Plating Up Blog Banner Back Issues Sign Up For Our Free eNewsletter Subscribe to Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine Plating Up Blog Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine Table of Contents Subscribe to Our Magazine About Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine Bits and Bites Press Page Send Email Plating Up Blog

April 30, 2013

Cucumber Infused Water

With hot weather on its way, consider making your own “smart water!”

Few things are more delicious, refreshing… and economical…than an infused water made with either fruits or vegetables, just like in your spa. My personal favorite is cucumber. Citrus, fennel, mint, or basil and blackberry are also contenders.


Cucumber Infused Water
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

Here is my recipe for cucumber infused water:

One cucumber, washed
A lemon
One pitcher of filtered water

Slice the cucumber thinly with a very sharp knife. Add to the water with a squeeze of lemon if you like. Cover and let sit for a few hours.

Serve chilled with a slice of cucumber as a garnish.


April 29, 2013

Cheddar BLT Burgers with Tarragon Russian Dressing

“At BLT Burger in Las Vegas, chef Laurent Tourondel brushes burgers with butter while they’re on the grill. The natural sugars caramelize, making the meat extra-delicious.”—

For this burger lovers’ recipe for Cheddar BLT Burgers with Tarragon Russian Dressing, click on the image below.

image by Quentin Bacon

April 28, 2013

Japanese Chicken-Scallion Rice Bowl

Here’s the quintessence of Japanese home cooking: an aromatic, protein-rich broth served over rice.


Japanese Chicken-Scallion Rice Bowl

1 1/2 cups instant brown rice
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon mirin, (see Ingredient note)
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

Prepare instant brown rice according to package directions.

Pour broth into a heavy medium saucepan, along with sugar, soy sauce and mirin. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low.

Stir egg whites and whole egg in a small bowl until just mixed. Add chicken to the simmering broth. Gently pour in the egg mixture, without stirring. Sprinkle scallions on top. When the egg starts to firm up, after about 3 minutes, stir it with chopsticks or a knife. (The chicken will be cooked by now.) Divide the rice among 4 deep soup bowls and top with the chicken mixture.

Serves 4.

April 27, 2013

Grilled Fish with Tomato Salsa

This simple, fresh salsa can be served with any grilled fish; try tuna steaks, or it can be served with grilled chicken breasts.

image from

Grilled Swordfish with Tomato Salsa

2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup homemade or favorite salsa
1 Tablespoon lime juice
4 (3/4″ thick) swordfish steaks
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash white pepper

In a small glass bowl, combine tomatoes, salsa, and lime juice and chill in refrigerator until steaks are done.

Prepare and heat grill. Oil grill rack when ready to cook. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper and place fish on grill 4-6 inches from medium coats. Brush lightly with oil. Cover grill and cook for 10-14 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with fork, turning once.

To serve, top steaks with salsa, draining salsa if necessary.

Yields 4 servings.

April 26, 2013

Soy and Whisky-Glazed Pork Chops

Add a kick to juicy pork chops with a “shot” of garlic- and ginger-infused whiskey glaze.

For this flavor-infused pork chop recipe from, click on the image below.

image by Con Poulos

April 25, 2013

Poached Eggs Over Rice

101 Cookbooks has some amazing recipes and gorgeous accompanying images. Here is one of their recipes for eggs that makes a healthy and satisfying meal.

For Poached Eggs Over Rice, click on the image below.

image and recipe courtesy of 101 Cookbooks

April 24, 2013

Spinach-Stuffed Steak Roulades

Flank steak is a versatile cooking ingredient. This recipe for Spinach-Stuff Steak Roulades takes on and showcases some wonderful flavors.

image by Charles Masters

Spinach-Stuffed Steak Roulades

1/2 pound flank steak
1/4 cup olive tapenade
2 cups spinach, thick stems removed
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 cups mixed greens

Heat grill to medium-high. Cut the steak in half horizontally (don’t cut all the way through) and open like a book.

Spread the tapenade over the steak; top with the spinach. Roll up; tie with twine at 2-inch intervals. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Grill the steak, covered, turning occasionally, 15 to 18 minutes for medium-rare. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the greens and toss. Serve with the steak.

Serves 4.

April 23, 2013

Penne with Shrimp, Feta and Olives

Get your fill of good-for-you carbs with this healthy pasta dish. Cook with whole wheat pasta to get more protein and fiber.
Penne with Shrimp, Feta and Olives

8 ounces penne
1/2 pound medium shrimp (about 13 to 15), peeled and deveined, tails removed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 medium head fennel, quartered, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine
1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup roughly chopped pitted green olives
1/4 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) feta, crumbled
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano

Cook penne according to package directions, reserving 1 cup pasta water; drain. Meanwhile, pat shrimp dry and season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook until pink in the middle, about 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate and set aside.

Return skillet to stove and heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and fennel; season with salt and pepper to taste; and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping the bottom of skillet. Stir in tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in olives, shrimp and penne, adding reserved pasta water as needed to loosen sauce. Sprinkle with feta and oregano.

Serves 4.

April 22, 2013


With an ancient history and lots of specialty bars and restaurants throughout Japan, Yakitori is for lovers. Lovers of chicken, smoke, and grills. “Yaki” means grilled and “tori” means chicken. I’ve seen as many modifications to Yakitori as there are ways to imagine meat on a skewer. Boned out wings with skin on, skin off thighs, or marinated boneless breast can all fit the bill and be satisfying. Add vegetables if you wish. This style of cooking is good for almost any meat. What’s important is that the meat is uniformly thin so that it cooks without burning.

Yakitori 1 500
image courtesy of

Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

1 2/3 pound thinly cut raw boneless chicken breast, skin on
8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sake
1/3 cup mirin
2 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon roasted sesame oil
Sliced green onion for garnish

Mix all ingredients except chicken in a saucepan and simmer for five minutes.

Skewer chicken on soaked sticks.

Place half the sauce in a dish and coat chicken on both sides.

Have your charcoal grill ready and grill the skewers until they are almost done, flipping once.

Re-dip your chicken using up the sauce, and put skewers back on the grill until cooked through and you have a nice finish on the skin.

Itadakimasu! “Let’s eat!”

Serves 4 as an appetizer.

April 21, 2013

Vegetarian Vindaloo

Vindaloo is one of my favorite dishes in the world! This spicy Indian curry can be made vegetarian or with meat and is packed with spices. For those new to Indian cooking, I simplified the spice list, choosing five you might already have on hand.


Vegetarian Vindaloo

1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 shallots (about 3/4 cup), chopped

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons yellow curry powder

1 cup water

1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

2 bell peppers, diced

2 teaspoons ginger, grated

1 serrano chili pepper, diced (don’t remove seeds if you want some additional heat)

2 sweet potatoes, cubed

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 cups water

1 1/2 cup dried lentils, rinsed

Be sure to chop your cauliflower and sweet potatoes into same-size cubes so they’ll cook evenly.

Shop at a local co-op or spice shop where you can buy small portions of spices instead of large bottles that might lose their flavor hanging out too long in your cabinets. Once opened, spices should be used within 6 months for peak flavor.

Want to get the most flavor from your spices? Buy them whole and grind at home, in a blender or coffee grinder (buy one for spices only).

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the oil. Add the shallots to the hot oil and saute for three minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the spices to the pan, stir, cook for one minute. Add 1 cup water to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, peppers, ginger, serrano, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the vinegar and water, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lentils and cook another 15 minutes, until the lentils are tender.

Serve warm over brown rice or quinoa.

Serves 4.

April 20, 2013

Neapolitan Calamari and Shrimp Salad

This amazing seafood recipe features calamari and shrimp with delicious fresh vegetables and greens. For a link to the recipe, courtesy of and Giada De Laurentiis, click on the image below.


image and recipe courtesy of

April 19, 2013

Healing Soup

With the events of the past week rocking the world, we all need a dose of healing. Here is a comforting soup to help us begin. For the recipe for Healing Chicken Ginger Soup, click the image below.

image and recipe courtesy of

April 18, 2013

Warm Dandelion Greens Salad

With a spring chill lingering in the air before the arrival of May flowers, chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier suggest their Warm Dandelion Greens Salad. The salad is a great way to take advantage of early spring produce, while still providing a warm, hearty side dish to any meal.

Dandelion greens are not always for sale in the supermarket but you’ll frequently see them in season or at the farmers’ market. They do seem a bit intimidating because they’re in these big, unwieldy, long bunches, but just chop them up to get a real treat. They have a unique flavor not unlike Belgian endive or radicchio. We think this is a great technique for preparing any kind of warm salad. Serve as a start to dinner or as a side to a main.–Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier (

Warm Dandelion Greens Salad
recipe and image courtesy of Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, Arrows Restaurant and MC Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, ME

1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic cloves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup dried currants
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
10 cups (about 3 ounces) dandelion greens, washed and chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a nonreactive saucepan, make the vinaigrette by mixing the onion, garlic, rosemary, chili flakes, sugar, currants, vinegar, and canola oil. Heat the vinaigrette over medium heat until just hot. Toast the pine nuts in a dry sauté pan over medium heat until just lightly brown. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and toss in the dandelion greens to warm, about 2 minutes. Toss the greens in the vinaigrette and top with the pine nuts. Serve at once.

Yields 6 servings.

April 17, 2013

Fettuccine with Spicy Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

This is a 15-minute pasta meal: an easy, healthy dinner option!


image by Andrew McCaul

Fettuccine with Spicy Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed, roughly crumbled
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound broccoli rabe, tough stems trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 9- ounce package fresh fettuccine
1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage and saute, breaking up large chunks with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add broccoli rabe and cook, tossing with tongs, 1 minute. Add broth, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until broccoli rabe is tender, about 3 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions, then drain and add to sausage mixture; toss well with tongs. Add 1/4 cup cheese and black pepper and toss well again. Divide among four bowls and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Serves 4.

April 16, 2013

Flounder Piccata with Spinach

“The classic preparation for veal or chicken gets an elegant update here. Delicate flounder cooks with a crisp crust in three minutes, then is doused with a piquant lemon-caper sauce. Rice and briefly cooked spinach complete the meal.”—Cooking Light

For a link to the recipe for Flounder Piccata with Spinach, click on the image below.

recipe from
and image by Howard L. Puckett

April 15, 2013

Snap Pea Salad with Radish and Lime

This colorful combination of sugar snap peas, wax beans, and radishes is dressed with a tangy lime vinaigrette for a refreshing side dish.


Snap Pea Salad with Radish and Lime

8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved (about 2 cups)
7 ounces yellow wax beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
3 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 bunch radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 10)

Steam peas over 2 inches of boiling water, stirring once, until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towel.

Steam wax beans until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet. Refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.

Whisk lime juice, oil, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add radishes, peas, and beans; toss to coat. Serve chilled.
Serves 4.

April 14, 2013

Spring Chive Goddess Dressing

It won’t be long now before we have lovely fresh chives in abundance, and baby lettuces too! Here’s the perfect dressing for these tender young treats.

chive image:

Spring Chive Goddess Dressing
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

3/4 cup full fat sour cream
3/4 cup olive oil mayo
2 large cloves, minced fresh garlic
1 cup minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 anchovy filets, white or regular
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine all but the chives in a blender until creamy. Transfer to a bowl. Add the chives by hand and fold in. Season to your taste, cover, and refrigerate for an hour or so before serving.

You can use this as a dip or spread. Thin with a little cream to make a stellar salad dressing. Top your salad with chive blossoms for the best effect.

April 13, 2013

Bacon Double Cheeseburger Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This sandwich starts out with the bacon and then it moves on to some ground beef that is seasoned with some classic burger patty flavors such as onions, garlic, worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper or steak seasoning. Up next is the double cheese, the cheddar and mozzarella, followed by the fresh condiments including shredded lettuce, diced tomato and pickle. — Kevin Lynch, Closet Cooking

Click on the image below to get Kevin’s recipe at Closet Cooking.

Bacon Double Cheeseburger Grilled Cheese 500 1331
Recipe and image by Kevin Lynch of Closet Cooking

April 12, 2013

Triple Pork Fried Rice

“This simple pork fried rice recipe is amplified by the addition of bacon and ham, on top of the traditional seared bits of pork chop. The rice is fried right in the bacon grease to enhance the pork essence. Scrambled eggs, garlic, ginger, onions, sweet peas and carrots help balance the porky overload.” — A Spicy Perspective

Click on image below to get this recipe from A Spicy Perspective.


Recipe and image by A Spicy Perspective

April 11, 2013

Grilled Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

“Chimichurri is an Argentinian parsley and garlic sauce, frequently served with grilled steak (generally skirt or flank). There is nothing shy about the flavors ~ an uncooked mixture of fresh parsley, garlic and shallots, but once you give it a try, you’ll have no doubts as to why it’s such a popular combo. Our version uses fresh cilantro for added flavor, but the all-parsley version is more traditional.” — My Gourmet Connection

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


Recipe and image from My Gourmet Connection