Archive for July, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Scones —MAV

Friday, July 27th, 2012

When I think of last summer I can’t help but think about food. I made a lot of good food last summer! This summer has seemed somehow busier and I have not been in the kitchen as much … but of course there are still weeks to go, thankfully. Maybe I can make up for it.

Since we are taking a few days to remember Quarterly, Issue No. 5 (please don’t forget that the last single issues are in the shop for $20 through Monday morning) I thought it would be nice to remember and share some of last summer’s favorite recipes.

Tomatoes last summer were particularly tasty. Sometimes for lunch I would take tomato wedges, some pieces of basil ripped up and big chucks of goat’s milk feta (all from our farmer’s market) and mix it all together in a bowl. I would add good olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes I might also add toasted sunflower seeds sprinkled on top at the end or chunk of cucumber if I had them. I’m not sure if you know but feta is a good source of protein. When I knew I was going to have a big dinner this was always a nice, fresh lunch option for me. Those green tomatoes up there were always my favorite! Looking for more this weekend at the market.

Early last summer I had a small love affair with strawberries (same this happened this year). I got really into making fresh strawberry scones. I started with Molly’s recipe, which I love, and adjusted it a bit to fit my preferences. Here is what I did:

Fresh Strawberry Scones
makes about 8–12 depending on size

1 cup spelt flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 T natural sugar
3/4 tsp salt
5 T unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1/2 C whole milk
1 egg
1-1/2 to 2 C strawberries, cut into small chunks or slices

Preheat oven to 425ºF/220ºC. Prepare one or two baking sheets with a layer of parchment paper. Mix together all dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, salt, sugar) in large bowl. Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients using two knives or your fingers; mixture should resemble course meal. In a small bowl mix milk and egg, beat well. Pour wet into dry and bring together with as few strokes as possible. Turn dough out onto counter and knead a couple times (if you need a little more milk you can add it here but dough should be on the dry side). Pat dough into a 1-inch thick round. Cut into 8 or 12 triangular wedges. Cut each of those wedges in half down the middle horizontally layering a small finger-full of strawberries in between the two pieces of dough and then putting them back together like a sandwich. Use your fingers to pinch the ends together. You’ll see strawberries and their juices busting out the sides but that is okay. They are meant to feel/look like little pockets, almost like pita, in the end. Another way to handle them is to slice each of your 8–12 wedges like a pita and place the strawberries inside. I have found both work well. Just take your time. Place them on the baking sheets a few inches apart from each other (they will spread out). Bake for 12–15 minutes or until golden. Let them cool before eating alone or with good yogurt on the side.

One of the easiest things to make in the summer is crostini. Friends coming over last minute: crostini. Heading to a BBQ: crostini. Too hot to make dinner: crostini. For me it’s stale or fresh baguette sliced up, brushed with butter or olive oil and salted, toasted and then decorated in some way. These had fresh ricotta (again, another good source of protein) and herbs. We also drizzled olive oil on them again once they were put together. Other favorite crostini include: pesto with fresh tomato, goat cheese with honey, salami with sharp cheddar or something sweeter like smashed raspberries with a drop of maple syrup. I’m glad there is still time for me to get my crostini on this summer!

And while on the topic of easy, I made a lot of pizzas last summer. I bought pre-made doughs and threw on mixtures of whatever I had. One of my favorites was started here: olive oil, radicchio, fresh tomato, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan and herbs. I bought little pizza stones last summer so that helps things. Dust those with a little cornmeal (and the bottom of your pizza) and slide it into the oven. I bake at 425ºF/220ºC until done. I’d like to say that I’ll be trying to make my own pizza dough this summer but to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I’ll have the time. Instead I’ll just keep a few prepared doughs (made here in Portland) on hand as usual. If there’s one thing I know about summer in Maine it’s that it’s damn busy! I’m trying my best to just keep up. Hopefully this dispatch about food will get my juices flowing again. I’ll keep you posted.

—MAV

Pickling —SCB

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Well, I did it. I canned my own pickles.

Last summer, I joined my friend Melissa as she made her famous spicy pickles, and documented the experience in 3191 Quarterly Issue No. 5. This summer, I decided to try it all on my own. Melissa was over to my house the morning before I made the pickles, and I had to keep myself from begging her to stay and hold my hand through the process, but I soldiered on.  Armed with her recipe in Issue No. 5, I rolled up my sleeves, pulled out my jars, stocked my supplies, and set to work.

I followed the recipe as written, save for the fact that I used dried whole chilies instead of the crushed red pepper.

A few things I learned in my first solo pickling and canning experience:

• You will need time and a clean space in which to work. Allow for 3-4 hours. Take your time to clear space, wash and prep the ingredients, etc. Sterilizing all the jars alone is quite time consuming.

• Borrow or buy all the equipment you need. As is my tendency, I tried to make do with things on hand. I could have really used a proper canning pot. One for sterilizing and one for processing would have been ideal. It wasn’t until I went to lift my first jar out that I realized I didn’t have a jar lifter. I made it work with kitchen tongs, but there was a lot of swearing and scalding water splashing involved.

• Have plenty of ice on hand for chilling the cukes (what I had in my freezer was not enough). A big bag from the grocery is best.

• Work in small batches and develop a system for getting each jar processed safely. It helped me to have a succinct list of what happens to each jar to follow as it is easy to forget to add the dill to the top or to wipe the rim.

The jars are now tucked away in our pantry (every one sealed properly!), and I am so excited to try them in a few weeks!

There are just a few days left of the sale on 3191Q Issue No. 5 and a limited number of copies, so if you don’t have this issue, now is the time! Happy summer.

—SCB

Popsicles —SCB

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

This has been the week of the popsicle at our house, and, as we do not seem to be slowing down our production, it might just become the summer of the popsicle.

Last weekend, my daughter and I came across an image (I have already lost track of where!) of a deep freeze filled with all kinds of popsicles. We were inspired.

We set out to fill our freezer. The thing is, the popsicles kept disappearing—taken by all the small hands that are in and out of our house. So, while we were not able to create the popsicle arsenal we imagined, we did get to sample an impressive array. Because we’ve also been doing a lot of berry-picking, we’ve been able to make everything with ingredients we had on hand. We’ve made:

Grapefruit Strawberry Ginger

Lemonade Marionberry

Raspberry Yogurt (similar method to these)

Watermelon Mint Lime

Lime Mint (with whole mint leaves)

Yogurt Fudgesicles (the recipe is in Issue No. 1 of 3191Q)

Lemonade Blueberry

That’s a lot of popsicle sticks!

Our last batch was Marionberry Yogurt which we based off this recipe (we use less sugar).

Yogurt and berries—a perfectly acceptable breakfast.

Next on the agenda? Creamsicles and something made with coffee. We are so not done yet.

Our popsicle mold is this one. Nothing fancy, in fact, it can be kind of aggravating to get the popsicles out.

—SCB

My Favorite Mugs —MAV

Friday, July 13th, 2012

None of my mugs match and, well, I guess I like it that way. I notice that I choose certain mugs for coffee in the morning based on my mood (or my desired mood) and I love having that variety built into my life.

Since we are celebrating our little Mug Collection today (check it out right here) I thought I’d share my favorite thrifted mix ‘n match mugs these days …

A heart mug for the guy who has my heart.

Two little birds. This one makes me smile every time!

This is the tiniest little transferware mug. Perfect for strong coffee!

So sad about this one breaking but I still use it. Can’t even remember where I found it but it’s an absolute fave.

I tend to use this on rainy days. These drops are so cheerful.

: : :

Build or enhance your own mug collection by taking home one of our favorite finds. Check out our summer Mug Collection right here. And while you’re in our shop don’t miss the last single copies of 3191 Quarterly, Issue No. 5. We have just priced them at $20 for a limited time. Thank you for looking and for supporting 3191 Miles Apart!

—MAV

My Favorite Mugs —SCB

Friday, July 13th, 2012

I know I’ve shown you my mug shelf before—like MAV’s mugs, all are different and all were found or gifted to me.

When I look for mugs for my own home, I am attracted to neutral, earthy colors with shots of blue. I always flip them over to see how their underside adds to their story. Some markings add value, some just add mystery.

There are those in my family who have a favored mug that they reach for every time.

I like to spread the love, making sure all the mugs see a little use.

Not to mention, I am a serial mug-abandoner—leaving them behind high on shelves, sills, and back steps, temporarily lost and necessitating a fresh mug. Luckily, there are plenty from which to choose.

: : :

Today, we’d like to invite you to replenish your own mug shelf with our Mug Collection in our shop. We had a great time finding these gems. I had a really hard time parting with quite a few of them!!

We are also offering 3191 Quarterly, Issue No. 5 for just $20! It’s a great summertime issue with features on pickles, blackberries, picnics, the beach and so much more. While supplies last.

Cheers!

—SCB

My Summer So Far —MAV

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Hi everyone! While it was nice to be “away” I missed our little space here at 3191 Miles Apart. Glad to be back home!

I thought I’d give you a little tour of what my summer has looked like so far. For me the summer truly starts on the solstice (this year it was June 20th), and this year has been no exception, so I really feel like things are just beginning. It’s a nice feeling.

I have (seen up top here with my oldest nephew, Miles, and my sweetie) spent a good deal of time barefoot. This is a necessity for me in the summer.

I’ve worked through some creative ideas. I spent a week making drawing after drawing of lines in various colors and in various lengths. Then the concept morphed into painting and things became a bit more free. You can see a few of my painting playings here. Still feeling very much into lines. Not sure what that’s about?!

I ate a ton of strawberries (even got a little rash on my tummy as per usual but didn’t bother me in the least) and now the Maine strawberry season is already over. Sob!

I’ve seen a couple of rainbows but this one was by far the most amazing. It was wide and round and we could see the entire color spectrum. There is something about a rainbow that really turns me into a kid again. I am still in awe of them.

I’ve enjoyed a few cocktails but am feeling more into chilled red wine this summer. I am trying hard not to overdo it on rosé because lately I get headaches the morning after (ugh). This here is a homemade negroni and I only had a sip but it was delicious.

And most of all I have done a lot of wandering. I’ve walked and walked on paths of grass, sat on docks, swam in the ocean, put my feet in the sand. I’ve stopped at barn sales by the side of the road and sat on a picnic table watching the moon. My schedule has not slowed down as much as I’d like it to (still working pretty much 7 days a week) but I have tried to make a bit of time every day for summer. There is so much more to be had! I am happy to be back here so I can share it all with you.

In the coming weeks you can look for a surprise in our shop on July 13th, a much needed update to my Portland Guide for those of you who might be making a trip to Maine this summer, sneak previews of our 3191 Quarterly, Issue No. 8 and plenty more summer fun. Thanks for being here.

—MAV

Honey Lemonade —SCB

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Hello again!

I hope you have been enjoying summertime. Here in the Northwest, we are just hitting our stride with summer, and it feels so good. I have been busy with work and family, but I am getting into my summer groove and finding new routines. I am loving the long days (especially the sunlit mornings!)

We took the plants outside for their own little summer vacation.

And brought what is blooming outside indoors to enjoy.

We have also been making quite a bit of lemonade. I actually make this lemonade all year long. It is one of the staples of my fridge (we drink it warmed in the wintertime). It can actually look quite identical to another of my fridge mainstays, homemade chicken broth, resulting in some culinary mishaps (I store both in large Mason jars). You do not want to mix up the two.

I have been making honey lemonade since I was a kid and found a recipe for it in my Winnie-the-Pooh cookbook. Fresh lemons are best, but I have used a good quality bottled juice as well with great results.

Honey Lemonade

1/2 cup good quality local honey

1 cup water

3/4 – 1 cup lemon juice

3 cups water

Heat the honey and 1 cup water in a saucepan until honey dissolves. Mix the dissolved honey and lemon juice in a pitcher or storage jar. Add additional 3 cups water and chill, or, if serving immediately, add 2 cups water and fill with ice.

Uses for honey lemonade:

Add frozen berries or fresh herbs

Mix with strong black iced tea

Add to smoothies

Freeze into popsicles (a few berries floating around is great)

Mix with beer for a shandy

Make a cocktail with bourbon and mint sprigs

Heat with a chunk of ginger to soothe a sore throat or cough (optional, add whiskey to make a hot toddy)

Do not attempt to make chicken soup with your honey lemonade

Check back next week. We’ll have a surprise for you over at by3191!

—SCB