Thursday, May 31, 2012

A One Pan Meal

I have been harboring a secret.

I have had this weird pan in my foot for about 2 months 
and I didn't want anyone to tell me that I couldn't
wear my Vibram 5 Fingers anymore, so I
just kept ignoring it.

Coupled with the usual weird twisty feeling I always have in my knee and
a tightness in my hip, my acupuncturist convinced me to go see
Steve Curtin, a well known Osteopath in Blue Hill

Guess what?!  It isn't the shoes!!
My whole right side is twisted from standing funny for EVER
in restaurants.  And.  He can fix me!!

I came home elated, tired and hungry.
I wanted a really quick, easy, delicious comforting meal

I had defrosted some chicken breasts that morning,
 had some sweet potatoes, 
a few shallots (could easily have been red or white onion)
 and broccoli all in the house,

so I layered them in a roasting pan, seasoned them
with salt, pepper and some rosemary - I used two sprigs of
fresh, but you could use 1 teaspoon of dried -
 I drizzled it all with a bit of olive oil

Then, I sprinkled the chicken breasts with salt, granulated garlic and a bit of dried thyme
I browned them nicely in a skillet (whoops that is technically two pans)
and laid them on top of the veggies

To add a bit of moisture to the pan as it would roast I 
threw about a 1/2 cup of white wine into the skillet and did a bit of deglazing.
It could have been water or even orange juice, whatever you have on hand.

I drizzled this over everything, hit it with a few splashes of red wine vinegar
 and popped it into a 375 degree oven

I basted it every 10 or 15 minutes to make sure everything was
staying moist and cooked it a total of 35 minutes, until the potatoes
were tender and the chicken temped at 165 degrees.

I let it sit for 15 minutes and voile, dinner was on the table
One pan, lots of flavor and not a ton of effort.

And, my foot doesn't hurt today


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"The" Weekend

A nap on the screened in porch, quilting, sewing, a wonderful long
phone conversation with my best friend in Florida, dinner out in
my newly made dress,  freshly caught halibut on the grill, Oh My Gosh!

I know and truly appreciate that people will miss Lily's Cafe
this summer, and have all winter, but the peace in my soul
is overwhelming

The first thing Theresa said on the phone was, "this is the THE weekend,
how do you feel not working?"

Very intuitive of her, because it wasn't until Sunday, as I came in from 
the backyard onto the freshly opened screened porch that
the freedom of not waiting on hundreds of people every day
all summer really hit me

Instead of directing 9 employees, preparing the best food possible
 and trying to perceive the needs of many,
I was sitting in this lovely space, sewing the binding on a quilt
and listening to the birds

I also had a chance to revisit some older work as I made a pillow runner to match
this quilt I had sold several years ago.  Isn't it fun to see what you have done with some
distance between you and when you completed it?

This pattern is from the book Simple Start, Stunning Finish by Valerie Wells

The colors remind me of sea glass and pure summer and the bed it lays on looks
right out over the water - pretty cool!

I pulled this old hand made beauty out, repaired a ripped block,
 gave it a good soaking in Oxyclean and hung it in the sunshine to dry

My cats who have taken to eating their food 
outside of their bowls, now have new little placemats made from oil cloth
I picked up at Fiddleheads while we were in Belfast

Here is the dress I made to wear to dinner.  I just hope I didn't
look like the tablecloth! 

I'm addicted to this simple shift pattern. 
 I seem to modify it each time I make one, and just started 
 curving in the waist a bit so it isn't so sack like.

I need all the help I can get! 

Well, I find myself filled with love, teary and oh so grateful
for the time I have given myself to fall in love with life again
and the magic of summer in Maine

Here's to all of you!

 I hope you had a great start to the season as well,

Friday, May 25, 2012

Yes, we have no tahini

When I told Renee that I was headed over to mow
Lily's this morning she said, "your crazy, the only good day 
to mow was yesterday"

I'm really not sure what that meant, but I had three
hours of intimate yard time - did I really write that about
mowing 2 acres of lawn? -
to think about it

I've decided that I live in a Ruth Moore novel

Anyway, something else I was thinking about was my book club
meeting yesterday and how much everyone seemed to enjoy 
the hummus I made.
Since it is a party weekend I thought the recipe might come in handy

Tahini is one of those things that always seems to sit in my pantry
for ever, then when I find a need for it, I've just thrown it away
because it had sat there forever.
So, even with Sarah Britton's recent, very romantic, blog post about it
I have admitted to myself that I don't like it very much

My wonderful Aunt Ethel always made this version of tahini free hummus 
as a tidbit before dinner - I can smell the cukes from her garden that she would
serve with it instead of crackers -

and I have adopted it as my own

Summer Hummus

2 cups cooked or 1 large can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves of garlic, rough chopped
A nice sized handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil - I have never measured it -
Juice of 1 juicy lemon
Sea or Kosher salt to taste

Place the beans, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and salt in the bowl
of a food processor.  Add some olive oil, probably most of the 1/4 cup
and process until nice and creamy, or with a bit of texture, whatever you like
add more oil to get the texture you are looking for
taste for salt

Once you get it down the way you like it, think of folding in artichoke hearts,
or roasting the garlic, or using cilantro instead of parsley.......
So many possibilities!

Mostly, enjoy your weekend everyone,
and thank you.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm in love with something plastic

I am addicted to these Dash and Albert Polypropylene rugs
This one became so stained up, I just soaked it in some
warm water with Charlie's Soap cleaner
and it looked like new

Awesome colors, or lack of, and great designs

They don't fade, stain or wrinkle

Look how this one perks up this dreary basement laundry room
and you just hose it off when it gets dirty!

This one is on our screened porch.  I've spilled wine on it
and it has rinsed right out.
Plus, they are soft on your feet and feel pretty much like cotton

This is one of my favorites, not a Dash and Albert, 
but it is actually hooked like a wool rug
I bought it from a Garnet Hill catalogue last season
I am not convinced it is as easy to clean as the others,
but I'll let you know

That is my excitement for today

I hope you are looking forward to a long weekend
and a kick off of summer

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Monthlies

An unexpected group of women, meet once a month
taking turns cooking an inspired meal,
enjoyed with wine, deep laughter and good honest conversations

There were six of us originally,
 meaning each had a turn to cook and host two times a year.

Upon the decision of one of the group to move back home,
we decided that on her two turns we would go out to eat!

Our first excursion was last weekend, to Rockport, and dinner

at Shepherd's Pie

A cozy restaurant, with a great bar, good local food, well priced wine
 and a warm inviting atmosphere

We started at the bar while we waited for a table and ate
organic french fries and muscles roasted on cedar boughs with lime

We were then seated at a table by the open kitchen with 
a view of the harbor 

A recipe for a wonderful time

We all spent the night at the
 Towne Motel ( a Boyce's wannabe)
in Camden

 Being early risers, at 6am Renee and I walked the empty
streets of this usually bustling tourist town 

I think it is honestly the first time I actually "saw" Camden

It is such a lovely historic town on the coast of Maine
and quite picturesque in its quiet awakening of the day 

I had to throw this picture in here, it's thru the shop window of
Sugar Tool - need to go back there when it is open :0)

We then all headed to Chase's in Belfast of course for breakfast,
happy and socially satiated

Next time, I think we should check out The Lost Kitchen in Belfast
I keep hearing incredible things 


Thank you so much everyone for your kind comments about my blog
I really enjoy writing it and am so grateful that you are willing to share
all this with me

Have a wonderful day,
 I know I am excited about all the potential in mine


Monday, May 21, 2012

Pop Up Dinner Party

About a month ago I bought these awesome wicker chairs at an auction for 
$50.00, I had the cushions from some yard sale years ago, splurged on the pillows
at TJ Maxx and just this week, ordered the lively Dash and Albert outdoor rug
from Dragonfly Dry Goods in Vermont (no shipping fees!)

Then on Monday, I saw this table in a Sundance Catalog for $2200, plus shipping
I showed it to Renee and asked if she thought she could make one - a little bit longer
and little bit narrower

I came home Friday afternoon and this is what I found going on in her shop ~
How awesome is that!  I mean, really.
She got all inspired when she found true 2x4's at the island's very own Barter Lumber Co.

Yes Bob, you are right, it was definitely time for a party!

I knew that Sunday was supposed to be gorgeous so 
I emailed a bunch of people, spur of the moment on Friday evening, and invited them
to a pop up dinner party on Sunday.

 I would supply the wine if everyone brought
a dish to share

 What fun! 
 The food was great, home made gnocchi in tomato sauce, fajitas, quinoa salad, deviled eggs,
and the list goes on....
I made a gluten free strawberry rhubarb crisp that came out
pretty darn good, you will find the recipe below

I thought people would leave when it started to get cold, but
they found quilts or just drank more wine to keep warm!

Everyone laughed and told stories
I am so grateful for friends and the good mingling of energies

One dear friend whispered in my ear last night that he was enjoying me not working
Cheers to that! 

I also love the remnants of good times, especially things left 
by a recent non smoker :-)

We all decided that pop up parties 
were the theme this summer
So do it! and have some fun!

Happy Monday

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (GF)
pre heat oven to 350 degrees

4-5 cups sliced rhubarb
4-5 cups strawberries
2 1/2 T arrowroot powder or 4 T non gmo cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
bit of freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp grated orange peel
pinch of salt
1/2 cup coconut crystals
1/2 cup maple syrup

Stir to combine and spread into a buttered baking dish, approx. 9x13


1 1/2 cups almond meal
1 cup rolled oats
4 T coconut oil - room temp
4 T butter - room temp
1/2 cup honey or 3/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 T chia seeds soaked in 3 T water for about 15 minutes
pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and
process to form a dough
Spread in clumps on top of filling and bake until bubbly all the way
thru and the crust is deep golden brown, approx. 45 minutes


Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Homemade Brats and my new Vent a Hood

See that line of smoke?
That is everything that I used to fill the house with
when I cooked, going straight up and out
so my neighbors can now see and smell my dinner

First time ever in my 47 years of life that I have had
a vented hood in my home kitchen

Needless to say I am very excited

Renee and I have talked about putting one in for years, but
we have a very small kitchen and I couldn't get past 
the idea of that big silver thing jutting out

But, hey! I'm married to a contractor!
We ended up buying the insert and Renee built the
box around it to look a little like the cabinetry,
which then in turn meant that I finally convinced her
to paint the upper cupboards - long story

Anyway, to celebrate I decided to make homemade bratwurst sausages

Bratwurst, when I lived in Cincinnati,  ruled.
They are the white sausages, with green flecks
I don't know what makes them white, but that is
why I make my own

Penzeys Spices sells a Bratwurst Blend spice mix
that is pretty authentic tasting
It makes it really simple to throw these together

Homemade Brats

1 pound of ground pork 
(you can grind it again with your own grinder for a smoother texture if you are so inclined)
1 T Penzeys Spices Bratwurst Sausage Seasoning
2 T minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
(Last night I had some chopped winter savory leftover from Saturday that I threw in too - nice addition)

Mix well, but not too much
I form them into patties, or you can put them into casing for links
Pan fry them, grill them, bake them, whatever you desire,
just enjoy them!

Have a great day

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Nervous Excitement

I awoke this morning at 3am to a torrential downpour and
immediately remembered that I had forgotten to
put my seedlings inside yesterday evening.

They are at Lily's

Donning raincoats and sweatpants, Renee (God love her) and I
headed up to save the poor drowning babies
I think they'll be okay, 
I am supposed to be
hardening them off aren't I?

All this after spending 7 serious hours yesterday with Michele Gower
mulching the gardens at my home

I dumped and she spread.  Holy crap, I've never had
help doing this before and it usually takes me 4 lonely days

It was awesome to have someone to talk to 
and share the load - no pun intended -
I am so grateful

We missed one small garden behind the rock wall and after 
feeding the birds this morning I found myself out there in my
pajamas and a raincoat finishing up

As I rounded the corner to the front of the house, which is
on Route 15,  I ran into two phone guys fixing lines

Why the second looks dudes, haven't you
ever seen someone gardening in the rain in their pajamas?

I seriously crack myself up, but the hard work is done my friends,
the hard work is done.

Okay, so here is where the nervous excitement comes in

#1 ~ the people whom I did the big interior design project for
post titled "A Completed Project" arrive today from D.C.
and will see it for the first time ~ yikes!

And #2 ~ the Seamark Community Arts  Summer Workshop
list just came out, and I am on the schedule, teaching my first
quilting class!!  

Here is the description Holley wrote:

Kyra Alex at Lily’s    
Aug 7&8   9:00 – 1:00   $75 TEENS/ $100 ADULTS

A simple but satisfying way to work with fabrics and design that suits both the complete beginner and the most advanced quilter. Starting with monochromatic color, we slash into them randomly to add bursts of color and design.  No rules, lots of freedom and a wonderful way to use up scraps or odd pieces of things you love, like a linen table cloth or that favorite shirt. A functional size quilt top can happen quickly or you can spend more time on techniques.  Sharing the unexpected with each other is the best part. Open to all levels of experience. Materials list available when you register.

I'm off to my sewing room on this rainy day to do some lighter lifting
Enjoy yours!