It’s the last day of July and cicadas are beginning their afternoon buzz outside my window. All I can think is, where has my summer gone? It seems like just a week ago I was lamenting the cold and fickle weather that is New England Spring. Now we’ve all retreated to air conditioned interiors and fantasies of cooler days. Fall – I can taste it in the air and see it in the light; there’s a golden glow to the afternoons now – one that means school’s starting soon and cooler days are coming. It’s the lighting and sound of blueberry season – Maine Wilds are coming in and kids are trooping out to fields at 5am. Fog covered fields and the hope that you won’t rake into a bee’s nest, the scent of a squashed spice bug, and the slowing days.
It’s this time of year that I always want to head home – I want to pick blueberries and walk on the beach. I won’t go back this year – I just don’t have the time but I will sure as hell get my hands on some fresh blueberries and eat fresh berry pie. It’s my favorite, with it’s loosy-goosy set up and spicy perfect summer flavor. I don’t have a recipe for you today – if I had some of my favorite berries I’d probably grace you with a redux of my blueberry pie. It’s the best. No question.
Instead I’m going to share these pictures of a family filled Fourth of July weekend. I know, I’m lapsed in sharing them but, oh well. We grilled! We went to George’s Island! We were photo bombed (by BF’s dad, but still). And we hung out, because that’s what you do when family is around. You visit.
Also, this cake. Remember in my last post where I said I was making a crazy train cake? Here it is. Isn’t it remarkable? I worked really hard on it, and I can see the flaws but it makes me insanely happy. More satisfying was seeing the birthday boy glow when he saw it, and then proceed to tell everyone which piece of the train they were going to eat. Me? I wanted the ground the train was on – vegan chocolate cake coated in Walker’s Shortbread and Anna’s Ginger Thins. So.So.Good.
I do plan on cooking again – and I have at least two salads I need to recreate for you, I just haven’t gotten there yet. I will. I promise.
I know, I know it’s a cheesy title. But it’s true! Last Thursday I had the privilege of attending a dinner at Barrio. Barrio is Chef Wheeler del Torro’s vegan-Cuban street food pop-up that is set to soon descend on the Boston area. I went into this pop-up a little warily, if you read this blog much you know how great my affinity for all things butter and (in general) not vegan. I found the idea hard to grasp. I shouldn’t have worried.
The dinner was awesome, though. From our secret meeting place (shhh, you’ll know if you go!) to the fantastic champagne to the world class dessert (I can’t tell that either, it’ll give too much away) I was in love. Check out my awesome visual recap! If you want to go, you should probably go put your name on the email list!
Getting to chop up a pineapple and play in the kitchen with a chef! #dreamsihavehad
The wild blueberry, goat cheese Ice cream. Megan would have died for this!
The plantains – how is it I have gone 27 years with eating so few plantains????
The pork taco (made by a chef friend of Wheeler’s), it was juicy and delicious
Perfect champagne. A great end to a great evening.
Discalimer: I attended this pop-up dinner (my first, and definitely not last) for free, but all opinions posted here are my own.
Today brought with it a wistful moment of nostalgia and a sense of home that I wasn’t expecting. I’ve been tracking Irene in a oddly focused way since hearing she was going to come have a visit in the lovely hamlet of Watertown, MA thinking it would be a fun reprieve and a good excuse to stay in all day and watch tv or read. I didn’t anticipate opening windows to smell home and have a sense that I was ten again and running through blueberry fields come crashing down on me.
If you know me, you know that I grew up in the middle of a 50 acre low bush wild blueberry field in rural Downeast Maine. You know that I am passionate and obstinate about my blueberries and refuse to eat any other berry than those that hail from Maine.
As a small child one of my favorite parts of the summer was the time when there were local high-schoolers trudging away in the fields trying to rake berries so they could replace their wardrobes for the school year. I would lay a blanket out in the backyard of our big farmhouse and read in the sunshine while everyone else toiled away in the fields getting sunburnt and turning purple. On those long whiling August days I would always lift my head and stop, staring over the rakers bent double and moving slowly down their rows. I could smell the berries around me – the alcoholic slightly fermented berries, the leaf-litter of the warm ground below, the spice bugs that were inevitably stepped on, raked or just panicked and let off a puff of smell (something between nutmeg, clove and walnuts). It was all there carried to me on the wind that blew over the crest of the hill we lived on. It was always the same. The smell was a constant for me that will always mean home.
|Photo via: boston.cbslocal.com
Imagine my surprise when I woke this morning and opened the window to listen to the rain when I could smell blueberry fields in Watertown. I was home. I was nostalgic for fresh berry pie and long hay fields that tickled my legs. I wanted to be a kid again, home watching the blueberry rakers and reading a novel by Roald Dahl in the sunshine. I felt like I’d been given a gift and a reminder to appreciate the small things. So this hurricane that has admittedly caused many stress and heartache has caused me an indescribable amount of joy. Just for bringing me this spicy-sweet-earthy scent and reminding me of sunshine and the carefree-ness of childhood.