Archive for July, 2009

CSA Share – Week 7

This week we got: Beets, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Carrots, Swiss Chard, Onions, Red Potatoes, Zucchini, Summer Squash (including patty pans)

PYO: Yellow Beans, Herbs (Basil, Dill, parsley, thyme, cilantro…)

 

Last week was rainy and Tuesday was no exception. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do any PYO due to the rain and generally wet conditions at the farm. To be sure I asked at the distribution tent, and they said I was more than welcome to still do PYO. By then it was only drizzling and since we share our 2 shares with 2 other families I wanted to try my best to get everything for the week right then for everyone. Plus, I figured a little time in the rain could be a good experience for Sofie. So, on we went into the fields. We started by picking some basil and parsley, which was a piece of cake, even in the rain. We moved onto dill and it started to rain a little harder, Sofie was beginning to lose her patience. But we still had beans to pick so we trudged on. I had to carry her across the field, which left mud all over my pants from her shoes. By the end Sofie had fallen on her bum a few times and we both had mud in way too many places and were very ready to go home, but still it was a fun experience and fed into my desire to feel a connection to the farm and where our food comes from.

Our farm: Waltham Fields Community Farm in Waltham, MA

Advertisements

July 27, 2009 at 8:22 am Leave a comment

Restaurant Review: Persephone

In the mood for some shopping, great drinks or a delightful dinner? You must check out Persephone and the Achilles Project in Boston’s Fort Point Channel. It provides a one stop shop to satisfy your id. From fantastic garments, top-notch bartenders, tasty and honest menu, local art to a nice chill vibe, it seems to have it all. They manage to offer all of this while keeping the environment and sustainability in mind, in addition to focusing on using fresh and local ingredients for kitchen creations and promoting local artists and businesses. All music to my ears.

Of course you don’t need to do everything to make the trip worth it. A visit to just shop, just sit at the bar and sip cocktails or just enjoy a meal it completely worth it.

On Saturday Jeromy and I met up with another couple for dinner at Persephone and have a wonderful time. We arrived a little early so we could enjoy a drink together before our friends arrive – making the most of our time with a babysitter at home watching our little girl.

We left our car with the valet and walked into the building, not exactly sure what to expect. We were greeted by a lounge area on one side and racks and shelves full of gorgeous clothes (many eco-friendly) and footware filling the rest of the space. We didn’t have enough time to shop but will certainly be back to dedicate some time to those clothing racks. We walked through the retail section and into the bar area. We snagged a couple bar seats and pursued the various beverage options. Jeromy got his usual vodka martini with a twist and I ordered a mixed drink called “blame it on the rain”. I typically don’t like and thus, don’t order frilly mixed drink concoctions but somehow that evening I felt like trying one, and I’m glad I did. It was sweet, but not too sweet and very easy to drink. I could have easily had 3 of them, but restrained myself to one given I knew we’d be having wine with dinner and I would likely be driving home. We were chatting about various things when we noticed the bartender had a blowtorch out and was burning orange peels. Jeromy commented, “We didn’t know there would be a show!” and the bartender explained that he was experimenting with new drinks and that flaming the oils from the peel changes the flavor and makes drinks smoother. Without skipping a beat he offered to make us a sample. A few more pyrotechnics and we had a delicious drink of vodka, fino sherry and burnt orange peel. He told us it was Franks Sinatra’s favorite – a Valencia. It was delicious. We asked about the sherry he used and he explained that is was a FINO, which very dry. He gave us a little sample of that too. It was so cool to see the bartender’s enthusiasm for his craft and his desire to share his knowledge and experience with us. Our evening was off to a fantastic start.

Our friends arrived and we were seated, in a nice corner table. While the menu contained many familiar ingredients and flavors, there was a lovely sense of exploration and appreciation for ingredients with the dishes. The menu offers small, medium, large and extra large plates. We all ended up mixing and matching a number of small plates and sides. It was fun to assemble our meals that way. And the food did not disappoint. If you want specific comments on what we ate, I’d be happy to share.

The only sort of negative thing was that table service was mediocre. There was just something about the way our waitress interacted with us…I guess she just didn’t have very nice “table-side” manner. But that didn’t take away from the overall superb experience.

I loved the entire place. While I’m not sure if the concept of arriving for a meal early enough to shop, have a couple drinks and then have dinner, really works for me (especially now with a young child), I will certainly be back to explore the clothing, enjoy the bar and savor the food a number of times.

Persephone, which is the restaurant portion of the Achilles Project, came in at #18 on this year’s Boston Magazine’s Best Of List. We first heard of chef and owner, Michael Leviton, when we discovered Lumiere in our very own hometown of Newton (another great place to check out). We’re glad to see his success continue and expand, especially as he stays true to honoring and promoting sustainability and local ingredients.

Persephone

283 Summer Street

Boston, MA 02210

http://achilles-project.com/

July 20, 2009 at 2:31 pm Leave a comment

Wine Recommendation: Nine Stones 2007 Shiraz Hilltops

It is delicious and only $14.50 a bottle at our local wine shop, VinoDivino. We discovered is over the weekend when we went into VinoDivino for the first time. The little wine shop opened up a few years ago just down the street from us. We were thrilled, however, it has taken us this long to check it out. An boy have we been missing out.

I liked the Nine Stones label and they happened to have some out for tasting. While you can only tell so much from a little sip out of a plastic cup, we thought it was worth getting a bottle to try at home…it was only $14.50. We were pleasantly surprised when we had it with our swiss chard and pasta dinner a couple nights later when we could really appreciate the wine.

It is a very easy wine to drink and in contrast to House Wine Red, which is another great inexpensive wine, it is a bit more complex. House Wine requires no thought, it is smooth, simple and pleasing. Nine Stones Shiraz is more interesting. It has a bit more going on as far as flavors go yet does not overwhelm and I love it. We ended up going back and getting a case of it!

If you live near Newton, stop buy VinoDivino to pick up a bottle and get to know the shop, it is a really nice operation, thoughtful customer service and offerings. We will be there often. If you are farther, you can see if they will ship to your state, they do offer online ordering.

Here is some more info, and an example of the great services the shop offers. VinoDivino also gives you a card (printed in the shop or via email) with tasting notes on the wine. Here are the notes on Nine Stones 2007 Shiraz Hilltops:

Producer: Nine Stones
Vintage: 2007
Country: Australia (yes, we are trying to be better localvores, but wine will have to be one vice)
Region: New South Wales
Maturity: through 2017 (love that they tell you this!)
Wine Spectator Rating: 90
VinoDivino Rating: 90
Tasting notes: Ripe and generous, with a minerally edge to the blackberry and cardamom flavors, remaining open and inviting through the long, deftly balanced finish. Drink now though 2017. Wine Spectator Smart Buy, Harvey Steiman, May 20, 2009
Food pairings: Steap tips with mushrooms and onion, grilled lamb, hearty stews

For reference here are the links in this post:

July 17, 2009 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

CSA Share – Weeks 4, 5 and 6

As you can see, I’m a bit behind on my CSA posts! It has been a very busy couple weeks with lots of appointments and preparations for our vacation, and then of course, we were away for a week on a lovely Cape Cod vacation (more to come on things to do and where to eat and shop in Provincetown, Cape Cod in an upcoming post).

I finally have a few moments to write as this week draws to an end. So let’s get caught up on the CSA…

Week 4: Lettuce, Arugula, Scallions, Kale, Broccoli Raab, Spinach, Carrots, Beets
PYO: Fava Beans, Herbs including basil and parsley, snap peas, snow peas, flowers

Week 5: We were on vacation so our friends split our portion

Week 6: Lettuce, Cucumbers, Fennel, Carrots, Swiss Chard, Green Cabbage
PYO: Fava Beans and Herbs including dill and basil

Both my husband and I are totally in love with fresh fava beans. In fact, having fava beans (and brussels sprouts) was one of my criteria when researching CSA options.  If you have never had them, you must try them, either at home or at a restaurant. I was introduced to them at Taberno de Haro, a tapas restaurant near Fenway Park. There they serve them sautéed with Spanish ham, and I could seriously live off of that dish! I was more than overjoyed when I saw we were getting them with our share a few weeks ago. We cooked ours that night (right after I had picked them off the plants…talk about fresh!). For great instructions on how to cook the beans, check this entry on honest-food.net. We prepared them as per the guidance in that article. Jeromy then threw them directly into his salad as is, while I sautéed some bacon lardons, drained the bacon fat and then added the fava beans for a minute to meld with the bacon. Delicious. We still have ours from this weeks share. Our CSA newsletter included a link to a grilled fava bean recipe on 101 Cookbooks.com, which we are going to try tonight (along with the fennel).

Before the CSA I had never had Swiss Chard, but it is now one of my favorites. The multitude of colors is just amazing, adding another dimension to my enjoyment of the healthy veggie. We keep it simple. I match stick the stems, slice the leaves in half vertically and then into inch strips horizontally. Then sauté in some olive oil and garlic. We cook up some short pasta and toss it into the pan just before serving. Top with grated parmesan and you are in for a treat.

Well, I have a few other topics to write about (including a great wine recommendation that goes very well with the swiss chard preparation I described above!) so that is all for now on our CSA. More next week…

For reference here are the links in this post:

July 17, 2009 at 1:51 pm Leave a comment

Product Recommendation: Green Planet Stainless-Steel Bottle

 

We’ve been using a couple SIGG bottles for quite some time now but while we were in the Cape last week my husband picked up a larger stainless-steel bottle at a store while we were getting some groceries. The larger size meant we could share the one bottle on our outings instead of bringing more than one. After using it for a couple days I realized I actually like it more than my SIGG bottle.

The new bottle is made by Green Planet Bottle. Even though it is bigger, the bottle is contoured such that is has a really nice grip and it is still lightweight. The opening is wider and thus, easy to pour into. The metal around the opening is also thin, making drinking from the bottle nicer than from my SIGG bottle which has a pretty thick lip.

Thought I’d share this incase you’re in the market for a plastic alternative!

Green Planet Bottle Website: http://www.greenplanetbottle.com/

July 12, 2009 at 2:08 pm Leave a comment


Recent Ruminations

Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe.

Join 1 other follower

Flickr Photos


%d bloggers like this: