Tips for the Farmers Market

Farmers Market season is in full swing here in the northeast with a market happening almost every day, somewhere around here. I try and hit the small, local markets a few times each season, and some of the bigger ones a few times as well. If you’re heading off to the market this week – especially if it’s your first such trip, here’s a few things to think about – which came to mind this morning as I wandered around the Providence Farmers’ Market.

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Bacon, Baltimore & Boys…albeit Belatedly

So at best, I am remiss.

Remiss in cooking the ingredients in my fridge, remiss in plowing through the pile of work on my desk and, most embarrassingly, remiss in my blog activity. The blog has been up and running since 10/10 and I have prided myself on managing at least one post per month since that time. I thought I was in the clear, but little did I realize that my rant on rosé was written in May as opposed to June. Also, it wasn’t a rant. It was a love story.

That aside, where have I been/where am I going ? I totaled it up recently and my summer itinerary includes stops in 1) Waltham, MA, 2) Shelton, CT, 3) Nanuet, NJ, 4) Kennebunk, ME, 5) Baltimore, MD, 6) Manchester, NJ, 7) Shelton, CT, 8) Negril, Jamaica, 9) Ledyard, CT & 10) Hampton Beach, NH.

  • 5 bonus points to anyone who noticed I am heading to Shelton, CT twice.
  • 10 bonus points to anyone who assumed that stops 8, 9 & 10 represent the high points of the itinerary (with no disrespect intended toward parental visits).

So…Bacon! Continue reading

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Grilled Ratatouille

Grilled Ratatouille is easy to make, healthy, and makes a lot. The grilling concentrates the flavors, and you end up with a nice side dish (or meal, if you’re so inclined). And, if you don’t want to “ratatouille” it up, you can certainly eat the components individually.

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Grill baby, grill.

It’s July. It’s hot. It’s summer. Finally, the snow has stopped, the air is warm, and (while at least two people I can think of offhand will disagree) the weather is great.

If you’re like me, you live in an old or older home, with, shall we say, limited HVAC capacity. When it’s 80+ in the kitchen, I head outside and throw everything I can on the grill. Meats, for sure. But also pizzas (post to follow one of these days) and vegetables – from aubergines* to zucchinis. The other day I grilled peas, so I take this seriously.

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Strawberry Pate de Fruits Recipe

These are very tasty, very sweet, strawberry candies. They are traditionally made at Christmastime in France, but I say make them while the berries are local and plentiful. I have tried many recipes and variations, I have ordered special ingredients, and I have failed many times. This method, using things found at the grocery store, has worked well for me for the last few seasons. Continue reading

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It’s Berry Time

Strawberry season has arrived in Massachusetts. My local farm reports that if we have decent weather, the season should last for two to three weeks. That’s short, folks, so please. Do yourselves a favor and get out there and get some local strawberries. These are from a local farm. I was at the farm last Thursday, and they were not ready yet. I went today, and there they were. You can also find them, as the season progresses, at Whole Foods, Hannaford, farmers markets and farm stands.

one quart, fresh from the farm.

For all the talk, hype, and trendiness of the “buy local” movement, I cannot stress enough how much better fresh local strawberries are compared to the ones trucked in from California, Mexico, and who knows where. If you are going to buy just one locally grown item, make it strawberries.

strawberries. mmm, good.Put them on your cereal in the morning, on top of shortcakes, on pancakes, waffles, in a cake, in a pie, on their own, with cream, in drinks, in ice cream, in smoothies, make candy, make jam, and so on. But do it soon, since they’ll be gone by early July.

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A Rosé by Any Other Name…

Ah…Memorial Day in New England. While those of us in the northeast corner of the country are always ready for this long weekend to arrive, it can be a meteorological toss up with the potential to vary from cold and dismal to sunny and scorching with the barometer rarely stopping at merely ‘pleasant’ in between. I’ve stupidly spent the past several years pining for the snowy winters of my Maine childhood and after finally receiving my comeuppance this year, even I am ready for a bit of sun at this point.

It seems we’ve kicked into high gear of the ‘sunny and scorching’ variety this Memorial Day Weekend with the temperature hovering at close to ninety as Ed and I relax on our deck (lovingly dubbed the Suburban Oasis) and I 1) contemplate how to turn tonight’s oven-roasted potatoes into tonight’s grilled potatoes, 2) keep an eye on Darwin to prevent him from getting stuck under the shed (AGAIN) and 3) attempt (but fail) to justify spending $200+ on tickets for the Glee tour as it arrives in Boston a week from Tuesday.

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Life is a Grind-o-Mat

The quickest way to build an above average burger at home relies on following the same basic rule of all fine cooking: use fresh ingredients. Now, most of us are not raising beefs in our yards, so that level of freshness is out. What we can do, however, is buy components, and grind our own burger mix.

The Grind-o-Mat

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Charitable Acts of Ice Cream

For those of you who have read my WFIH bio, you know a few things about me. For those of you who have met me, you know a bit more, including that Ed and I do not have children of our own, but that I am the ‘mother’ to two miniature dachshunds, Darwin & Scoobie. For those of you within my inner circle, you know that children make me really, REALLY nervous.

Yet for all that, 2011 marks my third year as an active fundraiser for the March of Dimes, a charity to which I have absolutely no personal connection. Perhaps it’s the link to my job (HR Leader for a cord blood banking facility), my love of brightly colored t-shirts or just my competitive spirit, but in the past 3 years, I’ve managed to raise nearly $15,000 for this tremendous organization. Continue reading

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Ciao Bella

Dear Diary –

Long time no see! I apologize for not writing sooner, but things have just been so BUSY that I haven’t had time! What with the whirlwind trip to Vegas that involved 1) the best meal I never got to eat at Sage, 2) a 3 foot hole ripped in a plane (not ours, fortunately) and 3) an extra night in town as a result of said hole, starting a new job with a commute that leaves me less time to cook during the week and having to dispose of the squirrel that Darwin caught in the back yard tonight (survival of the fittest INDEED), my hands have been a bit full.

But last weekend finally presented an opportunity for us to relax and enjoy ourselves at home for the first time in a while and I decided to test out some of the delicious recipes that I had seen in Bon Appetit’s recent Italy edition and let’s just say that i risultati erano squisiti. Continue reading

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