Fore River Sanctuary Samosas with Mango Dipping Sauce

I don’t typically cross-post across my two blogs, preferring to compartmentalize my life (hah) but I’ve been so busy recreating this recipe I didn’t get round to writing anything else.  So indulge me.

Portland Trails is holding a “Trail Gourmet” Recipe Contest and I won’t beat around the bush.  I’d like to win.  I thought long & hard about which of my recipes to enter, and while walking the Fore River Sanctuary this week it came to me.  SAMOSAS.  I’d created a fantastic low sodium recipe for samosas four years ago, shortly after launching The Daily Dish.  While a little time intensive to make, these samosas freeze beautifully and would showcase one of Maine’s premier agricultural crops: Potatoes!  Samosas are perfect hiking fare.  Small and portable, yet hearty and filling.  They’re a healthy meal in an incredible, edible wrapper.  And they’re DELICIOUS – especially with the tangy subtle sweetness of the mango dipping sauce, which is easily toted in any lightweight lidded container. Double dipping a MUST!  So if you’re craving something extraordinary the next time you head out on the trail, look no further than Fore River Sanctuary Samosas with Mango Dipping Sauce.  Gourmet vegetarian snacks that pack a healthy, meal-like punch – NO SILVERWARE NECESSARY!

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Stonyfield Cafe

I am someone who not just likes yogurt; I love it.  But when it comes to Stonyfield Farm, it’s more honest to describe my feelings as LOVE (all caps).  It’s been a passionate affair, me and SF.  In the beginning it was honeymoon hot.  We’d rendezvous daily – on average, 12 oz. – sometimes more.  Over the ensuing months, I started noticing others.. but still. SF remained first in my heart.  Back in 2008, when I won a Stonyfield Recipe of the Month contest, I thought I’d reached the pinnacle of yogurt pleasure.  Until, that is, we moved to Maine and I was finally afforded an in-person visit to the very birthplace of my beloved, Stonyfield Farm’s Yogurt Works.  Perhaps that face-to-face meeting was the turning point.  I always knew how much I loved him, but I never dreamt he felt the same way about ME.  Now.  I know it’s true.

Weeks ago I was in the throes of Dress Quest 2010.  I’d driven north to check out a chi-chi shoppe, when suddenly I saw concrete (or maybe aluminum siding) proof that SF LOVES ME JUST AS MUCH AS I LOVE HIM!

WHOOMP!! THERE IT IS!!!!!!

Tucked into an upscale strip mall just north of Portland in the town of Falmouth, Maine, is MY BOYFRIEND the restaurant to top all others.  The one, the only, Stonyfield Café. When first I spied his distinctive blue & yellow sign, I simply couldn’t believe my eyes.  You know when you reaaaaaaalllly reeeeeallllly like someone, and you search for them wherever you go, just hoping to catch a glimpse?  Well, this first meeting felt exactly like that.  But BETTER.  I was (as I said) embroiled in Dress Quest 2010, just a few frocks short of institutionalization.  My sanity was hanging on a dime.  I blinked once, I blinked twice.  But three blinks later, SF was still there.  (That guy above w/ the chairs wasn’t there yet.  Or he might have noticed my SHEER UNBRIDLED DISBELIEF.)  I floored it into the ample parking lot, hustled my kids from the car and literally HOOFED IT into the restaurant.  (For fear it would disappear before I got in.)

Once inside, I gazed in wonder at the beauty of his form..

Despite my daughters’ cool exteriors, I was a jangle of nervous palpitations.  OOOoHhhHhhHHHHH!!!  Good thing SF already loves me more than any other girl on the face of the planet (don’t be jealous) AND knows how to be forceful when necessary!  We dutifully took our place in the queue.

Here we are, self-seated and ready to tuck in.  The girls got Mac & Cheese kids meals w/ homemade flatbread – baked right there in SF’s MIGHTY BRICK OVEN.

Just looking at it made me HOT ALL OVER!

Phew!  So warm in here.. I opted for something lighter to help cool me down.  A Balsamic Cran Salad – no “extra protein” necessary.  With a Chocolate Underground yogurt, for afters, of course.

The first bite.  And the verdict is……???

MMmmMmmmmm!  SF is GOOOOOOD.  So good in fact that we inhaled our lunch in mere minutes.  (Pardon me.)

I didn’t want to embarrass anybody by licking my plate like an animal, but I would have, if only SF and I had been ALONE.  (grrooowwwwlll)

NEXT. Time to freshen up!  OOOooh SF, I’ll ALWAYS be your GAL!

Afterward I noticed how wonderful SF is – providing ample seating for a larger family, as well as free comfy space for community groups to gather.  That is just so thoughtful!  (Stud.)

And then. it truly was goodbye.  SF begged me to share a glass (or three) of organic wine with him, or splurge on some frozen yogurt for the kids.  But it was still early, and the girls were full.  So with that we parted ways.  But not for long.  Be seeing you soon, SF!  Try not to miss me too much.  xo

Dear Trader Joe,

HEY BUDDY!!  How are you?!  Yep, we’re all good.  I was thinking about you this morning & realized it’s been almost a Y-E-A-R since I last saw you.  I KNOW!  You still wearing that same crazy shirt?  Yeah, me too.  So. Listen bud.  I wrote a few months ago, and I realize how busy you are – but seriously.  The time has come.  WHEN ARE YOU COMING TO MAINE???!!!  B/c I am out of stuff.

Peppermint castile soap.  Salt free tomatoes. No salt tuna and sockeye salmon.  Dried mango. Knockoff cereal. chocolate chips. Emergen-C.  Bargain priced stonyfield farm yogurt.  Joe, I will be blunt.  Portland is stupendous, but it simply won’t be paradise until you’re here too.

I emailed you weeks ago.  Requesting a new location….and… and…Nothing.  DUDE – I miss you!  Baaad.  The stickers and balloons.  Those wild shirts.  From your 2 Buck Chuck to your chocolate covered almonds.  From your french milled goodness to your uncured hot dogs  – to the tofu, Joe.  I need you.

Portland *(maine) needs you.

Love,

your favorite MAINE-UH (really from away)

Dishy.

PS: And Please hurry, b/c my recyclable shopping bags have all sprung holes & I’m in need of some colorful new ones.  But – only yours. xo

Feast Your Eyeballs on THIS!

My dear pal Curly is a woman of requests.  Last month she made me disclose the world’s worst candy.  Now she wants to take a peek inside my fridge.  I almost shudder to think what she’ll be asking of me next..  BUT since we’re pals..

myfridge

TAAA-DAAAAAHHH!  OoOoohhhhh..Isn’t he handsome.. YES he IS!  Before you get too jealous, though, I must confess.  This is not MY fridge.  No.  It belongs to my landlord.  But I pretend it’s mine.  PS: If you want to store the contents of your lunch in MY fridge, you must ask first.

Let’s take a look inside..

myfridge2

myfridge3

As you can see, my landlord has quite a nice fridge. My husband & I like to stock it with fresh local produce and less local, but still altogether terrific, alcohol.  Since we are no longer in West Philly, and I am no longer hosting a CSA on my front porch, we have now joined a new CSA here in Maine.  It is GREAT.  Except for the beets.  Which are beautiful, but taste like BEETS.  YIKES!  I just noticed that *Smiling Hill* milk on the bottom shelf is no longer blue.  What do I mean – BLUE milk?  WELL. Up here in Maine, they sell Blue Milk.  It’s called BLUEBERRY MILK!  and it is unbelievably delicious.  It normally looks like THIS (many thanks to Joe Shlabotnik):

blueberry_milk

And is a delightful purple-blue. But now that my blueberry milk has turned a pallid WHITE I am thinking that’s not too good.   From the photo, it also appears to be separating.  Oh my.  Note to self: remove blue white blueberry milk. PS: remember to turn head while pouring out.  PPS: Now that there is space; buy more wine.

Here is my landlord’s freezer.

fridge4

fridge5

YES, we do like ice cream!  In fact, we LOVE it!!  Except that spangly stars n’ stripes kind, which I can’t get my kids to eat.  They do like those frozen fish sticks, though.  YOU TOO??  Well.. I’ll ask, but I’m not sure they’ll share.  You can always come over for some stars n’ stripes ice cream, though.  Or a nice glass of milk.

mmmmilk

MMMMmmmmm-MMm.

See you soon!

Sorry I’ve been AWOL..

The past few weeks for me have been interminably long. In a good way, though. Somehow, it just feels as though time started and stopped mid-October, and although days keep progressing on, I’m somehow fixed within the calendar. Three weeks ago, I was in New York. The night was blustery, raining, just plain ugly, but I was giddy inside. John and I had gotten tickets to the premier of a movie we’d discovered a year before. A Cricket in the Court of Akbar. The tale of a white guy from Texas, who discovers Indian music and falls in love… with the sitar. He learns to play, and eventually goes to India – to win a music competition – not once, but twice. TRUE STORY, by the way. I’d stumbled upon the trailer on youtube months and months ago, it struck such a chord (no pun intended). When I found out the movie was premiering at the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea October 25th, I bought tickets w/out hesitation. That night, girls safely deposited at John’s grandmother’s, the weather miserable, I was elated. Few things matter to me more than a truly compelling story, and I was not disappointed. After a meal of sushi & Sapporo, we made our way to the museum. John got seats in the front row. We watched as the star and director sat directly beside us. WOW. The movie… just plain amazing. Captivating, start to finish. Afterward, Andrew Mendelson answered audience questions. We got home late, tired, bleary eyed, and happy.

The next week wrought another tremendous surprise. As a lifelong Philadelphian, I know I fall prey to the mentality of doubt which pervades this city like so much garbage. A year ago, Philadelphians were rumored to be the ugliest people in the nation, according to a poll conducted by Travel & Leisure Magazine. Before that we endured the whole FAT THING, with the American Obesity Association ranking Philadelphia in the top ten for overweight people SIX YEARS IN A ROW. In sum, Philadelphians have long succumbed to being the less worthy, less interesting, less sophisticated shadows of our cosmopolitan cousins to the north and south.

Until October 29th… when somehow, someway this city rose above its tarnished image to win the title of WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS. No longer would Philadelphians be the has-beens, the not-quites, those sorry sacks incapable of sealing the deal. We were WINNERS! and BOY was victory sweet. We turned out by the millions to celebrate on Halloween Day. To cheer on our beloved Phils, and to embrace something not felt for 28 years. The thrill of success. And that collective charge made us – as a city, and as a people, ONE.

Last week, fate parlayed Philadelphia’s victory onto the nation. NO LONGER WILL THE WORLD SCORN – B/c November 4th 2008, Barack Obama made history. His election, like Philly’s World Series Championship, has restored the faith of – not just millions of people across the Delaware Valley, but BILLIONS WORLD WIDE. By becoming the 44th President of the United States, and the first of hopefully many of color, Barack Obama proved – for once and for all – that we are not prisoners of our checkered history.

In the ensuing days I have done many things on a personal level. Hours of work went into the upgrading of my eponymous low sodium recipe site, THE DAILY DISH, which launched the same day as the election. I’ve spent nearly every day since in the kitchen, testing recipes, taking photographs, and having an exhausting but grand ole time reacquainting myself w/ what it’s like to be creating art on a daily basis. Last Thursday we took in an unbelievable lecture by the world famous Dr. Irene Pepperberg, whose African Grey Parrot, Alex, changed the world’s perception of what a “bird brain” really is. You KNOW I was first in line for the signing too, tears in my eyes. “To Christy & Kiwi, with kindest regards, Irene & Alex.”

My dad spent last weekend with us – leaving Tuesday morn. And now my beloved sister and her brand new & FABBBBULOUS boyfriend are coming Saturday afternoon. Leaving me two days to get the house in order for the ensuing chaos, once again. To meet with the girls teachers for parent conferences, to assess direction and performance. To commune with nature and spot another Ruby-Crowned Kinglet . To do all the schtuff that one needs to do, always.

Having spent many, many days now listening to the radio, to people’s opinions, to stories of what is happening to our nation, to the world’s economy.. Listening to the election recap, hearing how people are being slaughtered in the Congo, how the civilian casualties are rising in Afghanistan.. I can’t help but wonder.. WHERE ARE WE HEADED NEXT? As bad as things seem – and they do seem dire for a whole lot of people – sitting here typing away in Philadelphia. I remain hopeful. Things which seemed impossible even a month ago, today are reality. I cannot help but wonder, WHAT NEXT??

Barack Obama accomplished something the critics never thought possible. And unbelievably, Philadelphia did too. Can you imagine what could happen if we as a collective envisioned victory in a way we never had before – and MADE IT HAPPEN? The possibilities are endless.