Saturday, April 05, 2003

Sizzling Cornbread

Greg loves this recipe so much that I find myself making this at least once a week. It's very easy to remember and I just start throwing things into a bowl and volia! You can add anything you like to this version: course ground pepper, sundried tomatoes, jalapenos, whatever.

Preheat oven to 350 and put a small or medium cast iron skillet to warm in the oven.

Medium bowl:
I cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
1 stick butter
1/3 cup olive oil
1 egg slightly beaten

Add everything to a bowl in order above and stir.
Take skillet out of oven and grease with generous amounts of olive oil. Put back in oven to warm. When ready take back out and scape in mixture. Let cook for about 20 minutes, or until it appears firm on top and just very slightly brown. Turn up heat to broil and just crisp top to your liking...Greg loves his cornbread crispy on the outside and moist on the inside and I've fooled around and found that this is the best way to get the bread exactly right.

Pop out of pan and smear with lots of butter or a big glass of cold milk!


Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Ingrahams on Richard's Hill, Rockport, Maine
Ingrahams website

We went here for our anti-valentine's day dinner. That is, we went on the 13th and had almost the whole restaurant to ourselves. We have a problem with a lot of the restaurants in the mid-coast because they either have nice enough food and no atmosphere or, they have GREAT atmosphere and terrible food. Ingraham's has pretty good atmosphere and really nice food. They throw in a wandering minstral from Thursday through Sunday for your listening enjoyment. We had the great pleasure of listening to John Boswell strum his guitar as he roamed through the dining rooms singing like a pro.

Do take my advice and book a reservation in the "library" (quotation marks are used here because the room actually looks like that spare room in your basement where you construct floor to ceiling bookcases out of unfinished pine just so you have someplace to put your collection of trashy romance novels) As I say, we like atmosphere and this quirky room where the bar is located is pretty cool. The rest of rooms in this old farmhouse have been transformed into smallish dining areas that aren't as charming.

We had a great sampling from the menu. As I can't eat seafood, I'll have to take Greg's word for how good his food was. His appetite was as big as his popeye arms and so he ordered the French onion soup, crab cakes, and Oysters on the 1/2 shell. I ordered the sweet potato pancake and the roasted vegetables in phylo served with pasta with herbed oil.

The onion soup was good, but we decided we could do it better (a key element when trashing a restaurant's menu). The soup was actually perfect, but the bread on top was only toasted on one side and therefore got soggy sitting in the soup and there was no enough cheese dribbling down the side. The crab cakes were sublime, delectable, and mmm mmm good. The oysters, so I'm told, were extremely fresh and, this I know, served beautifully.

My dinner was a mixed review. I had the sweet potato pancakes which still give me wonderful dreams about the taste! The brandied apple cider sauce was a treat and was drizzled perfectly on the plate. It was certainly one of the best treats I've had to eat on the mid-coast and reminded me of the food at Cornelia's, one of our favorite restaurants in Chicago before they changed the menu. I should never have ordered the roasted veggies in phylo, but I was in a vegetable mood that night. Everything about it was kind of soggy, from the overdone vegetables to the "puddle" (the descriptive term on the menu) of marinara sauce. A bad choice on my part. Next time I'll be savvier. There will be a next time, so we liked this restaurant and thought it kind of romantic. The bartender was friendly and made sure that our flagons were full all night long.

I give Ingrahams a B to B+

After Ingraham's, we went to my favorite place for atmosphere on the coast, The Whale's Tooth Pub in Lincolnville for dessert as its on our way home and not too far from the house. We should have waited and gotten icecream from the Mobil station instead! I'm always disappointed with the food at the Whale's Tooth and will review it soon......

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Lima bean and pea hummus

This sound terrible when emboldened, but I have never gotten anything but muffled kudos from full mouths when serving this. Greg and I personally adore lima beans...we eat them a lot with garlic and butter. I came across a recipe for lima bean hummus quite by accident and decided to try it. I've served it several times and through trial and error have made it my own.

Start with a bag of frozen baby limas and a half bag of frozen peas, an onion, garlic, olive oil, stock, ground red pepper, cilantro, and fresh parsley if you have it.

dice the onion and the garlic and saute in olive oil.
add ground red pepper (just a pinch)
salt and pepper to taste
and then throw in the beans and peas and saute, stirring frequently
when somewhat tender, add a bit of chicken or veggie stock, just to moisten bottom of will start to smell heavenly right about now!
keep stirring and add dried or fresh cilantro (I'm sure that basil would be nice in the summer)
when very tender, take off heat and add chopped parsley
drizzle more olive oil into mixture and either mash with potato masher to make a chunky dip or
transfer to blender or food processor to whip into more of a hummus dip, adding olive oil as nessesary.

Serve either warm or chill in fridge for at least two hours before serving with baby carrots, pita crisps, or blue corn chips.