Good Grief A Beach House

It’s been 3,079 days since I lost my son and two years to the day, I bought a beach house because of a rock. Yes, you read it. A rock, but not just any rock. Seriously, grief makes one do crazy, impulsive things that you never thought you would or could. It’s true. 

If you follow the blog, I suspect you already know the effect the rock had on me, but for the others, let me explain. I believe my son died before he was ready to go and with that keeps a presence here. There wasn’t a day that went by that he did not end a conversation with an “I love you” and thus he continues to show himself to me with an occasional heart sign. I call these moments “whoosh” and along with seeing a heart I feel a squeeze in my chest as if he is hugging me.

So, it was two years ago while on a vacation I happened upon a house just a few doors down from our rental that was for sale. Just for fun, my husband and I took a walk through the house never intending to buy it, but as we were leaving the property there was this rock nestled in the crushed shells of the driveway. I gravitated to it and my husband immediately said, “he wants us to buy this house.” The rest is history.

The beach house has been a large part of the grief journey not only for me, but for my husband. The property is a stunning, peaceful wildlife refuge on one side with gentle ocean waves on the other. Surrounded by nature it’s a birder’s paradise with nesting osprey, herons and eagles plus all the sea creatures one can imagine.

There is also an 8-point buck that hangs out. He is here.

Swayed by emotion? Trust your instincts. Find your refuge.

Fresh Picked Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

IMG_0338

Warm, but overcast, yesterday was the perfect day for strawberry picking with my family. Highland Farms in West Chester, PA is the place to go for all sorts of fruit picking throughout the year. The scent of strawberries was in the air as we approached the field.

IMG_3825

photo by Caitlin

Do your littles watch the show Daniel Tiger? Annabelle loves the animated Mr. Rodgers version and on one episode Daniel and his friends go “fruit-picking”. My Annabelle could not wait to try it. She ate as much as she picked and was covered in warm strawberry juice by the time we were done. Want to have some fun? Go pick some berries!

IMG_3864

photo by Caitlin

Fresh picked berries are at their peak of sweetness compared to the more tart berries found in the grocery store, so less sugar is needed for the perfect pie. Make sure your filling is really bubbling (see video below) before you pull it from the oven to insure all the juices gel and don’t leave a soupy mess when the pie is cut. If the crust edge is over-browning then cover it with a pie shield or foil.

IMG_0316

Find a pie dough recipe here. It’s my favorite go to recipe and enough for a double crust, so wrap and freeze half of it for another time or just bake two pies.

IMG_0332

best baking buddy ever

Fresh Picked Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pie dough for a single crust pie

2 tablespoons gingersnap crumbs

Crisp Topping

½ cup all purpose flour

¼  cup brown sugar

¼ cup old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into cubes

Filling

4 cups of fresh picked strawberries, slice large ones in half

2 cups sliced (1/2-inch thick) fresh picked rhubarb

2 tablespons heavy cream

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon vanilla

½ cup sugar

¼ cup all purpose flour

Heat oven to 400F. Line 9-inch pie plate with dough. Trim and flute edge.  (Roll out dough scraps and cut shapes for decoration. Sprinkle shapes with sugar, if desired.)

Sprinkle cookie crumbs over bottom of pie shell and chill while preparing topping and filling. For topping: combine all ingredients in a bowl working the butter into the dry ingredients until clumps form. Chill it. For Filling: Place berries and rhubarb in a large bowl. Drizzle with heavy cream, lemon juice and vanilla; gently toss to coat. Add sugar and flour; toss again. Spoon into pie shell. Sprinkle crisp mixture over the top. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until pie is bubbling and crust and topping are golden brown. Let cool to room temperature or serve just slightly warm. 

 

 

Another Inspired Recipe Wins

fullsizeoutput_4da1

Inspired by places I’ve been and people I love another winning recipe comes to life. Do you think the judges can tell a recipe that comes from the heart? That recipe embedded in your memories just waiting to be created given the challenge? Gloria Ferrer can.

IMG_7855

Cape Cod 1991

How did the judges know how much summer fun so many years ago my kids had at the Cape or how much we still enjoy a fresh lobster roll? Or this glorious lobster bite my daughter made while we vacationed in Nantucket just a few years ago? How could they know the love and the memories that inspire the food that brings my people together?

fullsizeoutput_64e

I doubt they know anything about those wintery President’s Day long weekends we spent at the Boston science museum or the times we huddled on the Freedom Trail eating a comforting bowl of “chowdah”, but somehow it came through in my recipe.

img_7853.jpg

Bill, William & Cait ~1989

I am often asked how to create a winning recipe. The answer is always the same: “No gimmicks…just cook YOUR food.” Thank you Gloria Ferrer for choosing my recipe as a regional finalist. With every win I am honored and surprised and just feeling very lucky. I am so looking forward to cooking from my heart for those attending the event in Boston on Tuesday. Click this link if you would like to attend and watch me cook: Glorious Bites Semi-Final

IMG_7857

Cait & William ~1992

Jumping for joy. These two will always inspire me. I am grateful for how much they have loved ebelskivers any time of the day or night. Stuffed with lobster and corn they are the perfect package for my glorious bite and fill my heart with the most wonderful memories. Serve with Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut. CHEERS!

fullsizeoutput_4d9d

In case you missed it here is the recipe

Lobster Corn Chowdah Cakes (ebelskivers) with Sriracha Aioli

1 cup cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs, separated

1 cup milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided

1 cooked lobster tail, finely chopped

¼ cup fresh cooked or frozen corn kernals, thawed

2 tablespoons finely chopped celery

1 green onion, finely chopped including the lighter green parts

1 teaspoon minced jalapeno

Sriracha Aioli (recipe follows)

Garnish: fresh green chives for garnish and lemon slices

In large bowl, whisk cake flour, baking powder, sugar, lemon zest, salt and pepper; set aside. In small bowl, whisk egg yolks, milk and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients; whisk until blended. Beat egg whites until just stiff peaks form. Fold half the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Fold in remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. Fold in lobster, corn, celery, green onions and jalapeno. Brush the wells of an ebelskiver pan with some of remaining melted butter and place over medium heat. Fill each well to the top with batter, about 2 tablespoons per well. Cook cakes for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly brown and crisp on the bottom. Using 2 wooden skewers, turn cakes and cook on other side, about 2 or 3 minutes more. Transfer to platter; keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with Sriracha Aioli. Garnish with chives and lemon.

Sriracha Aioli

½ cup quality mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons sriracha

1 teaspoon honey

pinch of white pepper

Combine all ingredients in small bowl; blend well. /]

fullsizeoutput_4d9f

making memories with my future inspiration ~2017