Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Up to Camp?

My husband's family friend invited us to their family camp, their cabin on a pond in the middle of woods and mountains, for the weekend. Everyone but me had Friday off so, after getting lost on a gravel road in the mountains in a Prius instead of my all wheel drive SUV, I arrived in time for the sunset. And, it was lovely. But, not as lovely as seeing my husband again after thinking that I was going to run out of gas and die in the wilderness.*

Much to my consternation they bought fire works. I hate loud noises and having my limbs blown off but some of them ended up looking very pretty and no one was burned or maimed. The best looking ones ended up going off right above us. I kept darting back and forth along the beach to avoid getting hit by shell fragments. Our neighbors enjoyed the show.

After we set off the fireworks, mother nature decided to put on her own show. Fortunately we did not lose power. I'm going to pretend that we didn't lose power because there were windmills on the mountains by the camp.  I thought they looked pretty. And, having grown up under one of the flight paths for O'Hare, they reminded me of home (except for all the mountains). 

The next morning me and my husband went for a walk because we woke up before everyone else. Except for the children next door who sounded like they were having a whole lot of fun all day long.

We went canoeing in the morning. We saw some loons on the pond.

I went for a lovely walk, looking for cellphone reception, and saw lots of lovely lillies. I also got to walk along a creek and listen to all the little waterfalls along the road.

When I got back from my solitary walk, which was fruitless as I walked towards civilization fro over twenty minutes and still had no cell reception, our friends had started to stir. We made pancakes with wild blue berried that everyone had picked yesterday during a disastrous hike up the mountain across the lake from the camp. (Apparently, everyone was told that it would only be twenty minutes but it was a whole hour. It was also very hot that day.) The pancakes were delicious though. Some were blue berry chocolate, even.

Later in the afternoon I tried swimming in the pond and I think I had a panic attack. I am a strong swimmer as I grew up with a pool in my backyard. It was like an asthma attack because I was gasping for breath but it didn't feel asthma and my heart was racing. The water in the pond was warm so it wasn't my body seizing up because of the cold, like what happens when you capsize in Lake Michigan at the beginning of the season. It was odd. I spent the rest of the time on the shore and went birding from the safety of the screened in porch.

Our friend's great- great-grandparents built the camp at the turn of the last century so it was really interesting inside. I loved the bookcase most of all since the books appeared to be arranged in chronological order by publishing date.

There was lots of cool looking old things like an old poster with the pledge of allegiance on them and the camp "rules" from the 1930s. All in all I was happy to be invited and am now incredibly envious.

* I was supposed to drive up after work on Friday. I swapped cars with my husband because I have a small SUV and he has a clown car sized Prius. My car was large enough to take up all the stuff and all the people so we traded. I left work on Friday late since I hate leave a mess for Monday and I was anxious to join them. I did not remember to stop for gas. After I realized that the gas gauge was down to two bars, I passed exactly two gas stations but I wasn't really sure if they were gas stations because they were so old fashioned looking. I missed a turn. So I had to turn around. I drove the tiny Prius up a gravel road that went straight up the side of a mountain. I thought I was going to slide back down and die or break my husband's car and be stranded in the wilderness. Then, I ended up driving right past the camp and continued on further into the wilderness. The gravel road got rougher and I was sure my husband's car was going to fall apart as I was driving it. The gas gauge went down to one bar. Eventually I found a place to pull over and looked at the atlas and my directions. Some people on ATVs went by and slowed down. I was afraid they were going to help me (or harass me, except I don't think people in Maine even think about doing that but they did look like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie almost and I was panicky on account of almost running out of gas). I figured out I had probably gone more than two miles since the last turn so I turned back. I found my husband about one and a half miles down the road, he had started to run after me after I drove past him, and everything was okay.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lemon, Garlic, Cauliflower Israeli Couscous

I was at work. I went to the printer and there was this recipe from the washingon post sitting by the printer. It looked interesting. It was still there several days later so I took it home. Then a week later we got some cauliflower at the farmer's market. I've modified the original recipe so as not to waste the cauliflower strem and to make use of what we had on hand. My husband really liked it and thought the cauliflower stems were sliced garlic.

I thought it was a bit too lemony so I modified the recipe but included the original amount of lemon juice. I also think it might be good to dice an onion or a shallot, cook it in the oil that the couscous will be added to, and then leave it in there while the couscous is cooking. But I didn't think to try that. Maybe I'll do it next time and there will be a next time with this recipe!

Lemon, Garlic, Cauliflower Israeli Couscous

1 1/2 c. dried Israeli couscous
1 T olive oil
1/4 c. pine nuts (up to 1/2 c.)
1 1/2 c. water + 2 t Chicken Better than Bullion

2T olive oil
2 T Garlic Cloves, pressed
1 head cauliflower, florets cut into 3/4 inch pieces and stem peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 c. water + 1/2 t Chicken Better than Bullion
Seasoning Salt & Pepper to taste

3 T lemon juice (this is an estimate, the original recipe called for 6 T which made the couscous taste very, very lemony)
1/2 t sugar or honey
1 T dried parsley flakes

Heat 1 T oil in a sauce pan. When hot cook the couscous and pine nuts for 5 minutes at medium or medium low temperature until browned. Season with extra salt, pepper, and garlic if you would like. Add the water an bullion. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-12 minutes. (Basically follow the directions on the couscous package.)

While the couscous is cooking . . .
Heat 2 T oil in a large skillet. Add the cauliflower stems and cook for 3 to 5 minutes at a medium heat until browned. Add garlic cook for a minute or two. Add the florets and season with salt and pepper. Add the water and bullion. Stir and increase the heat to medium high. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Uncover and cook until most of the broth has evaporated.

In a large bowl combine the couscous, cooked cauliflower, lemon juice, sugar, and parsley. Serve warm or cool.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hello, World!

I grew up on Chicago's North Shore with my parents and my two little sisters (hereinafter referred to as E2 and E3). I went out East to my dad's Alma Mater and met my future husband our sophomore year. He had no idea what kind of horrible mistake he had made when he asked me "would you like to get engaged?" As I have been driving him crazy ever since. We decided to stay in Maine after graduation from college for a number of reasons and so began my self-imposed exile from glorious Chicagoland.

We settled down in the town he grew up in. He started working and I went on to Law School to become a lawyer. We were married at our Alma Mater few weeks after I took the Bar Exam and now I'm starting this blog to share interesting things about living along the Coast in Mid- and Southern- Maine, getting used to living in Maine after having lived my whole life just outside a very big city, recipes (I love eating food), and some bits about fashion and life.

I hope you enjoy reading!