Friday, September 4, 2009

Vacation (almond lime sauce- sesame ginger sauce)

After our Pre-Baby Welcoming party Chopper and I decided it would be best for everyone, if we took a few days to hang together and vacation a little before our baby arrives. We have both been going in so many different directions all summer, taking the time to slow down and be together, was both lovely and necessary.

Our friends from Georgia (whom I've mentioned here many times before), were visiting the Boston area for an Unschooling Conference. Chop and I love spending time with them, usually we visit on their beautiful farm in GA, but this time we had Thai food and stayed at the Sheraton in Wakefield, MA to hang, eat, and chat. We joined them at the "send off Unschooling Conference picnic", where we were lucky to meet some of the colorful families and kids that they had spent their weekend with. Madeline, Nicolas, Gillen, and Jesse had given us a beautiful basket for our baby, (as well as, years of momma mentoring).

While at the picnic, I met the artist, Julie Persons, who had made a beautiful felt pregnancy doll, that was a gift in the basket. She is also a blogger and photographer and offered to take some pregnancy pictures in the park where we were picnicking.

Me and Madeline. I believe the only picture we may have together, we are usually the ones holding the cameras.

Some of my favorites of the pictures Julie took.

After some great quality time with the Donck-Rains family Chop and I headed to Portland, Maine. Neither of us had been there before and we were happy to tool around with no real plan. We actually didn't even know how to get there, but followed the highway signs (we had no map or talking direction giving machine) and found it was much closer and easier to get to than we had anticipated.

Once in the city, we walked, we talked, we window shopped, we people watched and we ate some really nice food.

The second day there we took the ferry to Peaks Island and walked around. Peaks is only 15 minutes by ferry to Portland, this gave us island envy. 15 minutes and you are in a city center, yet have all the peacefulness and beauty of living on an island!

While on Peaks, Chop got a little beach combing in (one of his favorite pass-times)

While I put my mildly soar and puffy feet in the water.

Something you never see on Block Island for the lack of trees! An acorn and a mussel.

We definitely enjoyed every meal we had while in Portland. I think we chose wisely, but I also think they just have really good food there. The city is pretty progressive and I think with progressive thinking comes good eatin, or is it the other way around..hmmm?

One of our more special meals was from a cafe called GRO (grassroots organic). GRO uses 100% organic, local when available, fair trade ingredients, their prices are affordable to keep their food accessible and most of it is not cooked above 112 degrees to keeping a high level of nutrients and flavor. They even grow their own shitake mushrooms! Chopper and I had a nice conversation with the owner and chef and learned that the chef went to the same school as I did (Institute of Integrative Nutrition). This was a very nice exchange, and made us both leave there feeling like we should strike up conversations with people more often, sometimes we can both be a little shy.

Salad from GRO- House grown mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado, sprouts, carrots, red pepper, and marinated sea vegetables on a bed of spinach with a sesame ginger vinegarette and sesame seeds.

Easy Being Green Juice- spinach, collard, celery, parsley, and green apple.

Though I don't have a picture I don't want it to go unmentioned, we also had sea veggie shitake collard rolls which were delicious. You may remember when I used collards as a wrap a while back, this is the same deal and another great example of playing with ingredients.

Sea vegetables (you can use wakame, arame, nori, etc), marinated shitakes, sprouts, carrots, red peppers, wrapped in a collard green, they were served in an almond lime sauce and with a sesame ginger dipping sauce. The combination was awesome.

Almond lime sauce: Almond butter, lime juice, shoyu (soy sauce), dates and ginger blended to taste.

Sesame ginger sauce: This Sesame-Ginger Sauce is adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
6 tablespoons sesame oil
6 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 to 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes (this is hot!)
2 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger
4 garlic cloves

Blend or food process.

Ok the good food didn't stop there and wasn't all raw either. Our last night in Portland we went to see the movie Inglorious Basterds, which was really pretty awesome, and then for pizza. We went to a place called Bonobos
. There we had delicious brick oven, flat bread pizza. I was really feeling like I wanted to try some local brew, so I asked the waitress if I could have a small half glass of a Portland brewed dark beer. The entire dinig experience was great, Chopper even started talking about building a brick oven.

This was the Tallegio Pizza- roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, tallegio cheese and mozzarella topped with fresh arugula dressed in olive oil. You could make this at home using your grill to give it that crispy smoky flavor.

BaBy FAQ's

Last weekend was our much anticipated, very big, baby shower (Baby Brown Butterfield's Pre-Welcoming Party). It seemed like fun was had by all, although I have to admit I feel like I missed most of it, due to the whirlwind factor. Above is a sign I made to answer everyone's pressing questions, and still be able to talk with people about other perhaps, how are they doing?!

There were old friends. Heather (on the left) and I celebrated our 20th anniversary this year..she is my oldest and best friend. Linsday (right) and I have been friends for a long time as well, high school...long time, although we all still look like we could be heading to Algebra class after the party (right?).

Chop had some H.S. buddies there too.

There was lots of great food. My mother had asked everyone to bring their favorite salad or dessert. There were many beautiful salads, and all were so different! I made the nicoise recipe from a few posts ago. I have requested a few recipes so that I may share them here.

My Uncle Andy, a BBQ champion (and I'm not using that term lightly, he really is...he travels all around the US to enter and win BBQ tournaments under the guise The Bastey Boys). Had the smoker and grill going all day, serving up Smoked Salmon (really amazing) in a dill mayo sauce and Smoked/Grilled whole chickens.

The table cloths were kid friendly, providing lots of entertainment and beautiful art centerpieces by the little ones.

Bubble blowing, now that I am looking at these photos, I'm thinking this was a pretty fantastic party. More like a fair or festival than a baby shower!

Beautiful gifts! We received so many great things. Handmade to hand me downs, we felt blessed with the abundance!

A green party, all 60 people ate off of compost able plates with silverware and cloth napkins. We had 4 separate garbage cans to keep recycling and composting easy and everyone obliged our wishes and really took their time to see where exactly each piece of "trash" should go. No easy feat with such a big group. It was great to see everyone pitching in, and pitch in they did!

All photo's courtesy of Natalie Aubin.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Deadly Serious (raw beet & carrot salad)

The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is the more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.
- Tom Robbins

Tomatoes, zuchini, basil, and balsamic. Pretty obvious ingredients right? Perhaps something you've thrown together many times before. So lets try another seasonal salad. I received some beautiful red beets from my CSA share last week. I know so many people who say they don't like beets, I say: try them again. I almost always cook beets when I get them, mostly because of the texture, I like them soft. However shredding beets is a great way to get them into your diet raw. Beets have blood purifying properties and loads of fiber, and if you really want to fall in love with beets, read Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins (quoted above). The entire book is not about beets, but it touches on them in a way that will grab you.

So ready to give beets another whirl?

3 beets
3 carrots
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 raisins
The remaining 1/2-1/4 cup Balsamic Dressing from previous post (this would be good with any vinegarette, a mustard vinegarette would be delicious)

The honey balsamic dressing, raisins and carrots make this a very sweet salad, great over salad greens or with other not as sweet compliments, like the more bitter dark leafy greens.

Shred the carrots and beets in a food processor with the grate attachment, keeping them separate if you want to make a pretty swirl in the bowl. Toss the raisins and sunflower seeds and 1/2 the dressing in with the beets. Toss the remaining dressing with the carrots.
On a plate over salad greens or in a bowl, lay the beets out in a circle pattern, then the carrots, alternating till you've covered the plate. Pretty and alluring...