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Welcome back to the 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project, 2017 #RHPFF edition \o/ This year the lovely Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival interns, Sarah Meigs & Alli Jutras* grabbed the reins & brought us the good stuff. Over the summer they popped in for some delicious business over at Hacienda Don Juan.
xoxox,
Apple

 

Hacienda Don Juan (875 B Main St.) is a family owned and operated Salvadorian and Mexican restaurant located in Main South. As Clark students it’s one of our go-to’s, which makes it unbelievable that Alli had never been there. Although we both ended up getting pupusas, nothing on the menu disappoints. The burrito supreme is out of this world and the nachos which they make with homemade chips are the best I’ve ever had. In total the restaurant has about 10 tables that are pretty much always full with hungry customers. Have no fear, if you do’t have the time to wait they DELIVER. Can you believe it? a dream come true. We sincerely hope you all check it out if you’ve never been there because as Alli can now attest, it will be a wonderful experience.
~Sarah

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!

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Welcome back to the 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project, 2017 #RHPFF edition \o/ This year the lovely Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival interns, Sarah Meigs & Alli Jutras* grabbed the reins & brought us the good stuff. Over the summer they went to the Canal District Farmers Market  =)
xoxox,
Apple

The Canal District Farmers Market is a year round weekly event that draws in vendors and visitors from all over the area. It is located at the beautiful Crompton Place, which houses a few of Worcester’s most beloved franchises: Birch Tree Bread Co., Crompton Collective, and Seed to Stem. The Farmers Market gives visitors the opportunity to purchase locally made, wholesome goods, and allows Crompton Place to receive an abundance of visitors on Saturday mornings. Buying organic, freshly squeezed juice from a vendor, then heading upstairs to Birch Tree to enjoy some toast is, indeed, the perfect morning.

This farmers market gives vendors from the Massachusetts area the opportunity to sell their goods, establish connections with visitors, and initiate relationships with dozens of other farmers and vendors throughout the state. The environment is extremely friendly, I enthusiastically carried conversations with a few of the vendors and a curious customer, and smiled at those passing by. My friends and I, all Clark University students, were thrilled to strike up a conversation with one of the vendors who happened to be a Clark Alum! As she reminisced about her Clark days, we were happy to hear more information about her college past, as well as the background of her daughter’s company (which she works for).

The Farmers Market features products ranging from organic fruits and vegetables, handmade jewelry, local honey, fresh flowers, yummy baked goods, and refreshing coffee. I was in awe of the array of goods at such a small market! I loved walking around with my friends, making memories, while also experiencing one of the many delightful things that Worcester has to offer.

To visit the Canal District Farmers Market, head to 138 Green Street in Worcester MA. It is open every Saturday from 9 AM- 12 PM. See you there!

~Alli

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!

Welcome back to the 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project, 2017 #RHPFF edition \o/ This year the lovely Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival interns, Sarah Meigs & Alli Jutras* grabbed the reins & brought us the good stuff. A few weeks ago we all got together with some family & friends and had a little Polar party at the office =)
xoxox,
Apple

Easily seen off of Route 290, Orsen, Polar’s beloved mascot sits atop the magic building where delicious seltzer is made. Polar opened its Worcester factory in 1968 and is something the people of Worcester are very proud to have. Every season, the company comes out with a series of new flavors – and this summer in particular had some extraordinarily delightful ones. Unicorn Kisses, Yeti Mischief, Mermaid Songs, and Dragon Whispers, were all mysteries, so we found it only fitting to have a tasting party! We were all very excited to try the flavors, and in the end at least one person thoroughly enjoyed each flavor. However, the popular opinion was that the best tasting one out of the four was Yeti Mischief. Nevertheless, Polar provided the group of us an excuse to throw a party, thirst quenching beverages, and definitely some great conversation. For that, we thank them <6

~Sarah.   

 

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!

Welcome back to the 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project, 2017 #RHPFF edition \o/ This year the lovely Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival interns, Sarah Meigs & Alli Jutras* are taking the reins & bringing us the good stuff. This week Alli & Sarah checked out Mekong Market.
xoxox,
Apple

I’m not hugely familiar with International markets. As a kid, there was only one grocery store within a 15 mile radius and it was a local Hannaford. Moving to Worcester has allowed me to visit so many places that aren’t available back home. I’ve definitely branched out in terms of food I eat and places I visit. Thankfully, my college experience has allowed me to expand from my limited small-town ways.

Me Kong Market features food and products from places including Japan, Korea, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, and Africa. Upon entry, fresh fruit and vegetables line the wall and there is a huge selection to choose from. Something I was pleasantly surprised with is how inexpensive all of the products are. The next time I am in need of a new box of tea, I will definitely be heading here. They have an extremely large selection and their prices are unbeatable!

One of my favorite parts of the store is the numerous shelves containing tons of ramen. Not only is ramen an affordable college dinner, but it’s delicious too! Sarah was excited to show me her favorite brands and flavors of ramen. I had no idea there were so many different types! For college students who are unfamiliar with this store: it is the perfect place to stock up on your meal essentials.

Me Kong additionally has a fish market in the back, containing an assortment of fish. The smell is strong, but it’s an awesome feature to the market. I’m an avid fish eater, and it’s so nice to know that I can stock up on fish right down the street now.

I had an awesome time visiting Me Kong Market. It’s evident that this is a successful business that employs kind and hardworking people. I also loved how spacious the parking lot is, and how convenient the location is. Also, check out the graffiti decorated building next door! A cool sight to see when leaving the store.
~Alli

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!

Welcome back to the 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project, 2017 #RHPFF edition \o/ This year the lovely Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival interns, Sarah Meigs & Alli Jutras* are taking the reins & bringing us the good stuff. This week we all got together in the office kitchen and made chips with pita from Worcester favorite, George’s Bakery.
xoxox,
Apple

Among the mini marts, apartments, and coffee shops located on Grafton Street lies a white and red adorned building exhibiting the name of one of Worcester’s most beloved spots: George’s Bakery. The establishment has been around for 65 years and has been a Worcester favorite for many residents. The bakery has flourished under the ownership of two different Georges since its opening. The store was named after its original owner George, who unfortunately passed away last year. The ownership was then passed down to another George (unrelated to the original one), contributing to the tradition of George owners.

George freshly bakes his bread every morning, one of the reasons why it always tastes so fresh and delicious. He arrives at his store around 1 AM and stays until 6 AM. His days are spent sleeping and preparing for his busy early morning routine.

The store has a super friendly environment, with Mediterranean food lining the walls, and cheese, pies, dips, meats, and bread freshly stocked behind the counter and stacked on the shelves. You can tell that the quality of the food is spot on, and that when you buy anything at George’s it contributes to maintaining the success of the business and its products. The employees are always chatty and kind, always putting customers in a good mood and bringing a smile to their faces. In bold letters on the menu, it even states: “In the place of good food… we shine!” And that it does.

Rabbit Heart is a huge fan of George’s products, hence our recipe** and enthusiasm for the business. We love Worcester businesses that make our city a happy place, and George’s is definitely a contributing place. After stating on Instagram that George’s has the, “best pita bread ever,” a Rabbit Heart follower enthusiastically agreed in the comments.

Let us know if you try out our pita chips recipe, and visit 308 Grafton Street to purchase the famous pita bread and other treats. George’s hours are 5 AM-7:30 PM. And if you go early enough, maybe you’ll even catch a glimpse of George.
~Sarah

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!

** Homemade Pita Chips
Notes: none of the quantities on this are really exact – actually, there are no quantities specified at all. You’ll have to eyeball it, depending on how many pita loaves you use and what kind of seasoning you choose. Also! Watch over the chips in the oven the first few times you make this – we found out our oven has some hot spots and fluctuations in temp, and that it isn’t always clear if our chips need 4 minutes or 5. Also also! If the pita is a little stale, it’s still good for chips =)

You’ll need:
– Loaves of George’s pita bread – we love George’s because they’re thinner than most other brands, and make for a delightfully crisp chip. Also, they’re sugar free! Three bags of the small loaves gave us about two bags of chips (#thrifty!)
– Your favorite olive oil
– Seasoning – we used Old Bay (YUM!) and sesame seeds for the video, but in other batches we’ve also used: garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika and, for a sweeter chip, cinnamon and a light sprinkle of sugar. Also lovely: just a sprinkling of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. And we’re about to enter pumpkin spice season, too – I bet you could go that direction with some pie spice and a touch of brown sugar (#goals)!
– A big bowl
– Kitchen shears (or, you know, a pair of kitchen-clean Fiskars ~.o)
– A cookie sheet
– Foil (you don’t have to cover the cookie sheet, but it certainly cuts down on cleanup)
– A cooling rack on top of a towel

1. Preheat the oven to 400° with your rack in the middle position. Dress your cookie sheet in foil to get it ready. Set out your cooling rack on a kitchen towel (so that you don’t end up with stray sesame seeds all over your counter – those suckers bounce, y’all).
2. Split the pita loaves into halves by tearing along the crease. Cut them into triangles into the bowl.
3. Once the pita has all been cut and you have a big pile of triangular goodness, scoot them edge up, and drizzle in some oil. It shouldn’t be super  greasy, but you do want all the chips to get oiled so your seasoning sticks. Mix it up! PRO TIP: If you’re doing a big big batch, it might help to dump the contents of the bowl onto your cookie sheet for this part, and then, once it’s all mixed up, put it back in the bowl.
4. Spread some of the greased pita triangles out on the cookie sheet in a single layer. Season them the way you like =)
5. Bake in the oven for ~5 minutes (see notes above) until they’re golden brown. Remove from oven, and transfer chips to cooling rack
6. Repeat steps 4-5 until you’ve baked all your chips. Once cool, they can be stored in a zip bag, or even right back in the pita bag. If they’re protected from humidity, they’re good for 4-5 days.
Enjoy by themselves or with your favorite dip (spinach dip is amazing with these, as is cream cheese. Cottage cheese is pretty great too. Or tuna salad, even).
~Apple

Oh, how I do love Lock 50 – tucked away in the Canal District (50 Water Street) with her lovely staff and delicious coffee treats, I have found her equally the perfect spot for a work meetup or a relaxing morning.*

Highlights of this film include:
– Audrey gets KISSED BY A TINY DRAGON!**
– Talking Worcester and Second City politics with longtime resident Bill MacMillan and recent transplant Eirean Bradley***

Enjoy =)

*And I hear that now the café has extended hours in the evening – woot! Also, Lock 50 is indeed a full service (and rather fancy!) restuarant – I have not had the chance to check out the food yet myself, but I keep hearing super good things about it.
**She samples the delicious signature Facebreaker (macchiato with chili peppers!)
***I nearly snorfled coffee out my nose when Eirean said: “I actually kind of view Worcester as the middle sister of New England … Worcester is the one with the tattoos on her knuckles and really bad taste in men..?”
I really wish you could have joined us for this conversation – there was almost 20 minutes of footage by the end, and it was really tough to crunch it all down to just this little bit. But then, editing is painful like giving away puppies, right?

I am guilty of a multitude of grocery store sins: I buy stuff I already have in the house because I forget I have it (hence the three cans of coconut milk in the cabinet). I buy stuff I already have in the house because I don’t want to run out if I decided to make it again (see: cilantro, mint, shallots, limes). I get overambitious in the produce department about our family’s ability to consume greens before they expire. I buy items I have no idea about just because they have pretty packages (your mileage may vary). So, with budget in mind, I try really hard now to make a grocery list and keep to it.

And then there was the last run. We were pretty much out of everything*** and the list got complicated. Lawdamercy, I mixed up two recipes  when I did the grocery list last weekend, and wound up picking up stuff for parts of both of them,* tho’ not all the components for either one.

BUT! I wound up with something delicious.

Chinese Napa Cabbage Stir-fry With Porkserves 3-4
(adapted from two recipes from thewoksoflife.com/)

mise_zpslixeexdx2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 small boneless pork chops thinly sliced, sprinkled with kosher salt
5 cloves garlic, smashed and cut in half
5 dried red chilies, de-seeded and roughly chopped
1 large napa cabbage, mostly the white parts, cut on an angle
2 teaspoons mirin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths, then cut lengthwise

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Hello, it’s still cold here. Apparently, as of this printing, Worcester, MA is one of the snowiest cities in the US because of this winter,* with somewhere in the area of nine feet of snow on the ground (and more expected tonight – whee). It’s a bit disconcerting that the piles to either side of our driveway are taller than me.** Pulling out into the street requires some faith in other drivers and a keen respect for taking things slow.

Also, I have a new red cast iron, enameled dutch oven. Put these two things together and it’s time to stay in and make soup. Last night I made a fish chowder that was Damn Fine, and I’m here to share it with you.

This baby started with a recipe from Martha and then got manhandled just a little bit. If you look at the original recipe, you’ll notice that while thyme is not listed in the ingredients, it is mentioned in the instructions;*** I improvised. Also, I added shrimp because I like a more stew-like soup, and I pumped the garlic and the bay leaves a dab.

Fish Chowderserves 4 handily

2 tablespoons butter
6 scallions, chopped thin-ish
2 stalks celery, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
16 oz clam juice
3 medium pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped medium
2 bay leaves
1 pound cod pieces
1/2 pound uncooked shrimp
1 cup whole milk
Kosher salt and ground pepper

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So January was a wash. I spent as much of it as I possibly could curled up in bed. I slept like a champion sleeper. I dragged my laptop into the blanket nest and worked on film festival stuff there. I read books in bed. I watched Netflix while working with yarn in bed. I looked at blogs in bed. I snuggled down with Man Cub and watched an entire season of Bob’s Burgers.*  I got intimate with a friend’s (really good) poetry manuscript while wrapped in my orange quilt. Mostly, I got out of bed to handle emergencies involving heating oil** and houshold chores, to play WoW, to go to yoga on Thursdays,*** to grocery shop, and to cook dinner.

But it’s February (white rabbits, white rabbits!) and I’m ready to emerge. I started out the month right yesterday with a delightful breakfast with the afformentioned author friend, and then off to run an assortment of errands. Today I’m going to spend some quality time binding books. February is looking up.

But what I really want to talk about is sauce. Did I mention that I spent a bunch of time in bed reading blogs? One of my favorites is Smitten Kitchen. I’m prone to go fangirl over Deb Perelman – I’ve served her recipes at the family Thanksgiving table for the last three years and it’s gone brilliantly, and her cookbook  is outstanding. Which is the only reason I attempted a sauce that I avoided because every description of it looked like clickbait.****

For serious – this sauce claims to be Something Very Special while being created from the mundane. A can of tomatoes, some butter, and an onion. There is no garlic, there is no basil, there is no stock or glug of red wine, nor is there any olive oil. You don’t even dice the onion. WTF. But Deb Perelman praised it, and that got my attention. She doesn’t publish clunkers.

And I have a new red pot. A Dutch oven, to be specific, but it’s a heavy-bottomed pot (emphasis on heavy – cast iron don’t fuck around, y’all) – Will Dearest gifted me with it after seeing me get wistful over a Le Creuset display last December. So curiosity piqued and red pot in hands, I went to it.

Holy. Carp. Something magical happened in the pot. So I made it again, this time with another brand of tomatoes. Slightly different, but again, freaking magic. When we went shopping yesterday, I bought no less than three cans of tomatoes and three boxes of pasta. The next two weeks hold serious promise. Here’s the scoop.

Three Ingredient Pasta Sauce – will feed four comfortably
(from Tomato Sauce With Onion and Butter on smittenkitchen.com)

1 28-oz can of whole plum tomatoes
5 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, halved

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Good morning, Get Shit Done day! I’m low on coffee,* high in spirits, and Windows Movie Maker is rendering at the speed of tar.

I’ve done the dishes and set up some tee shirts to dye that I waxed last week and then forgot about. I’ve handled correspondence and cleaned out my email. Cleaned the desk (which is a Really Good Thing, considering the state it was in**). Found my prescription under the pile & renewed it. Started curating the show for Rabbit Heart  (hence the rendering stuff). Packed up goods for the mail, both for Apple Batiks products and for the film festival. Ok, GO.

This is kinda wonderful, being in this space today, and I’m stupid grateful for it. I spent the last week in a bit of a slump, dealing with pain management and some psychic turmoil that had me feeling caged. But yesterday the pain started to lift (Tuesday was shot day \o/), and I had the car during the day, and I started to feel like I was more in gear – that lasted until dinnertime, when I just wanted a finished meal to spring forth fully formed from my brow like another coming of Athena, and then gave up and made some ramen. And then this morning, I’m more like me again, equipped with a big can of FUCK YEH. I’m totally ok with that. I let a lot of stuff slide last week while I was uncomfortable, and it’s nice to see it get taken care of. Tonight I may even make some rice stuffed tomatoes and we can sit together and eat like a family.

And I’m blessing the timing on this – September has just begin, and that means I’m moving into crunch time. With the film festival right around the corner, there’s a bunch of bits and pieces that I need to take care of before October comes to knock and things get really real – the show curating is my biggest concern, and it feels good to be digging in after a solid month of being freaked out about all the how-tos associated with it. (What order should I show the films? Who’s going to run the computer? Can I make all the films in each category into one uninterrupted film? What software should I use? How do I use said software??) File under T for Things That Would Suck: having a full house (we’re sold out! OMG!), and not having something beautiful to present. Now that I’m in the thick of it, I’m less anxious, which makes the process easier, and I’ve started far enough ahead that I have time for The Process to work out if/when things get hinky. If I can manage this part, then all I have to do is get the trophies in order.

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