Monday, January 26, 2009


That's right folks...I attended my first ever all meat soiree.  There were ribs, there were wings and there were shrimp all cooked on the grill in weather that would scare the even the most nordic of folk!  Hosted by a our friends Julia and Eric, they filled their house with a crew of meat lovin', hearty eatin', happy folk that consumed probably what would amount to a good sized cow!  The beer stayed chilled in the snow bank outside while we were all rosy cheeked and toasty inside.  Dave Mac and I being the only two veggies at the feast, quietly slipped to the corner of the kitchen to fry up some homemade black bean burgers I had made that morning, which, were quite tasty! The party was a hit and the next one already planned:  Dessert and get ready folks, this is my turf!

 Black Bean Burger (courtesy of Gourmet)
2 (14 oz cans) black beans - rinsed, divided
3Tbs Mayo....but I used Dijon Mustard and it worked really well..adding a little kick!
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne (which i omitted....capsaicin allergy...)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

  • Puree one can beans with mayo (or mustard), bread crumbs, cumin, oregano and cayenne until a course puree forms.
  • Transfer to bowl, stir in remaining beans and cilantro.
  • Form into 4 patties.
  • Heat 3 Tbs. oil in skillet until it shimmers, cook burgers until outside is crisp and lightly browned. ... about 5 min. ...and Enjoy on bun of your choice.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

getting me through the "arctic fronts"

The buzz word in Maine right now is "Arctic Front" much in fact, I think the weatherman last night got tired of repeating himself and resorted to simply...really really cold.  To assist in carrying me through these long cold days I have been looking forward to cocktail hour and lately we have been exploring some very fun alternatives!  
First off, I have come to really enjoy whisky.  For Christmas, from the man I love so much, I received a whisky sampler.  In it there was 200mL of pure exploration/heaven in four small bottles including:  Bookers, Baker's, KNOB creek, and Basil Hayden's.  Drank in that order.  Being a sucker for labels and saving my favorite for last, I chose Booker's to be my first sample.  Now, at 127 proof (should have read the label before I took my first swig), if there were any spark nearby, there would have been flames and we would have been in trouble...we turned it into a Manhattan immediately (extra cherry juice to reduce the amount damage done to my esophagus).  This cocktail was so powerful, I was accused of "drunk dialing" my younger brother by 6p.m. (now this is really something if you knew my brother).  *note*  steer clear of 127 proof whisky.  The middle two went off without a hitch.  Tasty, warm in my belly, with a bit of a bite.  

The real love affair started when I finally opened the most charming little bottle that I had saved for a rainy (in this case snowy) day.  Not only did I find the name charming, the design of this little gem is quite captivating and when I took my first sip I knew there would be no going back.  The dear Basil Hayden Sr. began distilling in 1796 and God love 'em, his Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky has survived Civil Wars, Witch Trials, and Bush for all of us to sip and enjoy!

Justify Full
Recently, Dave and I had also stumbled upon a new beer/whisky, which, for me, could life get much better?!  This little masterpiece, called Ola Dubh Ale (meaning Black Oil) is the product of Harviestoun Brewery who aged this brew in "selected Oak Casks formerly used to mature the award-winning Highland Park 30 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky."  This, my friend, is pure brilliance.  When drunk at room temperature and shared with a fellow foodie (or "drinkie" I guess) it is a first rate, top notch experience.  
In closing, I want to give a little shout out to a new (to me) brewer in Belfast, Maine...Marshall Wharf.  Dave Mac and I went out on a limb and tried their Pemaquid Oyster Stout, brewed with "10 briny Pemaquid Oysters" for real.  Thinking it might be fishy, we were pleasantly surprised at it's chocolatey smooth finish.  No taste of the sea at all!  Check 'em out, they have some fun brews not to be missed.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

an Arctic breeze

When the thermostat reads "0" the options of activities are generally limited to the inside (well, unless you are Dave Mac that is).  So I spent my afternoon making chocolate whoopie pies, ginger molasses cookies, pumpkin spice cake with an orange cream cheese frosting, and a cute little knitted and sewn change purse...for someone special.  Unless I decide to keep it that is!  Hope everyone is surviving the arctic weather we are having and keeping there hands busy!  I will soon be adding some fun recipes that I love to the site so stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

fabulous friend + hot coffee + great food = perfect morning

Breakfast at Bintliffs with one of my greatest friends Annie brought back a few memories. On a recent visit to Portland, Maine I couldn't resist a stop at Bintliffs American Cafe one of my favorite places to enjoy breakfast when I lived in Portland a few years back.  Sitting down to a hot Americano on the coldest day we had had yet, there was no place I would have rather been.  We placed our orders and gabbed until the indulgent course was brought to our gingerbread pancakes with lemon sauce lay somewhere between a colossal meal for a t-rex and a hefty breakfast for a  lumber jack....not, I can assure you, for a gal my size!!  I have been known to polish off my share of a big meal, however, this, my friends, was a bit much:

One to-go box later, I hardly got a chance to fit in any of Annie's Tuscan egg scramble that I am certain was exceptional, but I did get a chance to enjoy a fabulous time with a funny and intelligent friend over hot coffee and good food on a cold cold day.