Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer in Maine

What makes Maine wonderful in the summertime...

Blueberry Cake

Fresh Berries for Breakfast

The Beach.  Even when the water is freezing.  Even when there are crazy women trying to get pictures of seagulls.

Lobster Pounds on the Coast

Ice Cream with Jimmies.  Yes, jimmies not sprinkles.



Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles

If only there were more months of this and less months of SNOW!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pizza Truck New Haven Style

I am not sure where the week went but Saturday is finally here and I somehow made it to Maine.  My brother, who lives overseas is in town and we wanted to visit.

Today we are off to the beach.  It is finally HOT in Maine and the beach is where you want to be.  

To keep you entertained while I am soaking up the sun, here are a few pictures of one of the evening activities from last week.  Instead of the normally company picnic in the summer, this year the hired a catering pizza truck.

For some reason the pizza man would not toss the dough in the air for me but he made up for it with some fantastic looking pizza.  

I mistakenly was first in line and the pizza options were the classic pepperoni, meatball, and cheese.  As the night wore on there were more exotic toppings.  This included the ever popular mashed potato and bacon.  I am not a fan but everyone else raced over to the table. 

They must have put out over 40 pizzas that night and it was a hot one.  I ate 5 slices give or take a few bites because each time a new kind of pizza came out I couldn't resist trying it.  

My first plate had a heaping pile of salad greens so I figure it was healthy.  Plus we did volunteer work all afternoon.  I painted and sanded in the hot sun. I needed some nourishment. 

The best part was the dessert.  Little cups of gelato.  Lots of flavors.  Again, how to pick which one?  Luckily I had a friend who agreed to eat some with me.  We picked pistachio, coconut, and expresso marscapone.  Good flavors right?  The coconut was by far the best choice.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Honey Bear Granola

Thank goodness it is Friday.  This week had some pretty long days.  Most days I was out of the apartment by 7am and didn't get back till after 7pm.  These long days flew by and it is hard for me to believe the week is over.

Knowing this would be a crazy week I made some granola last weekend in order to have some easy to-go breakfasts ready to grab and run out the door. 
Normally I make granola with maple syrup but this time I decided to switch it up a bit with honey.

I am fascinated with the honey containers made in the bear shape.  I think they are so cute.  Unforunately, Trader Joe's doesn't agree because their honey comes in the a standard plastic round shape.  Let me just say this is not nearly as fun as the bear. 

I like my granola hearty so this has plently of nuts and seeds.  You can always sweeten it up a bit with some dried cranberries or cherries. 

Honey Bear Granola
Adapted from Ina Garten's recipe

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup walnuts
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup good honey
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the oats, coconut, seeds, and nuts together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated.

Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

When the Moon Hits Your Eye

Our second try on the grill was a bit ambitious for our expertise. I was completely convinced we should make pizza. Basically I have drooled over everyone else's grilled pizza this summer and I wanted some for myself.  Well, it didn't take much convincing to get Mr. J on board.  Pretty much I asked and he shook his head yes enthusiastically. 

I opted to use some of the left over summer squash and zucchini.  Mr. J added ham and peppers.

We are still working on the actual transfer on and off the gill part.  My pizza got a bit messy in the process.

In the end it was a bit charred on the bottom.  Does this mean the grill was too hot when we put the pizza on?

Looks pretty sweet from the top view.  This is definitely something we are going to have to try again.  Sometime soon!  Even with the black bottom this was one good supper.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park

First off, I think everyone should go visit Ann at Healthy Cooking For Me.  She makes amazing recipes that are nutritious and flavorful.  Not a week goes by that I don't add one of her recipes to my list to make.  Lucky for me she likes to grill and I cannot wait to try out some on our grill.

Second, wholy cow with all the new followers.  Welcome! Each and every new addition gives me goose bumps. 

Yesterday was quite a day. This week is my company's semi annual company meeting.  There are always crazy activities and team building workshops.  This year was no exception.  I may even go so far to say it was the best yet.  There are two more days to go but here are some fun photos from our day at Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park.

Getting ready to race!

Mr. J waiting for the directions.

Our raft.

Teammates waiting to be saved.

The rescuers coming to save the day.

We did amazing even though the team didn't make it all the way back to shore.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's Classy!

There are some things like the LBD (little black dress) that can do no wrong.  If you have any doubts about what to wear, just throw on the LBD.  You will be a winner.

The LBD of cookies is chocolate chip. Sure, I love my M&M cookies.  I savour the toffee cookies.  I dream of peanut butter cookies.  But if you make chocolate chip, you can do no wrong.  People will love you.  I am all about love today.  I made these little babies to show my appreciate to my co-worker with the CSA share.  I need to show some major love there.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Baking Illustrated

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Roll the dough into a ball. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Little Spice and Everything Nice

Call me a sexiest but grilling is a man's job.  I like to go watch.  And I can come up with nice meal ideas, but growing up my dad manned the grill.  Since being on my own I have never owned a grill.  Now I have one, lucky for me I have a husband too.  His grilling knowledge though is somewhat basic.  As a married couple, we certainly like to stretch our culinary knowledge and capabilities. We have moved on from the basic steak and burgers which is Mr. J's grilling expertise.

We have a learning curve to overcome.

There is is my story.  The other day when our grill arrived around the same time as all our fresh vegetables, we had all sorts of ides about how we could try out the grill.  Of course, the corn on the cob was going to be grilled.  But how do you go about grilling corn?  Husk or no husk, that is the question.

After a very quick google search, as in we were already preparing dinner when the took place, we decided no husk in foil would be the best option for a first time go.  We added a bit of chopped garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and chipolte pepper.  The pepper gave it an extra smoky flavor.  I was in heaven.

Then, there was the relish. Mr. J is somewhat of a hot dog fanatic.  He likes his hot dogs.  And he especially likes his toppings.  His goal this fall in Chicago: sample as many Chicago style hot dogs as possible.

1/4 C Bread and Butter pickles, chopped
1/4 C red onion, chopped
5 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 Tbsp pickled Jalopenos, chopped

Mix all together.

Mr. J has come up with some pretty crazy concotions in the past. Some are delicious, others not so much. This relish however is great.  Not too salty.  The bread and butter pickles are sweet but pair nicely with the sharpness of the jalopenos. 

On a completely different note, look what popped up this weekend.  They are finally turning red!

After a few mishaps with a very mean deer, and lots of trips in and outdoors for protection, our tomato plant is finally going great.  We now have four tomatoes turning red and about eight others.  I am so happy!

What is your favorite thing to grill?

Do you like hot dogs?

Hope you have a great week!

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