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August 7, 2014

Maine LobsterFest 2014: Seafood Cooking Contest Judges

Judges for this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest were:

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(from left to right) Elizabeth Watkinson, owner of Owl’s Head Lobster Company; Chaz Doherty, Chef at Trackside Station in Rockland; and Susan Axelrod, food writer for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday.com

August 6, 2014

Dr K’s Lobster Fried Rice: LobsterFest 2014 Finalist

This is Edith Khurana’s 4th year attending the Maine Lobster Festival, and her 1st year as a contestant and finalist in the Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest. She is an emergency room doctor from Chicago, IL. An avid home cook, Edith taught her son to cook as well. He was in attendance to cheer his mother on.

“We really don’t have any lobster out in Chicago, you have to go to a specialty shop and pay a high premium for it,” Edith says. My recipe for Lobster Fried Rice is a traditional Philippine staple, and a favorite in my home. I usually use shrimp in this dish, since it is more readily available.” For this year’s contest, she used fresh, local lobsters.

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Edith says her recipe is easy to make at home, and involves three basic ingredients: rice, garlic, and eggs. Then you add whatever ingredients to this base that you’d like. For her dish, Edith uses Jasmine rice, and always adds chopped green onions on top. “You can add scallions, jalapenos, peppers, chicken, whatever you feel like eating,” she adds.

A side garnish of cucumbers, shallots, and tomatoes with a blueberry balsamic vinaigrette was offered to judges. Edith’s table was set with delicate orange flowered serving bowls, chopsticks, and soy sauce.

We hope to see Edith return next year to the Lobster Festival and the Seafood Cooking Contest. Her Lobster Fried Rice was outstanding, and we encourage you to try making it at home!

Dr. K’s (Edith Khurana) Lobster Fried Rice
Edith Khurana, Chicago, IL

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5 pounds of raw, de-shelled lobster, cut into fours
3 cups of Jasmine long grain rice
1 head of finely chopped garlic
A dozen eggs, scrambled and cut into small pieces
1 cup of olive oil
Salt, to season
A bunch of green onions

Wash the Jasmine rice and place in appropriate amount of water, about 4 cups, (depending on the age of the rice). Once cooked (about 20 minutes) set aside to cool.

Clean in running tap water and de-shell the lobster. Half the lobster lengthwise and then cut each piece in two, so you have quarter pieces of lobster. Set aside.

Peel each head of garlic, making sure that each head is separated from the other head. Finely chop each head and set aside.

Beat the dozen eggs and fry in olive oil. When cooked, cut into small pieces with your spatula and set aside.

Place about half a cup of olive oil in the wok and heat the wok on medium heat. Add one head of finely chopped garlic and sauté until golden brown. Mix while doing so, so that the garlic does not get burned. When golden brown, add the quartered lobster. Salt and mix until pink. This is done fast so that the lobster does not get chewy and hard. Set aside.

Heat the wok again on medium heat. Place about half a cup of olive oil and sauté the other head of finely chopped garlic until golden brown. Mixing again while doing so, so that the garlic does not get burned. Add the cooled, steamed rice. Mix well as you go so that the garlic is evenly distributed and every kernel of rice is separated from each other. Add about a teaspoon of salt to taste. May add more if desired.

Let the rice slightly brown on the wok about 15-20 minutes, making sure that you are mixing from time to time. When browned, add the scrambled egg and then the lobster. The lobster should not be left too long in the heat as it may get hard and chewy. Top with minced green onion. Serve.

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August 4, 2014

Lobster Pasta with Seafood Trio: LobsterFest 2014 Finalist

Tyrrell Hunter of Brunswick, ME is a seasoned veteran of the Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest. This is her fourth straight year entering the event, and last year she took 1st place with her recipe for Spectacular Seafood Cannelloni. This year’s recipe, Lobster Pasta with Seafood Trio, garnered 3rd place honors.

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“I made my own pasta, and there is even lobster in the pasta,” Tyrrell says of her dish. “This recipe calls for lots of lobster, and it is chock full of other Maine seafood like scallops and mussels.”

Tyrrell always has a more than willing group of family and friends who like to sample her recipes. “So far, I’ve made two attempts at this dish, and both have come out differently,” she laughs. “My neighbors are my guinea pigs, and I love it. They give me such helpful suggestions.”

The key ingredients to her recipes always include utilizing the entire lobster. “I shuck, save, and use all the body meat, walker legs, and this time I asked for female lobsters to use the roe as well.” She got her lobsters from Gurnet Trading to use in this year’s contest. Her recipe also called for scallops and mussels.

“I poached the seafood in white wine and garlic with some parsley, tarragon, and Fiore Olive Oil. I wanted my recipe to be filled with the flavors of Maine seafood, and I love seafood paired with pasta. It’s a special dish, complete with a double reduction sauce.”

Tyrrell’s table setting included a cobalt blue vase filled with garden flowers, matching blue flowered placemats, red plates, and green and blue wine glasses. Along with her Lobster Pasta with Seafood Trio, she served garlic bread, a micro green salad, and rosé wine.

We hope to see Tyrrell back next year with another one of her special recipes. Until then, try making this delicious dish at home!

Lobster Pasta with Seafood Trio
Tyrrell Hunter, Brunswick, ME

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LOBSTER PASTA
1 cup cake flour
2½ cup All-Purpose flour (need a total of about 3 cups of All-Purpose flour for complete recipe)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
4 egg yolks, large
3/4 cup combined lobster meat (from knuckles, body, and walker legs) and coral roe from 6  1¼ lb. female lobsters*, cold water cooked method** (see below), shucked. After removing the tail vein, cut tails into 1-inch chunks, leaving claws whole. Reserve claw and tail meat and refrigerate until needed.
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (need total of 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil for complete recipe)
½ cup water
½ cup All-Purpose flour for rolling out pasta (or more depending on pasta stickiness)
6 quarts water for cooking pasta
1 Tablespoon table salt for seasoning cooking water
1 Tablespoon olive oil for cooking water

SEAFOOD TRIO
Reserved lobster claws and tail meat from 6 lobsters
12 large dry sea scallops – with muscle removed
2 pounds mussels – cleaned and de-bearded (discard any that will not close when tapped)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (need total of 4 Tablespoons for complete recipe)
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, washed, dried and chopped
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, washed, dried, and chopped (need a total of 3 teaspoons for complete recipe)
1½ cup dry white wine (preferably a Chardonnay or dry Sauvignon Blanc)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

SAUCE
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter – cut into eight pieces
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, washed, dried, and chopped

Early preparation – even a day in advance: Cook and shuck lobsters**.

About 2 hours prior to serving:

To Make the Lobster Pasta:

In a small food processor, add the ¾ cup combined lobster meat and roe. Process on high until the meat and roe are a paste consistency. Add the egg yolks to the paste and pulse about 6 times to mix together.

In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add both flours and salt. On low speed, mix together for 5-10 seconds. Turn off, add the lobster paste/egg mixture and olive oil then start mixing together on medium-low speed. Drizzle in the water and continue mixing until the dough forms a ball, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off and scrape down, then repeat kneading the dough for another 2-3 minutes (or this can be mixed by hand in a large bowl, then kneaded until smooth). Turn off the mixer and take out the dough, wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least ½ an hour or up to a few hours.

Divide the dough into 10 pieces, then use your hand to flatten the pieces into rectangles or discs about ½-inch thick. Keep discs covered with a cloth or plastic wrap while you rolling one out. Using either a hand pasta machine or the stand mixer pasta attachment, process each disc by first sprinkling it with a little flour to keep it from sticking in the machine. On the lowest (thickest) setting, slide the disc once through the machine then fold it and process it again, sprinkling a little more flour if it seems sticky. Adjust the setting to next thinness and slide the pasta through two times without folding it; repeat this two times on the next thinness setting; and repeat until you have pasta that is about 1/8th-inch and is slightly translucent.

On a lightly floured, smooth counter or large cutting board, sprinkle the sheet of pasta lightly with flour and slice it into ¾ to 1-inch strips. Gently place the strips on lightly floured wax paper on a cookie sheet. Repeat this process until all the discs have been rolled out, cut, and are layered on wax paper on the cookie sheet. If you are not cooking the pasta right away, cover the cookie sheet lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. This may sound complicated but it actually goes pretty quickly and is fun to do. Great project to do with dinner guests!

About ½ hour prior to serving: Begin heating the pasta water. Add 6 quarts of water to a large pot and turn on high heat.

To Make the Seafood Trio:

In a large sauté pan on medium heat, melt 2 Tablespoons butter with 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add garlic to the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. Add wine, scallops, mussels, parsley and tarragon to the pan, cover and cook about 3-5 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Drain accumulated liquid into another large saucepan. Dispose any mussels that did not open Add lobster meat to seafood and take off heat. Cover and reserve Seafood Trio in a 200° oven to keep warm.

To Make Sauce:

In the large saucepan or sauté pan over high heat, reduce the liquid by half, about 5-7 minutes. Add the cream and reduce until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low; add the salt, pepper and tarragon, then pieces of butter one at a time to incorporate into the sauce. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, while the pasta cooks. Stir in one cup of sauce to the Seafood Trio.

To Cook the Pasta:

To boiling water, add 1 Tablespoon salt and 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Add fresh pasta, stirring very gently. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring a few times gently, for 2-3 minutes or until just al dente. Drain pasta in colander. Add the pasta to remaining sauce and gently toss together.

To Serve:

In warmed individual bowls, serve a generous portion of pasta, top with Seafood Trio, making sure each person receives two lobster claws, two scallops, several mussels and some remaining lobster meat.

Suggest serving with a light salad and herbed garlic bread.

Enjoy!

Serves 6.
* Female Lobsters – To tell if a lobster is female – the small fins under the tail at the intersection of the tail and body will be soft and pliable if it is a female; they will be hard if it is a male.

** Cold Water Cooking Method – Next time you cook lobsters, try starting them in cold, heavily salted water (about 2 Tablespoons for large pot). With the lobsters in the pot, turn on heat to high (we use a gas turkey fryer outside) and bring to a rolling boil. This should take about 20-30 minutes, depending on how many lobsters are in the pot. For this recipe, take out 6 lobsters as soon as they come to a full rolling boil and plunge them into cold water to stop their cooking. You want the lobsters slightly under-cooked because the meat will finish cooking later. Note: We usually cook lobsters the evening before making this recipe and take out six out for this recipe and leaving other lobsters to eat that evening by boiling those lobsters just two more minutes for a traditional boiled lobster dinner. The beauty of the cold water method is the meat is very tender because all the lobsters cook at the same temperature and the lobsters weren’t shocked entering hot water.

August 3, 2014

Seafood Jambalaya: LobsterFest 2014 Finalist

Maynard Stanley, Jr. of Owl’s Head, ME took 2nd place honors in this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest. His prize winning recipe was Seafood Jambalaya.

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“Traditionally a southern dish made with shrimp or in some places alligator, I chose to feature Maine lobster, shrimp, and scallops. I mixed it up a little,” Maynard said. “This dish can have some strong flavors. I used lighter spices, different than those traditionally used so as not to overpower the delicate flavors of the Maine seafood.” His dish also utilized the traditional ingredients peppers, celery, onions, and sausage.

Maynard said he entered this contest because he likes to cook, and he “likes competition.” An avid home cook, he also cooks at local fundraising dinners such as those held at the Conway House in Camden. He enjoys cooking traditional Maine Bean Hole Bean dinners there.

The table setting Maynard prepared was complete with red and yellow carnations, decorative lobsters, red place mats and crisp white plates. He served his dish with a side of coleslaw and “lobster biscuits” (traditional biscuits shaped with cookie cutters in the shape of lobsters).

When asked the secret ingredient to the success of his recipe at this year’s contest, Maynard was quick to credit “Maine seafood, along with a little touch from God.”

Maynard, who is self-employed, traps and helps relocate wild animals.

Try Maynard’s recipe at home!

Seafood Jambalaya
Maynard Stanley, Jr., Owl’s Head, ME

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¼ pound andouille sausage, cubed and browned
¼ cup each bell pepper, red and green, rough chopped
½ cup celery, ¼-inch sliced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
½ cup onion, diced
28 ounces of tomatoes, diced or 6 plum tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon Maine sea salt
¼ cup butter
8 ounces Bar Harbor clam juice
½ teaspoon thyme
2 cups long brown rice or white
2 pounds cooked Maine lobster meat, rough chopped and divided
½ pound Maine scallops, cleaned, rough chopped, and salted
1 pound cleaned Maine shrimp, rough chopped, seasoned, and deveined
⅓ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup green onion, chopped

For Plating:

1 pound Maine lobster meat, rough chopped for plating
½ pound Maine shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1 Tablespoon Fiore’s Meyer Lemon Olive Oil (for dipping on the side)
½ cup toasted pine nuts for plating

In a 4 quart Dutch oven, brown the cubed andouille sausage, drain, and set aside.

Cook the next seven ingredients in butter, with salt to taste, on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Do not overcook. With a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables to the bowl with the sausage and set aside.

Now add 2 cups of clam juice and thyme, bring to a boil, and add the rice. Cook by directions on rice. While rice is cooking, prep the seafood. Devein and rough cut ½ pound of shrimp and scallops. Chop parsley and green onions.

When the rice is done, add the shrimp and scallops, as well as the 1 pound chopped lobster, parsley and green onions, vegetable mix, and smoked sausage. Fluff the rice gently to the mix but do not stir.

Place the ½ pound of clean, un-chopped shrimp on top of the rice and cover. On low heat, cook the whole shrimp and when done, remove the ½ pound of un-chopped shrimp to use for plating.

Plate using the precooked, chopped lobster and ½ pound of un-chopped shrimp and toasted pine nuts.

Serves 4.

August 2, 2014

Lobster Bonart: LobsterFest 2014 Winner

The winner of this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest was Adam Marcus of Owl’s Head, ME. His recipe for Lobster Bonart took top honors.

“My middle name is Bonart,” Adam said when asked where the title of his recipe originated. “This is a New Orleans inspired recipe. I am originally from New Orleans, and this meal reflects that region. I wanted to create a dish that honored lobster in its shrine of Rockland,” he adds. Adam said his recipe is the perfect brunch item.

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“You don’t want to mask the quality of Maine lobster. I sautéed Owl’s Head lobsters in chives and capers and created a platform. On the plate, I placed a warmed artichoke heart, poached egg, lobster, and a slightly spicy yet light Hollandaise sauce. I use the lobster meat to help create the platform.” Adam featured local, farm fresh products in his recipe.

A repeat contestant in the cooking contest, Adam’s recipe for Owl’s Head Lobster Étouffée took last year’s 2nd place honors.

His table featured a red lobster buoy centerpiece and lobster plates and napkins. Adam provided a welcoming table setting for judges to sample his dish. Glasses that said, “The Bloody Merrier” served up complementary Bloody Marys with lobster claws as stirrers.

Adam is currently building a house in Owl’s Head, with plans to become an alpaca farmer. We hope he also spends some time in the kitchen and comes back with an entry for next year’s contest. Here is his 2014 prize-winning entry!

Lobster Bonart
Adam Marcus, Owl’s Head, ME
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The cooked meat of 4  1¼-1½ pound lobsters, chopped
4 artichoke hearts, cooked and cleaned
4 eggs+4 yolks
1 Tablespoon lemon
½ cup butter
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ Tablespoon capers, chopped
2 Tablespoons chives, chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Pinch of cayenne

Start a pot of water to boil for poaching eggs. At the same time, sauté the crushed garlic in olive oil. Just before the garlic turns brown, remove from the pan and discard.

Put the chopped lobster, artichoke hearts and chopped capers in the pan of olive oil on low heat and sauté.

Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and a Tablespoon of water together. Place mixture over the pot of boiling water and whisk in the melted butter. Stir constantly until Hollandaise just starts to thicken. When it reaches a sauce consistency, place the bowl in a cold, liquid bath. A separate double boiler is better for this procedure if you own one.

Poach the eggs for two minutes in the boiling water.

To assemble Lobster Bonart:

Place the artichoke heart in the middle of a warm plate. Surround the heart with the sautéed lobster meat.

Place the poached egg on the artichoke heart. Pour the sauce over the egg and sprinkle with the chopped chives over the lobster meat and place two whole capers on the egg. Place two uncut chive stems on the side of the plate and serve.

Serves 4.

August 8, 2013

Maine Chili Lobster: LobFest 2013 Finalist

Gerald Huang grew up in Hong Kong, and moved to Montreal and Toronto before finally settling in the New York and New Jersey area. His love of traveling and adventure brought him to this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest with his recipe for Maine Chili Lobster.

Gerald_0422Gerald Huang  prepares his Maine Chili Lobster for the Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest.

The origin of this recipe was Gerald’s visit to Singapore for the first time this year. He was impressed by their unofficial national dish: Singapore Chili Crab. Upon returning to New York, he created his own version using lobster. “I thought, this is a delicious dish with crab. I’ll bet it would be even better with lobster,” he said.

Gerald was encouraged to enter the Seafood Cooking Contest by his girlfriend, Mimi, when their friends were planning a trip to the Maine Lobster Festival together. All his supporters, including 3 adorable dogs, were just as excited about the contest as he was. They were spotted in the audience wearing orange “Team Gerald” T-shirts with big lobsters on front.

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Gerald’s Table was set with burnt orange placemats, and he served his dish on white square plates. He served an accompanying local white wine, and created a refreshing Thai drink which was spiced with a touch of Old Bay Seasoning. He rounded out his meal with French bread and white rice.

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A Senior Vice President of an IT solutions company on Wall Street, with many leading global banks as clients, Gerald frequently travels to Asia and Europe. He loves dining out wherever great food can be found around the world. On his many journeys, he picks up food ideas, and when he returns home, he likes to reinterpret or adapt those findings.

“The sauce is slightly sweet and a bit spicy, and this dish blends the influences of Malaysian, Indian, and Chinese cuisines. The lemongrass add a nice flavor. You can make this dish as spicy or as sweet as you want, with a little tweaking of the ingredients.”

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We hope Gerald’s worldly travels continue to make their way into his kitchen, where he makes delicious creations like this Maine Chili Lobster.

Maine Chili Lobster
Gerald Huang, Jersey City, New Jersey

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2 2-pound Maine lobsters
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Chili Paste:
3 Tablespoons ginger, minced
2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
1/2 cup shallots, minced
2 small red chili peppers, minced
1 Tablespoon shrimp paste
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon salt

Sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon chili sauce
1 Tablespoon bean sauce
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 cups stock
1 stalk lemongrass (optional)

Finishing:
4 Tablespoons butter
1 stalk scallion, 1 1/2 inch cut
2 medium eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Put all the chili paste ingredients into a small food processor to create a paste. Sauté the chili paste in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the other sauce ingredients into the pan and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes. Purée the sauce in a blender.

Steam the lobsters by putting them in a pot with 1 1/2 inches of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove the claws and legs from lobsters. Crack them slightly and set aside.

Cut lobsters lengthwise and clean them.

In a sauté pan, cook the lobster bodies in butter, meat side down, for 5 minutes. Turn the lobster bodies over and sauté for 3 more minutes. Remove the lobster bodies to warm plates. Put the claws and legs into the pan and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add the scallions and sauce into the pan with lobster parts and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from heat. Quickly stir in the beaten eggs to thicken the sauce. Add the chopped cilantro into the sauce and serve on the plates with the lobster bodies. Serve with Italian bread or white rice.

Serves 4.

August 7, 2013

Buzzy’s Lobster Casserole: LobFest 2013 Finalist

Justin Libby was a finalist in this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest with his recipe for Buzzy’s Lobster Casserole. He shared the following information with us about his life.

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Justin Libby interviewed by Allison Fishman Task, one of the contest judges and host of Yahoo! Blue Ribbon Hunter.

Captain Justin “Buzz” Libby is a 33 year old, lifelong, 3rd generation groundfisherman/scalloper/shrimper from Port Clyde. His boat, the 50-foot dragger the F/V Capt’n Lee, is based out of Port Clyde and is a bit of a local celebrity. A couple years ago, Kenny Chesney shot a country music video on it. It was also the star of the local movie, “The Fish Belong to the People.”

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Justin is one of the founders and owners of Port Clyde Fresh Catch, a fish processing and retail store that sells sustainably caught seafood and supports local fishermen. Port Clyde Fresh Catch is an outlet for customers to buy “net-to-plate” seafood. Seafood is caught sustainably, and processed and sold locally so you get only the freshest, highest quality product from the Gulf of Maine.

A member of the Port Clyde Groundfish Sector/Midcoast Fishermen’s Association, Justin is also working with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to bring underutilized fish species that are considered healthy stocks in the Gulf of Maine to the table. His efforts include educating people on the importance of having a healthy fishery in Maine through the “Out of the Blue” campaign.

Buzz says his love of cooking is more of a love of eating. He enjoys shows, and his girlfriend urged him to enter this year’s cooking contest.

The origins for his Buzzy’s Lobster Casserole recipe came from a Christmas dinner he had as a child. His father was always away fishing, so it was usually him, his mom, and his sister at home together much of the time. Buzz would cook this and bring it to family events, and it became his casserole. The lobster meat was his personal touch that he added to the recipe in recent years, but the dish originally contained no seafood. He says his family and friends love this casserole. For the contest, he served it with an unusually delightful kelp salad, which he harvested himself, of course.

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So we had to ask. Where did he get the name “Buzzy?”

“Well, I was always buzzing around with my matchbox cars as a kid. Always active, always on the move.” Looks like he’s keeping the momentum going. There’s no sign of slowing this hardworking Mainer down, unless it’s long enough to stop by the kitchen to make his signature dish.

Buzzy’s Lobster Casserole
Justin Libby, Port Clyde, ME

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4 cups cubed potatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pint sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound diced lobster meat
1 large onion, diced
1 stick butter
1 Tablespoon salt
Box of corn flakes

Preheat oven to 400º. Prepare potatoes, lobster meat, and onion. Mix all ingredients (leave 1/2 stick of butter and cornflakes out) in a large mixing bowl with 1/2 stick of melted butter. After mixing, put in a large casserole dish.

Crunch up cornflakes and put a decent layer over the top. Melt other 1/2 stick of butter and drizzle over cornflakes. Cover with tin foil.

Bake for 45 minutes. Take tin foil off and bake for another 15 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes and serve.

Yields about 6 servings.

July 12, 2013

Curried Quinoa Salad

Here is another delightful summer salad recipe. This Curried Quinoa Salad is bursting with wonderful flavor, texture, and health benefits! For a link to the recipe, click on the image below.

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recipe and image from fitness.com

May 7, 2013

Melissa Kelly of Primo Wins JBF Best Chef Northeast Award

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!!

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image courtesy of Kent Miller, Portland Press Herald

May 2, 2013

Pan-Seared Salmon on Baby Arugula

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!

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image by Susan Goldman

Pan-Seared Salmon on Baby Arugula
epicurious.com

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.

Serves 2.

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.

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image: thingsweheart.blogspot.com

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.

Ahhhh….

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 paleodietlifestyle.com

kale-salad

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

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.

December 10, 2012

Russell Libby, RIP

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 With Suffolks SmallRussell 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.

November 13, 2012

Spicy Scallop Salad Recipe

“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

Spicy Scallop Salad Recipe
paleodietlifestyle.com

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.

Serves 4.

November 12, 2012

Simple Hummus Snack Wrap

So simple, easy, and tastes delicious. Good for anytime, but is a great post workout snack!

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image: myrecipes.com

Simple Hummus Snack Wrap
sparkpeople.com

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.

Delicious!!

Makes 1 serving.

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.

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image: tasteofhome.com

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

fish-provencal
image: dairydiarychat.co.uk

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.

September 17, 2012

Halibut with Fennel

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.

images
image from eggsonsunday.wordpress.com

Halibut with Fennel
Elizabeth Vierck and Lucy Beale, The Complete Idiot’s Guide® Anti-Inflammation Cookbook

Aluminum foil
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.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

August 11, 2012

Grilled Maine Lobster Chicago

Buy Maine Lobster Now! Support our local lobstermen and women!!

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Lobsters ©2010 by Jim Bazin

Grilled Maine Lobster Chicago
lobsterfrommaine.com

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.

Serves 4.

August 9, 2012

Seafood Cooking Contest Celebrity Judges: Maine LobsterFest 2012

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_3632Judges 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.

August 8, 2012

Lobster Jalapeño Hush Puppies with Avocado Dipping Sauce: LobFest 2012 Finalist

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.

Award_3765Jodi 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.

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“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.

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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.

MintJulepSweetTea_3730

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:
Vegetable oil
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.