The mountain laurels are really wild this year. (Do I say this every year? I know there are previous posts about this plant, but really, this year is amazing.) One of the locals told me that this part of Pelham used to be called Mount Laurel and I can see why. When we look out the window it is almost like there is snow on the leaves of the plants.
I had a great dad’s day today. Peter is home from DC for a bit (the Nationals are on the road) and I got the chance to chill out and cook. I made another vegetable stock. As you can tell by the color, there were lots of beet peelings in it. You can see my previous posts about it here and here. I used some of it to make a wild rice thing for Cris and it was great.
I was all set to do a final post about last weekend’s trip to to DC when the news of events at the Marathon started trickling in. I just felt so bad for most of the week that anything I could say here seemed trivial. Last night I flew out to Southern California to meet up with Cris who has been staying with her sister in Orange County. Since things in Boston appear to be mostly resolved, and it is so nice to be here with family, my mood has lightened considerably. And who wouldn’t be cheered by the sight of these lemons growing in Lynne and John’s front garden. I will never cease to be amazed by this tree.
And Lynne’s desert tortoises have recently come out of hibernation. She suggested I grab a hibiscus flower and as I walked toward George here, he came to me and got right to it.
Welcome to those of you who have found this site through the Slate article. I am very grateful for the job David Rosenberg did, and the response that the suitcases are getting. It is a bit overwhelming at times, but I am so pleased that the project is reaching so many new people.
I had a shoot in Exeter, New Hampshire for the Old House Journal today. Peter is home for a bit and he came along to hang out with me and continue our fried clam odyssey (See more here). After working, we drove to Rye, NH to check out Petey’s Summertime Seafood and Bar. The clams were fantastic; among the best yet. / It is always somewhat surprising to come upon the ocean after a short two hour drive from Western Massachusetts. Today it was beautiful.
My flight to San Francisco went smoothly. I am staying at the same part of town where Claire Larkin, Peter Carroll, and I stayed when we were working on a project for the Smithsonian American Art Museum. We came to Golden Coffee for breakfast most mornings. It is fabulous. They were still closed this morning when I went out to get tea, but I’ll head over there in a bit to have breakfast and then off to the Exploratorium.
I roasted some veg for dinner tonight. I usually steam them for a few minutes to get them ready for the oven. When they come out of the steamer, the colors are very intense. Here are some sprouts, carrots, and small onions. Later I added potatoes. I put some olive oil in a bowl, lots of salt, pepper, and herbes de provence then roll ‘em around. Into a very hot oven for an hour. So tasty.
Yesterday, Peter and I drove home from Maine where we were visiting my brother and his family. Since we were near the coast, Pete had done a quick search of fried clam possibilities. It is the off season so we weren’t sure what would be open. A search of “fried clams southern maine” turned up one that looked promising. So from Scarborough we headed south on the 95 and ended up in Kittery at Bob’s on Route 1.
It is really great; by far the cleanest and nicest of all the clam shacks that we have frequented. And the woman who took our order was so nice. You can see her on the right scooping out my chowder.
I had been feeling a bit poorly the day before and I wasn’t sure if fried clams at 11.45 in the morning were such a good idea, so I had the fish chowder. It was perfect. Not gloppy like some that use thickener or too much heavy cream. The broth was milky and buttery with lots of fish.
Peter was going to get a small, but I figured I could eat a few so we got the medium box. So the verdict is, highest marks to Bob’s. It is now in our top two along with Farnham’s in Essex, MA. I think the clams at Farnham’s are just a bit juicer, but Bob’s chowder is superior.
Cris and I have had a long running joke about these candies. I put these into her Christmas stocking this year and yesterday she placed them on my nightstand before leaving for a couple of weeks in Dhaka. They will probably be there when she gets back. Neither of us seem to like them that much. Chocolate on the other hand, wouldn’t last nearly that long.
I am drinking one as I write this. It seems kind of silly as it is the essence of simplicity to make a hot toddy, but here’s what I usually do. (I am making two here since even if you are not sick it will really hit the spot. Cristine loves them.) Three main ingredients. A thick slice of lemon, a big teaspoon of honey, and some amber liquid (I usually use a fairly cheap blended Canadian whiskey, but others use rum or scotch, or well, just about anything. I would welcome suggestions for alternatives for those of you who don’t use alcohol.)
Put the lemon, honey and alcohol into a big mug. I like these glass ones. Boil some water and add. Stir until the honey is dissolved and everything is well mixed.
You can see from the mug on the left that I left the pips in the lemon slices. They add a certain rusticness (is that a word?). / The main reason I am posting this is that I did get several responses from the previous post. But leamuse’s comment sealed the deal. “The Mistral is blowing here in The Mediterranean so let’s have the recipe!” How could I resist?
I am getting a new battery in the Element and having the snows put on. I should really be doing some work answering email or going through the to-do list in my notebook. The dealership has great WiFi and it is a good excuse to do a quick post and avoid actual work. / The Bluebonnet diner on King Street in Northampton is pretty classic. An original Worcester Diner with an attached restaurant. I like pictures that show prices. Maybe someday someone will look at this and say “Liverwurst sandwich for only $4.29. Amazing”. My mom used to love liverwurst with a slice of sweet onion on rye bread.
A bit of a melange here.
I have always liked fountain pens (something I share with my dear friend John Wilson). And ink bottles are a big part of why I like them. I think I bought this bottle in Berlin when I lived there.
Cris and I went to the Amherst Farmer’s Market this morning. Lots of root veg. And something I had never seen before except in a bottle.
We then went up to Blue Dog Leather in Orange where Keith is making a one handed belt for Peter. Got to hang out with his donkeys and his two American Bashkir horses. They grow this coat in the winter and shed most of it in springtime. They are such beautiful animals.
Thanks again Alex. I love the camera.