Friday, April 26, 2013


Yesterday was my and Amy's first day back at the high school 
in over 10 days and I was strongly reminded of how much I truly enjoy spending time
with the students in our Real World classes.

Everyone was feeling a bit of spring fever 
as the sun finally poked its head from the clouds
and school is winding down for the year

The room was organized chaos as we made peanut butter balls
AND popovers with jam and butter
 ( some kids dipped the popovers in chocolate and I must say that looked delicious)

 Amidst the heightened energy I realized that Amy and I
have begun to succeed in creating a "community" in that room twice a week

And that "Real World" is appropriate in so many more ways
than just cooking skills or interview skills... etc.

  To me, the real world is all about us getting along.

All of us working together;  distracted,
 introverted,  extraverted,  focused,  comedic,
tired, exuberant, etc. and doing it with kindness
and tolerance.
There have been so many moments over the year
where I have witnessed just this and I feel so pleased and grateful.

I would like to thank the students for being a constant
source of inspiration to me.

  I constantly see in their smiles
the incredible joy we are all able to feel
in those moments that we are safe and loved

If I hope for anything, it is that these moments,
for all of us, go from fleeting to lingering.

Enjoy your day,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


My desire after my "spring mind cleanse" was to jump
back on and have lots of eloquent words and inspirations 
for you all.

And as much as I enjoyed my little respite and was equally 
happy to be connected again,

the recent stretch of cold, rainy weather we have been
experiencing has caused me to feel a bit lackluster in the
sharing department

However, I was inspired last night by the joys of freshly purchased
 dried herbs and spices 

After a slight flop in my culinary endeavors when I made
chicken sofrito last week with old paprika
 (from a beautiful cookbook called Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi )

 I want to share with you that it really does make
a difference in your food when you use fragrant, freshly dried
quality herbs and spices.

I roasted a chicken last night with organic thyme
from Bulk Herb Store and this new Turkish chile pepper
I bought from The Spice House called Urfa Biber, described
to me as 'rich, smokey and raisin-y with moderate heat'
It was delicious!  I quickly sauteed some baby bella mushrooms
with dried marjoram, and served them over polenta

And the blessings of some Carding Brook Farm mesclun 
with champagne vinegar and olive oil
 to make me believe that spring is actually
on its way.

I hope you are all well!
More soon and sunshine too....

p.s. here are two other wonderful cookbooks that I
cooked out of over my little break;

Plenty also by Yotam Ottolenghi
and for wonderful gluten free baking,
Small Plates and Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoaga

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Mind Cleanse

Students here are on spring break, 
Lily's is ready to go, and still singing from Sunday,
we've seen glimpses of summer people opening their houses...

I have decided to unplug for 5 days.
Enter into quiet, let my mind, body and soul rejuvenate
before summer is upon me

I'd like to listen to spring explode,
get my 20 minutes of vitamin D 

My phone is off, my computer is going off now,
and I have no commitments until Saturday night.

I'm excited.

See you on the other side.
Take care of yourselves while I'm gone
I'm sure I'll have a recipe or two when I get back


Even Better

Out of all the things I love, and there are many,
my most favorite thing to do is to share
the bounty of our abundant lives

Yesterday's Hoop House Brunch at Lily's was just that

Beautiful food, grown and raised with love from Carding Brook Farm

Prepared with love, by me

and served and eaten with love by everyone involved!

And thank you so much for choosing to share with me
It just makes all the efforts worth it.

Happy Monday,

Saturday, April 13, 2013

My Baked Beans

I make baked beans once a year,
 traditionally for Maple Festival at Lily's

This year Carding Brook Farm (My maple syrup source) didn't tap trees
but started greens and goodness in their new hoop house

So, being a fan of change we are doing a 
Hoop House Brunch tomorrow at Lily's
and of course I made baked beans

Except this year I didn't have any homemade bacon ends left
from my yearly pig from Old Ackley

What I did have were unsmoked ham hocks
and I am here to tell you - they are delicious!!

To make up for the extra salt I usually get from using cured bacon
I seasoned the ham hocks liberally with kosher salt
while the beans endured their first simmer in salted water

Then I piled them into Big Bertha (my very large Creuset pot)
along with the beans and all the fixins and after 4 hours I had these 
beautiful baked beans with tender meat falling from the hock bones
Yum!  I can't wait for tomorrow :0)


I halved my recipe, double it if you are feeding an army 
or want to freeze portions for later

2 pounds of yellow eye beans 
(locally grown in Maine by the way)
2 tsp sea salt
2 cups of diced yellow onion
4 tsp dried mustard
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1 large ham hock
kosher salt
(Of course you can use 1/2 pound of bacon or pancetta or salt pork, etc. instead!)

Season ham hock liberally with kosher salt and set aside to rest

Put the beans in a large pot and cover with cold water by 2 inches
Bring to boil, add 2 tsp sea salt, cover, reduce heat a bit 
and simmer beans until just tender, about 1 1/2 hours
Don't over cook them

Meanwhile in your bean pot put seasoned hock, diced onions, mustard, ginger,
molasses, maple syrup, vinegar and last tsp of sea salt
Stir to combine

Add drained beans, cover with fresh cold water to cover by 1/2 an inch

Cover pot and put in a 325 degree oven to bake for about 3 1/2 hours,
checking every so often that you haven't lost all your liquid
(If the beans get a bit dry - just add a bit of boiling water)
After 3 1/2 hours the beans should be plumb, soft but not mushy and 
amber in color and your liquid should taste delicious
Remove the cover and continue to bake for another 45 minutes
until the liquid is thickened to a sauce and the top is nice and brown and crusty

I think baked beans taste better the second day, so I always make them
in advance and reheat them to serve

And maybe we will see you tomorrow at Lily's
 anytime between 11am - 2pm

Thank you,

Friday, April 12, 2013

Thank you Emily and Bangor Daily News

Emily Burnham from the Bangor Daily News
came and spent some time with me last week
and this is what she created:  

 Pretty fun stuff for me,
thought I'd share her hard work.

Enjoy your weekend - snow coming here tonight!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Perfect Rice

"Your Life is Your Canvas"
-my Jovius message for today

Perfect, because I am committed on this
gloriously sunny day of Spring
to paint my canvas

with good friends,

delicious food

and the colors of my heart 
I would also like to share with you that I have,
after 30+ years,  changed the way I cook rice
and it is the BEST ever!

You cook it like pasta! 
This is one cup of rice in a full pot of water 
with a tsp of kosher salt

Bring it to a boil, simmer gently for a timed amount
it took this sprouted brown rice about 25 minutes

Test for doneness, once it is where you want it,
pour it out into a fine mesh strainer
and Voila! Perfect rice

 And, a trade secret;
if you are using the rice in a salad, or to sauté with other ingredients
spread your cooked rice out on a sheet pan to cool,
it doesn't over cook and remains the perfect texture
for whatever rice games you play

I love to sauté lots of spring onions lightly in butter and garlic
and then add the rice to the pan to warm up and coat
with the delicious flavors
add some roasted asparagus, a little lemon zest,

Happy Monday everyone
 Here's to thoughtful strokes while painting your life canvas.

Lots of love and sunshine,

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Better Look

Okay, here is a glimpse or two at Lily's after all the painting
and repurposing of items.  With the exception of two rugs
from TJ Maxx I used stuff I already had,
making it new with paint and repositioning.

I am so in love with the black paint on the window
sashes and door.  It completely brings the space together
and gives it that cozy feeling I wasn't obtaining before

Marble subway tile in the dishroom, very Downton Abbey don't you think?

Here is the cork floor!  It is equivalent to 
a pillow top for my legs and feet

Those are some of my seedlings back there under the table
coming up green and happy, just like my sink

Some more Annie Sloan magic
I painted one coat of Blue Violet on this old wooden table
 A light sanding to give it that old distressed look I love
 and voila, a functional sideboard in that wonderful hydrangea blue I was craving

One of my new rugs!

It is with great gratitude that I share this with you
and I hope you get a chance to stop in so I can show you around.