Category Archives: Summer

When Corn Salad is not Corn Salad

Valerianella locusta illustration by Thomé (1885) showing the plant, flower, and seed.

There is plant called

corn salad

Ackersalat02

Which is not the same thing as a

corn salad

Corn_&_Beans_(15392776377).jpg

See?

Not the same thing at all.

Corn Salad also goes by Mache, Doucette and Raiponce …yes, that translates to Rapunzel!

Fairy_Tales_From_The_Brothers_Grimm_Rapunzel_3_By_Walter_Crane

Walter Crane illustration of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Was she so named because her hair grew like a weed?

Evidently, it’s called corn salad because it’s a weed in the corn – which is any grain back in England. People use to gather it in from the fields,  and not actually grow it in their gardens. Ordinary people, that is.

Thomas Jefferson grew it in his gardens at Monticello.

Official_Presidential_portrait_of_Thomas_Jefferson_(by_Rembrandt_Peale,_1800)

Thomas Jefferson – not ordinary

Louis XIV also grew it in his garden

Louis_XIV_of_France

Louis XIV – the Sun King – very NOT ordinary!

I’m really tired of KALE

kale

So perhaps Corn Salad – or Mache or Doucette or rapunzel  could be next Arugula…

rocket

 

 

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Just fine

Van Gogh, Seascape near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, June 1888. Oil on canvas, 50.5 x 64.3 cm. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Van Gogh, Seascape near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, June 1888. Oil on canvas, 50.5 x 64.3 cm. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

First day of Summer.

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Drive-In Day

June 6th is National Drive-In  Movie Day. Shouldn’t it be Drive-In NIGHT????

It’s not as easy to see a drive in movie as it used to be……

As I’ve mentioned before, popcorn put me through college….

And Kingston was where I made it.

We also got to see the movies. Or hear them . Not always both at the same time, but after six nights, you had a clue. And we could always come in on our night off and watch, so yes, I went to the Drive-In to WATCH the movies.

And eat free popcorn, freshly made.

It was at the Drive-In I saw Star Wars

Not knowing anything about Star Wars before it first aired…it seemed to have dropped out of the sky.

Image a summer night sky and then…

Just think about this movie on a giant screen against the night sky.

Movie Magic.

drive in

 

 

 

 

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New England Style Poutine

I’m talking about chowder fries.

Why have I never heard of these before?

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Chowder over French Fries – New England Poutine

Saveur had a story….just last March.

Thick chowder is key – as are hot and crisp Fries. Frozen will not do. This might be my Summer go out for dish.

The spud on spud left my Irish heart happy.

Here’s what may be the first chowder recipe in print.

Boston Evening Post on September 23,1751.

First lay some Onions to keep the Pork from burning
Because in Chouder there can be not turning;
Then lay some Pork in slices very thing,
Thus you in Chouder always must begin.
Next lay some Fish cut crossways very nice
Then season well with Pepper, Salt, and Spice;
Parsley, Sweet-Marjoram, Savory, and Thyme,
Then Biscuit next which must be soak’d some Time.
Thus your Foundation laid, you will be able
To raise a Chouder, high as Tower of Babel;
For by repeating o’er the Same again,
You may make a Chouder for a thousand men.
Last a Bottle of Claret, with Water eno; to smother ’em,
You’ll have a Mess which some call Omnium gather ’em.

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coniglio coniglio coniglio

Ital rabbit 1

rabbit italian soup tureen

Italian Soup Tureen

italian-rabbit-recipe-COVER-1000x628

Not surprisingly, most of the Italian rabbit images have them already cooked, or are plates to serve them in…or cookbooks.

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See Poem

Renoir – 1879 Seascape

The hurricane is a statement and not a watch or a warning,  but the wind is gusty, the sky is grey and there are whitecaps in the harbor…Yep, it’s still Summer, but it wants to be Fall in New England.

On a related note….

New York Times Book Review. August 28, 2016. On Poetry/ David Orr.

“In Loath with the Lyric” p. 16. Review of Ben Lerner’s The Hatred of Poetry.

        “Let’s forget the distance between my isolated archipelago and your bustling, workaday neighborhood, and let me tell you about how, where I sit, the ocean seems suspended above the rounded gray and blue-gray stones, how I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same, slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones, and about how, if you should dip your hand in, your wrist would ache immediately, your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn as if the water were a transmutation of fire that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.”

Gauguin-seascape-in-Brittany

Gauguin – Seascape in Brittany

In the article, there’s a reference  to William McGonagall The Tay Bridge Disaster

Blue-and-Silver--TrouvilleWhistler

Whistler – Blue and Silver Trouville

 

Van_Gogh_-_Fischerboote_bei_Saintes-Maries1

Van Gogh

Seascape at Saintes-Maries (Fishing Boats at Sea), 1888, Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia

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Book Club Chairs: Locale local

 Grab a seat…with your feet in the water, the sun on your back  OR  curled up in AC comfort OR in front of a fire.  It’s

                              Book Club time!

I’ve been reading…

Often I have a seasonal reading theme, whether I begin with one or not. I just like reading things that build on each other, complement each other, and keep my brain in the same neighbor for a while. This summer’s theme turned out to be:

Books set in Plymouth by

Local Authors who I know.

How’s THAT for a theme?

It started this spring with ROBERT KNOX

Bob Knox

Suosso’s Lane

Which is about Bartolomeo Vanzetti, who lived in Plymouth – just up the road from where I live now – and  early 20th century immigration issues and the labor movement  and…well, you’ll have to read it find out more….

 

Suosso's Lane cover

And then I heard that PETER TRENOUTH had a book out….

Peter Trenouth

Cloudy Hands

We worked together decades ago and have kept off and on in touch. This is a story that is heart wrenching, heartwarming and heartfelt and a bunch of other heart and flowers terms that are making me sound cliché instead of must read.

cloudy hands cover

Judith Campbell and the Holy Mysteries

Judy campbell

Olympia Brown / Holy Mysteries  series

There’s the story, the great people we meet, who grow and change and don’t change, revealing a little more of themselves in each volume AND there’s the moral AND the mystery AND the great food. I’m thinking Olympia Brown is a Leo, because she’s rather fond of ginger. I’ve offered to be a recipe tester for the companion cookbook…..

 

unspeakable_cover_300w

It’s been a summer to connect and re-connect with old friends and read great books with familiar locations and have friendly books on the shelves.

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two blue

 

 

 

I love blue berries. Usually I just eat them. Occasionally I actually leave enough or buy enough more that I make something. Blueberry pancakes. Blueberry Betty and Buckle (not to be confused with Betty Buckley..

betty-buckley-footer-watermark

Betty Buckley in Cats

Blueberry Cobbler. Blueberry Pie. Blueberry corn muffins. Blueberry tea-cake ….or was that a pound cake? Lemon pound cake with blueberries???? And Jordan Marsh Blueberry muffins….coming down the escalator, with box tied up with blue twine, hoping to NOT eat them all on the bus, so there would be more then crumbs in the box by the time we got home.

 

muffin-closeup-jpg

A Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffin….a fresh one from the original recipe from someone who used to work there AND it was on the news, so it must be true

I want to search for the recipe, but I’m not baking in this heat. Turn  the oven on? It already feels like the oven is on.

Wasn’t there a blueberry sauce for ice cream????

Blini with blueberry sauce…blueberries cook up just fine.

I’m resisting some serious cookbook/paper file searching, because in THIS heat, salad is the most cooking I’m doing with the berries.

And there aren’t enough left for a pie, so I’ll just have to eat them, and then I’ll go to the Plymouth Farmer’s Market and buy more.

Genius moment. Blue cheese dressing on a salad …..with blueberries on top.

Two Blues!

 

Now about this salad…I actually saw someone at work do it. He had the greens, and blue cheese dressing and then he dumped blueberries on top….

total lunch envy moment.

And evidently cases of SCURVY are up….so I should really eat MORE fruit. 1 cup of blues has 14.4 mg of vitamin C. An orange has about enough for a whole day of C (a woman needs 75 mg – an orange has 70).

Anyhow, I don’t have scurvy, not even close.I just want more blueberries !

SOOOOOO

I tossed some blue cheese, some blueberries and some smoked almonds on my greens…

Gorgonzola_1 300px

Gorgonzola -the blue I happen to have on hand

…the squishyness of the berries made the nuts seem even bigger and harder then they are. It was like there were bones in my salad. Next time: chop the nuts.

But smoked or spiced nuts are the way to go, to balance the richness of the blue cheese and the sweetness of the blue berries.

A little bacon would not be amiss. Fresh croutons could make the whole thing a meal.

Two blues with bacon and bread – salad of the week at ChezMoi.

 

oaksandbluberry 1905

Oaks and Blueberry Bushes – Georges Lacombe – 1905 -Indianapolis Museum of Art

 

 

 

 

 

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Cherries, Take Two

Take some cherry tomatoes

Tomates_cerises_Luc_Viatour(1)

Add some fresh mozzarella  –ciliegini – little cherry size

mozzerella, fresh

 

With basil and  a little olive oil …a lovely summer salad. Serve with Scali bread to mop up the juices..

scali bread

If you can’t find Scali bread, here’s a link on how to make some : http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2008/03/26/for-the-love-of-scali-bread/

The next night…

Take what’s left of the tomato and cheese, which has been marinating in balsamic vinegar all night…..drool….And add to hot pasta

Practically instant, low cook supper.

 

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Go for the BURN

It’s a summer for burn

There’s this Bern….

              

BernieSS -DNCDAY1-0726-16

Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Penn., on Monday, July 25, 2016. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)

 

         And the ever-present Sun-burn

Sunburnt_woman

Not me – a total stranger via Wikipedia

The good on the Grill burn  – more like a char, really

               grillingMeat_fillets

charburn2014-markby-sally

Charcoal Burn – it hasn’t happened yet, but it’s sneaking up there

And then there’s

Joanne’s Spaghetti Sauce.

I learned about this famous sauce from her son, Rick.

Back in the day, Rick was a pilgrim…..

Rick M WSJ Sally Rothemich

Rick McKee as a Pilgrim – as seen in the Wall Street Journal Nov. 29, 2012 – photo credit Sally Rothemich

We had some sort of pot-luck at work…I think it was charcoal burn….if not the first time, then later times. I witnessed this sauce on multiple occasions

Rick had a bag of groceries. He needed a pan for the sauce, and chopped onions and garlic and got them going, and open cans of tomatoes and sauce and threw them in.

He then wanted a frying pan. A HEAVY one. For the paste. To burn it.

Excuse me?????

A heavy pan to burn the paste in.

Yep, that’s what he said. That’s the secret.

Well, it’s no secret if the firetrucks come……make sure that the window is opened, turn on the overhead vent fans, and shut the door to keep the smoke detectors quiet. Fire extinguisher? Check and ready to go.

There’s a beautifully season cast iron skillet in the kitchen. If anything happens to it, all who touch it are doomed. Does he understand?

DOOMED! 

Rick puts the 10” cast iron skillet on the burner, turns the heat UP, opens the cans of paste and dumps them in. Wooden spoon in hand, he starts stirring, talking the whole while.

The darker you can get the paste, the better the sauce is.

Stir, stir, stirring.

It concentrates the tomato flavor. It releases the tomato flavor. It brings depth to the tomato flavor.

Stirring fairly vigorously.

Paste is already concentrated – frying it on high concentrates it even more.

Stirring, stirring, stirring.

The color changes.

This was in the long ago olden days before Alton Brown could explain about caramelization of the sugars in the paste, and who knows what else that high heat can bring out.

Finally, he says it’s done. He scrapes it into the pot of sauce, uses some water to deglaze the pan and adds that to the sauce, and turns the sauce down to a simmer.

After the deglazing, the skillet cleans up like a water glass.

He adds seasonings to the sauce and the kitchen smells DIVINE.

Like Sunday gravy. A visit to Italian side of the family.

It was good. Every time he made it, it was good.

Rick learned to make the sauce from his mother.

Joanne’s Favorite Spaghetti Sauce

Cover the bottom of large pan with oil. Chop one large onion and 2 cloves of garlic (cut garlic very fine). Add more garlic if so desired.

Cook in the oil over very low heat for a few minutes. (watch the garlic – it burns easily).

Add one large can of tomatoes and 2 cans tomato sauce. Add salt and let simmer.

Meatballs: 1 lb hamburger (or more if you want a lot of meatballs)

2 cloves garlic very fine, salt, pepper, add flavored breadcrumbs to own taste.

Add 3-4 eggs mix well. Roll in flour, fry til browned, let cool.

Fry 2 cans tomato paste.

Use high heat – in fact burn the paste. THIS is the secret.

Add to sauce.

Add water (2 cans or to own taste).

You can use the water to deglaze the meatball frying pan and add remnant paste to sauce.

Add Italian seasoning and sweet basil. Add meatballs. Let simmer 5-6 hours.

It always tastes better the next day.

 

* italics added by Rick

I got a copy of the recipe in 2009. Her family had it printed up to go with the Mass cards at her wake.

A recipe is one impressive memorial. You get to remember while cooking and again while eating.

And so in August, there will be one night that’s not quite so very hot, and I’ll see if I have tomato paste and bring out the cast iron skillet and go for the burn.

In loving memory of Joanne “Nana” McKee

August 8

1939-2009

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