Plating Up Blog Banner Back Issues Sign Up For Our Free eNewsletter Subscribe to Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine Plating Up Blog Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine Table of Contents Subscribe to Our Magazine About Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine Bits and Bites Press Page Send Email Plating Up Blog

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….

20131017_144614

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!

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.

2008_10_22-ArugulaOrzo
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!

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.

July 15, 2013

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Lime and Basil

This refreshing, chilled summer soup comes to us from Aimee of simplebites.net. For a link to the recipe for Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Lime and Basil as well as some other great ideas for chilled soups, click on the image below.

cant-e1279209420491
image and recipe from simplebites.net

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.

ss_R137566
recipe and image from fitness.com

July 11, 2013

Cuban Grilled Corn

Nothing says summer like corn on the cob. Here is a wonderful grilled variation of this favorite summer vegetable. For a link to this Cuban Grilled Corn recipe, click on the image below.

l_R182407
image and recipe from rachaelraymag.com

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!”

20130705_140002
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 18, 2013

Spinach and Lemon Soup with Orzo

Looking for an unusually delicious soup recipe? Look no further than this great Spinach and Lemon Orzo Soup from thekitchn.com

Click on the image below for a link to the recipe!

2008_12_15-SoupTop
image and recipe from thekitchn.com

June 17, 2013

Veggie and Cilantro Hummus Sandwiches

Summer is the perfect time for lighter fare like these easy to prepare sandwiches! For a link to Veggie and Cilantro Hummus Sandwiches, click on the image below.

75266
image and recipe by allrecipes.com

June 12, 2013

Watermelon Feta Salad

This summer, why not whip up a carb-free, oh-so-good for you watermelon salad?

rs_560x415-130611101301-1024.WatermelonSalad.mh.061113
image courtesy of Athenos

Watermelon Feta Salad
athenos.com

3 cups chopped watermelon (3/4-inch chunks)
1 cup chopped cucumbers (1/4-inch chunks)
1/2 cup crumbled ATHENOS Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Simply combine the ingredients and enjoy. Bon apétit!

Serves 4.

June 9, 2013

Asian Quinoa Recipe

Look for quinoa in the cereal, rice or organic food aisle. For a different twist to this recipe, try adding scrambled egg or adding soy sauce in place of rice vinegar.

exps47002_BOS13149327C02_08_5b

Asian Quinoa Recipe
tasteofhome.com

1 cup water
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons plum sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts, chopped
1/2 cup fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved
2 green onions, thinly sliced

In a large saucepan, combine the first eight ingredients; bring to a boil. Add quinoa. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until water is absorbed.

Remove from the heat. Add the red pepper, water chestnuts, peas and onions; fluff with a fork. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Yields 4 servings.

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 21, 2013

Italian House Salad

Salads make great starters or stand alone meals. Here is a great one to add variety to your weekly menu.

luciano5
image: luciano151.com

Italian House Salad
myrecipes.com

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large head Red Leaf lettuce, torn
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke heart quarters, drained
1 (6-ounce) can pitted ripe olives, drained
4 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound provolone cheese, shredded

Whisk together first eight ingredients.

Place lettuce and next five ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette, and toss gently to coat.

Yields 6 servings.

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 14, 2013

Snap Peas with Cucumber and Ginger

A fresh side dish recipe for spring!

snap-peas-cucumber_300
image by Anna Williams

Snap Peas with Cucumber and Ginger
image and recipe from realsimple.com

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 English cucumber, sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, ginger, sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the snap peas, cucumber, and shallot and toss to combine.

Serves 4.

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.

images
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….

April 21, 2013

Vegetarian Vindaloo

Vindaloo is one of my favorite dishes in the world! This spicy Indian curry can be made vegetarian or with meat and is packed with spices. For those new to Indian cooking, I simplified the spice list, choosing five you might already have on hand.

l769299352

Vegetarian Vindaloo
recipes.sparkpeople.com

1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 shallots (about 3/4 cup), chopped

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons yellow curry powder

1 cup water

1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

2 bell peppers, diced

2 teaspoons ginger, grated

1 serrano chili pepper, diced (don’t remove seeds if you want some additional heat)

2 sweet potatoes, cubed

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 cups water

1 1/2 cup dried lentils, rinsed

Tips:
Be sure to chop your cauliflower and sweet potatoes into same-size cubes so they’ll cook evenly.

Shop at a local co-op or spice shop where you can buy small portions of spices instead of large bottles that might lose their flavor hanging out too long in your cabinets. Once opened, spices should be used within 6 months for peak flavor.

Want to get the most flavor from your spices? Buy them whole and grind at home, in a blender or coffee grinder (buy one for spices only).

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the oil. Add the shallots to the hot oil and saute for three minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the spices to the pan, stir, cook for one minute. Add 1 cup water to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, peppers, ginger, serrano, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the vinegar and water, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lentils and cook another 15 minutes, until the lentils are tender.

Serve warm over brown rice or quinoa.

Serves 4.

April 18, 2013

Warm Dandelion Greens Salad

With a spring chill lingering in the air before the arrival of May flowers, chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier suggest their Warm Dandelion Greens Salad. The salad is a great way to take advantage of early spring produce, while still providing a warm, hearty side dish to any meal.

Dandelion greens are not always for sale in the supermarket but you’ll frequently see them in season or at the farmers’ market. They do seem a bit intimidating because they’re in these big, unwieldy, long bunches, but just chop them up to get a real treat. They have a unique flavor not unlike Belgian endive or radicchio. We think this is a great technique for preparing any kind of warm salad. Serve as a start to dinner or as a side to a main.–Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier (markandclarkrestaurants.com)

DandelionGreens
Warm Dandelion Greens Salad
recipe and image courtesy of Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, Arrows Restaurant and MC Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, ME

1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic cloves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup dried currants
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
10 cups (about 3 ounces) dandelion greens, washed and chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a nonreactive saucepan, make the vinaigrette by mixing the onion, garlic, rosemary, chili flakes, sugar, currants, vinegar, and canola oil. Heat the vinaigrette over medium heat until just hot. Toast the pine nuts in a dry sauté pan over medium heat until just lightly brown. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and toss in the dandelion greens to warm, about 2 minutes. Toss the greens in the vinaigrette and top with the pine nuts. Serve at once.

Yields 6 servings.

April 15, 2013

Snap Pea Salad with Radish and Lime

This colorful combination of sugar snap peas, wax beans, and radishes is dressed with a tangy lime vinaigrette for a refreshing side dish.

SA4801

Snap Pea Salad with Radish and Lime
eatingwell.com

8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved (about 2 cups)
7 ounces yellow wax beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
3 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 bunch radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 10)

Steam peas over 2 inches of boiling water, stirring once, until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towel.

Steam wax beans until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet. Refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.

Whisk lime juice, oil, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add radishes, peas, and beans; toss to coat. Serve chilled.
Serves 4.