take me out to the ball game

I’m so sorry to have been away so long! I am hoping to get back into the swing of this blogging thing come November. Got a new baby. got bronchitis. Got a fractured rib. Got a 3 year old demanding things of me. got an escape? BASEBALL!

Yes, it’s play-off time! being a New Englander who grew up just south of Boston, I’m very happy to see the Yankees go and the BoSox still in it. The funny thing is, I really discovered baseball when I was living in Seattle. I happened to be there when the Mariners were really exploding. It was so much fun to see them play because for a while, it was like they could never lose. I worked at a theatre that sometimes got some love from Ticketmaster and they would give us their “suite” at Safeco Field. This meant cushy seats, privacy and free eats! I love baseball food. And in Seattle we had quite an assortment–from the regular hot dog and beer to garlic fries and “Ichi Rolls” (sushi named for Ichiro, of course). But, my favorite thing by far. . . KETTLE CORN! Yes, I could eat this stuff by the bucket load. And though it’s easy to make with simple ingredients, it doesn’t really taste the same unless you are out there on the 3rd baseline cheering your team on. But go ahead and give it a try anyway, it’s damm addictive. Continue Reading

Bubble Gum Juice–written by jamie

As promised in my last post–the secret recipe for Bubble Gum Juice.

It started simply enough. I said, “Hey Adam, what do you think would happen if we put just a little but of each kind of fountain soda into one cup?” We tried it and I took a sip… and it tasted like bubble gum. It tasted so much like bubble gum that we made a sign advertising “New Bubble Gum Juice!” and people actually began to buy it. In fact, it became the fad of the summer at the snack bar and by the time the bosses came back from their vacation, they couldn’t pull it from the menu because it was too popular! It makes me wonder… what creates that signature “bubble gum” flavor anyway? Turns out there’s a lot to know about bubble gum. Continue Reading

There’s a New Comfort Food in Town – written by erika

Ahhh… Spaghetti Cake. This recipe is a favorite in our family for many reasons. For one thing, the name—what’s not to love about “Spaghetti Cake?” And the ingredients for this recipe are commonly found in the fridge on any old random day when you have yet to plan anything for dinner. There is also a personal connection since this recipe was introduced to my husband by his childhood friend, Glen Nelson, by way of his Uncle Buck. They are now both in a band called — guess what — Spaghetti Cake! So, check out their music at Spaghetticake.com. It’s a rock band for the whole family with kid-friendly lyrics and a really fun sound that moms and dads also enjoy. And, lastly, sometimes you just need a real starchy meal. Move over mac n’ cheese. There’s a new comfort food in town. Continue Reading

The “Sweet” Grilled Cheese written by Jamie

Filling in on Kate’s food blog is a little intimidating, but I suppose there is some value in the culinary opinion of a non-cook who also happens to be a picky eater to give toddlers a run for their money.

Come to think of it, I have actually had a number of food service jobs. Among them were dishwashing in a kitchen where an angry chef blew his nose into the scrambled eggs ordered by his ex-girlfriend, lasting only one day waiting tables at Friendly’s before giving them a “moving to Canada to avoid the draft” excuse for quitting, cooking breakfast on the graveyard shift in an all-night diner where I once locked myself in the kitchen as a post-bar crowd trashed the place, and a turn as head “cook” at a poolside snack bar at an upscale condo complex in Connecticut peopled by folks who had water-proof wallets full of soggy hundreds.

It was on a slow rainy day at the snack bar, with the bosses away for the week that Adam Grintser and I discovered “Bubble Gum Juice” and the “Sweet Grilled Cheese.” This is what happens when you leave two 17 year-old boys alone with food and nothing else to do: they experiment. Today I’ll tell you about the Sandwich and if you’re good, next time I write, I’ll give you the recipe for the Juice. Continue Reading

A Pear Tart Totally Worthy Of Your Love

It’s fall!
I love fall food. I love the change of seasons and getting to wear sweaters again. Of course, as I type this, it’s 80 degrees here in my corner of New England. Not exactly hot apple cider weather. But that’s okay. It will be soon and I can still feel the change inside myself—weather cooperation or no! It’s the internal season change that feels exciting. It’s something new. Change is in the air.

I always feel this way in the fall, but this year particularly so, as my 5-day-old baby slumbers next to me as I type. Yes. Big change. I think people who live in New England have to be folks who thrive on change—at least to some degree. The seasons mark time for us. And we need something to be cranky about to keep our reputation up. We’ll whine about the snow and cold and then when summer comes we’re all in a tizzy about how hot it is and how we can’t wait for fall. Continue Reading

Three Kitchen Gadgets I Would Rather Not Live Without by Erika

Well, here I am as promised — a new voice on Kate’s blog. She is busy and cozy at home with her 4 day old daughter (and eating all the meals that she made and froze during the last few weeks of her pregnancy) I don’t have any recipes to share today, but I don’t how I could make any recipes at all without these 3 little gadgets.

A note about my criteria for putting these gadgets at the top of my list. I am a practical person who has a small kitchen. So, my rating system here is dependent largely on size and practicality. Since I don’t have a lot of storage space or work space, I want my gadgets to be small and easy to store, and I love it when something has multiple uses. Gadgets also need to be easy to clean. If they aren’t, chances are I’ll be too lazy to use them, knowing I’ll have to scrub or soak them. Continue Reading

Granola Bars—think outside the box

I get really frustrated with the need for quick snacks for my now-in-school 3 year-old boy. It’s nice that there are healthy versions, if you will, of “regular” foods.  You know, you can get organic chicken nuggets or no refined sugar cookies or all natural crackers instead of Cheez-its.  It’s all wonderful and I’m grateful for it.  That being said, it still bothers me how much money I spend on processed foods. Yeah, the apple bars are organic, but they still come in a box and they still sometimes have more ingredients than I like to see going into my kids body.
Therefore, I like to make and bake at home as much as I can. It’s hard, though, to find the time and energy. Sometimes I get on “kicks” and given that this is my boy’s first week of school and I have to provide lunch, I am officially on a “kick.”
My latest obsession—Granola Bars.  He loves them. I think they are too expensive and too sweet (even the all natural ones). So, this week, I made my own.  It was easy, the ingredients were things I had on hand, and he got to help me, so it’s a win-win (win?).
I plan to experiment—maybe try different dried fruits and peanut butter, but for now, I give you:


4 cups organic quick oats
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic mini-chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped organic walnuts (or nut of your choice)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9×13” baking dish.
2. Spread oats onto a cookie sheet (don’t grease it) and bake for 15 minutes. Stir them a couple of times.  Allow them to cool completely.
3. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the oats.  Spread the mixture into the baking dish, pressing down to compact it.
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely and cut into bars.

You can totally freeze these bad boys, too if you find you’ve got too many on your hands. They are totally yummy, all natural and WAY less costly than the boxes you buy at the market. In fact, I’m munching on one right now!

Other Kitchen Crafters

My pregnancy is coming to a close and my daughter is due THIS WEEK! Because of this, I’ll be cutting back on my posts this month and next as I tend to the needs of my little newborn.  I plan to be back in the full swing of things in November.  But I won’t be gone completely! And I’ve called in some reinforcements.
My husband, Jamie and my sister-in-law, Erika will post to the blog as well.  This will be fun and interesting reading for you all, I think.
Erika is a definitely a foodie.  She and I have spent lots of time discussing food, recipes as well as whipping stuff up in the kitchen together. I know she’ll bring some fun ideas to the blog—and some tasty recipes, too.  What I love and appreciate about Erika is that she’s got a definite need for healthy food and she eats pretty cleanly.  However, she understands the place that sweets have and she’s got a major sweet tooth. . .and she’s not afraid to satisfy it.  And not with low-fat, low-taste “healthy” treats. When she goes for a treat, she uses the fat and the sugar that’s needed to make it right. You know what I mean?
My husband is a different story. He’s not what you call a foodie or a food person.  His palate is. . . simple, particular, and honestly he doesn’t really enjoy cooking. However, he does love to eat. I’ve asked him to write because I think he has a unique slant on food and his particularities are also quite humorous (like for the most part he only really enjoys beige food). Though he’s not real into food, he IS a writer.  And he’s got a unique and warm sense of humor—I think his opinion and input into a world he’s not as familiar with as some will make his posts interesting and a fun read.
I can’t wait to hear from both of them. Tune in with me and we’ll see what they come up with!

We got the BEET!

I have to admit it took me a long time. A LOOOOONG time to find my way into the beet. I always thought beets were beat. (har! har!) I never understood the appeal. To me, they tasted like. . . dirt. Like the earth, but not in a good way. I had a co-worker who was fond of Borscht for lunch. I’d watch her down that stuff and think, “How can that possibly be what she WANTS?” My grilled cheese and tomato or minestrone soup seemed a much more tasty meal than that weird purply pink stuff.
It wasn’t until years later that I decided to take on the beet. For real. We started getting a share of veggies at our CSA farm and they loaded us up with root veggies that I was never found buying at the local market and thus had no idea what to do with them. Beets, turnips, parsnips. LOADS of them. At first I tried to ignore them as if they would go away. But then, I thought, I can’t get this stuff go to waste. I paid for it. They grew it. It’s not right. So, I started researching recipes for beets. I figured that there had to be away to eat them that I would like. Continue Reading

Heirloom Tomatoes–Why, O why can’t we have them all year?

Along with corn it’s definitely tomato time around here. I’m not much of a gardener, but even I grew some this season. All the people who know what they are doing (like the farmers at my CSA and the Farmer’s Market) tell me that this has been “a great year for tomatoes.” I have no idea what that means. I mean, I do in that I can see the great tomatoes and I’m eating them at record pace, but what makes this year different from any other for the tomato?b1tomato007.jpg

Maybe it’s just me. I expect a lot from my growers. I feel like, “Well, how hard can it be to recreate the magic?” We get sun, rain and heat every summer—isn’t that all ya need? And good soil, but that’s more controllable than weather. Yes, I know I am being a brat.

Well, like I said I have been eating mass quantities of the tomatoes this summer. And what I can’t eat becomes tomato sauce and stacked into the freezer for the winter. I’m a tomato snob. Bigtime. I won’t eat tomatoes at any other time of year. It’s just not worth it to me. The supermarket ones in winter, in my opinion, should not even be called tomatoes. It’s an insult to these summer beauties we have now. So, I MUST consume as much as I can now. And my favorite way is a tomato sandwich. Here’s the “recipe.”

“Let The Tomates Shine” Tomato Sandwich

2 slices of GOOD artisan bread
tomato, sliced thick
freshly ground salt and pepper

Slather your bread with the mayo. Layer the tomatoes on. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

It couldn’t be simpler and I could eat them 24/7, personally. Now, if you wanna mix it up a bit, go ahead and add some pesto! Or, since basil is in abundance, you could even layer some it on like lettuce. Or maybe you’re feeling a little like a BLT. Have at it. Just remember, let the tomato be the star. It’s their one chance all year.

Now, on a different topic, I have to share this contest I came across. Check out inmamaskitchen.com for some great stuff—fabulous recipes and book reviews. They are also hosting a contest through December. Basically, you submit a recipe (your OWN recipe) and it’s judged based on several criteria:

The contest will be judged by In Mamas Kitchen on the basis of taste, appearance, imagination and overall culinary appeal of the recipe as well as organization and clarity of the materials submitted.

No entry fee or purchase necessary, however your recipe does become theirs, so think about what recipe you want to enter.

The grand prize is a whole big stack o’ food books. GREAT stuff for those who like to read about food—recipes and history as well as biographies of foodies.

Anyway, check it out here for the full details.