Thursday, August 23, 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
It is the time of the year again when I am ready to pay prime money for locally grown tomatoes. Tomatoes seem to come out better grown by other people rather than by me. I only do well with cherry tomatoes, but the rest…. the plants get too large, too heavy, fall over, the tomatoes fall off before they mature, or look all heirloom and taste like nothing, and all that for a whole summer full of love…. So, the farmers market it is (and one of my favorite farmers marketista from Peacemeal Farm).
For the last month, right next to theOrono farmers market’s summer location on the big empty steam plant university parking lot the Schoodic Sculpture art exhibition has been taking place. Around 6 international artists started working away with large, loud, dust producing power tools on huge blocks of Maine granite to transform them into art sculptures, which will be placed at different location in Bangor, Orono and Old Town. Mostly, it feels like visiting a dentistpaloozza with the drill noise and the dust, but it is interesting to see how the sculptures emerge from the granite with 8h/day of power tools. Of of my favorite sculptures is almost finished, as I saw today getting some tomatoes.
Yesterday, as I was browsing through the current issue of Saveur, which features Mexican cooking, I came across a recipe of Mexican rice, which inspired me enough to try it out. However, after following through with the recipe I seriously doubted that it was correct since it requested 2 cups of long grained rice to 1 cup of water and 1 small can of tomatoes, a recipe that likely asserts a heavy dose of nighttime upper arm exercise involved scrubbing a burnt pot. Also, I thought about adding this and that, and in the end it was a delicious red rice but had very little to do with the Saveur recipe. Nevertheless, delicious is key, right? Since I added saffron, I call it Spanish rice, not Mexican rice, since it reminds me more of paella.
Spanish rice (make 2 larger portions):
- 1 cup long grained rice
- 1 ts olive oil
- 1 small white (sweet) onion, grated (!)
- 2 garlic cloves, microplaned/grated
- 1/2 red sweet bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cherry hot pepper, diced
- 1 pickled jalapeño, diced
- 1 small can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 cup of hot water
- good dose of saffron strands, diluted in some 1/4 cup hot water
- 1 TB chicken bouillion
- 1/4 cup frozen corn
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
Puree the canned tomatoes with the hot water until smooth, set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot, and sauté the grated onion, until the liquid is evaporated (it is recommendable to use a non-stick pot for this recipe). Add the garlic, the peppers (hot, regular, and pickled) and the rice, and sauté dry for ca. 3-4 minutes (toasts the rice, similar to a risotto, and add more flavor). Then, add the tomato/broth mixture, heat through, and then turn the heat to low, cover with a lid, add the saffron/water, and cook for 20 min. Stir frequently. Add the corn and peas, cook another 2-3 min, and cook --- serve.
Monday, August 20, 2012
I am easing back into work life with getting organized, making plans, print out stuff, etc. The last hurray of vacation was a trip to Portland yesterday, I was finally in the mood for it, driving on a sunny interstate I-95, with significantly more traffic than usual. Freeport, the closet place to find a Lindt chocolate store, was packed and parking was hard to come by. Portland was emptier, probably everyone was at the beach and a short trip to Trader Joes revealed: California black figs are back! Yeah! They made it immediately into today’s lunch salad, together with some TJ grape tomatoes, and home-cooked chickpeas and greens from the farmers market.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Today is the last day of my vacation. It was another staycation but the weather was so-so half of the time, and I could not come up with any new things to do. Ok, I came up with ideas but then I was too lazy to execute or the weather did not play. It was one of these vacays that are characterized by laying low on a chaise (or couch), and read a book, and just veg for an extended period of time, which is rare for me. Looks like I also did not have a lot energy to blog either. Gotta go with the flow, right?
I had 2 nice hikes in Acadia, a trip to Belfast. visited one of my favorite cats on Acadia, just to hear he has passed away, hit by a car since I last saw him in May. His brother picked up the slack of greeting any visitor friendly and rolling over right away for a belly rub. I had a serious talk with him, saying “Do NOT cross that street, hear me?” ; he was comfortable in his shady retreat. I was so sad to hear about Scruffy, and I still am.
Bar Harbor and my hike around Jordan Pond was overrun with tourists. Many young families this year, even with tiny infants, taking the 2h round trip around the lake, balancing on the elevated trail on one side of the lake, and the wait at the Jordan pond lawn restaurant was too long for my hunger. So, no popovers this year, just a sandwich from the JP store. Oh well. Good for the economy, right?
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Finally, a rainy day interrupting my summer staycation. Time to catch up on home errands and some blogging. August fills me with a sense of light melancholy as in “this is the last month of summer”. The last month of summer break, of searing hot temperatures, long days without a chill in the morning, summer as it should be. The garden is in full bloom and the various squash plants take over everything. The first home-grown cherry tomatoes, the first ever home-grown radicchio salad which looks more like art than the red radicchio I know from the store. Also, my first home-grown kuri winter squash is doing well and starts to look like the red ones from the farmers market. This plant, grown from a single seed, saved from a kuri squash I bought last fall at the FM, is making its way across the garden. Ah, August.