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January 31, 2009

Maine Events Calendar: February 2009

There are many February flings going on this month in Maine. Lots of hearts, valentines, and chocolate! This is a great month to try out a cooking class, make plans for that garden (yes, spring is coming!), or attend a canine cocktail party.  Try something on our events calendar to relieve that cabin fever. Less than 50 days until spring!

As always, if you have an event you'd like posted, email us at

Continue reading “Maine Events Calendar: February 2009″ »

January 30, 2009

Sunny Vegan Muffins for a Winter Morning

Monday evening I looked at my last banana, which was solid brown, and realized it wasn't up to the task of Tuesday morning's smoothies. Instead I incorporated it into a batch of muffins, along with September's neglected applesauce and some frozen blueberries. 

Eating a muffin while driving to work the next morning, I felt it just wasn't living up to its potential. Possibilities leapt to mind. Nutmeg! Whole wheat flour! Or instead of blueberries: cherries, with almonds on top! And orange zest! When I got to my desk the first thing I did was jot down my dream muffin’s ingredients. 

My new and improved muffins taste like a sunny day in August with dandelions and a hammock, just the thing for January mornings when it's 20 below. They are egg and dairy-free, so they contain no cholesterol. Pureed fruit moistens the muffins rather than oil, which are light and airy thanks to a generous dose of baking powder. Wheat flour gives them substance, and bits of dried cherry and crunchy sliced almonds provide a bit of cheer. 

They are easy to whip up in your bathrobe on a lazy weekend, or in the evening for a breakfast you can toss in your bag throughout the week. They’ll bring a taste of springtime to your coldest midwinter mornings. 

Cherry Almond Muffins

1/4 cup softened margarine (Earth Balance is non-dairy and non-hydrogenated)

1/2 cup applesauce

1/2 cup nondairy milk (soy, rice, oat, or almond)

1 soft brown banana

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup sugar 

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/4 cup sliced almonds  

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tray with paper liners or oil the cups.

In a medium bowl, blend the margarine, applesauce, milk, banana, almond extract, and orange peel until smooth. 

In a large bowl sift together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine, without over-mixing. Stir in cherries. 

Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle almonds on top of each muffin. 

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are browned. 

Remove the muffins from the oven and cool them on a wire rack. Makes 12 small muffins.

A recipe for a vegan blueberry-wheat muffins is available on my blog.

Mary Lake is a writer, teacher, columnist for MF&L, and vegetarian food blogger: Mitten Machen

January 29, 2009

Maine Shrimp-ly Delicious

My son didn't know what had possessed me. I went all gourmet on him last night. I picked him up at Nana's after work and said "How does shrimp sautéed in white wine and garlic, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and organic parsley over rice sound for dinner tonight?"

Continue reading “Maine Shrimp-ly Delicious” »

January 28, 2009

Portobello Mushroom & Garlic Mashed Potato Dish

Paula Anderson's Portobello Mushroom & Garlic Mashed Potato Dish

4 Portobello mushrooms
2 teaspoons fruity olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh thyme
Cooked, warm garlic mashed potatoes
Grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese

Saucer- sized Portobello mushrooms are a wonderful “dish” for mashed potatoes. Remove the gills and stems from 4 ‘shrooms and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle tops with fruity olive oil and season generously with salt, pepper, and a bit of fresh thyme. Turn over and repeat with olive oil and seasoning.

Bake (stem side up) in a preheated 375° oven for about 15 minutes or until tender. Mound caps with warm garlic mashed potatoes, sprinkle with a bit of grated Parmesan-Reggiano and run under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Yummy!

Paula Anderson is a contributing writer to Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine, as well as a columnist for 3 Maine Newspapers with a focus on food, nutrition, and entertaining.

January 27, 2009

Maine Shrimp + CSFs = Creative Marketing

In a recent article entitled Fresh Catch for the Washington Post, Nancy Harmon Jenkins wrote about Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs), and in particular the Port Clyde Fresh Catch that we are so fortunate to have in our neighborhood.

Continue reading “Maine Shrimp + CSFs = Creative Marketing” »

Two Innovative Maine Restaurants Recognized

Back Bay Grill in Portland and Natalie’s at The Camden Harbour Inn, were recognized by national magazine Restaurant Business this month in its “50 Great Ideas” issue. The issue celebrates innovative ideas created by people in the restaurant business.

Back Bay Grill in Portland made the list for its creative financing plan inviting regular customers to buy house accounts. For $1,000 up front, the customers received $1,500 worth of restaurant credit.

Natalie’s was recognized for its 8-course perfume dinner this past October featuring special guest perfume expert Chandler Burr. Natalie’s chef de cuisine Lawrence Klang created dishes to reinforce perfume scents, which were introduced by Burr to create an extraordinary sensory dining experience.  Natalie’s will host the successful perfume dinner again in June.

From the staff at Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

January 26, 2009

Chili Con Carne on Spaghetti?

Our new president’s chili recipe (see here) reminds me that modern everyday American fare like chili and spaghetti got off to bumpy starts in the 20th century, with what look to be fuzzy ideas about how these dishes were supposed to go. These two dishes, plus chop suey, together with a few now-extinct recipes like Italian Delight, were considered foreign cooking in the 1920s and 1930s. The garbling of ingredients and ideas is amusing to us in the early 21st century, though bear in mind we are no doubt cooking up another plateful of chuckles for researchers fifty years hence.

Continue reading “Chili Con Carne on Spaghetti?” »

Maine CSA Winter Fairs

You don't have to wait for the farmers' market to reopen to buy your favorite local foods.

Attend a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Fair in your community and learn about CSAs, become acquainted with local seasonal foods, buy a share in a farm's weekly harvest, and discover how you can grow a relationship with a Maine farm. Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs) will also be represented
in some locations. Continue reading for details…

Continue reading “Maine CSA Winter Fairs” »

January 25, 2009

Andrew Wyeth: A Light Goes Dim at the Farnsworth

I have loved two artists named Andy.

One is Andy Warhol, genius of soup cans and silkscreen prints, who also spent time at my alma mater in Pittsburgh. My support of his enduring fame even led to me being dubbed a Warholista by one of D.C.'s famed gossip columnists years ago — a badge I still proudly wear.

Continue reading “Andrew Wyeth: A Light Goes Dim at the Farnsworth” »

Winter Reprieve Wine Tasting

Our favorite neighborhood wine store has started a series of tastings that showcase exceptional wines that are also a great value.

On Saturday, January 24th, the Wine Seller in Rockland poured a selection of French, Australian and California reds and whites at prices we could wrap our lips around: everything was under $16! Served up with some tasty nibbles, you learned why these pairings work so you can go home and entertain with confidence and style.

If you missed this tasting, mark your calendar for February 13 when they will sample wines along with morsels from the kitchen of Rockland's Lily Bistro. And on March 14, they will select wines that pair well with Black Dinah Chocolates. We can hardly wait.

January 24, 2009

The Seasonal Cook

We're always on the lookout for fellow foodie sites. You could say
it's part of our job, but it's also enlightening to learn just how much
is going out there in the food world at large. The back-to-basics,
homegrown and raised, organic movement is stronger than ever. Following
the natural cycle of food with the seasons is thankfully seeing a
resurgence as the healthy way to live.

Check out The Seasonal Cook. Just the right mix of the irreverent and relevant

From the staff at Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

January 23, 2009

The Ice Man Cometh to Serve Martinis

Nothing like a freezing night in January in Maine.  

In support of Share Our Strength, we attended the opening night of The Ice Bar at the Portland Harbor Hotel. Their courtyard was all decked out in ice, ice sculpture, that is.


One of Jeff Day's ice bar sculptures at the Portland Harbor Hotel Event

Continue reading “The Ice Man Cometh to Serve Martinis” »

January 22, 2009

Cafe Miranda: Say Cheese!

Chef Kerry Altiero at Cafe Miranda in Rockland knows that on a cold winter night, I love his Mac & Cheese, hot and bubbling right out of the wood-fired oven. Today he sent me a couple of recipes for two of his favorite hot cheese plates that anyone can do at home in a conventional oven.
"We do these on an oven-safe 9-inch serving dish, with an “underwear” (underliner) of a 10-inch plate with a doily to keep bubbling hot cheese from scarring our staff. Oh yes, and you’ll need an eight-ton Masonry Brick oven with a wood fire in it. Don’t have one? Listen up, we’ll make do.

Continue reading “Cafe Miranda: Say Cheese!” »

January 21, 2009

MidCoast Fishermen’s Association

In a recent article in the Portland Press Herald, the state of Maine's fishing industry is continuing to battle the current for positive change. We spotted this information via the Portland Food Map blog.

Continue reading “MidCoast Fishermen’s Association” »

Eric Hopkins Gallery Hosts Pecha-Kucha Night

If you've never heard of the "Pecha-Kucha", you're not alone. But the first one in Midcoast Maine is coming up this Friday, hosted by Eric Hopkins Gallery, 21 Winter Street in Rockland, and it doesn't sound like something you'll want to miss. Fellow participants Farnsworth Art Museum, Midcoast Magnet, and Maine Center for Creativity hope for a great turnout.

Continue reading “Eric Hopkins Gallery Hosts Pecha-Kucha Night” »

January 20, 2009

A Good Food City

Kate Hopkins, blogmeister of the Accidental Hedonist blog, has welcomed in the 5th anniversary of her blog this year. Congratulations Kate, and don't stop now.

Kate posted an interesting article recently. The subject was, What Makes a Good Food City. Kate's post presents her opinion of possible circumstances why one city has better food than others, and are wonderful places for foodies to visit.

Continue reading “A Good Food City” »

January 19, 2009

Obama’s Inaugural Chili Recipe

Wow, all that and he cooks, too?! What more can we say? Try our newly elected President's recipe for chili. Sounds hearty and promising, just like his plans for our country.

Obama Family Chili Recipe
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
Several cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey or beef
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground oregano
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground basil
1 Tablespoon chili powder
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Several tomatoes, depending on size, chopped
1 can red kidney beans

Sauté onion, green pepper, and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add ground meat and brown.
Combine spices together into a mixture, then add to ground meat.

Add red wine vinegar and tomatoes and let simmer, until tomatoes cook down.

Add kidney beans and cook for a few more minutes. Serve over white
or brown rice. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese, onions, and sour

From the staff at Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

January 18, 2009

What is that Mystery Meat Anyway?

In recent posts, the Portland Psst!
Blog pondered the question of what is the "mystery meat" on the cover
of our 2008 #3 edition. We thought you'd know by looking at the photo
credits on the TOC page, but for 2008_3_cover
those of you who haven't seen the physical copy of this issue, it is a Lobster Ceviche prepared by MF&L columnist Lani Temple,
and photographed by MF&L Creative Director, Jim Bazin. Jim's
feedback after shooting and then consuming the dish was, "Delicious!"

And we're thankful that Portland Psst!
pointed out our emphasis on Lobster dishes for the holiday season. What
better way to support our troubled lobstering industry? We felt the
cooked red of lobster embodied the familiar red of the commercial
holiday season, while offering and alternative meal suggestion beyond the more traditional hams
and turkeys. We all walked-the-walk over the
holidays, and indulged oh so pleasurably in as much Maine Lobster meat
as we could stick our forks into.

And thanks to Psst! for pointing readers to our recent 207 appearance with Kathleen Shannon on WCSH6. They're right, we failed to mention some formerly trendy food locations such as San Francisco and that other Portland, but it's definitely OUR time now (check the 7th item on the list), and we want to tell the world about it.

From the staff at Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

January 17, 2009

Fun Food Facts by Mike Bellino

Fun Food Facts by Mike Bellino, published by Author House in 2008, will whet your appetite for food trivia. I have been thumbing through my copy here at the office, and find myself spouting facts about foods now as the opportunity arises and my knowledge bank has increased its stores of information.

Continue reading “Fun Food Facts by Mike Bellino” »

January 16, 2009

Barbara Ernst Prey Appointed to National Council of the Arts

Congratulations to Maine artist Barbara Ernst Prey who was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the National Council on the Arts. She will serve a full six-year term, until 2014.

Continue reading “Barbara Ernst Prey Appointed to National Council of the Arts” »