In Love With the Espro Press

Here at Hollis 5 Corners, both me and Richard drink copious amount of the brown goo. No, I don’t mean that kind of brown goo…we aren’t that kinky and get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about coffee! You know – the sludge, java, mud, battery acid, the brown brew, varnish remover, cuppa joe, yada yada.

I first learned to brew using the ubitiquous French press but soon found that the system literally left a bad taste in my mouth. Grit and sediment did not always stay in the bottom of my cup but often found its way into my teeth.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the sultry thickness that only a coffee press can produce; the oils impart a flavor that you can’t get with filtered brewing methods. However, I could no longer deal with the sludge. Enter the Espro Press. I discovered this device this past Christmas and bought a large model from Cup And Brew. Finally, a press pot exists that can produce an awesome extraction with almost no sediment.

Espro Press

How does it work?

Two plastic filters covered in a very fine mesh stack on top of each other and work in tandem to double filter the coffee. This is a significant improvement over the old style presses that often leak grounds both through the filter and along the sides. Many traditional models have very thin metal or nylon that flex and allow ground to slip by due to an incomplete seal and not fine enough filtering.  Not so with the Espro, the rigid BPA filters and rubberized rings enable a tight seal that keeps the grounds where they belong – at the bottom of the press. That’s not even the best part – the filters pop right off for easy cleaning unlike the normal four or five piece assemblies found in other models. The Espro is sort of like the Vitamix of the French press world.  Easy to use, easy to clean and does its job damn well – pardon my French (pun intended).

How is it constructed?

The carafe itself is constructed of a double-wall stainless with no visible seams – high quality construction indeed. The mirror polished double walls create a vacuum similar to higher end thermos bottles to keep you brew warm for longer periods although this made lead to over extraction if you leave it in to seep. This double walled model retains heat longer than any almost any glass based models and has the added bonus of being nearly indestructible in daily use. Drop it on a countertop? No problem; with a glass based unit you would end up trying to find all of the tiny glass shards making this press ideal for those who are around children, travel a lot, or have granite “everything” in their kitchens.

I admit I’m very happy with the Espo’s appearance and sturdiness. The shiny finish gives it an industrial look that fits in well with any style of kitchen be it modern and gives a hint of commercial level quality to you countertops.  Moreover, the sold heft in your hand confirms this model is made to last unlike many other items sold in the stores today.

How does it perform?

After extensive testing, I can find barely a touch of very fine residue at the bottom of my cup. If you look real closely you may find a barest hint of  some extra fine sediment clinging to the very bottom but it is NOT noticeable when drinking even the last drop and I’m happy with it at this level of performance – it’s a damn site better than any of the older versions of the press.

Until we cook, shop and explore again!
Dale The Male Martha

Baby Chicks arrive @ Hollis 5 Corners !

It’s that time of year again! Time for New Baby chicks! This time we went LARGE!

Last year we took a break from getting New chickens..and let the girls settle! It’s hard to imagine that we decided to have chickens almost three years ago! It was a super decision!

If you have the animals…but don’t have the time for a dog…chickens are your best bet! Not only are they very funny to watch.. but they too can be loveable! It’s true!

This year I decided that we needed something different! As Richard loves all things “England!” and I love anything Homestead or colonial… I decided on Buff Orpingtons to start. When full grown..they are the type of chickens most kept in England and during the colonial era. These chickens are prolific egg layers! They’re also the chubby girls who tend to be the mamma’s of the flock!

The I REALLY wanted something different.. Darn Hardy! Gosh…Just something BIG!

I went for the BLACK Jersey Giants! Although they are a cross between a meat bird and an egg layer….. They are beautiful to look at..and don’t let there size fool you..they can be just as lovey as the petite of chickens!

They tend to like to be a lap chicken…aaahm! Well you get the idea of the size!

Any way you shake it.. all chickens start out on an equal playing field..size wise!

Please meet the New Girls…


As it is near 90 degrees in the coop… there is definitely no need for a heat lamp! They should be plenty warm and healthy… They have thier own sun lamp that will be on.. providing them with plenty of healthy light while in the brooder for the next 12 weeks!

They grow fast! Stay tuned right here for more chicken up dates all summer long!

Until we cook, shop and explore again!
Dale The Male Martha

The Male Martha… GAY on the GO!

Keeping a blog fresh and current is no easy task! Three years later, and talking about one topic after another…well it takes time and adventures! One of the things I love to do… is travel all over the country.. to different nooks and crannies, to see not only something different, but to see how others think.

In the North East we are up tight and think that our way is the only way sometimes. To be honest we can seem darn right mean!

Then there is Maine. God bless thier heart! Good people… Nice people! SLOWEST PEOPLE ON EARTH! Everyone here drives like they are in a horse and buggy! Word from the wise.. Once you get into MAINE..slow it down, or your going to drive yourself NUTZ!

Now Back to TRAVEL….. In different parts of the country there are different thought patterns! Ways of doing things…. Did you know the same product from a national company is made slightly differently in different parts of the country! One made sweeter as you getter closer to the west coast. It’s true!

You know… There was always something I hated to admit! Even as a very young kid! I loved the taste of moxie.. I even craved it at times. Although, I did think that I was some sort of alchoholic. OH NO!! Oh yes I did!!

moxie soda pop

My funny little story about MOXIE flows something like this!

I would watch my uncle Milt..sip this curious beverage from a small glass and set the bottle on the table. Can you picture it..very much like you would do with a bottle of scotch in the old westerns. Even as a young kid… I was into the dramatics!

If you have never tasted the stuff… You would easily think that this should contain some sort of medicinal properties…. They used to tout the stuff as a cure-all indeed.

If you visit a New England Grocery store this summer…try to get your self an Ice cold Moxie! Make a decision about it on the third or fourth sip! It’s definitely one of those bucket list things to try!! Be brave ….this is not for the wimpy!!

Until we cook, shop and explore again!!
Dale the Male Martha

We’re traveling again!! NANTUCKET

We’re at it again!! Doing what we do best! Traveling! This time it’s off to a further destination by boat! A trip to the Island Of Nantucket! A two hour trip by water…. Steamship Authority!! Watch out! Here we come!


Nantucket was another Wampanoag settlement known as Faraway land. One of the very first people to visit Nantucket was the NORSE!

Nantucket is what New Englanders call Old money! If you thought Marthas Vinyard was ritzy..well you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen Nantucket. The Heinz family and the Johnson’s of Johnson and Johnson have homes on the island. Larger named celebs too! They say the reason for this that the island is not as accessible as other places along cape cod and Marthas Vinyard. You never know who you might see walking down the street!

Whaling from Nantucket stopped in the mid-19th century; the canny businessmen turned their attention to squeezing dollars from visitors instead of oil from blubber. (Who needs to raise sheep when you can fleece tourists?) The inarguably quaint downtown, cobblestone streets lined with brick walks, now sports fine arts galleries (Nantucket Lightship baskets, for $800), nicknack shops (“Nantucket Lightship style” baskets, made in China, for $45), antique shops (19th century scrimshaw for $350), and restaurants (hamburgers for $10). For some weird reason, lots of people were, apparently, shopping, although it baffles us why anyone would visit an island, where everything has to be shipped in and therefore costs more, for the purpose of shopping.

This has got to be the most expensive place we’ve ever been. The harbor’s cluttered with moorings which go for $55 a night, which is more than we are usually willing to pay for a slip in a marina with power and water. Needless to say, we found a spot to anchor. Restaurant prices ranged from the merely high to the completely outrageous. We picked up a real estate brochure and couldn’t find anything much under three quarters of a million dollars (other than a $390,000 2 bed 1 bath “cozy, needs TLC”).

In the middle of all this conspicuous markuppery, we found the Nantucket Historical Association’s museums to be an amazingly good deal. We each picked up a $10 “season pass”, good for admission to each of about ten little museums as well as a guided walking tour of the town. We started out with the walking tour and a visit to one of the furnished historic houses, then after lunch went to the famous whaling museum.

Be warned…bring your dollars your going to need them!

Did you know that one of my favorite all time muffin recipes was conceived on the Island of Nantucket?

This recipe was created by Pam McKinstry, a culinary consultant, in 1978 for her Nantucket Island restaurant. In 1981, it was featured in Gourmet Magazine. Ten years later, it was included in the magazine’s 25 favorite recipes from the last 50 years

  • 11/4 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flourt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1 large apple, peeled and grated
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

How to make it

  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift or whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.
  3. Add the coconut, raisins, apple, pineapple, carrots and nuts, and stir to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil and vanilla.
  5. Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and blend well.
  6. Spoon the batter into muffin tins lined with muffin cups, filling each to the brim.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  8. Cool muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

I hope you might get the chance to visit this Fantastic Place and grab a muffin or two!!

Until we cook , shop and explore again!
Dale the Male Martha!

Blueberries are ready for pickin

All over New England..your going to see signs that Blueberries are ready for picking!

Blueberries in a Bucket

Blueberries are chock full of not only really tasty stuff..but are gosh darn good for you! Everything from B12′s to anti-oxidants and cancer fighting compounds! They also freeze and Dry very, very well!

There must be two gazillion types of blueberries out there.. but my all time favorite is a smaller wild blueberry. They are both sweet and tart..and are said to be the best for you!

If your interested in getting your own blueberry plants, make sure that you definitely shop around. You can get amazing deals this time of year as the season winds down. Remember to thoroughly research your soil and the type of blueberries for your area. Blueberries are very particular on where they are planted! Trust me when I say that they would rather die out than to produce for you if not situated in the correct spots! You can see you local AGWAY dealer or garden center for acidity of soil and additives!

Remember before you buy a plant..try one of the berries! This is an important this is more than likely the berrie your going to get from this plant!

So you have your self a bucket of blue berries..and you have washed and frozen them for later use!…If your more savy than more than likely made some jam too!

Blueberry muffins are always a Hit at this house.. warm soft and decadent! You can even replace the sugar for splenda!

blueberry muffins

Blueberry muffins are the perfect accompaniment to a weekend or holiday brunch, and they make a wonderful breakfast all on their own. But the truth is that once these delicious blueberry muffins come out of the oven, you’ll probably end up eating them all day long.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutesIngredients:

  • 2 cups blueberries, rinsed and carefully drained
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (260 grams), or 2¼ cups pastry flour, sifted
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg (or 2 medium)
  • 4 oz butter (½ stick) or shortening


1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

3. In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter in the microwave for about a minute, until it’s thoroughly melted. Or you can just melt it in a small pan over very low heat. Set the melted butter aside at room temperature to cool, but don’t let it solidify again.

4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and then add the milk and vanilla.

5. Thoroughly grease and flour a muffin pan (or insert paper muffin liners).

6. Pour a tiny bit of the melted butter into the egg-vanilla-milk mixture and stir it in. Repeat 3-4 more times, adding a slightly larger amount of the liquid butter each time until it is all incorporated.

IMPORTANT: Don’t add hot melted butter to the egg mixture as the heat from the butter would cook the egg, and that’s not what you want to do!

7. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ones and mix no more than ten seconds. The batter should be visibly lumpy. That’s OK! It’s extremely important not to overmix the batter, or the resulting muffins will be too hard.

8. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the blueberries into the batter. Then carefully spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan (you can use a small ladle or even an ice-cream scoop) and bake immediately.

TIP: The dry and wet ingredients, respectively, can be mixed in advance, but as soon as the wet and dry ingredients have been combined with each other, the liquid will activate the baking powder and the batter needs to be baked right away.

9. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Until we cook, shop and explore again!

Dan Viger

The Male Martha

Strange BUT TRUE!! Lilith’s Lily Fair Soup!

Did you even know that Day lillys are edible!! Not only are they edible..but they are delicious! I have thousands of them all around Hollis 5 Corners.


I am working on another project for A Halloween tour of Salem Massachusetts…A bus tour No less! As I tend to look for inspiration everywhere… I turned to my collection of cookbooks..and low and behold… There it was.. The Wiccan rituals and lore!!

So I bring you todays recipe from that book!! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.. as it’s perfect for this time of year!! Those Witch’s really know how to party and not a bad little soup either… It packs a punch!!

Lilith’s Lily Fair Soup

This soup was named after Lilith, Adam’s 1st wife, because it combines the sweetness of nature’s fruits w/the mischievous hint of liqueur. Both of these attributes–sweetness and mischievousness–were part of Lilith’s own personality. She was thrown out of the Garden of Eden for being too outspoken and independent. Many people wrongly remember her as a sinful woman, when really her only crime was haing a mind of her own. Today she is honored by Wiccans as a free-speaking woman. Let us remember to speak our truth and have the integrity and wisdom to saturate our words with kindness and diplomacy to be understood and respected.

Mangos are excellent for helping throw off distateful body odors and are also a great blood cleanser with fever-soothing qualities. This soup is an excellent souce of vitamin C, with the inclusion of raspberries, orange juice, and honeydew. Honeydew originated in Asia around 2400 B.C. The hightly alkalinizing honeydew is a delightful form of vitamins A & B, as well as C.

  • 1 Mango, peeled & diced
  • 1 small honeydew melon, cut in 1 ” cubes
  • 1/4 c. freshly squeezed Orange juice
  • 1 c. sliced Fresh raspberries
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 2 T. Grand Marnier
  • 5 Daylilies, rinsed & gently patted dry.

In increments, puree the mango, honeydew & orange juice in a blender or food processor till smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Rinse the blender clean and puree the raspberries, sugar & Grand Marnier. Transfer to a bowl. Chill both mixtures separately for 2 hrs. before serving. Spoon or ladle the melon mixture into one side of shallow soup bowls. Spoon/ladle the pureed raspberries on the other side, w/out mixing. Cut 1 daylily into thin strips. Sprinkle some strips into ea. bowl. Place 1 whole flower in ea. bowl.

Serve immediate.

Until we cook, shop and explore again!

Dale he Male Martha

Mussels in Champagne Sauce… Elegant Ease

Picture a great summer afternoon with a few friends and an elegant and sophisticated seafood Mussel Extravaganza!
Steamed mussels in champagne… Fork tender and heaven in every bite! A sip of champagne and a bite of crusty french bread on a perfect summer afternoon! This is what you can envision with ease!

Mussels in Champagne Sauce

Mussels in Champagne Sauce

Here’s what your going to need.

  • 2 bottles of your favorite champagne. Ice chilled!
  • 4 lbs of cleaned mussels
  • 1 onion rough chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic mashed
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 red 1 yellow bell pepper sliced thin
  • dash of salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stick of butter salted


  1. Heat your largest pot unitl very warm and empty.
  2. Throw in mussels and then the onion garlic shallot mixture.
  3. Place stick of butter on top.
  4. Pour half the bottle of champagne into the pot and cover quickly.
  5. Cook two mintues and add remainder of bottle.
  6. Cook another minute or until mussels are open and orange inside.
  7. Stack in a large dish pour sauce over them and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with champagne and crusty french bread to dip in the sauce. Simple elegance!!

Until we cook, shop and explore again!
The Male Martha

Out and about ..Summer time woodland safety!

Poison Ivy in the Flesh (pun intended)

It’s that time of year again.. when some folks will be traipsing through wooded areas either nature observing.. or looking for love in all the wrong places!
Every year.. emergency rooms across the northeast and beyond get that chosen few who have come across poison Ivy..and have itched them self into a furious infection!
Have no fear.. The Male Martha is here to get you in the know…

How do you get poison ivy? From touching it, or touching something that has touched it, like your clothes or your dog. You normally get it from touching the leaves, but yanking the vine out by the roots – even in winter – will give you a wicked rash.

Using a weed eater to remove poison ivy will result in spraying your legs with poison ivy. If you are bare-legged and get scratches while splattered with sap from poison ivy, you may be headed to the emergency room. And there are more unusual ways to get it, like breathing smoke from firewood burning with poison ivy on it. Which can also put people into the hospital.

What about immunity? Some people appear to be immune, others become immune. HOWEVER, you can gain or lose immunity, so to assume you can’t get it if you never have before is foolish. People change as they age. I would never assume that I was immune at any time no matter what my past experience was.

What is it like to get it? At first you get a slight itchy spot, which gets worse and worse. It can be a a small itchy area that will annoy you, or it can cover your whole body with giant red sores that will drive you nuts. The poison ivy rash, even when not huge and ugly, can be one of the itchiest experiences a person will every have.

What causes the rash? There is an oil, called urushiol, that causes an allergic reaction after the first sensitizing exposure. The oil is in the leaves, vines, and roots. That’s why tearing out the vine is so dangerous – it releases lots of urushiol.

What if you know you’ve been exposed to it? Within a hour or so you should rinse with lots of cold water – like a garden hose. Hot water will open your pores and let the oil in. Taking a shower could be a disaster. For up to about 6 hours washing with alcohol may still help remove the oil, but many say that after 1/2 hour the oil has soaked in and you can’t remove it. The next day is really too late. Check with your doctor to see if early treatment can prevent the rash before it really starts.

What can you do once the itching starts? For a serious case you MUST SEE A DOCTOR. For less serious cases, check with your local drugstore.

How long does the rash last? Anywhere from a week to 3 weeks, depending on how bad it is and how you treat it. Prescription remedies make it go away much faster.

What are some common remedies for the rash? These companies make two kinds of products – creams to block the oil from getting into your skin, and remedies once you have the rash:

  • Buji Skin Products
  • Tec Labs, Makers of Tecnu


How long does the oil last? The oil from poison ivy is extremely stable and will stay potent—essentially forever. You can get a rash from clothing or tools that have the oil from last summer, or even from many years back.

Until we cook, shop and EXPLORE again!!
The Male Martha

Nothing say’s Summer time like afternoon Cocktails!!

I said afternoon Cocktails!!

Nothing says summertime like Afternoon cocktails with friends on the back deck!

I was made aware of a fantabulous mixture that is both fresh and unique! A taste for the bold and the beautiful!

Since I’m growing both watermelon and basil in my garden this year..I thought a good summer time margarita would be ….. Watermelon/Basil margaritas! An upscale adult beverage..that is sure to please even the most picky drinkers!

Watermelon and Basil Cocktail

Water Mellon and Basil Cocktail

Fresssh.. and Fancy! No what I mean!

You’ll need two main ingredients!

Watermelon and Patron Tequila

Watermelon and Patron Tequila

  • 7 1/2 lbs seedless watermelon, rind removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 teaspoons superfine sugar
  • 6 ounces silver tequila (I used Patron)
  • 24 basil leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 3 ounces triple sec
  • 6 cups small ice cubes


1. Place 24 watermelon cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Cover and freeze at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
2. Puree remaining watermelon and the sugar in a blender until smooth. Pass through a sieve lined with cheesecloth into a bowl. You should have 3 cups.
3.Place tequila and basil in a glass pitcher and crush with a wooden spoon. Stir in watermelon juice and triple sec.
4. Place watermelon “ice” cubes in glasses. Using cocktail shaker, mix 3/4 cup margarita with 1 cup ice. Strain into a glass. Repeat. Serve garnished with basil or cucumber.

This is the most amazing cocktail! You can use gin or absolute watermelon vodka in place of tequila. Try to use a high end spirits whenever possible. It makes a huge difference in your end product!

Until we cook, shop and explore again!
Dale the Male Martha