Monday, September 22, 2014

Apple Almond Tart

Pastry, Apples

The Armchair Squid and his family invited us over for a wonderful pasta and meatball dinner on Saturday. 

It was such a lovely afternoon, spending time with good friends, a dreamy, ethereal selection of music playing in the background, and anticipating a wonderful homemade meal! Our friend Paul brought loaves of his crusty bread, and we brought this Apple Almond Tart for dessert. We chatted and played games, while the kids played outside in the crisp air. 

Then it was time to eat. And this perfectly civilized gathering with perfectly civilized people devolved into a feeding frenzy. We devoured the bread, the pasta, the meatballs, the perfectly dressed bowl of mixed salad greens. Armchair Squid's Wife and I drank almost all the Chianti (wait, was it just me? Did I leave any for her?) Haley drank all the ginger beer. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Garden Geek 2014, vol. 4

Pictures from the Spring and Summer garden.

Two pictures of sleepy, chilly bees. On a cloudy, very cool evening I found bees resting on almost every Coreopsis bloom in the garden. (Resting that is, until I poked them to confirm they weren't dead.)

Lovely, blushing blooms on a Strawberry Shortcake Hydrangea.

 A Black-Eyed Susan fading out with flair!

I believe these butterflies are named Peck's Skippers (Walter Peck of the Environmental Protection Agency,  Third District?) and there are dozens of them every day all over the Butterfly Bush plants we have next to the house. It was hard to get a clear picture of them. Though they weren't afraid when I got close to them they seemed to mischievously wait until I started to press the shutter to suddenly dart away!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts with Rosemary & Garlic

Brussel Sprouts

I enjoy Brussel sprouts.

Brussel Sprouts
It was not always the case. As a kid it was one of the most reviled vegetables I knew, second only to cauliflower. Steamed or boiled - whatever it was that my mom used to do to them, I would see those sprouts on my dinner plate and start to whine.

...and push them around on the plate. And dramatically crumple over the side of my chair, tears streaming, playing the part of the tortured child faced with ugly, steaming sprouts. I would try to sneak them down to the floor for our dachshund to eat, but even the overweight, ever-hungry dog would have nothing to do with Brussel sprouts.

Brussel Sprouts roasted

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Garden Geek 2014, vol. 3

Pictures from Spring and Summer garden.

If you're hoping to attract pollinating insects to your yard, I recommend Kyushu Hydrangea (top) and Russian Sage (purple above.) However, be careful what you wish for! (Soooo many bees, wasps, etc. this summer.)

Welcome to the jungle. Of Black-Eyed Susans and Stargazer Lilies!

Purple Coneflowers. I wonder what's been nibbling on them? That's Creeping Jenny down below plus a Hosta.

Just one bloom on my Nikko Blue Hydrangea. And it's not blue, but this blush of pinkish-purple is beautiful, I think! Morning Glories creeping in...

We're trying to see if we can grow a Buddha tree! Sprigs of blooming lavender rocket past him.

The unassuming but lovely blooms of a humble Hosta.

Shortly after this Sunflower started to open, something came along and cleanly snapped the head right off the stalk! Deer? Sunflower thieves?  Hmmm.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Not Going to the Fair: Maple-Vanilla Ice Cream with Crushed Sugar Cone

Since the food is one of my favorite parts of the fair (and I'll not be getting any there as we aren't going this year,) I've been making some of my favorite fair food at home! My last post was all about Caramel Apples

This final post about favorite fair food (I think I'm finally satisfied) is dedicated to the Maple Creemee! 
Click here to check out this article about the best maple creemee, at
Springtime in Vermont brings with it many beautiful things: warmer temperatures, flowering trees, thawing ice on Lake Champlain, and the opening of creemee stands! The most anticipated creemee flavor is the maple creemee. 

What is a creemee? You might be tempted to call it soft-serve, but where's the fun in that? I found this funny listing for the word "creemee" on
'The name for soft serve ice cream in the 802 (that’s Vermont for you ignorant flatlanders.) In fact, the original creemees have a higher fat content than regular soft serve (cream → creemees. get it?) making them unquestionably more delicious.' 
A puddle of maple in soft, vanilla ice cream.
At the fair maple products are available in the Sugar House: maple coffee, maple doughnuts, maple cotton candy, and maple creemees. Children who attend the fair can participate in a scavenger hunt to earn a free maple creemee. If those children complete the scavenger hunt three or four times they can get more free creemees for their parents!! Just kidding, kids. Do not anger the karma gods of the fair. Trust me (click here.