Monday, November 30, 2009

Small Kitchen Stories: Weekend Cucumber Salad

    Beach Life meal planning used to stress me out until I learned to "plan, but not plan"! Like the tides... I let one meal flow into the next.

    This past Beach Season I survived weekends just on my Cucumber Salad riffs.  This "salad" got me thru lunch, dinner, and the leftovers made it into sandwiches.

Cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
Tomato, chopped
Scallions, minced
Fun part:  Find your enhancement:
     Smoked fish, bits of seafood from the previous night's dinner, leftover roast chicken, even sliced and chopped deli meat!
Olive Oil
Raspberry Vinegar

*Friday Night serve the salad as a side dish with your main dish such as seafood or chicken.
*Saturday Night serve the salad with the "enhancement addition" alongside hot steaming rice or couscous.
*Sunday Lunch: add in the leftover rice or couscous!

Ta DA!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Small Kitchen Stories: Warm Cottage: Apple & Pear Sauce

 Forgotten Mile's Boze's Flower and Produce Market is closed now ~ 3 years.  I shopped there every weekend.  The store delighted me with Delmarva fare, always  homemade: refrigerator cucumber pickles, chicken salad, crab stuffed eggs.  Local jams, my childhood favorite; Beach Plum, lined the shelves.  The staff was beyond good natured and everyone was called, " Honey".
~ Three Beach Seasons ago, I pulled into the parking lot but the store was no longer there.  A fun and chic home decor shop was in it's place.  I entered the new establishment which was not quite up and running and inquired:
 "Where is Boze's"?
"They are gone"
"Where did they go?  They must have gone somewhere?"
"They are closed.  They sold out".
Tears streamed down my face. 
Mourning the loss of this Delmarva Gem I declared:
 " I will be my OWN Boze's!".
Luckily I only had to "Be My Own Boze" for one Beach Season before my beloved Fifer's Local Fresh Market arrived!  

Ode to Boze's: The Boss Sauce: Apple & Pear.

Apples and Pears: equal portions.  Guessing about 2 quarts.  
For the apples, Romes are nice.  For the Pears, any variety or mixture will do just fine.
Slice and quartered.  Discard the cores.
Sugar: ~ 1/2 cup
Lemon: 1, washed and quartered.
Water: ~ 2 cups
Cardamom Pods: 4
Cinnamon Bark: 1 small piece
Foodmill with the strainer
In a big comfy pot add in all of the ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer ~ 30 to 40 minutes until nice and soft.  Let cool.  Pick out the lemon peels and the cinnamon bark.
Put the mixture into a Foley Foodmill and crank it up!
Mmnn, serve warm and enjoy.
Mnnn, serve cold and enjoy!

Beach Blessings,

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Small Kitchen Stories: Warm Cottage: Running of The Lamb

My Dewey Beach Daze has come late in life; after 20 years of marriage and 1 kid. 
 I missed the 'Till Death Dewey Party- Debauchery Years of street Toga parties of 100's, when Police gave fines for "excessive blender... Marguerita... noise", or would march in and cut the cords of bad-ass speaker systems.
Never having done the beer thing in college or later, or now...... My Dewey buds instruct that special drinking events require special pre-drinking meals.... the better to get thru the bar event!  Pre-requisite: a bit heavy and fatty.
Ah, perhaps the Biggest and Silliest Drinking Event of the Season is: The Starboard's Running of The Bull!  Hours and Hours of Drinking "to prepare" for running with the crowd on the beach alongside the cutest Bull ever! ( I gave him pets and kisses ).  
( Shop at The Giant Foods, Rte One, the night before the event.  Morning of, does not work as the drinking starts in the AM!)
Thus I present: 

Running with The Bull, er Lamb.... umm-yuumm, Bull, uh, whatever.

Olive Oil
Ground Lamb, 1 lb
One Tub of Pre-cooked Rice, Lundberg Brand, micro-waved for 60 seconds
Tomatoes, 2 chopped
Green Olives, Pitted, ~ 1/3 cup chopped
Onion, 1 chopped
Garlic, 2 cloves, chopped
Parsley, Flat Leaf, minced, ~ 1/3 bunch
Mushrooms, ~ 8 chopped
Red Wine, 1/2 cup
Marjoram, Dillweed to taste
Mustard, 1 tablespoon

In a nice big saute pan , add a very small ladle of olive oil and heat up.  Add in the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and let them get some nice color.  Then add in the ground Lamb and let that brown up.  Then add in everything else, except the wine.  Turn up the heat to high and stir and stir until a fair amount of moisture comes off.  Then add in the wine and stir some more.

Butternut Squash: pre-chopped: this is in a clear plastic container with all the other fresh veggys.
Butter, 1 Tablespoon.
 Place in a dish with a small amount of water.  Cover and microwave for ~ 7 minutes.  Drain.  Mash.  Add in a big pat of butter and mash again.

Ta DA!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Small Kitchen Stories: Warm Cottage: Chicken Stew a La Dewey

One Memorial Day weekend, Dewey Beach's "Ed's Chicken and Crabs" caught fire.  Just a few hours  later Chicken Ed was back in  business with portable grills!
Chicken Ed's!  Passing it you get to inhale the Delmarva home-cooking smells: bay-seasoned crabs, roasted chicken, even the table cloth of  inky-newsprint.  Greeting every happy customer seated on the benches facing the street is pure Dewey Beach entertainment.  Soused and stewed, drunk or not, everyone has a gleam in their eyes and at their mouth.

This recipe is my:  Stewed Ode to Dewey Beach's, "Chicken Ed's".

*We are shopping at the Route 1: The Giant Foods :-)

Olive Oil
Chicken Pieces, 1 lb: I use thighs.  Nature's Promise brand
Fresh Peas, 1 package.  Ok to use frozen, Organic
Corn Yellow, 1 lb, frozen.  Nature's Promise brand
Tomato Canned, 1 Big, Nature's Promise brand
Red Sweet Pepper, 1, chopped
Onion, 1, chopped
Mushrooms, 6, chopped
Parsley, Italian Flat-Leaf, 1/2 bunch minced
Garlic, 2, minced
Red Wine, 1/2 cup
Water, 1 Cup
Honey, 1 teaspoon
Mustard, 1 teaspoon
Celery Seed, Marjoram, Dill, and half a Bay Leaf, ........ season to taste.

Choose a BIG comfy pot. Put in a small ladle of olive oil and heat.  Saute the onion and mushroom.  Put in the chicken pieces and brown on both sides.  Add in everything else!  Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for 45 minutes.

Serve over steamed white rice.
Fruit salad: Grapefruit, Banana and Kiwi cut with honey an Cardamom works for me!

Ta DA!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Small Kitchen Stories: Warm Cottage: Meat Loaf

A baked dinner and stoking my little wood stove is the fastest way to warm my cottage and my starved-for-Summer soul.
Bomb into town on a Friday.... pick up the ingredients asap.... roll into the cottage and have a cozy home and meal by the time the beds are made.
The Route 1, One-Stop-Shopping Quest-Request Presents: Meat Loaf al la Giant Foods.

Meat Loaf Mix: Giant Foods brand: ground pork/veal/beef meat loaf mixture or just beef works too.
Wild Rice/Black Rice/Red Rice: Lundberg brand in the organic section.  It is pre-cooked, sold in a small tub, and is ready for the microwave.
Egg, 1
Favorite Additions: Chili Sauce or Ketchup, Mustard, Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Barbecue Sauce...... you get the idea.

Microwave the rice for 60 seconds: put in a big bowl
Add in everything else
Mix, mix, mix until the mixture is more coming together than falling apart.
Dump into a "Pam" sprayed baking dish.
With your hands form the meat loaf shape.

Now add:
Yellow Baking Potato: cut in half, placed cut side down, snug up to the meat loaf.  You might want to grease the skin side with butter or olive oil

Bake at 375 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes.

Ta Da!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Small Kitchen Stories: Warm Cottage: Lentil Stewy-Soup with Chicken-Apple Sausage

Oh, Dewey Beach! Oh; Venus Restaurant where I had my "settled on my beach cottage celebration dinner". Venus who was born of the Sea, Daughter of Neptune, overflows her bay to meet the Ocean!
Shall I placate with this Soup Offering?
After the Friday The 13th, Storm Ida, I'd be begging to make this dinner or to have it delivered to my doorstep!
The One-Stop-Shop Rte One shopping continues with a quest and request for: Lentil Soup.
Lord only knows how long it has been since I made anything-lentil.  ~ 15 years?
Same parameter challenges to meet: hearty, totally delicious, cheap, easy!

BIG POT: mine was too small
Olive Oil, 1 ladle
Lentils, brown: rinsed
*1-16 oz package for Stew or 1/2 package-8 oz for Soup
 ** I suggest using only 1/2 bag or 8 oz.  This "soup" once made thickens like crazy!
Onion, 1 chopped
Garlic, 2 cloves minced
Chicken Apple Sausage, pre-cooked, 1 package: El Fiesta brand
Vegetable Broth, Organic, 1 quart: Pacific bran
Mushrooms: big handful chopped
Parsley, flat leaf, rinsed and minced
Big Can Tomatoes, 28 oz, Nature's Promise brand
Water, 3 cups
Red Wine, 1/2 cup
Apple, 1, peeled and chopped
Bay Leaf, small half
Marjoram and Thyme to taste
Honey, 1 big teaspoon
Yogurt, as a garnish

In a BIG pot, pour in the olive oil.  Add in the onion, garlic and let it get some color, add in the mushrooms and sausage and brown up.  Add in everything else.
Stir often!
Simmer for ~ 45 minutes.
Garnish with the Yogurt.

Ta Da!

Small Kitchen Stories: Warm Cottage: Split Pea & Pea Soup

This time of year if I was at the beach for a weekend...... and wanted to warm up myself and the cottage asap I'd make soup! 
Now that my beloved Fifer's Market is closed, the only choice left is to face Rte One shopping.  This recipe : One stop on Rte 1 @ the Giant does it all!
This is a serious list and not one of my thrown together meals. It took a lot of musing to figure this one out.  Goals: had to be: delicious, easy to throw together, budget-friendly, "hearty".

Olive oil to coat the pan  and then another small ladle-full
Onion, 1- minced
Garlic, 2 cloves- minced
Ground Turkey, Nature's Promise brand, 1 lb
Green Peas: Ok to use frozen..... but I use the fresh from the produce section.  Make certain the package looks very fresh!
Parsley, flat leaf, 1/2 bunch: minced
Red Sweet Pepper, 1-chopped
Carrots: small bunch: peeled and chopped.  I used the packaged peeled baby ones.
Organic Chicken Broth, 1 quart, Pacific brand
Split Pea Dry Soup Mix: Manischewitz brand: discard the seasoning packet: disregard the  directions for the water required.
Bay Leaf, small piece
White Wine, 1/2 cup
Water, 2-3 cups
Dillweed, Celery Seed, Black Pepper: to taste
Sour Cream: as a garnish

In a nice big comfy pot, add the olive oil to heat up.  Add in the onion and garlic.  Let it get some color.  Add in the red pepper.  Add in the ground turkey.  Brown up.  Add in everything else.  Cover and simmer 1 hour.
Maybe mash up a bit with a masher directly in the pot.
Garnish with the sour cream.

Major yummy-tummy.

Ta DA! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tri-State Bird & Rescue Oil Spill Workshop

The end of October I attended:

OIL SPILLS AND WILDLIFE: Workshop for Marine Mammals and Birds

Sponsored by: Clear into the Future: A DuPont Delaware Estuary Initiative

Presented by: Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc.

Hosted by: Marine Education Research & Rehabilitation Center, Inc.

I am by nature "project oriented", thus as a newbie-birder I started birding not thru club meetings/ and field trips but by field projects.  

This past season I did: DE's Fish and Wildlife's Red-Knot Re-sighting and Piping Plover Monitoring gigs, and ended the season with CHSP's Hawk Watch.

Thus when a friend passed on the info for the workshop, I was compelled to attend!  

Who knew that after 9 hours of presentations and a hands-on workshop, I'd be curious to learn more; especially since further training is dead-on mind numbing FEMA ICS 100/200 regulatory stuff!

I soaked in every moment: driving on Pilottown Road, along the canal ( this is where I want my next home!) which is home to the Coast Guard and the location of the workshop, University of DE, the wonderful classroom with a low profile view to the outdoors, the smells of tea, coffee, bagels and muffins for our breaks..... but most of all a room full of DNREC, Coast Guard, and Meer volunteers.

It is possible that I was the only "bird" volunteer that is not part of Meer.

I loved it when my ~ 80 year old Meer volunteer friend showed up at least an hour late and took copious notes and asked spot-on questions.

Two hour lectures were condensed into 25 minute presentations!

Our brains kept apace and looked forward to the afternoon hands-on workshop. 

Our dear Opal The Whale's now cleaned skull greeted us at Meer's doorstep.  Soon we suited up with Tyvek jumpsuits, rubber gloves and then an over-glove and gauntlet!  Ooohh, how I wished I had kept the outfit for Halloween!

Soon we were peering over a metal washbasin with Dawn suds everywhere washing clean an oiled, very dead, very frozen Canada Goose circa 2008!

Later we tried our field skills holding stuffed birds....... and doing a mini field walk populated by more stuffed animals and decoys.

My favorite moment was when a gull came in to check out the scene and in particular a bright yellow rubber snake!

Tri-State is a historical name but is known worldwide for their work.

Have oiled bird: will travel to you.  They prefer The Islands!

*Our workshop certificate declared: OSHA training, 4 hours. Kind of a surprise, kind of not!

Beach Blessings,

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Halloween @ Lewes and Dewey

Halloween weekend is when I close up the cottage for Winter.  Close Up.  Retreat into Winter, the cold, The Mountain, My Work. 
Underground I go for 6 months, down into Hades, Pluto's Domain.  ( Not to worry, G-D Willing and with Demeter's Blessing: In May, like Persephone, The Goddess of the Beach Returns To Dewey Beach with Spring on her heels! )
How fitting that Halloween marks my last days at the Beach In The Sun...... still building my sand castle and not wanting to come in from play and take that 6 months Winter's Nap.
After Hawk Watch and  closing up chores I did a Halloween Trick or Treat drive thru of the Historic section of Lewes.  Next year I will walk it!  
So-spooky Lewes which gets this vibe honestly, considering it's maritime and early-America settler history... condensed into the tiny town.... with the Cape May-Lewes Ferry's paved-over-parking lot of the Unknown Sailors Grave, neighborhood graveyards and Victorian homes everywhere.... is genuinely spooky for Trick or Treaters.  The homes with  the vast porches were filled with decorations and festive hauntings.  
Then off I went to Bethany Blues to meet up friends for dinner.  Loads of fun watching the staff in costume.  Our favorite: The Cereal/Serial Killer..... cereal box with a knife dripping blood!
Then it was time to run home... put on our costumes and attend Dewey's 8-Bar Halloween Crawl.
My crawl started and ended at The Starboard. Jimmi Smooth and The Hit Time played our favorite party tunes.  Jimmi looks even younger than seen at the September Town Party!  This guy is aging in reverse along with his energy level to match!
Costume trends: this year there was not one "French Maid" and such, but a decided "Law Enforcement" theme: policemen, fire chiefs, helmets and badges galore!  
Dewey Beach has a One Million Dollar annual budget for Law Enforcement!  Do the costumes speak to this????
Back at the cottage my costume was packed away for another year.
Next year, I'll dress as Persephone! Or Pluto???!  I'm working on my costume now.

Spooky Beach Blessings,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Small Kitchen Stories: Warm Caramel Ricotta Pears

For my Small Kitchen Stories" A La Beach Shack" I've been true to only sharing recipes created at the beach and for the beach!
My Warm Caramel and Ricotta Pears was created using old pears that should have been eaten beach-time and were made useful at my Big Kitchen On The Mountain. 
 Allowable ;-) 
  Yes, as beach-time has come to a close until May 2010!!!  :-(

Warm Caramel Ricotta Pears

Pears: Two: Chunky Chopped: use sad ones that must go into cooking or the trash
Walnuts: one big handful
Ricotta Cheese ( full fat; yum-yum)
Grand Marnier 

Choose a nice small saute pan.  Add in the butter...... heat until near to smoking.  Add in the chopped pears, walnuts, throw on ~ 1 Tablespoon sugar.  Saute until the caramel forms.  Turn the heat OFF.  Add in a big scoop, ~ 1/3 cup, of the Ricotta Cheese and 1 teaspoon of the sweet libation.  Stir gently until saucy.
Ladle into a nice comfy size ceramic bowl.


* I wanted to add cream........ but no such animal lives in my fridge.  But I had just finished making Lasagna.... one of spinach and the other with spinach and chicken...... and I still had Ricotta to use up.  Dubious I was as the Ricotta was dumped in..... as I stirred it I knew it would be brilliant.

Ta Da!