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May 31, 2012

Pimento Cheese Spread

If you’ve been down South, you understand the love of pimento cheese. Well we Yankees can get our pimento on, too!

This recipe is a summer standby and can be made into either a spread or dip depending on the addition of sour cream or crème fraîche. It couldn’t be easier; the airy, mousse-like texture comes from processing it for several minutes in a Cuisinart.


Pimento Cheese Spread
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

2 pounds full fat cream cheese
2 cups drained, roasted red peppers (may be jarred)
1 medium smashed, fresh garlic clove
A dash of smoked paprika
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine and process all in a Cuisinart for five minutes. Check the consistency. It will firm up overnight in the fridge. If you want to use it more as a dip, add a little sour cream to it while it is processing. Nice on a sandwich, too!

May 30, 2012

Baby Spinach with Cumin-Roasted Pear and Maytag Blue Cheese

The honey and walnut dressing in this recipe is so flavorful and versatile it has become a staple in my kitchen. I use it in many appetizers and salad dishes I serve in the restaurant, changing the type of nuts and oils used, depending on the dish.—Michael Salmon, Hartstone Inn


Baby Spinach with Cumin-Roasted Pear and Maytag Blue Cheese
Michael Salmon, In the Kitchen with Michael Salmon

3 Bosc pears
3 Tablespoons walnut oil
2 Tablespoons port wine
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons cumin spice mix (recipe follows)
1/3 cup walnut halves
1/3 cup dried cranberries
10 ounces baby spinach
Honey and walnut dressing (recipe follows)
1/4 pound maytag blue cheese (or other good quality creamy blue cheese), crumbled

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Peel the pears and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the core and stem with a melon baller and cut each half into 3 equal wedges.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the walnut oil, port wine, brown sugar, salt, and cumin spice mix. Add the pear wedges, walnut halves, and dried cranberries and toss evenly to coat.

Place a Silpat mat or piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spread out the pear mixture on top. Roast in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

To serve, toss the baby spinach with enough of the honey and walnut dressing to coat. Arrange the baby spinach on the plate with the roasted pear wedges, cranberries, walnuts, and crumbled blue cheese.

Cumin Spice Mix
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons whole cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons whole anise seeds

Mix the sugar and spices together.

Honey and Walnut Dressing
1/2 cup walnut oil
1 Tablespoon crushed walnuts
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the walnut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it gets very warm (not hot), add the crushed walnuts and shallots and allow it to steep off the heat until cool.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and honey. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the cooled walnut oil until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6.

May 29, 2012

Saute of Shrimp and Veggies in Balsamic Vinegar

“Balsamic vinegar adds wonderful flavor and aroma to this dish. As it cooks, it will cook down and slightly thicken, and the taste of the vinegar will go from tangy to a more subtle sweetness. You can use pork medallions or chicken breasts instead of shrimp. To make a vegetarian dish, try firm tofu.”—

image courtesy of

Sauté of Shrimp and Veggies in Balsamic Vinegar

1½ pounds shrimp (thawed, if frozen), peeled, deveined, and rinsed
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 bunch broccoli
1 pound shiitake mushrooms
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups cooked hot brown rice

In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp and ¼ cup balsamic vinegar. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the broccoli into small florets, keeping ½ inch of the stalk. Remove and discard the stems of the mushrooms. Thickly slice any large caps.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until nearly fork-tender. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat to medium; add the drained shrimp. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup balsamic vinegar. Cook, stirring, about 1 minute longer, or until the shrimp are pink and opaque in the thickest part. Serve over the brown rice.

Serves 4.

May 28, 2012

Beer-brined Pork Chops with Grilled Pineapple Salsa has some great recipes on their site. This one for pork chops offers a refreshing change of pace. Great Mexican flavors…lime, chiles, and the recommended use of Negra Modelo beer in combination with other great flavors make this a memorable dish. Recipe for the pineapple salsa topping is included. So, go to your local Shaws, get shopping, get grilling, get cooking! Click on the image below for complete grocery list, recipe, and nutrition facts.

image courtesy of

May 27, 2012

Southwestern Flavored Bean Burgers

Hearty, filling, flavorful, and easy to prepare, these bean burgers are a way to satisfy both meat lovers and non-meat lovers.  This recipe is from Cook without a Book: Meatless Meals by Pam Anderson, and is perfect for a weeknight meal.

Click on the image below to get the recipe from the Taste and Tell blog.


Recipe and image from the Taste and Tell blog

May 26, 2012

Spatchcocked Chicken

The word “spatchcock” refers to a chicken or game bird that has been split and grilled. It’s an easy way to grill a chicken in only 45 minutes. The result is a moist, juicy bird with a crisp skin and great grilled flavor.

Click on the image below to get this recipe from My Gourmet Connection.

Recipe and image courtesy of

May 25, 2012

Maple Glazed Ribs

Time for grilling…it’s Memorial Weekend! This recipe is one the whole family will enjoy.


Maple Glazed Ribs

3 pounds pork spareribs, cut into serving-size pieces
1 cup maple syrup
3 Tablespoons thawed orange juice concentrate
3 Tablespoons ketchup
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 garlic clove, minced
2 green onions, minced
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Place ribs, meaty side up, on a rack in a greased 15-inch x 10-inch x 1-inch baking pan. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake at 350° for 1-1/4 hours or until tender; drain.

Meanwhile, combine the next nine ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Grill ribs, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from the heat for 15-20 minutes, brushing occasionally with glaze. Sprinkle with sesame seeds just before serving.

Yields 6 servings.

May 24, 2012

Mediterranean Shrimp and Pasta

Looking for a quick and delicious dinner? Healthy and packed with great Mediterranean flavors, try this shrimp and pasta dish tonight! Click the image below for link to recipe from

image courtesy of Kerry Hosford

May 23, 2012

Mussels Steamed with Leeks and Mustard Cream

This is a sublime and really quite elegant way to treat the once-lowly mussel. Hopefully you have access to nice clean mussels, preferably farm-raised, so when you buy them they’re without grit, barnacles, or wiry beards. All you need for a perfectly lovely meal is a salad—either Mixed Greens with Simple Shallot Vinaigrette or Green Bean, Walnut, and Feta Salad—some crusty country bread for sopping up all the luscious sauce, and, depending on the season, Cranberry-Pear Crisp with Almond Topping or Springtime Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble-Topping Pie for dessert.


Mussels Steamed with Leeks and Mustard Cream
Brooke Dojny, Dishing Up Maine

3 Tablespoons butter
3 slender leeks, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded, if necessary
1 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves
1½ cups heavy cream
1 Tablespoon coarse-grain Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a very large, deep skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Combine the mussels, wine, and bay leaves in a large pot, cover the pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the shells open, 4 to 8 minutes, depending on size. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a bowl, discarding any that don’t open. Let the cooking liquid settle for a few minutes, then pour the clear broth into a glass measure, leaving any sediment behind.

Pour the broth into the skillet with the leeks, add the cream and mustard, and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking to dissolve the mustard. Cook, uncovered, until the liquid reduces by about one-third, about 5 minutes. The recipe can be made several hours ahead to this point. Cover the mussels and cream mixture and refrigerate separately. Bring to a boil before proceeding with the next step.

Add the mussels in their shells to the skillet and stir in the parsley and tarragon. Heat gently until the mussels are heated through, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, divide the mussels and sauce among four large, shallow soup dishes.

Note: To debeard mussels, pull out the dark threads that protrude from the shell. Do this just before cooking; mussels die when debearded.

Serves 4.

May 22, 2012

Frittata of Green Garlic, Spinach, and Lakin’s Gorges Basket Molded Ricotta

What to make for breakfast today? I had a gal pal staying overnight who takes her low carb meals seriously and loves a good breakfast. Casting about in the fridge I saw farmers’ market spinach, a stem of juicy green garlic from my garden, good farm eggs, and a tub of the ever delightful Lakin’s Gorges ricotta.

I can’t say enough about Allison Lakin’s line of cheeses, but will wax poetic on the simple goodness of her ricotta for today’s post. It seems worlds away from supermarket ricottas, just delicious. It has a drier quality which reminds me of the farmer’s cheese my grandmother used to use for certain pastries like her cheesecake and blintzes. It was hard to find back then and it’s great that these artisanal cheeses are making a comeback in Maine.

Today I learned that combining the eggs with the ricotta gives the frittata a lovely fluffy texture, and we’re doubling down on protein too. Here is the recipe I came up with and it was good! Just as good for a cold lunch or picnic.

spinach-frittata-goat-cheeseimage courtesy of

Green Garlic, Spinach, and Lakin’s Gorges Ricotta Frittata
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

1 bulb of green garlic, chopped
1 cello bag of spinach, washed, steamed and chopped (2 cups cooked). I squeeze the liquid out and mix it in with the eggs when it is cooled.
6 eggs, beaten (spinach liquid added if you like)
1 8-ounce tub of Lakin’s Gorges Ricotta
Salt and pepper
A nice black skillet to cook it in
A bit of olive oil

In a medium hot skillet, sauté the garlic in the olive oil. Add the cooked, chopped spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs with the ricotta.

Add the beaten egg mixture to the pan and swirl it once gently to distribute the veggies.

Cover and cook on low heat until almost cooked through. Finish with a couple minutes under the broiler.

Let rest for a couple minutes, slice into wedges, and enjoy!

May 21, 2012

Sour Cream Rhubarb Squares

I have shared this recipe with many friends, who in turn share it with their family and friends. It’s just so good it makes its own welcome in every kitchen. When my twins were young I had a neighbor, Terry, with children about the same age. Not only did we take the kids with us everywhere we went, Terry shared her rhubarb patch with me, and her recipes.


Terry’s Sour Cream Rhubarb Squares
Martha Greenlaw, Recipes From a Very Small Island

½ cup sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ cups packed light brown sugar
½ cup solid vegetable shortening
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
½ pound fresh unsweetened rhubarb, cut into ½- inch cubes (about 1½ cups)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, nuts, butter, and cinnamon. Using a fork, pastry blender, or your fingers, work this mixture until crumbly. Reserve.

In the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed and fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the brown sugar, shortening, and egg for 4 to 5 minutes, or until light and smooth.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk eight to nine times to blend. With the mixture on low, add the dry ingredients to the batter, alternating with the sour cream. When smooth, remove from the mixer and stir in the rhubarb.

Transfer to the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the reserved topping. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the topping is browned and crisp and the rhubarb squares are cooked through.

Serve from the pan, cut into squares.

Serves 10-12.

May 20, 2012

Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting

Ok, so we all deserve a sweet treat now and then. This recipe from Brown Eyed Baker for Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting is amazing! Click on the image below for a link to dessert nirvana.

image and recipe courtesy of

May 19, 2012

Farmhouse Chicken and Corn Chowder

A creamy combination of delicious corn chowder with chicken and colorful vegetables makes this a hearty meal that’s easy to prepare.—

Click the image below for this hearty and easy crockpot recipe.

Recipe and image from the Moms Who Think blog

May 18, 2012

Garlic and Greens Spaghetti

Economical and healthy pasta recipe on today’s blog courtesy of the Food Network. Click image below for link!

image courtesy of Antonis Achilleos, recipe courtesy of Food Network magazine

May 17, 2012

Shrimp Salsa Dip

A fresh and easy salsa made with shrimp and lime juice.


Shrimp Salsa Dip
recipe and image courtesy of

8 ounces salad shrimp (Maine shrimp would work great here!)
2 plum tomatoes (sliced)
1 medium onion (diced)
1/4 cup cilantro (minced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/4 cup lime juice (freshly squeezed)
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine together all ingredients in a large bowl. Let chill at least one hour, covered, in fridge.

Serves 1 dozen.

May 16, 2012

Crumbed Lamb Cutlets with Asparagus

Lamb and herbs are a fantastic combination. This recipe crumbs the lamb cutlets in breadcrumbs and is served with asparagus.


Crumbed Lamb Cutlets with Asparagus
image and recipe courtesy of

12 lamb cutlets
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 cup of plain all-purpose flour
¼ cup of olive oil
2 bunches of asparagus
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup of fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Beat the eggs lightly in a shallow bowl which is big enough to hold a lamb cutlet.

Use a different bowl to hold the breadcrumbs, and a third bowl to also hold the flour.

Start the process by rolling the lamb cutlets in the flour, one at a time, then dip them in the egg mixture before coating with breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the lamb cutlets for 3-5 minutes on each side until they are golden brown.

Place the lamb cutlets on an oven tray and bake for a further 20 minutes.

Use the same sauce pan to cook the asparagus for about 2 minutes. Add any remaining breadcrumbs which are leftover into the pan and cook for a couple more minutes, until the asparagus is a golden green color.

Serve the lamb cutlets alongside the asparagus on a serving plate. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with fresh parsley.

Serves 6-8.

May 15, 2012

Spring Salad with Fennel and Orange

Sweet, tangy, and brightly colored, this salad brings spring to the plate! For the recipe for Spring Salad with Fennel and Orange, click the image below.

image and recipe courtesy of

May 14, 2012

Asian Marinated Cucumber Salad

This easy-to-make side salad dish is the perfect compliment to yesterday’s entrée post — Japanese Salmon Over Linguine — also from Rebecca of the Foodie with Family blog. It is also good with all sorts of seafood, chicken and pork,  or even stacked on sandwiches in place of pickles.

Click on the image below to get Rebecca’s recipe.

Asian Cucumber Salad
Recipe and image from Rebecca of the Foodie with Family blog

May 13, 2012

Japanese Salmon Over Linguine

Rebecca of the Foodie with Family blog says that this is her husband’s absolute favorite dish, and we can certainly see why!

Get Rebecca’s fabulous recipe on her blog by clicking on the image below, and check our blog tomorrow to find the recipe for her husband’s favorite side dish, which compliments this meal oh-so-perfectly.

Recipe and image by Rebecca from the Foodie with Family blog

May 12, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day: Brunch Cocktail

We wish all the moms out there are very Happy Mother’s Day!  We hope you are able to kick back, relax, and feel the love and appreciation. Here’s a great cocktail from “Dr. Mixologist” to celebrate you! Click the image below for the recipe.

Mother’s Day Blackberry Champagne Cocktail image courtesy of, recipe courtesy of