Artichoke Lemon Spread


Silence is deafening, they say.

And, by the same token, words can be weapons.

I’ve been having a terrible time getting started blogging again. And I really do miss it. I have at least 20 recipes from 2014 that I never blogged. It isn’t that I don’t want to .. or that I don’t think about what I’d like to write about. I have still been cooking up a storm (get it, get it, haha), photographing dishes, getting them ready. I hadn’t been quite able to put a finger on the reason. AND THEN …

… while listening to This American Life one fine (SNOWY) Saturday, there was an entire segment with Lindy West on just the topic of internet trolls. I suddenly realized that a situation that had happened to me beginning in November of 2013 and finally ending at the end of February 2014 had emotionally and artistically crippled me. What had happened to Lindy was slightly different, but the sentiment was the same. At the beginning we agreed on one basic tenet … DON’T FEED THE TROLLS … which is why I never made the hurtful comments public, nor ever responded to them. Linda realized that silence is what best feeds a troll, giving them more power, giving them exactly what they want. Silencing the person at whom they aim their vitriol.

I don’t think … or at least I truly hope … the people leaving snide comments or sending snarky tweets realize the damage they do to the people they campaign against. While cloaked in the perceived comfort of anonymity, perhaps even giggling, the person reading these messages is hurt, cut to the quick, and left wondering WHY. Why me?

Just as an aside, let’s just touch on the illusion of anonymity on the internet. For this is truly an illusion, there’s no such thing as anonymity on the internet. Everything and anything you put out into the universe over the internet really does go out into the universe … FOREVER.

For me, dear readers, this is just food. Nice photos, good recipes (I hope), sharing with a community of like-minded foodies. There’s no political agenda, I’m not skinning cats, and I’m not polluting the world by burning vast amounts of fossil fuels to get my own point across. I write this for me. It’s nice to have readers, but even without a single reader, this would still be something I do for me. A form of expression. Coupling three of my joys in life … cooking, photography and writing.

Sadly, there had certainly been fear and a bad taste left in my mouth regarding blogging, something I really love to do. The thought that my personal words and thoughts could be used against me again, by someone who knew nothing about me had proven to be daunting.

I keep coming back to WHY. Why me? What did I do to cause this and what could I have done to avoid it?

I thought about giving up my blog entirely. I thought about starting a brand new blog. After listening to Lindy, realizing I wasn’t alone in this dilemma, I decided to sit down,w rite this post, get it all off my chest and continue soldiering on. I’m not giving up what I like to do. I’m not changing myself or what I write for acceptance. This is who I am. I have been basically the same person since I popped out of the womb (thanks Mom & Dad). I live my life trying to leave no carnage in my wake, treating people the way I would like to be treated.

While it still smarts, I challenge all internet trolls and stalkers out there … get to know the subject of your attack. You may just find you like them. Think before you push that button … if someone did this to me, how would I feel.

Linda has given me renewed strength where my public, blogging life is concerned. I will not allow someone else to rule my life, I will not live in fear.

I have come too far in my life, given up too much to be where I am right now to be stopped by anyone or anything.

Hello, World, I’m back and hopefully better than ever.

You’ll have to pardon a number of ‘off-season’ posts while I catch up. Thank you.

So with that in mind …

While poking around online for some yummy before dinner nibbles, and being tired of the ones I was using over and over and over again, I came across this recipe for Artichoke Lemon Pesto from Ciao Chow Linda.

It’s fabulous! It’s easy!

Vegetarian, filling, slightly tangy.

Everything goes into the food processor and with a whirl is finished!

Try it, you’ll be hooked.

  • 1  14-ounce can of artichoke hearts  in water (unseasoned)
  • 1/4 C parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 C finely chopped parsley
  • a few small sprigs of thyme, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 t lemon peel, finely minced
  • 2 t lemon juice
  • 3 T olive oil
  • salt, pepper

Mince the parsley and thyme roughly with the garlic and lemon peel. Place the artichoke hearts, the parsley and thyme and all the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Pulse or whir until everything is chopped finely and blended. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

NOTE: I roughly chopped the parsley, thyme and garlic. I mean, it’s going in the food processor, after all. As for the lemon peel, I used a zester instead of peeling and didn’t need to mince it further.


Bread and Butter Pickles


This falls under the posts I wasn’t able to do during computer-geddon.

So, what should we plant in our garden, says me.

Well, we need to have cucumbers. Ava loves cucumbers, says the Dear One.

Well, okie dokie, thinking to myself … I don’t really like cucumbers. Do we have to plant A LOT of them? Strike that … I like tzatziki. I like pickles. I like to use them in a sauce for salmon. I do like a little bit raw and in a salad. L-I-T-T-L-E bit.

In the cucumber plants go. Off goes the gardener (a/k/a the Dear One) to work in Russia for 3 weeks. And suddenly KA-BOOOOM it’s cucumber hell.

You know that neighbor you have or have heard about? The ones that leave zucchini on your doorstep and run away? Well, that was me! The cucumber monster.

Even with giving them away there were tons around. Now, the Dear One does not eat anything pickled … sigh. But I DO and he was away and I was bored and I needed something to do to entertain myself. (lotso justifying going’ on here)

And then I came across this recipe for Bread & Butter pickles over at Recipe Girl and realized I had this great cookbook Cooking Light’s Cooking Through the Seasons on my bookshelves. Ta da! I was set!

What I did do, though, being the only pickle person on the premises was ‘can’ them. Something I have wanted to try for quite some time, and there will be more of this following. My mother now refers to me as ‘my daughter, Laura Ingalls’.

I was a bit nervous about this canning process at first, but once I started it was off to the races. I didn’t can much this year. I much happier with things in the chest freezer we have. But now I’ve started this there are a host of things I have ready to try for next year!

To very loosely quote Bob Wiley (and if you don’t know the character or the movie … sigh) – I’m canning! I’m canning! I’m canning! I can! I’m a canner! I can!

I was surprised at how easy the pickle part of this project was. For some reason I had an entire saga that went on when you pickle something.

  • 5 1/2 C (1 1/2 pounds) thinly sliced pickling cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 T kosher salt
  • 1 C thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 1 C granulated white sugar
  • 1 C white vinegar
  • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 C light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 1/2 t mustard seeds
  • 1/2 t celery seeds
  • 1/8 t ground turmeric

Combine cucumbers and salt in a large, shallow bowl; cover and chill 1 1/2 hours. Move cucumbers into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Drain well, and return cucumbers to bowl. Add onion to the bowl.

NOTE: When you’re slicing the cucumbers, don’t slice them too thinly. You want them to have a bit of substance to them so they’ll hold up in the pickling liquid.

Add onions

Combine sugar and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour hot vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks or give them a hot water bath to seal the jars and they’ll store forever … for a very long time … until you’re ready to use them.

Pecan Pie Bars


AHHH, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving …

Sometimes I think the Thanksgiving is when it’s over! It’s a lot of work. A lot of cooking. For us, a LOT of driving!

And …


What the heck!?

And then … and then … cleaning up! HOLY COW!

Fortunately, the Dear One and I do most of the cooking, so I sit back and let others clean it up. I am GREAT at making the mess but not so great at cleaning it up!

I wanted to bring a dessert, but it had to be something that traveled well. 8 hours in a car can be brutal on a cake or pie. I love pecan pie. From what I had gathered there were at least two pies and a cake coming. So pie was out.

I had come across this recipe from an old issue of Gourmet Magazine … pardon me whilst I dry the tears from my eyes … oh, how I miss you Gourmet! Okay … so I had found this in Gourmet and it was in a megapile of recipes I had torn from magazines (never to be seen again). Fortunately someone had the good sense to make it and pin in on Pinterest! To whomever it was, thank you!

This really goes together in a snap. Tastes just like pecan pie. I am sure with the same calorie count, BUT cutting them into squares gives you a little pecan pie taste without indulging in a whole slice. (YEAH, RIGHT, let me see you eat just one! Well, all the you out there except my mother, Madam Willpower!)

Careful not to over bake them. Careful not to leave them out in a FREEZING cold solarium. They.Become.Rocks! If that happens, a very quick, very short zap in the microwave will help.

Oh, and a scoop of ice cream goes a long way!

Who was it I head saying something about these being less fattening? Oh, me! Well, in the immortal words of Gilda Radner … Never Mind …

For crust:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 C packed brown sugar
  • 2 2/3 C all-purpose flour
  • ½ t salt

For topping:

  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 C packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 C honey
  • 2 T heavy cream
  • 2 C chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9×13-inch pan with foil, leaving enough for a 2-inch overhang on all sides.

NOTE: Not parchment. Not any thought of I don’t need to line it. No cooking spray. FOIL! You’ll thank me later!

First make the crust by creaming together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add in the flour and salt and mix until crumbly.

Press the crust into the foil-lined pan and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling by combining the butter, brown sugar, honey and heavy cream in a saucepan and stirring it over medium heat. Simmer the mixture for 1 minute, then stir in the chopped pecans.

Remove the crust from the oven and immediately pour the pecan filling over the hot crust spreading it to cover the entire surface.

Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Remove the pan and allow the bars to fully cool in the pan.

Use the foil overhang to lift out the bars and transfer them to a cutting board. Peel off the foil, slice into bars and serve.



Hello, computer, my old friend

It’s nice to type on you again

Brian fixed you, oh, so sweetly

Back on my desk, oh, so neatly …

It’s been a really long slog trying to get my iMac fixed! It just froze and died one day while I was still living in Brooklyn – it’s been dead for over one and a half years!

I tried to have it fixed while I was still living in Brooklyn. Really, I did. Brought it to the Apple store. Sadly, I have only 2 kidneys to give up and the cost would have required 4 kidneys. I found an Apple authorized dealer. HUZZAH! He could fix it for $600. Well worth it, I thought. A new computer would have cost me at least twice much. And then the phone call. Well, you see, says he, there’s far more wrong with the computer than we thought. Aside from the Logic Board, you need to replace the flaggity gimboboo and the lala hosinfeffer. We’ll have to tack another $600 onto the original estimate.

WHAT? Are you kidding me or what, says I. No way. As the time approached for me to move, I considered throwing the darn thing away. Really, it’s a planter at this point. The Dear One, so much more level headed than I, interjected and said, bring it with you in the move. I’, sure we can find someone in Maine to fix it for far less.


And it sat.

And it sat.

And it sat some more.

Sigh …

The girls get together for breakfast quite frequently. Occasionally, the boys join us. One morning my friend Jenn’s husband joined us. I was lamenting about having to use only the Dear One’s laptop and how difficult it’s been to blog on the laptop. One, it’s so TINY. Two, it’s not mine and I wasn’t comfortable. I wanted my lovely, big, pretty iMac back! WAAAAAAHHHHH!

Jenn’s husband, the wizard Brian looked at me and said, Bring it to me. I can fix it.

It took a number of months with the summer and traveling and renting of houses and stents, but one day he calls  … he says to me … it’s done. Come and get it!

Well, I wanted to just fall off my chair!

And here I am. Back at my beloved computer, happily typing away, knowing I have a ton of blog posts to catch up on.

Please, dear followers, if you’re still out there, don’t judge the random out of order, spring, summer and fall posts you’ll read pouring out of here!

Brian, you are a genius and a dear friend. Thank you so much for fixing my computer and getting me back on track!

So, back to the Bruschetta … this may be the most requested recipe in our house. Long day, company  coming, misunderstanding, Bruschetta solves it all. Sadly, the Dear One is a little camera/social media shy. If he weren’t I would add a photo of the ginormous smile that spreads across his face every time he eats this.

It’s so easy to whip up. Even with the sins of off season tomatoes, this is wonderful. The rest of the ingredients sort of hide that flaw.

This Bruschetta was made with tomatoes straight from our garden … oh, so was the onion, garlic, and basil!

  • 1 baguette
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 C diced sweet onion
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing baguette
  • 1/2 T balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450. Slice the baguette. brush both sides of each slice with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. In oven until golden.

Mix all other ingredients in a bowl.

To serve, either put a spoonful of the tomato mixture on each toast or the toasts on a platter and the bowl of the tomato mixture beside it and let everyone help themselves.


Yes, it’s that easy!


Strawberry Limeade


I must first apologize for my absence. It’s been a long summer! There’s been WAY too much work and WAY too many things going on in the garden and greenhouse! We planted 58 – that’s not a typo – 58 tomato plants! There will be many, many tomato based recipes coming your way! And beans … and peppers … and cucumbers … yikes …

But …

One fine spring morning, the Dear One wakes up and looks at me, a twinkle in his eye … what do you want to do today? I don’t know. WHat do you want to do today? We should do something. (It’s like an often repeated scene from the film Marty!) I should have known he was waiting for this opening, this tiny bit of indecision on my part.

Well, I have an idea! Those five little words always bring a tiny bit of terror to my soul.

Let’s go pick strawberries! Ummm, okay. And off we go, girls in tow, to pick the strawberries that grow in a row. (Huh, huh, how’s that for a rhyme?!)

Here I’m thinking strawberries. The Dear One was thinking STRAWBERRIES. I think we picked fifteen quarts of strawberries. Some were greedily eaten, some went into smoothies, some into an incredible ice cream you’ll see next, and bags and bags and bags went into the freezer.

And some were lucky enough to make their way into this strawberry limeade.

I’ve made this a number of times, and used the frozen strawberries in my freezer, once the fresh ran out. Frozen strawberries quarter very easily. Lime juice, strawberries and sugar. Doesn’t get easier than that. The sugar is adjusted to your liking. We’re not an awfully sweet group here, so I always make it a bit on the tart side.

  • 1 1/2 C quartered fresh strawberries
  • 1 C fresh lime juice
  • 5 C cold water
  • 3/4 to 1 C granulated sugar (depending on how sweet the strawberries are)
  • Ice cubes
  • Lime slices-for serving, if desired



Blend strawberries and lime juice in blender or food processor until smooth.

Pour strawberry and lime mixture into a large pitcher. Add cold water and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves.


 Add in ice cubes and pour into individual glasses. Garnish with lime, if desired.


 Pour over ice cubes in tall glasses; garnish each with strawberry or lime wedge, if desired.



New York Crumb Cake


Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr once said “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” … “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.

Not that I’m one to argue with a dead, French journalist, who coined one of the most used sentences … well, EVER …

BUT, for me, truth be told, the more things have changed, the more different they have become.

I was born in New York City. Grew up in New York City. Grammar school and high school in New York City. Up until November 2013, I had never lived further than 10 miles from everyone to whom I’m related – except my sister Maria who abandoned ship to marry a great guy and now lives in Oswego, IL.

I worked for my Dad for around 30 years as a paralegal and office manager.

I had GREAT gal pals.

November came along and EVERYTHING changed. I moved from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the calm and quiet of Bar Harbor, Maine (well, except for July and August when town is over run by tourists). Am no longer (mostly) working for my Dad, have new jobs, added some new gal pals to my beloved inner circle, live in a beautiful home surrounded by beautiful gardens, with the MOST incredible man.

I decided as I was packing my boxes that I no longer wanted to be a paralegal. I didn’t want a 9 to 5 office grind. If I was going to change everything about my life, I may as well change everything about  my life.


Well, who knows?! (and I refuse to grow up …) But I do know it HAS to involve food! At the moment, I’m working at Reel Pizza Cinerama – truly one of the coolest places EVER! I began my own summer based cooking business – The Maine Ingredients – which truly struggled its first summer. I even picked up a few shifts as a sous chef in a friend’s restaurant – Sweet Pea’s Cafe.

A little restless. A little bored. Feeling a little sorry for myself.

AND THEN! … an email from my friend Jennifer Steen Booher, whose photographs are the coolest I’ve ever seen (check them out on Quercus Design) arrived. Her daughter Tabby wants to cook, bake, be in the kitchen. They tried a cooking camp and it was a massive FAIL. Would I consider coming over and teaching Tabby and a couple of friends the way around a cake tin? WOULD I? HELLS YEAH!

We had a blast! We made pretzels and scones and bread and blueberry muffins and quiche and lemon meringue pie (which I had personally never made either and was knocking knees that it would work out – and it did!) and sticky buns and this New York Crumb Cake.

Jenn wrote a great piece about our time in the kitchen – check it out – and check out hr fabulous photography!

Thank you, Jenn for sharing your kitchen and daughter with me! Thank you Tabby, Anna, Irene, Geneva and Carolyn for making the lessons so much fun and for turning out some fabulous baked goods!

I’m hoping others will see this and Jenn’s piece on her blog and want some lessons too … if you do you can reach my by email or 207-801-0302!

See, the more things have changed, the more they have changed and the better they have become!

Makes one 9-by-12 1/2-inch cake

  • 2 T canola oil, plus more for pan
  • 4 C all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 C packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Place rack in center of oven, and heat oven to 325°. Lightly brush a 9-by-12 1/2-inch baking pan with canola oil, dust with flour, and tap to remove excess. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together egg, milk, canola oil, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture.

Batter in pan

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over flour mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form.

Adding crumbs


Sprinkle crumbs over batter.

Transfer pan to oven, and bake, rotating pan after 10 minutes. Continue baking until a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes more.


Transfer baking pan to a wire rack to cool.


Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Using a serrated knife or bench scraper, cut into 3-inch squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake


Rhubarb, Rhubarb, everywhere! What’s a girl to do?

There’s only so much that will fit into the freezer!

Ice Cream … done …

Cake! Yes, a nice cake would be great! I looked through my cookbooks trying to find great rhubarb recipes and came across this one from Martha Stewart Cakes.

Company coming, a little showing off in the cake department would be fun.

You know, for me, the hardest thing about moving to Maine is missing my GIRLS! I am making friends here. A couple of very dear, couldn’t live without friends, but they were the Dear One’s friends first … not that that makes a tinker’s damn bit of difference at this point, but it’s all still so new and shiny …

And sometimes … I wanna go to Txikito! I wanna sit around and watch Project Runway! I wanna go to Trader Joe’s, Fariway, Whole Foods! I wanna have lunch! Go shoe shopping! RESTAURANT WEEK! Walk to the store! Chinese food at midnight! I miss my parents and my siblings (I’m a girl who has never lived more than 8 or 9 miles away from her ENTIRE family … ever!)!

Those things ain’t gonna happen in Bar Harbor, so we gather for dinner … and we laugh and we feast and we laugh and we drink and we laugh … truthfully, it’s all DAMN good and I wouldn’t trade a moment of it for anything.

If only I could have my old girls and my new girls (and boys) and my family in one place, like would be … not gonna say it!


  • 4 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • Coarse salt


  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for buttering pan
  • 1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut on a very sharp diagonal about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 t finely grated orange zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 C sour cream

NOTE: I doubled the amount of crumb topping. The amounts above are for the original recipe.

NOTE NOTE: I didn’t cut this on a sharp diagonal. I cut it in 1/2 inch chunks and it was WAY too much rhubarb!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.



Make the topping: Stir together butter, flour, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until moist and crumbly. Set aside.

Butter a 9-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep). Dot with 4 tablespoons butter (cut into pieces). Toss rhubarb with 3/4 cup sugar; let stand for 2 minutes. Toss again, and spread in pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Beat remaining stick butter and cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in zest and juice. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, until smooth. Spread evenly over rhubarb.

Crumble topping evenly over batter.

Out of oven

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and top springs back when touched, about 1 hour. Let cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake, and invert onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.

NOTE: I don’t know if it was me or the pan was too small or I over filled it, but this over flowed all over the oven. Next time less rhubarb and maybe not all the batter!

NOTE: Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. The rhubarb will be too hot to handle safely right after baking. But if the cake sits much longer, it may stick.




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