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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:

Judges_6348

(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

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

December 24, 2013

Lady Apples for the Holidays

“Get to know the lady apple for the holiday season. She’s the friend to have in your corner for both the delights of the table and for decorating.”  -Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering

For Laura’s Lady Apple recipe, click on her Lady Apples image below. Happy Holidays!!

photo

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!

Bbq_beef_ribs.
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 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.

images
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!

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!

growing_guide_cauliflower_ahero
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.

August 2, 2013

Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest 2013

Another delicious time was had by all again this year at the annual Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest. Held Friday morning at the North Entertainment Tent on the Lobster Festival grounds, the event drew a record crowd. Despite the rain, the heat was on as this year’s five finalists entertained festival-goers and impressed judges with their unique seafood recipes.

This event is always a lively, fun time in great part to outstanding emcee Louise MacLellan-Ruf and volunteer Celia Crie Knight. Audience participation is encouraged as lobster lore is discussed and there is an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists as they prepare their dishes.

The five amateur chefs who shared their culinary talents this year were John Ruppert, Brunswick, ME; Adam B. Marcus, Owls Head, ME; Tyrrell Hunter, Brunswick, ME; Justin Libby, Tenants Harbor, ME; and Gerald Huang, Jersey City, New Jersey.

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Contestants and Judges (L to R): Adam B. Marcus, Allison Fishman Task, Lynn Archer, Melanie Beckett Hyatt, Louise MacLellan-Ruf, Gerald Huang, Tyrrell Hunter, John Ruppert, and Justin Libby.

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L to R: Allison Fishman Task, Tyrrell Hunter, Lynn Archer, Melanie Beckett Hyatt, Louise MacLellan-Ruf

This year’s winner (and her second year in a row taking the top prize), was Tyrrell Hunter for her Spectacular Seafood Cannelloni.

Judges were Lynn Archer, owner and chef at Brass Compass Cafe and Archer’s on the Pier in Rockland; Allison Fishman Task, host of the Yahoo! Original Program, Blue Ribbon Hunter; and Melanie Beckett Hyatt, editor of Maine Food & Lifestyle.

Check our blog in the coming days for complete stories, recipes, and images! As always, we had a great time covering and helping promote this special event!

July 8, 2013

Garden Pea Potato Salad

One of the sweetest gifts of the garden and a traditional part of an early July celebration meal, fresh peas herald the arrival of full blown summer eating.

Arriving at the local markets at pretty much the same time as Japanese beetles on my roses, and the traffic congestion on Rt 1, it’s hard to beat the wonderful taste of garden peas.

Because they are so labor intensive to shell out, I use them as a visual and flavor accent in side salads. I especially love them in a salad of local new potatoes, simply dressed with mayonnaise, salt, pepper, onion, and celery. Pile a few pea tendrils on top and you’ve got something special and “of the moment!”

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photo by Laura Cabot

Laura’s Garden Potato Salad with Peas
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

2 pounds new red potatoes, scrubbed
A few celery stalks, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cups of fresh peas, shelled but raw
1 teaspoon of garden dill, chopped
Salt, fresh pepper, olive oil, good mustard and mayo, pea tendrils for garnish

Cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water until just done. Drain and let cool.

Dice, then toss with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

Add celery, onion, dill and peas along with mustard and mayo to taste. Toss well.

Pile on a tangle of pea tendrils for a whimsical look. Great warm or cold. Pairs well with anything off the grill!

Serves 6.

June 19, 2013

Pine Pollen and Reishi Chocolates

I’m Pining for Pollen!

Here’s my brand of personal alchemy at work again…everything is covered with a layer of yellow pollen dust, we’re all sneezing and complaining. But I am mixing the stuff into a smoothie!

I recently began reading up on the uses of pine and pine pollen as a food source. Naturally it’s not new, just new to me. And I see it for sale on-line, the finest harvested from the Masson Pine (pinus massoniana). The American Indians used pine pollen as an endurance food when making long treks and indeed it’s noted for its high levels of testosterone. Endurance, indeed! In fact, there doesn’t seem to be anything pollen can’t improve from lung function and cholesterol to balancing hormones to stamina in, um, all endeavors.

Pine, in general, has many uses in the herbal and culinary tradition. I have long used the young needles like rosemary or as a tenderizing marinade for game and other tough meats. The tender green growth we can see in evidence at this time of year can be eaten raw in a “salad,” albeit a strong tasting one. Dip the tip of a pine branch with new growth into hot water for a refreshing tea. The inner bark is tasty fried up, and the pollen is touted as a real super food, especially noted for strengthening the immune system. The soft brown tips that form on the ends of the branches are the small clusters of male cones that hold the pollen.

I found an interesting recipe that I’d like to share with readers. It hails from a site called “Your Body Is A Temple,” and I hope you’ll try it.

raw pine pollen powder
image: rawforestfoods.com

Pine Pollen and Reishi Chocolates, Delicious and Vegan
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

1 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup cashew butter
1/4 cup Reishi mushroom tea
5-10 whole pine pollen cones, or to taste
1/4 cup brown rice protein powder
1/2 teaspoon Stevia
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup raw cacao powder

Set aside an ice cube tray.

Melt coconut oil over a low flame. Slowly whisk in nut betters, cinnamon, Stevia and Reishi tea one at a time.

Next whisk in vanilla. Slowly stir in cacao powder, pine pollen cones, and brown rice powder.

The batter should be thin enough to run off a spoon. Spoon into ice cube trays, chill for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

June 13, 2013

Maine Lobster Festival Cooking Contest: Calling All Amateur Chefs

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FOR  IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  June 6, 2013

CONTACT:  Celia Knight 207-542-1192

Call for Maine Lobster Festival Cooking Contest

ROCKLAND — Amateur chefs are invited to sign up for the annual Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest. The contest is part of the 66th annual festival, which will be held July 31 through Aug. 4 at Harbor Park along the city’s waterfront.

Amateur chefs age 18 and older are welcome to compete for more than $500 in prize money during this popular event. A panel will pick five contestants and their recipes to participate in the contest. Selection is based on creativity, suitability of the seafood to the recipe and simplicity. The recipes can be any dish and must contain seafood found in Maine waters.

The contest will begin at 9 a.m., Friday, Aug. 2, in the North Entertainment Tent on the festival grounds. Judging will begin at 11:30 a.m., with prizes announced and awarded around 12:30 p.m. First prize is $200, second prize is $175, and third prize is $150.  Lead Sponsor for this event is Fiore Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegar.
The contest audience will have the opportunity to sample the prepared recipes in the cooking area and pick up the contestants’ recipes after the awards are presented.

For additional contest details and to download an application form, visit www.MaineLobsterFestival.com or contact Celia Knight by e-mail at celia@knightmarineservice.com or call 207-542-1192.

Applications will be considered until July 13. Selected contestants will be notified by July 20.

June 10, 2013

Maine Littleneck Clams

When I think of Maine clams I tend to think of soft shell clams, the kind Waldoboro is famous for, not the littlenecks of my New Jersey childhood. But yes, it’s true. You can find littlenecks in Maine. Ever cross the New Meadows River, glance up river, and notice people standing in boats with tong rakes? They are “bull raking,” which is the exhaustive work of hand raking mahogany or little neck clams.

littleneck-clams
image courtesy of wisegeek.com

Imagine my delight when a foraging friend recently brought me cherry stones from the Damariscotta River, which we devoured on the half shell. They were delicious! I see them popping up here and there on menus now, at Brian Hill’s Shepherd’s Pie, sourced from the New Meadows River, and more recently at the spanking new Salt Water Farm just down the street in Rockport, ME.

We ordered them at Salt Water Farm last week during a heat wave and they arrived at table chilled, studded with new green onions, and wonderfully seasoned in a broth rich with good olive oil and garden herbs. Aside from ruining my blouse with an oily stain (extracting them from the shell is best done wearing an apron!) they were perfect in the heat with a firm and delightful mouth feel.

Here is a recipe I believe you’ll enjoy:

Littleneck Clams with Chorizo, Tomato and Green Onion
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

2 pounds Littleneck clams
4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped Vidalia onion
1/4 cup white wine
1 plum tomato, chopped fine
1/2 cup crumbled Chorizo sausage
Fresh pepper and chopped parsley to taste, a dash of smoked paprika, chopped green onion

Rinse clams in cold water.

In a large pot with a tight fitting lid, heat oil and sauté onion, chorizo, and garlic; add paprika.

Add the wine, clams, and tomato. Cover tightly.

Steam until the clams open, about ten minutes.

Let cool down, then serve with broth and sprinkle with more pepper and green onion. Wear an old tee shirt and enjoy them fully!

Serves 2.

June 7, 2013

Arrows Restaurant Butternut Squash Donuts

Today is National Donut Day and instead of hitting up the local Dunkin, James Beard winning chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier suggest whipping up a batch of their Butternut Squash Donuts with Warm Maple Syrup. Light and crispy, moist butternut squash is complemented by maple syrup made on-site at Arrows, their acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant in Ogunquit, ME (www.markandclarkrestaurants.com).

ButternutSquashDonuts

Butternut Squash Donuts with Maple Syrup
Created by Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier (www.markandclarkrestaurants.com)

2 eggs
1¼ cup sugar
1 cup peeled, cooked, pureed butternut squash
½ cup milk
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoon baking soda
1¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Oil, for deep-fat frying
2 cups hot maple syrup

Combine the eggs, sugar, squash, milk, butter, and vanilla in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt, and ginger. Add the dry ingredients to the squash mixture. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for 1½ hours.

Place the dough onto a floured board and roll it out to a half-inch thickness. Cut with a 3-inch donut cutter. Heat 1 inch of oil in a heavy pan to 375°. Fry a few at a time, until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve drizzled with maple syrup.

Yields 2 dozen donuts.

June 3, 2013

Braising Greens

What to do for a side dish with a rich cut of meat like ribs when you want something healthful…and maybe even something out of your own spring garden?

braised-greens-DSC_3274
image: elenaspantry.com

Braising Greens
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

I took a look at my overgrown mesclun yesterday, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but the opportunity to make pot herbs out of most of them!

All those Asian greens and mustards, pac choi and kales that are so tasty and tiny take very well to a quick saute in olive oil with salt and pepper. Add a little water or stock to finish them in a covered pot.  If it’s too big for a salad, cook it!

It is that simple…and a pile of meltingly soft greens, just out of the garden, is deeply nourishing and a fine balance to most grilled, fatty foods. Try it sometime.

May 17, 2013

Good King Henry

I love vegetables, gardening, and the first lovelies of spring. BUT I confess to being out of the loop about a perennial plant known as Good King Henry (Chenopodium bonus-henricus).

Good King Henry
image: goodfoodshops.blogspot.com

Native to Europe but brought to America by the early colonists, Good King Henry is known by a variety of names such as Goosefoot, English Mercury, Fat Hen (good for chicken feed evidently), Poor Man’s Asparagus, Smearwort (makes a poultice) and All Good, since you can use the entire plant for something. There is also, legend has it, a sprite-like helpful spirit called Good King Henry who, it is said, will help with domestic chores for a saucer of cream! Those were the days before minimum wage went up.

A member of the amaranth family like Quinoa, and a relative to Lamb’s Quarters, the first shoots are prepared like asparagus. The later leaves are very much like calaloo or…think of GKH as a perennial spinach. The seed of this versatile herb is hard to germinate, but the plants can be had from a variety of sources.

It grows easily in Maine in fertile soil with good drainage. It’s best not to harvest the leaves heavily until the third year, much like asparagus. The established plants can be divided eventually. I believe I need a few of these fantastic plants in my garden!

Thanks to my friend, Joanna Linden of Fedco Seeds, for the shout out about GKH!

SIMPLY PREPARED SPRING GREENS/USING THE POT HERB GOOD KING HENRY
Larua Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

Take as many leaves as you dare to from your established plant and rinse them carefully.

Saute several chopped spring onions in olive oil in a medium sized skillet.

Add the whole or chopped leaves of GKH, a dash of salt or soy, and saute until wilted yet bright green.

A grind of fresh pepper and you’ve got a side dish high in many important nutrients. This pot herb mixes well with other spring greens like nettle, wild cress, dandelion, lamb’s quarters and so on.

May 13, 2013

Colt’s Foot Tea

Perhaps you’ve noticed them alongside the road, rail bed, or in an area where the soil has been recently disturbed. Resembling a tall, curving dandelion at this time of the year and usually presenting in a group, like a tribe of graceful sunny sisters, this is the herb Colt’s Foot. I’ve noticed them before, as they have a great deal of presence with their naked stalks, but didn’t know their name until recently. At other times of year, they lose their distinctive flower, leaves develop, and the plant presents quite differently.

Coltsfoot-Tea
image: herbal-information.com

The botanical name of this plant is Tussilago Farfara. Long ago, this plant was called Filius ante patrem, meaning “the son before the father,” because the flowering stalk develops before the leaves appear. From a medicinal and culinary standpoint, all parts of the plant are recommended. The leaves are delicious in June, reminding one of dandelion greens. Indeed, this plant is in the same family. The flower buds are also nice in a salad. A decoction of the fresh leaves, which develop in early summer (1 ounce to one quart of water), boiled down by half and sweetened with honey makes a healthful tea and helps with cough, colds, and bronchitis or asthma. The root has different properties and can assist with shortness of breath with beneficial results.

So, take a deep breath of springtime and a cup of Colt’s Foot tea for good measure.

COLT’S FOOT TEA,  a lung tonic
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro

Wait until the leaves appear on the Colt’s Foot plant and gather:

1 packed cup of fresh leaves of the Colt’s Foot Plant

1 quart of filtered water

Boil this down by half. Sweeten it with raw honey.  Drink one cup, warmed up, three times daily for lung ailment.

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