Posted in Blogging, Food, Seasons, Spring

Pop-Up Colors

As I’ve mentioned before, color is a challenge this time of year. Everything from the sky down to the grimy snow banks is a very dull gray.

I went to my local supermarket to do some shopping and to find some colors. You think they’d be there? Nope. I think it was the lighting, or maybe that plus the exhausted state of the vegetables that turned the whole place gray. I couldn’t believe it! If you couldn’t find color in a food store, where could you find it? I eventually came across something that might suit for this challenge: string bags filled with different types of fruit.

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Well, okay, color! And I do like that tumbling down linear quality of it.

So, for your viewing please, here my pop of color for the day.

Posted in Easter, Family, Food, Holidays, Home

Brunch on the Spot

I hosted a last-minute Easter brunch today. Most of the people I invited already had plans. My mother- and father-in-law were available though, since they do Passover, and we ended up having an extraordinarily lovely afternoon with delicious food, a quiet street and plenty of time to talk and enjoy each other’s company.

I’m learning how not to kill myself preparing and hosting food events like this. I put together a quick bread yesterday that used up extra ripe bananas and nuts. I also whipped up some deviled eggs and cut up a pineapple. The rest were things that were easy to throw together today, like a fruit salad and fruit smoothies. The most work – and it was minimal – were buttermilk blueberry pancakes. I just weighed up the dry ingredients and blenderized the liquids. I had leftover buttermilk from an earlier cooking project, so I felt even more virtuous.

The meal started with champaign mimosas, which calls for half orange juice and half sparkling wine. Pour and stir. I also had chicken sausages and turkey bacon, but we didn’t consume those. I popped the sausages into the broiler and then forgot about them. Oops! Good thing we have smoke detectors.

So, a lovely and low-labor day. Nice!

Now, how about you?

Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Boston, Food, Home, Massachusetts, Seasons, Spring, Work

At Least It’s Not Snowing

It’s been a busy two days, relatively speaking. Yesterday the hubby and I shopped for vegetables and fruit at one of the area’s best places for produce: Russo’s. You can get any variety of veggie or fruit from around the world (Asia, India, the Caribbean, etc.). I’ve never seen some of the stuff they carry, but they do a great business.

Russo Produce
Saturday at Russo. Now imagine it twice at full of people and you’ll have a better idea of what this place is like.

I practically had to be carried back to the car the last time I went there. I was still sick and went through a half a box of Kleenex before I got back home. From there I went straight to bed. This time I was well enough to maneuver a shopping cart through jam-packed aisles and then get back out to the car in one piece. I even bought some flowers!

After the shopping trip we braved the darkening weather and decided to walk along the Charles River near Watertown. It was relatively warm yesterday, but started to get colder and cloudier as we walked. Still, it was really nice to get out of the damn house for a change and feel like a normal human being (also for a change).

We even went out to dinner after our walk. Waltham, MA has some fabulous Indian restaurants, one of our favorites being New Mother India. We warmed up over hot lamb curry and a cauliflower-yellow lentil dish. That was after we polished off a few pakoras and some garlic naan. Aahh, yes.

Food from New Mother India
Just the thing after a walk in the cold

Then today I finished updating my consulting website and finished up a bunch of other work stuff. Then I did another shop (yikes!) at our local supermarket. Among other things, I got a nice corned beef brisket for St. Patrick’s Day (not that I’m Irish or anything). Then I came home and crashed. The hubby is making dinner. I seem to be ready for a shower and bedtime.

Posted in Food, Massachusetts, Nature, Seasons, Summer

Abundance

Sometimes life leads me in too many directions at once. I rush from one commitment to the next and forget to stop and just relax. The hubby and I decided to take a break from the every-day and took ride out to Bolton, Massachusetts and a lovely peach orchard. That part of the state is chock-a-block with orchards of every type, but peaches are in season and we both love them. There’s nothing like biting into a ripe peach moments after you’ve picked it off the tree. We paid our money and walked down a long-ish road to the peach trees. Man, they were incredible – the very image of abundance.

Peaches, Peaches, Peaches
Peaches, Peaches, Peaches

Man, what am I gonna do with all them peaches, though? I feel a cooking frenzy coming on!

 

Posted in Food, Summer

Pit Stop

Braised Green Beans and Chick Pea Salad

It’s been a long and very hot week. I’ve been swinging from project to project and am ready to drop. I did stop the rope race long enough to host a cookout earlier this week, though. It was wonderful. We sat outside, taking advantage of the cooling breezes and dined on cumin and garlic marinated chicken breasts (sizzing on the grill outside), braised green beans, chick pea salad and a huge plate of veggies with various dips.

My guests brought drinks and dessert. Two of those guests are in the food business and brought things like home-made Belgian waffles (from a woman who is from Belgium and knows all about them), fruit-laden snack cakes and a blueberry-mascarpone roulade with a fruit compote topping. I also chopped up a fruit salad to top the waffles.

I’m going back into hibernation now. It’s supposed to get to 100 degrees or higher (don’t know the Celsius equivalent is, sorry!) and it’s hard for me to breathe out there. Very, very humid as well.

Stay cool, to those who are experiencing a very daunting summer in these parts.

Posted in Uncategorized

Foodie Dreams

Okay, the last two days have been lovely, from the perspective of food and food appreciation. First, the hubby and I went to see Julie and Julia, the film about Julia Child and Julie Powell, who cooks every recipe from Mastering The Art of French Cooking in one year. Meryl Streep was an absolutely wonderful Julia Child. It was worth it just to see her. And, surprise of all surprises, my husband actually liked the film. I almost dropped right there. If you haven't seen this film yet, what are you waiting for? Go, go, go, go, go!!

Today was, as it has been of late, hot and humid. I holed up in my air conditioned study for a few hours (where I am now), but eventually started to go stir crazy. Luckily, the hubby had some plans to go out, so I tagged along. He even agreed to go food shopping at both Russo's – Italian, with fabulous produce – and Masse, which is an Armenian grocer. We loaded up with minimal complaints from the other half, probably because both places were air conditioned. Russo has great prices, so we loaded up on lovely, inexpensive vegetables and fruit, also some very nice breads.

From there we went to Masse, which is an Armenian grocer. We were too tired and hot to cook, so we got felafel, baba ghanoush, pickled vegetables, feta cheese and a chick pea/spinach salad. We brought them home to serve for dinner. Since it hadn't rained, I decided to water the garden before I forgot. I walked to the side of the house, watering can in hand – and saw…

TOMATOES!

Tons of them! Red! Rich red! Ready to pick and eat right there. I watered, I picked, I danced into the house and showed them off to the hubby. He went, "Wow! Take a picture! Are there any more?" I led him outside (now, this is my husband, mind you) and he gaped in awe at my over-burdened tomato vines.

We brought the loot into the house, washed it off, and started the feast:

At the top left is tsatsiki (yogurt, cucumber, garlic dip which I made a day or two ago. To the right is half of one of the tomatoes, then to the right of that is the chick pea/spinach salad. At the bottom left is red-tinged picked turnip (great with falafel!), and to the right of that is hummos with roasted red pepper. We dipped our bread, ate our veggies and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

And, just for show, I took some pictures of the tomatoes, next to some of the other produce we got at Russo's. Awesome!

And even more tomatoes here, along with a rather nice looking melon.

Yeah, I'm nuts. So sue me!

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Posted in Uncategorized

Visiting Home – Niagara-on-the-Lake

My brother and sister-in-law live in Southern Ontario, in a town called Niagara-on-the-Lake. The lake in question is Lake Ontario and their house overlooks it directly. The town center, some miles away, is a charming tourist trap and one I love to visit whenever I can. The house is in a more rural area, bordered by orchards.

Southern Ontario is home to a large fruit and vegetable growing region. It also has wonderful wineries, which we also visited. There's no way to describe this place, you just have to see it:

Here's the front of the house, with its attractive brick walkway leading to a well kept ranch house. Behind it are peach orchards:

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The trees are bare now, but hang heavy with fruit in season. The neighborhood itself is charming, with ocean-front houses on one side and orchards on the other. There are some nice gardens out front. I decided to stretch my legs and have a look around. Of course, I took my camera along with me:

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Canadians do love their gardens. Perhaps it's the British influence in Anglo-Canada. My sister-in-law, Penny, is no exception. She's originally from Brighton, England but long since changed her residence and nationality. She's a Canadian citizen now, and my brother's a US citizen residing in Canada.

The glory of this area is on the other side of these houses, though: Lake Ontario. On clear days you can see straight through to Toronto. This is what you see when you look out of Tom and Penny's picture windows:

Pretty amazing! I took a walk across the lawn and followed it to the shore line. From there I enjoyed other lake views:

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My sister made dinner the day we were together there. She and I, along with my dad and brother, went to a rather incredible farm stand. The colors were amazing. The tomatoes were so fresh I could smell them in the bin. I reveled in the assortment. My brother thought the prices were too high, but I live in Boston and they seemed pretty normal to me!

Aren't those blackberries incredible? Check out the rest of this stuff:

I sure wouldn't mind one of those gift baskets! Beautiful, just beautiful.

And the final icing on the cake:

Yum!

As I mentioned, this area also has some very nice wineries. We stopped in at one and enjoyed a tasting:

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I rather liked one of the wines and asked for it for Christmas. You can certainly buy them there and transport them back to the US, but there are hassles involved with we didn't want to immediately get involved with. So, I'll have a rather nice red waiting for me this holiday.

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We returned to the house and had a fabulous dinner, with thanks to my sister Bette for the preparation. We sat out on the back deck as the sun went down and just watched it. Like I said, it's pretty gorgeous back there:

We stayed as late as we could, but then had to leave. It's about an hour's drive to get back to my parents' house in Kenmore, a suburb of Buffalo.

There's all of us: a bit blurry but recognizable. I'm not in the picture, since I'm the one taking it. From left to right are my sister-in-law Penny, my brother Tom, my dad, my sister Bette and my brother-in-law, John.

Before I leave this scenic post, I thought I'd mention that Tom and Penny got married in this same back yard. They have a gorgeous tree under which this ceremony took place. It's starting to die away, just a bit, and will have to be cut down in a few years' time. But, for now, it's still pretty darn nice:

Nice, very nice! I, for one, definitely enjoyed that visit!

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