Thursday, June 30, 2011

Boston Baked Beans

A family favorite for decades!  This is my mom's version of Boston Baked beans.  They are so simple to make and so delicious you really won't want to use canned beans again!  Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the occasional can of beans, I do it myself from time to time.  But you can't beat the taste of home made baked beans.

They make a great addition to any buffet, cookout, pot-luck, church supper, or simply a great Saturday night supper!  They are a must have dish at all of our family parties.  Enjoy!

Below are the "proper" instructions and in parentheses is what I do!

2 cups navy beans (the entire package)
1/2 pound salt pork (or bacon if you must . . . )
1 onion, finely diced (I plop a whole onion in)
3 tablespoons molasses (I use 1 cup)
2 teaspoons salt (don't need it if your using salt pork or bacon)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar

Soak beans overnight in cold water. Drain, add fresh water and simmer the beans in the same water until tender, approximately 1 to 2 hours. Drain and add fresh water (this keeps the gas level down)!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Arrange the beans in a 2 quart bean pot or casserole add an extra inch of water over the beans.  Add the rest of the ingredients give a stir and bake. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil.

Bake for 3 to 4 hours in the preheated oven, until beans are tender. Remove the lid about halfway through cooking, and add more liquid if necessary to prevent the beans from getting too dry.

Serves 4 - 6 people.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fiddle dee dee . . .

Fiddleheads, pancetta, garlic, shallots ~ oh my!

Fiddleheads!  Have you ever tried them?  They are abundant in Maine and throughout the North East!  Tides Head, New Brunswick refers to itself as the "Fiddlehead Capital of the World!"  

They range in price from $3.99 per pound to $15.99 per pound!  They are absolutely delicious! I tried them for the first time last year.  I have wanted to cook them forever but for some reason never got around to it until then.

Sauteing has begun! 

They have a delicious and curious taste, imagine the best asparagus and baby spinach you've ever eaten, now combine them together - yum!  They are high in antioxidants and Omega 3 & 6!  

This North East delicacy is only available for a few weeks in the Spring.  However, I've learned recently that I could preserve by pickling or freezing them.  I'll have to remember that for next year!

Red wine, roast chicken, sun-dried tomato rice pilaf & fiddleheads!

Sauteed Maine Fiddleheads

1 pound fiddlehead ferns
1 clove finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1/4 cup pancetta, cut into cubes
Kosher or sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Juice from half a small lemon

Trim stem 1-2 inches from fern and wash the fiddleheads in a coarse strainer. Place them in a large bowl of water and swirl them around, rubbing off the thin flakes of chaff on the ferns. Drain and dry in a kitchen towel.

Heat saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring until lightly browned. Add ferns, garlic and shallot. Cook, covered for 3-4 minutes. Uncover and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until they are tender and have a slight crunch. Add salt and pepper to taste and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, toss with lemon juice. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

There is some controversy about the recommend cooking time. Health officials recommend 15 minutes if boiled and 10 to 12 minutes if steamed. The cooking method recommended by gourmets is to spread a thin layer in a steam basket and steam lightly, just until tender crisp.

I did not follow these recommendations, I followed Chef Justin Rowe's recipe from the Chebeague Island Inn that was published in a local Maine news paper, The Portland Press Herald on April 28, 2010.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day & The Garage

Happy Father's Day to all the guys out there who love and take care of all the children in their lives!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

After 39 long years . . .

We are the 2011 Champions!!!

It was a great series, I love it when all 7 games are played rather than a 4 game sweep!

Congratulations to my beloved Boston Bruins on winning the 2011 Stanley Cup!  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

King Arthur Madness . . .

Sanding Sugars
 This past Saturday I took a day trip to King Arthur Flour in Norwich, VT with Susan at From Beyond My Kitchen Window, and her sister Ann.  They picked me up around 8:30 a.m. and we were on the highway by 8:45 a.m.  In under two hours we "had arrived" at our destination.

Center of the Round Store
Walking into the store I couldn't help but notice that it was round, and I immediately thought of King Arthur and the Knights at the Round Table.  I was expecting to see characters such as Lancelot and Guinevere asking if we needed any assistance!  Nope, just ladies with green aprons!  Who by the way were wonderful and super friendly.  But then, why wouldn't you be friendly in bakers heaven! 

Scone Display
There were display like this set up through the entire store.  This one happened to focus on their scone mix, which by the was was on special, and happens to be delicious!  

Cookie Cutters Anyone?
There were cookie cutters galore!  This display had so many different cutters!  If you were looking for one, you'd find it!

Hot Beverage niceties!
Who knew there were so many toys for hot beverages.

Best Rolling Pin in the World!
This rolling pin was designed by a former member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  I own two of these rolling pins in different sizes and I love them!  

Picnic Ants Dinnerwear
There were some fun novelty items too, like this cute "ants" picnic dishes and linens.  And how about the salt and pepper shakers - so 1950's!
Sour Dough Needs.
For all you sour dough people out there, look at this little kit you can pick up.  How about the "Quick Shine" to make your home made bread glisten!

The Damages . . . 
Our loot, we did some damage and this was just the 1st of our stops!

My loot!
I can't wait to try out my new items.  I'm in love with my tea loaf baking pan.  It reminds me of the tin one my Nana used to have!

Spring Recipe from King Arthur

Here's a recipe for you, click on the link below after your comment of course!  Next week I have a surprise for you!  Stay tuned!

Recipe photo

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Coffee Cake Muffins & The Perfect Spot to Drink Your Morning Coffee!

Other than my front porch, rain, shine, or snow this is my favorite spot to enjoy my morning coffee in Maine!  I enjoy watching the boats load up in the morning as they head out to sea.  I'm amazed at the sea legs on these people, as they stand in their dingy's and navigate towards their boats.  

To go along with the coffee I made some Martha Stewart coffee cake muffins, you can check out the recipe below.  Please enjoy!


The Muffins


For the muffins

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Confectioners' sugar (optional)

For The Streusel Topping

1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


·        Prepare streusel topping: In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour, and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles large coarse crumbs; refrigerate until ready to use.
·        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffins: Butter and flour a jumbo 12-cup muffin tin (or two 6-cup muffin tins). In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
·        Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, sour cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. With mixer on low, beat flour mixture into butter mixture.
·        Divide half the batter among prepared muffin cups. Top with half the streusel mixture, then remaining batter, and top with streusel. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired.

One dozen muffins, would you like one?  How do you take your coffee?

The tea towel belonged to my mother-in-law
It must be 40 years old, and it's still in great condition!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Guess Who's Having a Birthday Today?

Me, that's who!  

Pull up a seat, let's chat and enjoy the flowers!

Devestation in Massachusetts

A tornado beginning to form.

I have lived in Massachusetts my entire life and never have I seen such devastation from a storm.  Our entire state was under a tornado watch for most of the afternoon and early evening.  It was stressful and scary.  We thought we would have to go into our basement.

There were a record 7 tornadoes that struck the state.   Tornadoes in Massachusetts are rare, and sadly the area that was devastated was the western part of the state.  My section of the state was spared. Each time a storm was predicted to pass over us it veered off in another direction only giving us some minor rain, thunder and lightening.  My husbands cousin, an older woman, said she has never sat through such a horrible storm in her entire life!

Sadly there was loss of life and injury.  We keep those families in our thoughts and prayers.  Our Governor acted swiftly and declared a State of Emergency and was able to deploy 1,000 National Guard to assist those in need.

There were hours of this type of lightening and thunder. 

Notice the snapped trees.
I am keeping all of my fellow Western Massachusetts blog friends in my thoughts and prayers.