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Dinner With TCR! May 15, 2011

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Yes, I know, it’s been a long time.

Not since I’ve made diner, mind you, but since I’ve bothered to photograph it.

And as it turns out, that wasn’t such a bad move, as this photograph testifies:

Despite being butt-ugly (a decidedly dispositive attribute for food,) this meal was as delectable as any I’ve eaten in recent memory – fresh-picked morels stuffed with prosciutto and mascarpone, accompanied by a mahogany rice and fiddlehead risotto and asparagus from our garden.

Since the star ingredients were foraged/free, the price of this meal was a plus, and through welders’ goggles it looked pretty good!

😉

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Lowlands’ Lament. February 24, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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Half an hour’s drive east of here, the Deerfield river flows into the Connecticut, New England’s longest and grandest waterway.

The lowlands of the Connecticut are legendary for their fertility.  For the hundred centuries since the draining of ancient Lake Hitchcock, yearly floods have replenished the fertile flood plain with organically rich silts, turning the once-lake-bottom into some of the most productive farmland in North America.  For generations, the Connecticut River Valley was an exporter of cash crops, most notably tobacco, and in the last century, the fabled Hadley asparagus.  The latter has of late succumbed to a rust blight and is now in decline.

As population in the valley grew and the bottom lands were developed, however, the cost to individuals of the yearly Spring floods, some of which were really quite monstrous, prompted calls for control of this awesome force of nature.  Dams were built, levees erected, and except for rare breaches, Civilization was saved.

But as with all such human interventions, there were unforseen consequences.  The end of the yearly floods marked the beginning of the decline of the region’s reign as Bread Basket (or humidor, as the case might be) of The Northeast.  Crop yields dropped even as the amount of fertilizer needed increased, raising the cost of doing business and driving much of the commercial farming elsewhere.  While Summer still sees the valley bottom sown with corn, tobacco and assorted pumpkin patches, the area has lost its preeminence as a commercial farming hub.

Here’s a winter eve’s view of the Holyoke Range, with Mount Tom’s impressive basalt escarpment in relief on the right, as seen across a stubble of corn between Northampton and the Great River itself:

Stars are just beginning to twinkle at upper left in this thirty-second exposure, while the Milton coal-fired power plant’s stack glows malevolently red in the gap where the Connecticut transects the range.

This image reminds me of Western landscapes I’ve loved forever, and I intend to mine this spot through the seasons until you beg me to stop.

😉

Dinner With TCR – The SoTU Edition! January 28, 2010

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For this auspicious occasion, the night of President George W. Obama’s first State of the Union address, a feast of spicy shrimp and poached tomatoes, served along side more of that Black Japonica vegetable stir-fried rice, with a generous helping of organic asparagus:

‘Twas guuud!

Unfortunately, dessert was a rewarmed platter of platitudes, difficult to swallow and leaving a bitter taste in my mouth.

And so it goes.

Dinner With TCR! July 5, 2009

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A couple of days ago I came acrosss a healthy stand of chanterelles and picked enough for a couple of meals.  They were fat and clean and really nice:

chanterelles

…and found their way into my belly, thusly –

Ginger Chicken over Basmati rice, with local asparagus and localler (!) chanterelles:

ginger chicken

Enjoy!

Dinner With TCR! November 24, 2008

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Tonight, a Mahogany Risotto with spicy sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and black trumpets which I picked this Summer:

risotto-small

With some nice crisp asparagus.

Enjoy!

Flame Grillin’! October 21, 2008

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And I do mean “flame!”

That’s asparagus, roasted red peppers and a bulb of garlic doin’ their mavericky thing on my porch.

To this was added some lemon-and-oil marinated chicken, and voila! :

…with a couple of the onions I pickled this past week.

For Jeff at Nature Hills Nursery, because he asked!

Dinner With TCR. June 27, 2008

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Howzabout some sautéed carrots, asparagus and summer squash served over grilled garlic polenta, topped with a rustic roasted red pepper and caper pesto:

Enjoy!

I Ate The Meat. May 3, 2008

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Well, that ought to generate a few hits.

But really, though I usually home in on chicken, fish and veggies, I occasionally crave meat.

The bloody kind.

One evening last week I asked my local butcher to put aside a flatiron stake for me. He gets a chunk of a cow pretty regularly, but the two flatirons he cuts out of it are always scarfed up pretty quickly, and by the time I get home from work they’re hardly ever still there. So I asked him to put one aside for me, and promised to pop by for it after work.

I drove at dangerous speeds to get home before the store closed and my claim to the fabled Flatiron lapsed, and got there just in time. The eleven dollar price tag surprised me, but as a rare treat, I hoped it would be worth it.

I got home, unwrapped my booty and found not one but two flatiron stakes in the package, which made me breathe easier about the price!

I marinated them both in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lots of garlic for a couple of hours while I stalked the back roads for things to photograph, then came back and threw one on the grill, slathered with a garlic aioli which I’d prepared for the asparagus which would be my side. Occasional drizzles of olive oil kept the smoky flames leaping, resulting in that exqiusite flavor which just doesn’t ever come off the kitchen stove.

The result:

…Delicious!

But being a little piggy, I ate the next one the next day, and felt like I’d swallowed a cinder block. As a rare treat I’ll do that again , but with one steak, thank you.

Crèpes! March 2, 2008

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The last of the asparagus and avocado aioli found its way into a rack of crèpes:

crepes-small.jpg

Hadn’t made crèpes in decades!

Tonight’s Dinner February 21, 2008

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Tonight, Chicken sautéed with an assortment of herbed olives, and a generous side of asparagus:

chixasoar1-small.jpg

‘Twas guuuud.