Lois Dodd – Catching the Light

lois dodd in Maine studio

I see Lois Dodd’s back a lot. Light comes into her barn studio through the same door I do, so she’s very seldom facing it.

Portland, Maine: Last evening was almost balmy, this morning, not so much and tomorrow here comes the snow, more of it back down in the Hudson Valley than up here right by the coast, if the forecast proves accurate.

What am I doing in Maine in the winter, after so many years away? I’m taking a small part in the opening festivities for my neighbor Lois’ retrospective at the Portland Museum of Art.

The show’s title, Catching the Light, is a good description of her skill, or perhaps more accurately her very raison d’etre. But years of watching her at work, preparing to work, knocking off for the day and otherwise living the daily life of a painter have me firmly convinced that she wouldn’t be interested in catching it if it hadn’t caught her first.

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In Kitchen and Garden – Live on the Radio

or more accurately, me live on the radio, answering your questions about how to grow great food, whether you’ve got a big garden or not. Preparing the goodies after you’ve grown them (or snagged them at the Farmers’ Market) is also fair game.

Just tune in this very Tuesday (tomorrow!) at 2PM, to Martha Stewart Living Today on Sirius Satellite Radio. No subscription? No problem. There’s a  7 day free trial that will handily let you listen – and I hope participate.

vegetable garden with fence

Part of our Hudson Valley Vegetable (and fruit!) Garden - but yours doesn't need to be nearly this big to deliver big rewards.

If you’re anything like me, questions are already coming out of your ears – what, for instance, am I going to DO with all this lettuce ? – but if a bit of inspiration would help, try the roundup of food garden posts at  Vegetable Gardening for Smarties, Not Dummies.

My Semi-Secret Source for Delicious Deep Fried Fish

It’s pretty much Slow Food city around here and always has been. Home grown, local, artisanal, sustainable – choose your anti-industrial buzzword and it’s likely to apply. So I feel I speak with some authority when I say that deep fried fast food can be a wonderful thing.

All you have to do is get it from Finest Fried Maine Seafood, where the succulent, crisp crusted haddock, scallops, clam strips and shrimp are the platonic ideals of their kind and it’s probably better not to speak of the homemade potato chips.

Seren huus, Finest fried maine seafood chips

Seren Huus, of FFMS, portioning out the chips. (That’s my hand holding ‘em up for your visual delectation.)

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Great Maine Apple Day

Is well named. Hauling yourself out to Unity on the 24th for  MOFGA’S annual apple jamboree is a great way to spend a fall day and that’s because Maine has a lot of great apples.

Somewhere well north of 50 apple varieties laid out for tasting.

Somewhere well north of 50 apple varieties laid out for tasting.

The tasting part is a unique opportunity to check out all sorts of flavors and textures, and of course to sample apples not routinely sold in stores.

A lot of the tastiest varieties are not likely to win beauty contests

A lot of the tastiest varieties are not likely to win beauty contests

Although some

leslie land gmad hidden rose apple

do have their spectacular aspects.

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Coming Attractions: Wild Mushroom class, demo/talk on Putting Food By

aka eating local in the winter in a cold climate.

That’s me: at noon on Saturday, 9/12, in Camden, Maine at Maine Fare.

The mushroom class is of course taught by Bill: from 9:30 to 4:30 on Saturday, 9/12, in Cold Spring, New York, at Glynwood.

Antiques, Rare Plants, Great Local Food and The Kitchen Garden – Saturday in Garden Heaven Coming Right Up

For everyone who can get to the mid-Hudson Valley this Saturday, May 16th.

unusual ornamentals at Trade Secrets

Unusual ornamentals at Trade Secrets

Start out in Sharon, CT at Trade Secrets, purchasing ( or pining for) garden antiques, modern embellishments and rare plants brought by dealers and nurserypersons from all over New England.

Then head over to Millbrook, NY for Food for Thought, Plant a Row/Grow a Row, a celebration of local and home grown that offers everything from vegetable seedlings and master gardeners’ advice on growing them to chef’s demos, a wine and cheese tasting and book signings by Nava Atlas, Lee Reich – and me.

clockwise from top: wine cap mushrooms (Stropharia rugosa annulata, Lambs Quarters, Asparagus, rhubarb

Clockwise from top: wine cap mushrooms (Stropharia rugosa annulata), Lambs Quarters, Asparagus, Rhubarb

Some of what’s growing in my garden – and could be growing in yours – right now

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Food Blog Contest

Just came across a contest for favorite food blogs. It ends January 9th so there’s not much time if you want to nominate one. This is a completely selfless announcement; the rules demand at least 6 posts a month for 6 consecutive months and I’m pretty sure they all have to be about food.

(in other words, this blog doesn’t qualify; something I should have been clearer about when putting up the post. Many thanks to Dawn for bringing it to my attention.)

newly-harvested rocambole garlic

newly-harvested rocambole garlic

About Food: It’s time to start using up the garlic;  rocambole (hardneck) types usually start sprouting – or decaying – in February. The Roasted Garlic and Potatoes in Olive Oil recipe is back with the how to grow garlic post.

Mushroom Class Coming Up


Boletus edulis, the prized porcino

Boletus edulis, the prized porcino

On 9/17 and 9/20, Bill Bakaitis will be giving a two part class on Mushroom Identification at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York.

The program is for students and members of the campus community, but there is usually room for a few visitors as well. If you would like to be one of them, contact Jay Stein (845) 451-1793 or

At Home in The Garden; The Garden Kitchen

Talks coming up at each end of the summer.

June 26, 6:30PM, Thomaston Public Library, Thomaston, Maine,  Art in the Environment lecture series:

Your Own Private Environment: At Home in the Garden

A lot of what matters inside matters outside too: a comfortable flow of traffic from place to place,  plenty of light, individual personality in the décor department and of course a terrific kitchen (aka vegetables). I never know until the last minute, but it’s safe to say I’ll be discussing basic cottage garden design; integrating food plants with ornamentals; and durable garden embellishments from homemade twig arches to antique urns. 

September 12 – 14 Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay , Maine

 Maine Fare  – The 3rd annual get-together focussed on Maine Food:  tastings, marketplace, workshops, demos, talks and a couple of very special meals. As usual, I’ll be holding forth on eating locally in a cold climate and demonstrating tasty strategies that make it easy to do. As usual, that’s all I know right now. Please check the Maine Fare Website frequently for detailed updates on the whole weekend’s offerings.

Update: Mainefare for this year has been cancelled, but that doesn’t change the “please check the website” part. Planners tell me they are doing this in order to make 09 even more wnderful and there are rumors of interesting sub-events to still be held this fall.

Food Garden Radio

Bunch of Dahlias:


Bunch of talk about food gardening

with Sally Spillane on The Garden Show

Sunday January 13 at 8AM

on radio staion WKZE

98.1 on the dial in the Hudson Valley. Here on the computer everywhere else (but not everywhen else; it’s live broadcast only)