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October 31, 2012

Healthy Chicken Schawarma

Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish of garlicky meat or poultry served on pitas. This chicken version is flavored with a savory yogurt sauce. From start to finish, you can have this on the table in 45 minutes.

Save any leftover yogurt-lemon sauce as a great dip for pita bread or cucumber.
Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Jan Gautro

Healthy Chicken Schawarma

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 16 (3-inch) strips

1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt (such as Fage)
2 Tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced

Remaining ingredients:

Cooking spray
4 (6-inch) pitas
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
8 (1/4-inch-thick) tomato slices

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss well to coat. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.

To prepare sauce, combine yogurt and next 4 ingredients (through 1 garlic clove), stirring with a whisk.

Thread 2 chicken strips onto each of 8 (12-inch) skewers. Place kebabs on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until done.

Place pitas on grill rack; grill 1 minute on each side or until lightly toasted. Place 1 pita on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1/4 cup lettuce and 2 tomato slices. Top each serving with 4 chicken pieces; drizzle each serving with 2 Tablespoons sauce.

Serves 4.

October 30, 2012

Spooky Spider Eggs

Spooky Spider Eggs

If deviling your eggs isn’t enough this Halloween, spider them too. Joanie Pimentel in Sunset’s information technology department came up with this styling idea for a staff party last Halloween. She cuts pitted black olives in half lengthwise and nestles one half on top of an egg for the body, and then cuts the other half crosswise into thin slices to form the creepy legs!

October 29, 2012

Classic Hurricane Rum Cocktail Recipe

The Hurricane became popular at Pat O’Briens bar in 1940’s New Orleans, apparently debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair and was named after the hurricane lamp-shaped glasses the first drinks were served in. It’s said that O’Brien created the heavily rummed drink as a means to get rid of the large stock of rum his Southern distributors forced him to buy.

image from

Classic Hurricane Rum Cocktail

2 ounces light rum
2 ounces dark rum
2 ounces passion fruit juice
1 ounce orange juice
Juice of a half a lime
1 Tablespoon simple syrup
1 Tablespoon grenadine
Orange slice and cherry for garnish

Squeeze juice from half a lime into cocktail shaker over ice. Pour the remaining ingredients into the cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into a hurricane glass. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.

Serves 1 cocktail.

October 28, 2012

Fall Stew: White Bean and Sausage

Delicious soup in a fun fall presentation. Pumpkin bowls filled with white bean and sausage stew! For this great recipe from, click on the image below.

image and recipe from

October 27, 2012

Halloween Cupcake Decorating Ideas

Looking for ideas for Halloween cupcake decorating? Look no further! Our friends at help us get the party started! Click on the image below for lots of great ideas!

recipes and images courtesy of

October 26, 2012

Crimson Gold Apple Sesame Chicken Salad

This recipe screams fall! Gorgeous presentation, and an absolutely delicious idea from our friend Valentina at For her recipe for Crimson Gold Apple Sesame Chicken Salad, click on the image below!

image and recipe from

October 25, 2012

Tangerine Beef

Hassle-free flank steak, sliced into quick-sizzling strips, is the shortcut in this citrus-spike dish. Marinating the meat in a garlicky ginger-tangerine sauce amps up the Chinese-takeout taste.

For the recipe for Tangerine Beef, click the image below.

image and recipe from

October 24, 2012

Fresh Pasta with Pesto and Green Beans

Delicious pesto keeps us eating those fresh greens from summer all year long. Enjoy this fresh pasta with pesto and green beans recipe by clicking on the image below.

image and recipe from

October 23, 2012

Old-Fashioned Spaghetti and Meatballs

“Thanks to the iron and protein from the beef, lycopene from the tomato sauce and energy-producing carbs from the pasta, this dish is a healthy trifecta. If you stick to modest portions and lean beef, you can enjoy its benefits without overdoing it. Limit yourself to three ounces of meat and a cup of cooked pasta per serving. Pump up the health benefits by using whole-wheat pasta and adding mushrooms to the meatballs to add fiber and cut fat.” —


Old-Fashioned Spaghetti and Meatballs
image and recipe from

Where we saved fat: stretched out the decadence of the beef by adding a portobello mushroom and using an egg white; we added fiber by using whole-wheat spaghetti.

1 slice whole-wheat sandwich bread, ground into coarse crumbs
8 ounces ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
1 portobello mushroom, stem removed and chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 large egg white
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 small bunch fresh basil
3 sprigs fresh thyme
8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
Parmesan, for serving, optional

Pulse the sandwich bread in a food processor to form coarse crumbs. Add the beef, 1/4 cup onion, mushroom, 1 Tablespoon garlic, parsley, and egg white; season with salt, pepper and nutmeg; pulse again to finely chop and combine. Portion into about 20 meatballs (about 1-inch in diameter) and place on a plate.

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat; add the remaining garlic and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and broth. Tie sprigs of basil and thyme together with kitchen twine; add to the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Add the meatballs and continue to simmer, without stirring, until the meatballs are partially cooked, about 10 minutes. Turn the meatballs; cook 10 minutes more or until fully cooked.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions in boiling salted water; serve the meatballs and sauce over the spaghetti.

Serves 4.

October 22, 2012

Scalloped Salmon

From Cook & Tell’s portfolio of comfy, friendly standard family recipes comes this perfect weeknight supper dish. Glazed carrots, scallions and peas make nice accompaniments.


Scalloped Salmon
Karyl Bannister, Cook & Tell

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 Tablespoons dried
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
15 ounces salmon, cooked and flaked or 1 15-ounce can red salmon
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups herb-seasoned croutons or stuffing mix
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon snipped fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch pie plate.

Combine the milk, stock or broth, eggs, celery, parsley, onion, and mustard in a large bowl. Add the salmon, cheese, and croutons or stuffing and stir to blend. Transfer the pie plate and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. For the last 5 minutes of baking, arrange the tomato slices in a ring on top of the scalloped salmon. Sprinkle with the chives and parsley and serve hot in wedges.

Serves 6.

October 21, 2012

Julia Child’s Apple Cream Tart

Over her long and illustrious lifetime, Julia Child forged a couple of strong ties to Maine. She and her husband, Paul, spent many summer vacations at his family home on Mount Desert Island, and then, in her later years, she often visited good friends on Deer Isle. In fact, one of the several 85th birthday parties that were given for her all across the country happened on Deer Isle. Like countless other late-twentieth century cooks, I was inspired by Julia’s wonderful television show and her cookbooks. I like to think that she would approve this slight adaptation of her delectable Apple Cream Tart from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Knopf, 1966). I also think she’d approve the use of local cooking apples, such as Macouns or Jonathans.

image courtesy of

Julia’s Apple Cream Tart
Brooke Dojny,  Dishing Up Maine

Sweet Short Crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into 5 pieces
3 Tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, cut into 3 chunks
4 Tablespoons ice water

Apple Cream Filling
3 cups peeled and sliced medium-sweet apples, such as Macouns or Jonathans (about 1 pound)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light cream
1 Tablespoon rum or cognac
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Powdered sugar

To make the crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to blend. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the shortening is about the size of small peas. Drizzle the water through the feed tube and pulse until the pastry begins to clump together. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten into a disk, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (To make by hand, whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl, work in the cold butter and shortening with your fingertips, add the water, and stir with a large fork to make a soft dough.)

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface, working from the center in all directions until you have an 11-inch round. Fold the dough in half and ease it into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with the fold in the center. Unfold the dough, press it against the sides of the pan, and trim the edges. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Press a sheet of foil into the bottom of the tart shell. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 5-8 minutes, until pale golden. If the pastry starts to puff up, press the bottom gently with a large spatula or oven-mitted hand to flatten. Fill immediately or cool on a rack. If proceeding immediately, leave the oven temperature at 375°.

In a large bowl, toss the apples with 1/3 cup of the sugar and the cinnamon and spread into the bottom of the tart shell. Bake until the apples begin to color and are almost tender, 20-25 minutes.

Reduce oven to 350°.

Whisk together the egg and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a medium-sized bowl until well-blended. Whisk in the flour, then the cream, rum, and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the apple mixture.

Bake until the top is pale golden and a knife inserted part way to the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with the powdered sugar before serving.

Serves 6-8.

October 20, 2012

Chicken, Apple and Smoked Gouda Panini

The roasted chicken pairs nicely with the sweetness of the apple and smokiness of the Gouda cheese.

Tip: I use one deli-style rotisserie chicken. It yields the perfect amount.

ChickenAppleSmokedGouda 2

Chicken, Apple and Smoked Gouda Panini
Image and recipe excerpted from 150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Alison Lewis © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. All rights reserved: May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Panini grill or large skillet
(Preheat panini grill to medium, if using)

8 slices Italian or multigrain bread (1⁄2-inch thick slices)
1⁄4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
2 cups thinly sliced roasted or grilled chicken (see Tip)
1 cup baby spinach leaves
2 Gala apples, thinly sliced
4 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, cut into thin slices

Brush one side of each bread slice with butter. Place on a work surface, buttered side down. Spread 4 bread slices equally with mayonnaise. Top equally with chicken, spinach, apples and cheese. Cover with remaining bread slices, buttered side up, and press together gently.

Place sandwiches on preheated panini grill or in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, turning once if using a skillet, for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

October 19, 2012


Yes, we’ve had a heavy frost in my neck of the woods. But a quick trip to the garden this morning proves that there is a lot out there still thriving. All the brassicas, of course, some cherry tomatoes are hanging on, quite literally. And my brussel sprouts may be big enough to eat by Thanksgiving.

image and recipe courtesy of Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

My broad leaved escarole is looking and probably tasting better than ever! A good hard frost tends to sweeten up many vegetables. Is there a metaphor there for life and learning?

There was a time when the endives confused me. Radicchio, Puntarelle, Belgian endive, Frisee…how were they different and how to use them in all their bitter glory? Many of this genus is at home in a beautifully dressed salad.

But my favorite late season treat is the broad leaved variety simply cleaned, chopped, and simmered for a half hour or so in strong homemade chicken stock. Seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper, it is a supremely comforting light supper for a chilly day. Full of vitamins and fiber, too. So easy, I am not sure that I can call it a recipe.

Simply spectacular!

Roasted Pumpkin Wedges

From picking to eating and carving to decorating, all season long we get to enjoy pumpkins a plenty. The superb superfood is a staple for any fall feast and as any foodie knows, pumpkin is a health powerhouse (low in calories, high in fiber and packed with beta carotene and potassium). So with pumpkins on the brain, we wanted to share Pritikin Executive Chef Anthony Stewart’s super easy recipe for Roasted Pumpkin Wedges – a low calorie (only 35 per serving!) appetizer, snack or side dish that you will love!


Roasted Pumpkin Wedges
Chef Anthony Stewart,

1 medium-sized pumpkin (about 5 pounds)
Generous pinch of cinnamon
1 Tablespoon apple juice concentrate (Look for 100% apple juice concentrate in the frozen food section of your market.)

Preheat oven to 400°.

Peel pumpkin the same way you would peel melons like honeydew.

Cut off top and bottom so that pumpkin “stands” steady on your surface. To keep pumpkin from moving, a wet towel underneath is helpful. Then, going from top to bottom with a sharp knife, filet the skin off.

Next, cut pumpkin into long wedges. Remove pulp and seeds.

Season your wedges with cinnamon and apple juice concentrate.

On a large nonstick baking sheet, bake for 25 minutes or until browned.

Serve hot!

October 18, 2012

Beer-Braised Chili

If you’re tired of beef-based chilies with red beans, try this equally delicious but lighter version. It makes a great potluck dish or the centerpiece for a casual evening with friends. For a special occasion, serve with hot cornbread.


Beer-Braised Chili
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.

Large (minimum 5 quart) slow cooker
4 cups cooked black-eyed peas
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 ounces chunk bacon, diced
2 pounds trimmed pork shoulder or blade (butt), cut into 1-inch cubes and patted dry
2 onions, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 piece (2 inches) cinnamon stick
1 cup flat beer
1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 each red and green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
Sour cream
Finely chopped red onion
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In a skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add pork, in batches, and cook, stirring, until browned, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to stoneware as completed.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining Tablespoon of oil to pan. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt, peppercorns, and cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add beer, bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute, scraping up brown bits. Stir in tomatoes.

Transfer to stoneware. Stir in peas. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours. Stir in bell peppers and chipotles. Cover and cook on high for about 20 minutes, until peppers are tender. Garnish with any combination of sour cream, onion, and/or cheese.

Serves 8.

October 17, 2012

Avocado Berry Breakfast Smoothie Recipe

Frozen blueberries are a great substitute for raspberries, and large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados, adjust the quantity accordingly.


Avocado Berry Breakfast Smoothie Recipe
recipe and image from

1 ripe fresh Hass avocado, seeded and peeled
1 (10-ounce) package frozen raspberries, fruit only, no added sugar
cups orange juice
1 cup ice cubes

Place avocado, raspberries, orange juice, and ice in a blender. Cover and blend until smooth.

Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Yields 4 glasses.

October 16, 2012

Szechuan Steak and Mushroom Stir-Fry

Spicy and delicious, perfect for fall and the harvest of mushrooms!

Szechuan Steak and Mushroom Stir-Fry
image and recipe from

3 boneless New York strip steaks, partially frozen
1 pound sliced mushrooms
2 yellow onions, cut into slivers
2 Tablespoons wok oil
Steamed jasmine rice (optional) or brown rice (optional)

Steak marinade

2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons wine
2 Tablespoons oil
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon grated ginger

Stir-fry Sauce

2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
1 Tablespoon chili paste
1 Tablespoon hot sesame oil
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon cornstarch


While beef is still partially frozen, trim away excess fat and slice thinly.

Whisk together marinade and pour over beef in a ziplock bag; refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Whisk together sauce in a small bowl and keep nearby.

Heat oil in a wok over high heat, stir-fry beef with marinade, mushrooms and onions until cooked through.

Add sauce to wok, and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens.

Serve stir-fry with steamed rice if desired.

Serves 4.

October 15, 2012

Fall Harvest Salad

A great salad to make and eat several times for lunch during the week. Enjoy!

Fall Harvest Salad

1 head of iceberg lettuce, chopped (any lettuce or mixture to your taste)
1 red delicious apple, chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup cranberries, dried
1 cup red onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons raspberry vinaigrette dressing, fat free (light)

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl. Divide and serve!

Serves 4.

October 14, 2012

Maine Seafood Recipes

Aren’t we the luckiest people to live in Maine where we have a consistent supply of the freshest and best tasting seafood? I was recently at our favorite Portland fish market getting some haddock for dinner when I overheard a woman complaining about the price of “plain old haddock which is a rip-off at $6.99 a pound.” I clenched my fists, took some calming breaths, and counted to 10. I so wanted to give her a good jab and tell her that I think that’s an absolute BARGAIN price given the cost of the fishing vessel, fuel, insurance, equipment, bait – never mind the risks our fishermen and fisherwomen face every single day when they venture out to the depths of the Atlantic to catch our dinner. I am a staunch defender of fisher-people (and farmers, too) who are totally at the mercy of Mother Nature and who work incredibly hard at their jobs. I definitely think they deserve greater appreciation and respect. (I will now step ever so carefully off from my soapbox.)

According to Laine Welch, a long time writer of news about the seafood industry, more than $60 billion a year is funneled into the US from the bounty of our waters and also provides more than 25,000 jobs. It is estimated that the average Joe (or Jane) in our country consumes only 16.2 pounds of seafood per year. (That surely cannot apply to New Englanders, can it?) When compared to other parts of the world, that number is negligible. Japanese people eat about 146 pounds per person each year, Greenland residents about 186 pounds and in Iceland, it tallies up to 200 pounds per person. But the big winner is the people of Tokelau, an island in the South Pacific, who eat more than 400 pounds per person every year. (The country with the lowest seafood consumption? Afghanistan – ZERO pounds.).

Shrimp is rated as the #1 most eaten seafood in America and the percentage of Americans who eat the recommended 2 servings of seafood per week is only 20%. So come on, support your local fishermen and prepare one of these delicious recipe in honor of National Seafood Month.


Bread Bowl Seafood Dip
Paula Anderson, Scarborough

1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened (regular or reduced fat)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (regular or reduced fat)
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup cooked Maine shrimp, shelled and rough chopped
6 ounces fresh Maine crabmeat
2/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided use
2-3 drops hot pepper sauce
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 round loaf (1 pound) sourdough bread
Assorted fresh veggies (cucumbers, carrots, celery, broccoli, red bell peppers, etc.)

Place softened cream cheese in a medium bowl; with electric mixer on medium speed, beat until creamy. Add mayon­naise, mustard and hot pepper sauce and beat until blended. By hand, stir in the shrimp, crabmeat, 1/3 cup Monterey Jack cheese and green onions. With a bread knife, cut the top fourth off the top of the bread and then carefully hollow out the bottom, leaving about a 1/2-inch shell all the way around and on the bottom. Cut the removed bread (including the piece from the top) into cubes and set aside. (You can toast these or not.)

Spoon seafood mixture into bread shell and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Wrap tightly in heavy-duty foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 25 minutes. Unwrap; continue baking for 20-25 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and dip is heated through. Serve with bread cubes and veggies.

Yield: about 2¼ cups dip.

Haddock Provencal
Paula Anderson, Scarborough


1-1/2 pounds haddock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half lengthwise
2 Tablespoons dry white wine
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Place fish in a single layer; season with salt and pepper. Bake in a preheated 375° oven 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Add onion and cook stirring often for 5 minutes or until onion is tender but not brown. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, olives, wine, basil and thyme; simmer 4-5 minutes.

Spoon sauce over fish (after the 15 minutes) and continue baking for 5-7 more minutes or until fish flakes easily.

Yield: 6 servings.

October 13, 2012

Curried Squash and Apple Soup

An exciting and unusual blend of fall flavors meld in this Curried Squash and Apple Soup! Click on the image below for a link to the recipe.

recipe courtesy of
image courtesy of