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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Meat CSA Update and Spiced Lamb Chops

As our first meat CSA session came to a close, I found myself downright conflicted as to whether to renew or not. Don't get me wrong, there is an unmistakable difference in the quality of the meat. More tender, more flavorful, the beef is lean and the pork lusciously fatty. And of course, there's the psychological side of buying local, humanely raised, etc etc etc...it just feels good. The major CON was the inconvenience factor...driving to the city in the middle of a Saturday, even only once a month, is a HUGE drag. Especially in nice weather.

So I was waffling.

And then the country-style pork ribs clinched it. They were so tender and so darn good, simply basted in Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce and grilled. Steven, while savoring each bite, declared them to be the best cut so far. I don't know if I could pick a "best" (the chicken and ground beef would be contenders for that title, as would the pork chops)...but they sure were fantastic.

So we renewed for another 6 months. :)

And on that note, I thought I'd share the latest meat CSA dish:

When we received lamb chops in our May share, I wasn't really sure what to do with them. I don't exactly have a go-to lamb recipe, you know? So I thought I'd try this little gem from Epicurious (with some modification based on what spices I had on hand). Good stuff.
The lamb chops themselves were excellent, and the spicy crust plus mint from the garden! and mango was a great combo!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Weekend in Review: Puppies, Wedding, and Bruncheon

Can I just take a second to say "I love summer hours"? Oh, I can? Okay then: I LOVE SUMMER HOURS!

Summer hours means I get to work a half day on Fridays and start the weekend early, which has led to such glamorous Friday afternoon activities as getting the car inspected and mowing the lawn. Okay, okay, okay...I know that's not exactly glamorous...but it still makes me happy for some reason!

Anyways, a little photo montage from this past weekend...

*My mom and grandmother stopped by to show off their new puppies!*
*They're 10 week old Border Collie/Spitz/Pomeranian mutts and they are adorable!*
*On Saturday, we attended a lovely wedding at the beautiful Pierce House in Lincoln, MA.*
*It was a really nice wedding...elegant and fun, with great food, and of course, a beautiful couple! (The bride was my manager at my previous job, and she & her new husband are just wonderful people)*
*My hot date, appreciating the architectural details in a room that bears a striking resemblance to the inspiration photo in my last post.*
*On Sunday I hosted a little ladies' bruncheon (no, not a real word. but i like it.) for a couple of my best girls. We all enjoy cooking, so we BROUGHT IT...I made cranberry scones with lemon curd (YUM!) and toasted bagel bites made with honey mustard, ham, tomato and dill Havarti. My girls brought a fantastic veggie quiche and homemade granola with fresh berries. We've decided we need to do this more often.*

And today...back to the GRIND.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Inspiration Photo and Style Quiz

There's something so appealing to me about this room, and I'd love to emulate it when we get around to redoing the parlor (aka: "the girl room"). I love how it manages to be light and inviting, yet kinda fancy...cool blue tones and natural light mingling with beautiful mouldings and European antiques. So pretty.

I also wanted to post a link to the Sproost style quiz, where you can figure out what style of home decor is your favorite. (Very useful if you find yourself drawn to multiple styles and get confused, like yours truly!)

According to the quiz, my style is:

44% French Eclectic
44% Nantucket Style
12 % Classic

Hmmmm. Okay. Well, if that's what the room above is, then YES.
*Photo via MyHomeIdeas*

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Eat Like a Mainer

In amongst my latest stack of goodies from the library was the January 2010 issue of Down East Magazine, the magazine of Maine. It's no wonder it caught my eye, considering the front cover:
Even though it's the January issue, it just screams SUMMER! to me...and what better way to prepare for my impending weekend getaway in mid-coast Maine than to read up on the latest and greatest foodie spots in Maine?

You can read the whole Eat Like a Mainer article HERE, but here are some highlights that I've filed away in my mental rolodex:

John's Ice Cream Factory in Liberty-30 flavors made from scratch with local, fresh ingredients. According to the article, it "might just take the cake" as Maine's best ice cream stand. Author's Note: We will definitely be hitting this place in a couple weeks. I'll be sure to provide a full report. ;)

Ebenezer's Pub in Lovell-Excerpt..."Any beer lover should know and seek out Ebenezer's, which Beer Advocate magazine has named the number one beer bar in America (and the world) the last three years in a row." I'd keep going, mentioning the 700 kinds of bottled beer and 35 beers on tap...but I suspect the first sentence was sufficient.

Bresca in Portland-Friends have been singing the praises of Portland's dining scene for a while now, and I'm thinking Bresca might just be the perfect foray into the feast. The menu is decidedly fancier than our typical beloved Maine fare (as in, I don't think a bib will be necessary ;)...but to be honest, I'm hardly paying attention to anything besides the panna cotta described in the article...something about passionfruit broth with white pepper orange sorbet...

Farmers Fare in Rockport-This place sounds like a very interesting mix between a farmers market, cafe, and agricultural community center. I'm intrigued...

As an aside, a couple of years ago I made an exception to my rule not to buy cookbooks (there's just soooo much available on the internet...why invite the clutter?) for THIS:
It's definitely worth the space it occupies on the bookshelf.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New England Demolition and Salvage

In an unfortunate case of "new is better" renovation, our home's previous owners replaced the original (solid wood! 5 panel!) doors in the kitchen and downstairs bath with the 1961 "upgrade": soulless hollow core doors.

Initially, we had hoped to find the original doors lurking about in the garage or basement...and we did...in a manner of speaking. They had been chopped up and repurposed as shelving in the basement. *sigh*

So, with our modern day bathroom renovation wrapping up, we set off for New England Demolition and Salvage in New Bedford to hunt for a real door.
After searching through the whopping inventory of salvaged doors (luckily, the doors are loosely sorted by style, and most have been tagged by width), we found a pretty little 5 panel number, in decent shape with the mortise lock intact, and very similar to the other original doors in our house. It cost us $50, which I think is a pretty good value.

We then rounded out the purchase with salvaged black porcelain door knobs ($15) and crummy back plates ($5 for the pair) that we'll just paint white to match the door.
None of it is in perfect condition, but the prices sure beat the reproductions at the House of Antique Hardware and Rejuvenation...and of course, there's something to be said for the character of salvaged homegoods!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

An Army of 1500

Last night I released 1500 live ladybugs into the yard...

Their mission? To annihilate (devour) the aphids found sucking the life juices out of the rose bushes...
Because I want to see more of these next year...
And I really want to see more of these...
Speaking of next year, I'll order the ladybugs a little bit earlier, as the aphids were really worst a couple of weeks ago. Interestingly, the ladybugs ($10 on Amazon) will survive, dormant, for weeks in the fridge...so if they're ordered early, they can just chill out (HA!) until they're needed.
*ladybug photo from HERE; aphid photo from HERE*