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February 28, 2013

Very Vanilla Fruit Salad

Refreshing fruit salad is welcome anytime — serve at brunch, at dessert or snack time, or bring to a potluck.


Very Vanilla Fruit Salad

2 cups strawberries, halved
1 cup blueberries
1 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks
1 cup cantaloupe chunks
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

Mix fruit, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Cover.

Refrigerate 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Makes 10 (1/2-cup) servings.

February 27, 2013

Raw Kale Salad

It’s winter, and I find myself craving fresh greens. Kale is a smart choice containing a powerhouse of nutrients. It’s high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, copper and vitamin K, among others. This kale salad recipe comes to us from


Raw Kale Salad Recipe
image and recipes from

3 bunches fresh kale
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 medium carrots, grated
1/2 cup pomegranate seed
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 Tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

Balsamic Vinaigrette

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons Dijon or homemade mustard
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Rinse the kale and spin it or pat it with paper towels until dry. Place in a large serving bowl and top with the remaining ingredients.

In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Whisk immediately before serving to ensure that the olive oil and vinegar haven’t separated.

Pour the vinaigrette evenly on the salad. Toss well and serve.

Serves 4.

February 26, 2013

Salmon Steaks with Hoisin Glaze

Quick, easy, and delicious dinner idea. The hoisin glaze is a perfect complement for salmon steaks!
image from

Salmon Steaks with Hoisin Glaze

1 Tablespoon orange juice
2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons honey
4 salmon steaks (each 8 to 10 ounces and 1 inch thick)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat broiler. In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, hoisin sauce, and honey.

Rinse salmon steaks, and pat dry. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place steaks on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush generously with glaze.

Broil salmon about 4 inches from the heat source, basting once, until opaque in center, 10 to 13 minutes.

Serves 4.

February 25, 2013

Romesco Sauce

Romesco is a classic Spanish sauce, originating from the city of Tarragona in Catalonia, in Northeastern Spain. Said to have been created by fishermen, it is indeed elegant with most types of fish. I am craving it right now mixed with freshly shelled and cooked Maine shrimp, dolloped on top of a nice piece of pan roasted halibut fillet.

To make a Romesco Sauce, you’ll need tomatoes, almonds, red bell peppers, some smoked paprika, dry rustic bread, red wine vinegar, sea salt, and plenty of garlic. While these items are not really in season now, good Maine fish and shellfish certainly is, so maybe we can excuse the travesty of cooking with unseasonal ingredients…just this once…in order to enjoy this sauce on Maine’s winter seafood bounty.

Think of Romesco as another type of pesto and as a healthy snack. It makes up easily and keeps several days in the fridge. Nice simply spread on crostini.

image courtesy of Michelle Madden at The Sweet Beet

Romesco Sauce
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

1/4 cup olive oil
1 inch thick slice of dry, crusty bread, torn into pieces
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon good salt
1/2 cup raw almonds
1 pound of tomato concasse (blanched, peeled and seeded, chopped)
2 large red peppers, charred and roasted in the oven, cooled and charred skin and seeds removed
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
A grind of fresh pepper
A few springs of fresh fennel leaves.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saute pan, add the oil, bread and almonds, stirring until they brown slightly.

Add the contents of the saute pan to a cuisinart with the roasted bell peppers, tomato concasse, smoked paprika, seasonings, and vinegar.

Puree until smooth.

Spread the sauce out on a cookie sheet with an edge and bake for 15 minutes or until the edges caramelize.

Cool and scrape into a container to store.

If well sealed, this sauce will last for over a week. It also freezes well. You may make it without the bread for a gluten free option, just use a few more nuts to thicken the paste. Romesco is a sunny take on a Maine winter meal, so bring Spain to your neighborhood tonight!

Yields 1 1/2 cups.

February 24, 2013

Shallow-Fried Chicken with Shallots, Honey and Thyme

Crumb-coated, boneless chicken breasts, shallow-fried and coated with a light glaze of sautéed shallots, honey, fresh thyme and cream.

Click on the image below to get this delicious, easy-to-make recipe.


Recipe and image from My Gourmet Connection

February 22, 2013

Balsamic and Basil Salmon Spread

We found a great weekend recipe from! Here it is:

“Have five minutes and a food processor? Then step right up! Though it sounds fancy, this salmon spread is really just lox tossed in a food processor with a few fresh ingredients. And it’s such a healthy way to get your Omega-3s! Enjoy it on a sandwich or with crackers.”—

image: Annie Valpone

Balsamic n’ Basil Salmon Spread

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

1 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 pound lox salmon
¼ teaspoon Barlean’s Flax Oil
¼ cup Vidalia onion, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon finely chopped dill
¼ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor; pulse until smooth.

Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and serve with gluten-free rice crackers or crudités.

Leftovers can be used as a spread on toast or served on a sandwich with lettuce, tomato and avocado.

Serves 4.

February 21, 2013

Homemade Energy Bar Recipe

Snack Girl shows us how to make homemade energy bars…economical, great tasting, and healthy!

Click on the image below for a link!

image and recipe courtesy of

February 20, 2013

Orange-Pecan Tea Bread

A delicious orange-pecan bread, great for tea or anytime!

Click on the image below for a link to the complete recipe from cooking light on

image by Karry Hosford and recipe courtesy of

February 19, 2013

Cherry-Almond Granola

“If you’ve never made your own granola, you’ll be amazed at the difference in freshness and flavor—and at how easy it is. Use this recipe as a starting point for your own creativity: substitute dried blueberries or chopped dried apricots for the cranberries, or walnuts or hazelnuts for the almonds.”—

image and recipe courtesy of

Cherry-Almond Granola

2/3 cup frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup almond oil, or canola oil
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
5 cups rolled oats, (not quick-cooking)
1 cup toasted wheat germ
1 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped (4 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, (2 ounces)
1 cup dried cranberries, divided

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven; preheat to 325°. Coat 2 large baking sheets with sides with cooking spray.

Whisk apple juice concentrate, maple syrup, oil and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cinnamon and salt.

Mix oats, wheat germ, almonds and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Stir in the juice mixture; toss to coat. Spread the granola evenly on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake the granola for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Reverse sheets top to bottom and back to front. Continue baking until lightly browned and aromatic, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes more. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks; stir 1/2 cup dried cranberries into the granola on each sheet. Let cool completely.

Yields 9 1/2 cups.

February 18, 2013

Spinach Tomato and Lentil Soup

A great way to celebrate your health this year is to begin observing one designated day a week for meatless meals, such as Meatless Mondays. The following Spinach, Tomato and Lentil Soup from Aggie’s Kitchen is a great recipe to get you started! Click on the image below for a link to Aggie’s Kitchen blog and her recipe!


image and recipe from

February 17, 2013

Shrimp Étouffée 4 Ways

Shrimp Étouffée is a delicious Creole dish made in a variety of ways by many chefs. These 4 recipes are excellent ones, and you can choose to go with one any one of them, or mix-n-match ingredients to come up with your own version.

We are featuring Shrimp Étouffée recipes from Kevin Lynch, Emeril Lagasse, Hank Shaw, and Paula Deen on our blog today. It’s always fun to see the variations in recipe that chefs come up with.

Click on one of the images below to see the related recipe.

Shrimp Etouffee 500 3507
Recipe and image from Kevin Lynch of Closet Cooking


Recipe and image by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, via The Food Network

Recipe and image by Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, via Simply Recipes

Recipe and image by Paula Deen, via The Food Network

February 16, 2013

Avocado & Edamame Bean Salad

A deliciously nutritious salad that’s easy to make and chock full of vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.

Click on the image below to get this recipe from Debbie’s blog.


Image and recipe from Ciao from Debbie

February 15, 2013

Bistro Dinner Salad

“This is a perfect light and quick yet refined meal. The mustard tarragon vinaigrette complements the slightly bitter salad greens, while the pear adds a hint of sweetness.”—

Click on the image below for a link to this delightful salad idea!

image by Lee Harrelson, recipe courtesy of

February 14, 2013

Nine Valentine’s Day Cocktails

Here are nine great Valentine’s Day Cocktail recipes for you to enjoy and share!


Recipes and images courtesy of My Gourmet Connection

February 13, 2013

Coeur à la Crème with Strawberry Sauce

“Coeur à la Crème is a traditional dessert that is, conveniently enough, almost always shaped as a heart. It is basically drained dairy that is flavored and sweetened. The dairy varies from cream to cream cheese to crème fraîche to sour cream to yogurt.”—

Treat your Valentine to a sweet creation with this dessert! Click on the image below for a link to the recipe.

image and recipe courtesy of

February 12, 2013

Rabbit with Bacon and Juniper

Winter is a wonderful time for using assertive herbs. When I am cooking, I want people to know it the moment they open my front door. Warmth and fragrance is so welcoming!

So, considering what I’d call an assertive herb, let’s pick one with a history, shall we? Most of us know about juniper’s use in gin making, locally and historically. But juniper is also long associated with spiritual purification, refuge, and protection. Medicinally, Juniper is used to alleviate digestive disorders and flatulence as well as for antiseptic purposes.

This winter, try using pungent and warming juniper berries in the following recipe for Rabbit with Bacon and Juniper. Juniper berries are readily available almost everywhere you look outside in the winter months, (or at Morse’s Sauerkraut in Waldoboro in small packets, if you’re not into foraging). Paired with lardons or thick cut bacon and rabbit, this flavor profile with fill your kitchen with bracing piny woodland aromas. As a bonus, its reputation as an aid to digestion works well with most fatty or wild meats, all game birds, and in marinades. Playing well with others, juniper works nicely in a variety of potato and vegetable preparations, too.

Juniper berries and I first got acquainted way back when I was “living off the land” in the 70’s, and canning most of my own food. At the time, I made my own sauerkraut and discovered (via German cookbooks) the happy marriage that is fermented cabbage and a bit of juniper berry.

Juniper Berries image courtesy of

Wondering where to source rabbit in the Midcoast? Try the excellent Bleeker and Flamms Maine Street Meats in Rockport. If bunny is not your style, chicken on the bone works well in this recipe.

Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

1/4 cup xvoo
1 cup cubed smoked bacon
1 large rabbit, cut into pieces, and dredged in seasoned flour ( salt, pepper, and paprika)
2 onions, diced
2 bay leaves
1 carrot, scrubbed and sliced
2 stalks, cubed celery and leaves
1 level Tablespoon crushed juniper berries
1 bunch of fresh thyme, wrapped with string
Half a bottle of red wine
Chicken stock, as needed
1/2 cup stemmed and chopped parsley

Heat up a large skillet and cook the bacon. Set bacon aside.

Leaving the rendered bacon fat in the pan, add the oil and, when hot, add the dredged and seasoned rabbit, cooking until nicely browned but not finished cooking. Remove rabbit from pan and set aside.

Saute the onion, celery, and carrot in the drippings, stirring for about ten minutes. Add the thyme, bay, and juniper and cook five minutes more.

Return the bacon and rabbit and any juices to the pan with vegetables and seasonings, and add the wine and chicken stock just to cover.

Cover with a close fitting lid and turn heat down to a simmer for a good hour. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Check for seasonings. The flour on the meat should make a thin gravy of the stock and wine.

This dish is very nice over polenta or mashed potatoes, with a side of vibrant greens. Hale and hearty!

Serves 4-6.

February 11, 2013

Low-Fat Chocolate Cheesecake

Make a sweet Valentine dessert that won’t break the calorie bank. Click on the image below for the recipe from

image and recipe courtesy of

February 10, 2013

Eat the Snowstorm

As we deal with the cleanup process following this weekend’s overwhelming snowfall, many of us are perplexed as to where all these heaping mountains of snow will go. Two of the frequent visitors to my bird feeders, a Cardinal and a Mourning Dove, gave me a hint from nature. Snow is a great source of water. So how about eating or drinking it!


photograph by Jim Bazin © 2013

Our friends at Grub Street seem to have picked up on this. They have recipes for snow ice cream, snow candy, snow taffy, Maple Syrup “leather aprons,” snow pancakes, and blender drinks. Click on either image to go to their blog page and get these recipes.


photograph by Jim Bazin © 2013

February 9, 2013

Snowed In Recipes

NY Magazine’s “Grub Street New York” shares 22 awesome recipes to make when you’re snowed in for the weekend (like us in the Northeast!) CLICK on the IMAGE below for a link to their article!

Courtesy of NY Magazine: Gramercy Tavern’s Off-Menu Brownies.
Photo by Anna Williams

February 7, 2013

Snowstorm Stew

This recipe will keep you warm inside when snowed in! For a link to Snowstorm Stew recipe, click on the image below.

image and recipe courtesy of