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June 30, 2011


Kombucha, a Traditional Fermented Tea Drink

Back in days of yore (and even today in different cultures), fermented foods played a daily role. Think sauerkraut, kim chee, sour dough bread, yoghurt, soybean tempeh and tamari… even traditionally made beer. Fermented foods bring a great many probiotics and enzymes to the table, and eventually to the intestines, where they do good things.

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June 29, 2011

Michael Salmon’s Homemade Barbecue Sauce

There are millions of barbecue sauce recipes out there and they all have their own individual characteristics. Some are sweet and some are tangy, while others are tomato-based or vinegar-based. Many of these variations can be categorized by region.

The western side of the U.S. specializes in tomato-based barbecue sauce while the southern states typically make a vinegar-based version. My sauce is similar to those made in Kansas City, which are thick, tomato-based sauces with molasses.

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June 28, 2011

Cold Broccoli Side Dish

Must a cooked vegetable side dish always be served hot? Time’s up. Time to cook broccoli and serve it up not warm, not at room temperature either, but as cold as Greenland’s icy mountains.

This recipe certainly deserves Cook & Tell’s AAA rating!

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June 27, 2011

Martha Greenlaw’s Stuffed Fillet of Sole

I love to make this for dinner parties, and have served it to our gourmet group several times. It’s so elegant, and everyone really appreciates the effort that goes into it. By now, some of us have been in the gourmet group for almost forty years, so I hope they won’t say I’ve overdone this one!

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June 26, 2011

Romaine & Balsamic-Gingery Strawberries

Summer is when the rules do not apply. The inside moves outside; we live on our porches, stoops, and decks, in our backyards and parks, under the boardwalk and up on the roof. Our lap becomes our table and our hands become our plates.

Here is a recipe to celebrate the colors and flavors of summer!


Romaine & Balsamic-Gingery Strawberries
Kim O’Donnel, The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook

1 head romaine lettuce (about 8 cups), washed thoroughly, dried, and trimmed
2 cups (1 pint) strawberries, hulled and sliced into halves or fourths, depending on size
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
½ medium-size red onion, sliced very thinly
¼ teaspoon salt
Olive oil, for drizzling

Tear the romaine into bite-size pieces and place in a large salad bowl.

Place the strawberries in a medium-size bowl. In a small mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, and ginger, whisking with a fork until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the strawberries and add the onion, stirring until well combined. Allow the strawberries to bathe in the liquid for about 15 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt all over the lettuce and toss until well distributed. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss again. The lettuce should glisten slightly from the oil. Stir in the strawberry mixture.

Serves 4.

June 25, 2011

Pasta Fagioli

Pasta Fagioli is the signature dish from the town my father was born in—Settefrati, Italy. It’s one of the favorite dishes of all Italians.

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June 24, 2011

Picnic Chicken

“Cornmeal, sage, honey, and mustard give this baked chicken its flavorful crunchy coating. Chilled well overnight in the refrigerator and kept in a cooler, it’s perfect picnic food.”–Eric Akis

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June 23, 2011

Chamomile Crème Anglaise

My German chamomile is blooming like crazy right now in the garden, a profusion of tiny daisy like flowers, rich in calming oils and aromatics. I pick the flowers fresh and steep them for a cup of relaxing night time tea. Interestingly, the patch of chamomile I have has jumped to a completely different part of my garden from where it was originally planted. Safe to say it self seeds wildly to a stunning and random effect.

Besides tea, how to use the stuff? I began to think about savory uses for chamomile when I noticed a recipe for chamomile infused milk toast in an old English cookbook. That sounds like a nice supper for a good night’s sleep!

I also found this recipe for Chamomile Crème Anglaise. I recommend it with poached pears or grilled nectarines, apricots…or any seasonal stone fruit for a summery dessert.

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June 22, 2011

Herb and Citrus Goat Cheese with Garlic Toasts

Make this delicious herb and citrus scented goat cheese and serve with homemade garlic baguette toasts for an impressive appetizer.

herbed goat cheese
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Uproot Pie Co.

Last Thursday I made my first visit of the season to the Rockland Farmers’ Market, and I have to say, it just keeps getting better every year. While I was comforted to see all my favorite local farms and businesses represented, I was also delighted by newcomer Jessica Shepard. Her new business, the Uproot Pie Co., offers freshly topped pizza pies and flatbreads from her mobile wood fired oven.

image by Jim Bazin © 2011

Last Thursday at the Market, Uproot had the following pizza offerings:

Appleton Creamery Mozzarella

Dandelion Spring Farm Spinach, Ricotta, Roasted Garlic, and a wee bit of bacon

Caramelized Sweet Curried Onion with Fresh Dandelion Spring Farm Arugula

4 Cheese (Fontina, Romano, Mozzarella, and Gorgonzola)


Guini Ridge Farm Sausage

image by Jim Bazin © 2011

I had the Caramelized Sweet Curried Onion with Fresh Dandelion Spring Farm Arugula and it was absolutely scrumptious! The publisher tried the Spinach, Ricotta, Roasted Garlic, and Bacon and was equally impressed. We’re looking forward to our next visit!

June 21, 2011

Carne Asada

The name means roasted meat, and it refers to lime-marinated steak, grilled over an open fire. While Mexican carne asada traditionally uses tougher cuts of flank or skirt steak, the dish works really well with well-marbled chuck and round steaks.

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June 20, 2011

Oreo Cream Cheese Brownies

Since my baking obsession started (coincidently around the same time I started working at the magazine) I have been desperately trying to find reasons to bake. Once I even asked my mom if I could open a pie retailing company so someone else would pay for my ingredients. (She said she thought I ought to perfect my pie-baking skills before I tried to feed them to someone else—a little harsh if you ask me. So far my pies have been pretty darn good.) But anyway, the fact that Father’s Day was on Sunday was probably more exciting to me than it was to my Dad. It gave me the perfect reason to bake.

I asked Dad what he wanted. “Brownies,” he replied. “Maybe with walnuts in them.” I think he was trying to pick something I could bake from a box. He was trying to save me the trouble of cooking from scratch. But I like going to the trouble; cooking from a box would take every ounce of fun out of it. So I rummaged around on the blogosphere and found the perfect recipe: Oreo Cream Cheese Brownies. My Dad is a little Oreo crazy anyway, and they looked impressive in the picture. It was a perfect idea.

The brownies turned out to be extemely dense. We ended up cutting them into bite-sized pieces and serving them on one plate in the middle of the table. That way everyone could pick at the chocolaty bits as they sipped their post-dinner coffee, and they wouldn’t be too overwhelmed.

To be honest I would have liked the brownies better without the Oreos. Sure, the cookie made it look more exciting, but I don’t think it added remarkable flavor. The cream cheese mixture was another story: that stuff was delicious. I bet it would make a wonderful fruit dip too. Any child would love strawberries and red grapes dipped in that vanilla cream cheese concoction.

Brownie with oreo
photo by Charlie Carver

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June 19, 2011

Cold Creamy Borscht

Once we opened the picnic season with the launch of my husband’s canoe on Love’s Cove, across the road. I was not allowed to paddle, because I’m supposed to be a lady of leisure (but not until I’ve made the lunch and cleaned up the kitchen). We pushed off from shore and pulled up at one of the uninhabited islands nearby, sat on a log surrounded by ocean and blue sky, and shared peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread and tin cups of cold borscht. I based my borscht on a recipe from a free Columbo yogurt booklet.


Cold Creamy Borscht
Karyl Bannister, Cook & Tell

2 15-ounce cans sliced beets, with their juice
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill or ½ teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1½ cups plain yogurt
2 Kirby cucumbers (the bumpy kind for pickling), peeled, seeded, and diced for garnish, if desired

Put the beets, onion, sugar, dill, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a blender jar and blend until smooth. (You’ll probably have to do the blending in two batches.) Pour the puree into a large plastic container with a cover. Stir in the yogurt until well mixed. Chill thoroughly. Pack in your cooler with a separate container of the diced cucumbers to distribute evenly over each cup or bowlful as a garnish. Serve cold.

Serves 6.

June 18, 2011

BBQ Pork Kabobs

This recipe comes to us courtesy of Terra Optima Farm in Appleton. Their farm produces pasture raised pork, grass fed beef, chicken, and eggs, and their animals do not receive any unnecessary antibiotics or hormones. With a diet that consists of high quality grain and natural forage, Terra Optima animals move about freely outdoors all year.


BBQ Pork Kabobs
Terra Optima Farm, Appleton

1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon chopped onion
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Terra Optima pork kabobs

Combine all spices, add juice and olive oil. Put meat in marinade in a plastic zip top bag and set aside to marinate for as long as time permits. Thread onto skewers and grill over a hot grill until done.

June 17, 2011

Lily’s Fish Sandwich

Fresh haddock and homemade tartar sauce, that is why you all like it so much. We have lightened the sandwich up a bit over the years. No longer breaded, it is dusted with some seasoning, baked in the oven, and served piping hot.


Lily’s Fish Sandwich
Kyra Alex, Lily’s Cafe & Wine Bar, Stonington

Tartar sauce:
1 cup mayo
2 dill pickle spears, chopped
½ Tablespoon horseradish
½ teaspoon dill
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Squeeze of lemon juice
¼ teaspoon paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper

4-5 ounce haddock fillet
Cajun spice or smoked paprika
Kosher salt
Olive oil
2 pieces of toasted whole grain bread
Tartar sauce

To make tartar sauce:
Combine ingredients and mix well. Makes about 1 cup.

To make sandwich:
Place haddock on baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and smoked paprika or your favorite Cajun spice blend. Roast in 400˚ oven until flaky and moist, about 10-12 minutes. Serve on toast with tartar sauce, lettuce, and tomato.

Makes 1 sandwich.

June 16, 2011

Homemade Blueberry Strawberry Jelly

The Beginning of my Processed Food Avoidance Project

With all the talk lately about how bad processed foods are for you, I’m becoming afraid to eat them. I know this is probably a bit irrational; the majority of Americans eat a variety of processed foods every day, and they seem to be doing okay. But I take one look at the ingredients in my store-bought hummus or yogurt, and I realize that I only know what half the ingredients are. The other ingredients are a mystery: preservatives I assume, but to me they’re nothing more than long words with an uncommon number of x’s and z’s in them. Putting that stuff in my body freaks me out a little.

So I’ve started reading the labels on the foods I eat at home, making sure that I know what it is that I am eating. Although buying groceries with only FOOD ingredients can get awfully pricey. And because those foods lack preservatives, they spoil much faster. We’ve thrown out many a loaf of bakery bread this summer after finding grey-green mold on it well before a loaf of Wonderbread would have gone bad.

But I think it’s more important to put good-quality products in my body than to save a dollar or two. (There is a good chance I won’t feel this way next year when I graduate from college and start paying for my own groceries, but we’ll deal with that when the time comes….)

Now jellies and jams aren’t as bad as many other processed foods. I generally recognize most of the ingredients in my jams, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to make jam at home to control sugar content and to make sure that it contains strictly food ingredients (and that it is packed with fresh blueberries and strawberries). Turns out, jelly is especially easy to make, and homemade jelly is definitely tastier than store bought. The next time you are having a special breakfast or teatime, give it a go.

This summer I’m going to keep trying to make the foods that I usually buy processed. I’m curious to see if I notice a difference in flavor or in how my body feels after I eat. Pasta, bread, and hummus are next on the list. I’ll let you know how it turns out! (Noodles seem awfully complicated…Wish me luck! I may need it….)

image by Chelsea Sonksen

Easy-to-Make Blueberry Strawberry Jelly
Chelsea Sonksen, Editorial Assistant

3½ cups blueberries, picked over and washed
1½ cups strawberries, hulled, washed, and sliced
¼ cup lemon juice
4 cups white sugar

Gently smash half of your berries, leaving the other half in large chunks. Bring fruit and lemon juice to a boil. Simmer until the fruit is soft (about 10 minutes).

Remove from the heat and stir in sugar until it is completely dissolved. Bring to a boil until it reaches “setting point.” (At first I had no idea what this meant. Apparently it is when the pectin in the fruit sets. When the big, plopping bubbles start forming, it has likely reached setting point. If you have a thermometer, it should be approximately 221º.)

Pour jelly in a warm sterilized jar. (Note: Sterilize your jar by washing it, covering it with water in a pan, and boiling it for five minutes.)

As soon as you pour the jelly in the jar, place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the jelly (so it doesn’t form a skin). Let the jam cool and put a metal lid on it.

Serve on a big piece of freshly made bread, toasted!

June 15, 2011

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

I am just back from Beth’s Farm Market with the first of the Maine strawberries in tow. What to do, what to do…dinner tonight is on the elaborate side, so tonight I’ll keep dessert simple. Why guild the lily when these berries are so perfectly fresh and “of the moment?”

A good balsamic vinegar will enhance the fresh flavor of many fruits but looks especially nice with strawberries. I like this combo with vanilla ice cream…and seconds!


Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering

1 pound of fresh strawberries, cut in half if large
2 Tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
¼ cup white superfine sugar
A grating of fresh black pepper

Place berries in a bowl. Drizzle with vinegar, then the sugar. Stir gently to combine.

Cover and let sit for one hour.

Just before serving, grate on the black pepper, toss gently, and serve at once with the ice cream. Might be nice with a piece of toasted pound cake!

June 14, 2011

Grilled Cod and Asparagus with Mint Chutney

When I first started going out with Brad, cod was the first meal he made for me. I was very impressed with the perfectly done cod, green peas, and brown rice. Then he invited me for dinner again, and I was a little surprised that he made the same dish, although it sort of made sense because he knew how much I had loved it the first time. When I was invited for dinner a third time, a thought went through my mind—could it be another cod night? It turned out it was! I finally put two and two together: he was not a risk taker and liked to stick to what he did best. This dish is quick, delicious, healthy, and easy to make.


Grilled Cod and Asparagus with Mint Chutney
Bal Arneson, Everyday Indian

4 cod fillets, about 6 ounces each
1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 pound asparagus, steamed
Mint Chutney (see recipe below)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mint Chutney Recipe
2 cups washed mint leaves
1 medium chili pepper
½ chopped red onion
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons tamarind water (see note below)
1 Tablespoon Garam Masala
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup water

To make Tamarind water
Cut a small chunk, about a Tablespoon, of tamarind (found in the Asian or Indian section of most stores) from the block and put it in a small bowl with enough hot water to cover it. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Use a fork to separate the seeds and the pulp. Strain the water through a small sieve. Discard the pulp and seeds and use the water.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process to a paste. It will keep in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Preheat the barbecue to 400˚. Brush the cod fillets with grapeseed oil. Reduce the heat to 375˚ and place the fish on the grill. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until the cod flakes with gentle pressure.

Place the asparagus on each plate and top with the cod. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with chutney. For a nice presentation, garnish with lemon zest and fennel seeds if you’d like.

Serves 4.

June 13, 2011

Rhubarb Oatmeal Squares

A Simple and Yummy Rhubarb Dessert

Rhubarb season is one of my favorite times of year. When I was growing up we didn’t have rhubarb very often, so I always thought it was a special treat. And in my family, rhubarb was always prepared one of two ways; we didn’t deviate far from the basics. Dad would make “rhubarb sauce,” which is like applesauce but made with rhubarb instead. We’d drizzle it over a scoop of vanilla ice-cream while it was hot or eat it cold with lunch the next day. Or my grandma would make a rhubarb custard pie. (One of my absolute favorites.)

But lately I keep finding creative and funky recipes that use rhubarb: rhubarb upside down cake, rhubarb salsa, rhubarb compotes, and even martinis made from rhubarb. So when I spotted three stalks of rhubarb in the fruit bowl this morning, I decided to get a little adventurous with the fruit.

I ended up trying a recipe for Rhubarb Oatmeal Squares. The squares have an oatmeal crumble for the crust and topping and the filling is made of cream cheese and rhubarb. They were crumbly, brown sugary, and perfectly creamy in the center. As my dad was eating away he wanted to know if I’d “bookmarked that recipe”; he must have enjoyed it.

I found the original recipe from, but I didn’t have quite enough dough for the crust, so I’ve altered the recipe to make sure you’ll have plenty of dough. I also replaced some of the flour with whole-wheat flour and used a reduced fat cream cheese to make the dessert a bit healthier. I’ve made note of those changes in the recipe posted below.

rhubarb granola barsimage courtesy of Marshall Sonksen

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June 12, 2011

Curried Chicken Stew

All that is needed to finish this meal is a bowl of rice. Try spicing up your rice by quickly cooking a cardamom pod, a couple of cloves, and a cinnamon stick in oil before adding the rice and stock for a quick rice pilaf.

Red Curry Chicken Feet

Curried Chicken Stew
Meredith Laurence, Blue Jean Chef: Comfortable in the Kitchen

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want the stew)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
3 cloves garlic, very finely minced or puréed
2 Tablespoons grated gingerroot, grated very finely or puréed
2 pounds chicken, light or dark meat or a combination of the two, cubed (1½ inch cubes)
1 cup chicken stock
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
8 small red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup frozen peas
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons toasted slivered almonds or chopped peanuts

Heat a large Dutch oven or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the vegetable oil and cook the onion until tender—about 5 to 6 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. Add the spice mixture, garlic, and ginger to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring, for another minute.

Add the cubed chicken, chicken stock, and coconut milk to the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Stir in the peas and heat through for another 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve with toasted almonds or peanuts.

Serves 6-8.