Thursday, April 28, 2011
The sun is still rare but the temperatures are up and no frost in sight so I decided today to plant my kale seedlings in the raised bed. I hope the combination of light, warmth and rain will make them happy (and grow!). Some of the mache I planted last summer had actually survived the harsh Maine winter and 2 feet of snow, and is ready to go into a second season. The curly parsley is also saying hello to the new season.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
After I packed my lunch box and headed to work I realize it is “Maine Day” at the University of Maine. In the old days Maine Day meant no classes for a day and everyone rides around on a broomstick to clean the campus from the signs of the almost finished school year and winter. Nowadays it seems to involve actually getting dirty instead of cleaning anything.
Besides a tournament of mud volleyball, it involved loud house music blasting from the fraternity houses, many people shaving their heads for a kids with cancer fundraiser and yes, free lunch – hamburgers, hot dogs, coleslaw and something that looked very much like beer (but very likely was no beer). I missed the free lunch by about 3 mins. Dang!
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
It is still more than chilly in Maine despite the abundant sunshine. Some patio furniture and the first plants are already outside. I am more than looking forward to a summer of vegan eats, so different from mostly frozen vegetables and salads in the winter, fresh seasonal produce will be available. When I saw cobs of corn at the supermarket, I was plotting my first vegan meal on the BBQ.
I cleared out some of the corn husk, and put the cobs on the grill on medium heat, and let the inside steam and perfectly cook protected by its own leaves.
After about 20 min, the hulls were charred and the corn perfectly steamed. I pulled back the husk to add some grill marks to the corn. The BBQ helped with the final removing the husk by them just burning it off.
At the same time, I put 2 big sweet potatoes on the bbq, poking its skin to let the steam escape. After 30min they were soft cooked and caramel sweet. Adding some garlicky kale salad, the first BBQ lunch was ready.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
After I enjoyed my birthday lobster, it was time to make stock. Slow cooked, with cognac, sweet onions, herbs, and tomatoes. It is waiting now in my freezer for my next seafood risotto or lobster risotto.
Lobster Stock (based on Julia Child’s stock for bouillabaisse):
- 1 sliced sweet onion
- 2 TB olive oil
- A heavy 8-quart kettle or casserole
- 2 TB tomato paste
- 3 cloves mashed garlic
- swig of cognac
- 2½ quarts water
- 2 bay leaf
- ½ tsp thyme
- a few juniper berries
- a pinch of saffron
- A 2-inch piece or ½ tsp dried orange peel
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- shells of 2 lobsters (not the body, just tail and claws)
Sunday, April 10, 2011
The gelato is freshly made everyday in small batches with authentic Italian recipes. Chocolate, berries, cinnamon, tiramisu and other wonderful flavors. It really puts you in heaven for 10 mins.
Gorgeous Gelato, 434 Fore Street, Portland, ME (website)
Monday, April 4, 2011
- 1/2 cup Arborio rice, washed and rinsed
- 1 ts ghee (clarified butter)
- 1/2 sweet white onion, finely minced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- good splash of dry white wine
- 1 fresh hot chili, finely minced
- 1 1/2 cup of home-made shrimp stock
- 1 TB tomato paste
- 6 large scallops
- handful of frozen or fresh shrimp
- 10 mussels
- 2 TB fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Sunday, April 3, 2011
- 1/2 bunch curly kale, washed and padded dry
- juice of one lemon
- 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium sized garlic cloves, grated
- 1 TB Trader Joes' Champagne Pear Dressing
- 1 TB fat reduced feta crumbles
- pepper to taste
Saturday, April 2, 2011
There was still a half pound of local, organic, grass-fed lamb from last year farmer market in my freezer, and since it is the season of fresh lamb soon again with Easter slowly approaching, I decided to cook it in a wonderful recipe by Nigella Lawson. A simple stew with onions, kalamata olives, capers, a good amount of good red wine and slowly cooked for 1 1/2 hours.
- 1/2 pound lamb shoulder, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 large sweet white onion, peeled, halved and cut into thin half moons
- 1 cup whole kalamata olives, drained (preserve 2 TB brine)
- 4 TB capers, drained (preserve 2 TB brine )
- 1 TB tomato paste
- 2 cups of cabernet
- 1/2 TB cumin
- salt, pepper to tasted
In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil, and brown the lamb cubes in batches so that each batch has enough bottom surface individually to brown the meat on all sides for a few minutes; add salt and pepper to each batch. Save the browned meat on a separate plate. Once oll the lamb is browned, add the onions, the kalamata and capers brine, and cook onions down for 3-4 minutes. Now, add the meat back in, the olives, kalamata, cumin, tomato paste and the red wine. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, and cook covered on very low heat for about 1 1/2 hours until the lamb is extremely tender. Serve with couscous!