My song of snow in sight

song of snow in sight

“…how slender my heart
should you then doubt

my fear of deep intention
would you be more

than the commended old wrong
would you be still

my song of snow in sight…”

— Mia You, Contract between Forward and Reply

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Sushi and a Skate

Miyake, Portland

If paradise is to be found here on earth, it would include sushi and a place to skate. With a free afternoon in Portland following a morning meeting, it was just a short walk over to Miyake for their lunchtime bento box. Each compartment is filled with a different selction of scrumptious morsels — this day’s included sushi, fried flounder with yuzu, sashimi, agedashi tofu, tender salad greens topped with beets, and a crispy oyster with shimeji mushrooms. The selection changes daily according to the season and the chef’s whim, and is one of the best lunch deals in town.

Thompson's Point Rink, Portland

The afternoon ended with a visit to The Rink at Thompson’s Point, which, until my friend arrived, I had all to myself. Overlooking the Fore River, this outdoor rink affords a panoramic view of downtown Portland across the water. I’m told Monday, the day I was there, is the least crowded of times, with the first session the quietest of all, and, if you’re lucky, they’ll even let you choose the music. If quiet isn’t your thing, the Beer Yurt located on site can make for a festive atmosphere, especially as day turns into evening. And if that wasn’t enough to entice you down Thompson’s Point, Bissell Brothers Brewing Company is just a short stroll across the parking lot, another convivial place to finish the day.

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(Re)Learning to Ski in Craftsbury, Vermont

Craftsbury, Vermont

Just spent the good part of a week at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, one of the premier training centers in New England, to brush up on my cross-country skiing skills, and came away feeling More Competent and certainly with Increased Confidence. Many thanks to the incredible teachers on staff there — especially to Katie, Bill, Liz and Sy — who definitely made me a into a Less Bad Skier, and to Linda who introduced me to the joys of skate skiing. Added bonus: three hot meals a day freshly made from primarily local ingredients. Because, as I happily discovered, Craftsbury, with its proximity to Hardwick, is also smack dab in the middle of one of the model local food centers of New England, something I hope to explore more on my next visit.

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Year of the Rooster

Year of the Rooster

Today marks the beginning of the Chinese Lunar calendar, and what better way to celebrate than with a dimsum lunch of dumplings for luck in the New Year!

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Putting Up: Pickled Cranberries

Putting Up: Pickled Cranberries

These days leading up to the holidays are hectic ones, and this quick batch of Pickled Cranberries provided an unexpected moment of quiet in the kitchen, a kind of comfort in the making, as well as some glittering, festive jars that’ll keep me from arriving at the coming feast empty handed. These are companionable with roasted meats, like this week’s starring turkey, or a generous platter of appetite-whetting charcuterie. Marisa recommends saving the liquor left behind and adding to sparkling water; I’m imagining other potential libations, as in a blushing cranberry martini or prosecco spritzer. Thinking ahead, the book from which this recipe is from, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, would be equally welcome as an accompanying gift, as would any of Marisa’s inspiring cookbooks. Wherever you may be sharing a table this Thanksgiving, safe travels, dear friends, there’s still so much to be grateful for.

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Tomato & Eggplant Tart

Tomato & Eggplant Tart

Cooler evenings, a subtle change in slant of light, and the beginning waves of turning color in the landscape has me thinking of fall dishes, and this rustic tart featuring voluptuous ripe tomatoes from Brandmoore Farm layered with plump eggplant from Orange Circle Farm, the last of the harvest, eases the transition back into the kitchen.

The recipe is from Martha Rose Shulman, whose cookbook, the original The Vegetarian Feast, was among those I first learned to cook from. Her approach to vegetable-based cooking is to combine simple flavors that result in a complex whole. Though meatless, somehow this quiche-like tart filled with smoky eggplant, nutty gruyere, and herbaceous thyme manages to taste of bacon. Happy Fall Equinox, dear friends.

Note: If using a shallow tart pan, make sure to slice the eggplant thinly enough that two layers will fit. Should you find only one layer of eggplant fits, as I did, the end result is just as fine.

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Interlude: Mooncake — The Lost Art

I’ve always thought of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival as the Moon Festival, for the special cakes that would appear just once yearly. This celebratory treat is filled with seemingly opposing flavors and textures — the solid yet yielding crust, the dense yet soft filling of bean paste, the savoriness of the egg yolk against the sweet — and one of those memory foods that brings back thoughts of childhood. I remember how they were displayed in their fluted paper nests and, once gently packed into pink bakery boxes, would be tied up with several rounds of red cotton string criss-crossing the top, ending in a definitive knot. To serve, the cakes would be cut up into doll-sized wedges, each with its own sliver of golden yolk, a nod to the harvest moon about to make its way across the night sky.

Mooncake: The Lost Art from Andrew Gooi on Vimeo.

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