Saturday, August 2, 2008

Beans, bald benefits & beautiful brides

Summer in Maine is all consuming. Outdoor concerts, lawn parties, beach outings, alfresco dinners, sipping drinks on the back deck - the entertainment options are limitless. As a result, Adam and I seem to fill each precious day to its maximum capacity.

This often means we have a short window of time before, between or after the evening's festivities to cook up and enjoy the amazing bounty we're buying each week from the Portland Farmers' Market. Fortunately for us, these Maine grown veggies are so tasty, they need very little fussing with to bring out their exquisite flavor.

Fresh beans are a terrific example. The green ones dominate the market stands here in Portland, but I can often find exotic and heirloom varieties, such as these purple beauties. I frequently use my garlic-soy stir fry on whatever kinds I have on hand. It takes less than 15 minutes and tastes like a million bucks.

Notice how much of the purple fades out of the beans when they're stir fried. Still they remain delicious, even without their royal glow.

Two staples of Maine farmers' markets at this time of year are corn and potatoes. As a result, they tend to show up in many of our dinners.

The last couple weeks I've been on a mashed potato and corn-on-the-cob kick, as a way to take advantage of these yummy treats. I leave the skins on my mashed potatoes, giving them a twist on the white-washed classic. Just chop, boil, season and mash, and I've got a substantial dish on the table. We paired the two with a salad before heading off to the hysterical Comb Overs for Kids benefit this past Thursday.

Subjecting themselves to the frowns of Portland's fashionistas for the past six months, Allen Fritzler, left, and Marcus Payne grew serious comb overs. Why would they do such a thing? To raise money for the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital, of course. And they surpassed their $5,000 goal at the really fun finale at Margarita's this past Thursday.

Around 8 pm, Marcus and Allen were freed from hairstyle hell by the stylists at the Men's Room. Allen also got a full shave (after the crowd voted to get rid of his beard).

While the Comb Overs will live in infamy for years to come, this week's most memorable event was without a doubt my friend Denise's wedding. She had a beautiful ceremony and a rockin' reception at the Martindale Country Club in Auburn. Her new husband, Dave, made the gorgeous arbor that framed their ceremony.

After dinner (where Denise had the kitchen make me a delicious vegan stir fry), the girls (some of whom are pictured here) kept things moving on the dance floor.

So did Denise, even though her breathtaking dress had quite the train on it. Here Lisa T. is trying to tie it up and get it off the floor. After multiple attempts, it still kept slipping lower. But it didn't matter that a satin hazard was trailing behind her, Denise cut it up with the best of them.

It was an auspicious start to their journey together, and I'm so glad I was able to share in their happy celebration.


J said...

Those beans are beautiful! I am going to keep my eyes peeled for purple beans, the green ones are so abundant right now.

That Comb Over Event is too funny - what a great cause too.

And you are right, what a beautiful bride!

Katie said...

Sounds fun!

I love beans, corn on the cob & mashed potatoes. Yum, yum. The perfect summer staples.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to try some of those beautiful purple beans! We've been in green & yellow bean heaven lately.

Anonymous said...

I envy your love of green beans! I don't like them at all. My mom used to make us eat them when we were little and neither me, my brother or my sister will eat them now!

Bianca said...

Ha! The combovers are hilarious! I could never get my bald boyfriend to do that...not even for charity. He's way to vain. Oh well.