We Got Some Good Karma In Our Lives

Horses and boats. I’m not sure why this is a common combination, but it seems to be rampant.  No less in our household than in any other, it seems. It’s like we have an addiction to really fun hobbies into which you pour money or something.  I don’t talk about my love of horses much and I’ve never shared my horse journeys here, but this one is special. Both the horse and the journey, and one worth telling.

My trainer, Jess, texted this summer from a horse auction while we were on an island for our lobster bake. When she texted, Jon and I were walking in the middle of a pine stand surrounded by granite, the sound of the ocean touching the beach, and the light casting late afternoon shadows through a fern stand up the path a bit. When shore side life inserts itself into boat life, even though we’ve been doing it for years, there’s this moment of focus required to bring attention to a part of our life we aren’t living at the moment. Our life on the boat is so rhythmic, tied to the weather, and the now that thoughts of winter and planning are sometimes surreal. Such was the case with our conversation.

Let me be clear, I was not in the market for a horse after having sold an older rescue horse last year.  While I ride all winter long and often more than one horse per day, I was perfectly happy riding other people’s horses. I’d been saying out loud that I wouldn’t be buying my own horse again until both girls were out of school. Sure.

Then Jess texted. A horse had just been bought by a “kill buyer”, so her future was as either meat or glue. She had a soft eye, a nice way of moving, wasn’t lame, and was super skinny. One, of course I’m a sucker, so saving a good horse from death, well, please. Two, the idea of training my own horse with only Jess or me to ride and work with her was undeniably enticing.

So in the middle of lobster bake island, surrounded by pines and granite and ocean, (and with Jon’s blessing I must add) I bought my next horse! She’s 5 years old, an off the track Thoroughbred. She was in a sketchy lesson program where she developed a “bucking problem”. Which to me means something hurt or she was really done with being treated poorly and had some things to say, i.e. bucked.

These are the first photos I got of her before we met.  Her nickname was Skinny Legs or Annie’s Mare until I was able to spend some time with her and get to know her.  I’ll be posting once a month about my journey with her. Oh, and her name is Good Karma, her show name is Gilkey’s Harbor, and she is a super sweet soul.

Annie
Winter projects!

Calm and settled on one of her first days at the barn.
A couple of days after she arrived in a paddock by herself to begin with. She needs about 300 pounds on her. That round belly is actually not great = worms, sand, and/or malnourished.
There’s that soft eye and head low even though she’s in a new home.
Those shoulder bones, though!
Eating was hard for her in the beginning until we could get her teeth power floated.
The dentist power floating Karma’s teeth. The horse needs to be sedated for this process, and you can see why. If this isn’t done, they develop burrs or horns on their teeth which make eating very painful.
Head in a grain bucket shortly after the dentist was done!
Getting plump! Photo by Amy Miller.

 

Wait, That’s Me!

AnnaAsAnnieHalloween

A number of years ago, I was impersonated for Halloween.  First and only time I became a Halloween character!  She got the hair, the t-shirt, the apron, the cargo pants, and the shoes down!   Anna Poisson, daughter to E who is our Shoreside Manager, dreamed up this costume.  Maybe I should go trick or treating as me this year, huh?

Downrig and Getting Set for Winter

Storing things in the barn using the tackle system attached a cantilevered beam.

Well, the last of the crew left yesterday and that puts another season in the books for us.

The wood is stacked, the boat wrapped, the systems winterized, and small boats in the barn. From the galley, the dry goods are all stored in the barn, the jams re-canned, and the leftovers from the boat turned into soups. I am now remembering how to cook for only 3 people again. All of which mean we are readying for winter and it’s time for us to say ‘farewell’ to the crew.

We use so many jams and jellies that are homemade that I can’t bring myself to through them all out. That’s a lot of work to throw away. So I heat everything to a boil and re-can them individually in sterilized jars.
Clockwise from the top: Keilbasa and White Bean Soup; Cauliflower Cheddar and Jalapeno Soup; Asian Duck and Bok Choy Soup; White Bean Hummus; Creamy Beef and Matsutake Sauce.

Erin and Chives piled into his car, packed full with their life’s gear, on a fall road trip which will meander through New England and eventually end in California in December. None of us wanted to say ‘goodbye’ even though we are all onto fall and winter adventures about which we are excited. Instead we said, “See ya tomorrow”. The only difference is that we hugged and held on for a second.

Farewell, Good People!

 

Endings and Beginnings

The cover almost fully on.
The cover almost fully on.

It’s been a week now since our last sailing day and already I miss the wide open sky; seeing the horizon when the sun sets and rises; and living outside.

Our first day on shore saw the entire boat change. Within hours the cabins were empty of linens, mattresses, curtains, and anything else that makes them habitable – for people or for mice. The galley was a whirl of banana boxes and milk crates filled to the brim with dry goods and equipment. After two days of bee-hive like intensity, the galley is also barren of any sign that on a daily basis, all summer long, three abundant meals are produced and consumed in short order by our guests.

Betsy's Prius stuffed to the brim with 14 banana boxes.
Betsy’s Prius stuffed to the brim with 14 banana boxes.

These changes help me recognize that our transition to shore has begun. The ending of each season brings both satisfaction and a little melancholy. The feeling of a job well done in creating a safe and happy season for our crew and our many beloved guests is strong. This is also tinged with a tiny sadness that it has again come to an end. At the same time there is more space in our days which we quickly fill up with private conversation and cozy time on the couch, riding horses, playing music, talking with family, and even cleaning the house.

What’s interesting is that I don’t pine for one place over the other. When I’m cooking on my wood stove I never yearn for my gas stove at home and when I’m at home cooking for us or catering for a crowd, I don’t wish for my wood stove. The same is true for my bunk. When I sleep on the boat, I love hearing the light lap of the ocean against the hull, the rain on the deck, and the smell of pine tar and wood. When I’m home, half the time we sleep with the window open so we can smell the fresh air and it’s luxuriant to climb into cozy sheets under a beautiful duvet and have a little space to spread out.

View out of our bedroom window - our nature for now.
View out of our bedroom window – our nature for now.

The settling in to either of our homes, the boat and our house, always feels like the shifting of weather seasons, sometimes there is resistance to what is coming and also a knowing that whatever we are leaving will come around again. There is also a looking forward to the new.

Annie
Homeward Bound

Kumquat Mint Mojito – Raise a Glass to Kickstarter

Photo by Elizabeth Poisson

For close to a year now, I’ve been promising E a celebratory cocktail – to celebrate spring, to celebrate going sailing, and mostly to celebrate the completion of Sugar & Salt:  The Orange Book.  A year has almost passed since the idea’s first inception.  However, the reasons to create something special became current again with the launch of the Kickstarter campaign.  It seems that a salutatory cocktail is in order.  Lucky us!  Check out our Kickstarter progress and updates.

Kumquat Mint Mojito
15 mint leaves (plus extra for garnish)
7 kumquats, quartered (plus extra for garnish)
1 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
3 ounces Mount Gay rum
ice cubes for shaking and serving
2 ounces club soda

Muddle mint leaves and kumquats in a cocktail shaker. Add lime juice, simple syrup, and rum. Add ice cubes and shake until well-chilled, about 10 seconds.  Add club soda to a ball jar filled with ice. Strain the shaker mix into the ball.  Garnish with a mint leaf and a kumquat slice.

Makes 1 cocktail

Portland Press Herald Article

In case you missed it on Facebook, here’s the link to our most recent press about the Sugar & Salt books.  Peggy Grodinsky is the acclaimed food editor of the Portland Press Herald and was actually my editor for a couple of years until I stopped doing the food column for that paper.  It was interesting to talk with her in this interview, as while we worked together for several years, we inherited each other and never actually met face to face.  Most of our conversations were via email based exclusively on the text and content of my columns.  To have our awareness of each other expand into our larger life realms was fun.

The piece is in the Chop Chop segment and features my recipes for Blizzard Carbonara and Beet, Pear, and Cranberry Salad with Shaved Asiago.

Photo by Elizabeth Poisson

 

Kickstarter Announcement!

You’ve been asking for it and we’ve found a way to bring it to you – with your help.  What have you been asking for, you say?  Why a new printing of the red cookbook, At Home, At Sea, of course.  I’ve heard ALOT over the past several years it’s been out of print that we should do a second printing.  We are ready!

But here’s the thing… We just printed Sugar & Salt: The Orange Book last year and we haven’t had enough time to recoup our printing costs to turn around and do another printing.  However, E and I are ready and up to the task of putting together a new and updated version of At Home, At Sea for you.

Now, we just need your help!  Check out the details of our Kickstarter campaign.  There are a bunch of fun gift levels from mini-notecards, a Riggin apron, the cookbooks, Maine lobster sent to your door, me as your personal chef, a trip on the Riggin, and an elegant dinner made for you and your 8 guests in your own home.  Thank you for taking the time to check out our latest effort!

1

12

14

15

18

Annie
Testing and writing away here in Maine!

Roasted Carrots, Red Onion, and Kale

Carrots from the garden Photo by Elizabeth Poisson

Roasted Carrots, Red Onion, and Kale
Curly or Russian kale will get a little crispy on the edges in this recipe while Lacinato kale (the longer more wrinkled variety) will wilt more like other greens do. Both are delicious.

1 1/2 pounds carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus another 1/4 teaspoon for the kale
several grinds of fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus another 2 tablespoons for the kale
1/2 bunch of kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped; about 4 cups

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a large roasting pan, drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper over the carrots and onions. Use your hands to coat evenly. Roast for 1 hour or until the carrots are tender and the onions are beginning to brown. Add the kale and drizzle with more oil, salt, and pepper. Stir well and roast for another 20 minutes or until the kale is bright green and a little crispy on the edges.

Serves 4 to 6

Annie
Clean eating – I’m into it.

Ricotta and Caramelized Onion Stuffed Shells

These babies are not the insipid things that used to pass as your school lunch.  These guys are fun, delightful, and full of yum.  The kale adds a grownup kick and the fresh mozzarella is also a nice bump in flavor.

20160320_172536_HDRa

20160320_172849_HDRa

Ricotta and Caramelized Onion Stuffed Shells
You will have extra sauce from this recipe, but that is never a problem in our household. Simply freeze what you don’t use for another time.

Homemade Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup minced onion; about 1 small onion
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic; about 4 cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
several grinds of fresh black pepper
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

Filling and Shells
6 ounces jumbo pasta shells
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups diced onions; about 1 large onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt (for the kale)
8 ounces kale, chopped; about 8 cups lightly packed
16 ounces ricotta cheese; 2 cups
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese; about 1 cup lightly packed
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (for the filling)
several grinds of fresh black pepper
2 large eggs
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

Tomato Sauce
Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and then the onions. Sauté the onions for 7 to 10 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and sauté for another 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Makes 3 to 4 cups

Filling and Shells
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta shells, stirring often when they first go into the pot. Cook until al dente, drain, and then rinse with cold water.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onions, and salt and sauté for 7 to 10 minutes or until translucent and beginning to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the onions are very soft and caramelized. Remove 1/2 cup to a medium bowl (that will receive the ricotta filling). Add the kale to the skillet and cook until wilted but still bright green. Transfer to a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish.

Combine the rest of the filling ingredients, except the eggs and mozzarella, with the onions in a medium bowl. Before adding the eggs, taste for salt. I typically don’t feel any is needed due to the bread crumbs and cheese, but it’s good to double-check.

Scoop soup-spoon portions of filling and press into the shells. Try not to overstuff so that you have enough stuffing at the end. Place the shells onto the kale and cover with 2 cups of tomato sauce. Lay slices of mozzarella over the sauce. Bake for 45 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly on the sides and the filling is cooked through.

Serves 4 to 6