Tuesday, August 30, 2011


best sandwich
produce from farm 355

good neighbor

almost too good to be true

showy hibiscus

waiting for key lime
lime is ready

for jam (and Eton Mess)
good gift
chowder, deconstructed - courtesy of Irene - a.k.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


In September, Al Forno (577 South Main Street, Providence  401-273-9760) begins monthly cooking classes.  Attendees will participate in the two-hour classes and feast family-style afterwards.

First class is Saturday, September 10  (12:00 noon); it will feature traditional dishes from chef David Reynoso's own Mexican background and feature local tomatoes and peppers from Poblano Farm in South Kingstown.

Cost is $65.00 per person. Space is limited.

As usual, there is no additional info on the website:  www.alforno.com

so call 401-273-9760


Thursday, August 18, 2011


Saturday August 20 is The Coastal Growers' Market Tomato Tasting Day. From 9:00 a.m. to noon, sample tomatoes, pure and simple, and tomatoes used in cooking (Seven Stars has a focaccia). Location is the Casey Farm (2325 Boston Neck Road, Saunderstown), where there are 25 farm/shop vendors. This weekend: music and local artisans too.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Just reading about The Pawtucket Grecian Festival this weekend - begins Friday, August 19 at 5:00 p.m. and runs through Sunday, August 21 at 9:00 p.m. - will make you hungry. The festival has everything - lamb shanks, souvlaki (kabobs), gyros (my personal must-have at any Greek outdoor event), mousaka (ground beef and eggplant), gigantes (fava beans), spanakopita (spinach in filo), tiropita (feta in filo), and, of course the ubiquitous Greek salad.

And for sweets, there are buttery wedding cookies, all the filo pastries you can name, and, because it wouldn't be a church fair without fried dough, loukomades or honey puffs (call them a Greek version of Portugese malasadas).

Greek coffee, ouzo (an anise-based apertif) and metaxa (a distilled spirit made from brandy and wine mixture) contribute to the mood. Greeks sip.

There's walk-around food and sit-down-to-dine food. The website lists what's cooking when. It is all about the food but it's food in a spirited atmosphere which means music, dancing and shopping at the agora.

Greek dancing is mesmerizing to watch - orderly, patterned, exuberant but controlled. Performances are at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church (97 Walcot Street, Pawtucket  401-725-3127) sponsors the festival which is in its 84th year. Since 1927 the church's Philoptochos Society has organized and orchestrated the event where volunteers cook for thousands of visitors. It's impressive.

For information on parking go to: www.greekfestivalri.com

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Coming up: David Mangiantine, bar manager at La Laiterie (186 Wayland Avenue, Providence  401-274-7177) is running a class where he explains cocktail-making and instructs you in the creation of five different cocktails. Cocktails plus snack food from La Laiterie's kitchen. Reservations required. Call 401-274-7177

Sunday, August 21 at 5:00 p.m.  $50 per person plus tip

This Wednesday (August 10), and all Wednesday's through early October (no exact date given) La Laiterie is offering a three-course vegetarian tasting menu ($30.00) featuring New England cheeses and produce. Regular menu available too.

Also on Wednesday, La Laiterie offers select wines by the glass at $5.00 each between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


The Richmond Farmers' Market (www.richmondrifarmersmarket.com/) is adding tastings this weekend. Vendors will offer samples, tomatoes, cheese, grilled meats, etc.. The market is located at Town Hall in Richmond which is the junction of routes 138 and 112.   Saturday, August 6    9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, August 8 the Southside Community Land Trust presents "Food Preservation: Canning, Pickling and Preserving." Trustee David Liddle will run the annual workshop in the kitchen of Amos House, 415 Friendship Street in Providence. Cost is $5.00. Register and pay at www.plantprovidence.org.

And, just a reminder: The Saturday Hope Street Farmers' Market at Lippitt Memorial Park in Providence (where Hope and Blackstone Blvd converge) is also open on Wednesday afternoons from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


In April, I made a plan for a raised bed garden (four by eight feet) where I intended to grow vegetables from seed (rhodeislandismyoyster.blogspot.com/2011/03/thinking-ahead-to-summer-garden.html). The garden would be tomato-less since the venture was to be relatively carefree and tomatoes are never carefree. Anyway, glorious tomatoes are sold at stands and farmers' markets all over Rhode Island so my thinking was, why bother. The idea was to experiment with some less ordinary varieties of ordinary vegetables. My plan was tweaked to fit the space and seeds (all from Scheepers, www.kitchengardenseeds.com/) were purchased and planted in late May.

garden arugula is a dream plant for a salad-loving urban farmer. Thirty days after these teeny seeds are sown you have an amazing salad. Seeds were planted in a row and grown in the haircut method: young seedlings are not thinned, resulting in smaller plants which you cut and cut again. The arugula is peppery, delicious and not bitter.

gros graines mache was a bust. Described, probably correctly, as vigorous, it was no match for July's steady heat. Planting in early May might have worked but I won't bother finding out because, lesson learned, mache is a tiny plant and you can't grow enough of it in a small space to make it worth the effort. It has been yanked in favor of a second run of arugula for late August.

tintin baby romaine is fabulous and fast. The envelope says 55 days to harvest but 45 is more accurate. You can grow baby romaine in the haircut method like arugula or, if you have more space, plant a new row every other week. You'll be set through the fall.  

cubanelle sweet peppers should have been started indoors because germination in the cool late May ground is too slow. It's unlikely these pepper plants will produce before frost (if at all since they don't look happy).

parmex baby carrots is another case of poor choice on my part. The carrots, a bright orange French variety, will be lovely I'm sure (we're about two weeks from ready) but using the space/yield ratio carrots aren't good performers.
chioggia beets (also at least two weeks from ready) are an Italian striped beets which chefs love and their light greens are advertised to be superlative. We'll see - though the seed packet says 45 - 55 days, my plants are off the pace.  

I thought it would be a nice touch to have nasturtiums cascading from the four corners of the raised bed. Easy enough since nasturtiums are a snap to grow - even supermarket seeds produce a dazzling display. But Scheepers Old-fashioned Tawny Mixture narsturtiums were/are a flower failure. Puny seeds grew to be weak, puny plants. I think "old-fashioned" is some kind of code, maybe means "not much to look at" in gardening parlance. Not much to look at.

white wonder cucumbers are the stars of the garden. Running up the wire supports and down both sides of the raised bed, they are a spirit booster.  White wonders are an heirloom variety, vigorous and heat tolerant. White on the outside, they have a surprising brightness when sliced. Best of all, 60 days after planting you are picking ripe cucumbers. This is the best ego hit for a gardener, makes up for the bad decisions and the grim nasturtiums.

Next year? More arugula, more baby romaine, endive, for sure, and a speedier beet. And big, fat modern nasturtiums.