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September 30, 2009

Throwdown Queen Rocks Rockland

OK, we’ve all been waiting a long time for this, but FINALLY the Throwdown with Bobby Flay episode with Rockland’s own Lynn Archer gets aired for the fist time. TONIGHT! At 9pm EST/PST on the Food Network.

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Lynn Archer, owner of Rockland’s Brass Compass Café in Rockland, taught chef Bobby Flay a thing-or-two about making a Lobster Club sandwich at the Throwdown event in Rockland this June. Don’t miss this episode on the Food Network tonight … 9pm!

Blueberries for Dinner

Creative Vegetarian Columnist and MF&L blogger Mary Lake takes us “Beyond Pancakes and Pie” and puts “Blueberries on the Dinner Plate” in the new issue of Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine. Who knew Maine’s little official state fruit was versatile enough to claim the center stage of a main meal?

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Try Mary’s recipe for Lettuce Wraps with Blueberry-Ginger Sauce as an appetizer or light meal. Served with steamed rice or green beans sautéed with ginger and garlic to satisfy the appetite, this is a delicious and nutritious meal idea.

September 29, 2009

Nuclear Pickled Serranos

Serranos are just about the hottest peppers you’d ever want to eat whole. (Other peppers are hotter but tend to be used sparingly in sauces.) Pickled serranos (or slightly milder jalapeños) are great to pass at the table with grilled meat and seafood dishes. We eat them–but not too many–at our staff lunches. Continue reading “Nuclear Pickled Serranos” »

September 28, 2009

Walnut Salad in Endive

There’s something about this particular combination of ingredients that makes people think they are eating something more substantial than toasted nuts. Everyone loves this appetizer, and many have offered guesses as to what they are tasting–and have never been right. Continue reading “Walnut Salad in Endive” »

Rockland, ME – A Best Small Town in America

More and more people throughout the country are learning what we Rockland Mainers have known forever. Rockland Maine Rocks!

Budget Travel has once again listed Rockland, Maine as one of America’s “Coolest” small towns. In fact, Rockland is the Readers’ Choice Pick among the 10 small towns selected by the magazine staff.

In the words of their editors, “Every now and then, you stumble upon a town that’s gotten everything right—great coffee, food with character, shop owners with purpose. These 10 spots have it all, in perfectly small doses.”

Rockland is referred to as a perfect mix of “sophistication mixed with saltiness.”

See for yourself in their article, America’s Coolest Small Towns!

September 27, 2009

Husk Cherry Waldorf Salad

After a recent lunch at Chase’s Daily, I wandered back to browse the selection of fruit, vegetables, and flowers delivered fresh from the Chase family farm. The restaurant receives well-deserved praise in the new issue of Maine Food & Lifestyle; not only are their vegetarian meals delicious, but thanks to the light streaming in the tall windows, the hand-lettered signs, and the rustic bins, more photogenic produce cannot be found.

Among the sunflowers and herbs, I discovered husk cherries. I couldn’t resist this adorable, unfamiliar fruit so I brought home a pint, though I had no idea what lay inside their papery skins. Also called ground cherries or cape gooseberries, husk cherries are closely related to tomatillos. Tender and full of small seeds, they resemble cherry tomatoes in texture. Husk cherries possess a unique flavor with elements of vanilla, pineapple, citrus, and yellow cake. They’re sweet as candy inside their delicate wrappers.

If you stumble across husk cherries, pick up a pint or two. They would be lovely in a fruit crisp or clafoutis. In this simple variation on the Waldorf salad, they’re sweet enough to stand in for apples and raisins. If you can’t find husk cherries, grapes or chopped sweet apple would be the next best thing.

Husk Cherry Waldorf Salad

1 cup walnuts
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced (1 cup)
1 pint husk cherries, husks removed and halved (a generous cup)
2 Tablespoons sliced shallot
½ cup vanilla soy yogurt
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Green or red leaf lettuce, chopped (optional)

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast walnuts for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until they become lightly browned and fragrant. Allow walnuts to cool, then combine with celery, husk cherries, and shallot in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt and lemon juice. Pour dressing over salad and stir gently to combine. Serve over lettuce if desired.

Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side.

Maine’s Seafood Industry

During these tough economic times, especially, promotion is an important key to Maine’s seafood industry. A recent trip to Boston’s Seafood Show by one of our writers revealed over 2,000 exhibit booths. Of those, only aboutShrimpInBags-9468

8 companies were from Maine. The question was raised: “Where is Maine?”The fact that Maine is known worldwide for its rugged and vital fishing image, as well as being the lobster capital of the world, made our absence a glaring one.

There are several key players working hard to keep Maine’s seafood industry prospering. Learn who they are and what they are doing to keep Maine’s 4th largest export alive now and for generations to come.

What is happening to Maine’s seafood industry? State and federal marketing programs? Our image around the world? Find out what’s being done to get Maine’s Seafood industry the credit it deserves in the article… “Maine’s Seafood Industry: From the Outside Looking In“… found in the current issue of Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

September 26, 2009

Maine Oysters

Hallelujah! Yet another major Maine sea resource has been “discovered” by the NY Times. Although today’s article entitled “Where Maine Comes Out of Its Other Shell,” which focuses on oysters from the Damariscotta River, it won’t be long until they discover there are many additional locations where amazing Maine oysters are harvested (see Maine Food & Lifestyle’s article, Maine’s Oyster Renaissance).

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September 25, 2009

Cannellini Bean Soup with Pan-Fried Croutons

I created this soup after I had a similar one in a restaurant in my neighborhood. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I deconstructed it and recreated it in my own kitchen. It’s very simple and fresh, but bursting with flavor. Crispy fried croutons pair perfectly with soft beans and tender kale, while little grape tomatoes give bursts of sweetness. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite soups, and you can prepare the croutons for any recipe you like. Continue reading “Cannellini Bean Soup with Pan-Fried Croutons” »

September 24, 2009

Refreshing Soups

In the current issue of Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine, there are some great recipes to try for soups with a change of pace. When we think soup, we think of a food warm up. These soups are unique in that they allow you to savor the summer garden’s harvest in some truly refreshing ways.

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Wondering what to do with those peas or berries you’ve picked? Check out Pea Soup from Chef Jonathan Cartwright of The White Barn Inn, Melon Gazpacho from Chef Jay Villani of Local 188, and Berry Soup from Chef Brian Beckett (below) of the Thomaston Cafe! These are great healthy meals and desserts all in one!

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September 23, 2009

Maine Spring Waters

Find out what’s on tap in this article about Maine’s water controversy. Maine’s spring water business is booming, but some people are determined to kick the bottle habit.

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What’s it all about? Hear the arguments from each side and decide for yourself the most enlightened path to hydration in “The Springs of Our Discontent” in the new issue of Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

September 22, 2009

Bourbon and Brown Sugar Gravlax

After making gravlax, the Scandinavian salt-cured salmon, the traditional way for years, we decided to experiment. This became our favorite flavor combination. The brown sugar and bourbon complement the salmon, which has a natural sweetness as well. Great served with horseradish crème fraîche and thin slices of red onion and Granny Smith or other crisp apple. Continue reading “Bourbon and Brown Sugar Gravlax” »

Swedish Meatballs with Corn Chips

We’d been having a continuing flap over what, exactly, makes a meatball Swedish. Some said allspice; others nutmeg. Then a friend remembered her mother-in-law’s meatballs, which purport to be Swedish, but which give off not even a whiff of either spice. But that’s OK. We’re all just glad that the Vikings discovered Fritos in their journeys. Continue reading “Swedish Meatballs with Corn Chips” »

September 21, 2009

John’s Ice Cream

There is something sweet being served up in Liberty, Maine. John’s Ice Cream, handmade by John Ascrizzi, is a real treat. John comes from a family of hard working foodies. He says being hard working, experimental, and creative are the keys of his success.

Currently boasting 35-50 ice cream flavors, perennial favorites include vanilla, raspberry cream, and chocolate. And John is proud of the fact that he sources as locally as possible, which makes his ice cream extra delicious.

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Try his creations at his store on Rt. 3 in Liberty, and if you are at the Common Ground Fair this weekend, he’ll be serving up his ice cream there, too. Learn more about John’s Ice Cream in the latest issue of Maine Food & Lifestyle.

Parmesan-Herb Braid

This bread makes the house smell like a pizzeria while it’s baking. You can certainly use other Italian herb mixes, or concoct your own, but having tried several I recommend the mix produced and sold by the United Society of Shakers at Sabbathday Lake, Maine. Their mix seems to have just the right proportions of fragrant herbs, including fennel. I’m not crazy about fennel on its own, as a rule, but in this recipe it is a wonderful addition and you wouldn’t want to do without it. At any rate some quantity of garlic, basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, and fennel seed are used. Feel free to experiment. Continue reading “Parmesan-Herb Braid” »

September 20, 2009

Seagull Cottage: Mainely Living

Love decorating with the Maine coast’s natural gifts from the sea? Look no further than Seagull Cottage, a destination for shells, sea glass, and all sorts of whimsical, wonderful ocean treasures.

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This distinctive Maine shop has two locations: one in Rockland and the other in Warren. Get an inside look at what makes this such a fun place to browse away an afternoon in the new issue of Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

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September 19, 2009

Apple Crisp Recipe

Let’s don our party hats and sing Happy Birthday to John Chapman! Granted his birthday isn’t for another week but I am all for starting the celebration early. And just who is the birthday boy who will be 235 years old on the 26th of September? You know him better as “Johnny Appleseed.” Born near Leominster, Massachusetts, little of John’s childhood is known, but we do know that at the age of 25, he was an accomplished nursery man and had planted apple trees in the western portions of New York and Pennsylvania. Continue reading “Apple Crisp Recipe” »

Roasted Tomato Soup

This is a tasty fall soup, taking advantage of the tomatoes you have stewed from the summer harvest (or using store-bought stewed tomatoes is fine, too). This makes a great lunch or appetizer for dinner. Continue reading “Roasted Tomato Soup” »

September 18, 2009

Café Diablo

In some of the fancy restaurants I have worked in over the years, we used to prepare this drink tableside with lots of theatrics. We would flame the alcohol with lights dimmed, and ladle the flames high into the air. Endless spirals of orange rind would cascade with rings of fire, and simultaneously, we’d release clouds of cinnamon that would sparkle as they crossed paths with the flames. What a show!

If you’re trying this at home, make sure to have a fire extinguisher nearby. Continue reading “Café Diablo” »

Hurry Up Alfredo

One day I came home from running errands and I was starving. I felt like pasta with a creamy sauce, but I didn’t have the patience to make a roux. I decided to make a blender Alfredo because I was so hungry that I didn’t care how it turned out. Not only was it delicious, my husband and I now make it on a regular basis. It’s fast and easy, and you probably already have all of the ingredients. It’s a great compromise between “I don’t feel like cooking” and “I don’t want to eat toast for dinner.”

While I like to use the wide fettucini-style rice noodles, whatever pasta shape you have will work wonderfully. You don’t even need pasta to enjoy the sauce:  You can pour it over a huge bowl of steamed organic broccoli and it will be divine. Continue reading “Hurry Up Alfredo” »