The Mills Restaurant, Marstons Mills, MA

28 06 2012

The Mills is one of those timeless breakfast spots. Off of the main Cape Cod drag and quaintly-decorated in an Americana fashion, it is a restaurant that could appear in any decade, in any quiet, rural community.

Nothing on the menu is going to absolutely blow your mind, but you’ll still be satisfied with what you get. I really enjoy their many steel-cut oatmeal options (something you don’t find in many breakfast places). You can get it with yogurt, fruit, nuts, honey, basically whatever you want. And on some days, they offer a breakfast specials menu that does step things up a notch; cream cheese pancakes with blueberries, lobster scampi omelettes, etc.

Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

The chocolate chip banana pancakes were delicious, but would have liked a bit more pancake for the $8 and change price tag. Also enjoyed this breakfast special; 2 poached eggs atop a ┬ábed of bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. This isn’t four-star dining, but it is a simple, country breakfast that hits the spot and I respect it for that.

Poached Eggs Peperonata

Plus, when you’re done dining at the Mills, you can go for a dip or take a kayak out at one of the many ponds & lakes right down the street. My favorite summer adventure: paddling out at Indian Lakes, passing through the thin gap that leads into Mystic Lake and exploring the island in the middle. I guess I enjoy Cape Cod sometimes…

Mills Restaurant
149 Cotuit Rd.
Marstons Mills, MA, 02648
(508) 428-9814

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White Bean & Mushroom Stew

25 06 2012

When I think of joining a CSA, I think of weekly bundles, overflowing with leafy greens, plump & fragrant fruits; coming home from my day at the farm, dirt under my toenails, my hair flowing free..blahblahblah.

It was my first CSA pick-up the other day, and sad to say, my expectations were not met. Cut to the farm. It is down-pouring. Me in a tank top, sans jacket, frantically pulling up basil plants by the root, trying to get out of there as fast as possible. Then sitting in the car, wondering how I’m supposed to justify spending $600 a season, when all I have to show for it this week are 3 garlic scapes, a quart of strawberries, a dozen eggs, and some mesclun. Feed a family of 4 for a week?? More like an hour.

I understand that it’s the beginning of the season and I cannot rush the garden, but c’mon; a girl can’t survive on garlic scapes and spring mix alone.

On a more positive note, I did manage to incorporate this weeks CSA into one great dinner. Smitten Kitchen’s Leek Toasts with Blue Cheese, with my scapes added, Mediterranean salad with a lemon/feta dressing, and this lovely bean, leek and mushroom stew from the Veganomicon.

It’s earthy and creamy, pretty much a full meal on its own, but taken to a whole new level when served up with the leek toasts.

Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms
Adapted from Veganomicon

2 cups dried white beans, soaked over-night
1 small onion, peeled and sliced into quarters
1 stalk celery, cut in 2
1 small carrot, sliced in half
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsps. dried tarragon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled & minced
1 large leek, (white and light green parts only) thinly sliced
1 lb. mushrooms (whatever kind you want. I prefer a mix of mushies like shiitake, oyster, or cremini), thinly sliced
2 tsps. salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Drain and rinse the beans and transfer them to a pot. Add 4 cups of cold water, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for about 3 minutes. Skim off any white foam from the top. Cover the pot and lower the heat to medium; add the onion, celery, carrot, thyme, and tarragon.

Simmer for about 45 minutes, until the beans are tender. Remove the onion, carrot, and celery. Lower the heat to low and continue to simmer while preparing the remaining veggies. The beans should resemble a very thick stew, not a soup. If there’s too much liquid, leave the pot uncovered and stir occasionally.

About 10 minutes before the beans are done, places the garlic and 2 tbs. of olive oil in a cold skillet. Heat the skillet over medium heat, allowing garlic to sizzle for about 30 seconds. Add the sliced leek and saute until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape the leeks into the beans. Add the remaining 2 tbs. oil to the pan, allow to warm for about 30 seconds, then add the mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms lightly with 1/2 tsp. salt and saute until most of the mushroom liquid has evaporated, anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes. When most of the excess liquid is gone, add the mushrooms to the beans. Turn off the heat and season the beans with the remaining salt (or more, if desired) and freshly ground pepper. Allow the beans to stand for about 10 minutes before serving.





Broccoli & Tofu Lo-Mein

23 06 2012

Well, my life almost changed drastically the other week. I found a job on Craigslist that I was totally under-qualified for, but thought would be right up my alley. I applied and was basically hired on the spot. Cut to me sweating as a sous chef for a new restaurant in a resort town on opening night. Me apartment-hunting in a part of the country I have always dreamed of living. Culminate in me declining the job and returning to my parents house in the town I grew up in.

Sometimes almost taking┬áthat giant life leap is just enough to make you have an epiphone on who you are and where you see yourself. Covered in flour, in my new chef jacket, I realized that I don’t want to be a pizza cook for the rest of my life. Even a glorified one.

So I’m taking a step back, back into my own kitchen, to focus on my recipes, my brewing, and my writing. Here’s hoping that from these things, I can salvage some sort of financially-stable career. Or at least help me into my own house because I really want a cat. All roads lead to cat.

Here’s one of my “I work all the damn time so have no time to grocery shop”-recipes. This lo-mein sauce is now my go-to stir-fry sauce; so easy and quick to make, with stuff that you almost certaintly have hanging around the kitchen. It’s savory, with the perfect level of heat, and drenches the noodles without becoming too absorbed.

Broccoli Lo Mein
Adapted from 365 Easy Vegetarian Recipes

8 oz. of whatever noodle you like (soba, rice noodles, whole wheat spaghetti, whatever)
1 tb. canola oil, divided
1 lb. broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb. firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into 1-inch. pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsps. fresh gingerroot, minced
1 recipe of Lo Mein Sauce (see below)

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Heat 1 1/2 tsps. oil in a large, heavy pan over high heat. Add broccoli and tofu. Stir-fry about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger and stir-fry 1 minute. Transfer to plate and keep warm. Add remaining oil to pan and heat. Add cooked noodles and stir-fry about 2 minutes or until thoroughly hot. Toss noodles with Lo Mein Sauce.

Lo Mein Sauce

1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsps. rice wine vinegar
2 tsps. sesame oil
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sugar

Combine ingredients in an airtight container. Shake.