We want to take this opportunity to congratulate Melissa Kelly of Primo in Rockland for her 2013 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Northeast. Well Done!!
image courtesy of Kent Miller, Portland Press Herald
Eating anti-inflammatory foods—and avoiding inflammatory ones—can make weight loss easier, slow down the aging process, and prevent disease. Salmon is high on the list of these anti-inflammatory, good foods we should be eating regularly. Here is a great recipe for good health!
image by Susan Goldman
Pan-Seared Salmon on Baby Arugula
2 center-cut salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
1 1/2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the salad:
3 cups baby arugula leaves
2/3 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup thinly slivered red onion
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon red-wine vinegar
Place the salmon fillets in a shallow bowl. Toss well with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Cook the salmon, skin side down in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan and carefully lifting the salmon with a spatula to loosen it from the pan.
Reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pan and cook until the salmon is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more. The skin should be crisp and the flesh medium-rare.
Meanwhile, combine the arugula, tomatoes, and onion in a bowl. Just before serving, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil and vinegar. Toss well.
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
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.
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 paleodietlifestyle.com
Raw Kale Salad Recipe
image and recipes from paleodietlifestyle.com
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
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.
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association announces, with great sadness, the death of its beloved leader Russell Libby, following a long struggle with cancer. He passed away peacefully among his family at his home this morning in Mt. Vernon, Maine. He was 56.
Russell lent his extraordinary leadership skills to MOFGA for almost 30 years. He served on the Board of Directors for a decade before becoming its long-serving Executive Director in 1995. He held that position until November 2 of this year, when he assumed the title of Senior Policy Advisor. In that role he continued to guide the organization with his characteristic wisdom, compassion and dedication, even as his health failed. Prudently, he took many steps to ensure that MOFGA’s course would remain steady in the time to come. A search for a new Executive Director is set to begin on January 1, 2013. MOFGA is currently under the guidance of Heather Spalding, who has worked closely with Russell at MOFGA since 1997.
“We are saddened beyond words by Russell’s passing, but we are grateful for the legacy he has given us,” said MOFGA Board President Barbara Damrosch. “MOFGA has always been a vibrant organization that, through educational and policy work, has advanced the cause of safe, healthful food in Maine and championed the farmers and gardeners who grow it. Russell nurtured MOFGA to the point where its membership now exceeds that of any other state organic group. New farmers look to Maine for encouragement and inspiration.”
A memorial service will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 15, at the Mount Vernon Elementary School. At a later date, to be determined, MOFGA will host a gathering in honor of Russell in the Exhibition Hall at the Common Ground Education in Unity.
“Scallops are a great dinner option, as they are quick and easy to prepare. They aren’t a very popular source of protein, but it’s a shame because they are nutritious and blend very well with many flavors. They are a good source of vitamin B12, magnesium, zinc, selenium and phosphorus, many of which are lacking in many people’s diet.
If you are not a fan of scallops, shrimp would be a great substitute. In addition, the vinaigrette is very versatile, making it a great topper for many salads.”—paleodietlifestyle.com
Spicy Scallop Salad Recipe
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt;
1 pound small sea or bay scallops
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (about 1.5 lemons)
1 Tablespoon paleo mayonnaise, optional (see website)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon or homemade mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 big handfuls of mixed greens
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 avocado, cubed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons cooking fat
Get your chopping done first and save the scallops for last to ensure they are still warm upon serving.
Combine mixed greens, peppers, and avocado in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together the lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Once combined, slowly mix in the olive oil.
In a bowl large enough to hold the scallops, mix the cayenne, salt, and pepper.
Rinse the scallops and lightly pat dry.
Add the scallops to the mixture prepared in step 4 and ensure that they are evenly coated.
Over medium heat, heat a skillet and melt the cooking fat in preparation for searing the scallops. Your skillet must be hot prior to adding the scallops; however, do not allow the cooking fat to burn.
Place the scallops in the pan and cook for about two minutes per side, until they are opaque white and just cooked through.
Add the scallops to the bowl of mixed greens and veggies, and add the dressing over top. Serve while the scallops are still warm.
There you have it! A quick and easy salad that will help limit your time in the kitchen.
So simple, easy, and tastes delicious. Good for anytime, but is a great post workout snack!
Simple Hummus Snack Wrap
2 Tablespoons hummus
1 ounce fat free feta cheese
1 ounce roasted red peppers
Low carb wrap (La Tortilla Factory is 50 cal, high fiber, high protein, low fat)
So simple, if you couldn’t already tell from the ingredients.
Spread hummus on tortilla. Press feta crumbles into hummus and put roasted peppers on top. Roll up and enjoy.
Makes 1 serving.
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 eggsonsunday.wordpress.com
Halibut with Fennel
Elizabeth Vierck and Lucy Beale, The Complete Idiot’s Guide® Anti-Inflammation Cookbook
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.
Buy Maine Lobster Now! Support our local lobstermen and women!!
Lobsters ©2010 by Jim Bazin
Grilled Maine Lobster Chicago
2 cups Maine Lobster meat
4 fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon pimientos (canned)
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon pimiento juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ cup Sauterne wine
8 slices bread
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons butter
Chop first four ingredients. Add salt, pimiento juice, and lemon juice. Put in a stone jar and add enough Sauterne wine to cover, let stand over night.
Take slices of bread and dip one side of each in beaten egg. Squeeze out 4 Tablespoons of lobster mix and spread on one slice of bread (the side not dipped in egg). Top with another slice of bread, egg side out. Grill in buttered pan, until browned.
Bake in a hot oven, 400°, 15 to 30 minutes.
This year’s Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest was certainly a tasteful event. Held in the North Entertainment Tent under the direction of Maine Lobster Festival Director Celia Knight, it was once again emceed by Louise MacLellan. Maine seafood was the highlight of the show, with five home chefs cooking off their finalist-winning entries. And this year’s contest had another special attraction: celebrity judges.
Navy CMDR Neil Koprowski, Commanding Officer of the USS San Antonio, was one of this year’s judges. He was impressed with the overall talent from participants and said of the winning entry by Tyrrell Hunter, Seafood Hash with Lobster Hollandaise, “I’d definitely make this on board. It’s easy to make and really delicious!” The USS Antonio was docked in the harbor for the festival and the men aboard served as escorts for this year’s sea of princesses vying for the Sea Goddess crown.
Judges receive instructions from emcee Louise MacLellan. Left-to-right: CMDR Neil Koprowski, Louise MacLellan, Michele Ragussis, Signe Swanholm Garner.
And speaking of Sea Goddesses, judge Signe Swanholm Garner once held that Sea Goddess crown for the year 1949. She served as this year’s Lobster Festival Parade Grand Marshal. Signe brought her sash to the cooking contest, talking with the audience about her early involvement with the festival. Along with her first husband, she started the festival’s popular pancake breakfast in the 1950s. She says she’s never missed a Lobster Festival, and reminds people that “lobsters are the backbone of our community.”
Michele Ragussis, popular new chef at The Pearl On The Pier in Rockland, knows all about being a cooking contestant. The Season 8 finalist of “Food Network Star” rounded out this year’s panel of celebrity judges. The child of Greek/Italian parents, Michele grew up with some great ethnic cooking. She attended Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island, and has solid New England roots. Michele enjoyed all the original and creative recipes at this year’s cooking contest.
“It was a very hard job being a judge. But a great one, too,” Michele added with a laugh.
Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest 2012 Finalist: Jodi Willey
Jodi Willey of Owls Head, ME, a finalist in this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest, shared her recipe for Lobster Jalapeño Hush Puppies with Avocado Dipping Sauce.
Jodi Willey (left) accepts her finalist award from event director Celia Knight and emcee Louise MacLellan.
Always looking for new ways to make lobster, she says, “steaming gets old.” Jodi is a Maine native, and her husband is a 5th generation lobsterman. “So everything we do revolves around the business of lobster,” she admits. “Lobster is our life.”
Deep fried corn balls with minced lobster, jalapeños, and chives is how Jodi describes her “hush puppies.” Her homemade accompanying Avocado Dipping Sauce, she says, is great for this recipe but is also easy to make and great as a general dip for other dishes.
“We traveled to the south on our honeymoon. I fell in love with the food there…all those wonderful flavors. We toured Savannah, Charleston, other cities. I thought it would be great to give my contest entry a Southern theme.”
Jodi says this recipe takes a classic to the next level. Her husband and friends love these great appetizers, and she says she’ll be making more of them in the future since they have great flavor and are easy to make.
This was Jodi’s first cooking contest, and she admitted it was “a bit nerve-wracking.” Inspired by her grandmother and Dad, whom she says are both great cooks, Jodi likes cooking because it’s “a family thing.” “I really enjoy having company over for good food. Nothing gets people together like food.”
Jodi’s table was covered in a red, white, and blue ship’s wheel patterned tablecloth with blue napkins tied with knotted rope. A vase of blue hydrangeas and a lantern accented her display. Her hush puppy poppers were served in appetizer cone shaped servers with attached dipping cups. She offered cocktails of mint julep sweet tea in fun Ball mason jar glasses to complement her Lobster Jalapeño Hush Puppies, a decidedly Southern touch.
Guests will love it if you serve up these puppies at your next get-together!
Lobster Jalapeño Hush Puppies with Avocado Dipping Sauce
Jodi Willey, Owls Head, ME
For the Hush Puppies:
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup All-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt, plus additional for sprinkling
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons chives
1-2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup clear lobster meat (about 4 lobsters), diced
For the Avocado Dipping Sauce:
1 avocado, chopped
8 ounce container plain Greek yogurt
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Make the Avocado Dipping Sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Put in the refrigerator to chill.
Pour the vegetable oil to a depth of 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 375°.
Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the chives and jalapeño. Add the eggs and buttermilk; stir just until moistened. Fold in the lobster meat.
Drop the batter by heaping Tablespoonfuls into the hot oil and fry, 6 per batch, for 1 1/2-2 minutes per side, or until golden. Remove from oil to drain on paper towels using a slotted spoon; immediately sprinkle with sea salt.
Keep warm in a 200° oven until ready to serve. Serve warm Hush Puppies with Avocado Dipping Sauce.
Yields 2 dozen Hush Puppies.
Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest 2012 Finalist: Sheila Veronessa
Sheila Veronessa of Brooklyn, NY, made her first trip to Maine a memorable one with a visit to the Maine Lobster Festival. Her recipe entry for Lobster Yorkshire Puddings with Corn Butter Sauce made her a finalist in this year’s Seafood Cooking Contest.
Sheila Veronessa (left) accepts a finalist award from event director, Celia Knight, while emcee Louise MacLellan and cooking contest judge and Food Network Star Michelle Ragussis announce her award.
“This is my take on the traditional Maine Lobster Roll, but with an English twist. My boyfriend David Krell lived in England for a time, and this was an idea we thought would work well,” Sheila says of her recipe.
“We were scouting the web, looking for random fun things to do this summer when we came upon the Maine Lobster Festival website and learned about the seafood cooking contest. I’m just an amateur who loves to cook,” she says. “We thought this would be a fun thing to do, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”
Sheila totally immersed herself in local lobster culture on her first visit to the state. She actually went hauling for her own lobsters to use in this year’s contest with Rockland’s own Captain Jack’s Lobster Boat Adventure. “What a memorable experience that was! We had an amazing time and it was all so beautiful out on the Maine waters,” Sheila gushes.
This Lobster Yorkshire Pudding recipe with its Corn Butter Sauce requires a bit of prep work with a few different steps, but the very tasty outcome makes it so worth it, Sheila says. And timing, she adds, is everything.
“Sweet corn makes this a sunny sauce, and really complements the sweet taste of the succulent Maine lobster tails. Fried capers add a tangy taste and delightful crunch to the sauce.” For her sweet corn butter sauce, Sheila even used the corn cobs for flavoring. Her pudding is made from an old family recipe from Yorkshire, England: simple, sweet, and spongy.
At Sheila’s table, judges were treated to her refreshing homemade watermelon-lime cooler. Her tables were adorned with roses, shells, and cherries. Place settings of straw placemats over red included contrasting white plates. As judges were seated to enjoy her dish, she told them to feel at home.
Sheila serves her watermelon-lime cooler to judge Michelle Ragussis.
For a modern English twist on a Maine classic, give Sheila’s recipe a try!
Lobster Yorkshire Puddings With Corn Butter Sauce
Sheila Veronessa, Brooklyn, NY
1 1/2 pounds – Maine lobster tail meat
3 ears sweet corn
1 1/2 sticks salted butter
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 ounces capers
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Corn Butter Sauce
3 ears sweet corn
6 Tablespoons salted butter
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Clean corn and remove the kernels. Cut cobs in small pieces to be used for flavoring.
Heat half the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add corn kernels and cobs to sizzling butter. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the 1 1/2 cups of milk and the heavy cream. Simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes until corn is tender.
Discard the corn cob and remove corn from heat. Purée the corn mixture in a blender until smooth. Drain the corn sauce for a smoother texture.
Return the sauce to the pan and stir remaining milk, butter, and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes until bubbly.
*The sauce may be made and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead.
1/3 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup All-purpose flour
1 pinch sea salt
2 Tablespoons butter for melting in pan
Beat eggs in a small bowl (*take out 2 Tablespoons of egg whites to make less eggy). Add the milk to eggs and beat together.
Sift together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Form a well in the center. Add the milk and egg mixture and beat until the batter is completely smooth (no lumps), light, and foamy. Let it sit in the refrigerator for 35-40 minutes.
Heat oven to 400°. Use a 6 cup muffin pan, putting at least a teaspoon of butter in the bottom of each well, and place in oven for just a couple minutes until sizzling hot.
Take the refrigerated batter out and allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Carefully pour the batter into the pan (or the wells of muffin pan, filling just 1/3 full), once the pan is hot. Cook for 20 minutes at 400° until puffy and golden brown. And don’t open the oven door!
Take the pan out of the oven and arrange the puddings for plating immediately.
Maine Lobster Filling
1 1/2 pounds fresh Maine lobster tail- thawed if frozen
1 Tablespoon good quality salted butter
Pinch of sea salt for taste
Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut through the bottom shell of the lobster tails lengthwise. Gently remove whole piece of meat out of the shell by using your finger or the handle of a spoon. (Meat can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 hours ahead.)
Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium to high heat. Add lobster meat and cook for 2 minutes at high heat. Let it steep over medium to low heat for another 3 minutes. Serve on Yorkshire puddings.
Fried Capers Topping
2 Tablespoons butter
4 1/2 ounces good quality capers
Drain 1/2 cup capers and pat dry with paper towels. Heat 2 Tablespoons of butter in a small, heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat.
Add capers to sizzling butter in skillet. Fry until capers are crisp and open like flowers, stirring often, 45 to 60 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer capers to paper towels to drain.
*Capers can be fried two hours ahead before being used in a recipe. Just let them stand at room temperature until you’re ready to add them.
Place Yorkshire Puddings on plate. Fill with lobster meat filling. Drizzle corn butter sauce on lobster and Yorkshire Puddings. Top with fried capers and toasted sesame seeds.
Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest 2012 Finalist: Carol Bachofner
Carol Bachofner, Poet Laureate of Rockland, ME, was one of the five finalists competing in this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest. Her Red, White, & Blue Lobster Lasagne was a nod to this year’s Olympics and a way to showcase great Maine seafood and produce. A return finalist from last year’s contest (see Carol’s 2011 recipe here), Carol says she loves the Lobster Festival and this event in particular because it’s such fun and there is always great audience participation.
Carol Bachofner (left) receives award from event director Celia Knight.
Her recipe includes the patriotic colors red from the Maine lobster, white from her creamy cheese sauce blend, and blue from her use of blue cheese. This lasagne, which she calls lighter for summer, features a sauce of local State of Maine Cheese Company fresh cheeses: mozzarella, ricotta, smoky gouda, and blue cheese. The garlic and basil used in her recipe were also locally sourced.
“It’s important to me to support our local economy. I’m involved in a farm share with Crescent Run and Hatchet Cove Farms. It’s a great feeling to support local farmers, and it means I can get farm fresh produce on a regular basis without the work of tending my own garden all summer. A win-win!”
Carol’s inspiration for this recipe came from being the mother of six children. “It’s a big, hearty meal. Really family friendly food. A fun recipe to eat,” she says. “My family loves my cooking. It’s a special gift I can give to them.” And speaking of gifts, Carol says lobster is happy to be our food and gives itself to us for that purpose, a natural Maine gift.
As she prepared her lobster lasagne recipe in front of the large audience, Carol said her grandmother would be appalled to see her using measuring cups. “She taught me to measure the old-fashioned way, with a teacup or my hands for a cup or two cups.”
Red basket-woven placemats, sea blue plates, driftwood, and lighthouses accented Carol’s judges’ table. Each judge received on his or her plate an original lobster poem crafted by Carol. She offered Lobster Lover’s Beer and a salad of tomato, basil, mozzarella, cucumber, and onion with a citrus dressing made with local Fiore olive oils. Beautiful edible flowers were frozen in the ice cubes she displayed in water glasses.
Try making this your family’s new favorite lasagne recipe!
Red, White, & Blue Lobster Lasagne
Carol W. Bachofner, Rockland, ME
1 box Dreamfield’s Lasagne Noodles (this is very low in carbs!) or regular lasagne noodles
2 1/2 pounds freshly picked Maine lobster meat (you really want the “red” to show!) and reserve the claw meat as edible garnish for the plate!
1 cup fine-chopped celery
1 large clove crushed garlic
2 small bunches fresh basil— plus one sprig basil per each plate for garnish
1 cup reduced fat ½ and ½
1 extra can of reduced fat evaporated milk in case you want your lasagne to be extra saucy
½ cup white wine
1 package cream cheese, softened
½ cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 pounds white cheese, sliced (I prefer Derby from State of Maine Cheese; but any local/ organic will do)
1 cup shredded gouda (or similar flavored smoky cheese)
1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 large-sized tub of cottage cheese (NOT reduced fat)
1 jumbo beaten egg
3/4 cup melted Cabot butter
Cook noodles until tender but not mushy (3 minutes), set aside.
In skillet place celery, garlic, basil; cook celery and garlic til tender. Add cream cheese, blue cheese, and half and half. Stir. Gradually add white cheddar and gouda; stir until melty. Add wine and basil. Heat until basil wilts; remove from heat.
Mix cottage cheese and egg.
Layer in baking pan in this order: sauce, noodles, lobster, cottage cheese/egg mix, Derby cheese slices; repeat and end with remaining sauce and top with Derby.
If you want your lasagne extra saucy, you may add evaporated milk to get to the consistency you desire. Top with 3/4 cup of melted butter, drizzled.
Bake at 350˚for 35 minutes; let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Carol’s Note: This lasagne is a wonder, with its chunks of “red” lobster meat, its creamy “white” sauce, and its “blue” cheese undertones! Makes a great family meal, or an elegant fine-dining moment by candlelight. Serve with a fresh summer salad or crusty bread. Pair with a dry white wine.
A wonderful new resource in our area is On the Rush of Wings Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Located in Friendship, Maine, the center offers rehabilitation to marine and pelagic (spending most of their lives on the open seas or oceans) birds that have become injured, orphaned, or abandoned and gives them a chance to heal and be rereleased back into the wild.
Licensed rehabilitators, along with veterinarians, offer their time, knowledge, skills, and facilities to address medical needs of wildlife in distress. Because of their ideal location, On the Rush of Wings is able to utilize ocean water for both its clinic and aviary pools. The staff includes Manager and President Cindy Mackie, Wildlife Rehabilitator Beth Settlemyer, Veterinarian Dr. Christine Welch, and consultant Bill Goodwill of Mid-Coast Audubon.
Relying entirely on public support, On the Rush of Wings invites you to learn more about their facility, philosophy, and how you can help the wildlife in your area. Click the link to their website here: On The Rush of Wings Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
They are excited to be holding their 1st Annual Happy Feet Benefit on July 22 at the Thomaston Cafe! This event, sponsored by the Thomaston Cafe and Peter Ott’s in Camden, will include great food, music, and a silent auction. See the poster below for more details on how you can help make a difference!
The key to this recipe is to have the pasta and sauce done at the same time so that they don’t overcook. This is a great recipe for two cooks in the kitchen.
Pasta with Spinach, Garbanzos and Raisins
recipe and image courtesy of mayoclinic.com
8 ounces farfalle (bow tie) pasta
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 can (19 ounces) garbanzos, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth
1/2 cup golden raisins
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Cracked black peppercorns, to taste
Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender), 10 to 12 minutes, or according to the package directions. Drain the pasta thoroughly.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Add the garbanzos and chicken broth. Stir until warmed through. Add the raisins and spinach. Heat just until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Don’t overcook.
Divide the pasta among the plates. Top each serving with 1/6 of the sauce, 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese and peppercorns to taste. Serve immediately.
Try this healthy version of a Sunday brunch meal. Satisfying, full of great taste, and light on the waistline.
Steamed Eggs with Vinegar and Herbs
2-4 sprigs fresh marjoram, oregano, or any other herb
4 whole wheat English muffins, sliced and toasted
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray eight ramekins with cooking spray. Break one egg into each ramekin.
Place the dishes in an oven-safe lasagna pan. Fill the pan with boiling water until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 4 minutes, until the egg whites are firm and the yolks are creamy.
While the eggs cook, roughly chop the herbs. Remove the eggs from the ramekins by easing them out with the tip of a knife. Place each egg on an English muffin half and lightly press the eggs into the muffins with a fork. Sprinkle with vinegar, chopped herbs, and salt and pepper.
Let’s begin by defining “foodways.” Wikipedia defines this term as “the cultural, social, and economic practices relating to the production and consumption of food tied to larger social and economic factors.”
Immediately noted by me, an enthusiastic eater of regular meals, Argentina is a night culture and a café culture. Meals do not occur on an American schedule. The Argentine people eat four meals a day, which must be necessary for staying up half the night.
Their breakfast, or desayuno, is a light meal of coffee or mate, medialunas (pastry) and jam or dulce de leche, sometimes bread and cold cuts. Mate is worth a discussion. While everyone drinks it and it is traditional to do so, it seems to be considered a bit of a vice. Probably much like drinking coffee is here in the US. Less fortunate folk drink it to excess to stave off hunger, I was told, and it’s not uncommon to see working class people carting around their thermos of hot water along with their mate gourd (or calabazo) and straw (or bombilla). While it contains caffeine and is stimulating, it is also relaxing with a deeply vegetal flavor which is quite enjoyable.
Lunch, or almuerzo, features meat and vegetables or salad. In the larger cities I noted several vegetarian buffets, popular as lunch spots and incredibly good values. Perhaps a rebuttal to the famous Argentine beef, which is heavily favored in most meals, sometimes prepared in the Milanese style, or pounded and breaded.
After work it’s “tea time, which means time to linger forever in one of the ubiquitous street side cafés, over either tea or a “cafe solo” and lots of conversation. Maybe you prefer yours “con leche?” At this time tapas-like snacks or little panini are consumed with gusto. This is a good thing since dinner won’t be until 10 p.m. or later. My traveling companion and I got called “grandmothers” for wanting to eat by 8 or 9 pm. Hey, we’re not even mothers, just can’t sleep on a full stomach.
Returning to the cafés …many are associated with particular artistic or literary, political, or student groups and are important within the social context of the city. It’s nice to see people giving themselves permission to converse passionately and spend time together with nothing seeming to pressure them. I feel it’s time well spent.
The people in Buenos Aires love their snacks. I noticed the bakeries doing a booming business at all times of day selling delicious varieties of empanadas (think beef, chicken, seafood, Caprese, mushroom, pork….) and other savory snacks or cookies galore, like the Alfajore sandwich cookie. They ought to be illegal and are so good with their filling of dulce de leche or jam and chocolate coat. I saw more carbonated water being consumed that sodas, but the show stopper of any drink I had in the country was a fabulous “slushy” of heavily gingered lemonade. Completely refreshing, you can bet I will be making this at home this summer.
Cena, or dinner, is unfathomably late in the evening and is the largest meal of the day. Since Italians settled this place, it’s all reminding me of Rome. You can get Italian bitters like Frenet Branca anywhere after a meal. Even on your mini bar. Oh joy! I ate at some great steak joints and I can tell you that the beef is amazing, thick, juicy, delicious and all grass fed. Usually, a steak dinner is offered with salad choices, side vegetables, and lots of good red wine. I didn’t notice many desserts eaten in the evening.
If you want a traditional “asado,” or barbeque, you must go into the country where the cattlemen are…or befriend a traditionalist and hope for an invitation to a family affair. The religion is to cook over wood coals, never flame. A full compliment of meats (beef, lamb, sometimes goat, always sausage) will be roasting, often flayed open and whole. Grilled vegetables and many side salads will be offered up as well a Chimichurri sauce. Everything is mopped up with crusty bread, washed down with good red wine, and eaten off wooden plates.
Back in the city, those out for the evening will continue drinking and dancing…tango is huge, though sadly not with the youth so much. But you’d better pace yourselves. Oh, and bring your sunglasses. The younger set strike out after 1 am. Things heat up by 3 am and, to our surprise, they’re still at it Sunday morning at 10 am, sunglasses on and piling out of the clubs and onto the sidewalks. Suddenly eating dinner late is making all the sense in the world!
I noticed salmon on most restaurant menus in Buenos Aires and, while on a side trip to Chile, I remembered why. We saw salmon and mussel farms everywhere while traveling through the fiords of Chile. They look innocent enough but the waters, once pristine, are suffering and the ecosystems are dying. Most of the world’s salmon is now coming from Chile and while tasty, it is good to remember the cost of farmed fish. I am happy to report that the wild trout are still plentiful and were biting for me! I caught an 18-inch beautiful brown trout, with sweet, pink salmon-like flesh.
Did I mention ice cream? It is done in the Italian gelato style and called helado. The ice cream of Argentina is very rich and wonderful and comes in very exotic flavors, Andean chocolate became my favorite (a mix of bitter chocolate, dulce de leche and Patagonian walnuts), but you can get rosehip too and a variety of other inventive flavors!
About visiting Argentina in December…it’s early summer there, the lupines, wild orchids, and Scotch broom are in full bloom, kids are getting out of school for summer vacation, and it’s Christmas! The farms are also producing wonderful vegetables, nuts and fruits, honey, hops and berries of all varieties, cherries, strawberries, gooseberries and calafate, the mystery berry of Argentina. It’s a type of dark berry from a barberry bush. It’s said if you eat these berries, you’ll return for another stay. I bought some jam which I’ve not tasted yet, but I will keep you posted! I fully intend to return to this beautiful place for further adventure in the Patagonia.