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November 30, 2008

Food Trends in 2009

If Jerry Shriver and other food mavens have it right, Maine should be sitting in the catbird seat next year when it comes to cashing in on dining trends.

In USA Today, food and wine correspondent Shriver is reporting that 2009's forecast is for a greater focus on more casual dining, less expensive menus and ingredients, and farm-to-table cuisine. The country's top restaurant consultants are predicting that the global economic meltdown is causing significant changes in the way restaurants will have to respond to their consumers.

Continue reading “Food Trends in 2009″ »

November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving from Away

I have only been home to Maine for Thanksgiving once in the last 15 years.

This in no way means I don't adore my family. I love the din of everyone running around and slamming doors to keep out the chill and sharing baby duties, serving lobster with turkey, walks in the woods after supper and my mother cooking nearly everything the day before and leaving it out on the porch, which was colder than any fridge and had the added benefit of limitless space. When I was growing up, my grandmother would serve fresh cranberry relish, made with a hand crank, on china and by candlelight. When we ate at my step-father's mother's house, there was football in the snow with the uncles as well as limitless deviled eggs and tourtière — traditional French Canadian meat pies to bring home for later.

Continue reading “Thanksgiving from Away” »

At Home with a New Animal Companion

Prepping your home for a new puppy or kitten is similar to baby
proofing your home once your child becomes a toddler. Anything
available and within reach is fair game, and they will get into
everything. You would not leave a toddler alone in a room without adult
supervision, and the same should go for your new furry bundle of joy.
They will chew wires, cords, your favorite pair of shoes…so, pick up
any important papers,toys,clothing. And be aware of things such as
dental floss in the trash and medicines and vitamins lying around
within reach.

Continue reading “At Home with a New Animal Companion” »

November 28, 2008

Lobster Mousse Appetizer

In support of our Lobster industry here in Maine, we're still adding to our lobster recipe line-up. This recipe from Maine Lobster Direct makes an elegant appetizer for your fall soirée.

Any favorite recipes by readers can be sent to us for consideration at blog@mainefoodandlifestyle.com.

Continue reading “Lobster Mousse Appetizer” »

November 27, 2008

Boutique Oysters from Maine

Those of us who live here, know that the coast of Maine is the home of world-class oysters with names that have become “boutique” brands for the restaurants and oyster bars everywhere who demand nothing but the best.  Glidden Point. Basket Island. Flying Point. Weskeag. Pemaquid Point. Penobscot Bay. Oak Point. Cape Blue. Their names alone are enough to make your mouth start watering in anticipation of their incredible fresh flavors.

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Continue reading “Boutique Oysters from Maine” »

November 26, 2008

Bare cupboards in a season of plenty

In a state with a growing middle class, as well as an abundance of backyard and commercial farms, rivers and oceans ripe with fish and crustaceans, fiddleheads and mushrooms in the woods and all kinds of wild game and birds, we often forget that hunger affects a large number of people in Maine. As shoppers crowd stores picking up the final ingredients they'll need for Thanksgiving dinner this week, I hope some consider the drastic hit that food banks in the state have taken in the last year –  both from losing government support and an increase in need — at the same time that the state's "food security" ranking has reached the "very low" level.

Continue reading “Bare cupboards in a season of plenty” »

November 25, 2008

The Harraseeket Inn’s Chef de Cuisine Gallit Sammon

To Market, To Market and Home Again…

Our visit with Chef Gallit Sammon of the Harraseeket Inn was a very memorable one.

Full of zest, busy as a bee in the garden at New Leaf Farm in Durham, we trailed Gallit as she gathered fresh produce, hopped on her motorcycle, and cruised to her second job as Chef de Cuisine at the acclaimed Harraseeket Inn in Freeport. There, she shared with us the importance (and joy) of her involvement in every step on the road to fine local cuisine. From gardening, harvesting, and preparing, to cooking, presentation with her signature edible flowers, and the importance of completing the food cycle by composting, all were mastered with care and skill.

Plating_1928Table

In the kitchen at Harraseeket, Gallit whipped up some tantalizing dishes: Cilantro and Cold River Vodka Cured Salmon with Peach Relish and Crème Fraîche, Vegetable Terrine, and Whole Poached Maine Lobster Served with Lobster Risotto, Garden Vegetables, and Vermouth Butter Sauce. They're all heavenly and we've got the recipes for you in the our new issue.

Sourcing locally, preparing fresh, and presenting with an elegant flair, you’ll be as impressed as we were with Gallit, New Leaf Farm, and the Harraseeket Inn! An 8-page feature, including all three recipes, are in the latest issue of our magazine. You can view the first page here.

From the staff at Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

November 24, 2008

Lobster Weathering the Storm

In our new issue, we devote a lot of attention to the crisis in the Maine lobster industry. As everyone is now aware, a perfect storm of depressed demand, low prices, rising fuel and bait costs, and tougher regulations has combined to plummet what has been the cash cow of our fishing industry into an economic disaster.

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Continue reading “Lobster Weathering the Storm” »

November 23, 2008

Maine Food and Lifestyle’s New Issue

Lobsters and oysters and bears, oh my! These are just a few of the feature articles in our new issue that we'll be sharing with you.

Bear-Lobster-Oyster

Continue reading “Maine Food and Lifestyle’s New Issue” »

November 21, 2008

Arborvine: An Historic Maine Restaurant

Ever been to Blue Hill, Maine? It's great Maine country land, and of course, home to Maine's own Blue Hill Fair, Blue Hill Books, and neighboring Eliot Coleman's Four Season Farm in Harborside.

Well, we've found another gem there, and it looks relaxing, elegant, and a diner's nirvana. A restaurant committed to all things local, fresh, and organic, Arborvine boasts beautiful flower and herb gardens on the premises. Crackling fireplaces give a warm ambiance along with period antiques.  

Check out the history of this establishment, as well as the impressive menu, all locally sourced. Another reason Maine is on the culinary map. 

From the staff at Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

November 20, 2008

Seasonal Recipe: Pork Tenderloin

The grill sits outside and is definitely underused as the leaves and temperature fall; the sun is lower in the sky and dark hours outnumber the light. In a way, all these components have a hand in deciding our food choices. The summer grilling, cold salads, and summer vegetable will have to wait as they are replaced by the more hearty foods cooked indoors: soups, stews, winter squash, and pork to name but a few. And we all have our favorites.

Continue reading “Seasonal Recipe: Pork Tenderloin” »

November 19, 2008

Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Maine Foods

I had never watched the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods show starring Andrew Zimmern before last night. Because he was coming to Maine, I had to tune in. I asked my brother Brian, Chef at the Thomaston Cafe, if he'd ever seen it. "Oh, that guy? I watched last week and he was eating blood sausage. You should see the things he eats. Crazy!" was his reply.

Continue reading “Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Maine Foods” »

November 18, 2008

Maine Food Up for Bid

I never knew I always wanted to ride in a dump truck until I saw it on the auction block.

The Penobscot Bay Region Chamber has pulled together an amazing smorgasbord of products and adventures and put the entire collection up for bid. Their online auction ends tomorrow night, and the live auction takes place Friday evening when all these goodies will disappear. Unless you've been smart enough to grab up some of these gems.

Continue reading “Maine Food Up for Bid” »

November 17, 2008

Thanskgiving, Pie, and Plum Pudding

In times past, the Thanksgiving holiday was ushered in by pie making as it is even today in some homes. In their memoirs, some Victorian era writers recalled their childhood excitement when they saw their mother begin to assemble mincemeat, knowing that the holiday was right around the corner. Mincemeat pie making began with chopping meat, suet, apples, picking over currants and asking the children to pick out the seeds in raisins. The words "seedless raisins" are virtually meaningless today since seedless grapes have been common since the late 1800s in America. Formerly, raisins were larger, dried grapes, really, and their seeds had to be picked out by hand.

Early American mothers also recruited their children to pound and sift spices. Cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg bought whole had to be pulverized in a mortar and pestle, then sifted through a sieve before cooks added the spices to mincemeat, pumpkin, or apple pies.

All this activity resulted in many pies, some of which were devoured at Thanksgiving dinner or shared with needy neighbors. Others were set away in cold parts of house, in pie safes, often to freeze. For a month or more, a hostess had pies ready to warm up on the hearth when company arrived.

In some houses, plum pudding was another Thanksgiving treat, one we associate with Christmas. There is a good reason for this. Early New Englanders, Mainers included, tended not to celebrate Christmas until the later 1800s. Instead, they indulged in all their favorite festive foods on Thanksgiving. When the irresistible attractions of Christmas prevailed in the 1890s or so, few people could envision a nicer meal than the one they had on Thanksgiving, so recreated it on December 25, turkey, pie, plum pudding and all.

Sandy Oliver, Food Historian, Author, MF&L columnist: The Way Things Were

Composting With the FBI

As the cold November rains begin to fall, the term comes to a close
here at the Ferry Beach Ecology School. It seems now that the summers
bustling activity in our organic garden is just a distant memory. With
a cover crop of winter rye sown and beginning to emerge, our soil will
be protected from the eroding wind, rain, and snow of coastal Saco,
Maine. While it might appear our garden is void of activity at this
time of the year, this is far from the truth.

Continue reading “Composting With the FBI” »

November 15, 2008

Office Equipment Woes

It never seems to fail. You can almost count on it. Just when you need it the most, it's not there for you. While that statement could certainly apply to many varied scenarios, in this case I'm referring to our office printer.

Continue reading “Office Equipment Woes” »

November 14, 2008

Maine Featured on Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods

Hey Maine food fans,

Have you ever watched Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel? We here at the magazine will sure be tuning in for next Tuesday, November 18th's 10 pm episode. Andrew is going to visit his dad in Maine and see what they can dig up for eclectic eats. Should be interesting!

We all know that Mainers tend to get stereotyped as backlanders who don't always rank among the culturally or culinary elite on the food chain. (I am writing this as a native Mainer whose roots go too far back to count, and as the new generation of "educated" Mainers, I tend to get easily offended when someone puts any generation of Mainers down.)

So, I will be anxious to check out this program's bent on putting Maine and bizarre foods on the same plate.

Stay tuned, readers.

And please, mark this show on your calendars, watch it, DVR it, old-fashioned tape it on your VCR, whatever. We're curious to hear your reactions, too.

Melanie Hyatt is an editor at Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

November 13, 2008

Afternoon Tea: Try It, You’ll Like It

I was raised by a mother who sat down every afternoon to a cup of hot tea. No, she wasn't British or from any Commonwealth nation where the ritual of tea time is religiously observed. She was just a lady who appreciated the finer things in life, and a mom with three kids and a husband which meant she had barely a few hours before the "night shift" began: dinner, homework, baths, pet feeding, the evening paper to read, and countless other invisible chores that can gobble up an entire evening.

So when I read about the "Winter Wonderlands Holiday Tea" at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens on December 6, I was transported back to that magical interlude called Afternoon Tea. CMBG is getting all dolled up for the holidays, and is serving sweet and savory treats like scones, tea sandwiches, and, of course, pots and pots of hot tea. What an elegant way to usher in the season! And for those of us who are bracing for the storm of holiday shopping, cooking, and entertaining, this may our last chance to enjoy a dignified "cuppa" together.

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

Local Food Security Talk

Healthy, sustainable food sources are on everyone's collective conscience these days. Here's a way to learn more about doing your part.

Talk on Co-ops and Local Food Security to be held at the Belfast Free Library

Continue reading “Local Food Security Talk” »

November 11, 2008

Lemon Lobster with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This sophisticated and savory lobster recipe comes to us from another one of our local celebrity chefs, Anne Mahle. A way to 'wow' your dinner guests with relative ease of preparation.

Continue reading “Lemon Lobster with Sun-Dried Tomatoes” »