My favorite product in Bar Harbor – Fiore Olive Oils and Vinegars. It’s a tasting room. It’s culinary inspiration. It’s art. It’s delicious! Every time I go in they have new products to taste. So I spent a short while thinking about how to use the Chocolate Aged Balsamic. And one of the wonderful staff members said that she’d been wanting to try it with the Blood Orange olive oil. And she was spot on, the combination was perfect! So I went home to make a dressing for a Baby Spinach Salad.
I started out wanting to use fresh cherries but my husband had just finished them! So I opted to soak some cranberries in a little of the Balsamic and the Vinegar for a couple hours. I toasted some walnuts, crumbled some goat cheese and tossed them into a bowl of baby spinach. I put the marinated cranberries in the salad, tossed on the oil and vinegar they’d been soaking in and added some coarsely ground fresh black pepper and a new salad was born!
Fiore just opened a store in Rockland that I understand has been doing very well, naturally. For many years I’ve been very particular about my olive oils, and I must admit, I’m completely hooked on Fiore’s and won’t buy any others!
While I was there, I purchased a nice gift box of a four pack variety for an upcoming closing gift – keeping it local!
THAT is what you do with leftover lobster!
1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour Cream all but the last two ingredients until smooth. Add the baking powder and flour and mix until just incorporated. On floured surface, shape into large ball and flatten to about 1 1/4 inch. Cut disc into 6 wedges and place on parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Mix 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of cream and brush the tops of the scones, then dust with coarse sugar. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until edges are just lightly browned. I don't attempt to make preserves when Stonewall Kitchen makes the best (particularly their red raspberry). However, I did make a pineapple rhubarb jam one time that I concocted myself and didn't write it down and should have. Basically I cooked equal parts chopped rhubarb and pineapple with sugar and a little water, let it reduce and cook for 30 minutes or so, then pureed with a stick blender. Let it cool and it was delicious! The combination of the sweet pineapple with the tart rhubarb was just a great match. That was worth making again… Quick tip: make ahead, bake later – cut the scone dough and freeze to bake off later. They freeze beautifully (before baking)!
A friend of ours dug these beauties up for us the other day and we decided to make traditional, simple clam chowder. We first steamed the clams, removed them from the shells, gave them a rough chop and set them aside. We strained the cooking liquid through a coffee filter sitting in a chinois (fine mesh strainer) to remove any sand. We then chopped up a few potatoes, onions and celery and sauteed until soft; add the reserved cooking liquid, some milk (we used half and half and 1% milk but you could just use whole milk) and cook on medium heat for about an hour. This isn’t a thick, roux based soup, it’s a natural milk base, the real New England way. Toss in the clams and simmer for 10 more minutes, add freshly cracked black pepper and serve. I’ll try and hold out eating the leftovers we froze until the first snowfall!
A Simple and Elegant Fruit Dish - an inspiration from a visit to Manzanillo, Mexico. Papaya, Mango and Strawberries with Basil Simple Syrup and Fresh Lemon: allow the papaya and mango to fully ripen; cut into small chunks, toss with the juice of 2 lemons and the zest of the lemons. Add in a handful of sliced strawberries. Gently mix.
2 Cups white sugar, 1 1/2 cups water, 3 tablespoons corn syrup – bring slowly to a boil over medium heat. Add a large bunch of finely chopped basil and reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Toss with the fruit and allow to meld in the refrigerator at least a few hours before serving. It looks like a sunrise served in a tall glass.
A friend of mine brought me some freshly dug clams from his property today. I used about 3 dozen Cherrystone (which aren’t a native clam but apparently they can be found if you know where to look).
I sauteed 1 onion, 4 garlic cloves (I use a zester to grate the garlic, extracting the oils), sweated until soft, added 1 cup of Sauvignon Blanc and then added the clams and covered for about 10 minutes. I took the clams out of the pan, removed the clams from the shells and rough chopped them. I added about 1 cup of heavy cream to the cooking liquid and let it reduce by about half. I added the chopped clams back in with a couple tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley and a dash of saffron and let it cook for a couple minutes. I added al dente linguine and tossed with some fresh grated Parmesan, freshly grated black pepper and served over some baby spinach. Bon Appetit!
This is a savory cheesecake. It’s more of a cheese dip, but holds together like a cheesecake. Talk about the perfect appetizer for cocktail hour? I needed to bring an appetizer to a dinner party – and decided to make this Mushroom and Caramelized Shallot Cheesecake with 4 cheeses and a touch of fresh baby spinach. It is out of this world! It can be a side dish, an appetizer, or a light meal with a salad and glass of wine.
So here’s the recipe:
In a mixing bowl, combine 3 twelve oz. packages of room temperature cream cheese, 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 cup heavy cream. Mix until creamy. Add 4 eggs, incorporating one at a time until combined.
Saute 4 large shallots until slightly browned. Add 16 oz. of sliced mushrooms – I used Cremini, but any will do. Add 1 teaspoon Worcestershire and a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper. Saute until they’re all fragrant and caramelized. Remove a third of the mixture and set aside. Add 1 cello-package of fresh baby spinach to the pan and cover. Cook for a couple minutes and then remove from heat. Let cool a couple minutes.
Chop or shred 2 cups total of the following cheeses: white cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyere or Swiss, and Manchego (the Gruyere or Swiss and Parmesan are a must). Add to egg/cheese mixture.
Fold in spinach and 1/3 of the mushroom and shallots and mix well.
Spray an 8 or 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray and coat lightly with breadcrumbs.
Pour cheesecake mixture in and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Then add remaining shallot and mushroom mixture to the top, toss another handful of shredded Parmesan and freshly ground pepper on top and bake an additional 15 minutes. Let cool for 1o minutes before slicing.
Note: the mushrooms and shallots are not necessary – they were my adaptation of this recipe. The original as it was given to me used 1 package of frozen and thawed/drained spinach and none of the shallots or mushrooms and was absolutely delicious as well. Feel free to put your own twist on it!
Serve with crusty bread or crackers and enjoy!