Meatless Monday: Boothby Blonde Heirloom Cucumber

This Monday, rather than featuring a recipe, we'd like to talk about trying new things. Amy never was a big fan of vegetables, but over the years has gradually come to love them. Well, many of them. And a big part of that came simply out of trying them, either for the first time, or with fresh eyes (or tastebuds, as it were).

At yesterday's farmers' market, we found this heirloom cucumber from Maine that we had never seen before. It is the size of a pickling cucumber and has whitish-yellow skin with creamy white and light green tones on the inside. The skin is slightly bitter, the texture crisp, and the flesh has a delicately sweet flavor. We ate ours out of hand, but bet these would be great pickling cukes.

Here's to trying new things!

Meatless Monday Features Our Recipe for Lunch

The Meatless Monday website is featuring our "Vanilla Scented Sweet Corn Chowder" for this Monday's lunch recipe. Check it out here!


Rummin' Tea

Amy writes:

Iced tea is the essential drink of summer for me. I brew a pitcher almost every day, adding a quarter cup of sugar while the water's hot so it mixes properly, like my mother taught me. Not too sweet, like sweet tea in the South, but with just a hint of sweetness. No lemon or mint needed unless the notion strikes me.

On my last trip to New Orleans (which was too long ago!), my bestie K and I had drinks at a touristy place in the Quarter. I couldn't help myself - it was hot, and the place had its French doors wide open and the ceiling fans were whirring away invitingly. That was where I was first introduced to Sailor Jerry rum and it's been my go-to rum ever since. "Sailor Jerry" was the moniker for enlisted navy seaman and tattoo legend Norman Collins, and the bottle features a few of his iconic works. In fact, this year is the 100th anniversary of his birth, and the company has put out three limited-edition bottles to celebrate his legacy. 

Now, I don't know anything about tattoos, not actually having one myself. Nor do I know much about the navy, other than the fact that my grandfather served in it years ago. But rum and I go way back, and this Caribbean rum is nicely spiced with hints of caramel that go perfectly with your favorite mixers - coke, ginger ale, juice, or in my case, semi-sweet iced tea. I call it Rummin' Tea and it is my favorite thing to enjoy on hot summer evenings spent on my porchswing watching life go by .


1 part Sailor Jerry rum
2 parts slightly sweetened iced tea

Combine ingredients in a tall glass over ice. Garnish with lemon or mint if desired.


Motorino Pizza, New York City

A few weeks ago, we found ourselves wandering around New York's East Village. We made our way through the maze of the subway system in order to visit Obscura, the antiques store featured on the fantastically creepy Discovery Channel's show "Oddities," and to see what else could be found in this particularly eccentric little neighborhood.

After a few hours (and one slightly twisted ankle) we decided to stop for lunch, and this was when we discovered Motorino PizzaThe unassuming storefront led us into a narrow eatery with tin ceilings, stainless steel tables, and of course, an open view of the most important thing in the joint - the oven. Beer and wine were available, and the service was friendly and attentive. When we spotted the sign advertising the daily special (right), we knew we were in the right place.

Pizza is a big deal in New York, and this pizza certainly lives up to that reputation. We had never heard of Motorino before this, although a little after-visit research tells us both Rachel Ray and The New York Times love their pies. No doubt! This is wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizza, with crust that is blisteringly crisp on the outside yet pillowy soft within. The mid-weekday special, in which we indulged, featured a big, beautiful, fresh green salad, dressed simply with a little balsamic and black pepper paired with a pizza for a mere $12. We each chose the soppressata picante, featuring tangy tomato, fior di latte (a cow's milk mozzarella), garlic, red pepper flakes, and plenty of soppressata (a spicy Italian cured dry salami). We couldn't believe the amount of food at such a bargain price (we could have split one pizza!), and would definitely recommend Motorino for a cheap NYC meal that is out of this world.

Motorino on Urbanspoon


An Afternoon in Hanover, New Hampshire: The Farmers' Market and Murphy's on the Green

Amy writes:

Every couple of years, I participate in the Classical Association of New England's Summer Institute, which my husband lovingly calls "Latin Camp." Teachers, professors, and non-academic lovers of Latin, Greek, English, history, humanities, archaeology, and all things ancient, descend upon the campus at Dartmouth College and spend a week immersed in collegial study and celebration of our passion. A typical day at "camp" includes at least two, if not three, lectures by experts in their field, a class meeting each of the two courses an individual has signed up for, an optional workshop and/or reading group, and for those of us in "The Ancient World in Modern Film," a movie at night. We sleep in (thankfully, air-conditioned) dorm rooms, and we eat meals from whatever campus dining hall is serving at that particular moment. We even have a camp song.

I love Latin Camp, but by Wednesday afternoon, I needed a break. The food options weren't all that great this year; in fact, the "best" choice was a cafe that tended toward burgers, deep-fried whatever, and taco salads, and there is only so much of that you can eat in a week. That's when I remembered that Hanover has a wonderful farmers' market on Wednesday afternoons. I didn't have a kitchen to cook in, but I could poke around and enjoy looking at all the fresh fruits and vegetables and local crafts. I ended up buying some baby artichokes for Chris and a delicious cupcake from The Cupcake Queen for myself. Here are some pics from the market:

Seeing all that good food made me hungry, and I knew that cafe food wasn't going to satisfy me. The next thing I was supposed to do that night was attend a lecture, then a pre-movie reception at 8. I had a few hours, so I went to Murphy's on the Green for a drink (as several of us did at various points that week) and to think about dinner. I remember Murphy's from "Latin Camps" past - in the late 90's (when I was in my twenties), a group of us spent more time in Murphy's than I care to admit, and in 2009, our last night in Hanover was a post-banquet blur spent at the pub. And a pub it is, ostensibly anyway, of the typical Irish variety.

I had never eaten at Murphy's, but I had pub-food expectations: fish and chips, shepherd's pie, maybe some sort of sausage and potato dish. At the suggestion of the ever-friendly and knowledgable barkeep, Dennis, I grabbed a menu and was pleasantly surprised at the offerings. Murphy's is preparing incredible locavore-minded dishes made from fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients. It was then that I realized I wasn't going to make that night's lecture; everything sounded so wonderful.

I did, at last, decide upon an appetizer of "Sauteed Hollander Mussels"- sweet mussels and cherry tomatoes cooked in a complex sauce of dry vermouth, garlic, thyme, and Boucher bleu cheese (what an addition!) topped with crispy fried shallots. The bleu cheese gave the sauce a surprising tang and delightful creaminess that begged for the accompanying toasted baguette to be dipped in it. My mouth is drooling just thinking of that sauce as I'm writing this. I. Loved. This. Dish.

For my entree, I had a hard timing choosing among the "Balsamic Marinated Misty Knoll Leg Quarter," the "Asian Spice Rubbed Pork Flat Iron," or the "Garlic Infused Colorado Lamb Sirloin." Of these three, Dennis steered me toward the lamb, which was amazingly tender, not at all gamey, and perfectly seasoned, sitting in a hearty stew-like bed of curried white beans and tomato confit, topped with a palate-cooling tzatziki sauce. Heavenly, and the perfect choice (kudos to you, Dennis).

I was itching to leave out of fear I might be "caught" by my peers not eating in the already-paid-for-dining-hall (a tad extravagant for your typical New Englander), when a trio of my "camp" buddies walked in for drinks and a quick bite. Paranoia aside, I finished up the lamb, grabbed another glass of Pinot Noir and left my bartop post to join them. Some time late, a plate appeared before me, compliments of Dennis, who knew I really wanted dessert. Joyfully I cut into halves these two "Vermont Butter and Cheese Whoopie Pies" and shared them with my friends (before snapping a photo, I'm sad to say), although I kept the accompanying cognac cream shooter to myself (you know, germs). All agreed they were delicious, and we headed out, will full and happy bellies, to the reception.

To sum up, this was an excellent dining experience, made better by the hospitable service and friendly company. I highly recommend Murphy's if you are in the Hanover, NH area. Actually, even if you're not in the area, for this outstanding restaurant is less than a mile off VT Interstate 91, Exit 12. The Farmers' Market is on Wednesdays from 3 to 6. It makes a great afternoon!
Murphy's On The Green on Urbanspoon


Secret Recipe Club: Chicken Curry with Whole Spices

When we read about Amanda's (of Amanda's Cookin') Secret Recipe Club, we hoped we weren't too late to join. Well, we were. For that month's "meeting" anyway. But we were "inducted" into the club shortly afterward and are thrilled to be participating in July's posting.

Amanda's Cookin'The SRC is a group of food blogging enthusiasts who are assigned another person's blog from which they must read, choose, make and post about, a recipe. The "secret" part is that the person whose recipe we're making doesn't know who we are. All postings are posted at the same time on the same date (what we call the Big Reveal), and it's all great fun.

The blog we were assigned is Passionate About Baking. This beautifully written and photographed blog is by Deeba Rajpal of India. Now, one would think we would have chosen one of her many dozens of baking recipes. However, since it is our first SRC, we decided to celebrate "first timeness" and use Deeba's recipe for "Khade Masale Ka Korma," or "Chicken Curry with Whole Spices" to make our first homemade curry. This particular curry called to us not only because of the use of whole spices but also because of the wonderful simplicity of the dish.

The khade mesale, or whole spices used in this dish

We followed Deeba's recipe, found here, halving the amounts of the ingredients (since we were cooking for two), using Szechuan peppercorns in place of black, and serving the chicken with steamed basmati rice. The result was chicken that was cooked to a perfect texture in an aromatic curry sauce that had a flavorful and comforting spiciness to it. In a word, delightful.

The base of the dish, ghee (or clarified butter)

First, we melted some ghee...

...and sauteed sliced onions in it.

We added some green cardamom pods, whole cloves and Szechuan peppercorns.

Next, we added onion, garlic and ginger that we had ground quickly in a food processor.

This curry gets additional flavor as well as its color from hot paprika.

A few tablespoons of yogurt and some water were added before we put on the cover and allowed the chicken to cook.

The finished product, served with basmati rice.


Fireworks Wine Dinner at On20

Needless to say, this was a fantastic dinner. It would be a challenge to say which was better - the food prepared by Chef Noel Jones, the service, or watching the Hartford fireworks from the 20th floor overlooking the river.

We were greeted by the maitre d' Michael McGarrity, a wonderful man who possesses an infectious passion for both the food and wine served at On20. Speaking in a hushed tone with a smile on his face Michael welcomed us to what he assured was going to be a great evening. He was right.

It all started with the seating. We visit On20 a few times a year and have always been disappointed that we never had a window seat. This time we were not disappointed. Here is a picture literally taken from our table. No need to stand, just look out the window. Note the boats in the river already vying for the best view of the fireworks.

1st Course: Vichyssoise
Charred Leek Coulis, Pommes Pont Neuf
wine: Domain Serge Laouee Sancere 2010

2nd Course: Summer Vegetable Tartlet
Tempura Squash Blossom, Starlight Garden Greens
wine: Oliver Sumier Chateau Coussin, Rose Côtes De Provonce 2010

3rd Course: Lubina a La Plancha
Stonington Shrimp Confit, Sauce Américaine
wine: Laguna Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2009
4th Course: Fire Roasted Sirloin
Patatas Bravas, Carmelized Toy Box Tomatoes, Andalucia Vinegar Reduction
wine: Seventy Five Cabernet Sauvignon, St Helena 2009
5th Course: Nancy's Hudson Valley Camembert
Toasted Brioche, Red Onion Marmalade, Local Honey Drizzle
wine: Château La Goutére Boudeaux 2009

6th Course: Summer Fruit Compote and Buttermilk Shortcake
Vanilla Ice Cream
wine: Banfi Rosa Regal Acqui 2009

What this picture doesn't show is that the shortcake is filled with a cream.

By eight o'clock the crowd had already filled Adriaen's Landing and the Founders' Bridge. The fireworks were fantastic. At the start of the display the house lights were turned down so everyone in the restaurant could enjoy the show.

Lets just say that Michael was right.


Holy Smoke(r)!

We are known for celebrating things late. We once enjoyed a rockin' "Seis de Mayo" with tequila and hot wings at Hooters (no comment...) with one of Chris's friends. It was the best Cinco de Mayo I never had. This year, we're having a Fifth of July cookout with our neighbors D and J. It started with good intentions...a new smoker, some marinated chicken, you know, normal plans...until we realized (around 4 p.m. on the 4th of July) the smoker needed to be cured before we could cook with it. Which takes 3 hours on top of the 4 hours needed for smoking the actual dinner. Which meant dinner would be around midnight, and D and J have jobs that, unfortunately, make them not free all summer long (unlike us).

And so today, being a brand new day, brought similar plans (and the wonderful scent!) of applewood smoked jerk chicken along with a couple of intriguing side dishes, in our one-day-late-celebration of our nation's Independence Day.

First, the chicken. We marinated several chicken pieces in a store-bought jerk seasoning. We set up the smoker with applewood chips and allowed the chicken to smoke for four hours. Without even lifting the lid (which was a huge temptation to resist, btw!)!!!

Second, the rice. We almost always make our rice (except our risotto) in a rice cooker because it comes out perfectly cooked and fluffy, the way rice should be. Tonight, we used basmati rice, but instead of plain old water, we substituted coconut water for a little bit of cool tropical flavor.

Finally, to round out the meal, Chris chopped up a whole pineapple and tossed it with fresh lavender and some vanilla sugar for a tasty side dish.

So,tonight's meal is: Applewood-Smoked Jerk Chicken with Coconut Rice and Pineapple-Lavender Salad. It may not be as patriotic as burgers and dogs, but it works for us.

Now, we don't really have any "recipes," for this meal, but to recap: we used Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning to marinate the chicken, substituted coconut water for water to cook our rice, and tossed chopped pineapple with some lavender and sugar infused with vanilla bean. D did a fabulous job grilling up corn on the cob too. If you have specific questions, don't hesitate to email us! And Happy 5th of July!!!