Sunday, September 29, 2013
"Open by chance or appointment” the sign read at Front Street Pottery. I have visited Belfast for 8 years, and there was never a ‘chance’ opening of the pottery store until today. I ventured inside. One of those hand-made teapots found a new home….
Three Tides Microbrewery and beer garden.
Route 1 bridge in the back, and the pedestrian bridge below.
Newly paved walk and bike way on the ocean front connecting all the beer bars and restaurants.
Downtown Belfast, and yes, it was more pleasant in the shade.
One day, I will buy a house here.
Until then, I’ll visit.
Friday, September 27, 2013
The Indian summer is back --- beautiful sunny, mild weather for the next few days and a weekend on top of it These days I try to stay ahead of any cold with my morning mix of a cup of fresh cider from the farmers market, a few frozen strawberries and bananas, all mixed in the vitamix, a surprisingly good refreshing mix with the right amount of sweet, fresh and tart. My immune cells send me thank you cards.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
The treasure’s at yesterday’s farmers market included a steal/deal on more Italian plums. I was thinking of making another plum cake but decided to stay light and just make a crumble. I found this wonderful recipe with the key ingredient of spiced candied ginger and cinnamon. Instead of a single large baking dish I used individual ramekins and just some rolled oats with sugar as topping. The soul is in the plums anyhow, right? Once it is all bubbly and hot it is ready to serve!
Serves 2-3 (probably just 1)
10 purple Italian or prune plums, cut in half and pitted
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 heaping tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger (chop by hand!)
3-4 tablespoons rolled oats + 1/2 TB brown sugar + pinch of cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream, optional
1. Place plums in medium bowl, add brown sugar, candied sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon and the flour. Mix well . Heat oven to 375 degrees, with rack in center.
2. Distribute plums in 3 ungreased, oven-safe small ramekins.
3. In a small bowl, combine rolled oats, cinnamon and the sugar. Mix well. Sprinkle over plums.
4. Bake for ca 35min. Cool (slightly) and serve.
Curried hummus (ca 2 cups)
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas, liquid reserved
- 1/2 tsp fleur de sel (or kosher salt), or to taste
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- 2 Tbsp reserved chickpea liquid (or water)
- a few drops of Tabasco sauce, to taste
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon curry powder (start with less)
- 1 TB maple syrup
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
So I drove home with a bag of rock hard pears, but within a week they’ve turned soft in rapid speed and I try to come up with new recipes. One is definitely a classic: mixed greens,sliced pear, gorgonzola, balsamic vinaigrette and walnuts. Or, cranberries in my case.
I do have a thing for wooden hand-made salad bowls and have 2 already and I realize anymore would be more a collecting (hoarding?) and museum type need. But, they are so, so beautiful. Like these three on etsy. Love!
Monday, September 16, 2013
The weather forecast promises another sunny, warm week for this week, starting this afternoon. Currently it is gray and so chilly I closed the windows and turned on the heat. Might have to change from t-shirts as standard outfit to sweaters soon. Socks, too. Lunch was unusual, sweet instead of savory, but the mini plum tart and a cup of coffee seemed like such a European lunch, like eaten in a Vienna coffee house. Only the whipped cream was missing. On both coffee and tart.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Swiss Plum Tart (“Zwetschgenwaehe”)
Regular 9 inch size tart pan, or a smaller and 2 mini ones.
- homemade or store-bought short pastry or puff pastry (I used a frozen store-bought pie dough)
- 1 pound Italian plums (or apricots, apples, or cherries), pitted and cut in quarters
- 3-4 tablespoon of ground hazelnuts or almonds
- 2 eggs
- 100 ml milk
- 100 ml whipping cream
- 2 teapsoons of flour
- 1-3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425F degrees (220C).
Layer a pie tin with thin short pastry or puff pastry, sprinkle the base slightly with ground hazelnuts or almonds. baked in the oven for 7 min to give the crust some stability.
Mix the prepared plums with 1 TB sugar. Once the pie crust is prebaked, remove it from the oven, and arrange the plum slices in a round pattern. Add 1 TB sugar sprinkled over the fruit and bake in the oven on the lower part for 10 minutes
Meanwhile mix eggs with the milk, whipping cream and flour, add 2 more tablespoons of sugar. Season with vanilla extract. Pour the custard mix over the fruitcake and bake for another 20 minutes. Let it set for 10 min before serving taking it out of the pan. Serve with some whipped cream.
Italian plums, pie dough with hazelnuts, and sugared plums.
Arranged plums in pre-baked crust. Custard added to prebaked fruit.
Setting for 10 minutes.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
The last two years I had a serious Lululemon obsession, but this year I finally just wore all the cool clothes and did not buy anymore --- until today. I opened the Lululemon email with their new products and my desire was set on fire again: a beautiful shirt that looks like an office shirt but it really a bike shirt. Not only is it beautiful and functional I have the hope that I don’t need to iron it (like all my other white shirts, which is a serious bottleneck in my closet). So, there. I ordered it. Fortunately I abstained from the equally enticing biker pants that just look like your perfect black skinny jeans for the fall and a beautiful oversized jacket. A, gotcha ya again. (all opinions my own, no one reimbursed me ;-) )
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Sunday. I woke up feeling the legacy of the week, too much work plus the encounter of some summer cold germs. It felt like a tug of war, me pulling to health with Vitamin C and rest and the germ pulling to their side with still a lot of work to do and deadlines. This morning I upped the ante, and ventured out in the garden again, a pink umbrella over my head, with rainboots, a big bowl and scissors. I cut off another 2 pounds of elderberries. “That’ll do it…!” While talking over facetime with a friend, I picked them, cooked with 2 quarts of water, about 5 min after they came to a boil, and strained them with a stainless steel mesh sieve. Now, just a bit of sweetener and the superpowers are ready to go. (If you believe, it’ll happen, right?)
Saturday, September 7, 2013
These days I make myself a vegan smoothie in the morning, mostly with frozen strawberries, almond milk, a bit of stevia and a tablespoon physillum seed. This morning I added a cup of fesh elderberries and a stalk of rhubarb. Delicious! The fruit of my own land.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Big, bold, in your face. I never wear much jewelry beside the one that I wear all the time, but this started the idea of jewelry as fashion statement. But, after some inner debate I realized the price tag is too steep, because what if it is so bold I get tired of it after wearing it 3 times?
$148. Fastforward to August. I never quite forgot the necklace. and then J had not just one but 4! They were knockoffs but at Ily Couture one would get them with a J-coupon for $16 instead of $40.
Now, we are talking.
I snagged up one for $20 with shipping, and love it. I wanted more colors, and eagerly I retrieved the coupon again, but the sale had ended by end of August 2013. Illy Couture itself still had a labor day sale, which also reduced the price to $16 with coupon, but I had missed that by 1 day, too. Gah.
Now, I was even less willing to pay full price, and googled for more options. Sleuthing I found a wholesale site which offers them for 0.99-9.99 per piece. Hmm, that is quite the markup. From 0.99 to 148 at JCrew? No wonder they can firesale them for $16 at Ily.
As usually, ebay and even amazon is the direct outlet channel for all things counterfeit from China, and in this case, since it is not an expensive hair straightening iron, where the original would make my hair shiny, and the knockoff fry it, I was ok with getting the knockoff. $10.99? Sign me up, and send me one for my friend, too.
Monday, September 2, 2013
When the thermometer shows sinking temperatures, my interest in cooking in on the rise again. An interesting effect I notice every summer. There I grow vegetables and fresh herbs, the farmers market overflows with produce yet I cannot bring myself to the stove but rather eat out. When I start scanning recipes with more interest again it is September. Over the years I learnt to just plant some kale or swiss chard for my likely consumption, the herbs are for decoration and summer feeling and maybe dried or frozen eventually.
It is raining cats and dogs today on this Labor Day 2013, no chance for picturesque outdoor BBQs or last hurrahs in the Acadia mountains. The students arrived this weekend, for many it is their first weekend away from home. University life might not be what they expected. I am cleaning out my offices, exchange summer shoes for winter shoes, and cook a hearty lunch --- Swiss chard, chickpeas, a hot pepper, some vegan parmesan cheese, and this steeping hot mess is warming me up and brace for what is to come for the next school year.