January 10, 2017

S is for SOUR...

Now that January has a firm grip on us, and the winds come howling up from the north, it's a good time of year to have few friends over for an afternoon visit, a cup of tea, and a spot of cake.  Here's one that we're looking forward to trying very soon.

Gather the Goods:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (12.5-ounce) jar Stonewall Kitchen Sour Cherry Jam
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until lumps from the flour are eliminated and the ingredients are uniformly mixed.
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a hand mixer can be used). Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla. Mix on low speed until uniform. Scrape down sides as needed.
Add the flour mixture and mix on low until the dough comes together into a ball. Do not over mix.
Form the dough into a round flat disc. Wrap in plastic wrap, or wax paper, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch spring form pan. Grate the dough using the large holes on a hand grater. Place half of the grated dough into the bottom of the prepared pan, pat down gently. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Top with remaining grated dough. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Remove the spring form rim and slide the cake off of the bottom of the pan onto a serving plate. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. Cut into wedges and serve.

As much as I love a tipple, this is a tea kind of cake.  Serve slightly warm from the oven with a good black tea on a chilly late-afternoon for maximum pleasure....

And, how very handy, the Sour Cherry Jam is available in our Pantry Department CLICK HERE for details...

October 11, 2016

She's back....Ina's New Cookbook is (Almost) here!

Ina’s most personal cookbook yet, Cooking for Jeffrey is filled with the recipes Jeffrey and their friends request most often as well as charming stories from Ina and Jeffrey’s many years together. There are traditional dishes that she’s updated, such as Brisket with Onions and Leeks, and Tsimmes, a vegetable stew with carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and prunes, and new favorites, like Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken and Roasted Salmon Tacos. You’ll also find wonderful new salads, including Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad and Kale Salad with Pancetta and Pecorino. 

Desserts range from simple Apple Pie Bars (see below) to showstoppers like Vanilla Rum Panna Cotta with Salted Caramel. For the first time, Ina has included a chapter devoted to bread and cheese, with recipes and tips for creating the perfect cheese course. With options like Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschettas and Challah with Saffron, there’s something everyone will enjoy.

From satisfying lunches to elegant dinners, here are the recipes Ina has tested over and over again, so you too can serve them with confidence to the people you love.

Ina's Apple Pie Bars

For the Crust
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Apple Filling1½ pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced 1/8 inch thick (3 large)
1½ pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced 1/8 inch thick (3 large)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the crust, place the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and creamy. Sift the flour and salt together and, with the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter-sugar mixture, beating until combined. Scatter two-thirds of the dough in clumps in a 9 × 13-inch baking pan and press it lightly with floured hands on the bottom and ½ inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, put the mixing bowl with the remaining dough back on the mixer, add the walnuts and cinnamon, and mix on low speed to combine. Set aside.

Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.

For the filling, combine the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples and lemon juice in a very large bowl. Add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. Melt the butter in a large (10-inch-diameter) pot, add the apples, and simmer over medium to medium-low heat, stirring often, for 12 to 15 minutes, until the apples are tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Spread the apples evenly over the crust, leaving a ½-inch border.

Pinch medium pieces of the remaining dough with your fingers and drop them evenly on top of the apples (they will not be covered). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is browned. Cool completely and cut into bars.  Makes 12 bars.

Cooking for Jeffrey will be available on October 25th, 2016.  You may reserve your copy by phoning us at 708-246-5050, or place your order online {CLICK HERE} 

July 20, 2016

On the Rocks

Just over a year ago, Down East Magazine photographed my Mom's house for an article about Maine cottages.  It's in the July 2016 issue, and I thought I'd share a bit with all of you...
The amazing photographer, Cait Bourgault, spent the day with us in New Harbor; and we did what ever the opposite of a rain dance is, to coax the sun out for the first time in over a week.  I think we had about 42 minutes of sunlight.

Muddy dogs (Gracie & Lily) were running around inside and out, joined by their local buddies in mud, Hanna and Jeffery.  I had no sooner removed paw prints from one area, and they were destroying another! We managed to corral everyone, and Cait got right to work.

Our exceedingly clever friend, and expert gardener, Kahren got all the flowerbeds ship-shape...she knows everything about what can survive (and thrive) at the edge of the ocean.  Kahren has developed the gardens into a paradise of delight with colorful flowers all season long.  By mid-summer they are bursting with hundreds of blue hydrangeas, and the bees delight in all she provides them to pollinate.  The "Green Man" watches over all...

It was such a fun day!  Afterward we had a lovely party with friends and enjoyed all of the bountiful food and wine that had been brought in to style the shoot.  A few seagulls even dropped in to celebrate with us!

To see the full article, click the link: http://bit.ly/29oLr1u  

If you ever have the chance to visit "The Pine Tree State", DO IT!!!  Maine is an absolutely magical place that will make you marvel at the diversity of nature, the power of the sea, and your love of this amazing country.  Our website has a guide to Maine with some of my favorite places to visit on the Mid-coast.  Check it out here: http://bit.ly/29Hsz3B

July 11, 2016

This & That...

We've got a whole new line up from KATE SPADE!

New items are arriving from Kate Spade, and they sell out quickly, so please be sure to scoot on in and pick up whatever you need while we have it!  Think graduation, back to school, summer hostess gifts and on and on.  It's always nice that they do a summer release, as many designers hold everything back until fall.  Not Kate!

Speaking of summer, I've spend a few hours surfing around on Pinterest lately for warm-weather inspiration, and always find so many ideas and images. Don't you find that time moves in warp speed when you're meandering through the virtual world?  I look up shocked to realize it's 2 in the morning when, only moments before, it was just midnight!!!  Here's a taste from the Clever Girl board called Shades of Yellow...check us out next time you're wandering the web.
While we're at it, I'll mention the other rabbit hole out there. Its name is Instagram, and whatever time Pinterest doesn't eat up, Instagram happily will.  Designed more for use on a phone or tablet, Instagram is a visual repository that always leaves me in awe.  There are so may beautiful photos and creatively staged images.  The gardens and interiors are what I'm particularly drawn to, but there's something for every interest.  Be sure to follow along with Clever Girl as you explore..

July 2, 2016

Happy Fourth of July...

"Ours is the only country deliberately founded on a good idea."

– John Gunther

We will be closed Monday, July 4th in observation of the holiday.  Happy Fourth of July to everyone...

June 28, 2016

The Farmhouse Cookbook

There's a new cookbook on our shelves... The Farmhouse Cookbook has arrived, and it's terrific!  This collection of over 100 mouthwatering recipes inspired by the traditions of the farmhouse kitchen—with a modern twist—captures the true taste of today's country cooking and brings the fresh ingredients and seasonal flavors of a farmhouse kitchen into your own home. Stuffed full of details on selecting the best ingredients, eating seasonally, and foraging, this book is an invaluable source of information as well as a celebration of modern country living and how to get involved with the land and the food you eat.

From soups and pâtés to casseroles, roasts, salads and pies, and from tarts and crumbles to puddings, cakes, breads, jams and chutneys, produce from the farm and surrounding countryside is imaginatively combined to produce a wonderful range of heartwarming, seasonal dishes for all the family. Recipes such as Cheddar Farls Stuffed with Fried Eggs and Crispy Bacon, Broad Bean Hummus Toasts, Somerset Scrumpy Cake and Eton Mess Semifreddo bring the fresh ingredients and seasonal flavors of a farmhouse kitchen into your own home.

Here's a recipe to try that's perfect for lunch or dinner, any time of the year...


Serves 4-6
Gather the Goods:
2 ripe but firm dessert pears
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 small heads green chicory,
broken into separate leaves
2 small heads red chicory,
broken into separate leaves
40g watercress sprigs
50g radicchio leaves (optional)
100g de-rinded blue cheese, such as Devon Blue or Colston Basset, thinly sliced
The seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate

For the caramelized walnuts:
100g walnut halves
2 tbsp clear honey

For the dressing:
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp clear honey
1 tsp walnut oil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the caramelized walnuts, preheat the oven to 180°C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Scatter the walnuts over a lined baking tray, drizzle with the honey and roast for 8-10 mins until toasted and caramelized. Leave to cool, then break into small pieces.
For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and honey, then gradually whisk in the oils. Season well with salt and black pepper.
Slice the pears away from the core, toss with the lemon juice and set to one side.
Toss the salad leaves with 2 tbsp of the dressing and divide between plates. Tuck the slices of pear and cheese in bet ween the leaves and scatter over the walnut s and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle a little more dressing over and around each plate and serve straight away.

You'll find this, along with a great variety of other delicious cookbook on our website: shopclevergirl.com Click here for the link, and happy cooking!

June 13, 2016

Warm and Sunny

Summer has finally arrived, and we're ready the warm days, and long evenings. Crisp rosé feels just right these days, and we're all looking to entertain a bit more. I just posted this lovely picture on the Clever Girl INSTAGRAM account. If you haven't yet joined Instagram, you're in for a real treat.  There's so much to look at!  Be sure to follow us there as well as on our FACEBOOK page...
Speaking of dining outside and entertaining, take a look at these absolutely lovely dinner napkins we're carrying.  Emily Dickinson, Jack London, Mark Twain and D.H. Lawrence make appearances as eloquent dining companions in this set of four graphic cloth napkins adorned with amorous quotes by the literary greats...
 Text is culled from the archives of some of the world’s literary giants and hand-screened onto sheets of the sheerest cotton voile. The letter napkins arrive folded and enclosed in a classic string tie envelope for a truly special delivery.  I think they make a lovely hostess gift.

Encourage thoughtful discourse at your next dinner party by using them.  (And opening a bottle of rosé.)  Check them out right here.  Happy start to summer everyone...

June 6, 2016

"S" is for Summer

Hats off to Summer!
Hey everyone!  Hope you're in summer mode.  Schools is out, the graduation parties are in full swing, and Lake houses are being readied for the upcoming season. My garden is growing madly, and the weeds are attempting to join in the fun.  We're getting all sorts of goodies here at the store that say SUMMER in one form or another.  

One line that's always popular is Chavez for Charity. More than $1 million dollars has been raised by this company for their partner charities. Go color crazy and support a good cause at the same time.

We're always amazed when we open the box of these and see hundreds and hundreds of these happy, colorful bracelets. They're great to mix and match in all sorts of combinations, and, at just $10, they're really fun to give as gifts, too. We have several "color experts" here at Clever Girl that will be happy to assist you in putting together interesting combinations!

It seems everywhere I look this summer, this hat, from Eugenia Kim keeps popping up.  [see it here]  I was thrilled to order a version for the store that I think you'll all just love.  Not only is it adorable, and pithy, (and how often can one say that about a hat?) our version is only $44 dollars: that's $400 LESS than hers!  They'll go fast, so reserve yours ASAP, or ask to be placed on our wait list.


We've discovered the antidote to a scorchingly hot day! Bang Candy Company Flavored Syrups are made by hand in small batches with only the finest ingredients. They're perfect for making refreshing sodas, delicious cocktails and adding a touch of pizzaz to virtually any recipe! 

Basil is known as the "King of Herbs"and Peaches are regal in their own right. Roll out the red carpet for this royal marriage of flavors. Just add Prosecco for a heavenly Bellini with a twist! A splash of sparkling water makes for a delicious refreshing soda, possibly my very favorite!



Sweet, refreshing and feisty! Satisfy your cravings without getting in trouble. Deliciously-sweet pineapple with the freshness of cilantro and a subtle kick of jalapeno. Margaritas!!! (Plays well with Tequila.)

Happy Summer, everyone!
Don't forget the Farmer's Market is every Thursday from 2-7

May 22, 2016

What Katie Ate...on the Weekend

New on our cookbook shelves is the delightful, What Katie Ate on the Weekend.  This book is packed full of tasty recipes AND has amazing photography to boot.  At 320 pages, it's really full of delicious kitchen inspiration.

What Katie Ate: At the Weekend takes favorite recipes from Katie Quinn Davies' wildly successful blog, along with many never-seen-before recipes, and presents them in this gorgeous book filled with unique and beautiful photography. She shares her inspiring ideas for informal get-togethers, whether it be for a couple or a crowd. Entice your guests with Katie's refreshing take on flavor-packed pizzas, salads, tapas, cocktails and decadent desserts.
Caramelized onion, fennel and tomato focaccia

Gather the Goods:

  • 1 × 7 g sachet instant dried yeast
  • 2 pinches of caster sugar
  • ¹⁄³ cup (80 ml) olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 450 g strong flour
  • Fine salt
  • 4 red onions, finely sliced
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 × 250 g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved sea salt


Combine the yeast, sugar, 2 tablespoons oil and 320 ml warm water in a bowl, then set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until frothy.
Sift the flour into a bowl and add 1 teaspoon salt. Make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Place in a large bowl that has been greased with a little olive oil and cover with a damp tea towel. Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over low–medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 12–15 minutes or until soft. Add the brown sugar and vinegar and cook, stirring, for 7–10 minutes or until the onion is caramelised and the vinegar has been absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Punch down the dough with your fist. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1–2 minutes. Spread the dough out to form a rough rectangle, then cover the surface evenly with the onion mixture. Scatter the fennel seeds on top, reserving a few to scatter over the cooked focaccia. Carefully fold the dough over on itself a few times until most of the onion mixture is incorporated into the dough (this bit can get a little sticky so ensure your work surface is well-floured).
Preheat the oven to 200°C fan-forced and grease a baking tray with olive oil. Press the dough into the prepared tray, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 20 minutes or until doubled in volume. Use your finger to press dimples into the dough, then carefully press the tomato halves into the dimples. Brush well with oil and sprinkle over the remaining fennel seeds, then season with a few good pinches of sea salt.
Bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 8

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