photo, Dan Ryan
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Meadowbrook Farm in Hamilton, a local farm run by a great Italian guy, is carrying fresh, locally made riccotta, mozzerella and burratta cheeses. I have never seen buratta cheese sold anywhere on the North Shore, so this was very exciting, but for now let me tell you about the fresh ricotta cheese. Until I tasted this ricotta I only had a fair relationship with this cheese. To me it was always a sort of bland, supporting actor type, never really the star of the show. Then I tasted this ricotta. Sweet mercy, it was love at first bite! Rich in flavor and chunkier in texture than regular store-bought ricotta, you'll want to just eat it by the spoonful. The photo above shows a breakfast made with a German high-fiber, whole-grain bread, with a schmear of ricotta, and a spoonful of zingy orange marmalade. It was a lovely combination with the crunch of the bread, the smoothness of the ricotta, and the tanginess of the marmalade. We tried it another day with a drizzle of honey instead of the marmalade, which was equally as delicious.
The timing was nice for these Italian goodies, because I just read a great book written by the actor Michael Tucker called "Living in a Foreign Language," and in the book he mentions eating fresh ricotta cheese, and other delicious tales of Italian living. It's a quick read that will transport both you and your taste buds through Tuscany.
Monday, June 27, 2011
photos, Dan Ryan
I made an endive (ahhn-deeeve) salad similar to the Barefoot Contessa endive salad (which was delicious), although in all the excitement of the quenelles (and possibly the Lillet buzz) I completely forgot to add the pears! I used my own homemade French vinaigrette that always have in a jelly jar in the fridge, which I make using diced shallots, champagne vinegar, grape seed oil, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. No egg yolk, ala Ina's recipe. It was all trés fab, n'est pas?
Here's the menu:
with twist of orange and splash of sparkling soda
Endive, Roquefort cheese, and toasted walnut salad
2008 Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuissé
Gratin de Quenelles de Poisson
Saturday, June 25, 2011
photo, Diane Carnevale
Saturday was a ridiculously cold and raw June morning and I wanted to warm up the house without having to turn on the heat. Insane, I know. The entire week was cool and rainy, and I even made a chicken, mushroom, barley soup—something I don't usually make in June! I saw some neglected bananas (well past their prime) and I thought aha!... banana bread. Instead of making one big loaf or a batch of muffins, I used my tall, skinny timbale molds for them, which made a petit serving size. Dan first made this pecan banana bread recipe for us on a cold wintery morning last year after spotting it in Saveur Magazine. It's unusual in that it calls for pecans instead of the usual walnuts, but trust me, the pecans really work, and it's super moist because of the canola oil. The only extra thing I do is swap out some of the flour for unprocessed bran. That's me, the Fiber Queen.
Monday, June 20, 2011
I've got a new friend! I love all the little chipmunks that scamper around the yard, and over the years I've named several that I've gotten this close to—Mr. Chipps, J. Edgar Hoover, Mr. Stubbs (with only half a tail) and Princess Chippy. Meet Miss Scarlet, who was named as such because she traipsed through some red oil paint from a pallet that I had left outside, and she left a trail of delicate, little red paw prints hither and yon. Do you love? I swear these chipmunks have bags of my sunflower seeds—intended for the birds, mind you—buried underground in their little chippy, condo bunkers. They just can't help themselves, they are hoarders. But Miss Scarlet is adorable, and I can't resist her chubby cheeks.
Friday, June 17, 2011
photo from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
photo, Diane Carnevale
These little strawberries were grown by moi, so perhaps I should call them homegrown rather than wild. The neighborhood chipmunks think these sweet little morsels are just as yummy as I do, so alas, they tend to disappear overnight. They have to make a living too, I guess. I only harvest enough of these treasures to nibble on or sprinkle on a bowl of cereal, but what a treat!
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Approaching Storm, Gloucester
I have four paintings in the annual Essex County Greenbelt Association's 'Art in the Barn' show. The group is this three days only—today, Saturday and Sunday, and there's loads of paintings, pottery, jewelry, and sculpture to oogle at and buy. This organization is "...the region’s most effective champion of land conservation, working to conserve the farmland, wildlife habitat and scenic landscapes of Essex County," so any art that you buy supports beautiful open spaces of the North shore. Click here to view more of my paintings on my website.
Clouds over Crane's Beach
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
I rely a lot on plant foliage in the flower border—combining and interweaving various colors, sizes, textures of leaves that play off of each other to make striking combinations. Above, dark purple Queen of the Night tulips borrow foliage from variegated iris leaves.
Here are some leaves in my chocolate garden that help show a canopy of different foliage. Filigree black Sambucus leaves (Elderberry) hover above and weave through large lime green leaves of a Fire Island hosta, which covers golden Creeping Jenny (lysimachia).
Purple Heuchera leaves contrast nicely with Creeping Jenny and ornamental rhubarb leaves.
all photos, Dan Ryan and Diane Carnevale
Purple alliums blossoms grow up through gigantic ornamental rhubarb leaves, which contrast fabulously with the spiky, sword-like iris leaves around them.