Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Revenge of the Cats

A few years ago, people posted photos of “Things I put on my cat”. Like the greeting card below.

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But now, the cats have taken revenge.

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They wrote a whole book of poems about things they could pee on. I understand they are indeed very opinionated about being ‘pissed’.

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Otherwise, it is flowers and sunshine, or it should be.

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From coffee shops to

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Shore path walks

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to the Bar Harbor Grand

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To piers in repair

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to Maine cocktails

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to tourist classics

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and a Ford Model T (I think)

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to those from Asia

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Bar Harbor is open for every place in space and time. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Strawberry Rhubarb Cranberry Quinoa Cake (GF)

Tropical storm Bill rained out the first day of summer and Father’s day this year. Like in poured out. The temperatures dropped, and it just did not stop raining. My giant bean plants were flooded.

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There was only one plan to have fun: make it a pyjamas day, light a fire and some candles, watch netflix’s Orange is the New Black, and bake a cake. The rhubarb had long been harvested, kept in the fridge for a while and finally frozen, but yesterday I bought some strawberries, and it was time for a crumble. Or something like it.  I worked without a recipe this time, but I knew what I wanted: plenty of fruit, a tasty crust, but not too much of it, and so tasty I actually eat it. I used quinoa flour and almond meal for the dough, and it tastes really great. The only thing missing? A dollop of whipped cream but I did not want to leave the house in the pouring rain.

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Rhubarb Strawberry Cranberry Quinoa Cake (glutenfree)

  • 2 cups of strawberries, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 cup cubed rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh cranberries (optional)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 TB butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 ts baking soda
  • 1/2 ts baking powder
  • 1 ts vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix all the fruit in a bowl with the sugar. Pour in a 10 inch round or square baking pan.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar with a hand or stand mixer. Add in the egg and the vanilla extract. Mix the flour, almond meal, baking powder and baking soda, and also whisk in. Once the dough is ready, spoon it over the mixture (I used an ice cream scoop), and then distribute it, basically spread out and connect the dollops.

Bake for 40 min. Serve warm, cold, with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

And then I took a Pink Tiger home

It was a marvelous early summer day, when only half of the tourists have arrived yet, mostly from the South. I headed out to the coast. To work.

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I encountered parts of windmills that were transported under police escort, but otherwise it was a usual summer day. I arrived at Chase’s Daily just in time to still get lunch (they serve until 2:30pm).

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It was finally the time when Chase’s has started to sell produce from its own farm. Around this time of the year, this includes seedlings.

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Like winter chard. Or tomatoes.

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I had given up on tomato plants a few years ago, because it seemed cheaper and easier to just buy them at the farmers market. But, the farmers market does not have pink ones. Pink with yellow stripes.

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So I took a pink tiger home. There was also Napa cabbage, ready to eat, and my favorite mesclun mix.

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I am not the only one who is in awe of this salad mix.

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After paying for the goods I moved on to lunch. A fabulous salad of said Napa cabbage with pink beets, carrots, and fresh mint (!), fantastic spicy grilled tofu, grilled scallions and a miso vinaigrette.

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After all was eaten and some work done, I wandered the streets of Belfast, with all its cute little stores.

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Brambles at its new location is back in business with olive trees. There is also now a fresh flower store in the store, just beautiful.

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On the backside, unseen from the Main street, is a brandnew brickoven neopolitan pizza store.

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Including outdoor seating.

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Then, I finally, finally found a ‘coffee shop’ to actually sit down and work. It is a secondhand bookstore which is an eclectic mix of secondhand books, and antique porcelain and kitchen ware. I’ve never quite bought anything in the store, I just wanted to be in the store. It transports you to your playful grandmothers house. New tables and chairs in front of the store indicated that something had changed. When I walked in I was overwhelmed by a seductive aroma of cinnamon and fresh baked cookies. There were little tables everywhere in the store, inviting people to sit down, enjoy some coffee and cookies. Brilliant. I picked the most remote table in the back of the store, and got the computer out. I worked until I ran out of battery power. I think I have to move to Belfast.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

June in Maine

It has been a warm and sunny weekend. The cats like to stretch out in the sun, and you would think it must be too hot with the fur, but no, they stretch out on the most comfortable, elegant cat yoga pose, right in the sunlight and take a nap. Ah, to be a cat.

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The only time they are unhappy is when I am outside, and they are not.

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But there is fresh green delivery, and you would think they are vegetarians they way they chow down.

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Currently, my recent favorite ingredients are a giant Greek beans, often with grape tomatoes, onions, capers and savory.

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The lunch salad is now fresh from the garden.

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Although, the catnip has taken over the raised bed.

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And the lupines everything else in Maine.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Indian quinoa and beluga lentils (vegan)

Lately, I have been playing around with flavors,that is flavors components mostly adopted from Indian cooking. Indian cooking is very complex so I try to break it down into components or combinations of some flavors that work very well together. One of my favorites are nutty, roasted black mustard seeds with fresh curry leaves, a bit of olive oil, garam masala, turmeric, cardamom and a hint of cinnamon. Recently, I use this with vegetable broth to cook quinoa and beluga lentils in one pot. After 25 min, the most perfectly flavored quinoa lentils were ready that are perfect hot, cold, as sides, as salad, or a huge pile for a picnic. This recipe is a keeper.

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Indian Quinoa and Beluga Lentils (vegan)

makes 2 servings

  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 TB black mustard seeds
  • about 12 fresh curry leaves (I keep mine frozen in the freezer)
  • 1/2 mild white onion or 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup beluga lentils
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • some pinches of salt (to taste)

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In a heavy bottom cast-iron pot, heat the olive oil and add the black mustard seeds and the curry leaves. Heat on relatively high heat until the mustard seeds start to pop (like popcorn) and give off a nutty flavor. Now, add the onion and lightly saute until translucent, a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, bring to a simmer, and turn down the heat to low. Cover with a lid, and simmer for 25minutes until the lentils are soft and the quinoa is fluffy.

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Whitehall, Camden

Over the Memorial weekend, I had an opportunity to visit the newly remodeled Camden hotel Whitehall. Maine is 95% very New England traditional chic as if the time stopped in 1940. I am, however, a fan of anything modern, so a hotel that looks traditional on the outside but has a modern interior design gets my attention. Camden with a very well-to-do summer guest clientele has several boutique hotels, and Whitehall is the latest. My friend C. came visiting over the weekend from Boston, and it took little convincing for him to stay in Whitehall and I had a good reason to check it out myself, one week after it officially opened. whitehall-1
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While I waited for C. to arrive (who got sidetrack outlet mall shopping in Kittery and Freeport) I enjoyed free coffee, scones and internet in the Whitehall lobby getting some work done.
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Not only are all hotel room remodeled, but celebrity Chef Sam Talbot mans the new restaurant Pig and Poet.
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Beside a large bar and restaurant space, Pig and Poet also has 2 beautiful patio areas, one directly in front of the hotel, and one nestled more privately between the restaurant and the hotel.
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After some hiking, we returned for cocktails and appetizers on the back patio.
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We even returned for dinner, but I did not take any photos. The interior design of the hotel and the restaurant is spectacular. The food was a bit hit and miss, some dishes were excellent, some just average. The baked items, however, were all to die for.  According to C. the breakfast was spectacular.
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I am sure in the summer, this place will be crammed. But I plan to come back, a great place to hang out.