Monday, October 17, 2016

Gone with the wind

It was a short weekend. A one day weekend, in fact. On Sunday, it was overcast, but surprisingly mild. My favorite apples, the Idared, could finally be picked, and so I made it a day, apple picking and the Breakwater Lighthouse in Rockland. Rockland has several lighthouse, but this is the one at the very end of a long, long breakwater way, which was man-built into the wide harbor of Rockland to guide the ships, with a lighthouse at the end of it. When the tide is high, the waves splash over the big Maine granite boulders of the walk way. At low tide, only the wind pummels the visitors. It is a beautiful, almost 1 mile walk which seems much farther.








Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday: favorite links

It has been a long, long week. The weather is beautiful, sunny often and even warm. The leaves have an incredible vibrant color this fall like someone moved the contrast right to the max volume. It is beautiful. Here are some finds from this week, the one that impressed me the most is the last link.

  • Foodstyling photos: I found this home foodstyling workshop in Berlin, from the beautiful Krautkopf blog. I am in love with all the photos, the dark hardwood floors, the atmosphere captured, the tattoes of the guy’s arm, and the coffee maker!chemex
  • Knitting time: Fall is the time to pick apples, cook kuri squash soup, and finally open a good book, find that cozy blanket and read (likely supported by a cat or two). If I have my hands free, it is also the time to knit, like this sweater (<--no affiliate link!).fall_knitting
  • Why life is not a journey. It is to sing or dance while the music is still playing.  I found this beautiful video made to the words of Allan Watts, about the common western perception that life is a journey, that we need to ‘get somewhere’ and when we get to the destination we are rewarded and all the good feelings start. So, we focus on getting there. But, nothing ever changes at the destination. That life is really more like music, at any time in life, childhood, teenager hood, adulthood, and we are here to dance, and sing, with life, as long as the music lasts.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Kale chips on the fly

On Friday, Wholefood Market had a special sale: 3 bundles of Tuscan Kale for $5. That was a lot of kale. I stored it in my fridge, and the leaves started to become limp. Today, I chopped it up and stored it in a covered glass bowl in the fridge so that I would get more life out of it. It did not all fit, and how to reduce the volume of kale really fast? Kale chips.

Actually, I used the organic curly kale that I had picked up from Trader Joes for the chips. The marinade was thrown together fast: 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 2-3 TB mirin (sweet rice vinegar), 1 TB amino acids, and a teaspoon of roasted sesame oil. New this time: a tablespoon of red pepper flakes and a tablespoon of cane sugar. Salty, spicy, sweet and crunchy is a good combination in my book (followed by ravenously eating all the chips).


I mixed it all up, and massaged the marinade into the leaves, strew them out on a baking sheet, and instead of drying it for 12h I baked them at 375F for 10 min. They were basically toasted kale leaves.


As said. Addictive.


These days I make quite a few kale edamame lunch salads with dried cranberries and slivered almonds, an apple and balsamic vinaigrette. The kale adds a good bite and texture, and it is crunchy with the apples and almonds, and sweet with the vinaigrette and apple. Perfect fall salad!


The weather is sunny, sometimes still really warm and the leaves are the brightest yellow, orange and red I have seen in years. The wind blows wildly and the leaves are dancing. Soon they will dance off the trees, and then gray November will set it. But this is still far away.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The time of the beets

It is the time of the year when beets are sold in large bags, pounds and pounds of them, for $5 at my farmers market. They store well, and I stock up for the fall season. Over the years, I prepared them in different ways, here is a collection of different recipes that  I go back to, again and again.

1. Balsamic Roasted Beets

This must be my favorite way to prepare them. Wash the beets, scrub them, no need to peel them, and cut them in sliced or cubes, and roasted them in a covered clay baker for about 1h in a bath of beef broth and balsamic vinegar and a bay leaf. They are a great side, and perfect addition for salads throughout the week.


2.  Z’atar roasted beets with string beans, Brussels sprouts and goat cheese

This is a great dinner using the balsamic roasted beets. The z’atar adds a wonderful, warm spice and note to the fall dish.


3. Beet Salad with Garlic Greek Yogurt sauce

This recipe is inspired by a beet wrap from the 86 This! store in Belfast. The roasted beets with a very garlicky Greek yogurt dill sauce are the core of this tasty wrap with spinach and walnuts.


Other ideas to use balsamic roasted beets:

Raw kale salad with roasted beets, melon and balsamic vinegar.


Roasted beets with apple and pomegranate seeds.


A lunch plate with apples and falafel.


4. Pickled beets

Beets are first roasted and then pickled in vinegar with onions, sugar and spices. Much better than the store-bought variety.


5. Raw beets

Raw beets is another great way to prepare them, preserving all their vitamins and a nice crunch, much like carrots. Here, they are prepare with red cabbage, shaved fennel, goat cheese, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Summer squash fritters

A few days ago I finally cooked again something that resembles a meal. The summer squash are 3 (any size) for $1 at the farmers market right now. There are boxes of free squash along the way where I go walking in the evening. This summer, I used them for spiralized ‘znoodle’ salads. But the znoodle salad has a now a competitor: the fritters. The ‘pancakes’ are not really fried, just pan-fried. They are fairly easy and fast to make, with a grater for the summer squash and the carrot, a handful of corn kernels and a nice mixture of herbs and nutritional yeast to give them a solid, nutty flavor.  Easy summer food! But very satisfying.  The key is in the nutritional yeast.


First, grate the summer squash and carrot in a bowl. Add the grated parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs, and an egg.  Now, for the flavoring: I used a combination of dried thyme and fresh mint, and a heaping helping of nutritional yeast, and some red pepper flakes for some background sizzle.


I measured out 1/4 cups of fritter, and then made them flat in the pan.


After about 5 minutes on each side they are ready to go.

Summer squash fritters (makes about 4 fritters)

  • 1 larger summer squash (ca 8 inch)
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1/4 corn kernels (frozen is fine)
  • 3 TB nutritional yeast
  • 2 TB grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 –1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (to your liking)
  • 1 egg
  • salt, pepper
  • fresh or dried herbs: thyme and  mint
  • 1 TB red pepper flakes
  • 1 TB of olive oil (divided)
  1. Grate the summer squash and carrots in a large bowl.
  2. Add the corn, yeast, parmesan, panko, herbs, and pepper flakes. Mix gently.
  3. In a separate cup, swirl the egg with a fork, then pour over the mixture.
  4. Mix well, add a bit of salt and pepper, not much since the parmesan cheese adds the necessary salt.
  5. Heat a 10 inch pan with half of the olive oil, until hot.
  6. Scoop 1/4 cups from the mixture, place in pan and flatten. Sear for 5 minutes, and then turn, and sear for another 5min on the other side. Repeat for the other half of the mixture.
  7. Serve immediately. Optionally, sprinkle some Dukkah over the fritters.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Cozy times

I know I will regret this. But today I am glad the sky is overcast, and although I have not been outside, I hope the heat broke. It was still in the upper 80s all week, and humid. That, coupled with a some unspecified bug I caught made me feel run down, and in need for rest and feet up on the couch.  When the skies turn to gray, I feel like a natural calm coming over me, and for one day I am grateful for it.

As said, I will probably regret this soon.

The cats are suddenly alert. Thunder is rolling in.  They will take cover under the bed soon, and I debate if I get my pasta maker out. This day calls for pasta and a slow-cooked tomato sauce.  But maybe just for downloading photos and blogging.

Yesterday, a last hot, humid day I drove again, to Stonington. This summer I have been enchanted by it. This time I stopped on the way, before the road leads to the tall bridge, up on the hill. Caterpillar Hill. It has the most breath-taking view of all of Maine. The beautiful landscape of the many small inhabited and uninhabited islands of Penobscot Bay, sitting next to each other, to they can be reached by sail boat or kajaks. I sat down, with my camera, and stared into the horizon. Such beauty. I wished I’d had a house on Caterpillar hill to see this view every morning.


On my way to Stonington, I stopped by the 44 North Cafe Deer Isle store and roastery, in the old Deer isle high school building. Unfortunately they were closed.


Once I arrive in Stonington, I sat down in 44 North Cafe, worked for a while. It was popping with people, mostly elderly tourists, enjoying the times when everyone else is back to school.  Around 5pm I went on another walk.


Swinging on ‘my’ swing.


Dreaming of a little house in Stonington, just enough for 1-2 people, a cat, little cleaning, heating and upkeep included.



Then it was back to 44 North cafe, for another round of writing and some light white wine and dates stuffed with goat cheese.



It was late when I was driving back, and it had started to rain. A long drive through the narrow, winding streets, with winds picking up and rain coming down. It must be very different in the winter here.