Fresh From The Gardens in Martha’s Vineyard

Dancing at Lola’s, letting the sea breeze whip through my hair, sitting on the porch enjoying fresh seafood…ahhh Martha’s Vineyard.

Recently I spent two weeks at the Massachusetts island that sits south of Cape Cod. The island has everything from beaches to farmland. The great thing is that it is only accessible by boat or air so you are preparing to completely de-stress while you are sitting on the ferry or peering through the window of the plane. There are so many amazing things about MV, that’s Martha’s Vineyard if you didn’t know. :o) So many, that I had to narrow my growing MV Favorites list down to 5 things.

 

Meeting New People
MV brings so many people together every year. Every time, I get that much closer to my travelling buddies and add new friends to the circle. This year I had a chance to provide boutique catering services for a dinner party. In that group of friends and family were people from everywhere, in the US and outside of the US. Even a simple stroll down the street will yield amazing conversations and the opportunity to interact with yet another new friend!

 

 

 


Breathtaking Scenery

Hydrangeas as big as your head!! The flowers and well manicured lawns are immaculate. They provide the touch of elegance that compliments the ornate homes with sprawling porches. Porch life is definitely a thing on the island. You eat, socialize and some even sleep on their porches. It is also a good way to strike up the occasional conversation with the folks passing by. Altogether its picturesque scene steeped so deeply in history looks as though you've walked straight into an oil painting.

 

 

 

Shopping
I love to shop...usually for great food but in this case I will make an exception. The shopping in the area boasts unique items that can only be found in Martha's Vineyard. One such store/brand is The Black Dog. The Black Dog brand has history dating back to 1932. Visit their website to learn about the journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Polar Bear Experience

A trip to Martha's Vineyard would not be complete without a dip in the Inkwell to join the Polar Bears for an experience to remember. Women and men of all ages and color gather every morning between July 4 and Labor Day to continue to carry on a more than 50 year tradition.  Read more about that experience in a Vineyard Gazette article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great restaurants and eateries
Of course I have to share a bit about the great places to grab a bite. There were so many wonderful stops with history and delicious dishes!

Linda Jeans and the Healthy Start
Ice cream shops
Ben & Bills
Mad Martha’s
Lambert’s Cove in West Tisbury
Seafood Shanty
Lobsterville Bar & Grill
- Favorite lobster roll
Hot buttered with truffle fries

 

 

Fresh seafood and produce
As a chef, I value the freshness of the ingredients that I use in not only my clients meals but also my own. With this in mind, having the ability to shop for fresh food from Alley’s Farm Stand in Tisbury explore and grab fresh vegetables and fruit then on to Net Result for seafood just caught the same morning it was purchased put the icing on this proverbial cake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Strawberry Month

Every year, I look forward to strawberry season so I can stock my pantry and condiment supply with a variety of strawberry jams. Since its National Strawberry month, we wanted to share with you some of the things we like to do with our strawberries and also share a couple of quick tips.

Strawberry season is short here in Texas so I decided to head back out to my favorite spot to pick strawberries, which is at Good Earth Organic Farm.  The strawberries at Good Earth Organic Farm are plump, juicy, and sweet. This was my third year returning to pick some beautiful sun-ripened berries and I was not disappointed. After spending an afternoon picking those yummy red jewels, I am ready to get into the kitchen to make all types of things from jams and vinaigrette to refreshing smoothies.
Maybe you too have amassed a bunch of strawberries from one of those U-pick or roadside stands or picked up a supply from one of your local farmer's markets and now have more strawberries than you know what to do with.  Here's a few tips on making your strawberries last so you can enjoy them for more than a few days!

 

 

Quick Tips

Strawberries are extremely delicate so you should put them up as quickly as possible and if if you are making jams and preserving them, for the freshest quality, you should try to can them within a couple of days of picking or purchasing them.
If you don't can, freezing strawberries is the simplest way to preserve them quickly.  You can then enjoy them in smoothies, desserts or in baking. Please note, frozen strawberries should be used within 6 months.
Don't soak your strawberries in water.  They will loose their flavor and you will wash away some good nutrients.
It is optional to sprinkle a little sugar before freezing. I don't add any sugar to my berries.

How to Freeze Strawberries

Remove the tops of the strawberries after rinsing.
Freeze them whole.
Whole strawberries are great to have on hand for your favorite smoothie recipe or to add to your favorite strawberry dessert.
Rinse them gently, spread them evenly on a baking sheet so they can freeze without touching each other and place the baking tray in your freezer until they are frozen solid.
Place them in an airtight container or you can also use zip lock freezer bags (not storage bags).  Be sure to put a date on your container.
 
Hope you enjoy strawberry season as much as I do!!

Tomato Quinoa Salad with Radishes

Tomato Quinoa Salad with Radishes

Best with ingredients fresh from the garden!
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds toasted
  • 1 ¼ cups organic quinoa
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
  • 1/3 cup raisins optional
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cucumber - seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Bring water to boil in a small saucepan.

  2.  Pour in quinoa, raisins, and a pinch of salt. 

  3. Cover, and let simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, then remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature.

  4. Toss together the tomatoes, onion, radish, cucumber, and almonds in a large bowl. 

  5. Stir in the cooled quinoa, then season with mint, parsley, cumin, lime juice, sesame oil, and salt.

  6.  Chill 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Spring Pea Soup

Spring Pea Soup

Spring officially begins in just days and if you're anything like me, you're ready to trade the rich, heavy foods of winter for lighter, fresher fare. We're in that in-between time of less available produce at the end of winter but before the lush abundance of high summer salad days. Enter lovely lighter soups made of verdant sweet peas, tender greens and fresh herbs; the holy trinity of early spring. Here's my take on a classic with suggestions to make it your own. Frozen peas are fine to use but good stock is a must.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 1 small carrot peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley stems removed
  • 4 cups fresh green peas or 2-10oz bags frozen green
  • peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized stock pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. 

  2. When butter foams, add onion and carrot, cooking until onion is translucent.


  3. Add the garlic and bay leaf and cook a minute or two longer, stirring occasionally.


  4. Add white wine, and continue cooking until most of the wine has cooked away.


  5. Add your vegetable or chicken stock and lemon juice and bring to a low simmer. You may need to adjust the heat.


  6. As soon as it reaches a simmer, add your green peas.


  7. Bring back to a low simmer and let cook until peas are bright green, about 7 minutes.


  8. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook once you add your peas, or you'll end up with murky pond water soup instead of vibrant green soup!


  9. Carefully ladle or pour the soup into a blender along with the mint and parsley and puree until smooth. I like a really smooth pea soup but you may prefer it a little chunkier.


  10. Add salt and pepper to taste. If soup has cooled, you can rewarm it over low heat for a minute or two.


  11. **Here are some suggestions for garnishing your soup that will take it from simple to stellar.

    -Crumbled bacon

    -Sour cream or creme fraiche

    -Shredded parmesan

    -Julienned fresh mint leaves

    -Toasted chopped pistachios or almonds

    -Drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil

    -Lemon zest