New England Clambake

With Spring well established here in the Northeast, it is always exciting for me as I go into the kitchen and see what is left from my Winter stores, and what needs to be added to them. Spring and Summer bring the great outdoors to our tables, and sometimes even us into the great outdoors with the land, and in this case the shore, to our table.

New England Clambake

This version can be made at home, or even in a pit substitute of your own making. No matter where you call home you can have this wonderfully unique experience for yourself. I hope you enjoy!

Something of a cross between a picnic and a banquet, the clambake is a New England Original. It’s the perfect way to combine a day of fun at the beach by preparing heaps of food for hungry people. The Native Americans of the Northeast invented it. When tribes moved from their Winter quarters inland to their Summer camps along the coast, the abundant shellfish, freshly caught, were cooked in a steam pit while games were played on the shore. A clambake starts very early in the morning.

First

A hole is dug whose size depends on the number of people to be fed. It can be as much as 8 feet in length. This is lined with stones. The “bake” is allowed to burn until the stones are red hot – an hour or 2 at least. Assistants take off the embers and throw baskets of seaweed over the stones. Rockweed, with its rubbery air pockets is best.

Next

Cheesecloth bags filled with clams and lobsters are laid in. More seaweed is added. Potatoes in their jackets (skins), corn in their husks, small peeled onions, sausages, whatever you like can be added in its own bag, then covered with more seaweed. This work must be done fast to capture the steam.

Last

The mound of food receives its top layer of seaweed followed by tarpaulin secured with stones. That’s all there is to it, except for the delicious aromas that will drift their way around your guests. Make sure you melt lots of butter for the lobster to be dipped and the hot rolls that will be brought along too. It may seem like forever but this cannot be rushed. Cautious testing of readiness is important in making sure all the food is well cooked. No salt required if the seaweed is there.

Remember cold drinks, fresh blueberry pie and my favorite – whoopie pies for dessert – and you will have a meal to make even the most salty New Englander envious!

Enjoy!

Vicki
Medium Rare

New England Boiled Dinner

March winds are here and with them the still cold, chilled air here in New England. For many across the country and around the world, Spring is already at your door steps. This hearty New England Recipe is good all year long, but we New Englanders enjoy it most during the early months of Spring just before the leaves start to bloom. It’s also time to tap the Maple trees for the sweet nectar they bring as boiling syrup season begins. We tap here, and spend many cold days bringing in the sap. It’s a part of our history here, and we enjoy the work. At the end of a long day of working in the boiling shed, this boiled dinner is just what the doctor ordered. I hope you enjoy.

You Will Need:

1 ham, preferably with the bone. You can use the bone to make a wonderful broth for a Pea Soup after and use any remaining ham.

4 pounds white or red potatoes, preferably chopped in thick slices with the skins remaining

1 large head of cabbage cut in wedges

1 large onion chopped in any way you like

1 large squash peeled and chopped (this is optional), or peeled carrots, about 2 pounds

1 large boiling pot. I use my lobster pot. If you have a large slow cooker you can use that and leave it on all day.

Directions:

In large cooking pot place your ham adding water until ham is covered, using low heat, cook until the ham is falling off the bone, about 20 minutes per pound. Add your potatoes, carrots and squash, and onions. Cook until the potatoes can be pierced with a fork. Add your cabbage, covering the ham, cover and let simmer until cabbage is clear. Serve warm with homemade bread. Here, my family likes a hearty grain bread I make in my bread maker. I always keep white vinegar at the table as well – my Father-in-law loves to drizzle it on his cabbage.

This meal can be reheated in your crock pot or made into a nice stew.

Enjoy!

Vicki
Medium Rare

Herbal Egg Brunch Casserole

Farm Fresh Eggs

I love this recipe and have made it many times and with a bit of variety each time, using herbs from the garden to add wonderful flavor. My chickens supply my family with wonderful fresh eggs every day so it’s fun thinking of new ways to use them. If you cannot get fresh eggs yourself, make sure you buy locally harvested organic chicken eggs.

Herbal Egg Brunch Casserole

For a lighter texture, fold two additional stiffly beaten egg whites into the egg mixture.

You will need:

6 eggs

2 cups skim milk (plain almond milk or other nutty milk can be used)

¾ tsp salt

2 ½ tbsp Fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tbsp dried)

1 tbsp snipped fresh rosemary leaves (or ½ tbsp dried)

1 tsp mustard powder

2 or 3 thick slices organic or homemade oatmeal, Italian or French bread, preferably a day old bread is best, torn into pieces

½ pound crumbled ham sausage, or any type of sausage you like – I prefer turkey, it’s less fatty and less greasy. Cook, strain and rinse briefly under hot water to remove excess fat.

¾ cup loosely packed sharp or extra sharp grated cheese

Directions:

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and seasonings. Place the bread chunks in a 9-13 inch ungreased casserole pan. Top with the sausage and cheese. Pour the egg mixture over all.

You may prepare the casserole up to this point, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake it at 350 F, for 40 minutes, then cut in squares and serve.

This is not only a great brunch recipe but also a nice hearty warm supper with some fresh bread and a nice salad for a week night dinner.

Happy Eating!

In light,
Vicki
Medium Rare

Herb of the Month: The Onion

WELCOME NOVEMBER

Welcome November, and the cold and flu season has already begun here in New England, and for me, right here in my own home. This Herb Of The Month is a short but very true story on the wonderful onion, and its properties that fight not only bacteria and viruses, but it does a great job of cleaning the air. I have used onions for years, and in this little tale below, it lists yet another purpose for this versatile vegetable.

A friend of mine told me a story about how when he was a kid he was in the hospital and near dying. His Italian/African grandmother came to the hospital to see him and after hearing the diagnosis, put herself to work. She demanded a bag of onions, fresh from the garden, be brought to her immediately, as well as a fresh, clean pair of white socks. Once delivered, she sliced the onion in half placing one slice in one sock and the other, then placing them on her grandsons feet. The next morning when her grandson awoke, she removed the socks. The slices of onion were completely black, but more importantly, her grandson’s fever, the fever that was taking his young life, was gone.

Keep reading, another story follows!

In 1919, when the flu killed 40 million people, there was a doctor that left the ravaged death of the cities and towns, where death had filled the air. He was searching for anything that could help his patients to survive this plague that was what seemed to only gain strength. As he drove further into the farm lands, he was surprised to see children out playing, families working their fields. All without illness of any kind. Surprised and shocked, he followed these farms and their families, finding that upon entering their homes everyone was healthy! When the farmers were asked what they were doing differently, their wives replied that they had placed unpeeled onions in dishes around the house. The doctor requested one of these onions, and upon bringing it back to his lab, placed it under his microscope, to his surprise he found the influenza bacteria covering the onion. The Onion had absorbed the bacteria, and therefore the farmers families were kept healthy.

I love these stories, as they prove to me what I learned years ago. Having had a very bad cold virus running through my own home, I remembered the Onion remedy. As the virus hit a new family member each day, I began putting onions throughout the house, limiting my families cold symptoms as well as the virus itself. I have since purchased several pounds of onions for the winter, to keep them healthy. It’s just a simple easy trick that can help your family stay healthier all year.

Onions and garlic were also used during the Black Plague, when placed around the rooms of the people, it saved many lives. The powerful antibacterial and microbial properties having stood the test of time. Enjoy your November, and have some onion soup; keep your insides healthy too!

Cheers!
Vicki

Cardinal Signs & Symbols, Message from Dean Brooks

What can These Cardinal Symbols Mean for You?

The Cardinal Color Red: Symbolic of Vitality, Importance, Faith & Power

Cardinals can bring color and vitality into our lives. Their crimson color can remind us of the importance of ourselves as individuals in the circle of life. As the cardinal red color is symbolic of faith, so it can remind us to “keep the faith” though circumstances might look bleak, dark and hopeless.

The Cardinal Cycle of Twelve: Symbolic of Cycles, Life, Death & Renewal

Twelve hours make a day and twelve months make a year. Twelve is a vital life cycle and regardless of the time of year, the time of day or the time of life you are presently confronting, you are a part of the cycle. You are a vital element in the circle of life and regardless of where you are in that cycle You always have the opportunity for restoration, revitalization and renewal.

The Cardinal Sounds: Symbolic of Cheer, Elevation, Clarity & Communication

The call of a cardinal can come to cheer us up, or cheer us on. The unique clarity of his call is can be used to gain our attention and lift us from our depression, our sorrow or perhaps our ordinariness. The cardinal’s call can call to us to do our duty. A cardinal call can tell us to give up any vanity or appearances we may be holding on to and follow the hope in our heart, a cardinal hope that will lead us, on our upward journey through the cycle of life.

Cardinal Parenting & Mating: Symbolic of Care, Duty, Dedication & Transformation

**The female cardinal’s voice in the world may remind a woman that she too has a voice and it may be time to find it and begin expressing herself. The parental and mating behavior of cardinals can remind us that our dedication to nurturing and caring for our loved one is also a part of the natural life cycle.

The caring manor of a male cardinal can remind us that we are never really alone, that there is a father above who will always protect and care for us. Cardinal Health is symbolic of: strength, readiness, self-preservation & vitality.

The cardinal may be suggesting that our current diet may be injurious to our health. The cardinal can be a sign that we must be prepared to fight for our health.

When the fiery crown of a cardinal rises, it can also let us know that we have the strength of spirit within us to win the fight!

A Brief History of the Cardinal Symbol

While we usually think of a symbol as a visual form, much of the meaning can be found in the origins of the word that identifies that form. The history of the word cardinal sheds a lot of light on it’s symbolic meanings today. So, where did the roots of the word cardinal come from? And, how did the word cardinal come to define the bird?

Interestingly, the base root of the word cardinal is actually connected to the word cross. It comes from the Old Norse word, kross and the Latin word, crux. For the ancient Romans, the Latin word crux, had come to mean “a guidepost that gives directions at a place where one road becomes two”. Today the root word cross is contained in many words we commonly use: across, crucial, crucify, cruise (to cross the sea, or go backwards and forwards), cruiser, crusade, crux, and excruciate. The cross is of course universally recognized as a Christian symbol, but the symbol of the cross
was not used by Christian’s alone. The same symbol was also used by early Mexicans. It was one of the emblems of Quetzalcoatl, as lord of the four cardinal points, and the four winds that blow therefrom. In the cardinal sense, the cross represents fourfold systems: the four directions: north, south, east, and west; the four seasons; the four elements; the four winds; etc.

In the thirteenth century, Dante attributed Cardinal Virtues of Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude, to the four brightest stars in the Southern Cross. This was done before the discovery and naming of the constellation (in 1679). As history reveals, the early explorers used the four cardinal directions in the form of a cross to discover the new world. Our world itself is constructed in the shape of a cross, whose four points correspond to the four cardinal points or intersections of the horizon with the meridian.

So, how did the word cardinal come to define the bird? The word cardinal originates from the Latin word cardinali, meaning principal or chief. The chief Catholic priests from the Vatican in Rome are Cardinals, who wear ‘cardinal’ red cassocks. Cardinal is also a vivid red color. The family of birds, known as the Cardinalis, takes its name from the color of the cassocks worn by the cardinal priests.

Now that we have seen where the symbols of the cross and the color come from, we can continue to the heart of the matter. Cardinal is also rooted in the heart, originating from the root word cardo, meaning heart. Cardo, also stems into the word cardinis, used for the hinge of a door, or a pivot; that on which something turns. In Latin, cardo means hinge or axis, something on which all else depends, as does the general meaning of the word crucial. What does a hinge have to do with a heart?

A hinge (cardo) is literally the place on which a door swings and is always moved. It is so called after the term Greek kardia (heart), because as the heart (cor) governs and moves the whole person, just as this pivot governs and moves a door. The cross has four points, and the human heart has four chambers or closed spaces, two atria and two ventricles. In Latin cardium means heart. In Greek word for heart is kardia, which comes from the Indo-European root kerd meaning heart and that is as far back into the history of the word cardinal we were able to reach.

I understand now, that in the same way the cardinal brings hope and cheer in the bareness of winter, he beacons us to rise above our grieving hearts and know that there is a full and happy life beyond death and sadness. This little red bird is a messenger of hope and all this time he has been shouting “cheer, cheer”, how foolish I feel now that I could not hear what he was trying so hard to tell me. From – http://www.thecardinalexperience.com/journey/index.php?page=pages&id=1

Cardinals have a long symbolic history of visiting those who are saddened by loss, in particular, a “Cardinal Loss”, the heartrending loss of a loved one. It was through a series of visitations from a small red cardinal that the answers to many painful questions about living life, after death began to unfold, and ironically, as I began sharing my Cardinal Experience with others, others began sharing their unique Cardinal Experiences with me. That’s when I began researching and discovered that the Cardinal Experience was a phenomenal encounter that had touched countless human lives throughout history. While the experience itself was enlightening, it was through the act of sharing this Cardinal phenomenon that the dark pain of grief began transforming into the light of hope, and so our mission began.

Cardinal Signs & Symbols thanks to Guest Blogger, Dean Brooks