fry until brown on one side then flip and brown on the other
  9. Place finish latkes on a sheet pan with parchment paper and keep warm in oven if eating immediately, or freeze on the pan then transfer to a baggie.

Feasts, Finales, Multiple Aquisitions and the Mating Rituals of Horseshoe Crabs

Friday it was POURING, buckets of rain, buckets of tears, had all those buckets comin’ through my ears, buckets of moonbeams in my hands…

The first thing that happened was my new Kitchenaid arrived, which was very exciting. It’s not as nice as the one I already have, so I decided to barter it for something (like a canoe or a washing machine or a smoker).

I put a post on my local yard sale facebook page, and proceeded to get pissed at a number of people on the site who were… well overly officious in that bureaucratic know-it-all-rulesy way, and  it reminded me of a scene on the West Wing (my all time favorite  TV show) when Donna explains the internet to Josh (who I loved despite his odd hairline)

I ventured out in the rain for a 2nd interview, which may have went well, but maybe it didn’t since it seems I was unexpected, we’ll see what happens. Met up with my sister-in-law for happy hour at my local spot Enoteca Athene…

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Lamb Rib w Hpiliti Sauce + a greek wine I can’t remember I think it started with an X

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Arancini

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Spanikopita Dip

Had some wine , had a delicious Lamb Rib, chatted up a total cutie patootie 22 year old bartender named Owen. And hatched the beginnings of a pie related plan…a good one.

Saturday morning we got up early to do our banking which is always such a pleasant experience, crazy but I love my bank! We cashed in $90 worth of change, which we decided was our fun money for the St. Johns Church Bazaar.

Then we went to Tess’s Market for a breakfast sandwich.

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Their Pizza is not so great, the crust really sucks,   but it is crammed floor to ceiling with some absolutely amazing wines, they have more German and Austrian wines than I’ve seen in a any wine shop, some beautiful French, Italian, Spanish wines, even a bottle or two if California Garage wines that I’ve read about but never seen in a store, wines from Washington State, form Oregon.  It’s hard to believe  a corner store cum not so great pizza place in a small town in Maine is home to such riches.

I’m learning that Maine will surprise you that way, there are  many unexpected treasures and pleasures.

It’s not all super expensive either, well some of it is but you can find a totally decent wine there in the $12-15 range.

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I don’t usually go for novelty bottles, but I just had too! It’s waiting for me to make a Alsatian Cassoulet.

They do make a surprisingly delicious breakfast sandwich.. which they roast in the pizza oven… it would have been perfect had they used better bread, but they use sort of a big split top New England hot dog roll. Next time I will remember to ask for salt, pepper & hot sauce.

We sat in the park next door, and ate our sandwiches, it smelled like wisteria, rain and green. All we heard was birdsong.

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The Swinging Bridge to Topsham

Then it was off to Portland Trader Joes for our monthly wine buy. We did pretty well, got a mixed case of wine + bottle of dry sherry + case of beer for ummm $84.00. None of it is fine wine but the $5 (!) german sparkling wine is a bit fruity but not too sweet and quite lovely for mimosas and it’s all really drinkable.

We needed some more adventure so we headed towards South Portland and Cape Elizabeth which is pretty swanky with beautiful homes.

We stopped at a yard sale, I got 4 silver lobster forks, a tiny silver plated ladle, a silver cheese spoon, 4 silver ice tea spoons, and large vintage tin (perfect for coffee beans), and tiny vintage typewriter ribbon tin, a small painted saucer perfect for my rings  and a white enamel bowl with blue edging, ubiquitous for this part of the country but I’ve always wanted one. My husband says its a chamber pot, maybe it is.

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This may once have been a chamber pot, but I think it is the perfect bowl for strawberries

How much did that all cost?  $7.. well actually $8 because I got really impatient with the inane line politics  that I gave them $8 to cover taxes so I could go. Would it have killed them to have a line for questions and a line to pay? There were 2 people and one register, I think that would make sense. Breathe…not in Philly or NYC… in Maine where people seem to have more time to stand on lines…..Breathe.

We saw signs saying “Lighthouse Open” so  we followed them to the Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse…it’s a public park and there were a lot of people around and it smelled like heaven, beach roses and ocean.

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I love the smell of these, like Roses + Cinnamon + Salt. I wish there was a perfume that smelled like these roses, wood smoke & ocean breezes.

Every time I am near the ocean I feel my soul lifting and re-setting. The whole time I lived in Philadelphia I ignored that part of myself, for some reason the Jersey Shore just didn’t do it for me  (LIB was ok) maybe it was the fact that there were huge fences around part of it but it just didn’t seem wild enough. Even Coney Island felt more ocean-y than Ocean City. I spent the first 11 years of my life at the beach, just long enough for it to get in my blood.

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As if the day could not get any better my husband and I had a date night at the town Bazaar, we had Sausages, Fried Dough &  Lemonade. We stopped in at the White Elephant where I got some more stuff:

Vintage cookie & candy tins, a crazy looking toothbrush holder, a brass pineapple, a white cotton hand embroidered runner, a 3 tier dessert stand with hand painted roses. My husband bought a bunch of records..including a Bag Pipe record and an Edith Piaf 45.

I am embarrassed to say that I had a slight panic attack on the Ferris Wheel it was creaking in a way that made me uncomfortable so I got off after one revolution. I just didn’t want the last thing I heard before crashing to my untimely death to be C&C Music Factory’s Pump Up The Jam.

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Sunday we decided to make a feast for the Game of Thrones Finale… I chose a Dornish Theme in homage to Prince Oberyon of  House  Martell, at least my interpretation of such…ample flavors. luscious textures, saffron and feta and walnuts and meat on sticks…

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Hummus with Fried Chickpeas & Kalamata Olives, Persian Walnut, Yoghurt & Chard Dip, Homemade Laffa Bread, Saffron Arancini, Lamb Meatballs with Feta & Spinach

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Carrot with Pomegranate Molasses & Sesame seeds, Israeli CousCous w Pumpkin Seed Pesto & Sundried Tomato, Green Harissa Marinated Beef Kabobs, (unseen) Cucumber Scallion Mint salad.

 

Yesterday I found the perfect dining room table on Craigslist for $75. I almost can’t believe its real. We’re picking it up on Friday.

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To celebrate my good fortune, I decided to pick my fat ass up and go for a walk… my goal Wharton Point.. about 3 miles away, or maybe more, I wouldn’t know because the Nike Pedometer app did not work!

I left the house, @ 12:30 at around 12:32 three black flies decided to join me. I stopped talk to some sheep and picked up about 47 of the flies’ friends. They stuck with me for the next hour and a half. (I was strolling not power walking)

Finally I could see and smell the water over the next hill. Upon arrival discovered that it was still Horseshoe Crab mating time, there were maybe 100 horseshoe crabs getting busy by the shore. Its a beautiful spot and I cant remember the last time I was alone in nature, I needed it badly. There was a terrific Ocean-y breeze that took my fly friends away, leaving me to sit in peace.

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I met a great dog and a nice man and his son, we talked about growing up one the water, about the politics of clam digging, and the nature of dogs. I should have taken him up on his offer of a ride home.

The walk home, oh man, that last hour was a killer, my fly friends came back to keep me company. I was swatting at them pretty much every few seconds. This caused passing motorists to  believe think I was waving at them in a crazy sort of way. I finally stumbled into the house exhausted.

We had Ramen for dinner that night.

Menu for 6/16 – 6/21

CSA: Chard, Baby Kale, Arugula, Asian Greens,  Spinach, Broccoli, Kohlrabi

Monday

Leftover Hummus & Walnut/Chard Dip  w Bagel Chips + Middle Eastern Ramen w Baby Kale & Soft Boiled Egg

(was supposed to be Kohlrabi Latkes with Yoghurt & Dill)

Tuesday

Ground Turkey, Tofu  & Asian Greens in Black Bean Sauce + Rice

Wednesday

Homemade Bacon & Spinach Pizza + Salad

Thursday

Melon & Iberico Ham (TJ’s!) + Pork Milanese with Arugula

Friday

Roast Chicken + Broccoli + Mashed Potatoes

Saturday

Luncheon on the Lawn for Aunt Cindy  

Our first visitor from away!

Melons with Basil & Crisped Prosciutto

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Cold Roast Chicken with Mustard

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Potato Salad & Kohlrabi Slaw

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Local Cheeses &  Breads

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Buttermilk Pies +  Strawberries with Lavender Sugar

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Sun Tea, Cold Brew Ice Coffee &  Rose du Provence

Buttermilk Pie

  • cup Granulated Sugar
  • tablespoons Flour
  • 1.5 tablespoons  Lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1.5cups Buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted Butter
  • tablespoon Lemon juice
  • 1blind baked Pie Crust
  1. Whisk together Sugar, Flour, Salt, Lemon Zest
  2. Add Eggs, whisking in one at a time
  3. Whisk in Buttermilk, Butter & Lemon juice
  4. Pour into prepared pie shell, bake 20-25 minutes till set though a bit woobly

Serve at Room Temperature with Fresh Berries macerated in a bit of Sugar