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

Tag: Patriots

edamame dip . . .


I was reminded by a FB post I made a year ago to make a new batch of edamame dip to serve with kale and spinach chips for the Patriots game against the Buffalo Bills today. I’m making it because Rex Ryan, the Bill’s coach is always so outspokenly obnoxious in his remarks, together with the fact that the Bills are the only ones who have defeated the Patriots so far this year during Tom Brady’s absence — so that we’ll enjoy having some extra refreshments to watch them play this afternoon.

The recipe goes like this:

Take a batch of fresh edamame beans and put them into a small food processor. Add chopped garlic, chopped red onion, olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice. A pinch of cumin and some chopped fresh cilantro leaves. Process it together and taste for seasoning. Add some cracked pepper and a dab of chili paste (siraicha) if desired.

Cover and let it sit in the fridge for an hour before serving with kale/spinach chips or Sun chips.

Addendum: When I made it today, I discovered after adding the lemon and lime juice plus some olive oil that the “dip” wasn’t emulsifying enough. So instead of adding more olive oil (flavor) I opted to add a little lite buttermilk to the mixture. It became smoother and the taste was tangy and full of flavor. I sprinkled some cracked pepper on top – and we’re going to have it as a spread on toasted pumpernickel bread to eat along with our clam chowder for lunch.





after the (big) game . . .


This morning, I made an almond-banana smoothie for breakfast.

Martha Rose Schulman’s recipe includes a frozen banana, flax seeds, some almond butter, a drop of almond extract and a splash of cold buttermilk. Refreshing.

Here’s the best joke I’ve come across online about the Super Bowl this weekend:

Reporter to Pete Carroll:

“Hey, Pete, would you like to win the Super Bowl?” Pete: “No thanks, I think I’ll pass.”

The Patriots landed at Logan Airport and the celebratory Duck Boats parade is scheduled today despite snow removal and public transportation issues in Boston. Fingers crossed that all will go well.

The snow continued yesterday and the temperature is below zero this morning as I write this post.

Hope it warms up a little soon.



Secretariat and the Super Bowl . . .

DSCN4930While waiting for the Super Bowl hype shows to blow over, I came upon a movie playing on TV in the afternoon, “Secretariat” starring Diane Lane and John Malkovitch as the trainer who she believed in, even if he didn’t believe in himself. It’s a tale of long odds, if you’ve seen this film: Penny Tweedy takes over her ailing father’s thoroughbred breeding farm and wins Secretariat as a colt in a coin toss by default. Her father dies and her husband plus brother connive to sell Secretariat to pay death taxes on the farm. She refuses, deciding to syndicate Secretariat’s breeding rights ($190,000) to thirty-two other owners, all of whom refuse her until the most prestigious owner of all, who gave up the colt at the coin toss (yes, it’s all true) decides to be the first to sign up. The others follow and Secretariat promptly loses his first big race due to an abcessed tooth.

Secretariat goes on to win the Triple Crown, the first time in 25 years, setting track records in EACH race that are still standing. It’s truly an amazing story. That it actually happened is sports history.

So, now we are down to watching the Super Bowl game and to see if this much maligned team can win their first Super bowl game in ten years. Yes, they’ve won divisional championships. Yes, they’ve gone to the Super Bowl in between years and lost, sometimes ignominiously (like the time Brady fouled in the first play of the game the last time.)

The Seahawks are defending their Super Bowl win last year. There’s been so much hype about the two coaches, Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll, both of whom have coached for the Patriots and Bob Kraft. And both, it turns out, are part-Croatian! Who knew? Plus they’re supposed to be crafty coaches with sophisticated knowledge of the rules so that they know what they can try even though nobody else may have.

Well, here we are. I’m finishing this post at 11:16 p.m. after a Super Bowl win by the Patriots that will go down with the ages as one of the most unbelievably tight and suspenseful victories of almost all time. After all, who could make up a last minute interception over the goal line by Malcolm Butler, a rookie from Alabama playing his first Super Bowl game? In his interview afterwards, he was asked about the three-bobble catch that the Seahawks made improbably while the guy was on his back and the ball was still bouncing around in the air. Butler said he thought he felt that because he didn’t prevent that catch, that he might be responsible for losing the game–and that he HAD to do something during the next play: which he did, by intercepting the ball in the Seahawk’s endzone.  The last 30 seconds of the game were the longest ones ever after Butler’s interception: a half yard from the goal-line moved five yards out due to a penalty, then fifteen yards out due to fighting by a Seahawk who was ejected from the game for unnecessary roughing.

It was amazing. Chris Collinsworth, the most urbane of all TV sportscasters put together was sputtering through the last two minutes of the game. He kept saying, “I can’t believe this!” And the rest of us couldn’t either. What a relief! I’m glad that I was “wu-wei-ing” it throughout the game. In fact, I threw the I-Ching when the Pats were down in the fourth quarter and it felt like all was lost. It predicted that the Patriots would indeed win the Super Bowl in the end after a few hitches. And what an ending!

This Patriots Super Bowl victory was as unpredictable as Secretariat’s winning of the Triple Crown years ago with a thirty length win over the second horse at Belmont stakes. Big risks, a lot on the line and winning at the finish line–making exceptional sports history for a long time to come.

Bravo! Whew! I’m going to bed!



mushrooms! . . .

cooked portobella mushroom dish . . .

cooked portobella mushroom dish . . .

Trader Joe’s is a great local store to pick up things you can’t get elsewhere, like Kerrygold Irish butter made from grass-fed cow’s milk. A NYTimes food tasting survey led by Melissa Clark a few months ago pronounced another butter as the “best” butter around. It started with a “P” but I can’t remember the name of it now. I made a special trip to Whole Foods to buy some to try it out but wasn’t impressed.

My daughter, M., told me about Kerrygold butter while we were out in Seattle and it was the best butter I ever tasted, melted and eaten with chunks of Dungeness crab. In contrast, Kate’s Butter, a locally made butter that I’ve been using, has very little flavor and a wax-like texture compared to Kerrygold’s buttery, creamy taste. While I was at Trader Joe’s this morning, I saw some beautiful large portobella mushrooms for $2.99 that I thought I’d cook up for dinner tonight although I wasn’t sure what to do yet.

At Barnes and Noble on the way home, I saw a photo of large mushrooms stuffed with spinach and breadcrumbs in a European cookery magazine. Perfect for tonight because I have some tired baby spinach I’ve used for smoothies and a heel of sourdough bread in the fridge that might make a tasty stuffing for the mushrooms.

Here’s my impromptu preparation steps:

First, I cleaned the huge mushrooms with a paper towel and browned the flat end of the mushrooms in butter, placing them in a large copper au gratin pan. This initial browning step is important to give the thick mushrooms a head start on softening; otherwise, it takes too long for them to cook through without overbaking the spinach/crumb filling.

2. Crushed a large clove of garlic into little bits, browned it in some butter and dried parsley.

3. Toasted a third of a leftover loaf of sourdough bread. Put the toasted slices in a VItamix and crumbled it into smooth breadcrumbs.

4. Added half of the fresh breadcrumbs into browning garlic and parsley, added a sprinkle of Lawry’s garlic salt and coarse pepper, stirring the tender garlicky breadcrumb mixture and then let it cool.

fresh breadcrumbs with garlic and parsley. . .

fresh breadcrumbs with garlic and parsley. . .

5. Melted another dab of butter, added chopped shallot and two handfuls of baby spinach; stirring until it quickly wilted; turned the warm spinach onto a board and chopped it finely with a cleaver.

6. Added finely chopped spinach, moistened with a little cream, to garlicky crumb mixture, adding salt and coarse pepper as needed. Maybe sprinkle on a little nutmeg (which I meant to do but forgot.)

fresh spinach and shallots. . .

fresh spinach and shallots. . .

7. Spoon heavenly mixture onto three large portobella mushroom caps, underside up.mushrooms with spinach 2

8. Grate a little fresh gruyere cheese and add on top of mushrooms.

9. Bake at 375 oven for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown and mushrooms are cooked through. We couldn’t wait that long and split the smallest one which was done the soonest and let the other two cook a bit longer.

While they were finishing in the oven, I sauteed some cleaned asparagus and squeezed a little lemon on it. That’s all.

This was a satisfyingly simple meal with just two dishes to eat for our Sunday night supper. We knew there was pumpkin spice cake for dessert so it was easy to be satisfied without a salad.

A special treat will be to use some Cabot’s whipped cream (I love that stuff but can’t stay away from it) on top of the warmed slices of cake tonight while we watch that new show, “Madam Secretary” featuring Tea Leoni as Secretary of State and the opener for “The Good Wife’s Fall season.

Oh, and that’s after we watched the Patriots struggle against Oakland in their first home game this afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady missed a couple of touchdown tries and they only won when an Oakland touchdown was disqualified at the very last minute.

Still, fun, fun, fun!

P.S.  I learned that choosing smallish large mushrooms works better because they cook more quickly than the really thick ones–and the proportion of the stuffing to a thinner mushroom works well.

Although it’s a little more effort, toasting freshly made bread crumbs ensures a texture for the crumb dressing that can’t be had from using off the shelf panko or other prepared breadcrumbs. Coarse, buttery, garlicky warm crumbs with fresh chopped spinach (not frozen) makes for delectable eating!

This dish was so satisfying that I’m thinking of making it as an accompaniment for our Christmas Eve dinner! Actually, it’s gotten me thinking about learning how to poach a salmon in court bouillon to go along with it!

Postscript a week later: I made these again today and had some modifications to offer up. I selected today’s portobella mushrooms from an open bin at the market. I chose smaller, less thick ones (as noted above) because they would require less baking time in the oven. I used my largest copper au gratin pan to brown the bottoms and six of them barely fit. I then placed them in a cold oven to rest while I made the stuffing. When I pulled them out, they had shrunk to at least half their size!

So, I removed them to my medium size au gratin pan where they fit snugly with spinach dressing and gruyere cheese on top. I also microplaned the gruyere although the cheese was soft from sitting out and clumped up. No matter, I spread the cheese on top and put a clean dishcloth over it to rest until sliding them under a hot broiler. I don’t think the mushrooms will require baking as such, just browning the tops and heating them up a little under the broiler will do nicely. My daughter, C. is coming for lunch to see the new soapstone countertop today and we’ll have the stuffed mushrooms and a salad of field greens, endive, mandarin oranges, craisins and glazed walnuts with a simple vinaigrette.

Next time, I’ll go back to selecting way big portobella mushrooms and just cook them a little longer in the first step. Live and learn, I guess.


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!

“make my day” . . .

I don’t know if you watched the Super Bowl last weekend but we did. And because of the notoriety of the Super Bowl Ads, we didn’t even mute them out. It was bad enough to watch the Patriots stumble through the game with Tom Brady’s error on the first play casting an ominous tone over his teammates and the rest us for the remainder of the game. Gronkowski wasn’t there even though he went through the motions, it seemed.

Halfway through the agony, the animated animal cartoon ads and the dumb beer ads rolled on. Then, the 2 minute spot by Chrysler with a familiar raspy voice narrating, “It’s halftime, America,” caught our attention. Wow! an ad not for THINGS for people to buy. It wasn’t really even about buying cars. The message was about VALUES, for pete’s sake. And it created a hullabaloo afterwards too.

I thought they got the perfect guy to make this perfect pitch: Clint Eastwood. He’s almost eighty-two and still going strong, doing his thing, his way. His politics are Republican and fiscally conservative AND he Read the rest of this entry »