Friday, March 30, 2012

Some La La Log Cabin Quilts, almost finished

 For a month or so now I have been meeting once a week with some
novice quilters who took Alewives Girl's  La La Log Cabin Quilt Workshop in
January,  to teach them how to put their tops together into a quilt

They have been excited and very diligent.
Just look at these beauties!!
Talk about getting your mojo going

Oddly enough, the one complaint I have with myself during
this year of pause is that I haven't been in my quilting room near enough.

There always seems to be so much else to do...

Seriously, this needs to stop.

Why is it so hard to make time for my creative passion?

Each time I am with these ladies they remind me how important it is
to feed these needs.

One more thing:

I found these comments on the Lily's Cafe Facebook page the other day and was
so pleasantly surprised.  They are talking about my first cafe in Cincinnati, and that
was over 16 years ago.

It reminds me to tread thoughtfully, we really do leave footprints

"Kyra used to own the Production Line in Oakley (Cincinnati Ohio). It was, hands down, consistently the best restaurant ever. Eclectic, fresh, local, fantastic. Every time I drive past, I miss them. I keep plotting a way to plan a Maine vacation that will include at least one stop at Lily's."

    •  "Not much of a plot. We're all ready to go. I miss the production line too you know."

                                                      Have a wonderful weekend  and thank you for all the kindness


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Starting Seeds

 Unlike my master gardener friend who brought me these lovely little basil
seedlings to transplant (and actually ensure that I have some to plant) yesterday, I approach
the whole seed starting thing with fear, worry and disbelief.  I know, I know, I am working
on ridding myself of these negative feelings, but you don't understand - I garden from 
the seat of my pants.

This year I was so proud of myself for actually ordering the seeds early enough to
get what I wanted that I neglected to make sure I had adequate seed starting 
apparatuses on hand.

This is where the positive words MUST come in, like
breathe, focus and believe. 

Since this isn't Martha Stewart Living and failure is acceptable I will share with you 
what I ended up doing and we'll see what happens

I had saved some toilet paper rolls after reading some tip in a magazine, but not nearly enough.
I had some peat pots left from last year, but wanted to put the lovely basil in those, so
what would a chef who loves to bake have oodles of? 

Old Muffin Tins!!  And Paper Liners!!

As soon as I saw all those tins ready for batter I was instantly at ease.

With another tip, from a local farmer, I had bought this, said to be, amazing potting mix
from Vermont Compost that has everything you need in it, even nutrients, I went with 
the Fort Lite variety, but it was tough to choose. 

After adding water to the potting mix I had just the right consistancy to fill the cups with 
what seemed like cake batter - more joyful comfort, which always ushers in
confidence and empowerment 

Working in my new little space in the basement I planted 5 different types of tomatoes, eggplant,
musk melon, basil, summer savory, mint, greek oregano, lemon balm, parsley and probably something
else that I have forgotten.  

Very exciting.

Here are my little "chocolate cupcakes" all planted, labeled and sitting
 on the top of my cookstove where the
pilot lights will keep them warm enough to germinate. 

I didn't have room for all of them on top, so I put a few trays IN the oven as well
 and left the door a jar.

I crack myself up.

Here's to believing!!
 Keep your fingers crossed for me and enjoy your day

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunger Games and Little Chicken Meatballs

Trendy I am not, eccentric I've been called, but not trendy, so for me
to end up at one of the most "trending" movies of its time was quite an overwhelming
experience.  My sweet little 17 year old cousin took us to the The Hunger Games.


It took 2 hours and few glasses of wine with dinner to get my
heart to beat at its normal rhythm. 

 Now, you have to know that I 
have only a 19" screen t.v. at home which I use to watch movies and football.  

So to be in a huge theater, dead center, thank you Tree, with surround sound, HD
and whatever else they've added in the past years was equivalent to being on a roller coaster
at Six Flaggs.

Along with the story line, setting and deeper premise......
needless to say it prompted some great dinner table conversation.

I'm still not sure how I feel.

On a lighter note, and here is where the eccentric comes in,
I saw a picture of Matzoh ball soup in a magazine and it made me think
of these incredible little turkey meatballs Peter had made one day at Lily's for a
pasta salad out of one of Giada's cookbooks.  Immediately I wanted to 
make a lovely light broth soup with delicious little meatballs in it, spring veggies
a bit of parmesan cheese.

Here's what I came up with.  Very delicious I must say and you'll have extra meatballs left over
that you can make a pasta dish with tomorrow night

Little Chicken Meatballs

1 lb ground chicken (best quality you can afford)
1 cup breadcrumbs ( I used Udi's GF bread)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 large cloves garlic, minced
4 T chopped chives (mine are just coming up in the garden)
2 extra large eggs, whisked to blend
1 3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2-3 T olive oil

Blend all ingredients gently to combine.  Don't over mix or the
meatballs will be tough, so use a gentle hand
form into 1/2 inch meatballs, you should get about 50-55

Heat 2 T oil in desired small pot, add meatballs in batches to brown on all sides
They don't have to be cooked through, you will do that later in the soup.
Set aside when all are browned

If this was a magazine these would be perfect and round, as you can see I don't worry too much about that
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 large rib of celery 1/2" slices (about 1/2 cup)
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2" rounds (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
5 cups best quality chicken stock - really makes a difference in this soup
2 cups water
3/4 cup small pasta (I used Tinkyada GF shells)
3 good size scallions, sliced thinly
1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
25 little chicken meatballs
3 T chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

In the same pot that you browned the meatballs in, heat another T of olive oil, add the onion
carrots and celery and sauté until just getting shiny and softening, 5- 6 minutes.  Add garlic slices and
cook another minute, pour in stock and water and season to taste.  My stock isn't salted so I
needed a good teaspoon or more of salt to start.
Bring to boil and add pasta, cook for 8 minutes.
Add scallions, spinach and meatballs, simmer another 3 minutes or so until
spinach is wilted and meatballs are cooked through.
Stir in parsley and parmesan cheese.
Season again with salt and pepper to taste if necessary

Eat pronto, you want it fresh and light.
Serves approximately 4 people

Enjoy! And,  "May the odds be ever in your favor"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Home again, home again, boom chitty boom

Seven days of fun in the sun with family and friends, very nice.
But I am SO glad to be home.
Isn't it funny.  I spent my teens and 20's trying to get as far away from
home for as long as possible, searching for that perfect spiritual - place connection.
In my 30's I found it, this little space in Maine and now I go away (which I know is healthy)
and long to return soon after a few days have passed

I must admit that a forced week of relaxing has chilled me out and I
was able to source some great gems in the busy, expensive, concrete jungle
Florida seems to be striving for.

I had one of the BEST massages I have ever had - in one of the prettiest spaces,
 from Martina Muller at My Body TLC
which was just around the block from us. 

A farm to shelf grocery store and cafe, Food and Thought really saved the day
and some great Nia classes with Amy at Beyond Motion helped
me to not pack on too many pounds from all the wine with dinner every night

Being that it doesn't get light in Naples until @7:30am and I wake up around 4:30am
there was built in quiet time that I couldn't really argue with.
I read "Born to Run" and went out and bought a second pair of Vibrums as soon as
the stores opened.  Don't these look like Panda Claws?
I love them

I wore them on a great hike through the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.  Off the beaten path
and part of the everglades, we saw tons of wildlife and experienced a 
beautiful, graceful Florida.  No bugs yet either. Score!

Time with my dearest friends and an uninterrupted Renee is the
one thing I hate to leave.

To ease the pain and for one last celebration, we ate at 
Market 17 in Ft. Lauderdale.  A meal truly worth raving about.

We were so touched by a visit from the Executive Chef, Lauren,
to our table.  25, talented, humble, curious and excited about
her path I wish her the best.

It was the perfect mirror image for me to know that the light she had in her
eyes had dimmed in mine in the cafe.  A perfect affirmation for this year of pause.

I hope you have been enjoying yourselves - I missed writing to you

Enjoy your day!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Asian Noodles

For over a year now my go to food in my pantry has been these
awesome soba noodles made with sweet potato and buckwheat
from King Soba

Stealing some wise words well written on the package
"the humble noodle is one of the most nourishing fast foods on earth..
these unusual noodles contain sweet potato -a source of dietary fiber and
antioxidants, and buckwheat - a gluten free plant which is a good source of
protein with a low glycemic index.

And, in my own words - they taste awesome!
Great texture, meaty bite, quick and inexpensive.

This recipe is a variation of the cold noodles we make at Lily's
I use far less oil and have added a few veggies.  

Honestly, most of the time if I'm hungry and in a hurry I don't 
bother chopping the veg and just use garlic, ginger and scallions

You can take this basic recipe and go anywhere you wish with 
ingredients, technique..... make it yours.

I 9oz package of noodles, cooked as directed on package and run
under cold water, set aside

3-4 scallions, white and greens parts, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
pinch or more of red pepper flakes

Optional -
diced red pepper, carrots, green beans, asparagus, sautéed cabbage, etc.

3-4 T oil - I use grape seed or sunflower
(remember that canola is full of GMO's)

1-2 T sesame seeds, if you have them on hand and feel like adding them

2 T tamari

Place prepared noodles in a bowl and add scallions and veggies, if using

In a medium skillet, heat the oil and add ginger, red pepper flakes and sesame seeds (if using)
when ginger is sizzling and fragrant, doesn't take long, add the garlic and tamari, swirling pan
to combine and remove from heat - you don't want to burn your garlic -
Pour over noodles and toss to coat.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

A room worthy of it's table

I have been "driven h'er hard" as they say around  here
and my back kitchen at Lily's is pretty much completed

I feel such inner peace when everything is in it's place

I painted the drawers, etc. Kendall Charcoal - Ben Moore HC 166
Every piece of furniture in here is from a yard sale or auction

These two pieces I bought waaaay long ago and finally have
a place for them in Maine.  Storage, storage, storage

I forget how much color books lend to a situation

Look how these cup pulls shined up. 

 I bought this from a very elderly gentleman
in Brooklin, years back.  He had made it out of old
wood and blueberry boxes

 I bought 8oz canning jars to put my spices in and
finally used the label maker someone gave me as a gift
during my first renovation 

 More color, and so functional!

I found this at TJ Maxx.  Isn't it sweet!
Bird seed's by the back door


 Doesn't it sing? 
 Ready for my blueberry pancake breakfast.

I feel satisfied today, and very grateful

Enjoy your weekend. 


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Raw Brownie

I am continually filled with wonder by my ability to fill a day up
to the brim with activity.  Whether this is a quality or a problem is
still yet to be decided.  I knew, as I approached my year of pause, that
without the cafe to blame, I would have to take full
responsibility for my overachieving ways.  

This week began on Sunday at 4am (really 3am because of the friggin
time change) as I woke to go to the auction.  I scored well and arrived home
tickled with my days purchases just in time to get ready for 5 dinner guests at 6pm.

I had cooked all the day prior, so just had to do the finishing touches - the
party ended with everyone full and spent around 10pm.

Monday morning Renee and I were on the road to Portland for a wine seminar by 9am.
Arriving home at 8pm I readied myself for bed and a little reading before
setting the alarm to wake up at 5am to work out before going to the High School 
to teach 20 kids how to make potato salad.

 A wonderful time spent, the 
kids were great, and ate almost 10 pounds of Lily's potato salad
all by themselves. 

 I then rushed off to Ellsworth for a design meeting at 1pm.

On the way I stopped at Old Ackley Farm to pick up eggs for my
upcoming pancake breakfast.  As I was greeted by this posing rooster, warm sunshine and 
the lush quiet of nature I stopped to take a breathe.  

I am SO enjoying all of this, but aren't I supposed to be practicing 
slow deliberate movements?  Practicing quiet unburdened moments of time
in my home to sew and contemplate.  

I want both!!  OMG, do you think I'll figure this out in a year?

I would like to pay forward a wonderful post made by alewives girl
yesterday by giving you this slightly tweaked recipe of a raw brownie I discovered on
yet another great blog My New Roots written by Sarah Britton. 
 Sarah says these will change your life.  I know they have enriched mine.

Dates are in season kids and they make these brownies moist and delicious.
1 1/2 cups pecans
1/2 cup almonds
1 cup natural cacao (coco) powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cups medjool dates, pitted

Place the pecans and almonds in the bowl of a food processor and process until
nuts are a fine meal and just begin to release their oils, don't go too long or you will make nut butter
Add coco powder and salt, pulse to blend.
With the machine running add the dates, one at a time through the feed tube of the
food processor.  You should end up with a moist crumbly dough that easily holds together 
when pressed
Press this mixture into a pan of your choice.  I use an 8x8 for a nice thickness.
Place in the fridge or freezer until ready to serve.

I keep them in the freezer to make them easy to remove from the pan, but like
to leave them out at room temp for 15 minutes before eating them.

Enjoy! (And thanks Rhea)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blueberry Pancake Breakfast

It is maple syrup time!!
To celebrate,  Lily's House is hosting a Blueberry Pancake Breakfast
Saturday, April 7th from 8am -11am
Pancakes, fresh syrup from Carding Brook Farm,
Bacon, Maple Baked Beans, 44 North Coffee,
and other surprises

A slight variation on our traditional Maple Fest
I am sure it will be a wonderful celebration of Spring.

I hope some of you can join us.

There will also be jugs of syrup, bags of coffee and
frozen organic blueberries available to purchase for your pantry.

 I am off to Portland for a wine seminar today.

  Went to an auction yesterday and found the perfect cupboard for
the next kitchen I'm working on and these killer wicker chairs.
I'll bring you up to date this week.

Enjoy your Monday everyone.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pork Belly and Painting

Oooooooo!  This color makes me want to kick off my shoes, dig my toes
into a thick shag rug, drink champagne and listen to Madeleine Peyroux.
Gray Owl Ben Moore HC52

Just so you don't think I'm sitting here idle while Renee paints I'd like to show you the Asian pork belly I am preparing for a dinner gathering tomorrow night - 

Maybe I'll get champagne after all!
Hope you are enjoying your weekend

Friday, March 9, 2012

Works in progress

I didn't blog yesterday because I was painting at Lily's for 8 hours!!
I came home with a headache and cranky.  Needless to say
I LOVE to pick out the colors etc. but, not my favorite
thing to do, putting it on the wall.
Thank God for Renee and her love of the "flow of the brush"

Here is some more of that sunny kitchen.  These are not staged shots, but
a work in progress, so don't judge the distractions.

The tile is in, along with the knobs, some artwork
and the owners

Doesn't the tile from Island Interiors just sing?  It brought the whole space together
and really brings in the earth and water views from outside
the big windows.

I have to say that the space we started with was very 
uncomfortable, in both spacial and spiritual proportions.
But now, they have to ask me to leave.  I just want to sit on the
couch and have them bring me tea while I read my book.

 Now, on to this space - can't wait!

Enjoy your day

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Charlies Soap and my Laundry room

Late last summer all of Renee's clothes started to smell moldy.
Of course, my first line of defense was to blame it on her.
Her job was too messy, her clothes were being put away damp,
and being the kind person she is, she even bought a little dehumidifier
for her closet.  Nothing worked.

  So, then I decided it was the laundry machine.
I called Mr. Laundry himself, Barrett Gray from Boyce's Motel to
get a good recommendation on a new brand and he suggested
I try a different detergent.  

The thought of discarding my lovely packaged, sweetly scented,
made in small batches in NH, laundry powder and replace it
with Tide was just too much for me to bear.

Thankfully, that weekend a bunch of us took a boat ride over 
to North Haven to eat at Nebo.
  On the boat ride home, I shared my laundry woes under the canopy of
a full moon and starlit sky. 
 From the bow came a voice, and it said
Wendee and Todd had been turned on to it by
friends for washing baby diapers.  They said it 
was all natural and they now used it for everything.

Being humble, they didn't tell me that it would change my life.
And it has.  It is AWESOME! No mold, no stains,
not even scented, but your clothes just smell so CLEAN
that they smell good.

They even have an all purpose cleaner that I use now for everything.
I used 4 bottles of it to clean Lily's when I closed and the
grease just rolled off.

Check it out, really

Happy laundry day!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

This fiddlehead pattern flatware is total vintage Pottery Barn.
It was a requested gift from my parents, oh so many years ago, when I first had 
a few rooms of my own.

Setting the table last night for a guest,  I was stunned with the 
realization of how far I've come and how very close I am to where I started.

Anyway, the soup....

The hardest part of making this soup is
not eating all the cauliflower from the tray
after you have roasted it.

No cream, no potatoes, just thick and naturally 
creamy rustic goodness in about 30 minutes


1 head of cauliflower
 olive oil
1 small to medium onion, depending on how big your cauliflower is, chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 -4 cups Chicken or vegetable stock
1+ teaspoons dried dill or 1/4 cup fresh, chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Good olive oil for drizzling 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Cut cauliflower in quarters, remove core and break into florets

place cauliflower on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil,
sprinkle lightly with sea salt and spread into a single layer

Roast until golden brown and crisp tender, about 20 minutes.
I toss the florets and turn the tray after the first 10 minutes in the oven.

This is how I usually serve cauliflower as a side, snack or appetizer.
At the cafe I would serve a pile of it with a dipping sauce, like a pesto or curried mayo
Really, taste it, it's so GOOD.  But just one!

While the cauliflower is roasting, heat 1 T of olive oil in a sauté pan, add
onion and sauté until shiny and golden, add garlic and continue to cook
until garlic is softened, being careful with your heat that the garlic doesn't
get brown. 
Add your roasted cauliflower, 2-3 cups stock, you don't want to completely cover the cauliflower,
the dill and a bit of salt to taste.  Bring this to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for about
20 minutes to mingle the flavors. 

Puree the soup completely or puree half the solids and add them back in for
a chunkier version.  If soup is too thick, thin with more stock or water.

Taste for salt, add your black pepper - a pinch of red pepper flakes would be good here too - and adjust the dill if you want more.

Serve warm with a drizzle of a nice fruity olive oil