Plating Up Blog Banner Back Issues Sign Up For Our Free eNewsletter Subscribe to Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine Plating Up Blog Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine Table of Contents Subscribe to Our Magazine About Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine Bits and Bites Press Page Send Email Plating Up Blog

February 28, 2009

Maine Events Calendar: March 2009

As March comes roaring in, let's hope it leaves in its wake the lamb like days of spring we're all anxiously awaiting. Below is a list of upcoming events for March. Be sure to take in a Restaurant Week destination or two. Look for the maple syrup to be flowing, another month of great opportunities to take a cooking class, and spring to be in the air as you stop and smell the flowers at Portland's Annual Flower Show. Welcome, spring!

Continue reading “Maine Events Calendar: March 2009″ »

February 27, 2009

Maine Food Ambassadors — Activate!

In my other life, I work with trade associations. Marketers in the professional organization world are always looking for members who will become evangelists for the brand. If you're the Big Deal Restaurant Society, you want to cultivate restaurateurs who carry their affiliation with your .org into their daily work lives and recruit others for you. You give them special ribbons to wear at trade shows. You invite them to speak at conferences. You treat them to private dinners at meetings. You introduce them to other brand ambassadors and create micro-communities for them. And they will love you for as long as they are in the field – and often, beyond it.

Continue reading “Maine Food Ambassadors — Activate!” »

February 26, 2009

In the Kitchen “At Home in Maine”

Two charming historical kitchens and nuggets of Maine food history are on view in the Maine State Museum’s new exhibit “At Home in Maine.” I paid a visit on Monday and spent a wonderful hour and a half absorbing all that there was to see. I loved the French Canadian farmhouse kitchen and could imagine a huge pile of ploys on the wooden table, and more being baked on the stove.

Continue reading “In the Kitchen “At Home in Maine”” »

February 25, 2009

Table Manners in a Graceless Age

I am stepping up on my soapbox to discuss a social grace that seems to have gone by the board: table manners.

Continue reading “Table Manners in a Graceless Age” »

Restaurant Week Maine: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!

In case you need a reminder, coming soon to a restaurant near you is Maine Restaurant Week Winter 2009! This is the time of year when all our favorite Maine restaurants serve specially priced, 3-course meals at $20.09, $30.09, or $40.09 per person. Whatever you're craving, wherever you are in Maine, there is somewhere, close by, a participating restaurant waiting to indulge you.

Continue reading “Restaurant Week Maine: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!” »

February 24, 2009

Loving Curry in Bangor

When I was in fourth grade, my mother decided we would expand our tastes and knowledge of geography by having weekly international food nights. Every Thursday she picked a country and cooked something that seemed representative. Japan: teriyaki chicken. Russia: beef stroganoff. Mexico: tamale casserole. If there was a restaurant nearby we'd go out. I ate baklava for the first time at Christopher's, the now-closed Portland restaurant we went to on Greek night.

Continue reading “Loving Curry in Bangor” »

February 23, 2009

The Joy of Snoozing

When a certain groundhog cast a shadow recently over hopes for an early end to winter, I was propelled back in time to a sleepy little town in old Russia.  In the course of doing some casual research about the onset of winter for an essay in my newsletter, I had consulted my eleventh edition (1911) of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. In the article titled Hibernation, I came across a reference to the unique way the plucky peasants of Pskov coped with the cold back then.

Continue reading “The Joy of Snoozing” »

Spring — 24 More Days!

But where exactly will Spring make an appearance in 24 days? Maine? Do you really think so?

Courtesy of those fabulous ladies at The Brass Compass Cafe in Rockland. And right in time for another snowstorm!

February 22, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Pretzels with Pecans: “Snapping Turtles”

You can make a fabulous candy treat I call “Snapping Turtles” in jig time.

"Snapping Turtles"
Snyder's brand Butter Snap pretzels
Rollo chocolate caramel candies
Pecan halves

Top a Snyder’s brand Butter Snap (a square pretzel that resembles a small grid) with an unwrapped Rollo chocolate caramel candy. Top the Rollo with a pecan half. Place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and cook in a 300° oven for 3 minutes or just until chocolate begins to look shiny. Immediately remove pan from oven and gently press pecan down to squish the Rollo. Chill in freezer until firm. Sweet, salty, and caramel-y. Nothing better.

(Credit is due to my friend Nancy Hupp, who is my across-the-canal neighbor in Florida.)

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.

February 21, 2009

Maine Shrimp Pizza: Cornucopasetic!

On our quest for fellow Maine foodies, and those keen on Maine shrimp, we delight in finding Cornucopasetic! A January post of theirs called Pandalus Pandemonium sounds just what’s in order at my house for the weekend. Pizza has traditionally been a weekend food, perfect with the kids at home and enjoyed with a movie or two on a Saturday night. Combine two favorites, pizza and Maine shrimp, and I think we have the makings of a very tasty dinner. I’m thinking this will pair nicely with the movie “Forrest Gump”.

Continue reading “Maine Shrimp Pizza: Cornucopasetic!” »

February 20, 2009

Cooking with your Kids (Part 2): Yo Mama’s Meatloaf

Interestingly, when a couple has two kids, one is more like Mom, and the other more like Dad. "True that" with my sons Sam and Mac. Sam is his Dad's mini me and Mac is mine. But there is one thing they will always come together on eventually, and that is food. So, despite that one is comfortable in LL Bean attire and the other in Italian suits, their food tastes for Mom's cooking is a one note symphony…comfort food. Straight up and simple.

Continue reading “Cooking with your Kids (Part 2): Yo Mama’s Meatloaf” »

February 19, 2009

Cooking with your Kids

If the image coming to mind is of a little chap standing on a kitchen chair in a tea towel apron, covered in cookie batter and armed with a rubber spatula…stop right there! At my house, it's always been more like a scene from Top Chef or Hell's Kitchen. When my boys were 10 and 8, I decided it was time to learn knife skills. For Christmas they each got an 8 inch chef knife, (Wusthof of course), a paring knife, a sharpening stone, and a mesh glove. They got all the other crap kids get too, but imagine a kid's joy of digging into his Christmas stocking and finding a nice sharp knife!

Continue reading “Cooking with your Kids” »

Calling All NASCAR Fans: Pit Stop in a Southern Kitchen

Here is a little known fact about yours truly: I am a NASCAR fan. Stashed away in my attic are various model cars of the #24, as well as books, posters, and other memorabilia. I am not in the category of die-hard NASCAR fans as I once was, never missing a race. It's just that now between work and life, my time is valuable and sitting on the couch all Sunday afternoon, watching cars go around in the same circle for hours on end gets me a little antsy. I mean, I am busy and have a lot to do. Not to say I'm don't keep up with the stats of my favorite driver (#24) Jeff Gordon; it's just I check in on him between vacuuming, laundry, and the like. Being a dad, husband, and racing legend, I'm sure Jeff appreciates my support and multitasking abilities. That's life in the fast lane!

Continue reading “Calling All NASCAR Fans: Pit Stop in a Southern Kitchen” »

February 18, 2009

Maine Chefs and Restaurants James Beard Nominations

Congratulations to the Maine Chefs and Maine Restaurants that have been nominated for prestigious James Beard Foundation awards. The nominations are an honor on their own, similar to be nominated for an Academy Award in the movie biz. Award recipients will be announced May 3 and 4, 2009.

You make us all proud, Maine Chefs and Restaurants!

Continue reading “Maine Chefs and Restaurants James Beard Nominations” »

Rockland Farmers’ Market Plans 2009 Season

We here in the Mid-coast have something to look forward to. The Rockland Farmers' Market held its annual business meeting recently, and is busy plotting out a new season. Can this mean we are truly moving toward spring? We hope so. It has been a long winter, and we're eager to see signs of life again. It seems ages since we've seen living color green!

Continue reading “Rockland Farmers’ Market Plans 2009 Season” »

Bones and All

Melanie's January blog post about ice fishing with her dad reminded me of my winters growing up in central Maine. And the debate this month over whether the state should stock smelts — a small fish that looks a bit like a salmon smolt — to help bolster Maine's landlocked-salmon population, got me to thinking about noshing on the tiny poissons. 

Continue reading “Bones and All” »

February 16, 2009

Martha Greenlaw’s Maine Shrimp Bisque

This bisque is a family favorite. Sometimes, as a change of pace, I don’t purée it so that it’s really more like a shrimp and vegetable rice soup.

Maine Shrimp season is now and the shrimp are fresh, abundant, and oh-so-sweet and delicious. Maine Shrimp are the best, and this is a delicious, nourishing, and inexpensive dish to make. Here's how to make it.

Continue reading “Martha Greenlaw’s Maine Shrimp Bisque” »

More Hearty Vegetarian Soup

Everyone I know is sick: my husband, my dogs, the kids at school. They have a merciless cold that won’t let go, and they keep breathing near me. We’ve reached the point in winter when the snow has gone from fluffy and cute to rock-hard and brown.

It’s time for soup!

I’ve been craving something rich, creamy, and comforting, something that will fill me up and ward away the cooties. I decided to take my basic any-vegetable soup recipe and make it decadent.

Potatoes pureed with broth give the soup a hearty base that is dairy-free and low-fat. Beans, carrots, parsnips, and kale offer a lively variety of texture and color. This is an adaptable recipe, and you could experiment with other root vegetables or leafy greens. The seasoning is mellow and warming, and even better the next day after the flavors have developed.

Curl up with your box of tissues and a mug of soup, and wait out the remainder of the winter.

Continue reading “More Hearty Vegetarian Soup” »

February 14, 2009

Mom’s Whoopie Pies

These are the Whoopie Pies that were an integral part of my life as a child growing up in Kittery in the ‘50s. I remember that in 3rd grade I figured out I had immense trading power at lunch time if Mom had packed a Whoopie or two in my Shirley Temple lunch box.

Continue reading “Mom’s Whoopie Pies” »

February 13, 2009

Grandma’s Creamed Spinach

My grandma's creamed spinach with a few updates… (almost as good as Peter Luger's).

Terrific with steak and truffled french fries…makes an excellent side dish.

Grandma's Creamed Spinach
3 pounds baby spinach, rinsed
1¼ cups whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream
1 small shallot, finely chopped
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup flour
A grating of fresh nutmeg to taste
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Blanch spinach in boiling salted water just until wilted and drain; squeeze and chop.

Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan until warm.

Sauté shallot in butter until caramelized, then add flour to make a roux.

Add the warm milk in a steady stream, whisking to prevent lumps. Cook until thickened, then add the spinach and stir in a bit of nutmeg, sea salt, and fresh pepper.

Remove from heat and either serve immediately or cool quickly and save for another day.

Laura Cabot is president of Laura Cabot Catering in Waldoboro.