Archive for September, 2011

Roast it, wrap it, grill it and love it!!
September 30, 2011

Come on baby, blacken!!

In Maine last weekend, I had the luxury(it is a luxury if you don’t have one) of a gas stove. Nothing fancy about it, but cooking with gas, I love love  love. ..especially for roasting peppers. And the lovely Jennifer loves Poblanos….and who could blame her. Smokey, not too hot…they’re lovely. So to roast, you just blacken them all over,  then pop them into a paper bag to “sweat”them(which makes them easier to peel) and after they cool, take the skins off. Do not attempt this while they are still hot….I have burned my fingers, getting a little over zealous.

Peel them, and don't forget to seed them....

I reduced some wine and a little vinegar in a saucepan, the added cold pats of butter, salt, and the poblanos, and little chopped cilantro…and we served it alongside of steaks we grilled…only it was pretty fabulous on the lobsters too.

The turf part of steak and lobsters....

It was my son’s birthday dinner, and really it was kinda perfect….beautiful view, great food, nice wine, and presents of course.

Just waiting for some food and drink...almost dinner time!

Presents to open!!

And it’s hard to know what to buy for a guy who lives in limited space in Manhattan(I made a vow long ago never to buy them anything that sits on something), and has almost everything he wants(ok, except for the 2 million dollar brownstone)….so for the most part, I opt for gift certificates(those are the little scrolls in the pic above)…for restaurants, clothes, blow drys(for Jennifer, obvie)…services for the most part, not things that take up space. Oh and the “ribbon” on the package above is actually a knit necktie from Bonobos.

One does want a hint of color....

He is currently loving colorful socks…a look I love. Have yet to talk the hubby into this trend, but a pop of color is just so cool…love it. (And socks don’t take up much room, and they do wear out!)

speaking of a pop of color....

And it’s sooooo Friday. And while the leaves aren’t changing there like they were in Maine, the weather will feel like autumn this weekend. So put on a sweater, cheer on your favorite team(go Ravens and War Eagle!), take a nice long walk, and maybe roast some marshmallows over an outdoor fire….and come home safe, ’cause we miss you! (Next week, the bathroom reveal…it’s been a couple of dusty, trying weeks.)


Poke Chops and Apple Pie….and Chicken!
September 27, 2011

CLick, snapping the sign as my son snaps me...

Ok, I had a terrific time this weekend in Maine….and as you can see, I took lots of pictures of things I found interesting…like the sign at the nearby pub….sooooo wished I had caught Pork Chop and the Other White Meats…hilarious.

Oh, Poke Chop...

Surprised me the number of places that were already closed for the’s just September, guys.

Where will I get my live bait now??

Had some amazing local oysters at a restaurant in Portland, called Street and Co….amazing place with some delicious small plates. They make a kicking aioli and mignonette sauce for the oysters.

Just keep on shuckin'....

Discovered a great find in Naples called Beth’s Kitchen Cafe….the stuff they were baking in the kitchen(pies, cakes, vegetable lasagnes and strombolis-wow)were just amazing.

View out the window at Beth's...

Got my son’s birthday pie(he’s a pie man) from there…it’s so pretty.

A piled high birthday apple pie!

Discovered dogs drive in Maine….he looks pretty responsible…

"I've been trucking for years"

More on the birthday dinner, and a 2 hour wasted DRIVE looking for a present later this week. I was really such an idiot! But I was happy to see my favorite free range chickens were still around just down the street…

Note the black chickens in the background on branches...

It’s crazy time…locked out, screamed out…but leave my car alone!
September 21, 2011

This is how my week is going.....

You know….it’s just been one of those weeks. Dry eyes….construction dust in the house…cough, cough,…trying to get sinks, shower doors, tile, etc., in on time, so everything can stay on schedule, and have workers out of the house before house guests from England come in for a week’s stay….plus job-work, and doing a presentation at  Expo East Natural Foods convention tomorrow at the Convention Center….you know, the usual.

And then last night driving home, thinking, ok, there is nothing to eat in the fridge..honey, it’s scrambled eggs-again….a big semi truck to my left, is turning left. The very end of his trailer clips my side mirror and knocks off the back of it. And kept going….probably didn’t have any idea he had hit something.

So I take off after him…he finally stops….his girlfriend leans out the window yelling at me with attitude about how” nothing happened and what am I talking about, you’re crazy, etc“…..I just start taking pictures. That cooled her jets a little. The guy gets out to talk to me…he is much nicer(hey, it’s his job in the balance here—his company’s name is on the truck, and the truck number). I explain I have no interest in getting anyone in trouble for anything, but I do want my mirror paid for…he aplogizes for the woman he called his fiance. Anyway I will get the mirror paid for…talked to the company this morning…but I so wish I had given him some life advice, which would be, “Buddy, whatever you do, DO NOT marry that woman. Can you imagine life with that screamer? Get out now.” But I didn’t.

Why won't you open?????

I get home, trudge up the front steps, and my housekey, which is in the lockbox for the contractor to come and go, is now stuck inside. I’ve opened this box several times before with the code, but tonight…it is frozen. So I sit on the steps in the fading light, waiting for the hubby to get home and let me in, so I can cook some amazing(jk)scrambled eggs, and in the meantime…I am now scrambled eggs for the mosquitos. Sigh.

Picture me right here....

So it’s been that kind of week….but tomorrow afternoon, I will depart this vale of tears for a long weekend in Maine with my son and the lovely Jennifer. It’s gonna be delicious lobster, great wine, and sitting on the dock by day and by the fire by night. Can. Not. Wait. When I get home the bathroom should be almost finished….I’ll let you know how it comes out…fingers crossed! Oh, something good did happen this week…look who came by the WBAL newsroom! Love the Calster….

The dusty and the sweet….redoing a bathroom, & dessert for the weekend
September 16, 2011

The stage we're in now...and there was NO insulation behind the walls!

Yes, it’s come to that again…walls and doorways covered with plastic…coughing a little because of dust you inhale in spite of your best efforts not to….crap in the yard(see below)…and lots of deafening hammering and drilling noises. Yepperdoodles, it’s a long overdue bathroom makeover at my house…

Detritus in the front yard....nice!

And look at what’s on the bottom of the old cast iron American Standard tub…..ah, days gone by….LONG gone by. (this was a circa 1955 bathroom)

made in America...wonder if that's still true?

Too bad it had to be broken to get it out…but there it is. But I don’t feel too bad…onward and upward….this is the look we are doing today…

Sink will be wall-mounted, grey pebbles, white subway tile, grey walls-check!

Nice, yes? Ok , there’s no pretty bathroom now though… how about something sweet for the weekend?

small plums in season!!

I know, I know…I’ve given you the plum torte recipe before, oui? (Whatsupwiththat?)But the little prune plums are just now in season, and given the fact it is the NY Times most requested recipe ever….so I’m giving it again-here. Love, love, love this torte…sooo easy, and relatively quick…just butter, flour, sugar, salt, eggs and plums. And cinnamon. If you don’t like prune plums or they’re not in season, use peaches, blueberries, raspberries,regular plums… whatever you like. Here’s the finished product…

I used plums and peaches together....yummy!

I don’t think I’ever ever served this to anyone who didn’t adore it. Try it this weekend!! Have a great weekend….even if you have to work(and I know some of you do-I’ve been there-recently)…cook something delicious, read a good book, don’t throw rocks, and come home safe…’cause we miss you.

Sahara Desert eyes…..Donna has the red eye blues….
September 13, 2011

Yikes...they are red!!

I’ve had this “little issue” now for several months… I wake up at night, and my eyeballs feel like dry little orbs covered with a sandpaper lid….no moisture at all to blink.  I’ve been handling this uncomfortable problem in one of several high-tech(not) ways…pull my eyelids up and blink without the lid touching the eyeball to get some tears started…dip a finger in the glass of water on the beside table and put a drop in each eye(so hygienic)…or, and I feel terrible admitting this…spit on a finger and put that in my eye. Hey, it worked. But not doctor approved.

And I have to thank a viewer for kicking me enough to go have this seen about. She wrote: “I am a loyal watcher of Channel 11 News, but I’ve noticed that Donna Hamilton’s eyes are often red and bloodshot…her eyes are too pretty to be red!” Ok…I know my eyes are kinda pink on occasion, especially if I fill in on the 11 pm show(I’m normally asleep by then!), but I didn’t think viewers could see that. Thanks HD.

I bought the ultra...the tears are a little thicker for night...

So I did see the doc yesterday morning(And I did not admit the spit part) and told him about the dry eye and red eye thing…he said even though my eyes FEEL fine in the daytime, they’re probably still dry, and the eye’s way of getting oxygen when there’s not enough moisture is for the blood vessels to dilate. Not pretty. So he recommended for a first try, artificial tears called Systane…to try at night and during the day…and if the nighttime trouble continues,  he gave me a nighttime ointment, that I hope I won’t need.

And I’m adding some other things that I found on a website called the Dry Eye Zone….which has some interesting tips of dealing with dry eyes, including putting warm rice bags on your eyes, right before you go to sleep, to stimulate the oil protection….using an eye mask, and drops of course.

An eye mask helps keep moisture in...

The mask also helps to protect the eyes from ac or fans that might blow in your face. Last night, I used only the Systane Ultra and a mask…and it was much better than previous nights. I still woke up, but didn’t have to add drops, because my eyes felt pretty moist. Tonight I’ll give the rice bags a try. I’ll let you  know how it goes!


Love and other drugs…like sea salt…
September 6, 2011

Chirpy-chirpy....a hot mama cardinal is in the house!!

You may remember when I came upon the body of a female cardinal in  my yard earlier this summer….killed by Muffy the ca,t is my guess, though I didn’t catch her in the act. But all summer long, I have heard and watched her mate call for her in the trees…and he never gave up. “Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp“…all summer…it’s been heartbreaking.

But this morning, I heard a weird chirping( not sure how to describe it but it caught my attention) in the front yard. I peeked out…and there was a female cardinal, clearly showing off for someone…and  on the other side of the walk, acting all cool, was my male cardinal, pecking at the ground, as though he didn’t notice. I think they are in some kind of mating dance. And while I don’t know the male is my heartbroken friend…and I don’t know for sure this is a new female, that’s what I hope has happened..that he has found a new lady love. Wouldn’t that be the best??

This weekend was spent cleaning up after the storm, so when someone asks, “How was your holiday weekend?”….I worked Labor Day, and the rest of the weekend, didn’t feel that ….weekendesque, if you know what I mean. But we didn’t lose power, a tree didn’t fall on the house, and the basement stayed dry…so all is good.

Love, love, love roasted red peppers!!

Did venture out to the Farmer’s Market Sunday morning…fearful of traffic…because of the road race downtown. Misplaced fears though…no traffic and I would say foot traffic was off by at least 30 % at the market, probably because others were scared off by traffic too.  But I bought some great, end of season red and yellow peppers….sliced them up and tossed with olive oil and sea salt, and roasted them.

Morton's gets in on the sea salt craze...

And speaking of sea salt, even Morton’s caught onto the sea salt craze….though theirs isn’t little chunks of salt, but looks like the regular stuff.

The lovely Jennifer emailed me the other day about a new place that has opened in the West Village called The Meadow-here….it is completely devoted to…yep, salt of every description.

Mark Bitterman...salt guru...

And the place looks very cool….it’s the brain child of chef Mark Bitterman(whom you may have seen on The Today Show) …one reviewer gushes “It will change the way you cook“….doubtful. Doubtful. But you can buy slabs of Himalayan sea salt, on which you actually cook food! Or in their words..” a 500 million year old slab of luminous pink salt quarried from a primordial salt deposit in Pakistan “…..ok. The Meadow also offers cooking classes for the oh so very few of us who do NOT know how to cook on a salt slab(or why).

Maldon sea salt....of course.

For my money though, Maldon is the best sea salt…beautiful flakes that you can crush between your fingers….. as Dan Crane from  Slate magazine said about Maldon…It’s half the price of a movie ticket in New York City. Shut up and buy this salt.” And fyi, at a website called Saltworks, you can buy a 8.5 oz box of Maldon for $6.49 and free shipping(and tons of other salts as well)…while that same amount at The Meadow will run you $11.50. I guess it’s the location….West Village real estate ain’t cheap.