Week at a Glance ( June 7 – June 13 )

A week when summer arrived
with her friend, Humidity, in tow. 
A week when the harbor took on new life
as boats bobbed on their moorings,
and the Chart Room erected tents
for mandated outdoor dining.
A week when beach roses bloomed,
and the natural beauty around us
seemed at odds with our troubled world.
A week when the gift of a puzzle provided me
with a new form of recreation and relaxation.
And a week when an attempt to recreate
a restaurant dish was a happy success. 
Spicy calamari and shrimp over pasta
is now on our home menu.

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Personal Service

Just a little story of personal service in the impersonal world of ordering online.

Yesterday, I ordered a gift from Captain Mowatt’s, a company based in Portland Maine that is justly famous for their various hot sauces. www.captainmowatts.com
I’ve ordered from them before and have been delighted by their products and quick service.

But yesterday, I was interested in a small crate of four bottles of sauce that I wanted sent as a gift. They have such a crate in their catalogue with pre-selected sauces. I wanted to select my own. This involved an email to see if that would be possible.

Nate replied very quickly that it was absolutely possible and explained how I could go about doing that. It was simple enough, but I tend to be a bit challenged when it comes to anything other than emailing or blogging, and I couldn’t figure it out.

Not wanting to bother him again ( and appear as deficient as I truly was!) I simply ordered the four sauces separately without the crate. But the story doesn’t end there. Nate saw my order come through. He took it upon himself to package the four sauces in the gift crate and shipped it without charging the extra that the crate entailed.
He sent me an email explaining what he had done, hoping that it was okay.

It was much better than just okay. It was a kind gesture that made my day, and a wonderful example of great customer service.

 

 

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Week at a Glance (May 31 – June 6)

A week when a stump became a rustic planter.
A week when Rhodys burst into brilliant boom,
and Impatiens filled planters with the promise
of a season of lushness and color to come.
A week when a broccoli-rabe white pizza
brought a West Haven memory home.
A week when a ceramic heart, tinged with nostalgia, 
assumed its position on the wall of the deck.

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Rhodyville

Dew kissed color at every turn.
It’s early morning in Rhodyville.
Neighborhood bushes lush with blossoms.
Each home offering its gift to unite us 
into one beautiful whole.

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New Yellow

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new yellow in town
forsythias have faded
pollen coats the land

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Week at a Glance (May 24 – May 30)

A week when azaleas bloomed in all their glory.
A week when planters were overflowing
not only flowers but with the promise
of brighter, better times to come.
A week when Frank’s sausage and peppers
in a cast iron pan took grilling to new heights,
and when homemade Pad Thai surpassed take-out.
A week when the umbrella rose over the table,
and the basil plants settled in and took root.
 

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Incremental Summer

 

Spring is a slow crawl on our shores,
more tease than actual season.
Baby steps instead of strides
as we tip-toe our way to summer.
An umbrella rises over an outdoor table.
Flowers cascade from planters.
Basil thrives in newly balmy air.
Open windows perfume the house
with the scent of lilac and salt air.
Small bites to savor each day
as we anticipate the feast of summer.

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Hamburger Buns

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Sharing a bread recipe is tricky. Amounts of flour and liquid, timing of the rise and the bake are all subject to variables of temperature, humidity and peculiarities of one’s oven.
Having said that, this recipe is worth sharing. My recommendation is that you go online to the actual source where you will find helpful hints, and even a video! What I have posted here is an abbreviated version that worked for me.

The recipe (“the best, easiest no-knead brioche buns”) comes from Alexandra’s Kitchen. It’s an adaptation of a recipe that originated in Alexandra Stafford’s book, Bread, Toast, Crumbs. A book, by the way, that is well worth owning!

Ingredients:

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoonsugar
1 1/3 cups cold water
1 egg
1/3 milk
4 tablespoonbutter
for the egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Method:
1. Whisk together the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar.2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cold water and the egg.

3. Heat the milk and butter together until the butter is melted. Pour this hot mixture into the cold water-egg mixture. The combined mixture should be perfectly lukewarm. Add it to the flour bowl and stir with a spatula until  you have a sticky dough ball.

4. Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm area until doubled. This took about 1 1/2 hours for me.

5. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Divide into 8 to 10 equal portions. Using as much flour as necessary, roll each portion into a ball. At this point, I flattened the balls somewhat before placing them on a parchment-lined sheet pan.

6. Let rise until the rolls puff and feel light to touch. Approximately 30-45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

7. Brush rolls with egg wash. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Transfer rolls to a wire rack to cool.

 

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Week at a Glance (May 17 – May 23)

A week when Wendy MacNaughton’s post on Instagram
became my screensaver and my mantra.
A week when sunrise dispelled the darkness
and welcomed the day shortly after 5 AM.
A week of buttercups nodding in the fields,
and a flat of impatiens waiting to be planted.
A week when even the statue of a dog donned a mask.
A week when cheesy Eggplant Parm answered a craving, 
and a new recipe for homemade hamburger rolls
was a success and became an instant staple.

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Week at a Glance (May 10 – May 16)

 

A week that began with a Mother’s Day bouquet
and lobsters to mark the occasion.
Another week when the “Groundhog Day” nature of life
caused the days to blur into sameness.
Relieved only by the riotous bursts of color
on local crabapple trees and bushes.
A week when the Chart Room opened for take-out.
Nostalgia for openings in past seasons tempered only
by the perfection of their lobster salad. 
A week that ended with herbs, ready to be planted.
Purchased with an urge for normalcy
in times that are the antithesis of normal.

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