Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weather or Not

I live in a small fishing village.
Nothing reminds me of that more than when a storm is headed our way

The signal from the universe to put things to bed for winter
was loud and clear here

So while hundreds of boats were being pulled from the water 
into the shipyard, I tucked my gardens in
and put away all the summer gear 

finding some wonderful surprises along the way

The power went out around 5pm

And I couldn't have been happier

 Cooking on a gas burner by candlelight, 
Sipping some red wine, Listening to stories of Renee's day

A special kind of quiet,
all nestled in, with the rhythms of this island around us.

Gratefully, Sandy was tired by the time she got here.

My heart goes out to all those who felt her full wrath

Take care of yourselves


Friday, October 26, 2012

Fish Cakes with Kale and Potato

I am so pleased with my kale this year -
 last year the leaves were about 2 inches wide and 3 inches long!

They say we may get another "perfect storm" here on Monday,
I'm heading into the garden to harvest what I can

These fish cakes were a real hit the other night at my dinner table
thought I'd share;


3 or 4 cooked filets of Haddock, broken into small pieces
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
1 LARGE bunch of kale
1 large yellow onion, diced (approx. 1 - 1 1/2 cups)
1 carrot, diced (approx. 1/2 cup)
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme 
pinch or more of cayenne pepper 
1 or 2 T of fresh lemon juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 eggs

I had the haddock filets left over from Amber's lunch, that is what prompted this recipe
So if you don't, just bake them off in a 375 degree oven until firm
and let them cool before breaking into pieces

Simmer the potatoes in salted water until tender, mash

Remove the thick stems from the kale, wash and quickly wilt in the water
caught in the leaves in a hot skillet, or blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water,
drain and roughly chop

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet, add the onion and carrot, seasoning lightly with salt
Sauté until tender and starting to brown, add the kale, garlic and re-season with a bit more salt
 Continue to cook until everything is tender

Place the kale mixture and mashed potatoes into a large bowl
Add the fish, paprika, thyme, cayenne, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste
Toss to combine well.

Add the eggs and stir until moist and mixture holds together when pressed

Shape into patties, pan fry in a bit of oil - until deep golden brown on each side

I made tartar sauce to go with....

And have a wonderful weekend


Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Little Less Talking

I've been finding myself a bit tongue tied lately, 
hence the quietness of my blog site

I think I feel a little overwhelmed by all the outside noise
and have been trying to quiet my world down a little

 Selective listening,
Rather than me talking - a huge task for those who know me -

Listen to the kids at school while we cook,
Listen to Amber's needs while learning to run her cafe,
Listen to what people hope for in a quilting class
 ( I teach my first one next weekend)

Listen to my body and spirit while making all these changes.

And then there is the bliss of my life on this wonderful island;

A day at Lily's, open as the Sassy Pumpkin, seeing many faces I have missed

Renee walking into the kitchen in the late afternoon with the best
bouquet ever!  This beautiful head of cauliflower, roots and all,
given to her by a dear friend from her garden

The autumn light and my colorful late lunch,
all jewels from my own backyard 

And the way the late afternoon sun pools in these
rooms I have so graciously been allowed to
call my own for now

Turn off the noise for a moment
and listen to the beautiful murmurs of life around you

I am so grateful

Enjoy your day

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Sassy Pumpkin Project

I have been hired as Director of Mentoring by a local non profit
and have been working for months now to create
a solid program

One of my ideas is an entrepreneurial internship and Amber Jones is my test run

Amber has worked at Lily's the past several summers and 
asked me last spring if she could do her School to Work internship
with me her first semester of her senior year, which began this past September

I offered her a chance to create and operate her own cafe for 6 weeks
at Lily's and she enthusiastically accepted

She decided on a bistro theme and has named it the The Sassy Pumpkin

We made a business plan, forecasted expenses; food, advertising, help, etc.

wrote request letters to local organizations for start up money
had to come up with plan B when we didn't receive a reply - a good reality check -

 wrote her first menu, costed out the food and planned her strategy

 Yesterday was her soft opening

A party of 10 was invited to taste samples of her menu, which she
shopped for on Monday,
cooked for all day on Tuesday after her morning classes
and completed Wednesday before service time

We are a good fit, since Amber is quietly committed to fresh,
 made from scratch food and has really put her
heart into the project

She has developed a signature house salad, that received rave reviews

And loves the idea of making the dessert choices every week!

I find myself really looking forward to what develops in the next six weeks;
watching her ideas take shape, seeing how she feels about it all
as it progresses, the menus she creates...

Our first real paying audience is October 24th, by reservation only
to keep it manageable, and will run every Wednesday from 11:30 - 2  thru November

She put out some beautiful food yesterday, come check it out if you can,
if you can't, I will keep you posted!

Thanks for listening and enjoy your day

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On the Window Sill

'as you are
so will they be'

This phrase was on the window sill in Colleen's kitchen at Old Ackley Farm

I think its stuck in my soul

Enjoy your day

Monday, October 15, 2012

Farm Lunch

We began prepping at Lily's on Friday

Amber scooped and roasted pumpkins for pudding

Chickens were braised

Buns were made for the sandwiches

Not bad for a celiac, huh?

20 lbs of veggies were prepped for 

a wonderful hearty autumn soup


The compost was filled

And to the farm we went on Sunday morning

A chilly rainy day made a cozy time in the green house

Handmade Chai and locally brewed Beer

warmed our spirits

Renee made the whipped cream with much enthusiasm

and everyone ate to their hearts content

well, almost everyone...

Colleen made two infusions,
cranberry maple and lemon balm with rose petals

Everett sang

Ashley decorated

And Farmer Bob and Charlie approved

Happy Monday!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Parsley Pesto

It feels really good to be back in the kitchen again

And in my garden,

 look at this hall of parsley!

and the little snail that came with it
Time to make some parsley pesto to put into the freezer
A real gem for the darker months ahead

 I keep a bowl of it in the fridge and add it to everything
for an instant brightness of flavor

I keep it pretty simple, garlic, pine nuts if you have them -
no big deal if you don't, leave them out-
salt, pepper and olive oil
no cheese

I fill the food processor with cleaned and stemmed parsley
Mine will fit 4 packed cups at a time
 Add 2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, a sprinkle of nuts if using
Process until chopped fine, then with the machine running
I add extra virgin olive oil in a steady stream until I have
a nice paste consistency

Take a final taste for salt and pepper,
divide it into small bowls to freeze, leaving some out
to use immediately in anything - like scrambled eggs - yummy


By the way, this Sunday I will be at Old Ackley Farm in Blue Hill, ME
serving an organic lunch that I will prepare using all the goodies from the farm

 The menu will look something like this:

Farmer's Hearty Vegetable Soup

Cider Braised Pulled Chicken Sandwich
on a homemade bun with caramelized onions, winter squash puree and spicy relish

Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with fresh dill

Sliced end of the season Heirloom Tomatoes
with olive oil and sea salt

Pumpkin Pudding with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

An Herbal Tea of Colleen's choice

Maybe we'll see you there  
Call the farm to reserve tickets 374-5919

More soon,

Monday, October 8, 2012

Creative Time

The theme at Gwen Marston's quilt retreat this year
was the Medallion quilt

as Gwen shared her work, wisdom and guidance with us 

covering everything from traditional

to contemporary, her words made a serious impression on me.

Quite simply she said, "you are all able to do your own work"
meaning no patterns, no templates, able to create our own designs
color inside or outside the lines
reminding us that precision does not mean art

So we set to it for 4 solid days

some hand sewing, 

some machine piecing

lots of invaluable lessons from Gwen

 and ended up with individual work that really ran the whole track

from whimsy

to rich

to incredible

and fun


and unique

With friendships forged, spirits high
and the renewed belief that our own creative work
is just as important as vacuuming the house and doing the laundry
or whatever else we let get in the way

 I find myself home
 and determined
 to carve out time each week
to continue my love affair with quilting and textiles

It is up to me to give myself this space,
with no expectations, 
just the gift of being able to do my own work
and continue seeing what appears