Our Valentine’s Day 2018

It started out as a frugal and practical Valentine’s Day which doesn’t have to be incompatible with romance, especially when we’re budgeting for a wedding later this year! Whole Foods mailed me an old-fashioned paper marketing piece–maybe they do snail mail for the 50 and over demographic–advertising a special Valentine’s Day promotion for Amazon Prime members.  For only $19.95 they are offering two dozen fair trade certified long stem roses! I told Wayne I thought that was a smart idea. Additionally, I pointed out that we could buy them on Monday, his day off, and enjoy them right away, not just Valentine’s Day. Flowers in February do much for the soul. He agreed. However, we (he) veered off the path a bit…

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Recipe: Gluten-Free Buckwheat Egg Pasta

I’ve been using store bought gluten-free pasta for decades because it was something I never dared to make on my own; I wrongly assumed I needed special equipment. Then I noticed a number of recipes in my vintage cookbooks for hand cut wheat egg noodles. The recipe in my 1936 copy of the Boston Cooking School Cook Book includes the usual vintage open-ended ratio of flour to eggs: “flour enough to make very stiff dough.” While this may seem daunting to some as it was to me at one time, I actually now like the freedom to make it work with my own gluten-free creations and ratios.

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Recipe: Baked Macaroni & English Red Cheddar Cheese

I’m not kidding when I tell you that this is the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had. (Wayne is still at work so we’ll see how he feels about it tonight!) This is my own recipe, and the “secret” is a new-to-me sweet red cheddar cheese from the world’s oldest surviving cheddar maker in England. I purchased it at my local Whole Foods for the first time last month and have been buying it every week since. You can use any hard cheese you like in place of it in case it’s not available near you, but if you can, do give this sweet and smooth cheese a try!

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Wayne: Remembering Carburs Restaurant in Burlington, VT & Portland, ME

I started working at Carburs kitchen in Burlington Vermont in August of 1977.  Little did I know then, that for the next 12 years I would become completely enmeshed in the company and in the restaurant business.

After working in Burlington for almost two years, the opportunity to become part of the management team in Portland came up.  I jumped at the chance with the caveat expressed to ownership that as soon as a position became available in Burlington, I would be allowed to move back.  As irony would have it two years later I was asked to return to Burlington, but Portland, by that time had become the place I wanted to make my permanent home.

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Recipe: Smashed Red Potatoes with Pizzazz

My love of mashed potatoes started back when I was a little girl eating the “Little Jack Horner” from the Fort Lee Diner’s kids’ menu in the late 60s/early 70s. It was a slice of rare roast beef Au Jus with a small mound of creamy whipped potatoes served by my favorite waitress with the large bouffant. My appreciation continued as a young adult during road trips (the most noteworthy one being out to Seattle and back) with truck stop fare for lunch. They always seemed to have the best mashed potatoes. The cafeteria at the University of Maine in Orono used fresh Maine potatoes for theirs.

My own recipe for smashed reds combines Maine red potatoes, Meyer lemon from California and British clotted cream for a harmonious side mash or meal!

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Recipe: Traditional British Scones With Meyer Lemon & Currants

Wayne’s brother and sister-in-law sent us beautiful, fragrant organic Meyer lemons from a tree at their home in California for a “Merry Citrus!” I’ve never experienced anything like them. Our kitchen smells like warm sunshine, if that’s possible! What a perfect balm for a frigid December. I selected a vintage scone (pronounced  sconn) recipe from the book Traditional Dishes of Britain published in 1953 by Philip Harben, the “TV Cook.” Scottish scones are very different from the Americanized versions; in fact they usually contain little to no sugar and few or no eggs. Additionally, they were often cooked on a “hotplate” which produced a “flat shape that is so convenient for splitting and buttering, the natural destiny of the scone.” 

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I turned 50 yesterday!


Yesterday Wayne and I had a delightful dinner at Back Bay Grill in Portland to celebrate my 50th birthday. We both had the Filet Mignon which was possibly the best we’ve ever had, and we shared the Crème Brûlée for dessert which was compliments of the chef.  Continue reading “I turned 50 yesterday!”

Vintage Inspired Recipe: Old-Fashioned Maine Needhams & A Hidden History

If you’re not from Maine, you might think the above photo is of a homemade Mounds candy bar. You’re close! But you’d probably be shocked to learn that they contain mashed potatoes in the coconut centers! They are a delicious traditional Maine candy called “Needhams” which have also historically been called “potato candy” or “potato fudge”. However, if you are from Maine and familiar with Needhams you may be surprised to discover that the modern version has gone far astray from yesterday’s healthier and more wholesome homemade versions dating as far back as 1924.

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