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August 31, 2009

Blueberry Pecan Pie

What a pie! I had to bake it twice before I had this hybrid right. I like the nuts chopped, so they’re not hard to plow through with a knife or fork, but you can use pecan halves, if you like. Blueberries and a hint of lemon add summery highlights to a rich dessert that cries out for whipped cream garnish.

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Maine Events Calendar: September 2009

September is typically a beautiful month in Maine, and there are still lots of great events all over the state to enjoy. Just because summer is on the wane, don’t fret! The transition to fall is an easy one with so much happening. Continue reading “Maine Events Calendar: September 2009″ »

August 30, 2009

Maine Fare Taste Seminars: Eye Candy for Food Lovers

I just spent hours salivating over a display of eye candy, made some careful choices, and now I’m back for more. Continue reading “Maine Fare Taste Seminars: Eye Candy for Food Lovers” »

Halibut with Peach Sauce

The first time I tried halibut was in a fancy French restaurant. The fish just melted in my mouth and, of course, the butter made it very yummy. Since I am not used to eating butter, I paid a big price the next day. I wanted to create my own recipe for halibut that was quick, healthy, and just as delicious. The peach sauce and garam masala make an aromatic and flavourful dish. Continue reading “Halibut with Peach Sauce” »

August 29, 2009

Tricolor Beet Salad

Beets may be the unsung hero of the vegetable world. I rarely think of cooking beets–I don’t know why–but when I do, I love to make this salad. It’s as delicious as it is aesthetically pleasing. Continue reading “Tricolor Beet Salad” »

Grilled Chicken with Passion Fruit Sauce

The subtle sounds of nature and the sea. The easy companionship of new and old friends. The simple pleasures of delicious meals prepared and served with passion and care. From May to October each year, this is our life on our Maine windjammer J. & E. Riggin. Continue reading “Grilled Chicken with Passion Fruit Sauce” »

August 28, 2009

Traditional Maine Baked Beans

A foggy day on the coast of Maine is made for baking beans. None are as flavorful, as perfectly seasoned, as beautifully brown as Auntie’s.

You should probably be home the whole time they’re baking, so you’ll be on hand to add water every so often. If you slip out for an hour hour and come back to beans with their tongues hanging out for thirst, don’t blame me. Freeze them and trot them out later for barbecues, patio buffets, and clambakes when it’s too hot to bake. Continue reading “Traditional Maine Baked Beans” »

Saturday-Night Supper Steamed Brown Bread

Old-time Mainers sometimes call this “rye ‘n’ injun” bread (the “injun” referring to the cornmeal, because all things corn were associated with Native Americans). Others just called it brown bread. You can actually buy brown bread in a can, which you then heat by steaming, and it isn’t bad. But this homemade version is absolutely delicious–plus, making it is kind of a fun project. In New England, steamed brown bread was (and still is) a traditional accompaniment to Saturday night’s baked beans. Continue reading “Saturday-Night Supper Steamed Brown Bread” »

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread has always been one of my favorites. This recipe produces a moist cake, and the walnuts give it a great crisp texture. Thick slices of this zucchini bread can be dipped into beaten eggs and fried in butter creating a unique twist to French toast. Serve with pure maple syrup and freshly whipped cream. The zucchini bread batter can also be used to make muffins. Continue reading “Zucchini Bread” »

August 27, 2009

The Appalachian Trail’s First Thru-hiker on Display in D.C.

More than 60 years ago, Earl Shaffer became the first thru-hiker on the Appalachian Trail — an iconic path that depending on how you view it has its beginning or its end in Maine. A thru-hiker is one that tackles the trail as one continuous path. There have only been 10,000 people reported to have completed the entire trek since it was founded in 1921. Shaffer, an outdoorsman, poet and self-described loner from Pennsylvania, started in Georgia in April 1948 and crested Mount Katahdin in August of that year.

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August 26, 2009

Seafood Newburg

I like to serve this dish over a combination of basmati and wild rice with asparagus spears. It is also very nice put into individual casserole dishes, topped with a grating of Parmesan cheese and a dusting of paprika and run under the broiler for a carefully watched minute or two. Serve with toast points.

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Chocolate, Cheese, and Wine?

Personally, I can’t think of a better combination. And where can one go to indulge all these food fantasies? We’ve heard satisfaction can be found in Brooklin, Maine. The Cave, says proprietor Laura Cramer, caters to “the three biggest sensory pleasures.”

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Eggplant Recipe

Eggplant, which one generally associates with Mediterranean cuisine, actually grows quite well in Maine–especially some newer types, like the slender Italian (or baby eggplant) and Japanese varieties. Peak season is midsummer to mid-autumn, coinciding with prime tomato season, so combining these two is our natural inclination. If the the eggplants are young and very fresh, they don’t really need preliminary salting to draw out bitterness, but I like to give them just a sprinkle of salt because it helps keep them from absorbing quite so much oil. This eggplant dish works as a side dish and also makes an excellent vegetarian entrée.

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August 25, 2009

Mom’s Market-Basket Ratatouille

summersquash-320piClark’s mother often made this perfect summer vegetable dish after a morning spent at the farmers’ market. There, as in our own garden, peppers, eggplants, and squash are on brilliant display during late summer. Perhaps no dish better exemplifies the principal of cooking with the season than ratatouille. We serve ours with roasted or grilled lamb and with “big” fish such as tuna or salmon.

Mom’s Market-Basket Ratatouille
Arrows Restaurant, Ogunquit

1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow summer squash
½ cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 large red onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small Italian eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
¼ cup red wine vinegar

Cut the skins with about ? inch of the flesh from the zucchini and the summer squash. Discard the cores. Slice the squash skins crosswise ½ inch thick.

Warm the olive oil in a large stainless-steel sauté over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the eggplant, red and yellow peppers, and sliced zucchini and yellow squash. Sauté, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat until the vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the vinegar, add more salt and pepper if needed, and remove form the heat. Serve warm, at room temperature, or slightly chilled. Once cooled, the ratatouille can be covered and refrigerated for up to a day.

Serves 6.

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Favorite Maine Foods

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in mid-coast Maine (Rockland, to be precise) and lived in

New York

for many years, but traveled a bit around the country reading her poetry. In 1932, she visited in a private home in

Paris

where a Parisian commented that

America

had such bad food. Millay defended her country’s fare with a list of American foods that included some familiar Maine fare:

Broiled or boiled

Maine

lobsters with melted fresh country butter.

Haddock chowder.

Boston Baked Beans and brown bread.

Cherrystone and littleneck clams.

Clambakes.

Pumpkin pie, and deep dish blueberry pie.

Blueberries, cranberries, and beach plums.

Among the other foods she listed from other parts of the country are dishes New Englanders might have from time to time even today while others are virtually extinct including:

Shad and shad roe.

Baltimorean and Philadelphian-style diamond-back terrapin.

Philadelphia pepper pot.

Philadelphia

tripe and oysters.

Provincetown Portuguese clam pie.

Oyster crabs and whitebait.

Soft shell crabs.

Sweet corn and sweet potatoes.

Creole Jambalayas.

[From Nancy Milford, Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay, New York: Random House, 2002, pgs. 364-365.]

August 24, 2009

Blueberry Battle

I am engaged in the annual battle for the blueberries with my feathered friends who hang out in the back garden, and as usual, they are winning. Some of the blue jays are clever enough to pick through the nylon netting that I so painstakingly used to cover the blueberry bushes. So much for THAT idea! I actually went out and had a chat with them the other day and tried to convey in my best bird language, that I just wanted enough berries this year for one lousy pie. Somehow I don’t think they understand as I just came back in from a rather unsuccessful attempt at picking. I might have enough in my little pail for a 2-inch turnover and that’s about it. The jays are looking well fed and happy, though. I guess I will resort to a visit to the neighborhood farm stand a little later in the week. My mouth is watering in anticipation of a slice of warm blueberry pie.
blueberries-500pi
Continue reading “Blueberry Battle” »

School Lunches

As many of you, like me, have kids to send off to school in another week, it’s time to start thinking about one of their favorite parts of the day: lunch. I remember the days of opening up my Charlie’s Angels tin lunchbox to PB&J, soggy tuna, and smelly egg sandwiches. I was definitely of the sandwich, chips, and a milk generation.

In general, unless the school was having something I liked, such as lasagna or tacos, I was brown bagging it. And I don’t recall having much “ownership” to my school lunches. I either ate what my mother packed, or I took money for hot lunch. I do know that my mom was on a budget, and that factor often was the driving force behind the food.

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August 23, 2009

Maine Fare: Seducing Us to Eat Better

Seduction. I can’t think of a better way to start a weekend that revolves around food (as if food weren’t seductive enough!)

Maine Fare’s kickoff event on Friday, September 11, features Washington Post columnist, author, and Maine resident Barbara Damrosch who will present a slide show titled “Beauty and Bounty.” An excellent photographer and speaker, her talk on vegetable and fruit gardens will show how, she says, “a food garden can be a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.”

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Grilled Steak with Merlot-Mushroom Butter

Cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley, which is often blended with a little merlot, provides the necessary ripe, black, brambly fruit and rich velvety tannins that are needed to balance the flavor and texture of the steak.

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August 22, 2009

Fried Green Tomatoes

Most of America became familiar with this recipe from the book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fanny Flagg, and the subsequent movie. But the recipe is a Depression-era staple of rural America, as was green tomato pie, soup, and pickles. Continue reading “Fried Green Tomatoes” »