Monday, February 23, 2015

Crunchy Noodle Salad

I made this on Friday night and we really enjoyed it with some fresh Salmon. 
I think this is a keeper for our summer month dinners too!

The Barefoot Contessa -  Crunchy Noodle Salad
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound thin spaghetti
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds, divided
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions (with and green parts), sliced diagonally
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the sugar snap peas, return to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Lift the sugar snap peas from the water with a slotted spoon and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Drain.
For the dressing, whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and peanut butter in a medium bowl.
Combine the spaghetti, sugar snap peas, peppers and scallions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the spaghetti mixture. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and the parsley and toss together.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

BoiDiesel & Glycerin Hand Cleaner ?

While on vacation in The Florida Keys I had a conversation with Jeff Lillie of Marathon BioDiesel.  I met him through a string of chance conversations.  The woman that we rent a house from likes my soaps, and she was telling me about a friend of hers that makes a hand cleaner and foot scrub out of glycerin byproduct from his BioDiesel production facility.  She also is a customer of his, buying BioDiesel to run her truck.   I was very interested in stopping in to meet him.  So, Mr. Casco Bay Soap Co and I stopped by one afternoon and chatted with him for quite a while about BioDeeisel and his whole production process.  I learned that glycerin is created while purifying BioDiesel.  Biodiesel is a promising alternative and renewable, fuel.  As its production increases, so does production of the principle co-product, crude glycerol or glycerin.  For each gallon of BioDiesel about 1 gallon of glycerin is created.  The whole process is very interesting and very very involved but the basics are this.  Jeff collects used cooking oil from local restaurants in The Keys and converts it to fuel for cars, trucks and even boats.  Fish restaurants, donut shops, pizza parlors, Conch fritter food stands and more!  He is working with the local high school kids and they are learning much about running a business and all sorts of science facts.
A link to the website for more technical information:
Here are some pictures from around his Biodiesel yard:
His truck can easily recognized around The Keys!

Barrels of used oil(s) from restaurants....

the process of purifying...
examples in mason jars...
education is KEY!
Jeff filling up a vehicle at his filling station!
And the hand cleaner
Here is a link to the Website for the cleaners -  featuring a non-toxic, biodegradable hand cleaner and foot pumice
Their process as explained by them:

 The MPOD Trailer is a mobile processing plant. It is designed to be moved to various regional collection sites where the oil has been prepared for processing and will be finished.

Preparing the oil for processing involves cleaning the oil to remove impurities and drying the oil to remove moisture.

Finishing the fuel after processing involves drying the fuel again and finishing or polishing the fuel to further removes impurities.

Regional collection points serve as locations to take the oil collected from an area or town, prepare the oil for processing, finish the fuel after processing and store the fuel that is ready for sale and use. Visits from the processing trailer

MPOD are timed on a regular basis across several collection sites so that the  MPOD is always working. The MPOD can produce between 200 & 400 gallons of High Quality ASTM Certified B100 per an 8 hour shift, 24/7 - 365

Clean, professional looking collection containers are provided to restaurants at no charge. These containers are cleaned upon each visit so that area remains tidy and professional looking.

Participating restaurants are not paid for the waste vegetable. Instead they donate the waste oil and in return receive a “Green Hand Certificate” to display in their store that lets everyone know that they are handling the waste they generate is responsible way that benefits the their community. The businesses are also provided All Natural High Quality Liquid Hand Soap, All Natural Dirty Hand Cleaner and All Natural Foot Pumice.  The natural soap products are derived from the glycerin removed and processed in the making of the fuel.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

While Away...

Hi there!  I was away for a mid-winters break down to The Florida Keys.  While there, I did more than just fishing, frozen drinks, Cuban sandwiches and relaxing.   I had the opportunity to visit their local farmers market!    Full of loads of great local grown produce and flowers, they also had some soaps and candles, breads, teas, jams and prepared foods.  While this market was a bit different than the markets in Maine, it was great to see a community come together to support small businesses.  They were smart and placed the market on the edge of the very busy one-and-only road that runs up and down The Keys, taking advantage of those that were just driving by (tourist) but had it off to the side a bit so locals could find their way there as well.  I did have the feeling that a few vendors were not small business, but were trying to project that image.  I steered clear from a couple commercial looking booths and my husband did ask me if our market was as aggressive as these vendors were (to which I said NO). Many of these vendors were pretty assertive and pushed samples on us, handing us toothpicks with food on it, spoons full of jam or mini cups of tea, when we had yet to even read their booth sign.  Many were eager to upsell and convince us that we didn't want just one bag of this amazing tropical tea blend, but 2!  Or if we used this special soap with their special cream your skin would be soo much better off!  Our vendors don't really do that up here.  We are pretty passive and let the customer decide what they want.  I did chat with some of the vendors, asking them if THEY were the one that grew these berries or made this tea blend.  Yes, they were but often they came down from the Miami area to sell at this market (which is not a short trip). I did see a cheese vendor, but all the cheese had commercial plastic wrap and labels on them, some of which I did recognize as national brands.  Not many real local vendors at this market from The Keys themselves.   Surprisingly, I did not see a single vendor selling seafood or a slice of Key Lime Pie, but we could have missed them.  My husband was searching for their well advertised wood fired pizza but we couldn't find it.  They have a great Facebook page and are very enthusiastic about the market with about 40 vendors.  Check out the pictures below.  And here is the link to their Facebook page:

Bright colors from fresh produce...

Lychee fruit!

Loads of fresh berries....

beautiful warm weather flowers....

of course they had Plantains!

Jams, jellies and nut butters...
Prepared and ready to eat or take home, Paella!

Of course I checked out the soaps....

and soy candles too!