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June 30, 2008

Fresh Salmon and Chips Recipe

My mission was to add a few more restaurants and their recipes for the second edition of my New England Clam Shack Cookbook (Storey Publishing 2008). Five years after the first edition of the book I’d collected recommendations for places I’d missed during my early forays up and down the coast, and Five Islands Lobster Company in Georgetown, Maine, was high on that list. So we checked it out and fell in love. For sheer scenic beauty, the location is unsurpassed – but Five Islands’ food is also quite spectacular, in that low-key way of Maine clam shacks. Here is their take on fish and chips.

Continue reading “Fresh Salmon and Chips Recipe” »

June 29, 2008

Lani’s Deviled Eggs

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In "Devilish Eggs," which appears in our latest issue, Lani Temple shares her recipes for this classic summer hors d’oeuvre. This special recipe, just for online readers, features a lighter-than-air filling infused with the silky, smoked flavor of salmon with a zing of capers. And because she really likes us, she’s also included her fool-proof tips for making deviled eggs.

(You can see Lani tonight on the WCSH television program 207 at 7pm, when she grills up some Steak Fajitas with host Rob Caldwell.)

Smoked Salmon and Caper Stuffed Eggs
6 large eggs, hard-boiled
2 Tablespoons chopped smoked salmon, plus 2 strips smoked salmon
¼ cup cream cheese
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish
1 Tablespoon capers, plus 1 teaspoon
1 Tablespoon chopped red onion, plus 1 teaspoon

In a food processor, combine egg yolks, 2 tablespoons chopped smoked salmon, cream cheese, fresh dill, capers, and red onion and process until smooth. Spoon filling into egg white halves. Arrange eggs on a platter and garnish with reserved smoked salmon, dill sprigs, capers, and red onion.

Makes 12.

Continue reading “Lani’s Deviled Eggs” »

June 28, 2008

King Cioppino

I have known John McNeil since 1972 when we became neighbors in California. John is an athlete, outdoorsman, and bon vivant. He lives to ride his bicycle, backpack in the Sierras, sail boats to Mexico and back, run marathons, host parties for large groups of his many friends, drink wine, and cook.

It was John who did all the open-fire cooking when our families camped together, cheerfully feeding small armies of exhausted kids and adults who sat around whining about their sore feet and aching backs. It was John who organized the annual men-only Super Bowl Sunday feasts in our town, a tradition that lasted for years and years. It was John who planted more than 100 grape vines in his suburban front yard and made incredibly lush Cabernet Sauvignon every fall. And it was John who contributed vats of his signature cioppino to all manner of local fundraisers, earning him the moniker King Cioppino.

Continue reading “King Cioppino” »

Jason’s Summer Mango Salsa

My darling son-in-law Jason is a very good cook, and loves to improvise! Jason’s Summer Mango Salsa is a delightful mélange of flavors. It is slightly sweet, slightly piquant, and can be served with chips, chicken, fish, or meat — whatever suits the cook’s fancy.

Jason’s Summer Mango Salsa
Juice of 6 limes
2 large mangos                     
1 medium Vidalia onion
2 medium avocados
2 medium tomatoes
1 yellow or red pepper
½ jalapeno pepper (depending on how much spice you’d like)
¼ cup of cilantro
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Dice up all fruits and vegetables to approximately the same size and serve with chosen foods – delicious!

Katherine Emory is a columnist for MF&L.

June 26, 2008

A lobster legend passes

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Al Gagnon, who has owned Red’s Eats in Wiscasset since 1977, passed away on June 13 at age 71. Today, I sent my sympathies to his daughter Debbie Cronk, who spoke with me about Red’s — and her dad — for the story I am working on about Maine Classic eateries just a few weeks ago. The man who turned lobster rolls on Rt. 1 into a national sensation last week was remembered by many for his generous spirit and loving nature.

Both Debbie and her sister Cindy
Collamore, who have been running things this year, have spoken with the media, assuring Mainers — and those from away — that despite the loss of their father, things will go on at Red’s as they always have.

Reds
So, this summer, when you lift a perfectly packed, completely unadorned and overflowing lobster roll to your lips — think about the man who helped make the world aware of a tiny, summer shack next to the Davey Memorial Bridge and drew thousands of people to Maine each year to try one. Smile. And take a bite.

Jessica Strelitz is a contributing writer to Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

June 25, 2008

Cruising Food 1858

Cruising food today sure is lush compared to the grub journalist Robert Carter and three friends took with them in the summer of 1858 when they chartered a thirty-three foot sloop named Helen for a recreational cruise from Provincetown, Massachusetts,
to Bar Harbor, Maine. As described in Carter’s Coast of New England, their provisions were very simple, basic necessities
really: salt pork, crackers and biscuit, which they called hard tack, plus ale and whiskey. They talk about coffee; claret; lemons to add to the whiskey; potatoes and onions and they must have taken flour because they mention flapjacks once in a while and I bet they stowed a cask of corned beef, too, though it isn’t mentioned.

Continue reading “Cruising Food 1858″ »

June 24, 2008

Martha’s Island Lobster Rolls

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Anyone who has ever eaten a Maine lobster roll can tell you exactly where they ate it and what the date was. Well, I am here to tell you that these island lobster rolls are absolutely the best, period! I like a little homemade vinaigrette dressing (just a little) with the celery and mayo. Be sure to use the unsalted butter to toast the rolls. Fill with lobster and serve.

Island Lobster Rolls (Serves 4)
3 cups diced lobster meat
¼ cup bottled or homemade vinaigrette dressing
½ cup finely diced celery
½ cup mayonnaise, or to taste
2 Tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter
4 top-split frankfurter rolls

Continue reading “Martha’s Island Lobster Rolls” »

June 23, 2008

Lobster snob

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I am a snob when it comes to lobster. As a Mainer in exile, I get excited on the inside, but pout on the outside when I see it on the menu near my home or on the road (outside of New England)– especially after seeing or asking what ridiculous price it is going for. It’s actually still pretty special in my family’s home to have lobster for dinner — even though we know plenty of folks and places where we can get it for cheap and my father is licensed to have his own traps. But it isn’t regarded as a luxury food item. So, when I see a 3-pounder on a menu for $75, as I did 3 weeks ago here in Washington, D.C., I make the face that says it’s an offense that should be punishable by law and how dare they rip people off like that and who are these people who are paying exorbitant prices for something so … common?

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Maine Landscapes of Barbara Ernst Prey

Barbara Ernst Prey has never left her muse – the coastal Maine fishing villages where her family has lived for hundreds of years. In watercolors layered upon canvas, she captures a scene of Port Clyde perfectly: the scintillating bright blue sea and sky, the setting sun brilliantly illuminating the tattered coast, and the sleeping fishing vessels awaiting another hard day’s work out on the unforgiving sea.

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Whether painting or cooking, Barbara allows herself to adapt and improvise. Using family heirlooms – vintage silverware and pottery – and with an eye for color, Barbara “paints” her dining room table with local Maine cuisine.

In “The Maine Landscapes of Barbara Ernst Prey,” she gives insights to painting, cooking, and life as well a collection of recipes for the delicious summer meal featured on this issue’s cover.

From the staff at Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

June 21, 2008

Pickled Kelp from the Gulf of Maine

Well, Yuki has done it again.

While enjoying a plate of sushi rolls at Suzuki Sushi the other day, creative genius Yuki Goseki greeted us at our table with a tiny bowl containing her latest East-West culinary experiment: pickled kelp.

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When met with our blank stares, Yuki quickly explained that she and owner Joe Steinberger and seaweed chemistry expert David Myslabodski, had ventured out to Ash Point on Owls Head to harvest Oarweed (Laminaria longicruris). Wading out into a thick forest of the stuff that grows below the low tide mark, they cut the kelp and brought back the wide blades and long stipes, or stems, to consider how it could be used in the restaurant. Yuki was especially interested in the thick brown, tubular stems, and started experimenting.

After cutting the stem into smaller pieces, she blanched them quickly and pickled them in a mixture of mirin (sweet rice wine), rice vinegar, and soy sauce infused with a hot Japanese chile pepper. She served them to us chilled and stacked like little Lincoln Logs, garnished with a fresh chive blossom.

Crunchy like a pickle, sour like a pickle, they look nothing like a Morse’s pickle. But we liked them. You would too.

Merrill Williams is the publisher of Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

June 19, 2008

Italian with a Maine Accent

How does authentic Mediterranean cuisine show up on plates in two Portland, Maine restaurants? Lee Skawinski, chef and co-owner of Cinque Terre and Vignola, uses traditional northern Italian recipes and organic Maine ingredients to create delicious menus like the one you can find in our new issue.

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We went into his kitchen to learn how to make a soup of summer greens garnished with seared local scallops, monkfish with heirloom tomatoes and broccoli rabe, crab cannelloni, and a dessert of peach crepes. Every dish was as colorful as a summer garden. You can get all these recipes from the article, Bringing ‘Local’ from Italy to Maine, in the current issue of our magazine.

Continue reading “Italian with a Maine Accent” »

June 18, 2008

Isle au Haut – Island of Cooks

Seven miles off of the coast of Maine, past rocky islands, curious seals, cawing gulls and bobbing buoys, Isle au Haut beckons. A visit to IAH is like traveling back in time. Here, family dinners are still the norm, residents relish cooking with ingredients fresh from the ocean and the garden, and laughter creates a bond between island visitors and residents. All agree that the meals prepared on the island are the finishing touches to this peaceful haven, and the island is home to some fierce cooks who are more than happy to oblige.

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June 17, 2008

Schooner Feasts: Galley Cooking on a Windjammer

If you’re in Maine in the summertime, you’ll certainly spot a majestic windjammer lazily perusing the rugged coast. The playful wind puffs out its sails so that the old wooden schooner creaks, keels, and splashes forward, leaving a feeling of peacefulness with the passengers lounging on the deck.

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But the scene below deck is quite different. “Chaotic” may best describe the galley conditions.

Continue reading “Schooner Feasts: Galley Cooking on a Windjammer” »

June 16, 2008

Thai-Style Corn-on-the-Cob

Mark and I first went to South East Asia in 1993. One day we were on our way to a remote temple in northern Thailand, and we stopped at a food stall along the dusty road. The most beautiful lady (northern Thai people are especially beautiful) and her two adorable kids were selling fresh corn from the fields directly behind them, grilled over wood with coconut milk, butter, and salt. Mark, who grew up in Ohio and considers himself to be a true connoisseur of corn, felt it was the best he had ever had. From then on this became a favorite preparation of ours from home to Arrows to MC to Summer Winter and all from a little lady in northern Thailand.

Kosher Salt
6 ears corn, shucked
½ cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons clarified butter, melted
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 sturdy bamboo chopsticks, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

1. In a large pot bring 2 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add the corn, cook for 3 minutes, and drain.
2. Toss the corn in a bowl with the coconut milk, the butter, 1 tablespoon salt, and the pepper.
3. Start a charcoal or gas grill.
4. Using an ice pick, awl, or small, sturdy knife, make a 1 ½-inch-deep hole in the stalk end of each ear of corn and insert a chopstick. Grill the corn, turning it regularly so as not to burn it, for 2 to 4 minutes until lightly browned. Serve at once.

Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier are the chef-owners of Arrows  restaurant in Ogunquit.

Mowing for Cookies

Along the edge of my place, where the grass turns scruffy and mingles with wildflowers, the snowy carpet of dainty Quaker ladies (known to botanists as bluets) is tuning up. As it is when the fat lady sings, it’s just about over for those dear little bloomers.

Every Thursday, Jeff mows my lawn. This amiable young man drives his customized mower like a kid on a scooter, standing on the back running board and "pumping" with one foot when a little oomph is needed to help the rig climb a slope. A rain-or-shine kind of guy, he’ll mow in a downpour. I have come to understand that the structure of the universe will tilt, and the planet will orbit in reverse, if lawn mowing doesn’t happen every Thursday, without fail. Jeff is one dependable guy who wants to get the job done.

Continue reading “Mowing for Cookies” »

June 12, 2008

Thinking About & Planning For Your Meal

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I’ve been thinking lately. A lot. About food. My wife is convinced that by now dreams about lamb, fennel, and peaches from Maine farms are invading my sleep each night.

But there’s a good reason for this, honestly!

If you spend any time cooking at all, you already know that planning ahead is an important part of successful meals. I’ve been doing a little more planning than usual lately to get ready for a dinner – in September. That’s when some of us from Vignola will travel to New York to present a dinner at the James Beard House. All of us at the restaurant are looking forward to it and are proud to represent Maine. But I’ve been thinking about, and planning for this dinner since this past Christmas.

Continue reading “Thinking About & Planning For Your Meal” »

June 11, 2008

Isle au Haut Food & Life: The Backstory…

I gotta hand it to Merrill and Jim, editors of MF&L. When I handed
them my story about life and gourmet food on Isle au Haut (which appears in this summer’s issue), I wasn’t sure how they’d take the
fact that my story revolves around a cooking contest where the featured
ingredient was Spam.

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Those two didn’t miss a beat. In fact, when they came to the island to shoot the photos for the article, they were completely primed to embrace all the quirks and ironies island life has to offer. 

Beginning with my car.

Continue reading “Isle au Haut Food & Life: The Backstory…” »

June 10, 2008

Staff Fave Summer Cocktails

Jim Bazin
: I pretty much have the liquor tastes of a 5-year-old.
If it’s not sweet, I usually
won’t drink it. One exception is Tanqueray & Tonic with a twist of lime. It’s a refreshing summer drink with enough natural sweetness to appeal to my biased sense of what a cocktail should be. But currently I will normally opt for a more sweetend flavor in a cocktail, such as a mojito or flavored martini, the more exotic the better. Recent faves I’ve discovered in Maine were a raspberry mojito and a key lime martini, (photo left) photographed just prior to sampling (what restraint!) at the Hartstone Inn in Camden. Another tasty drink was a Red Ruby Grapefruit martini at Cinque Terre in Portland (photo right).

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Sean Chung: Allergic, I usually know better than to order anything with a proof. But when the sun and heat get the the better of me, a few sips of beer or prosecco (sadly) are fun – until the flush and discomfort set in.

Continue reading “Staff Fave Summer Cocktails” »

June 9, 2008

First Light of a New Day (A Journal Entry)

5-3-08
5:21—5:42 a.m.

Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth! Another Trade Winds Dawn! Welcome to the first light of a New Day across Rockland Harbor and Penobscot Bay! From that thin, soft, dull, blue band of distant islands laying at the edge of the horizon, light, soft pink-beige slowly fades to bands of softer yellow with gentle blue-gray overhead. Today a long streak of gray trails across the sky from south to north with feathery streamers from west to east lit underneath by warm pinks. A distant contrail is illuminated from below the horizon. Bands of stratified moisture start to glow a delicate, sky-blue pink. The contrail expands in shape, scope, and color. It’s a brand new day! The thin sliver of very light blue is Cadillac Mountain protruding skyward beyond Webster Head on North Haven. The clouds take on a three-dimensional quality.

Continue reading “First Light of a New Day (A Journal Entry)” »

June 8, 2008

Crown Pilot Crackers Gone Again

Our beloved chowder cracker has been eliminated–again! Eleven years ago or so, Nabisco stopped making Crown Pilots and all heck broke out in Maine, especially Chebeague where Damon Miller Damon was the first to raise perpendicular dickens about it. CBS and Tim Sample came to interview several of us and they featured the dust-up on Sunday Morning. Nabisco saw a promotional opportunity and brought it back.

But now it is gone, yet again, and we feel crumby about it.

What’s the big deal with a cracker? Pilot crackers are a largish cracker, 2 1/2 x 4 3/4 inches, made primarily of flour, a bit of shortening but not much, some molasses, malted barley flour, baking soda. That’s pretty much it. Several decades ago, this kind of cracker was de rigeuer in chowder because it was the closest thing around to seafarer’s hardtack, one of the original ingredients in chowder, predating potatoes which eventually replaced it.

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