Looks great

everything looks wonderful! food and the backbone as well! I will let Joe’s mom and sister know about your blog, they love to cook and create too. I have fmaily from county Cork as well, the Creedens and the Corcorans. So green over there!

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Busy Week-end

It was a confusing food week-end.  We kept hopping around about what did we want for this or that.  Paul made a beautiful avocado salad for himself; some fine food styling; a little tiny bit competitive.  Perhaps cause the weather was so nasty he was feeling feisty cooped up around here in Grey Maine.  Anyhow, he enjoyed it while I baked a quiche. On Saturday Morning I went to my third lesson in Mahjong.  Gee, you have to really have your thinking cap on when you learn this one.  It’s hard but interesting.  Just trying to remember all the quirks and passes, etc.  I think you need to be a “rocket scientist” or a crazy person with a ton of time.  Which am I?  Stubborn, I am going to learn to play! After three or four games my brain was toast so I stopped by for some comfort food materials at Triple G Farm and came away with three dozen eggs…beautiful, fresh ones.  As I was clueless about what to make for dinner a quiche came to mind.  I do like them; they are easy, pretty, yummy and you can use just about anything in the house.  I had frozen Maine lobster in the freezer downstairs.  It probably was not a great choice as after being frozen it gets “watery” but I squeezed and squeezed; looked good, tasted great just a bit wet.  I’m going to include a nice pastry recipe for the crust.  I always made my crust by hand, cutting in the butter but when I had the cafe along came Marj with a much faster method done in the cuisinart.

Pastry Crust – Makes two or one large one for a Galette

2.5 Cups flour – Usually I use King Arthur Unbleached but of late I’ve been using their pastry flour

½ tsp. salt

2 Sticks unsalted butter

1/3 C. cold water plus 1 tsp. Cider Vinegar

Put the flour, salt & butter in, pulse until it’s fairly chopped up.  Slowly add the water & vinegar; keep pulsing until it starts to pull together.  Scrape out on floured board and mold together to get a smooth ball.  Cut in two, reshape into balls with flat tops.  Wrap lightly in parchment paper and chill while you prepare the pie ingredients. 

With a quiche I roll it out, put grated cheddar on the bottom, then the vegetables like sauteed broccoli or mushrooms & peppers, whatever.  Mix 3 C. half & half or 2 C. milk/1 C. heavy cream, add 4 eggs, whisk, add to pie crust to just about cover the vegetables.  Top with some more cheese.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400 for ½ hour and 350 for another ½ hour or so, depending how deep.  It’s o.k. if it jiggles a bit – it will set up.

If your not using the second crust, wrap in plastic and freeze for later use.  Then it’s really easy as you pop your ingredients

in the frozen crust, and bake.

At Marj’s suggestion we had lunch yesterday at the Brewery in Portsmouth.  Muscles and beer.  Couldn’t have been tastier.  Afterwards we tried to stop at Byrne & Carlson’s

           for a truffle but they were closed so when we got home I made these.  This time they have lots of pistachios; almonds and pepitas.

Future Food

Photos just in….the results of yesterday’s endeavors!  First, we have the cheese round which follows the other pictures of set up.  The round is after it’s been pressed for a few hours.  Next, I cut the piece into cubes….soak in the whey from the cooking process then drain, salt, let sit for a few more hours.  When I put them in jars I fill with filtered water and no more salt.  The recipe calls for 2 lbs. salt….wholly mackerel, no way!  Me heart would be kaput.  One of these is for Ruth.  I just refrigerate it, change the water every few days; add salt if need be but I like it plain.  We have it on salads or I’ll serve it with olives/herbs and olive oil.  It’s nice.  It is time consuming but the fact that you made it yourself makes it taste even better.  I think you savor your food if you grow it, or create it.  Time well spent. 

This next picture is the sauerkraut….waiting to ferment.  Unfortunately it takes 6 weeks in a cool, dark place.  We’ll eat it sooner, I’m sure.  It’s hard to believe that it took 4 lbs. of cabbage to make this.  It seemed like so much when I shred it but apparently it’s just allot of water.

Speaking of cabbage….being Irish and Catholic we went to church every Sunday and being both of those we, of course, went to the cemetery after church and before lunch to say hello to our past family members.  It was a festive occasion.  We’d take flowers and visit with everybody in the place.  It was fun to see the names, dates, descriptions and ornaments others had left.  The Cemetery we went to was St. Patrick’s in Natick, Mass. – I still go. There are allot of memories there.  Nice ones.  It’s changed; the flavor of stones, descriptions, etc. is more graphic so it’s actually kind of sad now.  I stick to my family and the older ones.  Some of our stones just say County Cork….kinda cool.  My husband thinks I’m nuts but when we go to Europe I always check out the cemetery.  You can tell allot about a town and it’s inhabitants by who was there before.  In Italy they have beautiful glass flowers….lots of pictures.  In the Bahamas engravings of boats and my favorite in Hope Town, Abacos….I AM FINE.  That just says it all to me. 

Back to the cabbage part:  I always thought the only way you eat cabbage is boiled with carrots, onion and potatoes so as an adult I never eat cabbage.  You can only have so much of that repetition.  But, recently a German woman in the grocery store suggested sauteing it in butter – OMG it’s fabulous.  I thinly slice it and get the butter almost browned (real hot) then throw it in.  I add onion seed – which is something I get in an oriental food store in Portland; it’s black and tiny.  I also use only organic cabbage – such a nice sweet flavor.  Just toss, toss, toss.  Don’t cook it long.  We can’t get enough of it.  It remains fresh green and slightly crunchy.  A whole different ballgame!  Never mind that pale, slimy ca ca stuff from before.

As to Ireland, from yesterdays post I may have a picture….sadly, us leaving and

worse sad was the plane in the background taking our troops to Iraq – the airport was full, hundreds of kids passing through.  I guess they have to stop in Shannon on the way.  Not too much conversation in the airport, very subdued.  I spoke with a few of the kids but it was too much for all of us. These kids had been home for only a week or two and then were going back for another year!  I cry easily.

Irish Thoughts

I’m worried about Ireland!  My husband has this habit of turning the radio on at 4-4:30 a.m. for the BBC news.  Besides all the calamities going on in the world the Irish situation speaks to my core.  I was in Ireland, for the first time, in October with a friend of mine.  I had promised my mom – a Monahan from Framingham, Massachusetts no less, that I would go to County Cork and see “our people”.  Mom passed away two years ago.  We used to tell ourselves there must be other short people out there.  My Paul is 6’4".  We planned a trip but she was too frail to fly, darn!  She would have loved it.  I did.  Besides driving on the other side of the road which was more than frightening at times, we saw the most amazing country.  Our favorite was driving over “Knock-Me-Down-Mountain” – what beauty.  It had everything you think Ireland is, all in one spot; fields, sheep, bare mountain tops, no cars, tiny thatch homes, winding lanes and vistas like there is no tomorrow.  Patti & I thought we were in heaven.  So, it saddens my heart that so many are leaving as there is no work and they are being taxed to death.  Families are being split up to follow employment.  These Irish are close people.  Lovely, lovely people.  When I was young some of our relatives still had the brogue, my grandfather certainly with his Ta Ta Carla …a happy memory!  So, in their honor and thoughts I started some Irish food today.  I’m making Shredded cabbage/apple & caraway into Sauerkraut (Irish & German (dad).  More pictures tomorrow when it’s setting up.  And, Cheese – It’s Feta which is Greek  but still it’s farm cheese as the Irish made I’m sure.  I made it with cows milk as sheep’s milk (which is ) is hard to find.  I love to make it with Goats milk but the person I buy from breeds goats; the moms are hard at feeding their babies so getting two gallons in tough this time of year.  Finished product pictures tomorrow. 

Crisp, Clear, Sunny, Birds Chirping….so why the snow?

Earlier this week I made a scrap soup, only this one was made with quite a bit of fresh uncooked vegetables; which we’ve been eating forever now.  Delicious.  I’ve been making this kind of soup since the early 70’s when we were really, really broke.  We would save our leftover scraps (from the plate) in a bucket in the freezer then on Friday night I would make a soup from it.  It was incredibly flavorful and interesting trying to identify which meals they were from…no waste, saved money.  So, the soup you see here is just that with even a meal of pasta carbonera thrown in.  I cooked the veges. first, added turkey stock (cause I had it) and chicken stock (cause I had even more of that); when done I turned it off, added the pasta dish and just let it sit.  I didn’t want the noodles to recook because then they would breakdown and be kinda unattractive.

The peelings go in my kitchen compost box then out to the garden composter.  I usually have a hard time getting it watered but it’s been great this winter as for every box of compost I throw in; I add a box of snow.  And, it’s already turning to dirt.  Great garden in my future.

In between my stuff I sat down and read Food & Wine Mag. there is a recipe by Elizabeth Falkner….her cafe in San Francisco is Citizen Cake and Orson.  I love that creative name!  She publishes a recipe for Moroccan-Date Bonbons.  Pictured below.  These are too too fabulous.  Just about the yummiest snack type thing I’ve had in a long time and good for you.  You’ll have to get the mag. just for that recipe or write me.  It has the most interesting things in it that you really can taste individually: 3 kinds of nuts; kalamata olives (for salt); ginger, cardamon, orange flower water.  My friends Mark and Sylvia were over last night so I did a taste test with them…..pretty sharp, they just about identified all the flavors.  Usually when you eat something it kind of all blends….this is distinct.  So, I suggest – make this one.