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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Jul 31, 2013

Orange Basil Marinade

Fresh Basil is in season and we have a great supply from our CSA.  It makes a wonderful marinade for chicken.  Strips for sandwiches or chunks for skewers, your choice.  If skewering, make a double or triple batch so you can coat your vegetables, too.  Don't have Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar?  No problem, use regular balsamic vinegar.

2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbl chopped fresh basil
1 orange zested and juices
1 Tbl Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbl Olive Oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 ounces chicken breast

Stir all ingredients except chicken in a bowl. 

Cut chicken into sizes desired and add to marinade, shake to coat.  Let sit at least 30 minutes.

Jul 30, 2013

Homemade Butterfingers

Chocolate and Crispy peanut butter....yum.  An informal poll I conducted had these in a very near race with buckeyes.  You make both, decide, and let me know.

  1 Cup Jif                                                                         1/3 Cup Water
  1/3 Cup Light Corn Syrup                                              Dipping Chocolate
  1 Cup Granulated Sugar                                                

Stir together corn syrup, sugar and water over medium low heat.  Stop stirring when combined.  Swirl gently periodically until mixture reaches 310 degrees F.   
Remove from heat and QUICKLY stir in warmed peanut butter until completely blended.  Pour onto greased cookie sheet or silicone mat (you may score if you like).   

When completely cool, break apart and dip into melted chocolate.  Don't throw out any small pieces - stir them into the chocolate and make Butterfinger stacks.

Jul 29, 2013

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

Zucchini in abundance, as is southwest spaghetti, grilled zucchini and Zucchini Bread.  First, it was tropical, now it is Blueberry.

3 Large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange extract
2 1/4 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 pint blueberries (thawed and drained, if frozen)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 2 8 1/4 inch baking pans.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, orange extract and sugar.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir into liquid ingredients until just moistened.  Fold in well drained zucchini.

Then blueberries.

Put into pans.

Bake 60 - 70 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Cool in pan 15 minutes then turn onto a rack.

Jul 28, 2013

Bug Off!

  Since Abby came to join us, I have been spending significant amounts of time outside.  As a matter of fact, we are outside right now,  enjoying the way the temperature drops with the sun.  What I didn't like was the Mosquitoes, biting flies and all of the little critters that swarm.  Hubby had a hard time with biting insects while hunting and, like Hubby does, he found a solution.  Enter a clip on ThermaCELL.  He tried it, he loved it, he told me to get one.  For those that know me, I don't easily spend money.  The solution? I used his. It was a God send.   It covered approximately 15 feet diameter, so when I clipped it to the walls of my garden, I could work in the entire thing without being bitten.  I could not, in good conscious, use all of his, so I purchased one.  The clip on works well for gardening, hiking and running around the yard.  It was a little awkward for sitting on a table.  Enter the lanterns.

The are available in two sizes and include LED lights if you need them.  Now, we have no more worries about Mosquitos and biting flies.  Living next to a creek, I thought it was impossible.  Try one, you'll like it.

Jul 18, 2013

Smoking a Turkey

Next up on the Big Green Egg - a smoked turkey.  We thought before we tried it for Thanksgiving, we should try a test subject.  It worked wonderfully.

Step 1 - Brine

Brining a turkey is an essential step to infuse it with flavor and help keep it moist.  Make your brine early enough that it can be completely cooled before being poured over the turkey.  The turkey should have at least 12 hours in the brine.  If you have a large enough container/refrigerator for the turkey and brine, you can do that.  If you don't, get a small enough cooler that will hold your turkey with not much extra room, ipossible.  Put ice in the bottom then line the cooler with a trash bag.  Put the turkey in the trash bag.

Pour the brine over the turkey and add enough cold water to cover.
Close the cooler and let sit at least 12 hours.

Step 2 - Prep
Put your wood chips in water to soak at least an hour before cooking.  Remove turkey from brine, rinse well and rub all over the skin, cavity and under the skin with butter.  Put on cooking rack in drip pan.

Heat the grill and regulate the temperature for 240 degrees.  When regulated, add wood chips, indirect cooking plate and then place your turkey.

Step 3 - Cooking
Cook your turkey about 25 minutes per pound - you are looking for a temperature of 165 degrees in the thickest part of the breast.  It should have a beautiful, golden color.

Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 30 minutes while carving.  To keep it warmer, it may be placed under a dome of foil, shiny side in.

Jul 17, 2013

Tropical Zucchini Bread

Have a bumper crop of zucchi?  Tired of ordinary zucchini bread?  People getting wise to the zucchini showing up on their doorstep?  Maybe they would take zucchi bread, or make it and freeze it for those cold winter months.

  2 Cup all-purpose flour                                   1/2 Cup vegetable oil
  1 Cup whole wheat flour                                1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
  1 Tsp salt                                                      1 Cup packed brown sugar
  1 Tsp baking soda                                          1 Cup white sugar
  1 1/2 Tsp baking powder                                2 Tsp Orange Extract
  1 Tbl ground cinnamon                                   2 1/2 Cup grated zucchini, Well
  1/2 Tsp nutmeg                                                                    -Drained
  1/2 Cups Banana, mashed                              1 1/2 Cups Shredded Coconut
  3 Large Eggs                                                                           

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9x5-inch loaf pans.
Whisk the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a bowl, set  aside.

In another bowl, cream together butter and sugars.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.    

Add bananas, vegetable oil and orange extract together. Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture. Fold in the zucchini and coconut until evenly combined.    

Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Jul 16, 2013

Pasta Salad with Kale and Beans

This week's CSA also included Kale, I wanted to make Pasta Salad, so I thought they would go well together.  This works well as a side or as a main dish.

  3 Cups Dried Pasta                                                                  15 Ounce Cannelloni Beans
  3 Cups Kale                                                                             1/3 Cup Caesar Salad Dressing

Remove large stems from Kale and rip into smaller pieces, set aside.

Cook Pasta to package directions, adding Kale in the last two minutes.   

While cooking, rinse and drain beans, place in the bottom of a medium bowl (preferably with a lid).   

Drain pasta and kale, pour over beans.  Add salad dressing.  Shake or toss to coat, refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Jul 15, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars

I wanted a quick, easy dessert for a get together.  I raided my pantry and found chocolate, peanut butter (big surprise), marshmallows and rice krispies.  No rice krispies?  Use graham crackers, corn flakes, crushed Ritz, Crushed Saltines, or just leave them out all together, but I liked the crunch.  We always have rainbow sprinkles on hand, so they added a nice dash of color and fun.

  1/2 Cup Butter                                                                          1 Bag Mini Marshmallows
  1 Cup Peanut Butter                                                                  1 Cup Rice Krispies
  2 Cups Milk Chocolate Chips                                                     Rainbow Sprinkles

Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper.

In a medium pot over low heat, melt butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips, stirring constantly.   

When melted and well combined, pour in marshmallows and rice krispies. 

Turn off heat and stir quickly until coated.  Pour into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles.  Refrigerate and cut.  Store in the refrigerator.

Per Serving: 217 Cal (55% from Fat, 7% from Protein, 38% from Carb); 4 g Protein; 14 g Tot Fat; 6 g Sat Fat; 6 g Mono Fat; 21 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 15 g Sugar; 33 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 113 mg Sodium

Jul 14, 2013

Berry Apricot Cobbler

When you belong to a CSA, you sometimes get very ripe fruit.  That happened this week and I wanted to use the apricots before they had to be thrown out.  You can make this with all apricots, but they are not Hubby's favorite, so I added blueberries for a little variety.  Makes 16 servings.

  2 Tbl Sugar                                                                              1 Cup Cake Flour
  1 Cup Apricots                                                                        3/4 Cup Butter
  1/2 Cup Berries                                                                        2 Large Eggs
  ---Topping---                                                                            1 Tsp Orange Extract
  1 Cup Sugar                                                                            

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour an 9 inch cake pan, set aside.

Pare and dice apricots and put in bottom of cake pan.  Add berries.  Sprinkle with 2 tbl sugar.  Set aside.

Melt butter and mix in sugar and flour until well combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, stir until combined.  Add orange extract,  mix well.

Pour over the cake pan.   

Sprinkle top lightly with sugar - I like to use a colored sugar.

Bake for 45 - 50 minutes until lightly browned and cake is done.

Per Serving: 196 Cal (43% from Fat, 4% from Protein, 53% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 9 g Tot Fat; 6 g Sat Fat; 3 g Mono Fat; 27 g  Carb; 1 g Fiber; 19 g Sugar; 13 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 72 mg Sodium

Jul 11, 2013

White Sangria

Nothing better for sitting and reading a book than a nice glass of sangria.  I prefer that my sangria not be extremely sweet, so this recipe does not include sugar.  If you like it sweeter, you may use ginger ale instead of club soda and/or you may add sugar.  I used Ryan and Wood Beauport Vodka.

2 bottles white wine
1 orange
1 lemon
1 lime
6 ounces vodka
1 liter of club soda

Pour wine into pitcher.  Juice one orange and add juice to wine.  Cut orange, lemon and lime into wedges, squeeze the juice into the wine then add the wedges.  Stir in vodka and refrigerate overnight.  Refrigerate the club soda, as well.  Just before ready to serve, add the club soda.

No time to chill?  No problem, just mix and pour over ice.

Jul 8, 2013

Spicy Spaghetti and Vegetables

  Zucchini time is upon us.  Try this spicy spaghetti.  I found a Chipotle Angel Hair pasta at a local store to add some extra kick.

  1 Tsp Ancho Chili Powder                                               1/2 Tsp Ground cumin
  2 C Water                                                                          6 Ounce Angel Hair Pasta, broken
  29 Oz Diced Tomatoes                                                     1/2 Tsp Salt
  2 Tsp Chili powder                                                           2 1/2 Cup Zucchini, cut into chunks
  1/2 Tsp Garlic powder                                                      1 Red bell pepper, sliced                                            

In a large skillet, heat oil and add zucchini and peppers.

Add the water, tomato's, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and cumin; bring to a boil. Stir in spaghetti and return to a boil. 

Cook according to package directions.  

Jul 7, 2013

Injected, Rubbed and Smoked - Beef Brisket Goodness

  During our stop at Ryan and Wood Distilleries, we had the opportunity to purchase some whiskey barrel chips and sawdust.  Almost as soon as we got them, I was pondering what to do with them.  The day we arrived home, I was at our local butcher purchasing a 6.5 pound beef brisket flat (I would have purchased a whole one, but they didn't have one.)  Injected, rubbed, smoked and slow cooked, this brisket fell apart.  If you do not smoke regularly and/or do not watch reality television barbecue shows, the below picture may not look good.  Trust me - the crust is perfect and tasty.   It made excellent sandwiches as is or topped with barbecue sauce.

Make sure you have a large foil roasting pan, with a plastic lid if possible.  If not, use the foil pan to marinade then wash it to use it to grill.

Put the plastic lid inside the foil pan.  Unwrap the roast and put fat side up in the pan.


2 cups Low Sodium Beef Stock
1/2 cup Rye Whiskey (I used Ryan & Wood, to go with my wood chips)

Mix togethter stock and whiskey.  Inject about half into brisket, 1 spacing 1 inch apart and 1 inch from edges.

Turn roast over, pour remaining marinade in pan, cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

About two hours before you are ready to begin cooking, remove the roast from the refrigerator so you can begin getting it to room temperature.  Turn it over in the marinade, fat side up, and let sit.

In a medium bowl, add the following:

1 cup pecan chips:

1/2 cup whiskey sawdust and about 1/2 cup whiskey barrel pieces.

Add water until wood is just covered, set aside for at least 1 hour.

Mix together the following spices - this is just enough for one 6 to 8 pound brisket:

3 Tbl Kosher Salt
1 Tbl Black Pepper
1 Tbp Hot Hungarian Paprika
1/2 Tbl Dark Brown Sugar
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Remove brisket from marinade and place on a cutting board.  Discard marinade and plastic pan.  Coat brisket with rub and place fat side up in the pan.  Allow to sit about 1 hour before placing on grill.

Light your grill and regulate the temperature to about 275 degrees.  While it is regulating, line a colander with muslin.

Pour wood chips into muslin and allow water to drain until ready to put on the grill.

When regulated, add wood chips, set up for indirectgrilling  and set the foil pain containing the roast into the grill.  Close the lid and let smoke for about 3 1/2 hours.  Temp brisket.  If 175 to 195 degrees, cover with foil and keep cooking until the temperature registers 210 degrees.

When to roast is 210 degrees, remove from the grill and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing.

Jul 4, 2013

Sea Mist Cottage

  If you are looking for a place to stay in Rockport, start (and hopefully end) your search with Sea Mist Cottage  This was the perfect place for Hubby and I to stay.  It was within walking distance of EVERYTHING - .4 miles was the longest distance.  Train stop? 2 blocks.  Dunkin Donuts?  2 blocks.   Roy Moore?  .3 miles.  T Wharf?  .2 miles.   There was a convenience store, a local market and a post office that we passed regularly.  

The cottage was extremely clean.  It is the first rental I have stayed in that included paper products, shampoo and soap.  While we did take our own toiletries, it was helpful.  The prior rental we stayed in, I was thinking hotel instead of rental space and had to send Hubby out for bath soap.  The two enormous skylights led to a very bright space as well as a wonderful place to watch nighttime thunderstorms.  

Even during those thunderstorms, we were able to sleep with the windows open.  While there was air conditioning available, we found that it was not needed often.  Even on the 90 degree days, we kept it off during the day.  When we returned from our travels, we turned the air on and went to dinner. When we retured, the cottage was cool, as was the outdoors, so we could turn off the air and open the windows.

Instructions were clearly outlined.

The request to strip the bed and start one load of laundry was not only reasonable, it was extremely simple because the washing machine was RIGHT THERE - detergent included.

Just inside the kitchen door is a wall full of hooks that made for a great place to hang everything - fleece tops, headbands, walking packs, lense cloths, tea towels, hats, bags....

Pat, the owner, was a wonderulf lady.  We took up at least 30 minutes of her time one two different occasions - and could have taken much longer, but we didn't want to impose.  Please visit the website for more photos, information and reservations.

So, now you have where to stay, where to eat and what to do.  Plan your trip to Cape Ann and have a wonderful time.  Come back and tell me what you think.