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Frozen Pizza Tastes like Failure

Frozen Pizza Tastes like Failure

I was recently asked for website advice by two people (WordPress, definitely WordPress) and I thought to myself, “hold up a minute, don’t I have a website?” I do and it’s been seriously neglected over the last few months—I can explain. I am a Project […]

For the Birds, with Love

For the Birds, with Love

I didn’t save a seagull today. Actually, I didn’t even see what happened. I was driving home from work on Friday night, right before the start of the Labor Day weekend, when I saw traffic trying to get past a woman in the street; then […]

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

Some books make you want to be a better person, a little more quiet, and a little more kind. The kind of person who knows that size and strength are not the same thing. A Man Called Ove is one such book.

At first encounter, you’d likely consider Ove to be rude, crotchety, and unkind. While he is gruff and a bit brash, Ove is about as far from unkind and inconsiderate as a person can get. The more I read, the more Ove reminded me of my Grandpa.

My Grandpa was a tall, sturdy, quiet man. To look at him, you might find him intimidating. He was burly with work-roughened hands, ruddy jowls, and a heavy brow. He was a Rhode Island Quahogger and, like Ove, thrived on routine. He didn’t like change or disorder and he didn’t suffer fools. But, also like Ove, he was equitable and believed in doing the right thing.

There’s a scene in the book where a teenage hipster boy wants to fix a bicycle to impress a girl and Ove shows him how. It reminded me of the time some neighborhood boys stole my cousin’s bike.

I must have been eight or nine when it happened, though I couldn’t say for sure. My cousins and I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house, especially in summer. They lived in a neighborhood by the bay with lots of kids and the dynamic was always girls versus boys. We play fought and antagonized one another, but it was never mean-spirited. It wasn’t a “nice” neighborhood, in that it contained a good deal of low-income housing, but the people were good and no one worried if we wandered unsupervised for hours or stayed outside until dark, sometimes after.

On this occasion, I can’t remember what we’d done to provoke it, some of the boys had snuck into my grandparents’ yard while we were all inside having lunch and taken my cousin Megan’s bike. It wasn’t a malicious act. When we went out to play after lunch we saw them openly riding it around, doing wheelies and tricks. I can’t remember if my Grandmother saw or if we told, but she came outside and told the boys that if they didn’t bring the bike back, then she was calling the police. She made us all go back inside and we watched as, minutes later, they snuck the bike back into the yard just as stealthily as they’d taken it.

When my Grandpa came home from the shanty by the bay where he quahogged and made shellfishing equipment, we called it ‘down the shore’, my Grandmother told him what the boys had done and insisted that he go talk to them about it; he did. I don’t know what he said but the next day, just before he came home from work, the neighborhood boys were all hanging around outside the yard. When my Grandpa arrived, it was with a number of used bicycles in various states of disrepair in the back of his truck.

Each boy who didn’t have one was given a bike and shown how to fix it. I remember my Grandmother being upset about this, she felt that the boys were being rewarded for bad behavior but that wasn’t how my Grandpa saw it. He didn’t argue with her. He simply stated that now they had bicycles and wouldn’t have to steal them anymore.
My Grandpa was a great man.

Like Ove, my Grandpa also had pretty simple tastes. He liked simple meals and didn’t believe in wasting food. In the book, Ove’s favorite meal is sausages and boiled potatoes. So, in honor of Ove and my Grandpa, I made sausage and garlic smashed potatoes.

I don’t eat meat for two reasons, one is the way factory-farmed animals are raised, and the other is the way they’re slaughtered. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but in New Hampshire it’s not legal for farmers to slaughter their own animals unless the entire animal has been bought and paid for. So, even if an animal is raised well, it’s still has to travel many miles in stressful, inhumane conditions before it suffers the atrocities of a slaughterhouse.

For this reason, I procured the sausages from this cool little butcher shop in Kittery, ME called Maine Meat. Maine Meat is a whole-animal butchery that only sources animals sustainably from local farms. In this way, they’re able to use every part of the animal in addition to giving farmers the right to slaughter their animals onsite if they choose to.

I didn’t eat any of the sausage but I can testify to the garlic smashed potatoes being excellent. As the recipe by Chungah at damndelicious.net suggested they would, they turned out rich, garlicky, crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. So, while they aren’t boiled, I hope that Ove (and my Grandpa) would have approved.


Garlic Smashed Potatoes

INGREDIENTS

  • baby potatoes, 24 oz
  • olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • garlic cloves, 3
  • ground thyme, 1 tbsp
  • salt & pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F & grease a baking sheet.
  2. Boil the potatoes in a large pot until tender & drain (~15-20 min).
  3. Flatten the potatoes with a fork & season with oil, garlic, and thyme.
  4. Cook potatoes, evenly spaced out, on a cookie sheet until golden & crisp on the outside (~18-20 min).

Serve & enjoy!

In a Nutshell

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

August 18, 2017
: 6
: Easy Peasy

Rich, garlicky potatoes that are crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside & simple to make.

By:

Ingredients
  • baby potatoes, 24 oz
  • olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • garlic cloves, 3
  • ground thyme, 1 tbsp
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Directions
  • Step 1 Preheat oven to 450° F & grease a baking sheet.
  • Step 2 Boil the potatoes in a large pot until tender & drain (~15-20 min).
  • Step 3 Flatten the potatoes with a fork & season with oil, garlic, and thyme.
  • Step 4 Cook potatoes, evenly spaced out, on a cookie sheet until golden & crisp on the outside (~18-20 min).
Welcome to Novel Fare!

Welcome to Novel Fare!

Today was a pretty spectacular day. My house was exceptionally clean—which is always awesome; the weather was gorgeous; I got to take my fancy new Catch Surf beater board out for her maiden voyage; I started reading a new book; and my amazingly-significant-other and I […]

Rosemary’s Cheese Sandwich

Rosemary’s Cheese Sandwich

I respect all of you too much to explain how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich a second time, so I’m not illustrating this post. Also, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t super excited about making this sandwich. For one, the ingredients are:

  • bread
  • cheese
  • lettuce
  • mayonnaise

I’m not a big proponent of lettuce. I know, it has a lot of water, and a vitamin or two, and it’s a negative calorie food—I don’t care. I like greens and there are so many other, healthier options than letting.

So, this sandwich is simply carbs, fat, and a BS placeholder vegetable. In short, I thought this sandwich was going to be offensive, teetering on the brink of morally reprehensible. I was raised on bologna and mustard sandwiches on white bread, so I feel like that’s saying something.

I’m making this sandwich because I’m nearing the end of Rosemary’s Baby. The sandwich comes into play after Rosemary has given birth and is actually made for her by a member of the Satanic cult responsible for her son’s paternity and kidnapping—go figure.

I didn’t use white bread, which I assume is what the dullest sandwich ever should be based on. I wanted to use up my rye flour, so I made a loaf of rye bread and griddled it with butter on both sides. Then I put some cheddar cheese on one half and popped it under a broiler for a minute or two before putting the whole thing together.

Now, while I wouldn’t go out of my way to make it again, if you’re looking for a simple snack or an easy kid-friendly sandwich, this isn’t a bad one. The sandwich was tasty and the lettuce gave it a light crispness; though I would recommend letting the cheese cool a bit so it doesn’t cause the lettuce to wilt.

Thai Iced Coffee

Thai Iced Coffee

While I wouldn’t recommend drinking it on a daily basis due to the sugar content, thai iced coffee is a delicious and easy once in a while treat. It’s sweet, refreshing on a hot day, and goes exceptionally well with chocolate chip banana muffins. I […]

Rosemary’s Baby: Spaghetti & Clam Sauce

Rosemary’s Baby: Spaghetti & Clam Sauce

There’s a scene in Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby that reminds me of my Dad. That’s strange, I know, but spaghetti with clam sauce is his favorite dinner and we had it once a week when I was a kid. In the book, right after Terry […]

Thai Deviled Eggs

Thai Deviled Eggs

I haven’t yet found these mentioned in a book yet but that doesn’t mean they aren’t noteworthy and, if I ever write one, I’ll certainly be referencing them in mine. Even though there’s no mayonnaise in these they’re still considered deviled eggs because the rice vinegar and ginger powder give them a certain amount of zing.


Ingredients

  • eggs, 1 dz
  • peanut butter, 1/4 c
  • salt, 3/4 tsp
  • sugar, 1 tbsp
  • rice vinegar, 2 tsp
  • chili powder, 1/2 tsp
  • cayenne, 1/2 tsp
  • paprika, 1/4 tsp
  • ginger powder, 1/2 tsp
  • almond milk, 6 tbsp
  • scallions, 2 (sliced)

Instructions

  1. Hard-boil eggs

    In a large pot over high heat, bring enough water to completely cover the eggs to a boil. Add in a splash of vinegar to make the egg shells easier to remove later on. Cook the eggs for 8-9 minutes, then drain the eggs and submerge them in cold water or refrigerate until they’re at a comfortable enough temperature for handling.

  2. Prepare eggs & remove the yolks

    Shell the eggs and cut each one in half length-wise. Remove the yolks and place them in a medium-sized bowl. Place the egg whites in a deviled egg-specific container of on a serving plate and set aside.

  3. Combine the egg yolks with condiments & spices

    Mash up the egg yolks with a fork and stir in the peanut butter. Combine all dry spices in a small bowl, add to the yolk mixture, and stir well to combine. Then add in the almond milk and rice vinegar. Whip the mixture with a fork until it’s blended evenly and is smooth in appearance.

  4. Fill the egg whites

    Add the yolk mixture to a pastry bag and distribute it evenly into each egg white half. If you don’t have a pastry bag you can cut the corner from a ziplock bag and use that instead. There will be leftover filling and it is awesome on crackers or toast, but it won’t keep for long.

  5. Garnish

    Sprinkle chili powder over the filling of each egg and top with a few slices of scallion.

Thai Deviled Eggs

June 11, 2017
: Easy

Thai-inspired deviled eggs made with peanut butter and spices instead of mayo.

By:

Ingredients
  • eggs, 1 dozen
  • peanut butter, 1/4 c
  • salt, 3/4 tsp
  • sugar, 1 tbsp
  • rice vinegar, 2 tsp
  • chili powder, 1/2 tsp
  • cayenne, 1/2 tsp
  • paprika, 1/4 tsp
  • ginger powder, 1/2 tsp
  • almond milk, 6 tbsp
  • scallions, 2 (sliced)
Directions
  • Step 1 Fill a large pot with enough water to cover 1 dozen eggs.
  • Step 2 Bring the water to a boil and add in a dash of white vinegar.
  • Step 3 Cook the eggs for eight minutes, then refrigerate.
  • Step 4 Combine chili powder, cayenne, salt, sugar, cayenne, and ginger powder.
  • Step 5 Crack and peal the eggs, then halve them and scoop the yolks into a bowl.
  • Step 6 With a fork, mash the yolks into a fine paste and add in the spice mix, peanut butter, rice vinegar, and almond milk.
  • Step 7 Stir the mixture until creamy, then scoop it into a pastry bag.
  • Step 8 Fill each egg half with a swirl of the yolk mixture, then top with a sprinkle of chili powder and a few slices of scallion.

 

Big Little Lies: Banana Muffins

Big Little Lies: Banana Muffins

I started reading Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies in anticipation of summer. It takes place in a fictitious coastal town in Australia and the descriptions of the beach always make me think of warm weather and clear, blue water. It’s one of those books that’s […]