"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: Bruins

fresh start . . .

Made a smoothie for breakfast that tastes lighter than usual and is very refreshing:

almond coconut milk
freshly squeezed juice from two navel oranges
fresh spinach from Idylwylde Farm (half a handful)
fresh parsley (half a handful)
fresh blueberries (a quarter of a handful)
frozen peaches (about 6 slices)
frozen banana (fresh, cut up and stored in freezer)
a large knob of peeled ginger root

Mixed in the Vitamix. Makes two tall glasses, one reserved in the fridge for later in the day.

This smoothie was markedly different from others that I have made so far. Adding freshly squeezed juice from two navel oranges to the almond-coconut milk base added flavor and resulted in lighter liquid content. Parsley and spinach were less dense greens than kale by itself. Plus, frozen fruit (peaches and banana) made the drink colder than room temperature smoothies of the past. The knob of ginger root was peeled and at least twice the size I normally use. It added zing and provided a clean aftertaste. Overall, this concoction was lighter in density, more flavorful and colder than normal: a keeper recipe to jot down in my food journal.

Last night, photos (shuffle) appeared on my Mac laptop while we watched the game (the Bruins made a stalwart effort tying the game at 5-5 but lost in overtime.) As the images came and went, I couldn’t help but notice how much older I looked a couple of years ago and even as recently as this last holiday season. In addition to growing my hair longer, I think I may have lost about twenty pounds these last six months because I feel/look much healthier/better.

Of all the things that might have helped, I think the little Oster citrus juicer has made the most difference. Whenever I find myself craving something to snack on, I juice up a pink grapefruit and two navel oranges. It is a refreshing drink that also satisfies my desire to eat something. Plus, I keep the fruit in the fridge so that the juice is nice and cold. Adding fresh juice to almond-coconut milk was a good experiment.

So, that’s today’s fresh start for the day.


game four . . .

ghiardelli 1So for game three of the Bruins Stanley Cup Playoff game against the Blackhawks, I made a “tarte aux pommes” with simple ingredients I already had on hand. In the Times today, there was a small photograph at the bottom of the front page showing what looked like a chocolate chip cookie. But this one had chunkier pieces of chocolate showing, not your usual Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate chips that come in the ubiquitous dark yellow bag that nearly everyone buys to make that old cookie favorite.

The featured article about baking these cookies was by an otherwise erstwhile health food columnist, Martha Rose Shulman. It turns out she is a ghost-baker for baking cookery book authors. As you know from reading my food posts, we like eating rather spare, healthy cooking too.

Not today. The reason why the cookies caught my eye and looked so delectable is that the recipe calls for cut up bittersweet chocolate. So when I was at the grocery store, I bought two bars of Ghiardelli chocolate labeled “Intense Dark.” My first thought was to bake batches of the chocolate mixed individually and to compare the taste. But in the end, I cut up the chocolate, mixed both kinds of bitter chocolate together in the cookie batter and slid the baking pan into the oven.

Here they are cooling on the oversized rack that I’ve been hoping to use for some time.

. . . bittersweet chocolate chunk cookies cooling on the rack

. . . bittersweet chocolate chunk cookies cooling on the rack

Here’s also hoping that the Bruins win tonight and go on to win their game 4 on Saturday night to clinch the Stanley Cup. Because at this rate, all of the healthy eating influences in the last few months will have been obliterated by our cravings while watching the playoffs. I guess we could try carrot sticks or something but these bittersweet chocolate chip cookies are a lot more fun.

The true test is of course how they taste. I just tried my first one, splitting it with G. to see what they were like. I’m not really much of a desserts person myself, which is why these crisp, light cookies with dark chocolate are so delicious! They are a lot less sweet than ones made with Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate chips. Moreover, the FLAVOR of the bittersweet chocolate is intensely enjoyable.

Here’s to the Bruins winning tonight!

supper . . .

It started to get hot today, the air conditioning kicking on when it reached 82 degrees. There was a strong breeze though and the humidity wasn’t that bad. For dinner, there was a pack of Bell and Evans chicken thighs that I rinsed in cold water this morning and then marinated in some Korean Bulgogi barbecue sauce. I left it covered in the fridge and then took it out mid-afternoon, turning the pieces over in the marinade and then covering the top with a plate.

I would have liked to grill the chicken on our little cast iron hibachi out on the back deck since it’s so warm, but some birds, (we think they’re robins,) built a nest in the alcove right under the hibachi. There don’t seem to be any eggs there to hatch, but the birds come in for a rest stop every once in awhile. (How would we like to be out in the pouring rain if we were birds?) Anyhow, that’s why the hibachi is out of commission, at least for right now.

. . . nest built under the hibachi on the back deck

. . . nest built under the hibachi on the back deck

So I took my rectangular grill pan and set it on two burners. I really like this piece of equipment because you can cook food quickly on it and it makes those nice grill marks on the food afterwards. All we’re missing is the flavor of mesquite. For our other course (remember, just two a meal,) I’ll pan fry some fresh spinach until it’s just wilted, turn off the heat, dress with a little organic Ohsawa soy sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Here it is: simple and healthy.

. . . teriyaki chicken and fresh spinach on the grill pan

. . . teriyaki chicken and fresh spinach on the grill pan

Oh, and apple tart for dessert while we watch the Bruins tonight.

. . . apple tart baked this morning

. . . apple tart baked this morning

tarte aux pommes . . .

. . . apple tart with preserve glaze on top (peach, cherry & apricot)

. . . apple tart with preserve glaze on top (peach, cherry & apricot)

I was knitting this morning when I remembered that game three of the Bruins/Blackhawk Stanley Cup Playoffs is on tonight at 8 pm. Since championship playoffs hold a heightened air of expectation, I usually like to have something to have on hand to munch on. If you’ve seen the movie, “Silver Linings Playbook,” you’ll remember the “homemades” and other snacks that were always prepared for each football game that Robert de Niro’s character would bet on to win.
apple tart 1
In any case, I wanted to make something with what I already had on hand: one Pillsbury pie crust in the fridge; three Granny Smith apples in the pantry and some peach/cherry/apricot preserves in the door of the fridge. I’m a fan of less crust, not more, so I’ve been making French tarts with thinly sliced apples, adapting Julia Child’s recipe but simplifying it with pre-made pie crust. These thin tarts are less mushy and require peeling only three rather than eight apples to fill a full apple pie. I butter the foil on the pan before unfolding the pie crust; then brush the crust with slightly warmed preserves on which to place the apples.
apple tart 2
After the apples are peeled and cored, they’re sliced really thin and placed in opposite facing rows, a small conceit that makes the tart look more fabulous than it deserves. Then I mix turbinado sugar (a heartier sugar) with ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle the top of the tart, dot with unsalted butter, a squeeze of fresh lemon and then place into the middle of a 400 degree preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
apple tart 5
Not quite finished, I take the tart out of the oven and then gently brush the jam lightly over the top, covering the whole thing with a kind of fruit glaze. Back into the oven for about twelve more minutes.

And voila! as the French say–a nice apple tart from a mere handful of ingredients I didn’t even remember that I had on hand.

I think we’ll serve it plain in small wedges tonight but it’s also really good with Haagen Daz vanilla swiss almond ice cream. Or a small dab of creme fraiche, come to think of it. Fingers crossed for the Bruins to win tonight!
apple tart 6

lemon poppyseed . . .

. . . lemon poppyseed pound cake in the pan

. . . lemon poppyseed pound cake in the pan

I was looking for something to have after dinner while we watch the first game of the Bruins-Blackhawks Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight. There have been times when I have reminded G. how fortunate he is that I am one of those wives who actually enjoys watching action movies and sports. Typically, we watch the Red Sox, then the Patriots, less often the Celtics (there’s something off-putting about them) and the Bruins when they put up a save like that seventh game playoff against the Toronto Maple Leafs, trailing by 3 goals in the 3rd period, tying the game and then winning in overtime. I mean, c’mon, I may be a fair-weather hockey fan but I’ve been loyal watching them beat the Rangers after the Toronto thriller, then the Penguins as the underdog team in a shutout, four games to zero! Now, we have at least four games more to watch. It’s hard to visually follow a hockey game I think–but it’s fun to watch when they win. And they have been doing that rather well, lately, barring Campbell breaking his fibula and out for the rest of the season. Since I’m usually knitting something, it’s a good combination while watching sports on TV.

So back to making the pound cake, I had the TV turned to a channel showing repeats of “Bones,” the forensic mystery cum romance which is surprisingly fun to cook by. I followed Melissa Clark’s recipe from the Times today. I wondered how many readers would know how to zest two lemons (using a microplane) but no matter. Mixing turbinado sugar and fragrant lemon zest with my hands felt really wonderful, it turns out. Adding eggs, buttermilk and then olive oil? was, well, surprising. I dutifully buttered and floured my wonderful cast iron white porcelain Le Creuset loaf pan and put the cake into the oven to bake for an hour.
lemon poundcake with flowers

As the loaf cooled, I slid a sharp knife around the edges of the pan and after a tap, the cake came out beautifully. I sliced about a third of it for G. to take next door to his mother and brother when he goes out to tune this afternoon. And of course, I couldn’t resist sharing a slice with G., just to see how it turned out. It was really delicious, a crisp edge, a moist crumb with true lemon flavor sweetened just enough.

Hope the Bruins win tonight! If not, we can still console ourselves with slices of this luscious lemon poppy seed pound cake! Thanks, Melissa Clark!