“Just cut up the chicken…”

” and put it in the salad “, the Hubs said to me on Monday nite. Bit of course I can’t do something that simple.

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Instead I looked at the 1/2 pint of almost wrinkly cherry tomatoes and said “hmmmm”.

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Into the sauté pan they went with garlic, olive oil, basil and 1/2 jar of artichokes.

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I cut a pocket in the roasted chicken breast and put in a little slice of fresh mozzarella and then topped it with sauce
I still made salad but why have plain chicken when you could have this?
Let the tomatoes cook for a long time and reduce with the olive oil. Also you might want to pop the tomatoes so you don’t have to chase them around the pan!

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30 for 30 – The Miracle on Ice

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On Friday, February 22, 1980 I was in my senior year of college and like most Friday afternoons, I was either pouring beer at the SGA sponsored Rathskellar ( and I was on SGA) or more likely at the Red Hat on the corner of Bowdoin and Cambridge streets on Beacon Hill. The US hockey team was playing Russia in the medal round that day and from what I can remember, nobody was paying much attention, even in a hockey mad town like Boston. If we were at the Red Hat, we might have been watching the game and by watching, I mean the bartender probably had a tiny black and white tv behind the bar and we were down the other end of the room at our usual tables, we checked the score occasionally when someone went to the bar for another round. I don’t remember a big deal being made of it, but most likely we had written ourselves out of the picture and didn’t think we would evah BEAT the RUSSIANS… NEVAH EVAH!

But beat them we did, and the US team moved on to win the gold on Sunday afternoon. So yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice” and while sitting in the nail salon on Saturday afternoon, I saw the beginning of ESPN’s 30 for 30 treatment of the game.

If you haven’t heard of 30 for 30, ESPN commissioned a bunch of films (30) on different sports moments etc. I have not seen all of them, but  the ones I have seen have been exceptional. This one is no exception.  Highly recommended and can be found in repeats on ESPN I’m sure!

Here’s the link to the preview. Enjoy!

Sunday Scones

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Before I was even out of my crib this morning, the Hubs was in the kitchen stealthily turning out a batch of raisin and apricot scones.

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They were terrifically delish with my tea! He used Julia Child’s recipe from
“Baking with Julia”. I’m such a lucky girl!

The Second Girl

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There was always a second girl. Always. After the great famine in Ireland, more women than men emigrated to other countries, many, many of them to the USA. They came because someone before them, usually another woman, sent money back to Ireland to support the family left behind and also sponsored those coming over. There were sisters, aunts, great aunts, grandmothers, godmothers. Sometimes, it was a brother or uncle. But a second girl from Ireland always followed another one.
This production of Ronan Noone’s play was directed by Campbell Scott ( why am I the last to know his parents were George C Scott and Colleen Dewhurst…really, the last?) anyway it is a superb production and getting a lot of buzz in Boston theatre circles.

MacKenzie Meehan, Kathleen McElfresh, and Christopher Donahue in the Huntington Theatre Company production of the moving Irish drama The Second Girl by Ronan Noone, directed by Campbell Scott, playing January 16 – February 21, 2015 at the South End/Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA.  Photo: T. Charles Erickson
The play unfolds in the kitchen of the summer house of the tragic Tyrone family. Yes, that Tyrone family from “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”.
Bridget has left a son behind in Ireland ( who,we might add, thinks she is his aunt) and works as the maid of all work for the Tyrones. She has brought her niece Kathleen to work with her. Kathleen emigrates on the Titanic, surviving, but haunted by the screams of the children she heard dying that night. Lastly there is The recently widowed Jack the mechanic/chauffeur, who is in love with Bridget, despite her drinking and self destructive behavior. Kathleen’s fiancé in Ireland gives her the big heave ho, happy that she survived the sinking, but unwilling to wait for her return to marry him. The trio spar and spite each other, but also support each other during their own “long day”. The play goer does not need to be familiar with O’Neill’s masterpiece, it stands by itself.
(The set itself is a gem, including running water in the sink and a working stove that produces real bacon and eggs, and roast chicken. You can smell the food cooking and see the steam rising from the plates! )

Off the Shelf – Under the Wide and Starry Sky

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I an absolutely say about this book- ” I had no idea”! I mean, I haven’t thought about Robert Louis Stevenson since I read “Kidnapped” in like 4th grade. But I was intrigued by the story of Fanny, his wife, who left an unhappy first marriage and took her three children to France to learn how to paint. While Fanny is in France, she tragically loses one of her children to disease and escapes to the country to get away from everything. It is in the country that she meets Louis, as he is called and they begin a life together traveling and writing. Her ex husband reappears, she returns to San Franciso, via Indianapolis, leaves him for good. She returns to Louis and they spend much of their time trying to find a climate that Louis’ tuberculosis will respond favorably to. Fanny almost is widowed on more than one occasion. She nurses him back to health and puts up with his ne’r do well friends, his controlling father and in the end, establishes a mutually admiring relationship with her mother in law, even going so far as to build a room for her when they move to the South Seas.

I honestly don’t remember how I found out about this book, I think it was a review in Oprah. But I recommend it. Takes a little to get into it, but a great story in the end!

Taste of the Tropics

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Really there is nothing to do in this abysmal weather but to bake….I thought I would take advantage of the 4/$5 mangoes at the market on the weekend and attempt a copycat of this tart that I had around this time last year. I’m grateful for the ilities that we take for granted; safe, warm and dry housing, a responsive thermostat, a garage, plow service, a full refrigerator and power, but enough already! At this rate, I won’t be able to plant tomatoes till July!

Yesterday I made a short crust with flour, cold cubed butter, a little cream, and sugar. I made it in the cuisinart and then pressed it into a round foil tin. I didn’t have a tart pan, but this did the trick for the first time.


Then I made a pastry cream with egg yolks, sugar, cream, milk and a vanilla bean. Split and scrape the vanilla bean and let the vanilla bean and vanilla steep in boiled mixture of cream and milk ( removed from heat) for 15 minutes. Add a little hot mixture at a time to the mixed egg yolks and sugar so it tempers and then mix the remainder. Put the mixture back on the heat to boil and thicken.

Cover the thickened pastry cream with a piece of plastic wrap so it doesn’t grow a skin and refrigerate

This morning, I peeled and cut the mangoes into slices. I bought four mangoes but only needed to use two, so the rest will go in a smoothie or some kind of salad. I think they needed another day to really ripen, but I forged ahead regardless.

Then I filled the tart shell with pastry cream and started to arrange the slices to resemble a flower starting at outside rim. Once complete, I added a little hot water to some apricot jam and glazed the top of the tart so the mango won’t turn brown.

Here’s the finished product!

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Just Another Meatless Monday

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I’ve been meaning to try this recipe for avocado pasta for a long time. I made it the other nite as a side for some pan roasted salmon with wilted baby kale and spinach.

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But it is ridiculously easy and satisfying way to prepare pasta and will absolutely be enough for a meatless entree, especially if you use whole grain pasta, and add a big salad. Drop diced avocado into your food processor with as much minced garlic and fresh basil as you like. Add about a tablespoon of good olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

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As Jamie Oliver would say, ” give it a whazz” until smooth, and toss with your cooked spaghetti. Reserve some pasta water in case you need to thin it out a bit. No cream, no butter, but very rich tasting! The Hubs loved it but reports that it doesn’t make the best leftover for microwaving, so make just what you will eat at one sitting!

Happy Valentine’s Day

The color challenge for February is Red #6
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It’s so cold out and it was snowing here in Worcester again ( before today, the official snow total here was 97″ so far….an important detail)
Anyway, too cold and snowy to do anything but bake, so I made some GIANT heart shaped macarons. I filled them with cheesecake filling and mixed berry jam for a sweet inside. I made the little heart shaped gummy skewers to go with them.

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It’s Friday!

More snow on the way, a business trip that had a successful outcome, but was full of travel snafus, including seriously bad Dunkin Donuts issues ( clearly not in Mass), and an overloaded agenda in general can be summed up in my end of week cocktail of choice….

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What you can’t see is that I ordered a “Black Velvet” which is Guinness and champagne. So totally appropriate for the week I had!

EZPOT update

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Remember these from over the weekend? Thought I’d update you on what went where…I used the onions in the roast pork loin stuffing for Sunday nite. Tonite I used the roasted tomatoes, as expected in a batch of roasted tomato soup.

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But then I got really inspired with the little roasted eggplants.
Mini eggplants = mini paninis!
Start with sliced French bread from the batch of baguettes I baked on Saturday.

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Then I reheated the roasted eggplants in a skillet.

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And while they got warm and the soup cooked, I layered up som prosciutto, provolone, and the eggplant halves and made sandwiches!

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I melted some butter with some basil and put the sandwiches on to toast.

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Here’s our yummy component dinner…

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Now I just need to do something with the peppers!