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September 30, 2012

Chocolate-Mint Bars

Every once in a while we all need our chocolate fix. To get the recipe for these tempting Chocolate-Mint Bars, click on the image below!

image and recipe courtesy of

September 29, 2012

Salmon Butternut Squash Corn Chowder

Always on the lookout for delicious new soup ideas, here’s a great one from our friends at This is one of the most creative, nontraditional chowders we’ve seen in a while! This Salmon Butternut Squash Corn Chowder is perfect for a cold, rainy weekend.

Click on the image below to get this delicious and healthy recipe.

image and recipe courtesy of

September 28, 2012

Teriyaki Rice Noodles with Veggies and Beans

Looking for a great way to incorporate more healthy ingredients like beans into your diet, but not sure how? The Editors of Robert Rose Inc. have created a great recipe book filled with creative and delicious ways to eat healthier. The following recipe excerpt from their new cookbook 250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes will introduce you to one of their many family-friendly meal ideas! 

This is a variation on the noodle dish Pad Thai, but it uses beans as the protein instead of shrimp and chicken, which is the more usual combination. Teriyaki sauce is a favorite of children because of its sweet taste. This recipe is vegan friendly, too!

TeriyakiRiceNoodlesVeggiesBeansBLT 2

Teriyaki Rice Noodles with Veggies and Beans
Excerpted from 250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes by The Editors of Robert Rose Inc. © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

2 cups rice noodles
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups broccoli florets
1⁄2 cup reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce
Dash hot pepper sauce
1 can (19 ounces) mixed beans, drained and rinsed (about 2 cups)

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion, carrots and celery until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and broccoli; cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in teriyaki sauce, hot pepper sauce, beans and rice noodles; cover and cook for 5 minutes. For a milder flavor, omit the hot pepper sauce.

Serves 8.

September 27, 2012

Shell Bean Succotash

One of my favorite finds in local farm stands at this time of year is “shell beans.” Similar to a Borlotti bean but rounder in shape, a Cranberry bean is what one usually finds grown around here. Sometimes you can find the more elongated “Dwarf Horticultural Bean,” which I’ve had some luck with. These beans are beautifully streaked with red both on the bean and outer shell. I can find moments of happiness in the mindless activity of shelling out a bushel or so while sitting on my porch enjoying that particular brand of Autumn sunlight.

Shell Bean image © Jim Bazin

I love simply cooking these beans with winter savory and watching them make their own gravy. It’s a prized breakfast food in my home, enjoyed with poached eggs and some chopped onion, maybe even some of Curtis meats tasty  breakfast ham, warmed in a fry pan….

But to make a succotash, learn from our earliest settlers, the Native Americans, and combine beans with corn to make a higher protein meal or side dish. Derived from the early Narragansett word, “msickquatash”, which means boiled corn kernels, succotash was always something I liked to eat as a kid. Granted I was one of those child weirdos who enjoyed lima beans. This is the succotash most of us know. But try stepping it up a bit with this more gourmet variation using freshly grown late season corn and shell beans in season.

Shell Bean Succotash
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

1 pound shell beans, shucked weight
8 ears of corn, or roughly double the amount of corn kernels to beans
1 ounce diced salt pork, optional
1/2 cup diced onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Steam corn, cool, then cut the corn off the cob. Set aside.

Rinse, then cook the shelled beans in an ample amount of water, about 2 cups.

In another heavy pan, fry out the diced salt pork, add in the cooked beans and corn with all liquids.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot. Pow wow around the table and dig in.

Serves 6-8 hearty eaters as a side dish.

September 26, 2012

Honeycrisp Apples

Which apple is the best for eating out of hand? The subject could be hotly debated and everyone is entitled to their opinion.


In my opinion, Damariscotta’s Biscay Orchards’ “Honeycrisp” apple takes the cake. Visually stunning, large, firm fleshed and beautifully mottled, it’s a visual feast. Juicy, just tart enough and plenty sweet, it is just wonderful eating.

The lovechild of the Macoun and Honeygold varieties, Honeycrisps are grown in Canada and New Zealand as well as in the U.S. to supply the growing demand for this big and beautiful variety. They have a long shelf life, which makes them the darling of retailers, but the locals buy them up pretty darn quick.

So take a relaxing drive to Biscay Orchards on the Biscay Road in Damariscotta for Honeycrisps, fresh pressed cider, gifts, and home baked pastries. Choose the back roads and you’ll get an eyeful of Maine at its September best on the pretty country roads that take you out there.

September 25, 2012

Hot-Tip Corn Bread

All dressed up with a gift jar of hot pepper jelly and no place to go? Has Cook & Tell got a hot tip for you! For the wary but willing, here’s a slightly racy corn-bread adventure you can feel free to write home about.


Hot-Tip Corn Bread
Karyl Bannister, Cook & Tell

3 Tablespoons butter, plus more for the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hot pepper jelly
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400°. Butter an 8- or 9- inch square baking pan.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, chili powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Melt the 3 Tablespoons butter and jelly together in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the jelly mixture, buttermilk, and eggs to the flour mixture and mix just until moistened. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until the corn bread springs back when gently pressed in the center. Serve hot.

Serves 9.

September 24, 2012

Oven-Fried Zucchini Sticks

These oven-baked zucchini sticks taste every bit as good as their deep-fried brethren with only a fraction of the fat and calories. Serve with a side of your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.

Oven-Fried Zucchini Sticks
image and recipe from

Canola or olive oil cooking spray
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, (about 3 medium), cut into 1/2-by-3-inch sticks
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 475°. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine flours, cornmeal, salt and pepper in a large sealable plastic bag. Dip zucchini in egg white, shake in the bag to coat, and arrange, not touching, on the baking sheet. Coat all exposed sides with cooking spray.

Bake on the center rack for 10 minutes. Turn the zucchini and coat any floury spots with cooking spray. Continue to bake until golden and just tender, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Serve hot.

Serves 4.

September 23, 2012

Barbequed Marinated Flank Steak

Here’s a steak that’s easy to make, uses ordinary ingredients, and is delicious barbequed or oven broiled.


Barbecued Marinated Flank Steak

1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tablespoons
2 Tablespoons
distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon
ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon
garlic powder
1/2 cup
vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds
flank steak

In a blender, combine the soy sauce, honey, vinegar, ginger, garlic powder, and vegetable oil.

Lay steak in a shallow glass or ceramic dish. Pierce both sides of the steak with a sharp fork. Pour marinade over steak, then turn and coat the other side. Cover, and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.

Preheat grill for high heat.

Place grate on highest level, and brush lightly with oil. Place steaks on the grill, and discard marinade. Grill steak for 10 minutes, turning once, or to desired doneness.

Serves 2-4.

September 22, 2012

Hot Apple Cider

Nothing says fall quite like a mug of hot apple cider. We like this recipe as it calls for fresh Maine apple cider and pure Maine maple syrup. Start with only 6 strips each of the orange and lemon peel, and adjust to taste.
Hot Apple Cider

Hot Apple Cider
recipe adapted from

6 cups Maine apple cider
1/4 cup real Maine maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
1 orange peel, cut into strips
1 lemon peel, cut into strips

Pour the apple cider and maple syrup into a large stainless steel saucepan.

Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, orange peel and lemon peel in the center of a washed square of cheesecloth; fold up the sides of the cheesecloth to enclose the bundle, then tie it up with a length of kitchen string. Drop the spice bundle into the cider mixture.

Place the saucepan over moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cider is very hot but not boiling.

Remove the cider from the heat. Discard the spice bundle. Ladle the cider into big cups or mugs, adding a fresh cinnamon stick to each serving if desired.

Serves 6.

September 21, 2012

Sweet Potato Casserole

This sinfully delicious sweet potato casserole is filled with fluffy sweet potatoes on the inside and finished with a crunchy pecan topping.

Sweet Potato Casserole
image and recipe from

Casserole Ingredients:

4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup light cream

Topping Ingredients:

1 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix casserole ingredients together, beating well until smooth. Place into greased 2 quart casserole dish.

Combine brown sugar and flour for topping, being sure to smooth any lumps. Add pecans and butter to topping mixture. Pour topping evenly over top of sweet potatoes in casserole dish.

Bake in preheated 350° oven for 25 to 35 minutes.

Serves 8.

September 20, 2012

Fennel-Crusted Salmon on White Beans

Delicious warm white beans and fennel are topped with succulent fennel-seed-crusted salmon for a double hit of flavor. For an extra-fresh look, set aside some additional chopped fennel fronds to use as a garnish.


Fennel-Crusted Salmon on White Beans
recipe and image from

5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 bulb fennel, halved, cored and thinly sliced, plus 1 Tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
2 15-ounce cans white beans, rinsed
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup white wine
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
1 pound salmon fillet, skin removed (see Tip), cut into 2 portions

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sliced fennel; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and wine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; stir in chopped fennel fronds, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, combine fennel seeds and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly on both sides of salmon.

Wipe out the pan. Add the remaining 3 teaspoons oil to the pan and heat over high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the salmon, skinned-side up, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the salmon over, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand until the salmon finishes cooking off the heat, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer the salmon to a cutting board and flake with a fork. Serve salmon on top of the warm bean mixture.

Serves 6.

Tips & Notes

To skin a salmon fillet: Place it on a clean cutting board, skin-side down. Starting at the tail end, slip the blade of a long knife between the fish flesh and the skin, holding the skin down firmly with your other hand. Gently push the blade along at a 30 degree angle, separating the fillet from the skin without cutting through either.

September 19, 2012

Chicken Marsala

This delicious chicken marsala recipe turns an Italian classic into a quick and easy family favorite.

Clarified butter (butter without the milk solids) is ideal for searing meats because it can be heated to a high temperature without burning. Although you can purchase clarified butter, we detail how to make it below in the first step.
image by Becky Luigart-Stayner

Chicken Marsala

4 Tablespoons butter, divided
Cooking spray

1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
2 Tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
1/2 cup frozen green peas
2 Tablespoons half-and-half
4 cups hot cooked fettuccine (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)

Place 3 Tablespoons butter in a small glass measuring cup. Microwave butter at medium-high 45 seconds or until melted. Let stand 1 minute. Skim foam from surface, and discard. (Mixture will appear separated.) Pour melted butter through a fine sieve over a small bowl, and discard the milk solids. Set the clarified butter aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat; add mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Cook 3 minutes or until moisture evaporates; remove mushroom mixture from pan. Set aside.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to a 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge chicken breast halves in flour.

Add clarified butter to pan, and place over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan. Return mushroom mixture to pan; add broth and Marsala, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Stir in peas; cook 1 minute. Add 1 Tablespoon butter, half-and-half, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, stirring until butter melts. Return chicken to pan; cook until thoroughly heated. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta.

Serves 4.

September 18, 2012

Make Your Own Pumpkin Yogurt

Fall is almost here, and with it comes one of our favorite flavors: pumpkin. Our blog is filled with many wonderful pumpkin recipes: click here to browse. The following recipe for homemade pumpkin yogurt is easy to make and satisfies that craving for pumpkin pie without all the fat and calories. It is one of Today show Nutrition Expert Joy Bauer’s favorite breakfasts on the go.


Homemade Pumpkin Yogurt

“It’s really easy to do, just mix plain yogurt with canned pumpkin. If you’re trying to cut back on sugar, use 100 percent pure pumpkin puree and add your own spices and sweetener. If you want the instant flavors of pumpkin pie, mix yogurt up with canned pumpkin pie puree that’s been sweetened with sugar and spices.

You can use vanilla yogurt with the pure pumpkin mix just to give it a little sweetness, and if you’re craving the texture of pumpkin pie, a nice sprinkling of healthy granola or oats seems to do the trick.”—

September 17, 2012

Halibut with Fennel

Inflammation is now thought to be the foundation of many diseases and chronic health conditions. It is indicated in conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain and obesity, cancer, asthma, diabetes, and arthritis. Research indicates that diet can reduce inflammation and increase a person’s overall health, well-being, and energy levels.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide® Anti-Inflammation Cookbook – a companion to The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to The Anti-Inflammation Diet – has more than 200 recipes that help the reader reduce and manage inflammation levels. Below is a featured recipe for Halibut with Fennel. The sun-dried tomatoes, fennel, and Kalamata olives add a Mediterranean flavor to the halibut.

image from

Halibut with Fennel
Elizabeth Vierck and Lucy Beale, The Complete Idiot’s Guide® Anti-Inflammation Cookbook

Aluminum foil
4 (5-ounce) halibut fillet
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
4 Kalamata or other black olives, drained, pitted and sliced

Preheat oven to 400°.

Tear off 4 pieces of foil to form a square. Place foil on a baking dish and place each fillet in center of square.

For each fillet: drizzle with oil, season with garlic powder and red pepper. Sprinkle sun-dried tomatoes over top. Arrange onion slices over fish, and top with fennel and olives.

Fold aluminum foil around fish to make an enclosed packet, keeping seam at top of packet

Place packets on a large baking sheet in oven and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Remove baking dish from oven and place on serving dish. Carefully unfold foil to allow steam to escape.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

September 16, 2012

Sweet Potato Fritters with Smoky Pinto Beans

These easy sweet potato fritters have a crispy crust and a tender middle. Pair them with smoked paprika-flavored beans. Feel free to use chili powder instead of paprika for a Mexican-inspired twist.

Sweet Potato Fritters with Smoky Pinto Beans
image and recipe from


1 large (about 1 pound) sweet potato
3 Tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large poblano peppers or small green bell peppers, chopped
1 can (15-ounce) pinto beans, rinsed
1 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup water
4 wedges lime, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425°. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Prick sweet potato in several places with a fork. Microwave on high until just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place in a baking dish and bake at 425° until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.) Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture. Add beans, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.

Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Peel the sweet potato and mash in a large bowl with a fork. Stir in the reserved onion-pepper mixture, egg, and water. Add the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined.

Form the sweet potato mixture into eight 3-inch oval fritters, using a generous 1/4 cup for each. Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 4 fritters until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining fritters and oil.

Bake the fritters until puffed and firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve the fritters with the reserved bean mixture and lime wedges, if desired.

Serves 4.

September 15, 2012

Taco Soup

This is a great slow cooker meal that the entire family will enjoy. Make a crockpot full of taco soup this weekend!


Taco Soup
image and recipe from

1 pound ground turkey
32 ounce carton chicken broth
2 (14.5 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 (15.8 ounce) can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.25 ounce) can yellow hominy, drained
1 (15.25 ounce) can white hominy, drained
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1 ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix


Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream, optional
Tortilla chips, optional

In a large non-stick skillet cook turkey until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain. Add to slow cooker.

Add remaining ingredients, except toppings to slow cooker; combine. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.

To serve, top with shredded cheese and sour cream (if desired), and serve with tortilla chips.

September 14, 2012

Gold Ball Beets with Summer Savory

This year in the garden I grew something new, at least to me. It was gold ball beets, which I purchased from Fedco Seeds. I was not impressed with their size until I came to understand that, “well, that’s as big as they get.” As big as they get is about the size of a big shooter marble or maybe a little bigger. Seeing them in abundance at Beths’ Farm Market helped me to understand that my soil is fine and my beets are not puny. This is the gold ball beet, at its most delicious, diminutive best. Small enough to be a curiosity on the plate, and of a vivid golden hue, it’s a tasty “impact vegetable”, if you will. Sweet and earthy, this is how I like mine best.


Gold Ball Beets with Summer Savory
image and recipe by Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

3 pounds of gold ball beets, trimmed top and bottom, (save the tender top leaves, they can be added to the final product)
1 Tablespoon of stemmed and finely chopped summer savory (Everyone should grow this wonderful herb. Did you know it reduces the gas factor in dry beans when they are cooked together? I rest my case.)
Salt, pepper, and a bit of really good extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped

Preheat your oven to 400°. Oil the beets lightly and set on a cookie tray to roast. Roast in the oven until tender and let them cool. Slip their jackets off and set aside.

Sauté the chopped shallot in a medium skillet in 3 Tablespoons of good extra-virgin olive oil. When translucent, add the beet greens, stirring until just wilted. Take off heat and mix with the roasted beets. Season to taste with savory, salt, and pepper. Enjoy at room temperature. It’s a taste of September.

Serves 6.

September 13, 2012

Crab Pot Stickers with Sesame-Ginger Dipping Sauce

Potstickers are those irresistible Chinese dumplings that are steamed on one side, pan-fried on the other. Delicious and fun to make, this recipe for Crab Pot Stickers features Maine crabmeat.


Crab Pot Stickers with Sesame-Ginger Dipping Sauce
adapted from

2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil (Asian)
1/4 teaspoon gingerroot (grated peeled fresh)
2 1/2 teaspoons water
1 scallion
6 ounces Maine
crab meat

1 Tablespoon
sesame seeds
egg white

1 teaspoon
gingerroot (grated peeled fresh)

gyoza wrappers (won ton, thawed if frozen)

Cornstarch (dusting plate)

1 Tablespoon
vegetable oil

In a small bowl whisk together all dipping sauce ingredients.Chop scallion and pick over crab meat to remove any bits of shell and cartilage. Break up larger pieces of crab.In a dry small heavy skillet toast sesame seeds with salt to taste over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer seeds to a medium bowl and cool slightly. Add egg white and gingerroot to seeds and lightly beat. Gently stir in crab and scallion and season with salt and pepper.

Put 6 won ton wrappers on a dry surface, keeping remaining wrappers in package, and lightly brush edges with water. Mound about 1 Tablespoon filling in center of each wrapper. Gather edge of each wrapper up and around filling and form a waist with wrapper (filling should be exposed and level with top of wrapper). Lightly dust a plate with cornstarch and arrange pot stickers in one layer. Make 6 more pot stickers in same manner.

In a large nonstick skillet heat vegetable oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and fry pot stickers, flat sides down, until undersides are golden, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup water down side of skillet. Cover skillet and steam pot stickers over moderately low heat until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove lid and cook pot stickers until any water is evaporated.

Serve pot stickers with dipping sauce.

Serves 2.

September 12, 2012

Cajun Kale Soup with Andouille Sausage

A New Orleans favorite, spicy andouille sausage gives this healthy greens-and-rice stew a kick of Cajun flavor.


Cajun Kale Soup with Andouille Sausage
image by Ngoc Minh Ngo and recipe by

6 cup lightly packed chopped green curly kale, stem and ribs removed
2 Tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 large celery rib, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
8 ounces (2 to 3 links) andouille sausage, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 can (15-ounce) chopped or diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey (optional)
4 cups slightly undercooked brown rice

Bring 10 cups of water to a boil in large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add kale and boil 5 minutes. Drain in colander and set aside.

In the large pot, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and cook until onion is translucent, 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, peppers, and sausage, and cook until peppers soften, 5 minutes. Mix in thyme and allspice, stir, and cook 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, broth, cooked kale, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until greens are almost tender, 20 minutes.

Add salt to taste, and agave or honey, if desired. (If freezing, stop here and add rice after defrosting.)

If serving immediately, add rice and continue to simmer soup, uncovered, until kale is tender and rice is fully cooked, 10 to 15 minutes.

Serves 6.

September 11, 2012

Nasturtium Compound Butter

Here’s a riddle: What is bright, colorful, peppery, high in vitamin C, and abounds in most September gardens? It’s the lovely nasturtium of course!

This plant was known in Europe in earlier days as Capucine Cress due to the resemblance of the flower to a monk’s hooded robe. The plant thrived in gardens primarily as a salad herb with medicinal values. Often the delicate bud was used as a substitute for capers. I have long loved it in a salad…flowers, buds, leaves, and all…but I also enjoy the beauty of the flowers and buds in a simple compound butter. There is nothing like a coin of this peppery delight melting slowly on a piece of grilled fish or steak.


Preparing a Nasturtium Compound Butter is as simple as this:

Nasturtium and Pink Peppercorn Butter
recipe and images by Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

Soften a pound of butter to room temperature.

Gather two cups of fresh nasturtium flowers and buds. Check for insects and discard any. Chop medium fine by hand. An assortment of colors is a visual feast.

Freshly grind 1 Tablespoon of pink peppercorns.

Combine all and mix thoroughly with a spatula.

Roll into a log using waxed paper and place in freezer. When hardened, double wrap in plastic and you’ll have a late summer delight at the ready for several months. Just slice off a coin or two when the halibut or rib eye is coming off the grill and watch eyes widen around the dinner table.