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October 22, 2013

Hot and Savory Sautéed Swiss Chard

When rummaging in my garden for dinner, I tend to reach for kale over the Swiss chard. I think that’s because I never really came upon the right flavor combo that seemed over- the- top- delicious. Well, those days are over. The combination of spicy hot pepper flakes, pink salt, olive oil, and the zip of lemon juice send me to the moon. Plus chard is a powerhouse of vitamins A, C, and K as well as providing a wealth of minerals like iron and potassium.

It couldn’t be quicker or easier. So if your garden resembles mine and has a big stand of rainbow chard…take charge of the chard with this healthy recipe….

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image by Laura Cabot

Hot and Savory Sautéed Swiss Chard

Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

2 large bunches of Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
Juice of one lemon
Himalayan pink salt and fresh ground pepper

Melt butter and oil together in a heavy skillet. Add garlic and red pepper. Add the chopped chard, a little salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 5-9 minutes.

Add the lemon juice, stirring and correct seasonings.

Enjoy as a side to a vegetarian meal or complements rich, roasted meats nicely too.

Serves 4.

HAPPY FALL FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT LAURA CABOT CATERING!

October 13, 2013

Maine Mussel Chowder with Colorful Vegetables

While many Maine chowders look alike, this gorgeous brew has eye appeal to add to its gustatory delight. Age this one for at least a day for best results!

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image by Scott Dorrance

Mussel Chowder with Colorful Vegetables
Brooke Dojny, Dishing Up Maine

2 cups water
1 cup bottled clam juice
4 pounds Maine mussels, scrubbed and debearded
6 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cups peeled, diced all-purpose potatoes (about 1½ pounds)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 large shallot, chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups heavy cream

Bring the water and clam juice to a boil in a large pot. Add the mussels, return to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, until the shells open, about 4-6 minutes depending on size. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a bowl, discarding any that do not open. Set aside 16 mussels in their shells and shuck the rest. Pour the mussel broth into a large glass measure and set aside to allow any sediment to settle.

Heat the butter and oil in a large soup pot. Add the potatoes, salt, and pepper, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, leeks, bell pepper, and shallot, and cook, covered, over low heat until all the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the wine, raise the heat to high, and cook briskly until reduced by about one-third, about 3 minutes.

Add the reserved mussel broth, leaving any sediment behind, and add the cream and the shucked mussels. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes to blend flavors.

Add the reserved mussels in their shells. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. (The chowder is best when allowed to age for at least 4 hours, or overnight.)

Reheat gently. Ladle into bowls, making sure that each serving contains at least 2 mussels intheir shells, and serve.

Yields about 2 quarts (6 main-course servings).

October 10, 2013

Pickled Pears

Pear trees seem to have on years and off years. This must be an “on” year. I’ve noticed many pear trees really laden with fruit, and I had the good fortune to get the green light from a friend with two prolific pear trees recently. I’ve had a huge box of pears on my porch steps for a week now and I have finally decided what to do with them…pickled pears! Perfect with a cheese plate or on a holiday spread.

I have a tried and true recipe from “a guy who pickles” in Friendship, Bob Stafford…and here it is! The recipe was handed down from Bob’s Great Grandmother, Ida. It’s from the 1870’s and sure to please.

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image: growitcookitcanit.com

Pickled Pears
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

30 Seckel pears
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon allspice
1 ounce ginger root, peeled and chopped
1 pint cider vinegar
3 1/2 pounds brown sugar (Ida’s recipe called for dark, but I prefer light brown sugar)
Whole cloves

Peel the pears and stud with whole cloves. Bring to a boil all the above. Add peeled pears and cook until tender. Add pears and syrup to cover into Mason jar or larger glass gallon jar.

Can as usual or these will keep for quite a while under refrigeration.

Makes four quart jars of pickles.

Note: Spears Farm Stand in Waldoboro has lots of pickling supplies and large one gallon glass jars, which are my preference.

October 8, 2013

Apple-Maple Salad Dressing

This is a good basic recipe for fruit-based dressings. You may experiment with your own choice of fruits, but this combination of real Maine maple syrup and apples is perfect for fall salads and as a marinade. This dressing will keep for several weeks under refrigeration.

cortland
image: mainelyapples.com

Apple-Maple Salad Dressing
Michael Salmon, Hartstone Inn, Camden

½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup chopped vidalia onion
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1½ Tablespoons real Maine maple syrup
2 small Cortland apples, cored and coarsely chopped

Combine all ingredients listed above and mix in a blender until smooth.

Makes about 1½ cups.