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September 30, 2011

Sweet Potato-Coconut Soup with Spicy Relish

What a wonderfully yummy soup to make and enjoy at home! It just tastes like fall.


Sweet Potato-Coconut Soup with Spicy Relish
recipe and image courtesy of

Spicy Relish:
1 Tablespoon canola oil

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Pinch of red pepper flakes
½ small sweet potato, peeled and cut into a small dice
Salt and fresh black pepper
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Sweet Potato–Coconut Soup:
1½ Tablespoons canola oil
1 small red onion, chopped
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
Pinch of red pepper flakes
3 cups homemade chicken stock
½ cup water
1½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into a large dice
1½ cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tablespoon clover honey
Large pinch of ground cinnamon

For relish: Heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add red-pepper flakes; heat for 10 seconds. Add the diced sweet potato, salt, and pepper. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, 15 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to high, and cook until diced potatoes are golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; stir in the parsley.

For soup: Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and ginger; cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add red-pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add stock and water; bring to a boil. Add sweet potatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Return to saucepan; simmer over low heat. Whisk in coconut milk, honey, and cinnamon. Cook until thickened and warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls; top with a spoonful of the spicy relish.

Serves 4.

September 29, 2011

Maine Coffees on National Coffee Day

Celebrate National Coffee Day with at least one of the coffees from the many Maine coffee companies. But first, learn a bit about the art and science of Coffee Cupping from this recent article in MF&L.


The article also includes brief profiles of the following eight Maine Coffee companies: Rock City Roasters; Seacoast Coffee Company; Carpe Diem Coffee Roasting Company; Shipwreck Coffee Company; Wicked Joe Coffee; Matt’s Wood Roasted Organic Coffee; Carrabassett Coffee Company; Coffee By Design.

Enjoy the article with our compliments, and choose one of these Maine coffees when it’s time to stock up again at home.

Asian Beef with Mandarin Oranges

The beauty of slow cookers is that they enable you to spend only a few minutes of prep to get a full meal that tastes great. Drop this recipe in before you head off to work, and when you get home, you’ll have the most tender meat and tasty veggies.


Asian Beef with Mandarin Oranges
image and recipe courtesy of

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1⁄2-inch strips
1 small onion, thinly sliced
⅓ cup soy sauce
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 small green bell pepper, sliced
1 package (about 3 ounces) shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 head bok choy, cleaned and chopped
1 can (5 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained and syrup reserved
2 cups beef broth
6 cups steamed rice

Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add beef, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning to brown all sides. Transfer beef to 41⁄2-quart CROCK-POT® slow cooker as it is browned.

Add onion to same skillet. Stir over medium heat until softened. Add next soy sauce, salt, ginger, green pepper, mushrooms, bok choy, and water chestnuts and cook until bok choy is wilted, about 5 minutes. Spoon mixture over beef.

Whisk together corn starch and reserved mandarin orange syrup in medium bowl. Stir in beef broth and pour over ingredients in CROCK-POT® slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 10 hours or on HIGH 5 to 6 hours or until beef is tender.

Stir in mandarin oranges. Spoon steamed rice into shallow serving bowl and spoon beef over rice.

Serves 6.

September 28, 2011

Pork Medallions with Rosemary and Mushrooms

This dish is easy but tastes impressive. You can also use apple juice instead of sherry. Great served with steamed snow peas and a rice pilaf.


Pork Medallions with Rosemary and Mushrooms

1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 8 crosswise pieces
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 Tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1-3 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped OR 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
¼ teaspoon celery salt
Pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon sherry
Fresh rosemary sprigs, optional
Fresh mushrooms, optional

Press each pork tenderloin slice to 1-inch thickness. Heat butter in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Brown pork quickly, about 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat.

Place cooked pork slices on serving plate, reserving drippings. Keep warm. Add mushrooms, onion, rosemary, celery salt, pepper, and garlic to reserved drippings in skillet. Cook over low heat about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sherry; stir to blend.

Return pork slices to skillet; spoon mushroom mixture over slices. Cover and simmer 3-4 minutes. Place pork slices and mushroom mixture on serving plate. Garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary and fresh mushrooms caps, if desired.

Serves 4.

September 27, 2011

Shrimp Uggie

Anthony Uglesich named this dish after his son, John, nicknamed Uggie by the kids at school who couldn’t pronounce his name. Anthony prefers the super-spicy Melinda’s brand hot sauce in Shrimp Uggie but admits the possibility of Tabasco or Crystal brands, too.

Shrimp Uggie used to be a big seller at Uglesich’s Restaurant & Bar in New Orleans. Sadly, Uglesich’s has closed, but kindly, Anthony shares his wonderful recipe for you to make at home.

image: Continue reading “Shrimp Uggie” »

September 26, 2011

Game Bird Gumbo

I met Patty Ball several months ago within the context of her charming daughter Sarah’s wedding in the Boothbay area. I was the caterer and “culinary master of ceremonies”, as Patty put it in her discreet Southern way. I was prepared to dazzle the Ball family’s wonderful guests. What I was not prepared for was the tour de force that was Sarah’s mom.

Not only did Patty sew the tablecloths, set the menu, and direct me on nuances of her recipes and preferred ingredients (thank you for letting me know about Edward’s Virginia Ham!), she designed the interior of the tent and did all the decor and floral work with the help of her sister, Mopsey, who is an expert on these matters.

What transpired was one of the most exquisitely designed…and delicious…weddings I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. A thoroughly enjoyable summer evening ensued set to the tunes of the Bellamy Jazz Band.

Oh, and did I mention the excellent Game Bird Gumbo that was prepared by Patty and served at the wedding? Patty removed all the buckshot herself. What a woman!

image: Continue reading “Game Bird Gumbo” »

September 25, 2011

Pineapple Glazed Chicken

This chicken recipe could not be easier! Great for those busy nights when you want something healthy and delicious that doesn’t take hours to prepare.

pineapple-glazed-chickenPineapple Glazed Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons butter
1 (15 ounce) can chunk pineapple
¼ cup packed brown sugar

Salt and pepper chicken breasts; brown in butter over medium heat. When browned add pineapple and sugar.

Continue cooking until liquid is thickened and forms a sauce. Serve over rice.

Serves 4.

September 24, 2011

Maine Apple Cake

It’s apple picking time, and this is one thing on your fall to-do list that you’ll want to be certain to accomplish. There is nothing better to herald in the new season like time spent with those you love at a local apple orchard. And there are so many places to pick your own apples in our state that anywhere you go it’s a special treat. Spend a few hours or the entire day. Some have hay rides, cider, and mazes. The Maine State Pomological Society offers a listing of some orchards near you.

For the following recipe for apple cake, macs are recommended.


Maine Apple Cake

4½ cups diced apples
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt

Mix apples and sugar together. Add eggs (well-beaten), oil, nuts, and vanilla.

In separate bowl, mix remaining dry ingredients together and add to apple mixture. Bake in a greased 13×9 inch pan for 60 minutes at 350º.

Serves 12.

September 23, 2011

Great American Seafood Cook Off 2011: Part 2

This recipe, entered into this year’s Great American Seafood Cook Off Contest by Chef Margaret McLellan, showcases the best of Maine ingredients.


Maine Lobster Mac and Cheese with Wild Blueberry Spiked Greens
Chef Margaret Salt McLellan, 2008 Maine Lobster Chef of the Year

Mac and Cheese
1 pound of high quality dry pasta –(Rigorosa Vesuvio if available is the best) or other shape that will hold sauce well such as mafalda or orzo
8 ounces of mascarpone
4 ounces of creamy goat cheese
Pinch of ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of white pepper
2 ounces of heavy cream
1 ounce of minced black truffles
3 black winter truffles (sliced paper thin)
Set out all ingredients at room temperature 1 hour before preparing

Bring 2 gallons of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta till al dente. Strain and return to pot. Keep warm.

Stir in mascarpone, goat cheese, and heavy cream. Add seasonings and minced truffles gently. Do not over stir or mix. Cover and keep warm. Reserve sliced truffle for plating time.

Butter poached Maine lobster meat
1½ pounds of fresh cooked Maine lobster meat (claw and knuckle or combination of claw, knuckle, and tail)
1 pound of salted butter
1 Tablespoon of water

Step 1

Beurre Monte (Bur Mahn-tay)
Cut butter into 1 inch chunks. Hold at room temperature up to one hour.

Bring 1 Tablespoon of water to a boil in heavy deep sauté pan. Reduce heat to low. Add butter one or two chunks at a time, whisking to create an emulsion. Once this emulsifies, all the butter may be added. Turn heat to low.

Step 2

Adding Maine lobster meat: If using CK, add meat to beurre monte. Do not chop or cut. If using tail meat, cut tails into one inch medallions. Gently incorporate into butter. Cover and hold at low heat.

Blueberry spiked micro greens
4 ounces of Wild Maine Blueberry Vinaigrette
8 ounces of micro green blend

Wild Maine Blueberry Vinaigrette
1 pint of fresh Maine blueberries
16 ounces of water
4 ounces of sugar
4 ounces rice wine vinegar
12 ounces canola oil
¼ teaspoon lemon juice

Step 1

In heavy large sauce pan bring water to boil. Add cleaned blueberries and sugar. Reduce heat to medium. Cook down till this becomes a thick sauce. Stir often. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. Purée in blender.

Step 2

Add rice wine vinegar and lemon juice, pulse to incorporate. Set blender to “blend” setting and slowly add oil through pour spout until this emulsifies. Keeps about two weeks in refrigeration.


Step 1

Spoon 4-6 ounces of mac and cheese into center of a pasta bowl or slope sided plate. A ring mold may be used also. Fan 3 slices of paper thin truffles on top.

Step 2

Arrange 3 ounces of Maine lobster meat on top and on side of the mac and cheese. Use equal amounts of claw, knuckle and tail meat. Ladle 1-2 ounces of butter sauce over the meat.

Step 3

Toss greens in 4 ounces of vinaigrette. Using tongs, place in equal portions on top of Lobster Mac and Cheese.

Step 4



Serves 8.

September 22, 2011

Great American Seafood Cook Off 2011: Part 1

It’s late July and I get mail from the Louisiana Seafood folks:

“Are you coming this year?”

Margaret Salt McLellan and Joe Ndungu plating up at this year’s Great American Seafood Cook Off.

Continue reading “Great American Seafood Cook Off 2011: Part 1″ »

September 21, 2011

Steak and Maine Lobster Tail Kabobs

Surf and turf never had it so good! This recipe for steak and Maine lobster tail kabobs will have you grillin’ in the rain!

image: Continue reading “Steak and Maine Lobster Tail Kabobs” »

September 20, 2011

Hot Spiced Cider

This recipe uses an automatic coffee maker to brew the cider. If you don’t own one, heat it in a slow cooker or a saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop. Grab your mugs and dive into this hot drink!

image: Continue reading “Hot Spiced Cider” »

September 19, 2011

Warm Chicken-Lentil Salad

“After a hot summer away from the stove, fall is the season when many of us start cooking again. But as schedules fill up with the new routine, extra time to spend in the kitchen may be in short supply. For those busy back-to-school weeknights, or during the weekends and celebrations of autumn, chicken is the solution for quick-but-tasty dishes that reflect the cooler weather.”

—From the National Chicken Council of Washington, DC

Warm-Chicken-Lentil-SaladWarm Chicken-Lentil Salad

Warm Chicken-Lentil Salad

1 cup French green lentils
3 cups water
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1½ pounds chicken tenders (8-12 tenders)
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup purchased red wine vinaigrette salad dressing
¼ cup minced Italian parsley

In a medium sized sauté pan with a tight fitting lid, combine lentils, water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring water and lentils to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender.

While lentils cook, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan.  Add garlic, onions, and celery and sauté until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Remove vegetables to a medium sized bowl.

In same pan used to cook vegetables, heat remaining oil over medium high heat. Season chicken tenders with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Place in heated pan. Sauté on both sides until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side.

When lentils are tender, drain any liquid, and add lentils to vegetables. Stir in dressing and parsley, mix well.

Spoon lentils onto a serving platter and top with chicken tenders.

Serves 4.

September 18, 2011

Apple Strudel

A classic fruit dessert pastry!
image: Continue reading “Apple Strudel” »

September 17, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

Here’s a quick, light and creamy soup that is sure to warm you on the coolest night. Add some hearty whole grain bread and a tossed salad to make a very satisfying meal.
image: Continue reading “Butternut Squash Soup” »

September 16, 2011

Fingerling Potatoes

Russian banana, Purple Peruvian, or the orange skinned French variety. What’s more fun than a fingerling potato? Smashing them!

Colorful Fingerling Potatoes
image: Continue reading “Fingerling Potatoes” »

September 15, 2011

Maine Lobster Cocktail

This delicious appetizer definitely says Maine!


image © Jim Bazin 2010

Maine Lobster Cocktail
The Broad Arrow Tavern at the Harraseeket Inn, Freeport

2 cups mayonnaise
½ cup (adjust for spiciness) chili paste
¼ teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 finely diced shallot
1 cup lightly whipped heavy cream
Juice from 1 lemon
1 bunch of snipped scallions
1 finely diced green pepper
1 pinch to taste salt
1 pinch to taste black pepper
1¼ pound Maine lobster
1 lemon cut into wedges

Steam the lobster for 10 minutes. Shock the lobster in ice water, remove, and split in have lengthwise. Set aside in refrigerator.

For the Sauce: Lightly whip the cream. In a large bowl fold all the ingredients until well-mixed. Taste and season. Allow the sauce to chill in refrigerator. Place the sauce in a ramekin. Place half the lobster on a chilled plate with the lemon wedge. Garnish with a large basil or parsley herb sprig. Serve.

September 14, 2011

Bob Zimmern’s Prosciutto and Fontina Gougères

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Zimmern about his Maine connection for our magazine. He shared some wonderful Maine recipes with us, and here is a beloved one made by his dad, Bob.

“These are the ultimate party food! This recipe is one my father has served at every cocktail party he has ever had in his house. He serves them to couples before dinner or for crowds at some of his bigger, swankier affairs. They always disappear fast! They are delicious and addictively easy to make and serve. They look complicated, but done once, you’ll realize that they’re really easy…and the freeze and serve option is fantastic. My wife, son, and I sneak into his kitchen at night and pillage his stash on a regular basis. I also make these with pancetta and Taleggio, or with a blend of cheeses for my vegetarian pals.” —Andrew Zimmern

image: Continue reading “Bob Zimmern’s Prosciutto and Fontina Gougères” »

September 13, 2011

Giada De Laurentiis’ Poached Pears in Honey Ginger and Cinnamon Syrup

Known for her easy to follow (and scrumptious!) dishes, the Italian-born Food Network star and Le Cordon Bleu alum Giada De Laurentiis shares her recipe for a decadent fruit dessert: soft, poached pears in a sweet wine syrup flavored with honey, ginger, real vanilla bean, and spicy cinnamon.


Poached Pears in Honey, Ginger and Cinnamon Syrup
recipe and images courtesy of

What You’ll Need
2 cups simple syrup, recipe follows
1 (750) ml bottle Moscato wine or other sweet dessert wine
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons honey
1 ( ¾ inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 small, firm, ripe Anjou or Bosc pears, peeled and cored
Vanilla ice cream or gelato

For the syrup
1½ cups sugar
1½ cups water

What You’ll Do

STEP 1: In a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears, combine the wine, simple syrup, cinnamon sticks, honey and ginger. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the bean to the saucepan.

STEP 2: Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the honey has melted. Add the pears and simmer over medium-low heat for fifteen to twenty minutes, turning occasionally, until the pears are tender.

STEP 3: Remove the pears from the liquid and allow to cool. Continue to simmer the liquid until it thickens and is reduced by half, about fifteen to twenty minutes. Cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean and discard, or keep to garnish!

STEP 4: Place each pear on a small serving plate with a hefty scoop of vanilla ice cream.

STEP 5: Drizzle on the syrup, serve immediately and devour!

Makes six sweet servings.

September 12, 2011

Gardening in Maine

In issue 13 of Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine, we introduce Certified Master Gardener Maryann Blaisdell. Her new column, “In the Garden,” explores the inception of her gardening life. She shares what got her started, and how her garden grows.

GardenBridge_3547_(485)A slice of Maryann’s garden oasis.

We are pleased that in future issues, she will be sharing her tips, techniques, and insights in a regular column. She reminds us that the key to her ideal garden is to strive for four-season interest through all parts of plants—bark, branches, leaves, and flowers. For Maryann, “the joy of gardening in Maine is enjoying the changes you see in your garden all through the year.”

Maryann, a retired elementary school teacher, now enjoys teaching others to find gardening success through her business, Amaranth.

Look for more from Maryann’s garden in the next issue of Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.