Saturday, July 2, 2011

Gone Fishing

Summer is here 
The children are home 
Precious time for family
Less time for posting

And more time for


Swimming in the warming New England sea shores

Searching for favorite sea shells, colorful sea glass, smooth tumbled rocks 

Exploring our beloved White Mountains
For flora and fauna

Tracking the elusive moose 

And hiking for its grandest view

Its tallest water fall

As we stop to smell the flowers 

Watch birds

Swim with friendly animals

Sneak up on busy animals


Play games

Marvel at the beauty in simple things

And, of course, garden


Summer is short


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I'll visit on and off
Updates will mostly be on V&C's facebook page
See you in a few weeks!

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Summer is also a time for picnics
Before you go
check out the picnic post

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Venus-Is-Out-Tonight Radish, Black Olive, And Feta Salad. A Picnic Game!

What's In A Name 
Of the Greek word "Raphanus"
Quickly appearing, matures rapidly
Cultivated for a few months in late spring, early fall
A symbol of spring, of fertile soil
Favored in ancient Roman times
Used as wages, even
Its flesh, the colour of love
Inside, the colour of purity
The goddess of love and beauty
Originally, the goddess of gardens and vegetation
Associated with the arrival of spring,
A mature woman at birth, Botticelli
The hottest, brightest planet
Reveals herself for a few hours before dawn,
A few hours after sunset
As a jewel on clear nights
Originally named "Aphrodite" by the Greeks
Later named "Venus" by the Romans

Welcome To A Virtual Picnic!
This picnic game is hosted by Louise who writes the incredible Months of Edible Celebrations. On June 18, it was International Picnic Day and time to begin the Picnic game.

When I decided to play, the letter R for my Radish Salad was already picked so I chose the letter V for my dish after doing some research. I found some amazing facts about the Greek and Roman history of radishes and made some interesting associations with mythology and the planets.

I envisioned a picnic, late in the day, extending into early evening, on a clear night, away from city lights when Venus would shine its brightest. A moment to pause and reflect on the feast, on the ancient root vegetable and its history. The first bite, crisp, peppery, and moist, awakens the senses. A reminder that the earth is good and what comes forth, a blessing.

I'm going on a picnic and bringing:
A-Apricot Cobbler (Mae)
F-Fingerling Potato Salad w/ Honey-Thyme Vinaigrette (Heather)
I-Incredible "Rabbit" Pineapple Tarts (Selba)
J-Jam Jewels (Tiffanee)
K-Kirschmichel (Petra)
L-Lime Cranberry Fizz (Inger)
M-Mint Sundae Brownie Squares (Debbie)
N-Nice Mini Biscuit Sandwiches (Gloria)

V- Venus-Is-Out-Tonight Radish, Black Olive, And Feta Salad
The recipe, Radish And Feta Salad, is from the cookbook "Asparagus To Zucchini", MACSAC

4 cups thinly sliced radishes
1/2 pound crumbled feta cheese
Sliced black olives (I used pitted Kalamata olives)
Chopped scallions or fresh mint (I used both the first time I made it and just mint the second time)
Lemon vinaigrette

Combine all ingredients. The recipe says to create a lemony vinaigrette but offers no recipe. That's easy enough to make but I decided to simply use the wonderful lemon olive oil I have with fig-infused white balsamic vinegar that I saw Elisabeth use once on Food And Thrifts Finds. It sounded great and I decided to try it.

The lemon olive oil and fig-infused vinegar worked together perfectly. And so simple!

The actual picnic with radish salad, grapes, cherries, Italian cheeses, fig spread, assorted spreads: tomato with artichoke, smoked salmon with spinach, feta hummus, assorted nuts . . .

It wasn't long before the White Mountain rains came . . .

Our picnic at the hemlocks' edge was quickly abandoned . . .

Venus won't be out this night, but she'll be with us in spirit. We continued indoors . . .

And The Virtual Picnic Continues 
Visit Months of Edible Celebrations to see the picnic roundup, including W, X, Y and Z.

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"Though the day still lingers, 
the rose-scattering fire 
of the evening star 
already scintillates through the azure sky" 

~ Willem Kloos (1859-1938, Dutch poet and essayist)

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Kale, Mushroom, And Dill Squares With Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Here is a delicious meatless meal that is nutritious and packed with protein. Did you know that kale is a good source of protein? 

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Kale, Mushroom, And Dill Squares
From the CSA cookbook, From Asparagus To Zucchini, MACSAC

2 tbsp butter, or olive oil
4-6 ounces fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds kale, cleaned, blanched, drained
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill (I used about half this amount)
1/3 cup minced green onion
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 ts pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 8 1/2 by 12 1/2 inch baking dish, or similar size, with a little butter or olive oil.

In a medium or large skillet, saute mushrooms over medium-high heat in butter, or olive oil, until all the liquid evaporates. Remove and set aside. Blanch kale as above, or steam them down like I did until very tender in the skillet. Cool, then squeeze liquid from kale. Chop kale and combine all ingredients. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Cook about 25-30 minutes or until center is set. Cool about 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

To blanch or not to blanch
I chose not to blanch. I just washed the kale in warm water, drained it but didn't dry, and steamed it down in a sautee pan until very tender.

Squeeze and chop
Remove kale and let cool a little. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the kale - very important! And chop well. I didn't chop well. I was lazy. I call it a rustic chop. But don't give it a rustic chop. I think this would be better well chopped.

Put it all together
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Pour into a prepared baking dish. Bake about 25-30 minutes, until set in the middle.

Cool and cut
Cool about 10 minutes and cut into squares. Enjoy it warm or at room temperature.

They tasted great alone . . .

. . . but really great with roasted fingerling potatoes.

I don't have a precise recipe for these. I just preheated a baking dish in a 400 degree oven. Tossed chopped potatoes with extra virgin olive oil, fresh chopped rosemary, salt and pepper to taste. Placed them in the hot dish and cooked until tender, about 30-40 minutes depending on their size.

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I can't help myself from being distracted by nature! This beautiful oriole visited the bird bath while I was out photographing the meal. Wish I had had my zoom lens.

And, this is how the garden is doing . . .

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The kale and eggs in this recipe were picked up from the farmers' market. The kale is from Confreda Farms and the fresh eggs are from Oakdale Farms.