The weather this week has reminded me of Al Pacino’s famous line from “The Godfather, Part III”: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” Last week’s 50+ degree day was such a tease. I’m not a violent person, but if I could put a hit on winter and kill the foot of snow still hanging around in our yard, I absolutely would.
Five years ago, when we first started doing Spoon & Shutter (holy cow, did I just write that?!) one of our early posts was a riff on our individual childhood St. Patrick’s Day memories and a recipe for Grasshopper Pie — the oddball St. Paddy’s Day treat I made when my own son was a kid.
On Saturday, Ted and I taught a “one day intensive” food blogging class at our home via the Maine College of Art’s (MECA) continuing ed program. We’ve each taught multi-week courses at MECA — in food photography and food writing, respectively — this latest opportunity was a welcome challenge to collaborate and share what we love and know. As a bonus, we got to do it at home, where we have lots of space and beautiful light, instead of in a MECA classroom.
The students were asked to bring their cameras, so part of the class was spent showing how we photograph the steps of a recipe. I chose to make an unusual rice pudding, both for its complexity and to take advantage of the abundance of fresh eggs our friends Jennifer and Jeff brought us from their farm in Limerick recently.
I’ve been intrigued by beer cocktails since tasting one at Outliers Eatery in Portland (The Postman Always Rings Twice – Beefeater gin, St. Germain, wheat beer and lemon). They’re still fairly rare on bar menus in Maine, but if you have the opportunity to try one, go for it.
Unless you’re making a straightforward drink like a shandy (beer and Sprite or lemonade) crafting a good beer cocktail is not as easy as simply swapping in beer for the soda or other mixer. With so many beer varieties, it’s important to get the right flavor match.
Ted’s latest cookbook assignment is with Portuguese chef Ana Patuliea Ortins of Portuguesecooking.com in Peabody, Mass. This seems especially serendipitous, given his longtime interest and involvement in the Portuguese community in Newark, NJ., just a few miles from our previous home. Called the Ironbound district, so-named because of the forges and foundries that once surrounded it — and the railroads that still do — it is a proud, multicultural, urban neighborhood home to one of the largest Portuguese communities in the U.S.