Blast from the past! Summer Lobster Dinner

Last summer after I moved from CT to MA, I only worked part-time for the month of August. This meant I had a lot of time to play on my hands, and that playing took place mainly in the kitchen. I have to admit, I kind of loved pretending to be a housewife for the month, enjoying preparing meals at a leisurely pace. This particular meal was a locavore's delight (at least as far as the produce was concerned.) The herbs (chives and basil) came from Devin's parents' garden. The potatoes, tomatoes and corn came from Ward's Berry Farm, where I also handpicked the blueberries for the pie (nerd alert!) The peaches in the pie came from our backyard at the time. Nothing says summer to me like lobster, white wine, corn on the cob and pie. Sigh.

August, 2009, Mansfield, MA

  • Steamed lobster with drawn butter (my favorite way to steam is in salted water with peppercorns and white wine)
  • Chardonnay
  • Fresh, local corn with butter
  • Roasted fingerling potatoes with garlic oil and chives
  • Heirloom tomato salad with olive oil, cracked pepper, fleur de sel and chopped basil
  • Blueberry-peach pie


Our Wedding!

This blog is called Weddings, Wine and Weltanschauung, and yet, I have only talked about food. I assure you, often times as I cook I am also enjoying a glass of wine (and sometimes splashing some in the pan for good measure). I guess weltanschauung is represented by anything I’ve said here thus far, as food happens to be part of my outlook on life.

That leaves weddings.

Devin proposed to me on my 25th birthday. Proposal story can be found here. We have set the date of June 4, 2011 in Hartford, CT for our wedding. We met in 2003 at Trinity College our freshman year, became good friends, and didn’t start dating until after graduation! Though I grew up in Philadelphia and Devin in Mansfield, MA, Hartford seemed to be the perfect place to tie the knot. Our core group of friends lives in and around New England and Hartford is common ground for us both. Being a small city, it is easy for out of towners to get from the airport into downtown Hartford easily. Also, hotels are within a few blocks of our reception site. Win for everyone!

While we have been engaged for 4 months, we still have a LOT to do. Like figure out where to get married, for example. However, we DO know where we want to have our reception. We spent a whole day in the greater Hartford area scoping out venue sites, and eventually decided on The Old Sate House, designed by the same architect who designed the Boston State House, Charles Bullfinch. Besides picking the location, the only other big check off the list is the dress.

The wedding is a one-day affair, but the blogs and websites out there make you feel as if you are planning the most important day of your life. I am so beyond excited to marry my best friend, but I am more excited for our lives together and what the future will bring than our wedding reception. It is just. one. day. I am going to try to make sure that I keep that in mind as we plan—for the sake of our sanity, budget, and everyone who has to bear with us as we plan.

With that, I present to you pictures from the reception venue (all images from photographers Robert and Kathleen:



Main room (where dining and/or dancing will take place)

Exterior shot


Blast from the past! Moving in together.

Because I am a nerd, I have always been fond of photographing meals. I guess I like the colors and textures in food, and it is fun to look back on meals we've made. I found some old food photographs on Facebook. Every now and then I will post a food "blast from the past." Let's start with a lovely summer meal out on the porch!

Summer, 2009, Mansfield, MA

This is pretty poor quality photograph, but the lackadaisical nature of the meal is conveyed. I believe this was a meal celebrating moving in together. Last summer before moving into our place in Somerville, Devin and I lived in his old apartment in Mansfield for one month. The suburbs provided a HUGE deck and yard, something we enjoyed immensely during those 30 days at the "Men's Warehouse." (Don't ask). There is nothing quite like dining al fresco with a crisp glass of champagne and good company. It is fun to think back on all the meals we have made together or for one another in this past year of living together. I look forward to many more :)

  • Herbed goat cheese baked over toasted baguette slices drizzled with rosemary honey
  • Pan-seared sea scallops with a lemon-wine reduction
  • Simple lemon vinaigrette dressing over baby greens
  • Veuve Clicquot to celebrate!


Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie - The Recipe!

From the pastry chef himself:

"Long before I took my first job baking pastries, dessert has been my favorite part of a meal, and anybody who has dined with us knows that that last portion of a dinner party is usually my responsibility. So when rhubarb and strawberries found their way into the kitchen, pie seemed like an appropriate next step.

For this very easy strawberry-rhubarb pie recipe, a frozen pie crust works just fine so you don't have to worry about making one, unless you are so inclined. You will need:

• 1 deep-dish frozen pie crust
• 3 ½ cups (about 1 ½ pounds, untrimmed) rhubarb, in ½-inch thick slices
• 3 ½ cups (about 1 pound) strawberries, sliced
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• ¼ cup light brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¼ cup quick-cooking tapioca OR ¼ cup cornstarch
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Place the sliced fruit in a large bowl and evenly mix the sugars, lemon juice, salt and cornstarch. Feel free to use the lemon juice liberally (I used half of a lemon), as it really brings out a lot of flavor. At this point you can dot the pie with butter and stick it into the over, OR if you’d like to make lattice topping to give it a great homemade feel, I would certainly encourage it.

If you choose to do the lattice top, a great dough recipe comes from Ina Garten’s apple crostata recipe (another recommended dish). As a note, the dough portion of this recipe will make just enough for two pies, so I halved ingredients for you. For one pie you will need:

• ½ cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon granulated or superfine sugar
• A pinch of salt
• ½ stick very cold unsalted butter, diced
• 1 tablespoon cold water

Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor, then pulse the butter about 10 times until the mixture clumps to roughly the size of peas. Pulse in the cold water until the dough becomes a solid mass. You can refrigerate this for an hour to make it a little easier to work with, but it does not make too much of a difference. Roll out the dough on a liberally floured surface in order to make ten strips for the lattice. I had never made one before, and this website has very helpful instructions on how to weave the top of the pie.

Once the top is assembled, dot it with butter and place it into a pre-heated oven 400° F for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350° F and bake for another 25-30 minutes. Happy baking! -Devin"

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

As many of you know, I am not a baker. I do not enjoy baking. I try to avoid baking at all costs. Not because I don't enjoy eating baked goods, but simply because I am more of an improvisational cook than a methodical cook. And baking is all method (unless you are a very skilled baker in which you can safely improvise...enter Devin).

Luckily, my finacé, Devin, is a tremendous baker, no doubt a skill he learned from his mother. That means I get to have my cake (not baked by me, of course) and eat it too...I have my fun with veggies, meat, seafood and wine while Devin whips up batches of luxurious orange-scented chocolate chip cookies or his family's famous strawberry short cake recipe (all of these will be in future posts, I promise).

His most recent creation was so good that he made a second just days later as a hostess gift. May I present with with a true summer dessert, Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. I will update this post later with recipes, but for now, here are some tasty images!

Fresh fruit ready to be turned into a delicious pie

Mis en place (Devin is learning well)

Ready to eat! Notice the lovely lattice crust.

iPhone4 - What does this mean for my kitchen?

We've finally taken the plunge...we acquired our new iPhone4s last week and I've been playing around non-stop. Home cooks, tell me--what apps should I acquire on my new toy to help me out in the kitchen? So far I have:

  • Zagat guide (not so much for home cooking, but for when I don't feel like cooking at home!)
  • Whole Food recipe finder
  • Foursquare and Urbanspoon (again for eating out...)
Any suggestions for some must-have apps for the home cook?


Raw Zucchini and Squash Salad

Wow, two zucchini posts in a row. Can you tell it is summertime?

One of my favorite cooking blogs is Apartment Therapy's "The Kitchn." I appreciate that many of their posts focus on seasonal ingredients, which means the latest post often times coincides with whatever we get in our farmshare box. Right now, we have an abundance of yellow squash and zucchini, so this article immediately caught my eye.

Raw Squash Salad, serves 2
3 small zucchinis and/or yellow squash
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh herbs chopped (I used dill)
1 ounce fresh cheese (I used an asiago parmesan mix)

  • Trim the ends off the squash and, using a mandoline, cut the squash lengthwise into very thin strips.
  • Place in a large bowl with olive oil and lemon juice, and gently toss to combine. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. Then add the herbs and gently toss to combine.
  • Transfer to a serving dish(es) and crumble cheese on top. Serve immediately.
This was a perfectly refreshing light lunch. BONUS: No heat from the stove in our sweltering 3rd floor kitchen! We are looking forward to moving to a new (1st floor!) apartment in August for sure.


Turkey-Stuffed Zucchini--from the Garden!

Devin's mother, Lisa, is an amazing gardener. On a recent trip through Mansfield, she revealed a pile of HUGE zucchini that had undergone a major growth spurt during our recent heat wave. This seemed like a perfect time to try out Giada's stuffed zucchini recipe (we just stuffed the zucchini, not the peppers).

Adapted Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage and parsley (also from the garden)!
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup dried plain bread crumbs
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 large zucchini, ends removed, halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce 



  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Lightly drizzle the olive oil into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Whisk the onion, parsley, egg, ketchup, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese and bread crumbs. Mix in the turkey. Cover and refrigerate the turkey mixture.

  • Using a melon baller, carefully scrape out the seeds and inner flesh from the zucchini, leaving 1/8-inch-thick shells. Be careful not to pierce through the skin. Fill the zucchini with the turkey mixture, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Arrange the stuffed vegetables in the baking dish. Pour the marinara sauce over the stuffed vegetables.
  • Bake uncovered until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown and a thermometer inserted into the filling registers 165 degrees F, about 45 minutes. Transfer the stuffed vegetables to a platter and serve. Garnish with more fresh cheese and fresh herbs. 



I. Love. Juice.

After (accidentally) taking a vegan cooking class, I started reading a bunch of different vegan blogs, and it was then that I started reading all about the juicing trend. After dropping a small fortune at The Blue Shirt Cafe on freshly squeezed juices, I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy my own juicer.

I now juice anything that I can get my hands on. Well, almost. Some friends who heard me wax poetic about how awesome and powerful my little juicer is suggested I juice things like steak or a tuna fish sandwich. I stick to fresh produce. I usually incorporate carrots and apples as a base with some ginger or citrus for bite, then toss in whatever else in the fridge or from our CSA box* that needs to be used up.

Today's juice incorporated 3 carrots, 2 apples, 3 small yellow squash (from share), one head of curly kale (from share), one half of a lemon, a knob of ginger and a pint of blueberries.

The kale, which I usually like to have as kale chips using The Kitchn's famous recipe, had sat in the fridge a little too long. Making it into a juice was a good way to extract its nutrients. While this mish mosh of ingredients might seem like they'd combine to make a strange medly of flavors, this was actually a delicious juice. Carrots, squash and apples were a nice, mild and sweet base. The berries, lemon and ginger added some brightness of flavor. The kale is a powerhouse of vitamins. Here is the final product, garnished with a sprig of sage:

The juice produced was enough for 4 servings. Do you juice? What is your favorite flavor combination? Give it a try to get your necessary servings of veggies and fruits while also putting to good use what might otherwise go bad. 'Til next time!


*We have subscribed to our Community Shared Agriculture program since September '09. Every week we have a local pick-up of locally grown (mostly in the state of MA in the summer or the East Coast Food Shed in the winter) veggies and fruits. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to eat freshly, try new produce and who cooks often.


New name?

So, I initially thought that this blog would be a place to post food pictures and recipes. And I still want it to be that. However, I think I will likely use this as a more personal outlet (although food on its own is still incredibly personal). As I progress in my post-college life and learn more about keeping a home (ahem...apartment), planning for the future, becoming a partner, etc., I think that I will broaden the topic of this blog to include the greater domestic sphere as well as other aspects of my life. I've never been able to keep a journal more than a few months, and I'd like to use this blog to document my experiences, from the mundane to the momentous. So on that note, here is a recent kitchen caper: a vegan summer meal of grilled tofu, peppers and onions.

Quick, no fuss recipe for the marinade (an improvisation):

Take a couple cloves of garlic, a handful of rinsed parsley, salt, pepper, 1/3 c. of OJ and a couple of fresh limes, squeezed. Blend in food processor until smooth. Add in oil until you have reached a dressing consistency. Let the tofu and veggies marinate in a covered bowl for about an hour. Grill until lovely char marks appear!