Friday, October 9, 2009

Candlepin Bowling, Ashfield and Lemon Brussel Sprouts

After dinner one night at Martin's Cafe in Shelburne Falls (Pumpkin Martinis, Haddock Almondine, sweet potato puree, homemade ice cream).. we decided to check out the 100 year old bowling alley in town. As kids both TBHITW and I had bowled in Saturday morning leagues. But neither one of us had ever seen bowling pins or bowling balls like these.

Click to enlarge to see pins

The bowling alley shoe lady told us that back when bowling was invented there were two versions of bowling. The one we are familiar with that uses big balls with finger holes and bowling pins that look like this:

And Candlepin Bowling that uses small balls and pins that look like this:

Seems that Candlepin Bowling is a Massachusetts favorite!

Anyway, TBHITW and I decided to give it a try. What fun! You get three balls per frame and the pins don't reset between throws so you get a lot of pin action from the fallen pins. It is much harder than "regular" bowling and scores are pretty low. At least they were for TBHITW... I am happy to report that The Good Cook beat him all three games. Maybe it was the two Pumpkin Martinis with dinner?

Anyhow... the next day was MY big day - Cheesemaking Workshop with Rikki Carroll in Ashfield.

There are two distinct properties in Ashfield (population: densely settled) and if you are looking for either one you can't miss them. One is the General Store and the other is Rikki's house, home of New England Cheesemaking:

The house is eclectic and extraordinary as Rikki herself. The workshop was awesome - I learned so much and have already made several of the cheeses and some Greek style yogurt using the techniques I learned that day. I've been hinting to TBHITW that I may need a cheese cave added on in the future.. what are the odds of that happening?

Anyway, my New England postings wouldn't be complete without one more picture. This is Shelburne Falls library... if this was the library in my town I would go every day.

Brussel Sprouts get a bad rap. No one ever liked them as a kid and as adults many people still carry that distaste around with them. Brussels are all over the markets right now, fresh, bright green and packed with nutrition. Pick yourself up a basket and try them this way:

Lemon Brussel Spouts with Pistachios:

One basket of brussel sprouts (about 10)
1/2 lemon, juiced and zest removed
1/4 cup shelled pistachios (unsalted if you can get them)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

Cut the bottoms off the brussel sprouts and separate all the leaves. This takes a little time but you want brussel sprout leaves, not bundles.

Heat the oil and butter in a medium saute pan. Add the brussel sprouts and saute over medium high heat. Add the lemon juice and continue to saute until sprouts are beginning to wilt. Add the lemon zest and pistachios and toss around to heat the nuts.

Season with salt and a few good grinds of pepper. (if you are using salted pistachios, omit salting or taste to test.

Serve piping hot and don't tell me you don't like brussel sprouts again.


  1. Bowling is SO much fun. I'm not as good at candlepin bowling as I am at the other kind, though.

  2. Badass - oh? So you know about this candlepin bowling? We had sooo much fun. TBHITW went back the next day while I was at my cheesemaking workshop and bowled some more!!

    The bowling is so weird!!!

    I bet it was fun though.

  4. When I was a kid, we went out East to see the sights. We went bowling where the choice was "Duck pins"...Ball looks about the same, but I have never heard of candle pins!

  5. Phoebe, you should have seen the inside of it. A collector's dream - almost like a museum.

    Buffalo - Where east? What sites? I bet duck pins and candlepins are the same.

  6. I'm a terrible bowler, but I'd love to try.

  7. These sprouts look wonderful. I will try them, although my husband doesn't care overly much for nuts in his food. His daughter is stressing the importance, however, of eating more nuts and seeds, and he seems to be listening to her. What's with that? I talk and he argues - she suggests and he immediately switches?? (She has him drinking vinegar water three times a day - do you think he would do that if I told him it was good for him?)

  8. what a cool library! they have duck pin bowling up here...small balls and is actually a whole lot easier for the little guys.

  9. Nancy - just tell your husband that pistachios are the lowest in fat of all the nuts - and believe me I can't figure husband's out.. although it is kind of sweet that he is taking his daughter's advice. It must make her feel really proud. I just can't stomach the vinegar water though... Let me know how you like the sprouts. We really do like them.

    Brian, yes - I can see how candlepin bowling would be so much easier and fun for the littles!

  10. The duck pins are short and squat, didn't look anything like candle pins.. I think we were in or around Boston- I was 8 or 9...


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