Archive for agates

Late October at Lake Superior

the path to lake superior

view of lake superior from the overlook near deer park ~ michigan’s upper peninsula

Finally we got a chance to head ‘up north’ to the Upper Peninsula — for a very quick and very long overdue couple of days hunting for agates on Lake Superior. The foliage has been late to turn this year — rather than the drab far-past-peak colors we expected, there were surprising bits of color here and there. Sadly my camera couldn’t do it justice…

road to lake superior

color a bit lacking on this road to the lake…

splash of color in the up

this road had seen some heavy logging ~ still a splash of color to be seen

fall color in the up

another splash of color outside our little cabin ~ nestled among the tall pines where myriad nuthatches (red- and white-breasted variety) and chickadees played morning and night…

It was only 36 hours by the clock, but a welcomed eternity for the soul πŸ™‚

calm lake superior

unusual to see the big lake so calm in autumn

lake superior agates

a few of the treasures we brought back… lake superior agates and other interesting stones…

path to the lake

the path my feet will be dreaming of until spring … leading to a little piece of heaven ‘up north’

Happy Monday!


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Fall Frenzy

Another hurricane is busy wreaking havoc — this time on Florida with other states to come — here’s hoping all in Irma’s path are safe tonight.

The week since I returned from Mass. was mostly rainy and cold — so cold we covered the beans in case of frost on Friday night — luckily that didn’t happen. This week should bring better weather. Tomatoes are still trying to ripen outdoors and the squash and cukes have taken on a second life. Peppers are coming on strong and the little chinese broccoli seedlings are growing… kohlrabi too. The lack of heat has meant fewer brinjals and no okra at all. Still there are chard and beets and so on… there’s nothing to complain about with the gardens this year!

squash and long beans

beautiful long beans, summer squash and lebanese zucchini ~ with one lonely brinjal

daisy is dreaming of agates

daisy is dreaming of catnip from the garden

lake superior waves

I am dreaming of Lake Superior …

lake superior agate

and her hidden treasures!

If this nice weather holds, we might be able to escape to the UP for a day’s agate hunting πŸ™‚

pickles and basil dressing

Meanwhile, here is Miss M’s scrumptious basil salad dressing, along with a mess of pickles we put up last night!

Miss M’s Basil Salad Dressing

I messaged Miss M to send me the recipe for the yummy basil dressing we had at her new apartment. Would you believe my baby is 25!??! She and her boyfriend made a salad of home-grown tomatoes (carried in bubble wrap all the way from Michigan!) with burrata — that creamy dreamy cousin of fresh mozzarella — with this fresh dressing drizzled on top.

Here is the recipe precisely as she told it to me πŸ™‚

“Take half a cup of olive oil, two cups packed basil, a bit of lemon juice–calls for 1/4 of a cup but I like less, and 1-2 cloves garlic. Salt and pepper to taste, blend together and enjoy!!

OH, and add three tablespoons pine nuts!!”

I used all the lemon juice and just love this dressing on any salad — but especially with burrata — check out this link!


Happy Monday!



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Up North Rocks

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan rocks — literally and figuratively!

Just back from a glorious mini-break, I am happily faced with two hundred-plus pics to go through (not bad for three days!) and a garden full of produce to preserve.

I promised pickles for dear sra and pickles I shall post soon.

For tonight, just a quick few photos from the lovely autumn days in the UP. The river shots are just for my dear friend ISG — we all know she is a river girl at heart! πŸ™‚

muskallonge lake
muskallonge lake ~ view from the eastern shore

lake superior
lake superior shoreline

a tiny agate
a tiny agate… (lake superior rock!)

tahquamenon river
the tahquamenon river

cut river
the cut river where it flows into Lake Michigan

lake michigan ~ view from US2
looking west from US 2 ~ Lake Michigan in the UP

More UP fun to come — but next up — pickles, chutney and perhaps tomato jam πŸ™‚

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Going “Up North”

beanstalks grow on this huge sunflower...
beans are climbing up this huge sunflower…

Now that I live in the “northern lower”, a trip “up north” to the Upper Peninsula isn’t such an undertaking — all I need is a few days off and a car as opposed to a few weeks off and a plane ticket!

Here is where I am headed…

When I get back I hope to have some great new photos — perhaps even some foodie stuff too! (such as pickles, sra?) πŸ™‚

lake superior ~ yum!
lake superior

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Kohlrabi Sambhar — The Joke’s On Me!

fresh kohlrabi
fresh and tasty kohlrabi bulbs and greens

Before the New Year I promised to post kohlrabi sambhar, inspired by Anita’s delicious haak. Looking back in my archives I saw that the joke was on me —

I’ve already posted the very same, way back in 2009!

Well, it didn’t spoil by keeping — this is still far and away my favorite sambhar, aside from Suganya’s spicy sambhar, or Padma’s udipi sambhar, or roasted eggplant sambhar or oh, yum, jackfruit chips sambhar… ok, I admit it, there is no such thing as favorite sambhar. Happily there are endless varieties to try!

This is quite a lame excuse for a post, using all these old links, but it’s fun to delve into the past, and next time I promise something more original. At least I’ve kept my promise to myself — get back here and post *something* before another week flies by. This weekend, perhaps a field trip to the new Wegman’s is in order! Now that would be something to get excited about πŸ™‚

To redeem myself, here are a few belated photos from late summer in Michigan’s glorious Upper Peninsula…

birch trees in late afternoon
birch trees on the shores of a small lake ~ late afternoon in the upper peninsula

lone loon in the upper peninsula of michigan
a lone loon glides along…

great blue heron stalking
in the distance, a great blue heron stalks the shores of that little lake

great blue heron upper peninsula
contemplating supper…

northern lake huron landscape
landscape of northern lake huron shore near les cheneaux islands

northern lake huron fauna
flora of northern lake huron

a small island in northern lake huron
a small island in northern lake huron

a small island in northern lake huron
a closer look

monarch on northern lake huron
monarch on goldenrod ~ north shore of lake huron

monarch on northern lake huron
monarch on goldenrod ~ north shore of lake huron again

SS Herbert Jackson
one of my favorite boats ~ the classic laker Herbert C. Jackson! just managed to catch her upbound to the Soo; here she is in Lake Munuscong, the area where the St. Mary’s River empties into Lake Huron

No trip to the Upper Peninsula would be complete without an agate foray!

unusual green and white agate from lake superior
an unusual agate from lake superior ~ it looks blackish but it’s actually green and white


Is it global warming, or just cyclical oddity? My daffodils are coming up in the backyard; it’s been an unseasonably warm fall and early winter.

Yesterday the weather finally turned cold — not just here but up and down the east coast — strawberry farmers in Florida were setting ice film on their fields to save the fruit, and it was 11 F on my way to work this morning.

Now it feels good to recall those lazy, hazy days of summer, melding into golden autumn.

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I Heart H Mart, Gaji Namul (yummy Korean eggplant), and Of Course, Michigan

a peach colored agate
a peach colored agate from the shores of lake superior

I have discovered H Mart, practically in my backyard. Just down the road,
so to speak; a hop skip and a jump from my favorite Indian grocery haunts.
Oh joy!

ingredients for gaji namul

ingredients for gaji namul ~ check out the one *pound* bottle of roasted, crushed sesame seed ~
on sale at H Mart for the paltry sum of $5

Shopping at H Mart is an experience in itself. To quote one Yelp reviewer
from last year: “There are Zip cars in the parking lot, that should tell you alot.
A trip to H Mart is not an errand, it’s an event”!

A giant produce section with every vegetable imaginable — on Saturday I saw actual fresh jackfruit, whole, as big as two footballs!
Oh, how I wished I had a knife big enough to handle one of those.
Oh, how I wished I had brought my camera!

Fresh bamboo shoots are available halved, sliced, cut into cubes or strips.
A myriad of mushrooms awaits; if you’ve ever wanted to cook with hon shimeji, beech, maitake — here they are.

The world is your king oyster mushroom at H Mart.

Usually they have brinjal, long Asian as well as smaller Indian; ridge gourd, silk squash, ash gourd, pumpkin, etc. Fresh peppers, hot and sweet, every Asian green you can think of, herbs, and tofu — oh, the tofu!

Meat and fish of every variety is sold as well — marinated, sliced in specialty cuts for what I can only assume are some of the hallmarks of Korean cuisine, and there is an entire section of prepared Korean side dishes — bracken, spinach, mushroom, you name it — and of course kimchi of all sorts… I could go on and on. Noodles, frozen dumplings of great quality without MSG, oils and vinegars and sauces, shelf upon shelf of seaweeds, even a small section with dals and various spices — although for dry spices I’ll take my Indian markets any day.

At any rate H Mart is a great place for retail therapy — not to mention lunch, with a food court and bakery right there in the store. Next time, I’m going to bring my camera.

Last weekend I was out hunting agates.

outfitted for the (agate) hunt against the elements at whitefish point ~ yes, it’s always windy and cold up there!

This weekend I was hunting for an authentic Korean recipe — a side dish in which quick-cooked spinach is seasoned simply with fresh garlic, green onions, soy sauce, and sesame. I stumbled upon Maangchi, whose infectious cooking videos — complete with eclectic music — reeled me right in. In addition to the spinach, I was enticed to make this eggplant dish, called gaji namul. I changed it up a little by adding fresh ginger and cilantro, as well as some fresh chopped bamboo shoot; but mostly I followed Maangchi’s recipe. It’s amazing on rice!

gaji namul with bamboo shoot

gaji namul ~ korean seasoned eggplant
it was so late, I had no time for a pretty presentation but trust me, it’s delicious!

Check out the original recipe here and the video here. Thanks Maangchi!

Requisite Michigan pics πŸ™‚

majestic mighty mac
the majestic Mackinac Bridge in waning sun

ice bridge
and a bridge of ice on the old pilings at whitefish point

72 million rocks at lake superior
millions of rocks, with maybe a few agates mixed in ~ storm front passing over lake superior

yellow rumped myrtle warbler
a yellow rumped (myrtle) warbler at paradise

brick red agate
a brick-red agate full of fine banding

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Autumn Agates

Q: What could be better than hunting for agates on Lake Superior?

unusual agates
unusual autumn agates

A: Hunting for agates on Lake Superior for two glorious, warm autumn days!

Lucky me, I got to go.

lake superior in autumn

late afternoon sunshine bathes the landscape…

…with a magical glow

is this an agate?
what am I?

pink agate
a beautiful pale pink agate… looks good enough to eat!

perhaps amethyst agate
unusual, cylindrical agate with… perhaps an amethyst center?

another pale pink agate ~ finely banded

Happy November indeed! But I’m missing it already… πŸ™‚

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101 Reasons To Move To Michigan

I can think of at least 101 reasons to move to Michigan.
I could have stayed up all night detailing them too,
but it’s getting late, so 32 will have to do.
That’s more than enough for me!

I apologize for the lack of a recipe post.
I wanted something up here to continue the fun of posting for dear Nupur’s marathon — but this hasn’t been the best week for relaxation and cooking.
This will have to suffice till I can get back to the kitchen!

In the spirit of exhaustion, I just put these pics up in alphabetical
(by file name, that is) order.

In the end, that turned out fun. Hope you enjoy πŸ™‚

eye agate in the rough

Lake Superior rocks back and forth like an ocean, creating pools like this in an instant ~ where one might find an agate!

Roger Blough at night ~ upbound on the St. Clair River

some of a million coneflowers ~ outside Trout Lake in the upper peninsula

Canadian Steamship Lines Frontenac ~ heading downbound at Mission Point, Soo

the anchor of the Edward L. Ryerson, downbound Mission Point

a northern Michigan home garden

beach peas on Lake Michigan in summer

autumn storm on Lake Michigan

Lake Superior through the trees

mergansers swimming and diving at the Soo

the rocky shore at old mission point ~ lake michigan showing her caribbean colors

American Victory, steaming downbound at Mission Point, Soo ~ thanks, mm!!

the northwoods, in paradise

one little piping plover

sunset over whitefish bay ~ paradise

garden peas climbing a propane tank ~ michigan home garden

more piping plovers

juvenile rose-breasted grosbeak

adult male rose-breasted grosbeak

kitty watching a mess of redpolls ~ lunching in northern michigan ~ photo by G

too many redpolls to count ~ photo by G

ring-billed gull at mission point

sandhill crane ~ somewhere out along a county road in the UP

another sandhill on the same county road, back in the wilderness,
collecting nesting material

male scarlet tanager ~ they flit about so much ~ good luck to me getting a pic!

cactus-like sedum ~ growing on the shore of lake michigan

stumpy lake skegemog ~ part of the chain of lakes

pop-quiz! find the snow bunting
(in winter plumage)

a beaver out of water, at the soo ~ eventually the border patrol came and got him out of the road and back into the river

morels in springtime ~ photo courtesy dear G

whitefish point in spring ~ lighthouse, lake, and laker

Are you ready to move yet? πŸ™‚

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What Happened To…

…. the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer?

have a listen to Nat King Cole’s classic, set to pics courtesy of Snowqueen555.
The last sunset pic reminds me of Michigan,
so thanks, Snowqueen, whomever you may be!

Well it’s certainly crazy, but not hot and hazy — more like a June monsoon in my neck of the woods. If New England has seen five sunny days this month, I’ll eat my hat. Also not much time for lazy! The girl-child is off to drivers’ ed and then summer camp — while the boy-child is on break between classes and a summer internship. It seems once school lets out, life gets more hectic! I was, however, fortunate to enjoy a visit to my beloved upper peninsula over the past couple of months.

sandhill cranes ~ twenty miles north of nowhere and just south of Lake Superior

snowbuntings wfp
snow buntings playing at whitefish point

the lighthouse at whitefish point ~ with a laker far off on the horizon

lake superior agate

dream boat ~ the Edward L. Ryerson ~ steaming downbound from the Soo

a sunset in paradise…

And the garden, of course, takes much spare time in a most rewarding way!

As a very late birthday gift, I bought myself some organically grown heirloom tomato plants which arrived late in May, all the way from California (thanks, mom!).

In spite of the heavy rains and lack of sun, these tomatoes are taking off.

marianna’s peace ~ heirloom ‘potato-leafed’ tomato ~ early June

… and late June

How does your garden grow?

Oh, and by the way… I’ve been cooking too, albeit mostly simple things of late.
I am hoping for some hot weather in July to get homemade dosa/idly batter going quickly! Tonight, it’s cool and rainy, so it’s this Udupi temple special from Ramya’s Mane Adige ~ a dish so delectable that it’s become a fast favorite. She made hers with brinjal; I also added pumpkin to mine in the form of sweet buttercup squash. So sweet in fact, that I didn’t add much jaggery. The squash was also a good thickener, so I didn’t use coconut. And of course, for seasoning, it was none other than ISG’s magical sambhar podi πŸ™‚ No photos of that, as it’s still on the stove, but check out Ramya’s pic and you’ll be drooling, I promise. Thanks, Ramya!

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Hmm… It’s About Time!!


seeds of the delectable drumstick!

How long has it been since I posted that mystery photo — days, weeks, months?

Fall is flying by fast and furious; it seems I hardly have time to take a breath.
There was the flurry of school starting — you know how that goes. Then my favorite (and only) aunt turned 75 — there was a huge gathering for that at my cousin’s home and I had the chance to catch up with lots of family I haven’t seen in a long while. Shortly therafter was a weekend in NY to visit the newly-installed-in-college-boyfriend (ok, I spoil my daughter!).

Next up, the annual walk for JDRF — always a big hit. Meg recruited a big bunch of friends for a great cause. My son Michael brought his friend Peter up from school to help me shepherd them all over Boston on train and subway. Mike is busy in the honors program this year, and has been invited to tutor underclassmen.
I am one proud mama with my two babies nearly grown πŸ™‚

Late in August I started with a new company in the midst of their busiest season, and suddenly I wonder whether I really *had* a job the past 6 years. Now I am exhausted when I get home from work, but the commute is shorter and it’s good to be busy again.

Finally I have a weekend (mostly) to myself where I can play catch-up, and blogging is at the top of the list.

The garden is about done, but I still have a tiny stash of bell and poblano peppers to pick later this weekend.

Every time I go to pull the tomato vines, there are blossoms and new growth. In spite of autumn’s chilly nights, today I had enough green to make a batch of picalilli, or at least start one. It’s really more of a mixed pickle relish — an old New England concoction. Tomatoes red and green, peppers sweet and hot, onion, cabbage and cauliflower — all ground coarsely and salted overnight, then cooked with vinegar, sugar and spices. If it turns out well I will post a recipe — and I won’t wait six weeks to do so! πŸ˜‰

It was a fun garden year with lots of lessons learned.

What I will miss most is the amazing, season-long harvest of real-deal brinjals.
I had the most beautiful assortment of eggplant this year, thanks to the never-ending generosity of my dear friend ISG — now my garden fairy as well as my kitchen fairy πŸ™‚

Thank you *so* much, ISG!!! :):)

Not only that, but ISG also sent me a bag of scrumptious (and addictive!)
Tangy Tomato Banana Chips from Haldiram’s! Hard to believe I didn’t eat the whole thing in one sitting. There was also a big container of Gulab Jamun in the package.
My dad’s 75th birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year, so I am saving them for that special occasion πŸ™‚

How lucky am I? As they say in New England — “wicked lucky” πŸ˜‰


What follows is an assortment of pics taken over the past couple of months.

In the brinjal section I have only photos of the plants and fruit. I don’t have one of a finished dish –mostly because I gobbled them up before I could think to get the camera.

I hope everyone is doing fine — once this post goes up it’s time for some serious blog-hopping!

bell peppers and an eggplant

pasta salad with shrimp, feta cheese and gardenfresh michigan cucumbers ~ greek olives and whole wheat naan on the side

a garter snake hiding beneath tomatoes

juvenile swan at seney nwr, august 2008

an eye agate

a candy agate

a tube agate

brinjal plants in bloom ~ thank you, ISG!!

pretty pale purple brinjal blossom

fruit on the brinjal vine ~ courtesy ISG!

the yummy brinjals!

swiss chard…

and aloo paratha made with chard in the dough

jalfrezi with lowfat paneer and my own bell peppers!

mike and his friend peter bringing up the rear at the jdrf walk — a beautiful day to stroll around the Charles River!

the scene at the esplanade on walk day

every year a live band entertains the walkers… this year meg’s group caught their attention with their enthusiasm and impromptu dance ~ they were invited up on stage for the last song ~ at the famous Hatch Shell where the Boston Pops play ~ what a thrill! (meg in braids…)

mike, the honors scholar ~ he’d KILL me if he knew I was posting this! πŸ˜‰

one last summertime shot ~ honeybees aren’t gone yet ~ cornflowers in northern michigan

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