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March 31, 2010

Easter Wine Pairings

What to drink for Easter? I know, it’s the looming question on everyone’s mind right now…ok, maybe not everyone’s, but I’m a Sommelier, so I just figure we’re all on the same page. Easter Dinner; some have ham, some roast lamb (wow, I’m starting to sound like a Dr Seuss book!) and some have a purely vegetarian meal. Fish is poached often, salmon mostly, which is great because we have started to see the Wild Kings coming in.

So it’s difficult to fit in wines that will go with the meal. My suggestion is pair course to course. Gone are the days (hopefully) of just bringing a bottle that will go with the entire spread! Let’s be adventurous. You know me; I like to start every celebration with bubbles! Rose would work. (Hey, we’re coloring eggs and pretty baskets, the wine may as well have a pretty color!) Try a Spanish Cava, or Prosecco from Italy. There are some beautiful Roses from Champagne if it fits in the budget.rose-wine2

image: ustopwines.com
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March 30, 2010

Easter Bunny Bread Recipe

With its toothy grin, lovely golden crust, and tummy that’s perfect for serving dip, this charming rabbit is sure to bring a smile to Easter guests young and old.

Easter Bread

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March 29, 2010

Traditional Madeleines

These spongelike cookies were first made in 18th-century France and named after King Louis the XV’s pastry chef.madeleinerecipe_07image: 101cookbooks.com

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March 28, 2010

Roasted Asparagus

This recipe from the Food Network Kitchens is sure to add taste and class to your dining table, and would make a welcoming spring appearance at Easter dinner.roasted asparagusimage: yourhomebasedmom.com

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Maine Maple-Mustard Ham Glaze

Spring, and thoughts run to warm days and cool nights, just perfect conditions for the production of Maine maple syrup. With spring, our thoughts also go to planning the next big family gathering since Christmas…Easter dinner. Why not try this amazing recipe with Maine made ingredients on your table this holiday?baked-ham-su-1598619-l

Maine Maple-Mustard Ham Glaze
Maine Maple Producers Association

2 Tablespoons Dijon-style prepared mustard or other strong mustard
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed through a press
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/3 cup Maine maple syrup
2 Tablespoons grated lemon rind

While your ham is baking, make the glaze. In a medium bowl, combine mustard, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, thyme, maple syrup, and grated lemon rind. Whisk until smooth. When ham has about 40 minutes left to bake (internal temperature will be 120° to 125°), brush generously on all sides with glaze. Continue baking until ham reaches 135° and glaze is well-browned.

Yields 8-10 servings.

March 26, 2010

Bottarga con Spaghetti

If you haven’t experimented with curing your own roe and cooking with it, you are in for a tasty surprise.

Bottarga is a traditional Sardinian condiment, often using the roe or egg sacs of tuna or mullet. Here in Maine, shad roe works wonderfully well. It is salted and cured, usually ground or thinly sliced. Often sprinkled over pasta dishes, it tastes like the essence of the sea, fresh, a little fishy and briny. A little goes a long way.
Bottargaimage: amateurgourmet.com

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March 25, 2010

Classic Shad Roe Recipe

Spring has sprung early this year and many of the harbingers of spring are appearing early too. My spinach from last year has made a return from the dead, and garlic chives and garlic sprouts are up in the garden. Then there is shad roe, one of my personal favorites.shad roeimage: flickr.com/photos/jakeslagle
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March 24, 2010

Maple Egg Tarts

In homage to the maple syrup season, I converted an old recipe, with its brown sugar and vinegar, into a luscious, maple-flavored dainty, sparked with lemon juice. Egg tarts come in myriad versions, and maple syrup is not exactly unknown up here, so I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that someone has already thought of this winning combination. The filling is soft, almost runny, and just lovely.

egg-tarts

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March 23, 2010

Chicken Gyros with Tsatziki and Cucumber Salsa

March can feel like the longest month of the year with just a hint of spring teasing us into rummaging through the closet for summer clothes and eyeing the gardening tools with longing. One look at the thermometer gives us pause and we end up fantasizing about lunching al fresco somewhere hot and sunny – perhaps a taste of the Greek islands will tide you over until Mother Nature smiles down upon Maine and brings us flip-flop weather.chicken-gyros-wrapimage: homegrownontario.ca

CHICKEN GYROS WITH TSATZIKI AND CUCUMBER SALSA

2 small pickling type cucumbers (like Kirby), divided use
1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, divided use
4 garlic cloves, peeled, divided use
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 small red onion, diced
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
4 (8 inch size) pieces of Naan bread OR flat bread
2½ cups cooked and shredded roast chicken
½ head iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced

To make the tsatziki: Peel and grate 1 cucumber, and squeeze it with your hands to remove excess water moisture. In a small bowl, combine cucumber with yogurt, ½ teaspoon lemon juice, one clove garlic, minced, and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To make the salsa: Peel remaining cucumber and dice. Place in a small bowl and add tomatoes, onion, parsley, mint, 1 clove garlic (minced), remaining ½ teaspoon lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and  freshly ground black pepper.

Combine olive oil, basil, oregano, remaining 2 garlic cloves (minced), ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in a small heavy saucepan set over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant. Remove pan from heat and measure out 3 Tablespoons of the herbed garlic oil. Add chicken to oil and toss to coat. Brush one side of bread with remaining oil and place bread, (oiled side up) on a sheet pan. Cover with foil and place in preheated broiler, 3-4 inches from heat source, and cook 3 minutes. Remove foil and continue broiling for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown in spots.

Spread some of the tsatziki on warm bread; top with chicken, salsa, and lettuce. (Serve remaining lettuce, salsa, and tsatziki on the side.)

Yields 4 servings.

Arrows Restaurant: Lucky Seven? We hope so!

Once again, Chefs Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, chef/owners of the fabulous Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit, received a nomination for the prestigious “Best Chef: Northeast” award from the James Beard Foundation. They have been nominated for this award six times previously, and we are hoping that this well deserved seventh nomination will be the charm.

Many wonderful Arrows Restaurant recipes can be found in their guest contributor section on this blog called Arrows Restaurant. Here’s hoping this will be Lucky Seven for Clark and Mark!

March 22, 2010

Seafood Curry

Seafood curryimage: worldisround.com

This recipe comes to us from Port Clyde Fresh Catch, our local CSF. It makes a gorgeous presentation, is full of delicious flavors, and highlights Maine shrimp. Continue reading “Seafood Curry” »

March 21, 2010

Lobster and Mussel Bruschetta

lobsterimage above: flicker.com

This is one impressive and easy hors d’oeuvres recipe featuring Maine seafood. Maine lobster and mussel bruschetta: does it get any better?

Lobster and Mussel Bruschetta
recipe adapted from The Kilted Chef, Alain Bossé

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March 19, 2010

Spring Salad

A colorful, crunchy, sweet, and interesting blend of flavors, this salad is a great way to welcome in the Spring Season!

broccbaconsaladbigThis delicious salad comes to us courtesy of allrecipes.com

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March 18, 2010

Buttery Maine Lobster Mashed Potatoes

Two great tastes that taste great together: Maine Lobster and Maine Potatoes!

Lobster_Mashed_Potatoes_003
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March 17, 2010

Sassy Curried Mussels

The thought of Maine Mussels in white wine and curry sauce has me heading to a local fish store (Jess’s Market in Rockland, or Browne Trading in Portland) to get several pounds of these fresh local gems.

Sassy Curried Mussels
adapted from Chef Alain Bossé, The Kilted Chef
iStock_000007716719Small

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March 16, 2010

Colcannon Potatoes

Every Irish family has its own version or this classic dish…my recipe comes from my father’s family in Ireland. It’s part of my St. Pat’s menu, along with lamb chops, carrots, and soda bread.potatoes

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Crockpot Irish Stew

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and let your crockpot do the work on this hearty Irish stew made with lamb and vegetables. This recipe may easily be converted to oven or stove-top methods.

irish-stew-1

image: cookingbytheseatofmypants.com

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March 15, 2010

Mint Tea Punch with Floating Four-Leaf Clovers

This pretty punch prepared with green tea has a hint of mint, making it the highlight of any spring meal.

st pats images

Mint Tea Punch
tasteofhome.com

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Tempeh Stuffed Cabbage

If you’re not familiar with tempeh, this dish offers a tasty introduction. Made of whole, fermented soybeans, tempeh is higher in protein and  fiber than tofu, with a dense, chewy texture. Tempeh is versatile: marinate and grill it, cube and  fry it, or crumble it and use in place of ground beef. Its earthy flavor pairs well with mushrooms and winter vegetables.

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March 14, 2010

Cheese ‘n’ Chutney Portobello Pitas

Ever notice how those great big portobello mushroom caps almost exactly match the mini pita breads in size? When my neighbor wondered what to do with portobellos, I adapted a recipe from a women’s magazine, sending in a whole portobello cap to replace the suggested chopped white mushrooms. Think lunch! Think hors d’oeuvres! Think how tasty!

portobello_mushrooms

image: examiner.com

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