Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sand Dunes and JFK

We are loving it here in Pennsylvania, where we are being treated like Canadian royalty by the beautiful Cassandra (sister of running buddy Tamara) and her hubby Jimmy. But before we delve into the wilds of PA, let me step back in time and share some highlights from our last couple of days on the Cape.

After we twacked along the streets of P-town (and before your mind leaps into the gutter, I can assure you that twack is a bona fide word in The Dictionary of Newfoundland English - and yes, there really IS a Dictionary of Newfoundland English!) we decided that we needed to touch base with a real beach, complete with sand dunes. So we headed along the shore into the National Park at Race Point to step foot in the Atlantic Ocean and watch a pod of whales play offshore. It was intensely beautiful. 

And even I, who am not generally a fan of walking in anything other than my shoes, had to kick off my sandals and wiggle my tootsies in the sand. We all dangled our toes in the cold, cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It was glorious.

There are no photos of the whales because I didn't have my long lens. But we saw them. Honest. (Or at least we saw blast after blast from their blow holes.....)

The following day featured a trip to Hyannis, where we hung out with the Kennedy Clan.

Then we made our way to a more traditional kind of beach, in which folks vie for a slice of beach on which to plunk their beach towel, or play pen, or cooler. My favourite thing about this beach were the seagulls, who marched around in search of blankets that had been abandoned by families who had wandered into the water. These seagulls would mosey on up to people's coolers and take a look-see in the hopes that there was something good to steal.....

Then there were the Craigville Beach Colours which were strangely well co-ordinated. (Did people phone each other in the morning to say "I'm bringing the blue accessories today"?)

And one of my favourites that I came upon on the streets of Hyannis - an urban architectural detail with a strong sense of identity.

Coming up next: Pennsylvania, Gettysburg and baking!

Hugs from Sugarlove Girl.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blueberry Raspberry Buttermilk Cake (Traveling Towards Tamara and Andrew)

If you're reading this on Wed. July 29th, we are on the road, making our way towards our running buddy Tamara who will be getting hitched to Andrew on Saturday. So in lieu of a daily recounting of travel adventures, I thought I'd share this yummy recipe with you, which I've been saving up for a rainy day!

This is an absolutely gorgeous recipe in celebration of summer fruit - and best of all it's easy as pie to make. (Okay. Stop me if you disagree, but how the heck did pie become easy to make? Where did this saying originate? Personally, I think pastry is tricky business! So "easy as pie" seems a bit like crazy talk, don't you think?)

In any event, this is a lovely Blueberry Raspberry Buttermilk cake, and I can assure you that it is beautiful and delicious. I found the recipe on the website of Smitten Kitchen (who adapted it from Gourmet). I changed it up a bit by using both blueberries and raspberries.

Blueberry Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Butter and flour a 9' pan.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the centre of the oven (and don't worry - it won't be on for too long in this summer heat)

For the cake, you'll be needing

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter at room temp.
2/3 cup sugar (PLUS 1 1/2 Tbsp for "sprinkling")
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (or not - I've made it with and without - both are tasty)
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaking buttermilk
1/2 heaping cup fresh raspberries
1/2 heaping cup blueberries

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set to the side.

In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Then beat in vanilla and lemon zest (if you're going the zesty route). Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk. Begin and end with the flour and mix until JUST combined (i.e. don't overmix). Arrange berries as you like and sprinkle 1 1/2 Tbsp of sugar over the top to make this baby glisten.

I liked this snazzy pattern (below). Bake until your cake is golden and a wooden toothpick comes out clean. This should take about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool. Invert onto a plate. Try not to eat it all in one sitting. See you tomorrow with more travel adventures.....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Always Take the Scenic Route

If there was one lesson to be learned from yesterday's adventure, it is this:
Always Take The Scenic Route because it will lead you here.......

Our day started at oh-dark-hour, when Mister Man and I drove Paully and the Mums to Sagamore to catch a bus to Boston (they both had morning flights outta here). 

I love the weird light that happens just before dawn. It's very theatrical.

Though it was sad to bid adieu to my familial units, it did give us a really great excuse to go here for breakfast as it was still stinkin' early and we had a couple of hours to kill. Who doesn't love an All-American diner at 6 in the morning? Not only is it attractive, it is delicious to boot! And not too crowded!

Mister Man loves him a good All-American diner.....

We were to set off for P-town (Provincetown, for those of you who aren't in the know). But the thing you need to know about the Cape is that there are about 10 places with Falmouth in the name, and if you want to head North on Route 28, you actually need to head out on 28 South. New Englanders do not believe in street signs, so you can be traveling for quite some time along mystery roads. And what all this adds up to is a lot of getting lost. Mister Man, Kari, Aileen and I decided to throw our hat in the ring and though it changed the shape of our day, we decided that we were going to take the scenic route ANYWAY. 

Which led us here.

Gentle readers, allow me to introduce you to the best meal we've had yet at a restaurant. Please meet my scallops. 

As fresh as though they were just scooped from the water, lovingly dipped in a light breaded crust, and fried to mouth melting perfection, these were some of the best scallops I've ever eaten. These little morsels melted in your mouth, leaving the tang of the tarter to linger on your tastebuds. The slaw was as fresh as a spring day, and Mister Man's chowdah was unbelievable.

If you are visiting the Cape, drop everything and proceed to The Brewster Fish House Restaurant IMMEDIATELY. Trust me. Look at the anticipation on Kari's face.

Check out the joy Aileen is experiencing!

We were happy campers by the time we left. As you will be WHEN YOU GO THERE!!

And though we made it to Provincetown a little later than anticipated, we were greeted with that wonderful energy that is P-town in the height of tourist season. The sights! The colours! The scents! And the real answer to where Ken dolls go when they are discarded..... 

And now, you can see where your Barbies and Kens end up when you're done with them. It's a perfect final resting place.

There was one final highlight of the day which I will share with you tomorrow, but for now, allow me to leave you with these images of Mister Man taken on Sunday afternoon. Note the proximity of the hammock to the ground. 

He did wake up after the shutter fired on this one. He looked cute - like a demented baby. 

How I luff him.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Sweetest Wee Place on Earth

The highlight of our visit to Martha's Vineyard was not the BBQ or the ice cream from Mad Martha's (delicious though they both were). It was not the ferry boat ride into the fog, or the return trip through the rays of magic hour. See image below....

Paully and Michele on the return trip in magic hour.

These were lovely indeed, but the highlight of our visit to Martha's Vineyard was the Martha's Vineyard Campmeeting Association Campground. 

Here's how this little slice of history unfurled.... Wesleyan Grove on Martha's Vineyard, was one of many Methodist camp-meeting grounds in which New England Methodists gathered every year to hold religious meetings that were dedicated to serious business - the salvation of souls. The meeting place in Oak Bluffs became a permanent fixture over a 25 year period.

Essentially, in the beginning, a circle of 20 tents were erected around a clearing in which religious services took place. By 1854 there were 180 tents in concentric circles surrounding a large Tabernacle tent in the centre.

The tents were pitched on a wooden platform and over time, as the camp became more popular, folks started framing the sides of the tents with slats of wood (though the roofs were still made of canvas). The canvas hung from the roof like icing on a gingerbread house and porch decks were added. By 1964, 40 tiny prefabricated wooden houses were sprinkled among approximately 500 canvas and wood sided tents. Double doors on the first and second floors emulated tent flaps. Here's what happened next. People actually took up residence.

Today 320 wooden cottages remain. Only a handful are winterized and occupied year round. In the 1950's one family decided to paint their house a variety of shades of pink. It was known as "the Pepto-Bismol House" and set the trend for others to follow suit.

And oh how they did. Feast your eyes on these visions just as we did.

President Grant slept here. Yes, there.

This much pink made my heart sing, I tell you!

Even the signage is delightful.

(Though I did want to put a comma after the word "walk".)

In 1869, The Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company sponsored a Grand Illumination night. The tradition continues today. One night every August, all electricity is turned off, and thousands of lanterns are lit as members of the community raise their voices in the Tabernacle in a big community sing. We were too early for the big event, but we did get to look at lanterns in the shop of the museum.

The end of this fine day.