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August 8, 2014

Lobster Festival 2014 Seafood Cooking Contest

Once again, our congratulations go out to all contestants in this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest! A special thanks to sponsor of the event, Pat O’Brien of Fiore Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars and Celia Crie Knight, Festival Director and emcee. A great job everyone, and a fun time was had by all!

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From Left to Right: Tyrrell Hunter, Pat O’Brien, Maynard Stanley, Jr., Adam Marcus, Andrew Hohns, Edith Khurana, and Celia Crie Knight.

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 5, 2014

Philadelphia Lobster Cheesesteak: LobFest 2014 Finalist

Andrew Hohns of Philadelphia, PA has always loved cooking. It is a family tradition. Andrew has been coming to the Midcoast Maine region for years, and his family has a long history in the area. In the 1930s, they settled here from France. His great-grandfather started the original FMC.

This year, Andrew was a finalist in the Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest with his recipe for Philly Lobster Cheesesteak. A delicious reinterpretation of a classic with all the regular fixings like cheeses, peppers, onions and sautéed lobster standing in for chopped sirloin.  Andrew calls his recipe “an instant coastal classic.”

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He offered up three versions of the sandwich for judges sampling pleasure:

The Philly Original: American cheese, ketchup, fried onion

The Rockport: Gruyère fondue, roasted red peppers, and spicy remoulade

The South End: Sautéed broccoli rabe, long hot peppers, and provolone cheese

Andrew explained that in Philly, in the world of the cheesesteak, there is a lexicon to be learned. If you ask for a cheesesteak “with” or “wit,” it means you want your sandwich with fried onions.

At Andrew’s table, he decorated with a Philly themed plate as a centerpiece, fish placemats, lobster plates, and black eyed susans in a vase. Geary’s Pale Ale was the complementary beverage.

“I hope this recipe will inspire those who make the traditional lobster roll to add something a little different to their repertoire,” he adds.

Philadelphia Lobster Cheesesteak
Andrew Hohns, Philadelphia, PA

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8 pounds Maine lobster
½ cup canola oil, for sautéeing
4 fresh baked long rolls
3 white onions, chopped
8 ounces long hot peppers
8 ounces roasted red peppers
2 pounds fresh broccoli rabe
2 lemons
2 bulbs garlic
½ pound sliced white American cheese
½ pound aged provolone cheese, sliced
½ pound Gruyère cheese
Ketchup, to taste

Spicy Remoulade:
⅓ cup mayo
2 teaspoons capers
1 Tablespoon sriracha
1 Tablespoon mustard
2 teaspoons relish
Salt
Pepper

Bring three inches of seawater or salted water to a boil in a kettle. Add lobsters. Parboil only, for two or three minutes. Let cool. Pick meat. Pulse meat briefly (2 or 3 pulses, max) in food processor to simulate the texture of chopped sirloin. Set aside.

Whisk together all ingredients for remoulade. Refrigerate.

Slice the roasted red peppers lengthwise. Slice the long hots, lengthwise. Chop the onions. Rough chop the broccoli rabe.

Sauté the onion until medium brown in oiled skillet. Keep warm.

Cube the gruyère and melt into fondue in a small, non-stick sauce pan. Keep warm. Sauté the shredded lobster meat in oil. Keep warm.

Sandwich assembly:

Slice a long roll lengthwise, creating an opening for the filling.

If making a variety with sliced cheese, lay slices flat on top of lobster meat while it sautés. Allow cheeses to begin to melt.

If using gruyère fondue preparation, instead slather some fondue onto the inside bottom of the sandwich roll.

Flip lobster mixture into roll.

Add onions, peppers, and broccoli rabe to top of sandwich according to the applicable Famous Variety.

Add applicable sauce topping.

Slice in half, serve hot with plenty of napkins.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

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 1, 2014

Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest 2014

One of the highlights of this year’s 67th Annual Maine Lobster Festival was the Seafood Cooking Contest. Held in the North Entertainment Tent on the fairgrounds, this event was a crowd pleaser of the highest order. Five creative chefs from all over the country vied for the title of Seafood Cooking Champion, with some of the most unique dishes ever seen.

Emceed by Celia Crie Knight, the Seafood Cooking Contest was judged by locals who are involved in Maine’s food scene: Chef Chaz Doherty of Trackside Station, Elizabeth Watkinson of Owl’s Head Lobster Company, and Susan Axelrod of the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday.com

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(From left to right: Judge Chaz Doherty of Trackside Station, Finalist Tyrrell Hunter, Finalist Maynard Stanley, Jr., Contest Winner Adam Marcus, Finalist Andrew Hohns, Finalist Edith Khurana, and Judges Elizabeth Watkinson and Susan Axelrod.)

The Winner of this year’s contest was Adam Marcus of Owl’s Head, ME (formerly of New Orleans) with his dish called Lobster Bonart.

Runner-up honors went to Maynard Stanley, Jr. of Owl’s Head, ME with his Seafood Jambalaya.

In third place was Tyrrell Hunter of Brunswick, ME with her Lobster Pasta with Seafood Trio.

Coming in fourth was Andrew Hohns of Philadelphia, PA with his Philadelphia Lobster Cheesesteak.

In fifth place was Edith Khurana of Chicago, IL with her Dr. K’s Lobster Fried Rice.

Look for our blog posts in the days to come, where we will be featuring each of the finalists with their complete stories, photos, and recipes! All contestants and their dishes were clearly winners!

April 30, 2014

Spinach Brownie

I am just back from the market with bunches of lovely fresh spring spinach in tow. Looking for a new way to use them, I went to allrecipes.com and found an interesting take on a spinach “bite”; call it a brownie if it makes your kids like spinach more. Trust me, your cocktail guests will like it as well as an appetizer.

Quick and easy, this recipe makes its own crust.

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image courtesy of allrecipes.com

Spinach Brownie
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

1 large bunch of fresh spinach, washed well, drained, and quickly steamed. Chop and squeeze excess water out.
1 onion, chopped
1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 stick butter, melted
Freshly ground pepper and a bit of nutmeg
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 °. Sauté onion and add to chopped spinach.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir in eggs, milk, and butter. Mix in spinach mixture and cheese.

Place in a prepared glass brownie pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool before cutting.

Makes 18 bite-sized appetizers.

Spring has arrived somewhere and is heading our way!

Cheers form Laura Cabot and staff

November 25, 2013

Beef Ribs

Okay. Chilly weather is upon us. It’s time to get hearty in the kitchen and break out the “stick to your ribs” ribs!

Here is a bangin’ recipe for beef ribs that had all the guests at my sister Lynn’s Autumn dinner party, held at the Widow McCrea B&B in Frenchtown, NJ, begging for more!

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image: ifood.tv

THE RUB
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup Emeril’s “essence” seasoning
2 Tablespoons chipotle powder
1 Tablespoon ancho powder
2 Tablespoons garlic powder, and 2 Tablespoons dried onion
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

THE SAUCE
1/2 can tomato sauce, smaller size
1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup honey
Just enough water to loosen

Cook over a low heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until a bit reduced, maybe an hour.

THE BEEF
Go to a good butcher and get meat beef ribs from local cattle. It’s worth it.

THE PROCEDURE
Wash and pat dry the racks of ribs. The night before, rub racks generously with the spice rub. Refrigerate overnight wrapped tightly in Saran wrap.

Prior to cooking, wrap the ribs in foil, leaving the Saran wrap intact. Place ribs on cooking trays.

Set oven to 225°. Cook low and slow for six hours.

Finish on the grill, minus wrappings, basting with the sauce, serving extra on the side.

Per serving size, two big beef ribs per guest should be ample. We had bacon cornbread and braised kale to round out a truly delicious meal. Be ready for raves!

Thanks to sister Lynn for this recipe!

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.

September 26, 2013

Pumpkin Butter

If you like to shop the farm stands, Autumn may be one of your favorite times of year. Bins of every kind of pumpkin, squash, and gourd offer their unique personalities for our culinary and decorating pleasure.

I’ve tried cooking down sugar pumpkins for pie with satisfactory results, but actually prefer a dry squash such as buttercup for pie making. Every year I make a batch of pumpkin butter and, at the end of the day, I must say that my usual routine is to go with canned pumpkin for pumpkin butter, even after looking at all the farm stand beauties. Here is my recipe and it’s a quick and “no fail” deal….

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image: sweets.seriouseats.com

Pumpkin Butter
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

1  29-ounce can of pumpkin purée
11/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup of cider
2 teaspoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon clove
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
Juice of a half a lemon, added last

Combine all ingredients except the lemon juice in a heavy bottom pot. Bring to a simmer and, stirring often, cook for 30-40 minutes until it is thickened. Let it cool and add the lemon juice, adjusting the spices if you so desire. Keeps in the fridge near forever. While this spicy and delicious butter keeps well under refrigeration, it is not safe to can. I love it on toast. It’s the essence of Autumn all year long!

September 24, 2013

Roasted Cod with Stone Fruit Salad

A simple ingredients list makes this recipe easy to shop for and prepare. Delicious seafood dish in a few easy steps!
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Roasted Cod with Stone Fruit Salad
fitness.com

2 pounds cod fillets, each about 3/4 to 1 inch thick, cut into 4 equal pieces
2
medium nectarines, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup pitted, halved green olives
1/2 cup halved, thinly sliced red onion
2 Tablespoons
chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 450°. Place cod in a baking dish; drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast 3/4-inch-thick pieces for 5 minutes, 1-inch-thick pieces for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine nectarines, olives, onion, 1 Tablespoon parsley and 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a medium bowl. Spoon fruit mixture over cod and roast 5 minutes more, or until fruit is just warmed through and fish is opaque. Sprinkle with remaining parsley.

Serves 4.

September 4, 2013

Baked Apples with Cherries and Almonds

This recipe makes a delightful dessert! Baked Apples with Cherries and Almonds are also perfect alongside roast pork or pork tenderloin. For details and a link to the recipe, click on the image below.

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image and recipe from mayoclinic.com

September 2, 2013

Arugula with Orzo and Garden Tomatoes

Here is a delicious, one-dish dinner from thekitchn.com. If you like arugula, you’ll love this recipe! For a link to the complete instructions, click on the image below.

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image and recipe from thekitchn.com

August 18, 2013

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Cherry Tomato

Cauliflower is one of the “white foods” I embrace. As a diabetic, white bread, cakes and cookies, mashed potatoes, etc. are verboten. But cauliflower is a personal favorite of mine, especially the orange “cheddar” variety. It is excellent roasted, in pasta, as a crudité, in quiche, with a cheese sauce or mashed as a potato substitute…you get the picture.

Not many local farmers seem to grow cauliflower, maybe it is not cost effective, the finished product being quite a bit smaller than the super market variety. But I found several heads of it recently at School House Farm, a little gem of a farm stand in Warren on Rt 1. I took them home and made the most phenomenal pasta dish, and here it is! If you’ve never had roasted cauliflower, you will be amazed at the depth of flavor roasting it achieves!

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image from cauliflowerrecipes.co.uk

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Cherry Tomato

Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

1 large or two smaller heads of cauliflower
2 cups of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 pound bucatini pasta or a whole wheat substitution
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Parsley chiffonade and toasted bread crumbs for garnish; Parmesan is optional

Toss the two veggies in oil and season with salt. Roast the cauliflower and tomatoes together in the oven until nutty and somewhat soft.

Cook the pasta al dente and drain, reserving a bit of pasta water.

Sauté the garlic in a large skillet, add the roasted veggies and cooked pasta, tossing and seasoning with salt and pepper. Add a little pasta water and toss all until nicely glazed.

Top with garnishes as you choose and enjoy this dish with a healthy side salad.

Serves 4.

August 11, 2013

Roast Lemon Balm Chicken

Working in my gardens at this time of the year is always a pleasure when I am near the lemon balm. Brushing against it releases the fresh scent of lemony goodness.

A member of the mint family, it has ridged leaves and likes to self seed if it is happy. Mine must be happy because now I have it everywhere! This fact lead me to consider new ways to use it rather than just in teas and tinctures. Here is a delicious recipe I came up with for Roast Lemon Balm Chicken. It works on the grill also, but you must use skin on chicken. If grilling, make a compound butter using the herb and slather it on under the skin of the chicken. Let it rest for a day under refrigeration to let flavors marry, then grill.

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image: sustainablescoop.com

Roast Lemon Balm Chicken
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

1 average size free range roasting bird, rinsed and patted dry, truss and salt the interior
1/2 stick of softened butter
1 cup of finely chopped lemon balm leaves
1 teaspoon sage leaves, chiffonade
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine herbs and seasonings with the softened butter to create a compound butter.

Loosen the bird’s skin, being careful not to tear it.

Slather the butter compound under the breast skin and everywhere you can. Salt and pepper the skin.

Roast in a preheated 350° oven for an hour and a half or until done per the weight. It should have a crisp skin, fragrant with lemon and sage. The drumstick moves easily in its joint when it is properly cooked.

Enjoy with friends and a nice garden salad, maybe a big pile of steamed Romano beans on the side. Ahhh….

Serves 4-6.