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July 31, 2011

Lobster Fra Diavolo

“How shall this delicately flavored crustacean come to dinner?…Italian restaurants in several sections of this city… have convinced us that hot peppers and plum tomatoes, garlic and olive oil, also are possible flavorings. In other words, if there are plenty of finger bowls, napkins and generous bibs, and if the day is not too hot for this spicy dish, then why not lobster fra diavolo?”

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July 30, 2011

Chilled Tomato, Watermelon, and Basil Soup

With August rapidly approaching, now is the time to get your fill of all your favorite summer foods! The season’s summer staples – fresh berries, tomato, and watermelon – are delicious this time of year, and can be cooked or prepared in so many different ways (without the excessive calories!).

The go-to healthy chef, Chef Anthony Stewart of the Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa has put together recipes featuring these summer treasures. This featured recipe is his delicious Chilled Tomato and Watermelon Soup. Low in calories and so simple to prepare, it makes even a novice cook look like an iron chef!

tomato watermelon gazpacho
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July 29, 2011

Beet and Orange Picnic Salad

Every proper picnic needs a bit of fancy fork work. We nominate this tasty-tangy beet salad. We love cold beets captured in a jellied ring, tossed with macaroni and mayonnaise, or, as here, spiffed up with unexpected accompaniments. For picnic preparation, pack the dressed beets and onions in a plastic container, the lettuce leaves and walnuts in separate plastic bags, and bring a small can of mandarin oranges and a can opener. You will look so clever when you put it all together.

2-7-2011 9-35-08 AM
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July 28, 2011

Chipotle Basil Corn Chowder

This soup has a kick to it, and it’s a great way to use up summer produce. The soup pictured here used the corn, basil, potatoes, onions, and carrots that I got in my CSA share one week. Fresh corn will give the best results, but you can try frozen if it’s all you’ve got; just be sure to rinse it under cool water before adding it to the soup to remove any weird freezer taste. If you’re opening a new can of chipotle in adobo, freeze the rest for later use.

chipotle basil corn chowder
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July 27, 2011

Grilled Roast Beef, Nectarine, and Brie

What a combination of flavors! Savory, sweet, and creamy…this sandwich recipe will become one of your new favorites!

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July 26, 2011

Lani Temple’s Basil Cocktail

The first time I made this basil syrup, I couldn’t get over how green and fresh it was. The flavor is even better, sweet but distinctively basil. Beyond martinis, the syrup is delightful combined with sparkling water for afternoon refreshment.

Editor’s Note: Read about Lani’s Top 10 things to do with fresh basil, and learn more basil recipes, in her column Easy Entertaining in Issue 12 of Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

image © 2010 Jim Bazin

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July 25, 2011

Orzo Vegetable Salad

Heading to a cookout and need something to share? Tangy lemon dressing over cool orzo and vegetables is everything you want in a summer dish.

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July 24, 2011

Fire and Ice Dessert

Here’s a dessert recipe I’ll bet you haven’t tried before. This is one of actor Larry (of ’80s TV’s Dallas fame) Hagman’s secret gems.

icecream + orange copy

Fire and Ice
from Legends in the Kitchen: Celebrity Recipes for a Cause

Vanilla Ice Cream
Cayenne Pepper

Peel oranges and slice. Add to a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

Mix honey and cayenne pepper. Heat a little. Pour over ice cream and oranges.


July 23, 2011

Fancy Iced Tea

This is the perfect brew for weddings, lawn parties, and assorted special events and warm-weather occasions when a lot of people are going to be thirsty. For just a few, halve the quantities and you’re all set to enjoy a picnic and an afternoon tea party on the back porch, with a few glasses left over for cool breaks from gardening chores.

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July 22, 2011


Gazpacho had its start in the Arab world as a bread-based soup, flavored with garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Tomatoes and peppers weren’t part of the recipe until explorers brought them back from the New World. Purists will tell you that a “genuine” gazpacho includes tomatoes, garlic, bread, olive oil, salt, and vinegar. But really, the beauty of gazpacho is that you can add or subtract whatever you want. If you want to use a lime instead of a lemon, go right ahead. Parsley instead of basil? Sure thing. Hold the cukes? All right by me. After deciding on the lineup, it’s a matter of a quick whiz in the blender or food processor.

The other question to ask yourself is: Will bread be part of the gazpacho? I’ve included details for a bread variation, as it requires an extra step.

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July 21, 2011

Tomato Tea Sandwich with Havarti and Basil

These sandwiches showcase the freshness of tomato and basil, creating a pretty summer appetizer.

cherry tomato with basil herb on white background with shadow

Tomato Tea Sandwich with Havarti and Basil
adapted from Alison Lewis, 400 Best Sandwich Recipes

1 7-ounce package of whole-wheat mini pitas
½ cup olive oil
1 cup fresh basil leaves
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 ounces Havarti cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350º.

Lightly brush pita rounds evenly with olive oil. Place on a large baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven.

Layer basil, cherry tomatoes, and cheese over each pita round. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 20.

July 20, 2011

Apple Stuffed Crepes

If your family is as busy as mine, you know how hard it is to find time to sit down to a meal with your whole family. Everyone has their own hectic schedule and endless to-do list. It seems nearly impossible to find a time that everyone can make it to the table. And somehow, summer days keep slipping by without sharing nearly enough meals together.

But, at least in my opinion, there isn’t anything more special than sharing food with the people you love the most. It is something worth making time for. The conversations that happen at the dinner table are irreplaceable and invaluable. And at my house, we do more laughing and joking during meals than at any other time. You don’t want to look back years from now and wish that you’d made more time for those moments.

So this week, plan a couple special meals to share with your family. And then cancel the extra meeting, skip that trip to the gym, and reschedule your appointment to make sure you make it to the table on time.

This is the recipe for stuffed crepes that I cooked for my family for brunch a few weeks ago. I spent the morning sitting on the porch with my dad peeling apples, sipping coffee, and chatting. And when I began to fry the crepes in the skillet, my sister finally stumbled down the stairs, groggy and half asleep. I’ll bet she smelled the cinnamon sizzling in the pan and decided it might be worth getting out of bed for.

The crepes were delectable. My sister doesn’t usually like the food I cook, so I was so proud when she looked at me between mouthfuls of cinnamon apples and said, “This is actually good.” She sounded shocked (which means that this recipe may be able to appease your family’s picky eater).

We were full to the brim and finally slowing down when my dad took a deep breath and eyed the bowl of cinnamon apples. “If everyone takes one more scoop, we can finish them.” Without thinking I snapped, “Oh Dad, you are the reason that America is obese!” It took us two minutes to realize what I had just said, but when we did we erupted into fits of laughter.

It was just breakfast. But you know what? I won’t forget that meal for years to come. I wish you many laughter-filled meals with your own family this summer.

Stuffed Crepes Photo
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July 19, 2011

Native Maine Corn Fritters

We wait for this! Oh, do we anticipate the long-awaited first sweet and succulent bites of fresh, native Maine corn!

It takes awhile to get our fill of corn on the cob; we boil it, serve it with our lobster bakes, grill it with chile butter, and eat it raw. But before too long, most cooks are thinking of ways to gussy it up and maybe get it off the cob and into a recipe or two. I like a good Southwestern corn salad with black beans, corn pudding with a ham dinner, but my favorite is the delicious corn fritter.

Southerners seem to do fried food best, and here is a wonderful recipe for Southern style corn fritters. Sprinkle with a little finishing salt or fleur de sel and you’re “good to go.” Everyone will love these! Makes a nice appetizer, but serve them hot out of the pan.

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July 18, 2011

Maine Berry Cup

Maine berries are truly a treat. We are so fortunate this time of year to enjoy them in all their ripe goodness. This recipe features Maine wild blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries with just a hint of added sweetness and cream. Great for breakfast, a snack, or delicious dessert.



Maine Berry Cup in Light Cream
G.M. Joachim, A Taste of It All Celebrating the Mood of Food

1 cup each of fresh Maine cultivated or wild blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
8 Tablespoons light cream or whipped cream (2 per serving)
Sprinkle of nutmeg

Wash and drain berries and spread them out of a paper towel to dry. De-stem and quarter the strawberries and place all the berries in a medium-sized bowl with the lemon juice and sugar; let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. Add light cream (or whipped cream) and nutmeg just before serving.

Serves 4.

July 17, 2011

Pasta with Fresh Tomato, Brie, and Basil

This pasta is lovely and simple and simply lovely. There is no sauce to prepare, but by tossing everything together as soon as the pasta has been drained, the Brie melts and coats the noodles beautifully, forming a sauce of its own. It’s a perfect summer meal.

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July 16, 2011

Lobster with Chervil, Nasturtium, and Sherry Cream

Nasturtiums grow everywhere on the island. One year I put nasturtium seeds in the planter boxes under the windows of our house on Greenhead and by August they had become so big they pulled the boxes off their brackets. The flowers are pretty and the whole plant is edible. They add a peppery flavor and great color to this dish. Pasta made with brown rice instead of durum wheat is lighter and goes better with the richness of the seafood.

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July 15, 2011

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

Ok, so I received The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Muggles to Magic by Gina Meyers in the mail last week. The timing was impeccable, with the last installment of the movie franchise hitting theaters this weekend. My son, Jacob, is eagerly awaiting the grand finale of his favorite childhood series to be brought to life on the big screen, and is already anticipating some serious withdrawal. He has spent the last few weeks rereading the series to reboot his memory for the last hurrah. It is a bittersweet time in my home. But I digress.

Gina Meyers’ cookbook arrival to the rescue! She has conjured up a continued love of all things Harry Potter in an unlikely place: the kitchen.

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Muggles to Magic is an especially fun book for those with young children, and entire meals, parties, and special events can be made with its wacky, fun recipes like Frog’s Eye Salad, Harry’s Tea and Get Out of a Jam Cookies, Dumbledore’s Delightful Dumplings, Hagrid’s Hearty Potatoes au Gratin, Potter Stew, Ron’s Love Spell Cookies, and more.

Jacob and I will, I’m sure, try out several of these recipes. Potter Stew with Dumbledore’s Delightful Dumplings may just be our first Post-Traumatic-Potter-Withdrawal-Meal.

So, kudos to you, Gina. And to Jacob, enjoy the film and keep the magic of childhood alive!

Harry Potter cookbook

Potter Stew
Gina Meyers, The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Muggles to Magic

2½ cups water
1½ pounds lamb cooked lamb, diced
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 small onions, sliced
1 turnip, diced
2 medium sized carrots, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 cups cubed potatoes

Place enough water to cover meat in a pot; add onions, turnip, carrots, celery, and potatoes and cook for 35-40 minutes. Thicken liquid with flour if necessary and serve stew with dumplings (recipe follows).

Dumbledore’s Delightful Dumplings
Gina Meyers, The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Muggles to Magic

2 cups sifted flour
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter
⅔ cup milk

Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in butter. Add milk to make soft dough. Roll ½ inch thick on a floured board. Cut into squares, drop in hot oil, and cook for 20 minutes.

Makes 10 dumplings.

July 14, 2011

Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps

The variety of lettuce wraps you can make is endless. This recipe follows one of the most basic approaches to lettuce wraps, featuring ground pork and an array of Asian flavors. You can also substitute minced or ground chicken for the pork. Serve the wraps with individual containers of peanut sauce or any type of gluten-free Asian dipping sauce.

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July 13, 2011

Watermelon and Ginger Granité

This simple recipe for watermelon granité ice makes a refreshingly delicious dessert. Did you know that watermelon is a Ph-neutral food and a rich source of Vitamin C, lycopene (more than any other fruit or vegetable), and electrolytes? Watermelon is excellent for hydrating the body, which may explain why we like it so much on a hot day.

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July 12, 2011

Cooking with Garlic Scapes

We’ve seen them in farmers markets, or in the gardens of friends around this time of year. If you grow garlic you know garlic scapes: the curly, almost goose necked green tops of hard neck garlic. The scape is cut off in order to send the growing energy down to the developing bulb, rather than letting it form a flower and eventually a seed head. A scape is simply a leafless flowering stalk present on any member of the allium family, also called a topset.

With a mild garlic flavor, scapes lend themselves to many usages. I like to cut them into a one or two inch inch batons to add to stir fries (pairing well with sugar snap or sugar pod peas available now in gardens everywhere) or blanched and mixed (like a string bean) with a simple vinaigrette. I also use scapes to prepare a delightful and faintly garlicy green mayo that’s great with crab cakes or soft shell crabs…

Or try showing off their loopy curves and grilling them whole as a side to steak after a slathering in good oil. How about a garlicky green goddess dressing featuring scapes? A frittata with spinach, new potatoes, and peas is a wonderful summer brunch dish. How about a scape pesto, or pickled scape?

But you have to be vigilant, since the window of opportunity is so short. I suspect that just a few short years ago, the pigs got these beauties, until one smart farmer realized the “value added’ component to getting them to a farmers’ market.

Garlic scapes have a cult following, sort of like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” They appeal to those interested in the health benefits of garlic without the powerful aftermath, (and trend setters of all stripes). I never realized this special love ran so deep until I spotted a girl at a farmers’ market wearing them as a necklace and bracelets. That look might even work for a summer gallery crawl! No vampires in that crowd.

Here is a simple recipe for a summer vegetable frittata featuring garlic scapes and other summer produce.

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