Friday, December 31, 2010

"For last year's words belong to last year's language.
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
T.S. Eliot

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Waggies by Maggie and Friends

Maggie and her friends enjoy baking, packaging and marketing the all natural doggie treats. They are extremely proud of successfully mastering the skills needed to make these exceptional "bones". Volunteers help guide and support the team as they make a quality product that dogs love. Dog owners like the freshness, texture and attractive packaging. Reward your dog with these nutritious and delicious treats and support members of the community who want to be part of the work force. It's a winning combination.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle
By Dodie Smith

I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over a six-month period, first in a sixpenny book, then in a shilling book, and, finally, in a splendid two-guinea book, to hone her writing skills. And it is within these pages that she candidly chronicles her encounters with the estate's new, young, and handsome American landlords, the effects of her sister Rose's marital ambitions, her writer's-blocked father's anguished and ultimately renewed creativity, and her own hopeless, first descent into love.

I Capture the Castle

Monday, December 27, 2010

shrimp toast

Shrimp Toasts

1 egg slightly beaten
4-5 water chestnuts – chopped
1 teaspoon dry sherry
6 slices day old bread [trim the crust—Pepperidge Farm is the best]
1 heaping tablespoon thinly sliced scallions (use the green part)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lb shrimp – cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon corn starch
Canola oil or vegetable oil for frying

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Spread on bread to the edges. Fry in shallow oil (no more than ¼ of an inch) for 30 seconds, filled side down first, then fry on empty side until the bread is golden. Drain well on paper towels. Serve warm.

Yield: 6 toasts

Recipe from Angela LaGreca

Friday, December 24, 2010

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"This is the message of Christmas:
We are never alone."
~ Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985), English novelist.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Night In Old Mandalay Drink Recipe

1 oz. Orange Juice

1 oz. Light Rum

1 Lemon Twist
1 oz. Dark Rum
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
3 oz. Ginger Ale

In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the light rum, dark rum, orange juice, and lemon juice. Shake well. Strain into a highball glass almost filled with ice cubes. Top with the ginger ale. Garnish with the lemon twist.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Harrods Christmas Pudding

1/2 pound unsalted butter plus about
2 teaspoons butter, for greasing molds
1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
2/3 cup self-rising flour
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
Juice of 1 lemon
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
4 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 1/3 cups golden raisins
1 1/3 cups raisins
1 1/3 cups currants
1/3 cup chopped mixed citrus peel (2 ounces)
1/4 to 1/2 cup brandy

Thickly butter and dust with flour two 1-quart molds (or dome-shaped china, ceramic or glass bowls). Set aside.

Beat the 1/2 pound butter until soft. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs and syrup. Sift flour with salt and spices; fold into the butter mixture with the lemon juice, grated rinds, bread crumbs, fruits, mixed peel and brandy. Spoon mixture into the 2 prepared molds. If molds don't have lids, cover each with a circle of wax paper, then a piece of foil pleated across the center and securely tied in place. Leave overnight in refrigerator.

Put molds in a large saucepan with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the molds. Cover and steam for 5 hours; remove from the water. Let cool completely, then cover with a clean piece of wax paper and a pudding cloth (muslin or closely woven cheesecloth) secured with a string and ends of the cloth tied in a knot over the pudding mold. Leave in the refrigerator to mature before using.

Before serving, steam about 3 hours. Remove from mold. Bring to the table blazing in ignited brandy, and decorate with Christmas holly stuck into the top.

Yield: Two 2 pound puddings

Source: A Dickens of a Delight: Christmas Plum Pudding is a Holiday Treat Straight from Merry Olde England article in The Courier-Journal by Special Writer Marilyn Kluger 11/25/92

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with the flocks,
then the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal those broken in spirit,
to feed the hungry,
to release the oppressed,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among all peoples,
to make a little music with the heart…

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hot Ginger Coffee

6 tablespoons ground coffee (not instant)
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 tablespoon chopped crystallized or candied ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cups cold water
Whipped cream, cinnamon sticks and additional orange peel

Combine the coffee, orange peel, ginger and cinnamon; pour into a coffee filter. Brew according to manufacturer's directions. Pour into mugs; garnish with whipped cream, cinnamon sticks and orange peel.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Welcome visitors with a handmade evergreen
wreath on the front door. This one by Minna Mercke Schmidt is constructed from moss, ivy,
and eucalyptus wired into a frame.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Back from holiday...back to reality.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfilment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;—
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.

~Thomas Hood : Autumn (1798-1845)

Monday, November 15, 2010

"And the day came
When the risk
To remain tight in a bud
Was more painful
Than the risk it took to
~Anais Nin
Have a Happy Monday Everyone!

Friday, November 12, 2010

"The thinnest yellow light of
November is more warming and exhilarating
than any wine they tell of.
The mite which November contributes
becomes equal in
value to the bounty of July."
- Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hire Vets First!

Presidential Proclamation -- Veterans Day


On Veterans Day, we come together to pay tribute to the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. Americans across this land commemorate the patriots who have risked their lives to preserve the liberty of our Nation, the families who support them, and the heroes no longer with us. It is not our weapons or our technology that make us the most advanced military in the world; it is the unparalleled spirit, skill, and devotion of our troops. As we honor our veterans with ceremonies on this day, let our actions strengthen the bond between a Nation and her warriors.

In an unbroken line of valor stretching across more than two centuries, our veterans have charged into harm's way, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice, to protect the freedoms that have blessed America. Whether Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard, they are our Nation's finest citizens, and they have shown the heights to which Americans can rise when asked and inspired to do so. Our courageous troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe have earned their place alongside previous generations of great Americans, serving selflessly, tour after tour, in conflicts spanning nearly a decade.

Long after leaving the uniform behind, many veterans continue to serve our country as public servants and mentors, parents and community leaders. They have added proud chapters to the story of America, not only on the battlefield, but also in communities from coast to coast. They have built and shaped our Nation, and it is our solemn promise to support our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen as they return to their homes and families.

America's sons and daughters have not watched over her shores or her citizens for public recognition, fanfare, or parades. They have preserved our way of life with unwavering patriotism and quiet courage, and ours is a debt of honor to care for them and their families. These obligations do not end after their time of service, and we must fulfill our sacred trust to care for our veterans after they retire their uniforms.

As a grateful Nation, we are humbled by the sacrifices rendered by our service members and their families out of the deepest sense of service and love of country. On Veterans Day,let us remember our solemn obligations to our veterans, and recommit to upholding the enduring principles that our country lives for, and that our fellow citizens have fought and died for.

With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service men and women have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor our Nation's veterans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2010, as Veterans Day. I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies and private prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I call on all Americans, including civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, and communities to support this day with commemorative expressions and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

{Marinated Artichokes}

1 can water-packed artichokes, drained
1/3 c white wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon zest
½ clove garlic, minced
½ c olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
2 TB fresh parsley, chopped

Mix the white wine vinegar, lemon zest and garlic in a small bowl. Add the drained and rinsed artichokes and toss in the vinegar mixture. Set aside for half an hour.

Once slightly pickled in the vinegar, add the rest of the ingredients and toss well, mixing the remaining vinegar and olive oil to create vinaigrette. Serve with other antipasti and cheese.

{Spicy Cherry Chutney}

adapted from Gourmet Magazine

1 orange peel
3 c cherries
1 c red onion, chopped
1 red chili, chopped
¼ c balsamic vinegar
2 TB cider vinegar
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground pink peppercorns

Carefully peel the orange and slice into thin julienned strips. In a large, heavy pot, stir together all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer, stirring every couple of minutes. After about 35-40 minutes, stir more often and once the chutney has thickened, after 50 minutes, remove from the heat and let cool. Spoon into a jar and keep chilled for up to three weeks. Serve with cold meats or cheeses.

Cup of Tea

Peach Jam Scones

Yield: 8 large scones

6 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/4 cup baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) chilled unsalted butter

1 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup peach jam

3 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced, or 1 (8-ounce) package frozen peaches, defrosted and drained

Preheat the oven to 425º F. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the flour, 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt for about 30 seconds. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add it to the flour mixture. Pulse about 15 times, until the butter-flour mixture is crumbly. With the processor running, slowly pour 1 1/2 cups buttermilk through the feed tube. Stop the processor as soon as the buttermilk has been added. If the dough has begun to stick together in a ball, remove it. If not, add more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough begins to clump up and form a ball.

Place the dough on a lightly floured flat surface. Use your hands to pat the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle, about 12 by 10 inches. Spread a thin layer of jam lengthwise over half the dough and arrange the peach slices in a single layer on top of the jam. Fold the plain dough over the peaches to make a 12 by 5-inch rectangle with the jam and peaches folded inside. Cut the dough into 8 triangles and sprinkle the top of the scones with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar.

Bake on an un-greased baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, until the scones are a light golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway~
Thanksgiving comes again!
~Old Rhyme

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

{Caramel Pear Butter}

adapted from Bon Appétit
makes about 2 c of butter

4 TB apple juice
1 1/2 TB fresh lemon juice, divided
5 large ripe pears
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp coarse kosher salt

Add the apple juice and 1/2 TB of lemon juice in a large pot. Prepare pears by peeling, coring, and chopping into 1/2 inch pieces. To prevent the pears from browning, add to the juice mixture as soon as you mix pears into juice mixture in pot as soon as pears are cut, to prevent browning.

high heat cook the fruit until the juices begin to boil. Stir continuously for about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer until the pears are tender. Continue to stir frequently for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and pass the pear through a sieve or food mill back into the pot. Add the remaining lemon juice, brown sugar, nutmeg, and salt. Over medium heat bring back to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Reduce heat and continue to simmer until thickened and reduced to 2 cups. Be sure to stir ever couple of minutes to prevent the bottom from burning.

the hot mixture into sterilized canning jars. Leave 1/4 of an inch of space from the top. Wipe the rim clean with a damp cloth and screw on the lids. Process in a hot water bath for about 10 minutes. Will keep in a dark cool place for 1 year.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Favorite Mulled Wine

2.25 liters (about 10 1/2 cups, a 1.5 liter bottle plus a 750 ml. bottle; or 3 bottles, each 750 ml.) full-flavored red wine such as burgundy-type or Zinfandel

About 2/3 cup sugar

16 inches cinnamon stick

2 whole nutmegs, cracked in large pieces with a hammer

1 tablespoon whole star anise

1 teaspoon whole allspice

1 teaspoon whole cloves

8 quarter-size slices fresh ginger

1 large (about 1/2 lb.) Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced crosswise

1 medium-size (about 1/2 lb.) orange, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

1 medium-size (about 1/2 lb.) orange peel in long spiral

In a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-low heat, stir wine, 2/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmegs, star anise, allspice, cloves, ginger, apple, orange, and orange peel until steaming.

To blend flavors, hold mulled wine at steaming, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and stir in more sugar, if desired.

Ladle into mugs and serve, or reduce heat under wine to low (below simmering), and keep warm up to 2 hours. Makes 11 cups, about 14 servings, 3/4 cup each.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"My dear, if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head
I should better understand your affairs."
-Charles Dickens

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Well-Packed Field Bag...

~ A Magnifying Glass
~ Binoculars
~ A thick pad of drawing paper or your own personal field journal
~ Good pencils, a sharpener and eraser
~ Assorted field guides (Wild flowers, Birds, Insects, Minerals)
~ Small specimen containers
~ A pocket knife

Then, depending upon your personal interests or needs one can add in a variety of other items...

~ A camera
~ A portable Watercolor set
~ Colored Pencils
~ Tape or Pins
~ Small Scissors or X-acto type knife (safely encased of course)
~ Regular or double-stick tape
~ Tweezers
~ A small digging utensil (a sturdy metal spoon is ideal)

Then don't forget to add in the comfort items...

~ A flask of water
~ Mints or chewing gum
~ Insect bite salve
~ A few Band-aids
~ Lip Balm

Having a field guide sitting 'at the ready' near your cottage door will surely beckon one outdoors more often and make your impromptu rambles that much more pleasurable.

Pumpkin and Prosciutto Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups cubed pumpkin, steamed or boiled until tender
2 ounces chopped Prosciutto
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
freshly ground white pepper

Melt the butter and olive oil together in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent. While the onion is cooking, place the stock in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until simmering, but not boiling. Add the garlic to the onions and cook for two minutes. Add the rice and stir well to coat. Sauté for a minute, then add the wine. Cook the rice until all of the wine is absorbed, stirring constantly. Add a ladle of the warm stock, and stirring constantly, cook until all of the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until almost all of the liquid had been absorbed. Add the pumpkin and mix well. Continue to cook until the pumpkin is heated through, and all of the liquid is absorbed. Add the Prosciutto, Parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well and serve hot.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o'er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven's o'er-hanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer's prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Photos from my recent trip to Maine.

Cape Neddick, Nubble Lighthouse, near entrance to York River; Nearest town: York, Maine

Head Lighthouse, Portland, Maine

Stonewall Kitchen, York, Maine

Lobster Roll, Kennebunkport, Maine

Lobster Roll, Portland, Maine

Lobster Dinner, Ogunquit, Maine

Recipe: Old Fashioned Maine Lobster Roll

Michael Dunn
  • 12 oz lobster meat, cooked and diced (3 lbs fresh lobster)
  • 2 Tbsp celery, small dice
  • 2 Tbsp dill pickle, small dice
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 soft roll buns (hotdog style)
  • 1/4 cup soft butter

1. Mix all ingredients, except the butter and buns; keep chilled until ready to use

2. Brush butter on each side of bun and griddle until golden brown

3. Split bun down the middle (but not all the way through the bread) and fill with the lobster mix

4. Serve immediately


Serve with coleslaw, kettle chips and a lemon wedge