Give it Away

Nonprofits dedicated to helping the  disadvantaged work 365 days a year, not just in December.  With school wrapping up, some essentials not looking so hot anymore and quite possibly the remnants of spring cleaning still in the basement or car perhaps this is the time to offer alternatives to the local landfill.  Get philanthropic and give your abandoned goods a new lease on life by donating them to a worthy cause.

logo_top_newPet toys, blankets, thick towels, dog or cat beds, crates and unopened pet food can go to your local SPCA.  Twice a year I sort through my dog and cat’s toys and bring the extras along with some pet food and treats I’ve picked up at a locally owned shop and donate them to a shelter. It is the least I can do for people who are caring for abandoned or neglected pets.

Discs for Dogs.org in Western New York will sell used CDs and DVDs (even those in poor condition) for $1 each and donate 100% of that money to their local SPCA. They will even reimburse you for your shipping costs.

Goodwill Industries accepts clothing, children’s toys, furniture, computers and appliances in good/working condition. Many Goodwill agencies accept vehicle donations as part of Wheels-to-Work programs that provide reliable transportation to help people stay on the job. Other Goodwills use the proceeds from the sale of your vehicle to fund important job training and employment programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantaging conditions.

images1Habitat for Humanity’s car donation program accepts cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles and RV’s and sells them through automobile auctions, recyclers or salvage yards to raise funds that help build simple, decent homes. Funds generated from vehicle sales benefit Habitat affiliates and local families.

Check with your local community center when thinking about what do to with an old bike or sporting goods.

Domestic violence shelters need unopened toiletries from toothbrushes to deodorant and contact solution. Likely you will not be allowed to drop off a donation at the actual shelter. For information on contacting a shelter or an organization visit CharityGuide.org.

Charity Navigator has an excellent online guide to donating noncash items and the tax benefits of giving.

The Freecycle Network is made up of 4,767 groups with 6,883,000 members across the globe. It is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer.

Wanderlust

Have a wonderful weekend wherever you are. 

Nitrate negative by Jack Delano. Shorpy Photo Archive.

Nitrate negative by Jack Delano. Shorpy Photo Archive.

Medium format nitrate negative by Arthur Rothstein. Shorpy Photo Archive.

Medium format nitrate negative by Arthur Rothstein. Shorpy Photo Archive.

5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.  Shorpy Photo Archive.

5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. Shorpy Photo Archive.

All photos from the Shorpy Photo Archive.

Roadside Edibles

If you have a chance check out Roadside Edibles the other blog I’m contributing to this summer and fall.  The site, which features farmers’ market and roadside stand edibles, has my friend Elizabeth and I out photographing food and agriculture in Maine and Massachusetts. Through the season I’ll be following fishermen in Gloucester and farmers with The Food Project in rural Lincoln, MA. 

Morning tractor riding in Lincoln, MA with The Food Project

Morning tractor riding in Lincoln, MA with The Food Project

Modern Architecture Pop-Up Book

As a follow up to my when to not Kindle rant from yesterday I thought I’d pop in a fun book post.  

The next time you want to impress your architecture savvy friends bring along the ultra cool Modern Architecture Pop-Up Book by Anton Radevsky and David Sokol. 

The book showcases three-dimensional replications of some of the most innovative modern and contemporary architecture from around the world. Accompanied by illustrations, photographs, and elaborate pop-ups, the talent and imagination of renowned architects and builders one can tag along on a visual tour of the Brooklyn Bridge; the Eiffel Tower; New York’s Flatiron Building; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, Chicago; Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye; Saarinen’s TWA terminal; Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao; and Calatrava’s Milwaukee Art Museum.

Having met David Sokol recently I thought I would ask him for his thoughts on the book and its place on the shelf or in a Kindle catalog. 
“I would tell architecture novices not to fear—that there’s as much social history and technological description as there is formal architecture talk. And no funny theoretical stuff. And although I can imagine a way to recreate the three-dimensional experience on a Kindle, a pop-up format offers something special, which I can’t exactly put my finger on. Perhaps it’s just precious nostalgia.”
David Sokol
David is a former editor for ID Magazine and a NY based freelance writer.

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Charmed by Jamie Oliver

Who wouldn’t be charmed by Jamie Oliver? A talented chef and bestselling author who encourages the use of seasonal ingredients, he has championed the idea of providing nutritious, cost-efficient meals to school children in the UK. This sexy Briton also set up the Fifteen Foundation, a charity to train disadvantaged young adults to become professional chefs. 

Last night in honor of this great chef my friends and I served up Jamie Oliver dishes at our weekly Sunday at Seven gathering.

Caponata

Caponata

James made Caponata (Incredible Sicilian Eggplant Stew) from Jamie’s Italy cookbook.

Making Fruit Smoothie

Making Fruit Smoothie

Janet and Andrew made one of Jamie’s Fruit Smoothies

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

Jeff and Angela made this dish minus the salmon from Jamie Oliver’s website.  To accompany this salad they served up Jamie’s Crispy Barbecued Side of Salmon with Cucumber Yoghurt and Hot Tuna Salad with Basil Creme Fraiche

Crispy

Crispy Barbecued Side of Salmon with Cucumber Yoghurt

Tuna

Hot Tuna Salad with Basil Creme Fraiche

fragole con limone e menta  

Fragole con Limone e Menta

For dessert I made Fragole con Limone e Menta (Strawberries with Lemon and Mint) and Torta di Riso (Florentine Rice Tart) both from Jamie’s Italy.  I’m happy to report everyone had some and cleaned their plates!

Torta di Riso

Torta di Riso

Pâte à Choux

I am finding out what kind of baker I am with the help of the four week course Techniques of Baking at The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. This past Saturday I got started making pâte à choux, also known as cream puff paste.  Following are a few pictures. 

Melting butter

Melting butter

 

Stirring mix vigorously with a wooden spoon

Stirring pastry mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon

 

Piping to form eclairs

Piping to form eclairs

 

Baking the eclairs

Baking the eclairs

Stirring chocolate pastry creme

Stirring chocolate pastry creme

 

Yummy "doggie" bag

Yummy "doggie" bag

Finished product

Finished product minus the glaze

Eric Hopkins Maine Artist

Winding down a week of Maine posts and could not leave this friend, gentleman, boater, pilot, in general brilliant artist out. He keeps me breathing and gazing at the stars.

A few pictures from my recent visit to his studio in Rockland, ME.

Unfinished work

Unfinished work

Brushes, paints, etc.

Brushes, paints, etc.

Work space

Work space

Eric in his other environment

Eric in his other environment

Pasta from Cafe Miranda

cafe-miranda-ext1This recipe is from Cafe Miranda in Rockland, ME. A lovely place full of warmth and cheer.  The range and quality of the items on their menu continues to inspire the foodie in me and the bread from their wood fired oven dipped in olive oil always blows me away. As much as possible chef owner Kerry Altiero sources local ingredients, which is something he encourages in any chef. He also has a great reputation for mentoring and retaining his staff for years by being a good teacher and encouraging fun in the kitchen. That fun generally spills out into the dining room. 

Fiddlehead or Asparagus Pasta with Cheese, Sweet peppers, Brown Onions and Lemon.

Ingredients (for two people):

3 Tbsp of olive oil

1 bundle of asparagus, or 1/2 a pound of fiddle heads, trimmed and washed

1 large ripe red pepper

1/2 of an onion (we use red, but I like Vidalias too)

2 Tbsp of minced garlic

4-6 oz of goat or sheep cheese (go for a pressed and aged like Ricotta Salata)

12oz of fresh pasta (Cafe Miranda’s is available at several Maine retailers)

1/2 a lemon

Recipe:

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Cook according to whatever pasta recipe you are using.

While the pasta is boiling…Heat the oil in a sauté pan. Once hot add the onions and peppers.

Sauté them until the onions are just starting to brown on the edges.

Add the minced garlic and sauté for about a minuet.

Add the fiddleheads or asparagus, if using asparagus try to keep them all in one direction, they look nicer that way.

Color (kind of brown) the asparagus or fiddle heads on one side and turn or

toss. Season lightly with salt and pepper as the cheese is pretty salty.

Lower the heat slightly, add the goat or sheep cheese in two large chunks.

Cover slightly and allow the cheese to melt. BUT not all the way.

Toss the finished pasta in a little olive oil, and divide into two bowls.

Divide the asparagus/fiddleheads and place a chunk of the slightly melted cheese on top of each.

Squeeze the lemon over both sprinkle with more pepper is you like.

Enjoy!

Pasta at Cafe Miranda

Pasta at Cafe Miranda

Bread coming out of wood fired oven at Cafe Miranda

Bread coming out of wood fired oven at Cafe Miranda

In Miranda's kitchen

In Miranda's kitchen

Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery

Sweetgrass Farm in Union, ME

Sweetgrass Farm in Union, ME

Like most people I know I enjoy a good glass of wine or spirits. Given  Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery  in Union, ME is located along a route convenient to me when visiting Midcoast Maine I figured why not visit there and learn about the production side.

Keith and Constance Bodine, the husband and wife team who own Sweetgrass,  offer free tastings of their hand crafted Maine grown fruit wines, ports, brandies and spirits.

Label artwork by Madeleine

Label artwork by Madeleine

While I was there Keith was making apple brandy.

Keith’s narration of the making of Sweetgrass Apple brandy.  Apples are pressed into juice then fermented into apple wine. Apple wine is placed in the still (pot on the left – see picture) where it is heated to boiling. The alcohol and flavors become vapors and pass through the swan’s neck tube over to the condenser (right side – see picture). The condenser is filled with cold water which cools the vapors flowing through back to a liquid, in this case apple brandy, which flows out of the parrot spout and is collected. Apple brandy then ages in small French oak barrels for about 14 months until it is cut to bottling strength with water and bottled. It is bottled unfiltered.

Making of Apple Brandy at Sweetgrass Farm

Making of Apple Brandy at Sweetgrass Farm

Since I was there while the apple brand was being made  it only seemed reasonable to purchase a bottle.   Keith said it could be used in the making of apple pies, and I already know how yummy it will be with hot cider and spices having enjoyed a flask during a football game years ago being played under chilly conditions.  The words warm and a little fuzzy come to mind.

My friend Angela and I are going to use some to make Brandy Apples with Goat Cheese, a recipe she found on The Food Network’s website. If it turns out I’ll post pictures.

Honey Honey

Check out my up close and personal visit with honey bees at the Damariscotta River Association with Al Maloney, President of the Knox Lincoln County Beekeepers, on Roadside Edibles.

Honey Bees at the DRA Hive

about this blog

About Me Sharon Kitchens and Delicious Musings. Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog. I write about all the things I enjoy - Culture, Food, Photography &Travel. Read more on my about page.

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