Motherly Love

I love this photo.

Susan. My wife. My best friend.

She had just gotten a new cut and color at Frankenhair in Westfield, Massachusetts. A salon on School Street that has “been bringing hair back to life since 2014.”

Keep this in mind: back to life.

And for a minute let’s consider what we learned in college about Dr. Frankenstein and his creation, the “monster.”

I suggest as the doctor is the father of the monster, the creation, he too has the name Frankenstein. This is, in fact, what has happened in our culture; we have everything from “Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein” to “Son of Frankenstein” and many more, including, of course, Frankenhair.

But I digress. Let’s imagine that Frankenstein is representative of the bullied, the down-trodden, the lonely, the immigrant, the fatherless. I could go on, but I hope you get the picture.

So what is it about this photo and motherly love? First, I think the photo is funny and expresses Susan’s loving and perfect spirit. Second, she blesses everyone, male or female, the bullied and the immigrant, the fatherless and the needy, the down-trodden and the lonely.

She nurtures people. She encourages people. She believes in a person’s potential for good–and blesses them with motherly love bringing them back to life. Just as she has received a divine love , she gives love in return–sharing comfort and understanding.

She is blessed with the motherly love of God and she is an expression of this motherly love.

And she inspires me daily.

 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

Moroccan Pot Roast

You will love the way your house fills with the aromas of coriander, ginger, cumin, cinnamon!

Ingredients

For the spice mix

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons crushed coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (to taste) crushed red pepper flakes (or if available, Marash or Aleppo pepper*)

For the beef

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (3-pound or 1.35 kg) beef chuck roast
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 3 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup (235 ml) water
  • 1 cup (235 ml) pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup loosely-packed chopped fresh parsley

For serving (optional)
Couscous
Glazed carrots

Directions

1 Make the spice mix: In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, coriander, turmeric, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, paprika and pepper.

2 Heat the oven: Set an oven rack near the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (or 160°C).

3 Season and sear the meat, then add vegetables, spices: Sprinkle the roast all over with salt and pepper.

In a large Dutch oven or other oven-safe pot with a lid, heat the oil. Add the beef and brown it on all sides, about 4 minutes per side.

Add the onion, carrots and bay leaves to the pot. Stir in the spice mix.

4 Braise the meat: Add the water and pomegranate juice to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and place in a 325°F (or 160°C) oven for 2 1/2 hours, turning once halfway through the cooking time.

When the meat is fork tender, remove it from the oven. (If it is not tender enough, leave it in a little longer.)

5 If serving with couscous and glazed carrots, prepare these when the pot roast is close to being done.

6 Finish the sauce: Transfer the meat to a platter and cover loosely with foil.

Set a strainer over a bowl and pour the sauce through. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids and skim off the fat from the liquid. Add the lemon juice and taste. Add more salt and pepper, if you like.

 Serve the pot roast: Slice the meat and serve in shallow bowls on top of the couscous and carrots. Ladle the sauce over the meat and sprinkle with parsley.

Note: I did not strain the sauce. It did not need it. I served the carrots from the pot and made “Ancient Grains.”

Based on a recipe from Sally Vargas.

 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Gifts

Yesterday I pruned the hydrangea plants

On Saturday the heather plants bloomed

Today I photographed the flowers in the living room

 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

 

Spinach and Ricotta Meatloaf

I have made hundreds of meatloaves over the years, each probably a little different than the previous one. Last night’s was exceptional. Spinach and Ricotta Meatloaf.

I didn’t follow a recipe for this. Honest. I made it up as I went along. And as I said, I have made hundreds of meatloaves over the years. Read about one here and here

But to the best of my memory, I combined:

1 1/4 pound ground meat
1 beaten egg
1 cup of milk soaked homemade rye bread pieces
1 cup store-bought bread crumbs
1/2 + cup ricotta
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2+ cups chopped baby spinach
1 carrot grated
1 stalk celery diced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

I put sliced tomatoes on top instead of ketchup because why not 🙂

I baked at 350 for about an hour. Served with mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy. And roasted broccolini.

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

After the Snow Storm

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” – Mary Oliver

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

We Are All Artists

It is school vacation week here in Western Massachusetts and Susan and I were volunteers in a special children’s art project on Monday and Tuesday at the Boys and Girls Club. Here are a few of the artists above.

~~~

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, wedding, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

Roasted Pasta Primavera

My wife and I were having lunch and she asked me “What’s for dinner?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Why not make some past primavera? And be sure to add some squash. My mom always stir-fried squash for me; sometimes with scrambled eggs.”

And I did. So delicious.

Ingredients
Vegetables
  • 1¼ lbs. (about 6 cups) fresh vegetables cut into strips or diced (I used corn, squash, zucchini, red and green pepper—all from a local farm. And Japanese Eggplant, Jalapeno Peppers, and tomatoes—all from my garden. And some spinach.)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Pasta + Sauce
  • One package of fresh Rana linguine
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
Vegetables
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the vegetables, olive oil, and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the sheet pan.
  3. Roast for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and lightly golden brown.
Pasta + Sauce
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and tomatoes, and cook for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add stock and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture is reduced by half, about 13-15 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the butter until melted and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Add the hot pasta to the sauce, stirring to combine. Then gently stir in the vegetables and Parmesan cheese. Taste for salt and pepper, and serve.

ROOTS

I had my DNA analyzed.
I analyzed my DNA.
I had expectorated into a test tube
and sent it off to Ancestry months earlier.
I was hoping for a surprise.
I was hoping to learn 
I had ancestors
From a country I did not know
About. But there was
No surprise.
Italy.
Great Britain.
Scandinavia. 
Maybe there was a surprise.
I see Scotland.
So maybe, just maybe
The following story is true:
Mary Queen of Scots
 
It is rumored from whom
 
I am descended, it says here
 
Questa famiglia originaria della Scoizia
 
E nobilissima in molte citta,
 
Ed e divisa in molti rami
 
The Barone family, my family
 
Originated from Scotland
 
Mary’s son King James VI of Scotland
 
Became King James I of England
 
King James great grand daughter married
 
The King of Itlay
 
It is noble in many cities and
 
Is divided into many branches it
 
Had many fiefs and illustrious men in court
 
In the magistrature, in the army
 
And in the church it was
 
Conferred high chivalrous honors and
 
Was vested with the holy orders
 
Of Malta from the 15th Century
 
It includes, as branches, the Counts
 
Of Casola and the Marchesi di Liveri
 
The title was granted in 1710
 
To the celebrated literary figure Domenico
 
Director, San Carlo Opera, Naples
 
Praised even by Giambattista Vico
 
In an assembly of praise of him
 
Made by the Academitrician in 1735
 
The family is listed in the Registry of Neopolitan
 
Feudal families and numbered among
 
The patricians of the Republic of Marino
 
The Republic was represented in Lisbon
 
By the Court of Casola and Marchese di Liveri
 
By Napoleon Barone son of Marchese Pasquale
 
Who had as his grandmother Maria Filomarina
 
Of the Principality of Bocca
 
Title to Alfrede Domenico Barone
 
Held from 1869-1952 also as the Count
 
Of Casoli in the Registry of Nobility
 
Melchizadek descendant of Pasquale
 
And likewise Alfred my father
 
Or so the story goes there is
 
A castle and a title
 
Or at the very least a story
 
That belongs to me in Italy
 
I write to know

 

 

Asian Glazed Chicken Thighs

Simple to prepare. Slightly spicy. Slightly sweet. Simply delicious!

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons pure sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic , crushed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2-3 cups spinach with 1/4 cup sesame seeds (cooked separately)
  • sliced green onions/shallots

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to  425°F
  2. Whisk the vinegar, honey, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and orange juice in a bowl until smooth. Pour half the marinade into a large plastic zipper bag; retain the other half of the sauce. Place the chicken thighs into the bag containing marinade, squeeze all the air out of the bag, and seal. Shake a few times to coat chicken; refrigerate for 1 hour, turning bag once or twice.
  3. Pour the other half of the marinade into a saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often, to thicken sauce. Take off heat and allow to cool.
  4. Remove the chicken from the bag; discard used marinade. Place chicken thighs into an oven proof pan/skillet or baking dish and brush with 1/3 of the thickened marinade from the saucepan.
  5. Bake 30–45 minutes, basting one more time after 10 minutes; an instant-read thermometer inserted into a chicken thigh should read 165 degrees F (75 degrees C).
  6. Change oven settings to grill/broil on medium heat and grill until the skin changes to deep golden in color (about 5 minutes). Sprinkle with sesame seeds before broiling.
  7. Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes. Serve with spinach and sesame seeds or steamed bok choy, shallots/green onion slices.

Based on recipes from Café Delites and Allrecipes.

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, wedding, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

Cod In Miso Broth

Light. Comforting. Satisfying. Delicious. Japanese-like.

Cooked in one skillet (if you don’t add red lentils).

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral-tasting oil
  • 5  shiitake mushroom caps,  sliced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, dark-green parts reserved for optional garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons peeled, finely minced fresh ginger root
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons white or yellow miso paste
  • Two 6-ounce pieces of cod
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup cooked red lentils (my addition)
Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are browned. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium; add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the scallion whites, garlic and ginger; cook for about 30 seconds, stirring, until fragrant.

Add 2 3/4 cups of the water to the skillet and bring to barely a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. While the water is heating, whisk the miso paste with the remaining 1/4 cup water in a liquid measuring cup until dissolved, then whisk that mixture into the skillet.

Season the fish with the salt and pepper, then place in the skillet. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes over low to medium-low heat, maintaining a gentle bubbling, until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is fairly firm.

To serve, place one piece of fish in each wide, shallow bowl. (Before I did this, I spooned the cooked red lentils into each bowl.) Stir the sauteed mushrooms and the spinach into the liquid in the skillet, then remove from the heat. Pour the broth with spinach and mushrooms around the fish in each bowl. Garnish with the scallion greens, if using.

Serves 2. Recipe based on one from Ellie Krieger.

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, wedding, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.