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

Friday, October 15, 2010

Clara Peeters, Still Life with Cheeses, Artichoke and Cherries, c.1625
oil on wood, 46.6 x 33.3 cm, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Hot Caramel Apple Drink

8 ounces apple juice
1 tablespoon cinnamon syrup
whipped cream
caramel syrup

Bring apple juice to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp of cinnamon syrup to the bottom of a 12 oz mug. Add boiled apple juice. Top with whipped cream, pour caramel syrup generously; let caramel run into juice. Add more whipped cream and caramel, if desired. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon.

2. Cinnamon Syrup: 1 cup sugar, 1/8 tsp Salt, 2 Tbsp Flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2/3 cups water, 2 Tbsp butter. Mix all but butter. Boil until thickened. Add butter.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hot Spiced Cranberry Apple Punch

64 ounces cranberry juice cocktail
8 cups apple cider
24 ounces thawed frozen lemonade concentrate
(do not mix or dilute)
4 cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 cups rum
Lemon wedges and cranberries for garnish

Mix together the cranberry juice, apple cider,
and lemonade concentrate in
a large soup kettle.
Bring to a boil.
Wrap the spices in a cheesecloth bag and
add to the kettle. Simmer for twenty minutes. Add the rum.
Ladle into warm mugs and garnish with lemon wedges and whole cranberries.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Olde-Fashioned Cabbage
1 head cabbage, cut in wedges 
1 c. sour cream 
1 beaten egg 
1 tbsp. butter 
2 tbsp. vinegar 
1 tbsp. lemon juice
 1 tsp. sugar 
1 tsp. salt 
1/2 tsp. pepper 
1/8 tsp. mustard 
1/8 tsp. paprika 
1/2 tsp. celery seed 

Cook cabbage until tender. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cook in double boiler until thick, stirring constantly. Serve over precooked cabbage.

Friday, October 8, 2010

George Inness Oil Painting

Fall Song

Mary Oliver

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries - - -roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - - - how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Healthy Bran Muffin Recipe
3 cups bran or All Bran cereal (not flakes)
1 cup boiling water
1 pint milk
3-4 tablespoons white vinegar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 fresh eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup butter or substitute organic olive oil for butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease muffin pans with organic olive oil.

Pour boiling water over bran in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate small bowl, pour white vinegar over milk. Milk should start to curdle.

In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Set aside. Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs until smooth and fluffy. Mix milk mixture with bran mixture. Alternating between flour mixture, bran mixture and butter/ egg mixture combine all three ending with the bran mixture. Do not over mix - the batter should be lumpy and thick. Add in blueberries, cranberries or alpine strawberries if desired in this muffin recipe.

Spoon mixture into large greased muffin pans and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until done. Remaining mixture can be refrigerated up to one week.
Bran muffin recipe with cranberries

Potted French Blue Cheese and Scotch Whisky Pate

  • 350 g fourme d'ambert cheese
  • Scotch whisky
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1Add the blue cheese to a pestle and mortar or a large bowl and pound to a smooth paste.

    2Now add the whisky drop by drop, and stir into the creamed blue cheese.

    3Continue adding whisky for as long as it is still incorporated into the cheese (or as much as the blue cheese can drink!) and it makes a firm cream.

    4Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste and pack into ramekins.

    5Chill well before serving and serve either as an unusual pâté for a starter or as a savoury dish to end a meal.

    6Serve with toast, crackers, water biscuits or oatcakes, and fresh watercress.

    Recipe by French Tart.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Olga Wisinger-Florian. A River in an Autumnal Landscape

    • Thyme Potatoes Au Gratin
    • 3 cups whipping cream
    • 1 large clove garlic, minced
    • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
    • 4 lb. red potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 4 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
    • 2 Tbsp. snipped fresh thyme
    • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
    • Shaved Parmesan, Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, dried tomato slices (optional)

    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In medium saucepan combine cream and garlic; bring to simmer over medium heat. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes, do not boil. Remove from heat.

    2. Generously butter 3- to 3-1/2-quart baking dish. Layer one-third potato slices. In small bowl combine grated cheese, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, nutmeg and pepper. Sprinkle one-third cheese mixture; pour one-third hot cream. Repeat layers twice. Cover with foil.

    3. Bake 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours until potatoes are almost tender and liquid mostly absorbed. Uncover; bake 20 to 30 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and potatoes are browned and moist. If dish is broiler-safe, broil 3 to 4 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until top is crisp and brown. Let stand 10 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

    Thyme Potatoes Au Gratin

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Sharon Orchards
    573 Chestnut Street
    Sharon Springs, NY 1345
    Schoharie County
    (518) 284-2510
    Apple Grower
    U Pick
    Farm Market
    Gift Boxes

    Many have long advocated that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and now numerous medical researchers have substantive proof of the adage. One of them, Dr. Eric Gershwin at the University of California-Davis School of Medicine has confirmed, “We discovered how the unique mix of nutrients found in apples and apple juice can actually improve health, starting at the cellular level—protecting cells from the type of damage that leads to heart disease and age-related cancers.” How fortunate that the pursuit and consumption of apple cider’s golden goodness is not only an autumn rite but also health enhancing—assuring cider mills will continue to rule!
    Photos from my farm tour in Sharon Springs, New York. This tour was part of the Fall Festival -Fabulous Beekman Boys event. And I must say, Josh and Brent are quite fabulous and smart, fun and so very gracious and kind.

    Beekman 1802: Goat Milk Soap, Provisions & Seasonal Living. Home
    The Fabulous Beekman Boys : Planet Green - On TV

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Parson's Farm Stand
    Sharon Springs, New York


    Makes 4 servings

    • 8 medium beets, rinsed
    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons minced mint leaves
    1. Place beets in a pot and cover beets with water; bring water to a boil then reduce heat, cover pot, and let beets boil for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Drain beets and let cool then slice into quarters.
    2. Heat oil in a skillet and add mustard seeds, they will splatter, so be careful. Add carrots and quickly sauté them then add the beets and season with salt. Cook until warmed through then spoon into a serving bowl and drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with mint.

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    "There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots
    may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on
    the feelings, as now in October."
    Nathaniel Hawthorne