Monday, December 31, 2007

I have to post these pictures of making the stuffed bosc pears yesterday. I took out my frustrations of the past couple of days on making a dessert that was complicated and involved. I had a great time making it, but it took over 2.5 hours to make enough for 14 people. The peeling, and coring took probably an hour.

The poaching liquid was cool to make, red wine, vanilla beans, cinammon stick, and anise (which I didn't use much of because I am not a licqorice fan.

The stuffing was also fun, it is diced dried apricots and pecans, cooked on the stove with butter and brown sugar to make a candied apricot mixture.
Once I stuffed the pears, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I must make sure to refridgerate the stuffed pears for a bit longer so that the stuffing stays inside the pear when I dunk the whole in chocolate.

So, dunking in really good bittersweet chocolate is a must.

What I don't have a photo of is the final plating. The recipe called for me to make a spicy sabayon sauce made with egg yolks, chile powder, sugar, and a cup of dry white wine. That went into a bowl first, topped with the pears, and then I sprinkled fresh raspberries around the base and added a sprig of fresh mint to the mix.
A friend's brother and sister-in-law were visiting from Ireland and she told me it was the best dessert that she had ever had. She wanted me to come back to Ireland with them as a cook...not a bad gig, I'm sure...but I don't know how to cook in a sheep's udder!
Personally, I think it was a bit much to eat after so much Mexican food (Thanks Peter!!) I was so full, that I had to leave the party almost immediately after dinner.
Now I have to get busy making things for tomorrow.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

We had a three hour layover at the Jet Blue terminal at JFK airport on Christmas day. We were tired and hungry and didn't want to eat in the food court nor the Sports Grille. We decided to take the plunge and pay a bit more for dinner at Deep Blue Sushi. The restaurant is an oasis in a sea of chaos. It sits right in the middle of the terminal building, just inside the security gates. The designers did a great job with rice paper screens and fake bamboo plants and big upholstered seats and banquets which all serve to block out the sea of humanity that lurks just outside.
We had the place to ourselves for about 20 minutes and so had good service. Greg and I ordered drinks and then ordered steamed pork dumplings, chicken lo mein and tangerine peel chicken with red peppers. The food was good, but not as good as Seng Thai, but what can you expect from a food service, airport restaurant. The best part of the place was the comfy, oasis-like atmosphere.

Making a gluten free chocolate cake with white and dark chocolate (mixed together because I didn't have enough of either) caramel frosting. I was at Ocean State Job Lots in Belfast and noticed the Bob's Red Mill gluten free chocolate cake mix. We are having dinner with friends whose daughter is allergic to wheat, so I thought this would be a nice present.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I went up to hear a lecture at Colby College in Waterville on Wednesday afternoon and had the distinct pleasure of being invited out to dinner with the speaker, several professors in the art and American Studies department, and the Director of the museum. We went to Apollo Spa and Bistro on Spring Street for dinner. I hold no great hopes for Waterville as a destination place for food, but the Apollo is a refreshing suprise. The bistro is on the second floor of an old Italianate Revival Victorian house with the spa and salon occupying the first floor. Once one gets upstairs, the soft glow of the lighting and the deep, rich colors of the walls immediately put one at ease and really makes one relax. There is a lot of atmosphere here, which is a good change from restaurants on the coast which are lacking in both good food and good atmosphere. One of the first things that I noticed was the abundance of fresh flowers in interesting vases. Each table held a vase of white freezia and at the end of the dining room was an array of white roses, lillies, freezia and other fresh flowers that made the room smell so gorgeous. Each table had starched white tableclothes and antique chairs...different sets of chairs at each table, making for an interesting visual. When menus were placed before us, I noticed with glee that they patronized local Maine farmers, meat producers and fisheries. That meant that everything was fresh and not more of this food service idyll that coastal restaurants like.
The restaurant knew we were coming and so delivered to the table a bottle of wine that the director of the museum favored. I must comment on the wine glasses here...big beautiful bowled glasses that fit perfectly in the palm of my huge hand, they were gorgeous! And the wine was just so smooth and rich...I was in heaven.
I decided for the vegetarian meal for the evening, so I went with the most delectible potato/ leek soup that arrived dotted with green pesto surrounding an island of crutons....I loved the presentation so much that I will probably steal it the next time I make potato/ leek soup (perhaps today). The soup was a perfect balance of potatoes and leeks and was really, really tasty. Other options were a beet salad that was beautifully colorful on the plate...if you like that sort of thing, and oysters on the half shell that were nicely presented.
For dinner, I had a roasted acorn squash filled with a buttery and smokey mixture of grains and vegetables topped with sauteed swiss was a treat to behold and a nice change of pace for me. We had an excellent time laughing and telling art jokes and stories. We had discussions ranging from tango melodies to the history of formica to the dangers and joys of skating on ponds in Maine in the winter.
I would highly recommend this lovely and suprising bistro. I would love it if there was something like this on the coast that could sustain itself somewhere around Belfast.


Monday, December 10, 2007

We had some good friends over last night for dinner. We've been talking about it for a few months and I finally found the time to have them over. They brought their adorable kids along. The oldest who is 15 months, knew my name by the end of the night and kept saying "Seth!" It was way cool.

my menu last night was a 1/3 of a 15 lb pork loin that I roasted in garlic, olive oil and rosemary. Hannaford had a special on these huge loins of pork and I brought it home, divided into thirds and froze each section. Its great for easy parties of four or six. The best tip I've learned in making the perfect pork loin is to cook it until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees and then remove it from the oven, cover in tin foil and then let it rest while you get the remainder of the dinner finished. I was able to roast asparagus in the oven for 15 minutes while the pork finished cooking itself. 20 minutes later, I sliced into the pork and found it perfectly cooked and still juicy.

I also roasted purple and white potatoes together in the same roasting pan as the pork, so they got the advantage of roasting in fresh rosemary and a couple of cloves of garlic. The combination of purple and white potatoes gives the best look on a plate. With a side of roasted asparagus with crumbled feta and a spinach salad, the meal was complete. Much to my chagrin, I forgot to serve the salad AND othe feta on top of the asparagus.

Needless to say, Greg and I had the spinach salad with goat cheese and toy tomatos for lunch today.

I was also in the mood for a crusty boule yesterday and ended up not making that, but instead, making a multi-grain loaf of wheat with rolled oats and pumpernickel meal with yogurt. I sprinkled the top with black sea salt for that, you know, exotic look. I need to work on my bread skills...a bread making class is something that I would LOVE to take.
I made pear pie for dessert. It was a recipe I found in the 2005 Best of Gourmet (found at Ocean State Job Lots in Belfast for $5.00) The recipe was for a lattice work pie, but I had too many pears alread cut up, so I made two and put an oatmeal brown sugar crumble top on that was a bit dry. Luckily I made a cinnamon and apple cider infused whipped cream to go along with it to hide the dry top. Otherwise it was good (Greg ate most of the leftovers for breakfast). The pie is really easy. a bunch of pears peeled and cored, tossed with fresh ginger, nutmeg, 3 tablespoons of flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar (I used brown sugar) a pinch of salt and then arranged in a deep dish crust (bought) lattice over the top brushed with milk or a crumb topping. They smelled delicious.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Greg took me to dinner at the Waterfront in Camden last night. We had a nice cozy table by the fire and I thought about what a treat it was to eat in a different place. Belfast sure does frustrate the foodie in one when there are only two places to go to get good food that isn't fried. I've been jonesin' for the Waterfront's roasted pear and cranberry salad. It kicks pear salad ass! I noticed on the menu that the prices had indeed dropped by a dollar or two on most items. In the summertime, the pear salad is $12 or $13 bucks and in the Winter, the price drops to $11. Its often what I say I would like to do if we opened a restaurant as a thank you to year rounders.
Anyway, Greg and I each had the pear salad and Greg had Oysters on the half shell which he said were fabulous. In my quest for the best Quesadilla around these parts, I ordered the chicken Quesadilla. It was so awful that I couldn't finish it. I think it was made with phylo dough as the "tortilla" was soft, flaky, and as some of my readers know, there is nothing I hate more in a quesadilla than a smooshy exterior. The whole thing was underdone, greasy, and the onion on the inside was so hard and almost raw that I burped it up most of the night.
Of course we will go back there, its one of my favorite places in the summer, but I do think the food quality in the winter goes down a notch or two.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Greg and I spent yesterday afternoon driving around doing things down in the Camden Rockland area. We decided to have a late lunch / early dinner around 4pm and pulled into Cody's Original Roadhouse on Ingraham Hill in Rockport. I had heard about this place when I was at Campbell's getting my hair cut several months ago and had pretty much decided to stay away. It sounded like a rib joint with picnic table style eating, not something that I would enjoy. I am not a bar-b-que sauce on my fingers and on my face kinda guy.

I was pleasantly suprised by the atmosphere at Cody's. We loved the gas pump handle as front door handle. It really got us in the mood for the interior of the place, which is thick with atmosphere. The front room is made from "old" white painted barnboards and the whole space is like walking into a huge old barn clubhouse decorated with old beer cans and bottles, hubcaps, license plates, with some vintage bikes, and other stuff thrown in.

We were shown to a small 2 person booth, which was a bit small. All the booths were decorated with "on the road" fabric, evocative of Route 66 in the 50s. Our window was actually an old loading dock door that had its paneled doors replaced with glass. There is a long straight bar with high stools and lots of beer taps. All in all a very cool space.

There were also crayons waiting at the table for us to draw with. We played hangman and tic tac toe while waiting and waiting and waiting for our burgers. Seriously, there were only about 4 tables full when we got there and our burgers took over a half an hour to get to our table. Our server Mel (who wrote her name with crayons on the butcher paper covering our table) seemed put out that we ordered water and tea and then only had burgers. Our food took over a half an hour to come to the table. It was good, though the buns were huge and so each mouthful was pretty much bun with some burger. And my tea was unceremoniously put on the table with tepid water in the mug and the Salada tea bag on the side....I hate that! The fries were tasty, so the food we good, better than fast food, but not as good as it sounded on the menu where the burger was described as a juicy steakburger. Its probably just a shade better than a Sizzler

When I explored the bottle of Cody's Original Roadhouse hot sauce on the table, I noticed that it was distributed by COR Enterprises of Clearwater Florida. The restaurant is part of a chain! Not that it matters much, but it did color our experience a bit.

So, the atmosphere is cool, a great place to bring your kids cause of all the stuff to look at. I fear that during prime dining hours, the place is loud and crowded. There are peanuts on the table that one is supposed to shell on the floor, so by the end of the night, one is walking on other people's food garbage, not a pretty thought. We would go back for early dinner I am sure, it might be fun with a big group of people. Perhaps our server was having an off day.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Greg and I went down to Su Casa Mexican Restaurant in Camden last week before I drove to Portland. We were energized that there was a new Mexican place around to counter one in Northport that we don't like too much. Su Casa bills itself on its blog as an authentic Mexican restaurant. I like to refer to it as authentically mediocre. We were seated upstairs when we got there and I was pretty amazed that on a Friday night at 6:30, there were only 5 tables full..after dinner I think I knew why. The food was simply alright. the decor was laughable.

The restaurant owner's idea of decor run to a bunch of those cheap Mexican sombreros with sparkles glued all over them...kind of like what some dancing with the stars dancer would wear during a salsa dance. Or what bandoliers would throw down on the floor and stomp around. The other beautiful decor addition was a clear plastic sheet tacked to the wall with a silkscreened "mexican" couple walking in an outdoor scene...WTF? Classy, let me tell you. It seems that the owners took over the restaurant from a TGI Fridays and just changed the wall decor to hats and plastic sheets! There were booths and cheap tables and thats about it for the "decor" It was pretty sad. The music was certainly not authentic and featured semi-hard rock that was pretty annoying given the rest of the decor.

We were left with a big plastic tub of perfectly salted chips and cold salsa out of a jar. If the salsa had been warm, I would have loved it. As it was, the salsa was ice cold and didn't warm my heart. Since I was driving, we drank water. I asked for a hot tea, which they advertised on the menu, and was brought a cup of warm water from the tap and a lipton tea bag on the side. It was such a sad cup of tea. I have to tell you, as a tea drinker, I think we get shafted. Restaurants are well schooled in serving lattes, esspressos, and other coffee drinks, but when it comes to tea, the servers invariably put semi-cold water in a cup and serve a tea bag on the side...what is up with that? Tea bags need to be placed in the cup and HOT water poured overtop of the tea to let the flavor out......I was WAY disappointed.

Dinner for me was a Chicken quesadilla..I wanted to compare it to my favorite chicken quesadilla at 3TIDES. Didn't compare. For the same price, I received four wedges of quesadilla that had only pulled chicken and mexican cheese, no vegetables or onions or anything...the texture was squishy and not very appetizing. Greg had a chicken, meat and cheese roll up dish that was alright, but not the best.

We left feeling unsatisfied. We thought though that we might go back and give it one more try, perhaps with friends.


Friday, November 09, 2007

I made this great vegetarian dish last night. Its essentially vegetable lasagna without pasta.

Butternut squash and creamed spinach gratin
1 Large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cut into 1/8 strips, lengthwise
3 lbs fresh spinach or 3 packs frozen spinach (I used the organic baby spinach)
olive oil
1 medium onion diced
3 cloves garlic
nutmeg to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup half and half
lots of fresh grated asiago
wilt the spinach and squeeze out excess water
heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet
add garlic and onion and stir and cook over medium heat until translucent and cooked through
add spinach, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cream and mix together
butter and layer a 3 quart casserole with alternating layers of strips of squash, then spinach mix then cheese, starting and finishing with squash. layer on cheese on top and place in a 400 degree oven, with a foil covering for 30-40 minutes. Take off cover and let cook for another 20-30 minutes until tender and bubbly. Let sit for 5-7 minutes before serving.
This comes out beautifully and was extremely tasty. Suggestions for a bit of color by adding roasted red peppers were met enthusiastically by all who ate here last night. If one had the time, one could make a beautiful latticework lasagne with the strips of butternut squash and the spinach coming through underneath....hmmmm, I might just make this for Thanksgiving.
Other things at the table were: Homemade applesauce, a huge pork roast done up with rosemary and sea salt with little new potatoes and a rosemary white sauce made from drippings, white wine, and half and half.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

UPDATE: So I made this the other night and it is gooooood! I ended up diluting the pumpkin caramel with a whole can of pumpkin, not just a cup, cause I thought it was too sweet. The finished product ended up having a very subtle pumpkin cream taste, kinda like I had topped the whole with whipped cream and then mixed it in before eating it. Very delicious. It was certainly not too sweet, which is good. I ended up making two single servings and one large casserole full, which I left on the front sttop of an old Irish guy in town who happened to turn 51 the day I made the dessert.
Apple-Pear Crisp with Pumpkin-Caramel Sauce
3 large bosc pears, peeled, cored and cubed to make three cups
3 large Fuji apples, same deal as above
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
sprinkled cinnamon and ginger

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, mix fruit in a large bowl with lemon juice and spices.
Melt butter and toss into mix. Spread mixture out onto rimmed baking sheet or large casserole and roast, turning with spatula every 10 minutes, for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Fruit should not be cooked through.

For Pumpkin-caramel sauce:
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 can pure pumpkin

Melt butter and sugar in a sauce pan until mixture is a deep amber color, stirring constantly, about 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium low and add cream slowly (mixture will bubble and sputter)
stir until caramel bits dissolve, about 2-3 minutes
Add pumpkin and stir until heated
chill to cold (about 2 hours)

Stir fruit and sauce together and place in large casserole. Top with:

1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 stick butter cut into small pieces
1/4 cup brown sugar
ground ginger and cinnamon to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with your fingers until it resembles coarse meal
sprinkle over fruit mixture and then bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes at 350 until golden and bubbly.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'm going to a symposium next weekend in Salem, MA and staying with friends. My friends are having a dinner party the night before the symposium and the list has grown into a cast of thousands. As of tonight the speakers for the symposium are all coming too, so its a gathering of colleagues. I volunteered to make dessert. Casting about for something different, I thought about making a trifle in the traditional 19th century manner, but then thought better of that...who has that much time. I did find a recipe for trifle that I am going to use, but to make a fruit crisp instead. The recipe calls for roasting pears and apples and then mixing together with a pumpkin-caramel sauce. I will then add a good traditional crisp topping to that and call it good, but probably will also make a bunch of lemon squares and cookies to suppliment.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hey All: I'm a bit late with this post, but Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. has produced their first brew, Tug Pale Ale. Its available at 3Tides. Go check it out and report back. I liked it, and I don't even like beer.

Lotsa people have dropped food off in the last few weeks for us to try and we are very fat and appreciative. Kim, I LOVED the chicken stew and those lemon ricotta cookies didn't last very long. Brian at the Edge gave Greg and fantastic soup to bring home to me: cider turnip and bacon soup. It was so good, I had it for breakfast.

Haven't had much time to cook these days. We did order out from Seng Thai on our way home from the museum yesterday. It was our first time ordering out from there and the food is still just as good. We had a 4 star hot green curry, which I have been thinking about all week and a beef and broccoli with cashews. The curry rocked!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A reader emailed me a link to The Smitten Kitchen. Now I have blog envy. Her photos and tales of woe and wonder in the kitchen are great. Apparently, Martha thinks its a cute web site.
If I only had the patience to do the same, I might have a steady readership! I think I started out on the right foot, but I always forget to photograph the things I am making or to even photograph them in progress. Perhaps the key is to write my tales out in word and then post them, rather than writing them out directly to the template. Do you want my recipes? I suppose I should get back into posting those too. kingdom for a life assistant, or at least a secretary!

Monday, October 22, 2007

OK, so the hors d'oeurves musta been kind of good because all of them were gone by the end of the dinner party last night. I was just bummed that they all looked the same, but were different things. The pastry flour worked wonders on the crust for the leek tarts as they were melt in your mouth good. People seemed to like the shape and feel of the "potato cookies" which were essentially spoon dropped onto baking sheets and left to melt into a puddle shape. The gruyere really made the potato puffs excellent.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ok, ok, so its been a while since I made fancy food. I spent all day cooking and came up with two hors d'oeuvres for this fancy party and they both look the same!!! Luckily, they do taste different, but both are essentially mini quiches. What was I thinking!! But, as we learned last weekend in Kansas City: "cheese rules the world" put enough smelly cheese in something and it will taste delicious.

So, I now have six dozen potato quiches and 3 dozen Tarte St Germaines (a fancy term for quiche with leeks!). After all that trouble, I learned that I need to start experimenting again.

I had a bit of a kitchen tragedy this afternoon. I may have lost one of my AllClad pots :-( I was cooking potatos and decided to go have a bit of a toes up on the couch....I woke thinking...hmmm, whats in the oven??? Oh shit!! I ran into the kitchen to see that I had left the burner on HI and all the water had boiled off and the potatos were burning in the bottom of the pot. I thought all was lost for my planned potatos and gruyere in puff pastry! OH no, its time for another WWJD moment. Personally, I think Julia woulda been proud of me. I let the potatos cool and then I cut the burned bottoms off, carefully testing to see if the interior of the potato tasted faintly like carbon...No? it was a go! Then I made a big batch of garlic mashed potatos, ensuring that I used a hell of a lot of butter and cream. However, its going to take some muscle scrubbing to get the burned area on the bottom of the pot cleaned. Thank the gods for AllClad though, any other pot and it woulda melted on the stove.

So, I went to defrost my puff pastry and found that I'd grabbed puff pastry shells!!! DAMMMMNNNN. My hors d'oeuvres were not to be tonight, its karma......yet another episode of WWJD so soon?? Well thats what I'm trying to figure out right now. Do you think if I combined my recipe for cheese puffs with my mashed potatoes that I could possibly make something good that is passible? More from the "What Would Julia Do" test kitchen tomorrow.

I did make the best miniature Tarte St. Germains. I was able to find Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour at Odd Balls in Belfast. It really does make a nice flakey crust.
oops! My last post was meant for the other blog

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rumor has it that Nealey's, the gas station/ convenience store/ hardware store that has dusty food, stoned employees, and the wierdest assortment of stuff I've ever encountered, has been sold to the owner of the Swan Lake Grocery Store. We are quite excited here in the hood, as we would love some place to go where the food is not past its expiration date and the people behind the counter are not slurring their words and drooling.
Yea for progress in the 'hood!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

We had a big family dinner at Greg's sister's house last night. I offered to make baked zucchini while most everyone else was at church. I got raves and was commended by the moms for making something their children would actually eat. Leave it to me to make something healthy like zucchini into something decadent and fattening.

I quartered all the zukes, there were like 15 of them. Tossed them with olive oil, garlic, minced onion, salt and pepper, dried basil (I missed the fresh basil in the garden, damnit!) and a pinch or two of red pepper. Then I arranged the zukes in their baking dishes and sprinkled liberally with grated parmesan and topped with bread crumbs.

We also had smoked pork and turkey that Greg's dad had done in his smoker and that was warming at 200 degrees, so I popped the zukes in the same oven and slow roasted for 30 minutes, then bumped the temp to 350 for another 20 and then broiled to brown the top for 5 minutes. Everyone went back for seconds.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

An old friend of mine from high school came by yesterday on her way from Northeast Harbor to Philadelphia (they don't call NEHarbor Philadelphia on the rocks for nothing!) She arrived with her three year old son and ex-husband in tow. Her ex doesn't speak English very well, so he was pretty silent, interjecting a bit of Spanish here and there.

I made a great soup for lunch: Leek, buttercup squash and apple soup with fresh parmesan. It has some pretty complex flavors, but they all work together very well.

Two large leeks, cut up (just the whites)
one buttercup squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 red delicous apple cut up, skin on (its all I had, a gala, macintosh or granny smith might be better)
fresh chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
a dash of curry powder
couple of cloves of garlic

in a soup pot, sautee the leeks in oil and then add the buttercup squash and apples, add diced garlic and sautee a bit more. Add chicken broth until vegetables are covered and simmer until squash is soft. add salt and pepper and curry. Stir and set aside to cool.
Working in batches, transfer soup to blender and liquify. Soup should be pretty thick...add more broth if you want it less thick. Add parmesan and stir to melt. Serve with crusty bread.

I made a loaf of Irish Soda Bread from a Bob's Red Mill mix that I got at Ocean State Job Lots. It was really good.
Served both with a spinach salad and some curried chicken salad with grapes.

We had a wonderful time, it was great to see my friend and her son, whom I had not met.


Monday, October 08, 2007

We had a glorious boat ride to Castine on Saturday. The bay was dead calm on the way there and on the way back. Not too many boats on the water this time of year, but there was a lot of activity in Castine harbor. We tied up to the public dock and went to Dennetts Wharf for lunch. Dennetts has been a fixture on the Castine waterfront for 20 years. We've been over there at least three times this summer. The food is great, the atmosphere is second to none as you can sit and watch the sailboat races in the harbor and the Merchant Marine ship docked up the way. They have inside seating and a long bar for nighttime gathering. I'm sure it gets a bit rowdy at night as there are hundreds of dollar and five dollar bills stapled to the cathedral ceiling...there has to be some history there that I don't know. The seating outside is under an awning or out of the deck in picnic tables with umbrellas. Saturday I had the grilled chicken ceasar salad and Greg had a burger with curly fries. The fries were nice and crispy and well seasoned and the salad had beautiful fresh parmesan cheese and a nice tangy dressing. We seem to always have the same blonde server and she is perfect for the place. Always a wonderful smile, and a bit chatty about the weather and all. She flirted with my dad when we took my parents there....he loved that. Dennetts also has a great bar and one can get tall vodka lemonades and then sleep in the cutty cabin on the way back home! (Not that I did this, of course, but one could!)

Of course the most enjoyable part of going to Dennetts is the trip over in the boat. They are closed for the season now...sigh...its getting darker here too....a sign of the season changing.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

I guess I didn't post the banana zucchini chocolate chip bread recipe...ooops! Well here it is,. A moister bread, I couldn't find. Doesn't need butter and is so good warmed up with tea in the afternoon.

Banana Zucchini bread

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup raw zucchini, shredded
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
6 oz chocolate chips

Shred zucchini and set aside.
Mash bananas and set aside.
In large mixing bowl, beat sugar and oil together until well combined. Add eggs one at a time.
Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, vanilla and nuts.
Mix together.
Add zucchini and bananas and continue to mix until blended.
Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or till tests done in center with toothpick.
Remove to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before removing to completely cool on wire rack.

Friday, September 28, 2007

So the big local gossip is that Dos Amigos is for sale, the whole thing, restaurant and property. The price is a whopping $600,000. Which, when you think about it, isn't that much for a restaurant that seems to pack people in while putting out consistantly crappy Mexican food. Why anyone would overpay for food that makes you come home and sit down on the pot for hours, I'll never know. I know a lot of full timers in Bayside go there for the convenience and I think a lot of them sit at the bar there and get their gig on. If their menu changes for the better, it would be a welcome change here in ole Northpoke.

For the money and with a bit of renovation, I still think the better bet is Willy World, the closed down restaurant south of Dos on Route 1. The price there is around $185,000, but I'm not sure if the restaurant gear is included. I think the right peole could make this place into a gold mine. Switch the parking lot to the front of the building and create a big deck with a very cool garden in the back. There are over three acres to work with here and a slight expansion out the back would make room for more music and tables. Voila, the Northport Roadhouse!

In other news: I was barreling down Route one the other day when I saw a bunch of free zucchini on the side of the road. So I mashed on my brakes and pointed the Saab towards a ditch at the side of the road....I can never pass up free stuff on the side of the road...its The power of free. Anyway, what am I to do with all this zucchini? I also have all these frozen bananas too, so I thought I would make a zucchini banana bread, never heard of such a thing, so I googled it and found several very tasty recipes that people were raving about, saying how moist is was and how easy it was to get the kids to eat zucchini this way (Hey Kim...Wes could use some of this to get the daily veggie requirements down his gullet!) I'll blog about it after I make a batch.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We went to a cook out last night that was really fun. Four chefs from local area restaurants were there, all standing around the grill watching the hot dogs cook. It was beautiful! I made chipwiches using my toffee cookies with milk chocolate chips recipe and Gifford's Old Fashioned Vanilla ice cream. Giffords is a Maine company, so I feel good about shopping locally. Our freezer doesn't really freeze well sometimes, so when I pulled them out to take to the party, I saw that the chipwiches were kinda melted. I think its time for a new fridge / freezer.

We had to go fit a coat for one of Greg's clients after the party, so we didn't get to stay much longer after having dogs and salad. We were bummed about not having some of our own chipwiches for later and thought about going back to the party, but I was sleepy....

The host told us there would be about 16 people there, so I made probably 2 dozen. About 12 people came, so I think the hosts are pretty long on chipwiches!!! I hope there isn't too much of a sugar buzz in that house for the next few weeks

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Back from New York, where it is not quite Fall yet. Today, I went to the store and was attracted to sweet potatoes, winter squashes, Great Northern beans rather than black beans, stewed tomatoes, and other nesting, cold weather comfort foods. It felt good to be back into thinking about making stocks and simmering things on the stove all day; of fires in the living room and naps on the couch with the mail opened around me. I wasn't ready for Fall and Winter a few weeks ago, but now I have transitioned and the grocery store had a lot to do with it. I am planning a bannana cooking day since I have a load of them in the freezer (instead of throwing out bannanas that are too far gone, I shove them into the freezer for use later) I may make a bannana coffee cake for tomorrow or for next weekend when Greg has friends here. Then its back to New York for work...I just hope its not Winter by the time I get back!

Have you transitioned to Comfort Food cooking?


Sunday, September 16, 2007

I made another flourless chocolate cake tonight for a friend's birthday. This one had an orange-espresso ganache and I split the layer in two and added frosting between. I always try to use flowers in decorating the cake cause I am so spastic with decorating tips, etc. I think this one worked out well, using sedem and hydrangia flowers in an alternating pattern around the center raspberry melee.
The cake itself has 14 oz of 85% cocoa dark chocolate, 2 sticks of butter, 7 eggs separated and 12 tablespoons of sugar. The frosting has 7 oz bittersweet choc, 1/2 cup dark corn syrup, and a 1.2 cup of whipping cream along with about a teaspoon or two of instant espresso powder. MMMM
Good. The recipe for this cake is below in the last entry.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

For Wesleigh's birthday last week, I made him a flourless chocolate cake with an intense dark chocolate glaze (80% ). I use a recipe that I took off Epicurious Sometimes I add a bit of orange liquor or orange zest to the recipe. Sometimes I don't make the glaze and serve the cake with fresh raspberries or strawberries on top.

The recipe calls for:

For cake
12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate,
chopped 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces
6 large eggs, separated
12 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For glaze:
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
9 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Make cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper or waxed paper; butter paper. Wrap outside of pan with foil. Stir chocolate and butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm, stirring often.
Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 6 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Fold lukewarm chocolate mixture into yolk mixture, then fold in vanilla extract. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, beating until medium-firm peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake cake until top is puffed and cracked and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack (cake will fall).
Gently press down crusty top to make evenly thick cake. Using small knife, cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Remove pan sides. Place 9-inch-diameter tart pan bottom or cardboard round atop cake. Invert cake onto tart pan bottom. Peel off parchment paper.

Make glaze:

Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth.
Place cake on rack set over baking sheet. Spread 1/2 cup glaze smoothly over top and sides of cake. Freeze until almost set, about 3 minutes. Pour remaining glaze over cake; smooth sides and top. Place cake on platter. Chill until glaze is firm, about 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; store at room temperature.) Garnish with chocolate shavings or leaves. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 10 to 12.

Its a wonderful recipe, so decadant!

Its getting chilly in the evenings here, so comfort food is on our minds. I stoked up a fire in the fireplace yesterday to ward off the rainy blues. I cleaned out the fridge of all the veggies and potatoes we had and decided to make a shepherd's pie. Sauteed leeks and onions, garlic, fresh rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Added ground pork while I put on the "green" potatoes to boil. I sometimes cannot believe how short a time it takes for potatoes to grow legs here!
Anyway, after the pork was done, I added diced red peppers, red pole beans from the garden, peas, and asparagus. While the mixture cooked, I made a roux with chicken broth, white wine and chedder cheese. Put the vegetable mixture in the cassarole and added the cheese sauce. Made the mashed potatoes by smashing them, adding lots of butter, some fresh chicken broth, and garlic, salt and pepper. Spread this over the top and popped into a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are crusty.

We then read books by the fire and watched the rain pour down.

I love this recipe because it is hearty enough and tasty enough that it'll keep you coming back for more. My recipe makes for about 6 servings, so for two people its perfect to make on a Thursday, have leftovers Friday after work before going out on the town and then have some for lunch on Sunday. Thats three meals made from leftovers from the that!


Monday, September 10, 2007

We had dinner at the Waterfront in Camden a few weeks ago. The Waterfront used to be one of our favorite places to go take people to eat, my dad loves it; Greg's dad loves it, so we couldn't go wrong there, right???
We were a bit disappointed. My meal was a 50/ 50 split between really good and really awful. I had the roasted pear salad which should have just been my was awesome and at $12.00, a great value. The salad was HUGE and had roasted pears instead of raw, so it tasted a bit heartier than the salads you get with raw pears. The raspberry vinegrette was perfect, not too much, but just enough to add the perfect flavor to the greens, goat cheese, pear and pine nuts. Very delicious. We were guests for dinner and so I didn't want to order a steak for over $20 bucks, so I ordered the chicken alfredo...BIG mistake. You know a dish is the pits when you can't put enough salt on it to bring out ANY flavor. I left most of it uneaten.
I heard the crabcakes were soft and not great and Greg said the Fisherman's platter was filled with filler seafood and not terrific the way it used to be.

I love the atmosphere of the Waterfront, it is pretty condusive to being cozy and watching the boats, but we were shoved over in a corner table (there were 7 of us with a baby) and so we didn't get the full effect. I won't condemn the place yet cause we like it so more try and thats it though.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

I have a lot of reviews to catch up on. We've been out to lots of places, including some old stomping grounds like the Waterfront in Camden. We revisited the Whale's Tooth Pub down in Lincolnville Beach the other night. We haven't been there in almost four years because the food was always so terrible. We went with a friend who said that 15 years or so ago when the pub opened up, it was actually really great with fresh seafood and really good food. So we decided to go back. The place was packed on a Wednesday night. Its an interesting location cause its about as north as Camdenites will go for food at night and its close enough for Northport renters to visit. We always lament the food there, because the atmosphere is so great in the bar room. We love the fireplace in the winter.
We were pretty well sated with cheese and crackers by the time we got there and ordered drinks. My vodka and cranberry was served in a stemmed shot glass that reminded us all of a shirley temple. Greg says that the fish and chips there are his new favorite...totally crispy on the outside and light and flaky on the inside. Our friend had eggplant parmesan which she said was really was a ton of food to eat. I had the chicken tender dinner which was also crispy, but dry in the middle and not something I would order again. But I had really nice sauteed vegetables that were fresh rather than bagged like they were last time we went.
I think we'll go back here, because we need a local place to take the place of Willy World.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We were in town today and decided to walk around and find something to eat. I noticed that Zoe's had moved from its very hidden spot in the back of a row of buildings to a spot across the street from the Colonial Theater, where there once was a wellness center. We walked in to see what there was on offer and I immediately wanted to leave. I don't know how this place intends to stay open, because for a coffee shop / bakery, it has no soul. I am not invited in to stay by the interior. The baked goods are arranged on plates in a haphazard manner and there are no covers on any of them. None of the baked goods spoke to me and impressed me and made me want to buy them, so I didn't. We ended up leaving very fast. I do hope this is just a case of working the kinks out. As is, come winter, this will not be a cozy place to come sip coffee and write the next great love story. The guy behind the counter was really friendly though, even though you cannot see him until you are deep into the place as the server station is behind a wall.

We next popped into Bay Wraps new space. Finally, I thought, another store front restaurant. We walked in to a pretty empty space with about 4-5 tables, 2 booths and an uncozy looking "living area" with leather couch and chair from Mardens. All it is is another coffee shop with some muffins at the counter. For wraps, one still has to walk through to the back and order, wait and then bring your own wrap upfront to eat. The space has HUGE potential for charm, but it is dark and there really isn't a well designed interior.
Charlie makes great wraps, but they always just miss in taste. It was a nice change of pace for lunch, and one gets ginormous portions, but work out the space and make it into someplace where people actually feel comfortable.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

3Tides did an excellent lobster bake for us for Greg's birthday, complete with Tempo the clown and a DJ. I've since had lots of people call me to say that it was the best lobster they had ever had and that the smokiness of the seaweed lended a great taste to the meat of the lobster. (for those who don't know, the lobsters and potatos, corn and eggs, sometimes steamers are layered in seaweed and then a fire is set below the seaweed which smokes everything.)

We had a few lobsters left over so we picked the meat the next day and made lobster quesadillas for lunch. I sauteed celery, red and orange peppers and onions together in butter, added a bit of garlic power, salt and pepper to taste and then added the cut up lobster meat at the end. Then I put the mixture onto flour tortilla shells, sprinkled liberally with cheese, and grilled until crispy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I don't know what it is with us and servers these days. We went to Dudleys for breakfast the other morning and our waitress quit half way through our meal and nobody told us. We waited and waited until we finally thought to get up and go to the register to pay the bill.

We have a server curse upon us.

Friday, August 10, 2007

We went to the Penobscot Bay Inn the other night for dinner. Our reservations were for 6:30. We arrived 10 minutes late and were shown to our table. Then we waited until 7:15 for a server to show up to take our order. She arrived at the table and said "what can I get you?" When I said we'd probably like a drink first to mull it over, she was a bit put out. Then I asked what the specials were and they were out of all of them! We ordered our drinks and dinner at the same time, which is wierd and then waited and waited. When our salads came out, they were so unimpressive that we all looked at them and balked...mmm, a ceasar salad in an ice cream dish, so appetizing! I found it strange that the servers also made the drinks. Way to use up their valuable time. Four dining rooms and two servers! The owner must be extremely cheap.
Dinner arrived at 8:10, right after I got up to complain to the owner about the schedule. Its one thing to linger 2 hours over dinner...its quite another to wait 2 hours to be served dinner. When I did tell the owner that we had waited almost an hour, his response was "yeah?" Asshat!

The food was mildly passable. I had the meatloaf, which I can do better, even without the sugary catsup...and I know that usually its spelled ketchup, but this was certainly the catsup variety...spread over the top. My dad had chicken schnitzel which was dry as a bone and tasteless, I mean really inedible. Greg had haddock which he said was mushy, my mother had the New York Strip which was grilled to perfection and a really nice cut of Sysco meat. My sister had the BLT penne pasta which looked awful, but which she said was very good. My cousin had beef tips which she liked, though I thought were tough.
Like the salad, dessert was included in the price and I wish that I had a photo the frozen cherry "pie" to show you. It was the grossest thing I think anyone could order off the Sysco food truck. It arrived at the table all bright pink with a dollop of whipped cream. Nasty. The cheesecake with canned blueberry gel on top was equally as nasty.

My advice to the owner...quit being so cheap with the number of your servers, and the food quality and stop already with the included soup, salad and dessert courses. Do five entrees instead of 15 and do them well. Be all that you can be instead of settling for mediocre. I for one will never go back here for dinner...$180 bucks for crap from Sysco. Buy locally grown foods and cook them well.

I can't even begin to rate this place. Lets just say C-D for most of it.

We had a lobster fest here last night with my parents and friends. I served the last of the clam chowder that I made several days ago, but have never tasted. I had a tried and true recipe for chowder, but have lost it and cannot remember proportions. When I asked last night about how it tasted and what people would add or subtract, I got different answers from everyone and some disputes over whether it was "clammy" enough. I guess I didn't put in enough onions, my mother wanted more cream, my aunt said she wanted more of a distinct clam broth taste, and Greg said that while it was good, it wasn't up to my standards but he didn't know why. I guess I forgot to add the tasty juice. :-(
I'm going to make a batch again for next weekend, so I'll have to tweak it and then share the recipe.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I made chocolate cheesecake this morning for a friend's birthday tomorrow. When I asked him what his favorite cakes were he said he loved cheesecake and chocolate cake. So I said, "what about a chocolate cheesecake?" and he looked at me like I was nuts and said " I don't think that would taste very good, do you?" Honey, he doesn't know what he's in for. I used Swiss Bittersweet chocolate and added the zest from one orange to give it some umph.

Pre-Heat oven to 300 degrees.

First, you take a package of chocolate wafers, crushed and a 1/2 stick of melted butter and combine to form the crust. You then pour that mixture into the bottom of a well greased 9" springform pan, tamp down and chill until needed.

Then take 1 cup of heavy cream and scald over med-high heat...take off heat and cool for a few minutes then add 8-10 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate. Obviously, the better the chocolate the better the flavor. I used Lindt bittersweet. Stir until melted and then beat until cool and light in texture.

Take five egg yolks at room temp (Save the whites!) and combine with 1/2 a cup of sugar and beat until thick and lemon colored...make sure the mixture forms a ribbon when it pours off a spoon. Combine chocolate and egg mixture and set aside.

Put 1 lb softened cream cheese, 1 cup ricotta, 1 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and the zest of one orange in a large bowl and cream until smooth. Fold in the chocolate mixture.

Take the 5 egg whites, add a pinch of both salt and cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup sugar and beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter.

Pour into prepared springform pan and then place pan in a roasting pan. Fill roasting pan halfway up the side of the springform pan with cold water and place in the center of the slow oven.

Cook for 1 and 1/2 hours and turn the oven off without opening the door (please don't peek) Let the cheesecake sit for 1 hour in the oven and then take out to cool. When cooled completely, wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight.

Top with raspberries or strawberries and amaze your friends.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Greg told me this morning that he ran into a tourist yesterday who asked him where she could get great clam chowder. When he told her, she said that she'd never forget years ago eating at a place in Belfast called...Three Pirates ....or something like that and how the clam chowder there was the best she'd ever had. When Greg asked if it was 3Tides, she said indeed it was and then he told her that it was my clam chowder she'd had. Chalk one up for the best clam chowder I never ate.

4 years later, I don't even have the recipe nor do I remember how I made it. I know it had clams......I've got to find it for Greg's birthday party weekend.
I made sweet potato soup last night and just had a taste test with it this morning. Its thick and very smooth while cold and very strong on the sweet potato flavor. When hot, the ginger and orange flavors come through more. I liked it hot better.

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter
3 1/2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 small yellow onion, minced
3 teaspoons ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
2 large shallots, chopped
1 1/3 cups finely chopped celery
4-5 cups homemade chicken broth (mine had a bit of curry in it)
1 1/3 cups orange juice

Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large roasting pan. Remove from heat. Add sweet potatoes and sugar and toss to coat. add minced onions, ginger, salt and pepper. Roast until very tender and starting to brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in pot over medium heat. Add shallots, celery and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger and sauté until shallots begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add roasted sweet potatoes and sauté 2 minutes. Add broth and orange juice until vegetables are just covered. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until shallots and celery are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, puree soup in processor. Return soup to pot. Thin with more broth, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

The recipe I found used leeks instead of shallots and had an orange creme fraiche with hunks of lobster tails in the soup.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cribbed from the New York Times, here are over 30 ways to make quick easy meals in the summertime. I found it interesting that the authors used white beans so much. A chef I know commented that white beans were a lost delicacy and that nobody cooks with them anymore. Personally, I love Great Northern Beans and try and use them in meat dishes to make chili and taco fillings because they are so hearty.

1 Make six-minute eggs: simmer gently, run under cold water until cool, then peel. Serve over steamed asparagus.
2 Toss a cup of chopped mixed herbs with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a hot pan. Serve over angel-hair pasta, diluting the sauce if necessary with pasta cooking water.
3 Cut eight sea scallops into four horizontal slices each. Arrange on plates. Sprinkle with lime juice, salt and crushed chilies; serve after five minutes.
4 Open a can of white beans and combine with olive oil, salt, small or chopped shrimp, minced garlic and thyme leaves in a pan. Cook, stirring, until the shrimp are done; garnish with more olive oil.
5 Put three pounds of washed mussels in a pot with half a cup of white wine, garlic cloves, basil leaves and chopped tomatoes. Steam until mussels open. Serve with bread.
6 Heat a quarter-inch of olive oil in a skillet. Dredge flounder or sole fillets in flour and fry until crisp, about two minutes a side. Serve on sliced bread with tartar sauce.
7 Make pesto: put a couple of cups of basil leaves, a garlic clove, salt, pepper and olive oil as necessary in a blender (walnuts and Parmesan are optional). Serve over pasta (dilute with oil or water as necessary) or grilled fish or meat.
8 Put a few dozen washed littlenecks in a large, hot skillet with olive oil. When clams begin to open, add a tablespoon or two of chopped garlic. When most or all are opened, add parsley. Serve alone, with bread or over angel-hair pasta.
9 Pan-grill a skirt steak for three or four minutes a side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, slice and serve over romaine or any other green salad, drizzled with olive oil and lemon.
10 Smear mackerel fillets with mustard, then sprinkle with chopped herbs (fresh tarragon is good), salt, pepper and bread crumbs. Bake in a 425-degree oven for about eight minutes.
11 Warm olive oil in a skillet with at least three cloves sliced garlic. When the garlic colors, add at least a teaspoon each of cumin and pimentón. A minute later, add a dozen or so shrimp, salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley, serve with lemon and bread.
12 Boil a lobster. Serve with lemon or melted butter.
13 Gazpacho: Combine one pound tomatoes cut into chunks, a cucumber peeled and cut into chunks, two or three slices stale bread torn into pieces, a quarter-cup olive oil, two tablespoons sherry vinegar and a clove of garlic in a blender with one cup water and a couple of ice cubes. Process until smooth, adding water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, then serve or refrigerate, garnished with anchovies if you like, and a little more olive oil.
14 Put a few slices of chopped prosciutto in a skillet with olive oil, a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and a bit of butter; a minute later, toss in about half a cup bread crumbs and red chili flakes to taste. Serve over pasta with chopped parsley.
15 Call it panini: Grilled cheese with prosciutto, tomatoes, thyme or basil leaves.
16 Slice or chop salami, corned beef or kielbasa and warm in a little oil; stir in eggs and scramble. Serve with mustard and rye bread.
17 Soak couscous in boiling water to cover until tender; top with sardines, tomatoes, parsley, olive oil and black pepper.
18 Stir-fry a pound or so of ground meat or chopped fish mixed with chopped onions and seasoned with cumin or chili powder. Pile into taco shells or soft tacos, along with tomato, lettuce, canned beans, onion, cilantro and sour cream.
19 Chinese tomato and eggs: Cook minced garlic in peanut oil until blond; add chopped tomatoes then, a minute later, beaten eggs, along with salt and pepper. Scramble with a little soy sauce.
20 Cut eggplant into half-inch slices. Broil with lots of olive oil, turning once, until tender and browned. Top with crumbled goat or feta cheese and broil another 20 seconds.
21 While pasta cooks, combine a couple cups chopped tomatoes, a teaspoon or more minced garlic, olive oil and 20 to 30 basil leaves. Toss with pasta, salt, pepper and Parmesan.
22 Make wraps of tuna, warm white beans, a drizzle of olive oil and lettuce and tomato.
23 The New York supper: Bagels, cream cheese, smoked salmon. Serve with tomatoes, watercress or arugula, and sliced red onion or shallot.
24 Dredge thinly sliced chicken breasts in flour or cornmeal; cook about two minutes a side in hot olive oil. Place on bread with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.
25 Upscale tuna salad: good canned tuna (packed in olive oil), capers, dill or parsley, lemon juice but no mayo. Use to stuff a tomato or two.
26 Cut Italian sausage into chunks and brown in a little olive oil; chop onions and bell peppers and add them to the pan. Cook until sausage is browned and peppers and onions tender. Serve in sandwiches.
27 Egg in a hole, glorified: Tear a hole in a piece of bread and fry in butter. Crack an egg into the hole. Deglaze pan with a little sherry vinegar mixed with water, and more butter; pour over egg.
28 New Joe’s Special, from San Francisco: Brown ground meat with minced garlic and chopped onion. When just about cooked, add chopped spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. At the last minute, stir in two eggs, along with grated Parmesan and salt and pepper.
29 Chop prosciutto and crisp it in a skillet with olive oil; add chopped not-too-ripe figs. Serve over greens dressed with oil and vinegar; top all with crumbled blue cheese.
30 Quesadilla: Use a combination of cheeses, like Fontina mixed with grated pecorino. Put on half of a large flour tortilla with pickled jalapenos, chopped onion, shallot or scallion, chopped tomatoes and grated radish. Fold tortilla over and brown on both sides in butter or oil, until cheese is melted.
31 Fast chile rellenos: Drain canned whole green chilies. Make a slit in each and insert a piece of cheese. Dredge in flour and fry in a skillet, slit side up, until cheese melts.
32 Cobb-ish salad: Chop bacon and begin to brown it; cut boneless chicken into strips and cook it with bacon. Toss romaine and watercress or arugula with chopped tomatoes, avocado, onion and crumbled blue cheese. Add bacon and chicken. Dress with oil and vinegar.
33 Sauté 10 whole peeled garlic cloves in olive oil. Meanwhile, grate Pecorino, grind lots of black pepper, chop parsley and cook pasta. Toss all together, along with crushed dried chili flakes and salt.
34 Niçoise salad: Lightly steam haricot verts, green beans or asparagus. Arrange on a plate with chickpeas, good canned tuna, hard-cooked eggs, a green salad, sliced cucumber and tomato. Dress with oil and vinegar.
35 Cold soba with dipping sauce: Cook soba noodles, then rinse in cold water until cool. Serve with a sauce of soy sauce and minced ginger diluted with mirin and/or dry sake.
36 Fried egg “saltimbocca”: Lay slices of prosciutto or ham in a buttered skillet. Fry eggs on top of ham; top with grated Parmesan.
37 Frisée aux lardons: Cook chunks of bacon in a skillet. Meanwhile, make six-minute or poached eggs and a frisée salad. Put eggs on top of salad along with bacon; deglaze pan with sherry vinegar and pour pan juices over all.
38 Fried rice: Soften vegetables with oil in a skillet. Add cold takeout rice, chopped onion, garlic, ginger, peas and two beaten eggs. Toss until hot and cooked through. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil.


Friday, July 20, 2007

A friend took us to the Rhumb Line in Searsport the other night. Neither of us had ever been there, so we thought it would be a good adventure. I've always heard the food was good, but expensive and I have had their catered food at various parties around Belfast, so I was looking forward to it.
We walked in and I was immediately on guard. The restaurant is in an old sea captain's home on the north side of Searsport. The trouble with such spaces is that the owners tend to want to clutter it up to "authenticate" the space. The Rhumb Line was no different. Bold print wall papers and patterned rugs, lots of odd dust catching things on table tops, (rather like my house), random pictures on the wall hung every which way and big swag curtains in a "country chaaam" pattern all helped to turn my stomach and close in the space. The main dining room held about seven or eight tables, each having a bold red tablecloth, purple napkins, and huge blonde chairs that were ugly but comfy. Needless to say, the interior did not inspire confidence for the food. There were only two other tables dining, one with a screaming and crying baby in attendance and the proprietor asked us to come earlier than we'd wanted, probably so they could close early to watch "The Next Best Thing" on ABC.
We sat down and the server was very attentive. The drinks were served and all was well, nice pours on all the glasses and the server came back to ask us each, individually, how our drinks were.
We ordered and I had the special soup which was a broth base with ground pork, green chilies, scallions, and tomatoes. It was suprisingly light, but hearty a nice, simple choice to start the evening. Our friend had the artichoke salad, which looked and tasted good. Greg had the crab cakes, which he raved about at the table and then said they were miserable when we got home. He thought they were a bit mushy and had too much dill in them, an herb that can ruin seafood if applied to liberally. Greg likes his crab cakes to have a bit of a crunch instead of having the consistancy of warm tunafish.
The main courses arrived and my steak au poivre, which can be so good with the right cut of meat, looked a bit like salsbury steak. The cut was bad and fatty, so I was completely disappointed there. Accompanying my steak were a melange of really mushy vegetables and super smooth mashed potatoes. If you haven't learned by now, I judge food a lot by texture and so vegetables that can be sucked through one's teeth and mashed potatoes with no umpfff..really get me...its so easy to make this stuff delightful to look at and good to eat. At $26.00 for this dish, I would expect it to be better than what it was.
Greg had the scallops which he said were super rubbery from being over broiled. Even I know scallops take about 1 minute to cook for them to be perfect. His scallops arrived in a sauce that was scalding hot but tasty, so at least he had that to look forward to. Our friend had the crab cakes as an entree. She loves them there and has them every time she goes.
Dessert was a chocolate covered peanut butter pie that was a bit on the chalky side. Greg and I shared this and I already know that he felt the same way.
Frankly, I would rather go to Camden to pay this much for food. The price was probably a bit less than someplace like Francine's, but at least the atmosphere is better down there and you know the food will be perfect.

Atmosphere: In dire need of changing D-
Service: Very attentive A
Food: A completely disappointing C-
Price: Astonishingly expensive


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My ten year old nephew just went off to sleep away camp for the first time. Three weeks without his mom. I remember that my mom used to send us congo bars, essentially they were really gooey, rich, blondies.

I called my sister today to ask if he would like that and though she thought the sentiment was adorable, she said that because it is a Waldorf School camp, they don't allow sweets in care packages! So what are we supposed to send, shredded carrots, a nice ceasar salad, or perhaps a roast chicken?
My sister laughed and said that she actually sent him a Wall Street Journal article about 9 year olds promoting skateboarding products......Families these days!!! Sheesh

Here is the congo bar recipe:

2/3 cup butter melted
1 lb light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Melt the butter and add brown sugar; mix well and cool.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well each time.
Add dry ingredients and mix well.
Add the nuts and chocolate bits.
Put in a greased 9x13 pan and bake 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

**UPDATE** I thought the 1lb of brown sugar might be a misprint, so I just made these with a cup of brown sugar and they were awful...they had the texture of regular cookies, only drier. You really do need to make these with 1 lb of brown sugar...hey, your kids are away at camp...let the councilors deal with the sugar high!!


Sunday, July 15, 2007

David's Princess Torte

No really, its supposed to look like this.....its Swedish.

<------This frigging Princess Torte has me almost defeated. I called David several hours ago and told him that I gave up. After attempting to make the custard / whipped cream filling twice, I almost lost it. The first time, I made scrambled eggs instead of custard. The second time, I didn't let the milk scald and the custard never set. I tried to make the filling anyway and after folding in the whipped cream, the whole filling was runny, so I tried to freeze it to set it and I left it in there and got ice cream (which melted when I tried to frost the cake with it. )

I have two delicious new recipes for scrambled eggs and ice cream, but not one for custard filling. The third time seems to be the charm so far. The custard is perfect and setting well and the whipped cream is soft but strong. I have to reign in my impatience and wait for the custard to cool completely. If this round doesn't work, I have Jell-o pudding in a box that is guaranteed to set in 5 minutes...The used by date has me worried though. I reads 16 June 08 06 06 I cannot tell if the used by date is June 8, 06 or 16 June 08. Its from Nealey's so I am never sure. The other type of puddin' in a box was certainly expired, it had dust on the box and read March 07. Yikes!

Mine will certainly not look like the one above, which is about three times as thick as mine will be, but my martzipan is greener!!!

I'll keep you posted.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Oh my gods! Brian, the chef from The Edge, sent Greg home yesterday with a quart of peach soup that he made as the amuse bouche one night for dinner. Its friggin' amazing. I tried a spoonful of it cold from the fridge as I was calling to invite a friend for dinner to help us sample it and I found myself having another spoonful and then another. I guess you can't have just one.

David and Sarah at 3Tides are closer than ever to starting up Belfast's own micro-brewery. The space is almost done and the tanks go in next week. Its a very exciting time watching the new business progress. As soon as they get started and brew the first batch and its ready, David will be able to sell take away beer and live lobster from the Lb. You will also be able to get it right from the tap in the bar if you want to stay and enjoy the company of the regulars.

I'm just about to pull a flowerless chocolate cake out of the oven as its a friend's birthday today. Happy Birthday Larry! He wanted anything chocolate, so this is all about chocolate.

David wants me to make him a Princess Torte, a Swedish speciality cake, for his birthday on Monday. It calls for a layer of Spring-green colored marzapan over the entire cake. Me and my big mouth for asking.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

You know summer is here when you'd rather cook on the grill than anything else. Its cleaner, easier and the house doesn't smell of roasting meat. Of course roasting meat is a great smell, but it drives our dogs nuts. They sit outside the kitchen door and whine for about 1 hour, cause they know that they might get a nice warm juicy piece of skin off the chicken.

Last night I cooked a turkey breast on the grill. Its so easy and practical. The breasts are sometimes too expensive, but yesterday, Hannaford was having a marked down for quick sale. 12 bucks for a large breast that will feed us at least through sandwiches tomorrow, making the per plate cost $2.00, without considering the added bonus of making homemade turkey broth... can't beat that with a wooden spoon!
Anyway, I did the turkey the same way I do chickens, drizzled olive oil and rubbed fresh sea salt. We have a four burner grill, so I fired up the outside burners and left the middle two off, plopped the breast in the middle of the grill and let it sit there at 300 degrees for 1.5 hours. It was totally moist and juicy. Served it up with sauteed asparagus and some slices of meunster cheese and off to watch a movie we went. Yumm.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New friends gave me a recipe today that I know will be great, coming from them. I am dying to try much so that I wish Nealey's (our local gas station, "convenience" and hardware store, and topless bar) carried pectin so I could run right out and get started. I hope I'm not posting some ancient family recipe, handed down from Great Aunt Gert to cousin Maude to Granma Rose to momma to me kind of thing. If it is, I am so sorry. I would never post my Great Aunt's meatball recipe on here!

There isn't a copyright on it, so here goes:

Rose Petal Jelly
(from my garden.)
2 Cups Water

3 cups Rose petals

2.5 cups sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 oz pectin

Boil water, remove from heat and steep petals. (I'm lovin this already). After 1/2 an hour, strain and return to boil. Add sugar and lemon and boil for 2 minutes. Add pectin and boil for three minutes.
This recipe is full of cool stuff I don't do often, like steep and decant. I dunno about you, but I'm excited. I think that rose blossom above is about three cups by itself. Great year so far for roses.

Monday, July 09, 2007

I made a lot of cheesecakes a few weeks ago, so many so that I don't need to make it for a while, and in fact, it took me this long to post the recipe. The first one I made of this batch is the one pictured above which came out beautifully. There was some extra batter, so I quickly made a smaller one for home use, but because it was so thin, it came out a bit dry. Of course, the chef of a very nice restaurant and his wife, who manages same restaurant invited us for lunch one day and I ended up bringing the thin cheesecake to them....with apologies for it being so dry! Oh well, someday I will make amends.
Anyway here is the recipe for the above:
I made a graham cracker crust for this, but it really doesn't need a crust at all. You could also make a chocolate cookie crust too.
The batter is:
1 lb cream chesse, softened
2 cups ricotta
1 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled
5 eggs at room temp
3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 tablespoons each corn starch and flour
2 cups sour cream (folded in at last minute)
cream cheeses and sugar together until fluffy, add butter and mix well. add room temp eggs, one by one mixing well after each one. Then add vanilla, and cornstarch and flour and mix well. Fold in sour cream. Pour into ungreased 9" springform pan and set in the middle of a slow oven 325 degrees for one hour. After an hour turn off oven (do not open door) and let cheesecake sit for 2 hours. Cool completely. Best made a day before and refrigerated. Decorate top with favorite fresh fruit (shut up bitch!) and amaze your guests.
If you find that the texture is a bit dry, you can add a deep pan of water in the oven to keep the moisture levels up.
We took off yesterday for Trenton, Maine to several auction previews. Trenton is up towards Bar Harbor and we weren't prepared for all the traffic! Anyway, we stopped at Abbracci's in Searsport for breakfast. Abbracci's is where Periwinkles bakery used to be, on route 1 just south of Searsport. I've been wanting to stop there for a while and was impressed with the selection of coffees and the interior of the space, which is very homespun and as different as one could get from the old Periwinkles space. I was very suprised to learn that a limited selection was available for dinner there as well. I ordered a sticky bun and a blueberry scone and was delighted with the sticky bun...I should actually say gooey bun, because it was just filled with gooey honey and cinnamon goodness. The texture was just right and the cinnamon swirl was pure heaven. Greg and I sat in the car and devoured it. Neither one of us likes scones very much, but this one was fresh and tasty. I just remembered that most of it is still in the car.....hey, its even good the next day with tea!

What I like about this place is that a young couple works there, probably the owners, and they are doing this all themselves. The front of their building is their house and the bakery / restaurant is in the old barn out back. I'll be interested to try their dinner menu which is all Italian, a cuisine choice that has been lacking in Belfast or in the surrounding area. Give this place a try, they seem to have lots of choices for coffees and such.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

We went into Belfast for the Arts in the Park festival. There were maybe a handful of worthwhile vendors and the rest were pure "my parents went to Maine for the weekend and all I got was this silly ________" (insert wierd touristy item here).

Afterwards though, we decided to get a quick bite at the Dockside, Belfast's hidden in plain sight okish restaurant with fantastic views. We never think to go here when we are looking for somewhere to eat...I pass it almost every day and never notice the place, but its been there for a long time. We ate out on the deck out back and had a table right on the end overlooking the harbor. Greg had a haddock dinner which he said was ok, not the best and I had the chicken ceasar salad which was good, though it could've come on a bigger plate or in a big bowl. Dressing was served on the side and difficult to toss into the salad without making a huge mess. The thing I like about this place is that the staff is super friendly, the food is good for a quick meal at lunchtime and the view off the deck is better than some pricier places in Camden. The bill for the two meals (Greg's came with salad and potato and mine came with a roll and two large sodas was $24.00 without tip. That woulda been the cost for one person down at the Waterfront in Camden. So this is a good economical place to eat and the outdoor atmosphere is GREAT.

Food: B
Atmosphere on the deck A++++
Atmosphere inside: About the same as a Denny's
Service and Server: A-

I had another WWJD moment last night after I invited our neighbors over for steak on the grille. Thats about all we had and I was in to mood to cook. I had a lot of celery hearts left over from bloody mary's last sunday and a couple of leeks that needed to be used. I found a recipe that was interesting to me, so I took it and tweaked it and found that the soup was very nice. It was tasty either hot or cold. I call it Leftover Soup.
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup champagne (optional..I had some left over and had to use it)
2 celery ribs washed and coursely chopped
2 leeks washed and coursely chopped
2 boiling potatoes coursely chopped ( I used purple potatoes and left the skins on)
1 apple, coursely chopped
1 banana coursely chopped
couple of dashes of curry
1 cup buttermilk or 1/2 and 1/2 or even whole milk
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste
Simmer vegetables and fruit in the chicken / champagne broth until tender, about 12 minutes. Add milk, butter and curry powder and cook another 10 minutes (do not boil) until the vegetables are nice and cooked. Pulse in blender until smooth and then force through a fine mesh sieve. Serve either hot or cold.
In the photo below, the thing in the middle is actually celery pesto that I made with just celery leaves and olive oil with sea salt and pepper.

Along with the grilled steak and soup, I served yellow squash done on the grille and a champagne and asiago cheese risotto that was done long before the steak was grilled and so sat around for about 30 was sticky and terrible. It was really good when it was first done though!


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

We are going off to a friend's cookout in Belfast and I decided to be Martha of Maine and make a lemon tart with my rendition of the stars and stripes. The only fruit I find at Hannaford that was white were apples, so we'll see if they will hold up and not turn brown by the time the cookout happens. The lemon tart recipe is on the blog from last fourth of July (thank the stars its a different crowd this year)
Have fun, be safe, and enjoy

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

So I have it from one of my spies that all sorts of changes are afoot at Natalie's in Camden. Word has it that the chef left last Saturday and that Abby, the founder of the restaurant, is on her way out too. Abby sold the restaurant to the owners of the Camden Harbour Inn when she relocated the restaurant there from the old MBNA Mill.

A Maine Foodie Spy had dinner there on Sunday with a group of Camdenites and the reports were at once hysterical with all the mishaps and also a bit maddening with the prices one pays there. The restaurant is serving a prix fixe menu for the next several weeks while they sort out the whole chef deal. Five courses and a glass of wine cost my spy almost 80 dollars and when I asked how the meal was I was told.."it was a lot of hype for cold soup, freezing temperatures and flies." The cool soup refered to the split pea soup that was served along with a piping hot scallop. There was confusion as to whether the soup was meant to be lukewarm or whether they just didn't get it right. Knowing now that the executive chef had already left, I vote for the fact that it was a mistake. The main course was a choice of steak or hallibut. My spy had the steak which she said was on the extremely small side and had the most horrendous hickory smoked flavor to it that was not revealed in the menu. There was a fly that buzzed around her table all evening and she said the room was ice cold with the air conditioner blowing right on them.
Even with all the problems, my spy did say that the restaurant was worth a second visit once they finally had all their ducks in a row. She commented a lot on the interior which is a very European all over white with black stained floors and red accents. They spent a lot on the decor apparently.

OK, well thats it for me today. Happy Fourth!


Friday, June 29, 2007

We had a hankerin for Thai, so we went back to Seng Thai for an orange chicken that was out of this world. I have to tell you that I've avoided ordering the orange chicken because it usually comes with that nasty gelatinous goo that tastes like tang covering the chicken. But, Seng Thai's orange chicken is totally fresh and homemade. The orange sauce has a wonderful scent to it that is completely heavenly. We had the green curry again too. Mmmm. The one sour note was the wine. Seng Thai serves four wines, and they are all pretty cheap. I could drink them if they were chilled. Cheap red wine tastes so much better going down when its chilled.

We stopped by 3Tides on the way home and the summer season is certainly in full swing there. We need to stop by right after working hours when all our friends drop by and leave before 7 when the money starts rolling in the door. We didn't know a soul and even had to introduce ourselves to the new bartender, Seth. I was heartbroken when Little Luna said "goodnight Death" and she wasn't talking to me!!! Though she came over to tell me that she made my vodka upstairs in her kitchen... :-) (for those not in the know, Luna is just over 2 )
Jason instructed Seth on how to make my usual drink and he did it pretty well...lets just say it was a bit redder than I'm used to.
All in all a good evening.

Greg is having an open studio on Sunday and I am making the food. I'm thinking of something with brioche dough or perhaps sausage puffs and something with curried chicken salad. Greg has given me the directive that it has to be dry, no messy food around the merchandise!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Oh, by the way...check out the comment about pizza night below. Dwayne was kind enough to share his crust recipe with us. It calls for honey and wine...thats my kinda dough. He keeps saying he thought it was yeasty, so you might want to take that into account if you make it...if you do make it, Greg and I are free for dinner most week nights, just email me!

Nothing much to post about these days. Greg and I are pretty tired when we get home from workin on the boat. We did have a really tasty salad the other night with baby spinach, shredded carrots, a beautiful tomato and warm chicken breast sauteed in oil. broth and madras curry powder. Then I added some more broth to the pan and drizzled it over the salad along with good olive oil, fresh ground sea salt, and some apple cider vinegar. mmmm healthy. Greg made it decadent by buttering a piece of bread and making a salad sammie!

Am in the airport waiting for my flight to NYC. Be back tomorrow night with a painting of a dog under my arm....pray for me and keep your fingers crossed that this thing doesn't sell into the stratosphere

Enjoy, Seth

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I was curious about the new market that opened up in the old Belfast Brewpub site across the bridge. Rumor had it, and I had it from a good source, that the market would be Belfast's answer to the Market Basket in Camden. The market, alternately called Jones Trading Post or Jones disitinctive grocer, depending on the sign you read, is actually Belfast's answer to Nealey's in Northport with some not too fresh meat in the meat case. Greg and I walked in there and were immediately struck by how disorganzied and dirty the place is. Half the shelves aren't stocked and what they are stocked with are pampers and canned corn...not twelve types of olive oil and fresh tapenade as we were led to belive. There is a wine bin and a deli counter, but the fare is not as tantelizing as it needs to be. We already have Jacks, Belfast Variety, the Bayside store, Tozier's and Hannaford...why oh why does the owner of this place think that his venture can succeed when the only distinction that I can see is that his meat is past its prime and looks like it fell off the back of a truck! I can't believe that we went into a grocery store to buy cheese and came out with nothing.....this place is not worth a special trip. Drive on past and go to Tozier's in Searsport, they have much better meat.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pizza-Off night was awesome last night. There were eight of us there and four of us making the pizza---three grown men and 1 grown woman playing top chef..the cameras should have been rolling. Like us, our friends have a half finished kitchen and I have appliance envy. Not only to they have some tough looking six burner gas stove, but they have a full-size side by side, so the fridge is full size single door and the freezer is too...damn thats hot! I digress.

Dwayne totally won last night with his hand-tossed free -form pizza with fresh mozzerella and basil. He made a sauteed mushroom pizza too, but I was too stuffed by then. Though he professed his inexperience at cooking, I think we have a natural in the making. He made his own sauce AND his own crust, having never done so before and was then critcal of his own I said, a natural.

Pete took the prize for originality with his lemon and seasalt pizza. Now if he would make his own dough, I wouldn't have to disqualify him for using Hannaford dough!

Peggie wins for most colorful and healthy with a no sauce veggie pizza that was really fresh tasting and beautiful to behold.

I made my rosemary and salt foccacia dough and added fresh tomatos, fresh basil, hot sausage and monteray jack cheese.
But I won for most decadent dessert for my chipwiches!

I hope to have photos for the blog later on.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

The curry was way better the second day.

We are going to a pizza-off tonight in Belfast. Everyone has to make a pizza and then we'll determine who made the best. But get this, you don't have to make your own dough! Thats three-quarters of pizza making right there! Needless to say, I am making my own crust. Two cups white flour, about a cup of corn meal or other grains, a good dash of fresh sea salt and fresh rosemary, 1/4 cup of olive oil and cup cup hot tap water with two packs of yeast dissolved. Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl and pour tap water over yeast in its own bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Pour into flour mixture and stir with fork until dough forms. Add olive oil and knead in the bowl. If the dough is spongy, slowly add some flour to balance it out and then a few dashes more of olive oil. knead some more and then cover the bowl with saran wrap and a tea towel and place bowl in a slightly warm oven (this is my trick to get dough to rise here in Maine in the winter) After an hour, the dough should've doubled in bulk or more. Punch down and knead again in bowl and repeat rising technique for another 1/2 to and hour. Roll finished dough onto pizza stone or cookie sheet or whatever and shape your form. Cover in toppings and put into a 450 degree oven until deep golden brown and crispy. I like to use fresh grated cheddar cheese for my pizzas.

Am also making milk chocolate chip cookies with cinnamon and orange peel and lots of brown sugar. To these I am adding vanilla ice cream to make homemade chipwiches for dessert...mmmm
2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
1 egg
1 tspoon vanilla
shakes of cinnamon and some fresh orange zest
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teasoon baking soda
1 pack of Girardelli milk chocolate chips
cream butter and sugar, add egg, mix...add vanilla and cinnamon and zest. Mix in flur and baking soda and then add chips. Mix and spoon onto greased cookie sheets
into pre heated 350 degree oven until golden brown.

I attempted to make red curry last night and it came out less than stellar. I was grocery shopping and found red curry paste at was the only curry they had and I assume that it was probably not the "best." My curry lacked the robust flavors that a really good curry should have. Tangie pronouced it "not un-good" last night. We tought it needed more coconut milk. So, to the leftovers I added some more coconut milk and stuck the whole thing in the fridge...we'll see about today. Could it also have been my lack of fish sauce? Greg thought it too limey. I just thought it lacked the inital flavor that made you want to go back for me.
The spice was a medium spice, which was ok, but there still wasn't any inital ummph to the flavor.
My recipe called for me to heat up two tablespoons oil and then cook 1 tablespoon red curry paste. Add 1 can coconut milk and 1 can broth with a squuze of fresh line juice and a couple of dashes of fish sauce...which I didn't use, and a handful of chopped fresh basil. I pounded chicken breast and cut it into strips cooking it in the red curry soup and then added broccoli, peas, and asparagus. As I said, it was ok, but not great....I need it to be great or else I won't make it again.
Any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Greg and I decided to be brave and try the new restaurant in Searsport last night. Its called The Old Mill Stream Eatery. Located where the Chocolate Grille used to be, the restaurant hasn't been changed too much, except that the new owners added their own "chaaam" to the place, meaning curtains and artwork that would make Holly Hobby proud. I used to think that the space was somewhat cool and had lots of potential when Chocolate Grill was there. Now, I just think the restaurant is sad...very sad. It almost has the charm of a hospital cafeteria, despite the too loud motown jamboree playing on the stereo.

Greg kept asking as we sat down whether I wanted to leave. We knew as we came through the door and smelled the food service food that the restaurant would not be one where we would return. But, we decided to stay and brave the bad food and poor service. As we looked around at the other tables we marveled that there was at least one person who weighed 250 lbs or more at each table. Not too many were engaged in conversation, and everyone had something fried.

The menu is the same as at most restaurants on the coast, fried fish and fries, a steak cut or two and some chowdahs. It appeared to be the medium priced entrees from one of the food services around. This is a higher priced version of what you can get at the Irving Station restaurant just a couple of miles north.

Greg had the fried clams and fries special and I had the New York strip with potato puffs which were tasteless except for the butter and salt that I had to put on them to make them palettable. Our meal came with "warm rolls' (read: microwaved white bread rolls) and salad, which was iceburg lettuce, some sad peppers, and raw red onion. Yuck! The steak was a nice cut of meat and I was suprised at that. Greg said his clams were actually fresh and very good. The bill was less than I thought it would be, but at $40.00 was still too expensive for the drive to Searsport and the type of food served.

But I still don't think I could go back to this restaurant because the atmosphere is sooooo bad. I used to think the Chocolate Grille had a good bar area, but the Eatery seems to have done away with that. The bar is still there, but there was no bartender and the drinks were made by the server. How odd is that? I would think with the bar already there, the owners would open it up and attract the drinking crowd, after all, its the best way to make a profit in the restaurant business.

Sadly, I cannot imagine that this place will last and so that space will be forever cursed as a restaurant and will remain empty.

Atmosphere: F
Food: B (the rolls and salad kept the score down)
Service: C