Category Archives: Eats

Peaches Ripening in the Warm Sun ~ Do I Hear Bellinis, Anyone?

Belle of Georgia peach ©Kim Smith 2014 copy

Bellinis would make a festive addition to your Labor Day/Schooner Festival weekend brunch or dinner, especially at this time of year when the farmer’s markets and grocer’s shelves are brimming with tree-ripened fresh fruit.

Our ‘Belle of Georgia’ white-flesh peach tree never disappoints. Each and every year since first planting, this semi-dwarf peach tree gives us mouth-watering sweet peaches. Not all of the peaches are perfect and the ones that are not eaten out of hand are whipped into smoothies, cooked in confections, or macerated with Prosecco.

~ Bellini Recipe ~

Marinate peeled, pitted, and sliced (halved or quartered) peaches in Prosecco for several hours. Just before serving, puree the peach-Prosecco mixture. Spoon the puree into champagne glasses, about 1/3 to 1/2 filled, and to taste. Gently add more Prosecco to the puree. Add a drop of raspberry liquor, Chambord, or a few fresh raspberries to the puree, to give the drink that beautiful pinky-peach glow.

Bellinis are traditionally made with white-flesh peaches such as ‘Belle of Georgia,’ but any variety of sweet peach will do.

Peach tree blossom Belle of Georgia ©Kim Smith 2011‘Belle of Georgia’ Peach Blossoms

In flower and in fruit, the peach is a pretty tree for your landscape ~

Belle of Georgia peach -2 ©Kim Smith 2014.j

Read an excerpt about the ‘Belle of Georgia’ from my book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities ~ Notes from a Gloucester Garden here ~

Read more

Gloucester Welcomes Schooners with Loaves of Warm Virgilio’s Bread!

Joe Virgilio ©Kim Smith 2014 -2.This past spring while working on Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph film project, I filmed Joe Virgilio making Virgilio’s Saint Joseph rolls and wrote a post for GMG about Virgilios. At that time, Al Bezanson, owner of the Green Dragon Schooner, shared that during Schooner Festival, Joe Virgilio welcomes the schooners with warm loaves of freshly baked bread as they sail into Gloucester Harbor.

Al provides more details:

“Hi Kim

Virgilio’s started donating bread to the visiting schooners two years ago, and it now threatens to become a popular new tradition.  The first year Brett and Max Ramsey, in Brett’s high speed inflatable, met up with schooners as they entered the harbor and presented them with a loaf or two along with a pineapple.  In some cases the bread was still warm from the oven.  When that happened with Adventurer, out came the butter, and the bread was enjoyed in a flash. Last year Max and Dom Nesta made the deliveries, and more of the Sea Scouts may be handling it this year.”

Schooner welcome

In the photos Al provided, Green Dragon had just received a delivery in the outer harbor as she entered from Manchester.

Schooner welcome 1

I was so struck by the Virgilio’s generous, welcoming gesture and thought what better time to pass along Al’s story than the night before the Schooners begin to arrive. As Al points out, “When you get around schooner people you may hear them talking about the need to have extra butter aboard in Gloucester. This is a very big deal in fending off other ports that are vying for schooners that same weekend. Thanks Joe and the high speed Ramsey/Nesta delivery guys!”

Joe Virgilio bread gloucester ma ©Kim Smith 2014

Virgilio's ©Kim Smith 2014

10606178_718995488173406_6058799094986917975_nDuring summer months Virgilios makes fabulously delicious and delightfully refreshing Italian ice, created only with pure fresh fruit juices and cane sugar (not corn syrup).

For store hours and menu visit their Facebook page here.

Read more about Virgilio’s Saint Joseph rolls here.

Joe Virgilio St. Joseph Bread ©Kim Smith 2014Joe Virgilio Making Saint Joseph Rolls

 

 

 

Isn’t it Ironic?

An ironic place for some seagulls to snack on lobster legs, isn’t it?

Brazen little buggers sat right on top of our live lobsters to dine on some of their cousins.  Well, I can’t really prove that they’re actual cousins…but, you know what I mean.

I can almost hear the lobsters in the crate….”Enough already.  I can’t take it. STOP!  Why are you doing this?  What more do you want from me?”

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Back To School: Then and Now

A great friend from High School shared this with me last night and it made me laugh.  As it is so timely (and funny) I thought it was totally worth sharing with you all.  As a child of the 70s and a harried mom of two young boys…plus a Montessori Elementary Teacher….I can SOOOO relate.

Many of my back to school memories from the 70s indeed include several of the things that are mentioned (god, I loved those thermoses)…and, between you and me, I see a bit of myself in the “today” routine also. :)

http://www.scarymommy.com/back-to-school-the-70s-vs-today/

Back in the 70s and early 80s much of my back-to-school shopping was done at Hill’s in Ipswich and included a trip to Pennyworth’s across the street (was that the name?).

Some of my must-haves from waaaay back then you may ask?

Happy Back-to-School!

 

Friday is your last Chance to “Celebrate Gloucester” in the BIG TENT on the water

If you haven’t yet been to a concert at Cape Ann Marina’s Waterfront Pavilion, now is the time — and if you’ve been to a concert in this gorgeous waterfront venue, you know what I’m talking about.

It’s the perfect summer music experience — ask anybody who was at the packed James Montgomery show last Friday.

Henri Smith

Henri Smith

This Friday (8/29) we’re bringing in the same concert stage and state-of-the-art sound & lights for Henri Smith New Orleans Friends & Flavours to kick off Schooner Festival weekend — get tickets here.

There’s a wonderful parallel between James Montgomery and Henri Smith.  Both bandleaders are major talents, they love to surround themselves with the best players available and both are committed to furthering their musical traditions by nurturing young talent.

Henri is bringing Grammy-winning saxophonist and flautist Amadee Castenell (who appeared in the HBO hit series Treme) along with Berklee professor Herman Hampton and top New England Conservatory trombonist Eric Stilwell — 3 generations of top musicians on the same stage!

And Mile Marker One will have a full bar along with perfect summer food: Lobster Rolls, BBQ Chicken Sandwich, Sausage/Peppers/Onions and of course Clam Chowda!

Don’t let summer pass you by without dancing a second line with Henri and his stellar band at the largest waterfront tent in Gloucester!  Don’t wait until it sells out.  GET TICKETS NOW!

Amadee Castenell

Amadee Castenell

Herman Hampton

Herman Hampton

Amadee Castenell

Eric Stilwell

Eric Stilwell

Maria Cracchiola’s Whimsical Cakes

Maria Cracchiola birthday cakemermaid ©Kim Smith 2014The kids (and adults) were wonderfully fascinated by Maria Cracchiolo’s mermaid birthday cake–the details were simply charming–with shade-dyed waves, sea creature candles, fondant mermaid, and chocolate covered rock. Believe me, it tasted as good as it looked!!

You may recall that we featured Maria making the special Saint Joseph altar bread  at Caffe Sicilia back in March. Maria makes beautiful, whimsical cakes such as this, by special order, and may be reached by calling Caffe Sicilia at 978-283-7345. To see more of Maria’s creations, visit her Facebook page here.

New Film: Making the Special Saint Joseph Altar Bread

Dinners Downtown and on Rocky Neck – Favorite Views and Chews

Saturday treat after working the gallery all day: We sat on the outdoor deck at the Seaport Grille. Since my appetite ain't what is used to be, Janet and I split a Wedge Salad. It's always a meal deal – "Wedge of Iceberg, topped with homemade bleu cheese dressing, smoked bacon, bleu cheese and grape tomatoes $11."

Saturday treat after working the gallery all day: We sat on the outdoor deck at the Seaport Grille. Since my appetite ain’t what is used to be, Janet and I split a Wedge Salad. It’s always a meal deal – “Wedge of Iceberg, topped with homemade bleu cheese dressing, smoked bacon, bleu cheese and grape tomatoes $11.”

Sunday on the deck at the Studio Restaurant on Rocky Neck: We met our friends Sheila and Malva for a meal and drinks. Homie, one huge seagull, checked out the fare on the customers' plates. He left a big tip on the way out!

Sunday on the deck at the Studio Restaurant on Rocky Neck: We met our friends Sheila and Malva for a meal and drinks. Homie, one huge seagull, checked out the fare on the customers’ plates. He left a big tip on the way out!

We’re so lucky to live here.

Get all the Schooner Fest Scoop & Songs tomorrow morning at 9AM on North Shore 104.9 – And Joey, here’s your answer

Daisy Nell (R) and Capt. Stan

“Curtain Up” host Aurelia Nelson

Tomorrow (Sunday) at 9AM Aurelia Nelson Welcomes Schooner Festival Chair Daisy Nell and Capt. Stan on her North Shore 104.9FM Radio show “Curtain Up”.

Daisy & Stan perform 2 songs and will tell you everything you need to know about next weekend’s Schooner Festival, one of our favorite weekends.  Click here for a complete Schooner Festival Schedule.

And here’s the definitive answer to Joey’s question about the Lobster Bake (from the Schooner Fest website)

Schooner Festival Lobster Bake

Two years ago, local blogger Capt. Joey of GoodMorningGloucester came up with a great idea!  Joey suggested that, in order to get the Gloucester community involved with the Schooner Festival, a community lobster bake should be held during the Festival.

Recognizing good advice, the Festival Committee held the 1st annual Community Lobster Bake in 2013 and it was a huge success!  Check out GoodMorningGloucester to see just how successful the event was!

The Community Lobster Bake will be held again in 2014 on Saturday, August 30, 4:30pm-7:30pm at Maritime Gloucester on Harbor Loop in downtown Gloucester. Enjoy freshly steamed lobster, corn on the cob, and a Virgilio’s roll– all for $15 per person. Relax with your dinner on the slopes of the Fitz Henry Lane lawn while listening to Old Cold Tater & Friends. Also available for sale: hot dogs, hamburgers, cookies, cold sodas & spring water, beer & wine. Tickets available in advance from Maritime Gloucester or at the event.

Cape Ann Brewing Co. is Bringing on the Cans

Jeremy Goldberg, owner of Cape Ann Brewing Co. and his incredible crew have just opened their new canning facility on Whittemore Street in Gloucester…and it is gorgeous.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything so shiny and clean!  I don’t claim to know much about the process of brewing beer, but I can say that their new facility and equipment are incredibly impressive.

On Friday evening they welcomed their “Mug Club” members to tour their new digs and I was happy to tag along.  To use their own words, “Fisherman’s beer — whose bold flavor and character reflect the spirit and courage of the sailors of the North Atlantic fishing fleet — is a tribute to hard work and a salute to friendships that endure.”  Well, it is clear that is true, when in the presence of this group of friends/co-coworkers.  They were excited, enthusiastic, and, as they should be, very proud of what they are accomplishing.

Check out their website for more information

Be on the lookout for the news cans…each design proudly showcasing the Fishermen’s Memorial Statue…and don’t forget to stop by the Pub at Cape Ann Brewing for some great eats, entertainment, and a seat on Gloucester’s Harbor before the nice weather is behind us!

Awesome things happening locally!  Great work, Cape Ann Brewing Co.!

 

Cape Ann Farmer’s Market In Top 100 Nationwide!

Niki Bogin submits-

Hey GMG!

As the keepers of all things amazing about Cape Ann, I wanted to let you guys know that The Daily Meal has complied a list of the top farmers markets in the country, and out of 4000 in the nation, we have been in the top 100 two years running. Even more exciting is that we are one of only a handful in New England to make the list, with the CAFM poised as the #1 in our region.

It looks like this year it was Trupiano’s sausage that put us over the top, which is completely understandable!

Cheers to all and see you on Thursday at Stage Fort!

Niki
http://www.thedailymeal.com/101-best-farmers-markets-in-america-slideshow

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Lunch Box 101…because some of you have asked.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I LOVE my job teaching, but I’d be a straight up liar if I didn’t admit that I don’t love summer vacation a bit more.  It isn’t that I need a break from the work or from my amazing students….it is that I love the weeks of freedom to play, sleep, take long day trips, or do nothing at all with my boys.  Late mornings, late nights, sand, salt, water….  How can you not love that?

That having been said, typically, after 9 weeks off, I am ready to go back to work.  I miss my students, I miss the consistency of our schedule, I miss chatting with so many amazing coworkers/friends, and I miss using untouched summer regions of my brain.

One of the best parts about back-to-school is back-to-school shopping!  I don’t go crazy over new clothes…and even if I did, my boys would most likely refuse to wear them.    I get giddy about a couple of things though… new sneakers, new fall yucky weather playground (and fall family farm tour) boots, a few new super thin long and short sleeved shirts for layering, and then the gear!

I’ve also written before about how much I loathe packing lunches….however, being a bit obsessive compulsive, it has become kind of a sport for me.  See  here.

To pack “trash-free”, easy, and fun lunches for the boys….the right gear is essential.  So, on that note, yesterday was lunch gear shopping day!  Exciting, I know!  Actually, that’s kind of a lie, because I did most of it online the other night and they had a big bag ready and waiting for us when we got to the Container Store.  But, once there, we finished up shopping and I let the boys have some input in what else they wanted.

While I realize it is not fascinating business, believe it or not, I’ve been asked by several people what type of “stuff” I buy for lunch boxes.  Many people have also mentioned that packing trash-free lunches sounds difficult, but actually, I find it much easier…and, more importantly, cheaper!  One important factor to mention though is that my boys have access to a microwave to heat up left-overs for lunch…so that may make my lunches different from the norm.

So, without further adieu….this is what we bought this year.  (A good tip is to bring your lunch box with you to make sure things will fit inside before you get them home).  Oh my goodness, I sound crazy, don’t I?

IMG_7894 IMG_8139 IMG_8146

1.  Pottery Barn lunch box.  Has held up extremely well, super easy to hand wash….and going into its 2nd school year.  They always have sales and aren’t really much more expensive if you get them at the right time.  I’m a big off-season shopper!

2.  Land’s End water bottle.  Not only does it fit perfectly, hold the perfect amount of water, and encourage the boys to drink more water….with several ice cubes, it also helps keep the lunches cold until lunch time.  But…obviously…you can fill it with milk or juice too,  depending on what you and your child prefer.

3.  Skinny ice packs…I put one of the bottom each morning to help keep lunches cold and safe.  I heard a report last year (somewhere) that someone had gone in and tested kids lunch boxes to see if their food was staying at the right temperature during the day (hence staying safe to be edible) and they discovered that about 90% weren’t.  For whatever that is worth.  I don’t usually get hung up on things like that…but, come on, warm yogurt is also just gross!

4.  Awesome Frego glass and silicone containers for microwaving leftovers.  Glass is safer, right?  The silicone makes them easy to pull out of the microwave….and comes in fun colors to appeal to the kids.  It also cushions them incase they get dropped.  Pasta, quesadillas, mini hamburgers, “breakfast for lunch” like scrambled eggs or waffles, cheese steak, soup, fish, grilled cheese, popcorn shrimp or chicken…..  Whatever.

5.  A sandwich container for the days that I haven’t packed left overs or a “heat up” as the boys call it.  Great for more than sandwiches. My boys ask for things like sushi and ham or turkey roll-ups a lot.

6.  The little red “Cool It” pack on the left is for little snacks and dips.  Mostly veggies and salad dressing.  The second photo shows it better.  Not an every day thing, but fun to pack once in a while.

7.  A little 3 pack of small snack holders for things like pretzels, gold fish, cut up fruit, yogurt covered raisins, pepperoni and cheese, olives, apple sauce, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.  Pretty much, you name it, it can go in there.  These are mostly for Thatcher, my older son, because he needs several snacks throughout the day.  I actually pack him a smaller “snack time” bag and then a larger actual lunch box.  His class has a mid-morning snack and an afternoon snack.  In Finn’s class a different parent is responsible for sending in a healthy and yummy snack for the whole class to enjoy once each month.  So, Finn doesn’t need me to pack extra snacks each day. 

8.  However, even more riveting, is that Finn typically needs some extra fuel so that little “Cereal on the Go” container is for him.  My boys eat breakfast really early and get to school at 7:45 so I can get to my classroom on time.  Finn will have some cereal with milk around 8:30.  I put that little container in his classroom fridge so he can help himself when he gets hungry.  Per his teacher’s request…not because I’m super high maintenance.  :)  Which you most likely won’t believe after reading this post….assuming anyone is still reading.

9.  The clear two-sectioned container usually gets fruit on one side and something else on the other.  Again, pretty much anything goes, and I use that container every day.

10.  And then, there’s the Spork….which is actually a spoon, fork, and fairly dull knife all is one.

If you haven’t fallen asleep yet, congratulations on getting to the end.  All kidding aside, buying larger containers of things like yogurt, apple sauce, and cottage cheese and then filling these small containers each day eliminates A LOT of trash.  Eliminating things like individual cheese sticks, juice boxes, bags of chips, etc. and reusing these small containers instead goes a long way if you consider how many lunches get packed each year.

OK….I’ll hop off my soapbox.  I’m not preaching….just wanted to get more information to those who have asked….and for anyone else who may be interested. Again, our school encourages this, but I also find that I save a lot of money and feel pretty good packing things this way.

Lunch Supplies at the Container Store

GMG FOB Mary Tucker

Mary Tucker ©kim Smith 2014GMG regular readers, and especially our contributors, know Mary through her always kind and engaged comments. Well, she’s just as nice and kind-hearted in person, and has a wicked sense of humor, too!

Mary’s ancestors are McLouds and Wonsons and she spent her childhood summers on Rocky Neck and East Gloucester. Although she presently lives far off-island, she keeps in touch with Gloucester all thoughout the year by reading GMG and comes “home” as often as time allows. So wonderful to meet you Mary!

Fabulous French Toast The Market Restaurant ©kim Smith2014Fab French Toast at the Annisquam Market

Succulent container garden ©Kim Smith 2014Annisquam Market Mini Container Garden Planted with Succulents and Fresh Herbs

Food For Thought

Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers

By Bren Smith New York
Times August 9, 2014

Bren Smith is a shellfish and seaweed farmer on Long Island Sound.

NEW HAVEN — AT a farm-to-table dinner recently, I sat huddled in a corner with some other farmers, out of earshot of the foodies happily eating kale and freshly shucked oysters. We were comparing business models and profit margins, and it quickly became clear that all of us were working in the red.
The dirty secret of the food movement is that the much-celebrated small-scale farmer isn’t making a living. After the tools are put away, we head out to second and third jobs to keep our farms afloat. Ninety-one percent of all farm households rely on multiple sources of income. Health care, paying for our kids’ college, preparing for retirement? Not happening. With the overwhelming majority of American farmers operating at a loss — the median farm income was negative $1,453 in 2012 — farmers can barely keep the chickens fed and the lights on.

Others of us rely almost entirely on Department of Agriculture or foundation grants, not retail sales, to generate farm income. And young farmers, unable to afford land, are increasingly forced into neo-feudal relationships, working the fields of wealthy landowners. Little wonder the median age for farmers and ranchers is now 56.

My experience proves the trend. To make ends meet as a farmer over the last decade, I’ve hustled wooden crafts to tourists on the streets of New York, driven lumber trucks, and worked part time for any nonprofit that could stomach the stink of mud on my boots. Laden with college debt and only intermittently able to afford health care, my partner and I have acquired a favorite pastime in our house: dreaming about having kids.

It’s cheaper than the real thing. But what about the thousands of high-priced community-supported agriculture programs and farmers’ markets that have sprouted up around the country? Nope. These new venues were promising when they proliferated over a decade ago, but now, with so many programs to choose from, there is increasing pressure for farmers to reduce prices in cities like my hometown, New Haven. And while weekend farmers’ markets remain precious community spaces, sales volumes are often too low to translate into living wages for your much-loved small-scale farmer.

Especially in urban areas, supporting your local farmer may actually mean buying produce from former hedge fund managers or tax lawyers who have quit the rat race to get some dirt under their fingernails. We call it hobby farming, where recreational “farms” are allowed to sell their products at the same farmers’ markets as commercial farms. It’s all about property taxes, not food production. As Forbes magazine suggested to its readers in its 2012 Investment Guide, now is the time to “farm like a billionaire,” because even a small amount of retail sales — as low as $500 a year in New Jersey — allows landowners to harvest more tax breaks than tomatoes.

On top of that, we’re now competing with nonprofit farms. Released from the yoke of profit, farms like Growing Power in Milwaukee and Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., are doing some of the most innovative work in the farming sector, but neither is subject to the iron heel of the free market. Growing Power alone received over $6.8 million in grants over the last five years, and its produce is now available in Walgreens stores. Stone Barns was started with a $30 million grant from David Rockefeller. How’s a young farmer to compete with that?

As one grower told me, “When these nonprofit farms want a new tractor, they ask the board of directors, but we have to go begging to the bank.”

READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE

More Snapshots from Thursday’s Farmer’s Market and Seafood Throwdown

Nutty Redhead Lisa ©Kim Smith 2014Lisa, The Nutty Redhead ~ Exciting News from the Nutty Redhead ~ STAY TUNED!

Justine Vitale an FamilyJustine Vitale with Family and Brand New Rescue Pooch

Amanda Copok ©Kim Smith 2014Amanda Cook Spinning Her Multi-blue-hued Hand Dyed Yarn

Rosalie harrington Gloucester Seafood Throwdown ©Kim Smith 2014Rosalie Harrington, Thursday’s Seafood Throwdown Winner

Rosalie Harrington's dogfish stew ©Kim Smith 2014Rosalie’s Dogfish and Fresh Vegetable Stew ~ Would you call this a cioppino, even though only made with one fish? Read more

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