There is no denying it, fall is around the corner. We moved on to tomatoes, crisp apples and the first pumpkins at the farmers market. In a while there will only be all kinds of pumpkins and mostly root vegetables. Cheese production will be closed until next year. But then, there are also local melons, yellow and red watermelons, honeydew melons, and all the hot peppers are ready. It is my favorite time of the year at the farmers market.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
I am glad the storm has passed, and I am grateful we were mostly spared from its impact, i.e. power outages, and downed trees or flooding. Not everyone was so lucky. Today, the sun shines again, a few roads are closed due to fallen or half-fallen trees and everyone is cleaning up. Neatly stacked cut tree limbs along the roadside, blue-washed shiny sky and birds chirping. Life is back to normal.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
It is rainy today, and the wind has picked up, bending the tall birches in my backyard almost to the floor when gusts slosh through the garden. I hope it is soon over with; by tonight probably. In my worst case scenarios it all looked a lot more dramatic, but 2 days of following Irene on the weather channel and one day of actually Irene has kind of saturated my interest in this hurricane. Enough already.
I am also getting tired of being cooped up indoors and I think I need to have a long run on the treadmill soon. As for eats, mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette, and a portion of cold pre-cooked spaghetti from the stash (in case the power goes out) with the still chilled avocado arugula pesto.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Today felt like deja vu. Instead of hunting down an AC unit I was looking for a small generator to serve as a backup for the sump pump. But, alas, me thinking I am early and well prepared (hey, it is still sunny and hot outside) I was again behind the curve, and all units were sold out everywhere. Ok, Home Depot had a new delivery of $999 generators, which basically provide backup electricity for a whole house. But besides the price my house is not set up for a generator like this. So, it was out. I found rechargeable large battery packs, but the 800 Watts one that would work for the sump pump were also sold out. Eventually I found a battery-powered backup sump pump at Lowes, but the unit was 250, the battery sold separate for 130, and the whole things had to be installed with the current sump pump. Where to get a plumper on a hurricane weekend?!
So, there are 2 things to do: playing sump pump myself and praying that the power does not go out for too long. Secretly thinking that maybe it is all media hype again and the worst of the hurricane might go down over a hunkered down NYC and Boston.
To cheer myself up I headed to the Folk festival, listened to some cajun and Japanese music, took in the marvelous smells of a mishmash of ethnic foods, and ate some smoked cajun salmon on a stick. I might enjoy the rest of the sunny day under the last umbrella left on my deck and the last 2 chairs. Irene, please play somewhere else..
Friday, August 26, 2011
Today was a gorgeous day. Overcast and cool in the morning, but sunny, splendid and warm in the afternoon and evening. I flocked, like many others, to the American Folk Festival in Bangor. It is hard to believe that in a few days we should be assaulted by Irene, at least that is what the governor and the weather channel say. The folk festival is cut down to 2 days thanks to Irene, and I guess the lawn furniture and plants are coming in early this year. I even bought a new flashlight today.
I am a bit worried that I don’t have a battery backup to my sump pump and if electricity goes I won’t be just out of that seasonal frozen summer squash and sweet corn but the basement might flood again. Indoor swimming pool? Worst case: that beautiful, several hundred year old tree in the back of my house might actually flatten the house.
Please, Irene, take a right turn.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
(Since I made several changes to the recipe I rewrote it including the changes. The photo is the original. Hope it pins your interest, too.)
(Makes about 4-5 servings)
- 2 large yellow summer squash
- 1 ear fresh sweet corn
- 1 white onion
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 fresh red hot chile
- 1/2 olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 ts vegetable bouillon
In a 5-quart heavy pot heat the oil and add the onion, garlic and chile. Stir and saute for 1-2 min. Now add the corn and summer squash and cook for another 2 min on medium heat. Add the water, the bouillon and the cob, and simmer the mixture until squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes, with the lid on. Discard the cob.
Using an immersion blender puree the mixture in the pot (otherwise wait until the soup is cooled and puree in food processor, but only when cooled!!). Season the soup with salt and pepper if needed. Serve soup and garnish with cilantro, sour cream and a drizzle of olive oil.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Lately, I added my first speed shorts, a ta-ta-tamer and the beautiful loosely fitting Silver Bullet Sleeveless Tech. All dressed up running with Katy Perrys’ Fireworks, I felt like running like a gazelle. A lululemon styled gazelle.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
R. had manage to catch some fish in the lake, and so there was dinner. A perch and a bass, carefully prepared and simply steamed by being wrapped in aluminum foil on the BBQ. With it came potatoes wrapped in foil and cooked in the camp fire with a charcoal crust and soft on the inside, sweet corn and steak. The setting could not be better: a lake view and sunset.
Friday, August 19, 2011
I’ve been slacking with posting lately, but these are the heydays (or last hurray?) of summer and there are just more interesting and important things to do than cooking and food: getting out and exploring, going swimming, visits from friends, going to the coast and other good things. It is also the time when the farmers market produces an abundance of vegetables and it feels like vegetable paradise. Ah, summer.
I leave you with the wonderful mixed greens that I get from the farmers market, which is a wonderful mix that includes bib salad and even flower petals.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The other day, I put on my new keens and headed out for a hike to Acadia National Park. It was a hot day, and the airy Keens were just the ticket.
After the hike it was time for some food. This time I headed to Southwest Harbor, which is also located on Mount Desert Island, but it is a smaller community, nevertheless with similarly good food and some shopping like Bar Harbor. Signs at the light poles all over the island announced the SW Harbor Art Fair, so SW Harbor it was. To grab some food, I went to the Sawyer market, which is an old fashioned market with hardwood floors and top notch food, a cheese bar and large wine collection. The store’s back area serves as the produce department in the summer, and is housed under a tent.
After some cherries and a slice of pizza from Little Notch Bakery, right next to Sawyer market, it was time for art. Local artists exhibited their work and there were quite a few pieces I liked (but could not afford and so only photographed). (The photo to the right is from the Bar Harbor Art show, on the same day).
After some hiking, food AND art it was time to testdrive the Keens during some clam digging in the low tide. Summers in Maine are just great. Messy, muddy Keens, not so much.
Monday, August 15, 2011
I scratched my head.
Investing in a new set of storage jars? No. Then I realized that you can actually buy chalkboard paint! Genius II. I scoured Lowes, and they have their own Valspar brand chalkboard paint, but there are also other brands out there.
Paint and brush in hand, I just needed, well, chalk. Today, it seems like you have to get it at a teachers’ specialty store because everyone else has crayons and dry-erase, but, alas there is always the artist’s store with chalk colors.
The project was easy: paint the jar, and keep on writing.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Best beet salad ever:
- 3 large raw red beets
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- juice of 1 lemon
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 oz sheep’s milk feta (or any full-fat feta) – since it is salty, there is no extra salt needed
- 2 TB of dried or fresh dill
Cool the beets. Then cut the beets into small dice. In a blender make the dressing: add the Greek yogurt, the dill, garlic cloves, feta, pepper and lemon juice and blend. Pour over the beets and gently mix. Cool so that the flavors can combine. Serve in a wrap, on a sandwich, as a side or a salad. But in any case, enjoy!!
Beet salad with mache, blue cheese crumbles, and mint pistachio pesto.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Since I had a late start the kale smoothie did not hold me over anymore at 3pm, and a Trenton bridge lobster came before biking this time.
I headed to Eagle lake to bike to Jordan Pond again. Since it is currently high noon of the tourist season instead of eating popovers and drinking coffee in style and on a bench with umbrella and table I sat on the lawn with an ice cream.
Yes, napping after a hilly bike ride sounded about right.
I biked back to Eagle lake and took the long route along the lake instead of heading straight back to the parking lot. Clouds come in from the ocean and it became significantly cooler, chilly even if dressed only in an exercise tanktop.
Back in Bar Harbor, I found the brandnew bakery, the Little Notch Bakery, a cute store with a large community table and free wi-fi, pizza, sandwiches and pastries. Nice!
Dinner was at a beautiful gem that I just recently discovered: the Lompoc Cafe. It is off the main shopping roads, quieter, with a bocce lane, large trees, outdoor seating and with about the best and freshest local fare I have found so far in Bar Harbor.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Dried basil is not really where it’s at, but fresh basil can be very expensive in the winter in Maine. This is a great way to preserve fresh basil and use it later for pasta sauces. There is almost no difference in taste between fresh and frozen basil.
How to freeze basil.
Special equipment: ice cube tray, sharp knife, freezer
First, cut the basil leaves off the stems and layer about 8 leaves on top of each other and roll them up like a cigar.
Next, take a sharp knife and start from the top of the rolled basil leaves and cut the basil roll into thin stripes or ribbons (technical term: chiffonade the basil).
Typically, one of these small piles can be stuffed into a single ice cube tray pocket. Proceed with the basil until the ice cube tray is filled.
Now, pour a bit of cold water into each individual ice cube tray pocket; once the water is frozen, it will preserve the basil and keep it in place.
Place the tray in the freezer until the water is frozen solid. At this point the ‘basil cubes’’ can be removed from the tray, and stored as individual cubes in a large ziplock back in the freezer.
A ‘basil ice cube’ can be added to a pasta sauce without thawing. The water cooks off and the basil cooks with the sauce like fresh basil. Enjoy!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
- 1 cup non-flavored Greek yogurt
- 1 eggwhite
- a few drops of liquid stevia
- 1/4 ts vanilla extract
- 1 TB all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup fresh Maine blueberries (the small ones)
- almond slivers
Bake (in toaster oven) at 400F for 25min. Let cool, and serve.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Yesterday was my first official day of vacation. Since I am staying home, it is more of a ‘staycation’ and playing tourist in my own state. Having an accent and clicking away with a camera constantly comes in handy to playing this part perfectly ;-)
Yesterday, I was in the mood to just take a drive on the rural coastal Maine country roads, which curve from small town to small town, private, with blistering heat and shaded by large trees along the roads, and not a tourist in sight. For a moment there it felt like being in Provence in August.
I stopped to pay tribute to the annual blueberry crop, had a lobster roll in Penobscot, my favorite place where only locals end up at, sitting on a large rock on the ocean, and heading over to Blue Hill, a fairly private and artsy community. Good days!Penobscot History Society's open house at the General Store, and the 1-room school house.