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Favorites June 2016

June 28th, 2016 No Comments

  Ah, late June—the season of the Willow Weavers! This year’s Willow Gathering focused on traditional basket work and hosted instructors Joe Hogan from Ireland, Katherine Lewis from Washington, Karen Tembreull from Michigan and Joanna Schanz from Iowa.  They led their participants through in-depth projects that left them famished for their lunches.  It’s amazing how much energy is required for this kind of concentration.      Joe brought them though the process of building a traditional lobster basket trap; they go

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Sankt Hans Aften

June 21st, 2016 6 Comments

  Sankt Hans Aften St. John’s Eve, Midsummer, Summer Solstice (“sun stands still”)….whatever the name, it’s a good celebration: good food, friends, and a bonfire on a short summer’s night.   My friend Dennis Larson is an avid celebrator of this Danish version of a midsummer festival.  He invites the world to his yard to feast, fest and enjoy one another’s company as we’re visited by the slimmest night of the year and the hope is that all revelers will

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Avocado Smoothie

June 14th, 2016 No Comments

    Avocados are nearly a perfect food.  They’re creamy, tasty, filled with nutrients and healthy fats, rich in omega-3’s, and they go with so many different kinds of dishes both sweet and savory.  Lately we’ve been eating them with a spoon out of the shell-like skin with no seasonings, or maybe a little lime and salt, and enjoying how filling and satisfying they are by themselves.   You can add avocados to almost any smoothie, the green fruit makes

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Thai Chicken Patties

June 7th, 2016 1 Comment

    It’s true, there was a similar post last year about lemongrass pork patties, but when something tastes this good it’s okay to do variations on a theme. I made these buddies small for a tapas-style potluck, but you could make them larger for full servings or into little balls served on skewers.  The small ones were handy for post-meal snacking, tasty even when they were cold.   Outdoor dinners, they might be the best part about summer.  Serve

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Plantain Cracker-Chips

May 31st, 2016 4 Comments

  Nothing like trying out new recipes on a few hundred people…   There was a request for plantains at a large graduation party a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve made simple chips before by slicing the starchy fruit and either frying or baking the cute seasoned circles as a side dish.  A friend recommended I try these which were a whole new territory and more like a cracker.  The recipe she sent to me is from the blog Paleo Mom,

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Sweet Bean Hummus

May 24th, 2016 2 Comments

  My little Sweet Bean. A few weeks ago a friend asked if I would concoct a hummus out of local ingredients for a celebration at the Farmer’s Market.  They wanted to serve hummus in lettuce leaves which is a traditional Iranian dish of spring, but because the group intended to bring focus to reduction in fossil fuels we looked for ingredients we could use from our region.  This took a little pondering.   Basic Hummus is made from garbanzo

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Asparagus Bacon Fettuccine

May 17th, 2016 1 Comment

  These are the foods I had so this is what happened for dinner.  You can’t go wrong with asparagus and bacon together so really this is more of a reminder to you than it is a formal recipe.  It probably falls into the Vague Recipe category where there is much leeway given to what you have and it assumes you know some general guidelines of putting things together. I know that vagueness drives some people crazy.  I actually looked

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5-Spice Rhubarb Crisp

May 10th, 2016 6 Comments

  Spices that launched a thousand ships.  Aren’t they beautiful?   Five Spice Powder is used extensively in Chinese and southeast Asian cooking, often as a rub with meats like duck or in sauces and stews, and as many foods do it has now spread to all corners of the culinary planet.  Though there are variations including the addition of ginger and peppercorns, the commonly used five ingredients are: Sichuan Pepper Star Anise Cloves Cinnamon Fennel or Anise Seeds Aromatic,

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Milkweed Seed Bombs

May 3rd, 2016 4 Comments

  Remember this little guy from two years ago?  We did figure out he was a guy by the dots on the wings, check out better pictures here to see the visual differences of male and females.   Spring is a great time to plant milkweed to help these buddies flourish and continue their remarkable migration to Mexico.  Monarchs can’t survive without milkweed, it’s the one plant that larvae will eat so this is where they lay their eggs.  The reduced growing habitat

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Favorites April 2016

April 26th, 2016 1 Comment

  From a run in the woods today: it’s good to be alive.     Since catering became a major part of my life spring has meant the beginning of the crazy season, the listmaking-emailing-ordering-prepping-ducks-in-a-row pseudo-calm before the storm, the beginning of nearly non-stop intensity.  Spring meant the end of reasonable work hours, the end of free time, the end of fun exercise.  Since skiing became a major part of my life spring is the season I mourn the passing

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Peppermint Coconut Oil Snacks

April 20th, 2016 4 Comments

 photo by Roy Hampton It has been so fun going through my father’s photos of our times in Mexico.  Good memories of a slower life, and my oh my we all looked so young. This is a print of two nopales (prickly pear cactus) growing on a hilltop.  One grey day while taking a walk on the mesa my father noticed he could see these dancers when he was at a very particular place in the road.  A few feet either

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Caramelized Café Combate

April 13th, 2016 10 Comments

photo by Roy Hampton  Blacker than the inside of a box buried in a cave one mile below ground, caramelized coffee (sometimes referred to as the brand name Café Combate) is the northern Mexico style of roasting green coffee beans with azucar, or sugar.  The sugar cooks (then burns) into a black tar giving the beans the characteristic caramelized flavor of this nectar of Mexico’s north. Yes, that bag in the photo actually says “MASA”, but it was only used

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Calcutta Curry Soup

April 5th, 2016 8 Comments

  Red Lentils—one of the most colorful legumes around.  They’re nutritious, delicious and they cook fast if you need some quick protein in a meal.  Check out World’s Healthiest Foods for an afternoon read on these adorable orange delights.  They’re best if rinsed numerous times before cooking: pour water into a bowl with the lentils, stir and swish everything around, then drain and repeat a few times until the water is mostly clear.  Rinsing will help remove the dust as

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GF Lemon Almond Cake (Torta Caprese Bianca)

March 31st, 2016 6 Comments

    Spring means freak snowstorms and a gathering of my sisters…and last week we had both.  Once everyone made it through the weather and to our destination safely we had a lovely weekend of eating, laughing, sharing, sight seeing, and then of course eating some more.  On our last day we hung out at Zanzibar Coffee and enjoyed the (midwestern) Mediterranean scenery, good tea, and freshly roasted coffee.           I normally don’t make the effort

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Turmeric Lemongrass Tea

March 23rd, 2016 4 Comments

  I’m a little under the weather today so have been enjoying numerous cups of this delicious and potent elixir.   When we think of turmeric we probably think of curry and the golden-orange brilliance it brings to many dishes.  This remarkable root has a bitter side with an earthy backbone that may be an acquired taste by itself, but when mixed with other flavors it takes everything to another level.  It is also known as Indian Saffron or Poor Man’s Saffron because of the saffron-like

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Boxty Cakes

March 15th, 2016 4 Comments

  An Irish potato pancake just in time for St. Patrick’s day. These are hearty buddies for any kind of meal and a great way to use your leftover mashed potatoes. The basic idea is to mix mashed potatoes with grated raw potatoes and an egg, but there are infinite possibilities of variables that could be introduced.  Herbs, garlic, curry, jalapeños, horseradish, siracha, yams, caraway, saffron…   The origin of the name is likely the Irish phrase arán bocht tí meaning “poor-house bread”.  

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Cauliflower Pizza Crust

March 9th, 2016 No Comments

  A crust should be both a snack by itself as well as a vehicle to transport delicious toppings to your salivating mouth.  I’ve known of recipes using cauliflower for various crusts but had never tried it until recently.  This recipe has no grain but there is cheese which helps bind everything.  Why cauliflower?  It has a light texture and a mild flavor so it should blend well with whatever toppings you want to add.     Squeezing out the

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Feta Jalapeño Dip

March 2nd, 2016 4 Comments

    I love dips.  I love spreadable flavor that I can eat on a cracker.  Maybe it’s the social aspect of which it hints—Spreadable and Dip-able concoctions often mean time with friends and wine…and that just sounds like fun. We first tried a version of this in Washington D.C. and the salty-with-a-bite was a combination worth exploring.  It’s simple and could be used as a dip, spread, or enchilada filling.  There are many variations you could do with this

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Favorites February 2016

February 23rd, 2016 No Comments

. Ah, the end-of-February Birkie-Season post. The American Birkebeiner is the largest cross country ski race in North America and is a combination of fun, fitness, friends, fretting, fueling, waxing, fretting again, throw in some stress and insanity for entertainment, and if all goes well…skiing on snow for up to 56 kilometers.   Friday before Race Day we stopped in to pick up wax from Vermont ski-guru Zach Caldwell. I waited in the car to stay dry, and what you’re

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Momentum

February 17th, 2016 5 Comments

photo by Coleen Sullins . Time spent skiing alone in the quiet woods with only my body, skis, and thoughts tends to birth an unending stream of Life-Ski analogies.   Observation of the Day: Momentum is Sweet. Momentum propels you halfway up the next hill with no effort.  Life is good, you feel like you’ve ‘got it’…momentum allows you to fly without working hard.  But momentum can disappear for various reasons (falling, slow glide, deep snow, whatever) and once you have lost

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