Steamed Kale and Pan-Fried Pork Chops

I love using my new induction range in my new kitchen!  I was going to share this meal with my general contractor Saturday at lunch, but he’d come in early and left before I got there, to go attend a wedding he’d forgotten he and his wife had committed to.  Oh well… his loss!

recipe, kale, pork chop, Paleo, Whole 30

My serving of kale and pork chop

The kale was going to be the focus of this recipe, since I grew it myself.  I planted four plants, but the soil is so lush where they are that it looks for all the world at a distance that there were at least 8, maybe ten, kale plants.  My general contractor does love most if not all members of the brassica family; unlike some folk who regard kale as punishment, he does not.    My goal in making this dish was 1) to use kale… and 2) to prepare something quick and nutritious for both of us that we’d both like.  (He’s diabetic, and the closest “restaurants” for quick lunch turnaround don’t exactly have the healthiest foods.  It all seems to be burgers, fries, chili, pizza, and sugary baked goods…  Minus vegetables.)

Kale, recipe

Prepping kale – for large kale, as opposed to “baby” kale, removing that tough center vein is usually helpful. (You can always save the veins with other vegetable scraps for veggie stock.)

I can’t recollect the variety of kale with absolute certainty, but the reddish stem points to Red Russian Kale (sometimes known as Red Winter Kale).  Even though the leaves are large, and they take longer to cook than baby kale, it’s been noted by visitors to my new homestead that this is a milder kale for the leaf size than many.  (Yes, I’ve been feeding kale to several and all!!)

Leeks, turnips, recipe

Prepping leeks. You can always sub in onion, just chop finer. And, where’s the turnip? Alas, the problem with owning two homes is that the turnips got forgotten back in CT, but I dearly wanted their crunch!

The pork came from a Connecticut free-range farm, and is so much tastier and healthier and better for any locale than those factory farmed swill-generating places. These chops were about 3/4 inches thick — much less, and they tend to run dry too quickly, and they are bone-in, which adds more flavor and also makes them more forgiving to cooking vagaries.  Thinking about seasonings led me to consider nutmeg, which goes well with pork.  Tarragon would go with both, and so… it was.

Prep Time:  10 minutes.
Cook time:  about 10 minutes for the chops (depends on thickness and your range), about 15 minutes for the kale/leeks.
Rest time:  5 minutes.
Serves:  Two.
Leftover friendly?  Yes, but I’d re-heat the pork chop in the microwave, to encourage it not to dry out.

Quick and Easy Steamed Kale and Pan-Fried Pork Chops 

  • Two quality pork chops, bone in.
  • 3-4 large leaves of kale or equivalent.  Ie, lots of smaller leaves.
  • 2 or 3 ounces of leek, 1/4 inch slices of a white or light green section.  (Clean!!).  Sub in onion instead:  chop finer.
  • 2 small salad turnips, de-rooted, cleaned and diced into quarter inch cubes.
  • Avocado oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil, for the pan.  (High heat tolerant healthy oils.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
  • 2 heaping teaspoons dried tarragon
  • Salt and pepper to taste.  

For the Kale:  Kale, leeks, salad turnips, dried tarragon.  Prep all ingredients.

Simmer a vegetable steamer, and add the listed items for the kale, excepting the tarragon to the strainer side of the steamer.

Allow to steam for 15 minutes.  As noted, other varieties or ages of kale may take less (or more!) time.  My length of time allows for a bit of texture to remain, although it is indeed easy to eat.

Plate and add some tarragon and perhaps ground pepper for additional flavor.  (I have also made this by adding a pat of butter when plating.)

For the pork chops:  Pork chops, oil, nutmeg, tarragon, salt and pepper. 

Pat the pork chops dry.  This will help brown them, watery chops will just steam instead.  Season with the seasonings on both sides.

Put a skillet on medium high heat on your range, and allow the pan to get hot.  Add a small drizzle of your high heat cooking oil.  Your goal isn’t to smoke the oil, but to get the pan hot so that when you place your chops down, they won’t stick to the pan.  Plus, this will also assist the browning.

Add the chops, and flip after about 3 minutes,   (You’ll probably want a splatter guard.)

Flip again after another three.

Lower heat to medium, and allow to cook, flipping once again as needed.  Note that every range top is different.

Remove, rest, plate.  Add some more tarragon on top.

Serve and enjoy.

This the kale growing outside my house:

Kale

Kale growing outdoors.  All Hail Kale!  It loves that soil!

Kale

Kale size compared to my rather long hand. *Hand Selfie*

 

Partying over at Fiesta Friday, once again.
This week’s co-hosts are Suzanne and Ginger.

 

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Clams in the Raw – a Note for Ease of Opening These

I’ve been busy – yes, my arm is much better now, and I can cook efficiently again.  I can even eat like a polite member of society (no putting my face about four inches from the plate any more, or figuring out how to handle a fork with the left hand, British style)! I do have a couple recipes I made recently and I want to do them once more (with photos this time) to share.

Finishing up the new house continues onward.  I keep being told I’ll get that Certificate of Occupancy any day now, but I’m not holding my breath.   I’ve been packing, and buying stuff I never realized I needed to buy, and doing such and so forth.  Nearly all my books have been sorted through, and at least ten bags got donated to the local library sale, or to a farmer’s market cookbook swap, or thrown into the recycle bin (old computer books… no one  wants those!)  I still have plenty of books, though.

raw clams, technique, Paleo

Raw clams with lemon, on a bed of lettuce.

The following, though, is my Dad’s method of preparing raw clams, without having to worry about cutting oneself with a sharp knife.   As such, it’s not really a recipe.  I do plan to see if this can be replicated with oysters, which are a whole ‘nother level of magnitude to open safely!

Easy Opening Raw Clams:  

  • Buy clams as fresh as possible, from a reputable dealer.  They should not have been previously frozen (we don’t see them in the shell in the supermarket that way, at least here in New England).
  • Put the clams in your freezer, un-opened.  Make sure all clams are tightly closed – at this point it means they are still alive and healthy.  Of course, they don’t survive being frozen!
  • Leave them there at least four days; I’ve noticed that this technique does not work so well on day 2 or day 3.
  • Pull them out and allow to thaw.  Maybe half a day in the fridge.
  • When ready to serve, prepare dipping sauces if any, or slice some lemon wedges.  Or, both.  Ideally I like having several options:  Lemon or lime slices, a mignonette  (the link leads to mine), a bottle of your favorite hot pepper sauce, perhaps a little horseradish – either alone or in with ketchup as a cocktail sauce.  Since most of my condiments have moved up north, and since I am currently avoiding nightshades for a putative autoimmune situation, I opted for just the lemon.  (Yes, there’s a pre-existing bottle of hot sauce in the photo, but I didn’t use it.)
  • Just use a regular place-setting flatware knife to open these guys up.  Easy peasy and no stress.
  • As long as you eat them within a couple of months of freezing, I’ve never found any taste quality degradation.  Mind you, I haven’t run a side-by-side experiment yet.
  • Serve on a bed of lettuce, or alternatively, on a bed of crushed ice.  I don’t have crushed ice here (or ice of any sort for that matter, as my ice cube trays moved north already), so lettuce it is!  I’d love to find a set of those little oyster forks and use those, but.
  • At any rate, if you are serving as an appetizer for company at a sit down dinner, I recommend opening the clams before serving, and using a paring knife to separate the bottom of the clam from the shell.  It is perfectly respectable to serve the hot sauce in its original bottle, and pass it around the table.  More casual… let your guests open up their own clams!
Raw clams, Paleo, technique

While I am currently avoiding nightshade-containing foods, the hot sauce begged to be in the photo.

Thank you, Dad, for helping me carry on your shellfish (NOT selfish!!!) tradition!  At the moment, I don’t know anyone else who does this, so if you do so already, please comment here!

Further Info:  I bought two sizes of clam ~ littleneck and cherrystone.  The cherrystones are larger.  There’s an even bigger size, the chowder clam.  They are all the same species, Mercenaria mercenaria.   They are sometimes commonly referred to as quahogs, or sometimes just the chowder clams are known as quahogs.

Come celebrate at the link party at Fiesta Friday,
with your marvelous co-hosts Zeba and Jhuls.

 

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Avocado and Guinea Fowl Breakfast Egg Boats

I get my guinea fowl eggs from the Bethel Farmers’ Market, Connecticut.  Think of them as small chicken eggs, they really don’t taste any different than chicken eggs at least from this same vendor.  They’re just a bit smaller than “small” chicken eggs.  But, they have uses.

Avocado egg baked recipe

Guinea fowl eggs are small. As noted, they taste just like regular chicken eggs, at least from the same source.

One could say they are good for “portion control”, if you plan on frying up a couple (although I tend to fry up three at a time if I’m using these eggs).  If you are of the opinion that eggs are unhealthy but you still want some, this might be the way to go if you stick to just two — I’ll reserve my right to disagree, as the yolks are where the nutrition is, and unless you have a severe cholesterol problem, limiting yolks isn’t going to do much since your body makes most of your cholesterol anyway, and seems to route around the external sources to make up for what you aren’t eating.  (I am willing to accept the notion that some people’s body chemistries differ from mine and from many other folks…  but I note when I moved to a more Paleo diet, my overall cholesterol remained the same, while my triglycerides tanked and the LDL / HDL ratio improved vastly.  You are your own personal body – check these things out for YOURSELF wisely.

I will note if you are involved in baking breads, sweets and the like… all those recipes call for large (chicken) eggs, so don’t be subbing in guinea eggs.  Measurements need to be more precise there.

recipe avocado egg boat paleo

Ready to eat. The optional turmeric in this dish turns darker upon cooking.

Okay, avocado boats with eggs:  I used Haas avocados, though I did want to use the somewhat larger Florida avos.  My supermarket didn’t have any this day.  The guinea fowl egg won’t quite fit into the hole vacated by the seed, but it is pretty close.  Either eliminate a little egg white, or eliminate a smallish portion of avo (spoon, a little scoop,  take a pre-breakfast YUM).

Prep Time:  2-5 minutes.
Cook time:  approx 35 minutes, depending on preferred yolk done-ness.
Rest time:  Nada.
Serves:  One or two.  Depends on any sides.
Leftovers:  Not recommended.

Avocado Egg Boats with Guinea Fowl Eggs

  • 1 avocado, sliced in half, seed pit discarded.  
  • 2 small eggs, guinea fowl or small chicken eggs.
  • optional ground pepper, to taste, just a sprinkle.
  • optional ground turmeric, to taste, just a sprinkle.
  • Anything else you like to add.  I’ve done thin cheese slices in the past.  Cumin and/or fresh oregano would be cool.  It’s your playground!  I do tend to save any salting for the table.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Place both avo halves on the baking pan.  If one half or another flops a bit so that the egg you add will roll out, use a knife to slice off a bit undersides, to make the undersurface flat.

I’d drop the egg from the shelled egg into a small bowl off to the side.  This way, when you put the egg into the avo, you can help assure that the yolk does not need to be truly hard cooked (unless you’d rather it that way, which is good, too).  You’d put the yolk in first, then the egg white material.  But this is up to you, obviously.

Add your toppings.  I used turmeric and pepper for their health bennies, and because I find they have complementary flavors for my taste buds in this dish.

Bake for at least 30 minutes at 350 F.  Check the whites.  If still clear, cook longer.  Ovens and the sizes of avocados vary.  (The yolks in an egg are protected from bacteria by the whites.  Besides.  Um.)  I’ve found that between 35 and 45 minutes here in my own kitchen will yield fully cooked whites with a creamy to a full-cooked yolk.  And that the avocado tastes exactly the same… a tad softer but yes, warmer … than the original pre-cooked avocado.

recipe avocado egg boat paleo turmeric

I’m ready to put breakfast in my oven. Anticipation!!!

Avocados:  High in soluble fiber, certain proteins, and healthy unsaturated fats.  I love them in smoothies, because they don’t add unneeded sugars.  (I am a big fan of avocado oil, too… High heat, and you can get avo oil for very reasonable at both BJ’s and Costco, and it has no interfering flavor.  I have dumped canola oil for avocado oil.)

Eggs:  High in healthy proteins.  It turns out that egg allergies tend to be towards the egg WHITE portion of eggs, something about the albumin.  Do blood profiling tests when you can to see how you respond.  Buy local eggs where those mama hens ate real food.  This won’t solve the albumin issue should you have one, but otherwise there will be a better nutrient profile.

Love to have you hang out at the link party at Fiesta Friday. 

Your hosts this week are  Zeba and Jhuls.

 

 

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Dining Out: Jesters Coffee Shop, Brookfield, CT (Breakfast)

I was going to post other things I’ve put together on my ownsome, but my cord to download from the camera has gone walkabout.  Without telling me, how unpleasant of it!   I DO want to post something today, so I think I will post a dining out review, since those photos are on the less-obtrusive phone.  And I can mail them to myself.

Jesters is a coffee shop in Brookfield, CT, that doesn’t just sell coffee, it sells a variety of smoothies (and you can come up with your own from the fairly large selection of fruits and veggies on site).  My favorite, which I’ve come up with on my own, goes more to the savory end of things:  cuke, kale, beet, carrot, lime, parsley, and when they have it, cilantro.  Hmm, when I make home-smoothies, I like adding a sliver of onion… I may ask for that next time I order a smoothie there!  (When I first discovered juicing/smoothies, I had no idea that the beverage wasn’t supposed to be liquid veggies and predominantly savory… but hey, even though I now know better, savory is still my personal choice!)

Dining Out, Jester's, Omelet, breakfast, coffee shop

Omelet, cut open to view some of the spinach. Cheese is a combo of cheddar and mozzarella. I vary it up every time I go. Coffee mug holds a lot, and is re-fillable at no extra charge.

 

They also make their own kombucha, four different flavors, and they sell it so you can take quantities home with you.  I haven’t tried this yet, but I haven’t ruled it out.  I think it is the “sweet” indication that stalls my exploration.

Along with beverages (their coffee is a choice between dark or regular roast, or you can have a variety of flavored coffees – some of which, like pumpkin or egg nog, are seasonal – I do like their egg nog coffee they serve in December, but have not sampled the others), they serve breakfast and lunch.  For the small size of the place, they have a strong variety of food, and they will adapt your order to your needs.  A lot of the traffic is take-out.

I haven’t stopped in for lunch often, but the menu at lunch is also promising.  This review will be breakfast-oriented.  I’ve eaten there enough that I can say I’ve tried every breakfast item I am interested in trying.

I feel and know I am best on a low simple-carb diet, and as regulars of my blog know, I cook gluten free at home (actually, I will have an exception down the road because I don’t see a way around it, and I want to COOK that particular item at least once with wheat so I can try to develop a work-around…).  Since I cook more at home, and try to limit eating out, I figure in my personal case I can eat out with some level of gluten, and so I order some things out, with it.  (PS, they do have gluten-free toast on the menu. For a little extra, you can also get organic eggs.)

What I am not crazy about:  The fried eggs alone seem watery, and the bacon is ultra thin, bland, and disappointing.

What I love:  The omelets.  The bacon is fine IN the omelet.  One only needs a hint, there.  The omelets can be crammed full (or less full) with just about anything you’d love in an omelet.  Toast comes with, but I always decline.  I’m satiated as is.  The photo here is an omelet with mozzarella, cheddar and spinach.  There are four or five other cheese choices, and a full range of veggies to put in there.  I do not know if they carry sausage; I’m not interested.

What I love:  The pancakes.  Okay, I don’t think they can make these gluten free, and I would personally order pancakes only super-rarely.  You have a choice:  plain, blueberry, banana, chocolate chip.  I’ve tested blueberry and banana.  Both of these are good.  They come with butter and REAL maple syrup, no fake syrup in sight.  The photo here is a short stack of two blueberry pancakes, but alas the blueberries sank out of photographic sight.  They were there.  These pancakes were great, light and fluffy and full of real-ness.  And yes, lotsa blueberries.  They just followed Newton’s Law of Gravity.

Dining Out, Jester's, pancakes, breakfast, coffee shop

I love the flavor of maple. I don’t like loads of sugar. So I do any pancakes as accordingly as possible, with just a sprawl. Great flavor from real syrup, minimal sugar. (But, I do go for the butter…)

There isn’t much syrup in that dispenser in the photo, but that is simply because I TOLD them not to waste more than a taste on me.   You’ll get more if you don’t specify.  I will note the one time I let them give me the standard three pancakes, I could not eat that third.  PS, if you love waffles, they have them here, too.  I have not tried them but I would assume they are good.

What I love: The Smoked Lox special.  I change it out and have them put it on rye toast rather than on a dense, stomach-clogging bagel.  They do sell a variety of bagels, but I really have a problem digesting that heavy of a bread in one sitting.  Or even in two.  For me, rye toast is much more flavorful than most other forms of bread, and if I am going to eat some food I don’t consider particularly healthy, it had better have some good flavor to it!  I suspect I am one of the few people who patronize this place (ah, oh no, they’ll figure me out!) who orders the smoked lox special on toasted rye bread.  Since sometimes it comes open-faced, or sometimes closed-up.  Depends on who is cooking that day.  I like it either way, but there’s a niggling suspicion that usually (not always) I get more salmon when it is open-faced.  The special comes with cream cheese, red onion slivers, and capers, and (almost always) lemon juice/slices.

Dining Out, Jester's, Smoked lox special, breakfast, coffee shop

They source a really GOOD smoked salmon for this!

What I love:  the smoothies as I’ve modified my own, detailed above.

Service and staff are extremely friendly.  And if I am not grabbing just a coffee to go, I ask for my coffee in a ceramic mug.  It might be environmentally friendly that way, but I think the coffee tastes better that way, too.  Who knows?

There are not a lot of tables, but this is usually not a problem, as I’ve indicated a lot of the business is take out.  They have free wi-fi, and they provide an issue of the Wall Street Journal for the days that particular paper publishes, for patrons to peruse.

I’m not a “breakfast wrap” person, but there are a variety of these you can order from the menu.  I think I like air pockets in my bread.  Or, something.  Whatever it is, wrapping stuff just doesn’t have it, in my book.

PS:  Editing to add:  the eggs are real eggs, not from a liquid-containing carton.  I cannot digest “liquid egg product”, so I’m glad I don’t even have to ask!

Breakfast Rating:  a good solid 4.5 out of 5.  Just don’t ask for a side of bacon and expect it to float your boat.  But yeah, we should eat less bacon, right?

Jester’s Coffee Shop
331 Federal Road
Brookfield, CT 06804

Very close to both CostCo and BJ’s warehouse stores, if you are of a mind to budget shop in the area…

 

 

 

 

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Dining Out: Red Carpet Restaurant, Adams, MA

Red Carpet Restaurant:

69 Park St (Route 8), Adams, MA 01220 

Adams is a small town nestled into the northwestern corner of Massachusetts, in full view of the mountain range and reserve featuring Mount Greylock, the tallest (3490 foot) mountain in the state.

Earlier that day, I visited the two main art exhibits at Williams College, Williamstown, followed by a trip to the birthplace of Susan B. Anthony, which is in Adams.  The museum  / gift shop caretaker kindly pointed me to this restaurant when I inquired about good local eateries.  (At the bottom of the post, I’ll talk more about these museums.)

Red Carpet Restaurant, dining out, Adams MA, scallops, beets

Excellently inexpensive lunch!  (I did ignore the “white gravy” stuff.)

Established in 1927, apparently this is the site of the oldest continuing full service (breakfast, lunch, dinner) restaurant in the Berkshires, if not Massachusetts itself.  It’s undergone ownership, name and decor changes over the years.  It has a country diner ambiance, with booths and bar seating available.  Unlike a stereotypical diner, the menu doesn’t go on for pages, but it is long enough to provide a variety of food.  They do serve liver and onions, seldom seen on New England menus, as well as a variety of breaded seafood, including a couple types of fish and chips.  I chose to get the lunch special of beer-battered sea scallops – there was a dinner-sized portion for more, too.  You get a choice of vegetable (those beets, or mixed veggies, or home-made cole slaw – I had an urge to improve my anti-oxidant intake, so I chose the beets), and a potato, either fried or mashed.

The dipping sauce for the scallops was a sour cream with dill and perhaps chives.  There was that infamous white gravy for the potatoes… I usually ignore that, but some folk love it.  (Its existence did not affect my rating!  There’s really no way to rescue it…)  The potatoes were fine without — nice and creamy, with a little added salt and pepper.

 

Red Carpet Restaurant, dining out, Adams MA, scallops

Scalloped close up!

The beer battered scallops were awesome!  Light and fluffy batter, but crispy on the outside, they barely needed their lemon or sour cream either – but I did avail myself of a little of both. The scallops themselves were cooked to a T, and had none of that metallic taste some scallops seem to have.  The beets were great, too.  It was all washed down with a nice cold glass of vintage 2017 iced lemon water.

This meal was of a good size for a lunch.  I was satiated without being stuffed.

Service was warm and friendly, like your typical good diner.

I do want to go back and try other menu items.  In the interim, I rate this restaurant 4.25, based solely on this one item (in itself probably a 4.5…) – when I do return, I hope to adjust this number upwards because I’ll have another item to add to that ambiance!



As far as visiting this area of Massachusetts goes, on the Wednesday I visited Natural Bridge State Park, North Adams.  An interesting park, it did not lend itself to photographing well while I was there.  It’s the site of an old marble quarry, and featured (before it burnt down in the 40’s) a mill for grinding less-optimal marble into calcium carbonate for manufacturing and food additive purposes.  It’s the site of the only white marble dam in the US.

The weather that day was spectacular, so I drove up to the top of Mount Greylock to have a look-see.  Beautiful territory, and you could see near forever.  A  little haze in the distance, but still very rewarding.  I was in awe!   It’s in a wonderful reservation established at the tip end of the 1800s.  The Appalachian Trail crosses it, among a lot of other trails.

Mount Greylock

View from Mount Greylock, which was more dramatic in person

On Thursday, August 31st, I took my tour of the Williams College Museum of Art.   It was a drab, overcast, sometimes-drizzly day, which didn’t clear up until much later that date.   This museum is free of charge to the public, but of course they accept donations.  (It was good, so I donated.)

The first exhibit seems to have moved on since I was there last week, Allegories of Paintings:  Meleko Mokgosi’s Democratic Intuition:  Lex and Love.  Mokgosi is Botswana-born.  According to the pamphlet, “The challenge for the viewer is to think through the connections that suture everyday experiences to the politics of democracy, and to stretch beyond her immediate knowledge to comprehend this connection as it appears in Southern Africa, and as Southern Africa relates to the world.”  Mokgosi’s canvases are HUGE.  Most of his work is realistic representations of people and objects, in sometimes-juxtaposed settings.  Oh, PS, allegories are not meant to be obvious.  Here’s a link to the artist’s own website about these paintings.

The second exhibit, The Anxiety of Influence: European and American Art, 1689–1913, can be described as follows:  “Bracketed by the earliest war for the control of North America and World War I, The Anxiety of Influence highlights seldom seen treasures from WCMA’s collection and illuminates the political, economic, and cultural tensions of the times. Works from Britain, France, Holland, Italy, and Spain are juxtaposed with those created in the Americas. Complex relationships—harmonious and contentious—mark the artistic exchange between Europe and America.” – from the website,   One of the most visually interesting juxtapositions was a Peruvian oil painting of the Madonna and Child, next to a Spaniard’s interpretation of the Madonna.  

william college museum of art, williamstown MA

The googly-eyes have it… notice more on top of the mound.

And, outside the museum – a permanent installation.  Yes, they’re supposed to be eyes.

And then, a drive to Susan B. Anthony’s earliest home.

susan b anthony birthplace, adams massachusetts

Lovely setting. I can’t recall when this house became a museum rather than a private residence.

The house was built in 1817, and she was born there in 1820  (Oops… originally I wrote 2020 and didn’t catch this… Bad bad Goat!).   She was raised and remained Quaker although her mother was Baptist.  The family left this bucolic setting (Mount Greylock is within range) when she was six years old.  The museum shows how homes looked in the 1820s, although most of the artifacts were not owned by the family (with some exceptions).  This is a two story home, but the museum is only housed on the first floor (the museum caretakers tried to get second floor access for visitors, but they couldn’t put in a mandatory fire escape, because the house legally cannot be visually changed now from what it looked like back then).

susan b anthony birthplace, adams ma

One can imagine cooking being done in this well-appointed fireplace. (See? Everything relates to food!)

The children would have lived upstairs.  Downstairs in one room Anthony’s father had a shop with whatever goods he could sell in the neighborhood.

There’s a lot of information posted in the home regarding Susan B Anthony’s activities over her lengthy lifespan.  She was active in the temperance movement, the abolition of slavery, the opposition to abortion, and of course the women’s suffrage (right to vote) movement.  Unfortunately, she died in 1906, before the Constitutional amendment granting us women the right to carry out the civic duty of voting was granted.

She believed in simplicity, but in honor of her mother, who was prohibited upon marriage into a Quaker family, from wearing the bright colors of red, Anthony took to wearing a red shawl in public in her mother’s honor.  One of those little-known tidbits!

Oh, PS, I love to travel and see  & learn things!!!!  

Susan B Anthony birthplace, Adams MA

Since it was on the main floor, this was likely the parents’ bedroom. Quilts and wall hanging were contemporary to the times.

Little detail:  You ask to get change in the New York City subway system from those machines they’ve set up for ticket purchase… you get the change in Susan B. Anthony dollar coins! 

Another little detail:  They did their best to chip down to original paint colors in the rooms, and match them.  There was an entire wall poster on that.  Maybe I’m easily amused?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dining Out: Pera Bistro, Williamstown, MA

I went on “walkabout” last week, taking a spontaneous short vacation for four days, three nights.  Such is possible sometimes when one is retired.  It could never have happened in the years before this.  I just simply left home, telling the cats but no one else.  Okay, Master Card knew, or got to know.  Maybe not the best idea, but.  I did it, and came back to tell the tale.  (The old home is a mess, and the new home is not ready for me quite yet.  Mentally, I needed OUT.  And I needed a minimal schedule!)

Pera Bistro, Williamstown MA, dining out

Mussels with a clear shallot-lime wine sauce. Tender, flavorful, excellent!  That back bowl is for the shells.

I booked a motel in Williamstown, the northwestern-most corner of Massachusetts, for two nights.  I would have picked a Motel 6 or a Best Western had I seen one, but I ended up in a non-chain motel that I chose because a) those two chains weren’t available as far as I could tell, b) there was no second story to have to walk up to (my arm is still not much good for carrying things or holding onto railings, and since my knee is bad, railings are necessary for me), c) the price was right.  I ended up taking the room there the third night, too.  I liked the shower, and the Indian owners were personable.   The place isn’t fancy, and the rooms are small, but I’m not moving in!  The hotel key blends into the bedspread, but once I found it again, I was copacetic 😉 .   They provide continental breakfast, which I ate the first morning (cream cheese on toasted English muffin), but I do need more protein to start off a day without getting dizzy and running into walls.  Very clean, though.  Williamstown Motel.  I had a one-queen-sized bed bedroom, but I suspect photos on the site are from a wide-angle lens.  I’d down-rate them a star for that.  Not that I need a large room, but the principle of the advertising.  (But maybe they do have a room that big!?)

On the way up, I stopped for lunch at Aroma Bar and Grill, previously reviewed.  I’ve added an addendum to that post – I really wanted to try their pakoras again, to figure out what I’m not getting quite right.

I won’t be reviewing every place I ate at, just the outstanding places simply because… who has the time?

Dinner that first night in Williamstown was at the Pera Bistro.

Dining Out:  Pera Mediterranean Bistro 

60 Spring Street, Williamstown, MA, 01267

According to the menu and website, the owner is Turkish, and he prides himself on Mediterranean cuisine, and fresh foods.

I ordered the Prince Edward Island mussels du jour – that day it was mussels cooked in a lemon wine shallot sauce, and these were spectacular.  I would have loved to try the spanikopita, but the mussels won out.  They also have vegetarian grape leaves, pan seared falafel, or labneh on the appetizer menu.  Any of those would have been worth the try.  I considered returning for another meal, but hey… so many restaurants, so little time!!

For my main, I ordered the wild mushroom ravioli, with Marsala cream.  These were Cremini mushrooms, and hence not really wild, but hey, I was entirely in a mushroom state of mind.  I was less satisfied with this – I am not in particular a pasta/ravioli fan, so it’s my own fault.  The pasta and cream sauce were a little too rich (for me).  I will note however, this is an item true to the description, and I am not going to dock them points for my wanting to indulge my mushroom fetish without really thinking about what the rest of the dish would entail.  The mushrooms were plentiful and cooked right.

Mushroom Ravioli, Masala sauce, Pera Bistro, Williamstown MA

Pera Bistro Mushroom Ravioli. Note the glass of Sauvignon Blanc. If I order wine out, I like it to come with the meal, not in advance.

There were several seafood main dishes that sounded excellent, but if I go back, I can see just getting two or three of the small dish/appetizers instead.  They also served a few salad choices to which one could add optional falafel, salmon, lamb, shrimp or chicken for extra.  (I’d be tempted by the falafel, salmon or lamb…)

Service was excellent, and I was in a corner where my issues with eating politely considering my right arm could be mostly glossed over… I did what I could!  Mostly just ate slowly.

I rate this restaurant 4.2.  It is adjacent to portions of Williams College, so there is a sizable student population in the area (along with visiting parents).  The street this is on, Spring Street, is host to many other eateries as well.

I had an omelet one morning at Spring Street Marketplace – which is geared to the casual college crowd and serves great coffee as well as a large selection of fresh pastries for those who eat pastries.  (I don’t do well with excessive sugars/simple carbohydrates for breakfast, so I didn’t sample.)  They also have a lunch menu.  No actual review, but they do use real eggs rather than “liquid egg product”,  which would do a number on my gut.

Pera Bistro is highly recommended.


Well, I figured if on walkabout, and driving through Great Barrington to get up to my final destination, I should finally stop in at the Guthrie Center.  You know, Alice’s Restaurant?  You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant…

Great Barrington, Guthrie Center

The Guthrie Center

I had a fascinating talk with one of the caretakers there.  I was the only visitor at the time (last Tuesday right after lunch).  They do a lot of community service there, including, natch, a free Thanksgiving dinner.  There’s also periodic free meals to people in need, and there are music gigs.  It is located in a converted church, which is undergoing renovations at the moment.  They have a weekly non-denominational service, too, in the spirit of this building having once been a church.

The caretaker says that she believes that Alice now lives in Florida.  She sold the building to Arlo Guthrie in (if I remember correctly!!!) the ’80s.

Oh, PS, I saw Arlo Guthrie in concert as the closing act at the Clearwater Festival in NY this past June.

Arlo Guthrie, Clearwater 2017

Arlo Guthrie in concert at the Clearwater Festival, back on June 18th.

 

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Brussels Sprouts, Shallots and Pacific Salmon

I fell down a week ago and badly bruised my right, dominant hand, forearm.  This has limited my cooking and eating.  My knife work is down to about zero, unless what I’m chopping at is already tender.  I’m eating Brit style, fork or spoon in my left hand.  I haven’t seemed to have mastered left-hand-chopsticks, alas.  I’ve gone from being able to just be able to pick up my cell phone to being able to handle about ten pounds (if the object is in certain positions).  Improvements every day, but if that arm jostles just wrong, there’s a spasm of pain that ratchets up and down.

So right now I’m not cooking much.  And if I can eat it left handed, I’ll eat it… bringing the right hand to the mouth is more of an exercise in bringing my mouth down to the plate (something I’d prefer not to do in public), and washing my hair is best done one-armed these days.  My angle of arm attack for typing on my laptop was fine after the first day, however.  Years ago I trained my left arm to mouse.   This is cool.

Yes, I went to the ER.  This has hurt a lot more than any appendage I’ve past broken, but amazingly, I had broken nothing.  I’m pretty much off the naproxen sodium tablets (my potent NSAID of choice, often sold as Aleve, but being cheap when it doesn’t matter, I get the generic form).

So, the below is something I cooked prior to my accident, that I only had taken photos of because 1) it was at my new home and 2) those Brussels sprouts garnered at my local farmers market were stupendously HUGE.  I hadn’t planned on posting the recipe, as it is pretty simple and basic, but it was indeed yummers.

recipe, salmon, Brussels sprouts, shallots

Here we go!  I served this to myself out on my deck, on a beautiful crisp day in the ’70s.  I’m focusing on the veggies as much as the fish.  They paired up splendidly!

recipe, salmon, Brussels sprouts, shallots

I used two of these sprouts. Seriously GINORMOUS!

The fish was Pacific King salmon wild caught from Alaska, but use any salmon, trout, or Arctic char you desire.

I found really tiny shallots at that same farmer’s market (different vendor).  Maybe they made up in size for the Brussels???

recipe, salmon, shallots, Brussels sprouts

Chop chop, and awaiting the fry pan!

At any rate, without further ado:  the recipe.

Prep time:  10 minutes, maybe
Cook time:  15 minutes
Rest time: 3 minutes
Serves:  I ate this all by myself.  I can see adding another veggie in and serving two with this recipe.  But I was working hard that day around the future homestead… Oh, is that an excuse???

Brussels Sprouts, Shallots and Pacific Salmon

  • 1/2 pound or so of salmon
  • A drizzle of high heat cooking oil, such as avocado oil
  • 2 super large Brussels sprouts, or about 5 regular ones, slivered into 1/4 inch slivers.  Diced further if desired.
  • 1 or 2 normal sized shallots, adjust depending on shallot size.  Remove skins, and slice as above.
  • ground pepper to taste  (if you want salt, use it; I find that seagoing fish such as salmon doesn’t need it, but if you are using land-locked seafood such as trout or Arctic char, a sprinkle won’t be amiss).
  • 2 -3 teaspoons dried tarragon.
  • One large slice of lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream, optional.  Personally, I prefer the full fat (no excipients or sugars version).  Leave off if dining Paleo or Whole 30.  

Get your oil in your skillet, and heat to medium high.  When the temps are there, add in the Brussels and the shallots.

Allow to roast just to the beginning of browning, stirring.  Reduce heat to minimum.

Add the salmon, skin side down, and grill for about 7-8 minutes, depending on seafood thickness.  I covered the pan with foil, since that pan didn’t have a lid.  Use your lid if you have one.

Just before flipping, add pepper and tarragon to the entire concoction.  Flip, and move the veggies around more.

Cook another five minutes, covered.

Re-flip to original side, about 30 seconds, uncovered, moving the veggies around again.

Plate, and squeeze the lemon over the dish.  Add a dollop of sour cream if desired.

Sit outdoors and enjoy the ambiance of life to its fullest! (I mean, assuming weather is permitting…)

Please enjoy!

I am planning on posting a few things that are NOT recipes in the next week or so.  Reviews of cookbooks and the like.  My trip to the Northeastern Organic Farmers Association.  (Which is where I did my arm in…)  I am working on (maybe not this moment) on a vegetarian Indian pakora recipe, but the two attempts to date, while tasty, didn’t hold together they way I wanted.  This is on hold until I can slice properly again…

This recipe is being shared on Fiesta Friday’s link party; give them a look-see!  Lots of real, healthy, excellent food!  Our co-hosts this week are Colleen and Alex!

 

 

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