These photos are what $100 worth of seeds looks like (as ordered from High Mowing, Comstock Ferre, and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds). As I pause to think on this snowy New England day about the joy my garden will bring me daily beginning in mid-May (knees and hands in dirt!) my thoughts are also with those family farmers fighting Monsanto in a court case to protect them from genetic trespass by Monsanto’s GMO seed. Monsanto is trying to destroy family farming and pollute America’s food system. I don’t think you have to be a farmer or a foodie to appreciate this plight. I do and I am very thankful for my (for now) protected space to grow fresh, healthy food the way the environment not a board of uneducated overweight suits dictates.
Archive for January, 2012
No country home in Maine should be without one! Make that no home in New England
The first fire in my new wood stove!!
I spent the night before the Rockland pop-up at my friend Annie‘s. Going to Annie’s home always involves her delicious homemade food, DIY projects, and a lot of laughter. You get out of the car after being in the car at least a couple hours, and know good things await. I swear I don’t know how she does it all, but I am so glad she does!
Top photo is the apron Annie made out of jersey fabric and bottom is the one I’ve started on – both are influenced strongly by Alabama Chanin.
The first of the two Baked Pop-Ups I’m producing for Good Shepherd Food Bank was yesterday in Rockland. Thanks to everyone who participated!! Special thanks to Loyal Biscuit for allowing me to donate the remainder of dog biscuits (the ones that didn’t sell) to the local animal shelter. I met the sweetest mom and son German Shepherds there (a good friend smartly intervened and instead of loading them in my car I brought home forms to post back all filled out tomorrow so the paperwork will be all set when I am truly ready to adopt this summer). ”K” so glad you love the muppets – thanks for splurging on the whole cast of cupcakes! I LOVE Beaker. ”D” you are such a loyal friend, thank you for the tea and keeping me company!!!
Per usual I have been experiencing a lingering obligation to a once backyard garden edible that is now mortgaging part of my freezer. Ah, the New England Pie Pumpkins I cooked and pureed then tucked into a plastic tub in the Antarctica of my home…way back in October/November. I’ve been picking away at that container for a bit, and now that I’m pretty much off refined sugar pumpkin pie is out. So, I was pretty happy to find this recipe for a pumpkin risotto dish in Amanda Hesser‘s The New York Times Cook Book: Classics for a New Century. *I swapped a sheep cheese for the Parmesan and did not like it so stick to the Parmesan.
Pumpkin, Sage, Chestnut, and Bacon Risotto by Jamie Oliver from Amanda Hesser’s The New York Times Cook Book
Heat the oven to 375. Halve the pumpkin lengthwise and peel it. Remove the seeds, rinse and drain them, and reserve. Cut the pumpkin lengthwise into thick slices and spread in a layer across a large baking sheet. Sprinkle the pumpkin with olive oil.
Using a mortar and pestle, pound the coriander seeds until crushed. Sprinkle over the pumpkin, along with salt and pepper. Bake until soft, about 40 minutes. (Because I was using thawed pumpkin puree – 100% pumpkin nothing else – I sprinkled coriander over baked 20 minutes then jumped to next step).
Remove the pumpkin from the oven (leave oven on) and lay bacon over it. Combine the reserved pumpkin seeds, chestnuts, sage, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and mix well. Sprinkle over the pumpkin and bacon. bake until the bacon is crisp, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven. Scrape the bacon, chestnuts, sage, and pumpkin seeds onto a plate; reserve. Finely chop about 1/2 the pumpkin. Chop the other half so that it is slightly chunky; reserve.
Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a small pan over medium-low heat, then reduce the heat to a very low to keep warm.
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil, the shallots, celery, and a pinch of salt. Stir, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the rice, and stir constantly until the rice is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the wine until it is absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes.
Begin adding the broth to the rice a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly. Allow each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next; this process will take about 20 minutes. When ready, the rice will be soft with a slight bite. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the rice from the heat, add the finely chopped pumpkin (or in my case pureed), and stir vigorously until mixed. Fold in the pumpkin chunks. Mix in the butter and Parmesan. Place a lid over the saucepan and let sit for 2 minutes.
Place a portion of risotto on each serving plate (Yield: 6 servings). Top each portion with crumbled bacon, and sprinkle with the mixture of chestnuts, sage, and pumpkin seeds. Add a dash more Parmesan cheese. Garnish each plate with a dollop of mascarpone, if desired, and serve immediately.
Starlight Custom Cakes founder/owner/lead baker/sugar artist Patricia Moroz tends to create quite a stir around Camden, Maine. That would be the sweetest of stirs. Her gingerbread houses grace the windows of the Camden Opera House during the winter holidays (ever wanted to visit Santa’s workshop – that would be Trish’s basement in mid-November) and the local garden club’s annual holiday fundraiser. People in the Midcoast get pretty darn serious about that fundraiser standing in line outside regardless of temps for an hour or two in advance of the doors opening (or so I’ve heard). My response to Trish’s creations is it’s so beautiful and so REAL looking I don’t want to eat it I just want to look at it. Then, eventually the sugar craving would step in and I’d have a bite. So moist, and the frosting sweet but not too sugary. Anyway, I’ll let the following photos of Trish’s work stand for themselves and PLEASE spread the word BAKED Pop-Up to benefit Good Shepherd Food Bank at Rheal Day Spa in Rockland this Saturday between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Trish is donating a lot of cupcakes (some with the Muppets on them per my request). xo
1955 Chevy Pickup
Want a loaf of Elizabeth’s homemade Caramelized Onion & Spinach Olive Oil Quick Bread? Come by the BAKED Pop-Up to benefit Good Shepherd Food Bank this Saturday, January 28 between 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Rheal Day Spa. DON’T MISS THIS DELICIOUS EVENT!!!!!!
Photo by Dara Michalski.
I was in the mood for something simple that would use up some of those ingredients hanging out in my fridge wondering when they will ever be let out. Do you have unused food guilt? It’s always exciting to me when I can make something solely from the ingredients in my kitchen. Generally, it’s the vegetable drawer that is my worst offense. Some onion or as I am writing this now grapefruit (must remember to eat the delicious grapefruit with lunch) and a few leftover sage or parsley leaves that were left to linger a bit too long after this dish or that was made. The solution…the omelet. A simple recipe requiring eggs, butter, milk (I use Rice Milk, simply because that’s what I’ve got on hand most of the time), some salt and freshly ground pepper. All ingredients you probably have in your kitchen, right? An omelet allows you to be creative – some of my favorites: spinach and parmesan, tomatoes and goat cheese, whatever herbs need using up and mushrooms or onion. I am participating in a Shrimp CSF so some of those might well end up in an omelet the next few days.
How to make an omelet:
Place 2 Tbsp butter in a skillet (preferably non-stick) on medium-high (or high to get started and then turn down as soon as it starts to get hot). When the butter melts swirl it around (moving the pan a bit vs. a spatula seems to work better for me). Pour in the egg mixture (2-3 eggs, 1 Tbsp milk). Let sit undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer preferred ingredients (i.e. spinach and parmesan – the latter I grate directly onto the eggs in pan) across one side of the egg mixture just before it is done. Fold the other side over and place on plate. Serve hot. Yield: 1 serving (so you can make custom omelets for friends and family).
Image from Pinterest.
As I am prepping for the BAKED Pop-Ups on January 28 in Rockland and February 4 in Portland to raise money and awareness for Good Shepherd Food Bank I wanted to share with you a taste of what is to come for those who attend! Annie Mahle’s Lemon Curd Cheesecake anyone!?! This will be on sale at the Rockland event THIS Saturday between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Rheal Day Spa.
I’ve yet to decide what I’ll be baking for each event, but one thing I can guarantee is there will be some hurry-up and get there goodies – meaning some of the most skilled bakers in Maine (can you say Annie Mahle, Scratch Baking Co. and Atlantic Baking Co.) are supporting these events. I’m hoping to see lots and lots of people at the events, so please spread the word!!!
Photo by Capt Jon Finger.
In the current issue of my university alumni magazine there is an article on Sid Lerner, advertising executive turned fitness enthusiast. This is the man who in the early 2000s helped create the “Please Don’t Squeeze the Charmin” campaign – brilliant. In 2003, after developing heart disease, he learned the typical American consumes 15% more meat than recommended by the FDA and USDA and shortly thereafter created the Healthy Mondays campaign. This is what we have come to know as Meatless Mondays. The idea? Mondays are like Januarys, the perfect time for a fresh start…with “52 chances a year to live a longer, healthier (more sustainable) life!”
Nationwide public school systems, restaurants, health advocates, and mainstream media outlets are espousing the benefits of Meatless Mondays. The Huffington Post even has a Meatless Mondays column. More than the positive impact on your waistline, is the eco-impact. *It takes 40 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce 1 calorie of beef,” according to the Meatless Monday website.
This movement goes way beyond “food elitists” in Manhattan and Los Angeles. This is about lengthening your life, and the quality of it, and trying to do less damage to the environment. This is about moderation, something few of us could not learn a lot more of. As Huffington Post Meatless Mondays columnist Ellen Kanner wrote to me in an email, “Sid Lerner is the man.” Yes, Ellen he most definitely is!
A few delicious meatless options from the Lunch Box Bunch.
Photo from Pinterest.