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Island Apple Meets Bog Berry

Imagine me as that Wicked Witch from Oz who crazily rides her bike, except, maybe without the green face and big nose. Rather than stealing little dogs or stirring up flying monkeys, I would be gathering island apples on my bike. This fall, it started to bother me that with money as tight as it is, I was buying apples in the grocery store when there were all these apple trees on the island.

Many of our trees are quite old and hark back to the days when the island had its own dairies, farms, and vegetable stands. Some of these trees have been swallowed up by the forest and others have, in neglect, stopped producing. But still others hang out near the roads and produce apples that, if nothing else, are good for cooking. Once or twice, I had to shoo large geese away in order to stuff my pockets full of apples. But, it was worth it. I like to make this Apple Cranberry Crumble; the lack of measurements says something about how I usually cook. Annoying, I know.

Apple Cranberry Crumble

*at least two pockets full of apples, sliced
*at least a cup of cranberries (hand picked, organic ones fill up my freezer)
*mix the fruit in a bowl with at least half a cup of brown sugar
* add liberal sprinkle of cinnamon (you can also add nutmeg and cardamom)
*stir in 1T of lemon juice
*place this mixture in a brownie- or lasagna-style pan and preheat the oven to 350

*in a separate bowl, mix a cup or so (depending upon how much fruit you have) of oatmeal (not the quick kind, preferably) with
*more brown sugar
*more favorite spices
*massage into the spiced oatmeal a few slices of butter until you have a crumbly mixture (it's not meant to be a dough)
*if you're a seed or nut lover, you can sprinkle in sunflower seeds, for example, too
*distribute the oatmeal crumble as a layer on top of the fruit and bake until browned, at least 20 minutes

Serve with plain yoghurt, whip cream, or ice cream on top, depending upon how wicked you feel.

Shared birthday...Hearts and Health..

For my birthday this year, I decided that the greatest gift to receive would be to encourage the longevity of my dearest friends.

I am taking 10 of my friends to a Healthy Heart workshop that discusses heart attack symptoms, contributing factors that lead to heart disease and diet. (Heart attacks/stokes are the number one killer of women).

Even tho my Peaks Island buddies aren't  here ... I'll include a heart healthy recipe made from veggies that are growable on the island.

Spinach Curry Soup

1 TBS. of olive oil
1 C. chopped leaks (white and light green parts)
1 TBS. curry powder
2 1/2 cups of vegetable stock
2 small white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp salt
4 packed cups of baby spinach leaves
2 c. of low fat milk ( If you want a more dense soup, don't use the milk)
yogurt to garnish

Heat oil in saucepan. Add leeks, one TBS of water and cook, stirring until tender. (5 min)
Add curry and stir 30 seconds.
Add stock, potatoes, stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until potatoes are tender (about 10 min)
Stir in spinach, cook until just wilted. (about 1 min)
Cool slightly.

Puree soup in blender. Return to saucepan and add milk and heat on medium low.
Season to taste.

Ladle into bowls and add a dollop of plain yogurt, swirl and serve.

PS Happy birthday to Patricia (guess we are dopplegangers)


Weekly Posting Inspiration

Sorry to be a bit late on this, I'm in Michigan right now for a speaking engagement.

Let's all post our favorite recipes that use local ingredients this week! I'll start off with my summer cherry-chipotle lobster bisque. This is a recipe of my own devising.

  • .75- 1 lbs of lobster meat, minced (To me, the failing of many bisques is that they are stingy with the actual lobster)
  • 1 pint of cream
  • 4 cups seafood stock
  • 1/4 cup cream sherry
  • 3/4 cup pureed fresh dark cherries
  • whole chopped onion
  • whole minced head of garlic
  • ¾ of a cup of plain flour
  • 1/3 cup goose fat (I have this leftover from Christmas. You can easily substitute butter)
  • whole tomato, pureed (two if you like tomatoness)
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp chipotle powder to taste, or one large minced chipotle pepper
  • 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp of white pepper
  • heaping tbsp coarse black pepper
  • handful of fresh cilantro
Fry up onions and garlic in a bit of goose fat, set aside. In big soup pot, make a roux with the fat and flour. Darker the roux, darker the bisque (color is often an issue when making this at home, it can be hard to get the nice pink color of restaurant bisque. The cherries help a lot here.) but obviously don't let it burn. Add tomato, mix in. Add onions and garlic, mix in. Before it gets too thick and breadlike, add stock and mix while bringing to a boil until a nice sauce is formed. Add meat and sherry (I also put in some scallops from Nancy and Rick to meat things up a bit). Add all spices (including most of the cilantro and the cherries) and let everything simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or so, stirring periodically so things don't stick to the bottom. Add cream slowly while turning up heat, bring to boil. Garnish with leftover cilantro.

Widow's Walk

I've posted a story about a schooner, a moonlit night, and how I walked a "Widow's Walk." Meant to post it here, but it slipped onto my own page (http://patriciaerikson.livejournal.com/1075.html). Still clumsy at lj.

Heirloom seed exchange?

The other day, we experienced a deluge of rain. So I called friends in Maine to warn them to get extra milk and TP, cuz if the temp dropped, you mite see some snow. We had 50 degree temps today and I spent some time getting the garden ready..pulling out the leftover vines from tomatoes; removing the frozen chard skeletons and clearing other detritus remaining from the fall frost.

I am a "square foot" gardener - in boxes on my sidewalk. (I have a micro climate from the heat that comes off my brick building- so can start stuff early and grow later than most of my neighbors.)

My Quaker Meeting also has a garden whose bounty we donate to the local food bank. This year, all the individual gardeners in the meeting are selecting 2 crops to grow. Then we will share among ourselves. In this way, we become an expert in growing one or two things and aren't overloaded with zucchini at the end of the summer.

I know most Mainers are only dreaming about spring as they salivate over their seed catalogues - but we have a seed exchange scheduled for this weekend...and many of us are going to start seeds inside ...Looking forward to hearing from other gardeners.

Happy shoveling.
I am hoping I finally succeeded with my posting. I've had no success up til now...must be cuz I left the island :)

It was a 10 hour drive back to my firehouse in Maryland (New record and NO speeding...) Unpacking, laundry and reconstituting my so called life. I had a few days of blues and then realized the island is only 10 hours of driving, parking the truck at a friend's home, taking a bus to the boat, buying a ticket, taking a boat and then schlepping my luggage and groceries to whatever bed is available..But I miss it already.

My Pipe Creek Quaker meeting in Maryland has organized a 1 hour peace vigil this Wednesday..It is not connected to any political agenda or religious denomination,..we are just asking folks to hold onto the idea of Peace for 1 hour ....In my community, 7 different churches/mosques/synagogues are participating....So..while you watch the stars rise over the ocean, imagine a world that for at least one hour, lives in peace.

Keeping my fingers crossed that this posting makes it to you.

Jo Israelson

Young animators wanted...

The Peaks Island Film Academy is the group that presents the free movies every Saturday night in the Community Room. I'm part of that group, and we're looking for animations done by island teens and kids, to put together and show at a 6pm movie. We get pretty good turnouts for the 6pm family movies, and a small but regular audience of adults for the 8pm show. But we've never gotten many of the older kid/younger adult age group on the island. We thought that presenting homemade animations might be a way to engage some of those teens in our community. We put out a notice a month or so ago, but with about a month until the submission date, I thought this might be a good way to reach anybody who might not know about it. Here's what the notice said...

Got animation?
The Peaks Island Film Academy wants to put together an evening of local animation by kids and teens. If you've done some work you'd like to see on the big screen, we'd like to show it. Are your videos very short? No problem. The only thing is that the content needs to be appropriate for public showing. Videos should be submitted to the Peaks Island Library by Saturday, Feb.13. They will will be shown at 6 PM, Saturday, Feb. 27, at the MacVane Community Room.
Questions? Get in touch with Marty Braun at 766-9726 or jet@gwi.net

The free Saturday night movies have been happening for about 10 years. The program is actually a part of the Friends of the Peaks Island Library, but some of us still call the group the Peaks Island Film Academy. The group is all volunteer...organizers, projectionists, subs and back-ups, film getters and dropper-offers, schedulers and flyer-makers. Being a projectionist is a fun way to see some movies, meet some new people, and just get involved in the community. I didn't mean this to be an ad, but if this sounds like fun to you, we're always looking for more projectionists. Don't know how to run a projector? Don't worry, we'll show you...it's a DVD player.

We hope to get enough animations to put together a full show. If we don't, we'll show what we do get before the 6pm movie, hopefully a great animated film. If you know of anybody who might be interested in submitting an animation, please let them know about it. And tell them there's no pressure, it's just going to be a fun show.

Love is all around...

One of the sweetest Peaks traditions is something that happens in Portland as well.
When you wake up on February 14th you'll see, here and there, big red hearts printed on white paper. Taped to walls, light poles, parked cars. Start Valentine's Day with a smile..the Valentine Bandit has been here.
We used to think it was an island thing. But the Valentine Bandit is like Santa. Everywhere. Even the Old Port.
And the Bandit knows all. The year Daisy was born we got several extra hearts stuck on our car, telephone pole, and stop sign. The hearts are mostly down front, but they show up all over the island.
Who is the Bandit? Nobody knows. Or if they do, they're not telling. Some people say the Bandit has a crew of helpers, but nobody's talking.
Some years lately there haven't been so many. Maybe times have been hard in the global Love Dept. But when the sun comes up...there they are.
It's nice to start the day with a little love.


Islands Teach Us

Islands teach their residents what we should all know...the world is a small place and we have to get along with everyone who lives in it.

*For those who can't make out this little black blob, it's my dog, gazing out wistfully from the island beach of Fort Gorges.


Spitting Walls and Time Capsules

new time capsule in wall
The walls have been spitting stuff out at us lately. We just moved into this house eleven months ago. It was built in 1906 and it seems to have a lot to say. First, we found a 1906 receipt for a lobster-jacking fine. One old lobsterman was being naughty and he was caught. Then he stuffed the ticket in the basement ceiling. Okay. Then my husband found a stash of money in the basement. Silver certificates and coins with dates to the 1930s. My guess is it's a WWII stash put away when things got scary. If that wasn't enough, when we opened up a wall to get at a beam in our dining room, we found a pile of stuff in the wall - newspapers, gum wrappers, a porcelain cup, a couple kiddie playing cards, and so on. A pack rat nest? Maybe, but the cup was awfully heavy. Before we closed the wall up again, I was inspired to make my own time capsule, pictured here. Put in a newspaper clipping, my business card, my daughter's school picture, an essay my husband wrote that was in the news, and a couple of coins. This house hangs onto things. Will someone find it another century from now?

Have you found anything in your walls? I think we need a tag for house stories. They have big personalities on this rock.



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