After a short 15 minute walk into the woods behind our house I stumbled upon these beauties! I’ve never harvested any mushrooms before but this variety was obvious to me. I knew what I had in front of me, and yes, I did a bit of a happy dance! So many things to make with them! A nice sauté with shallots and butter to accompany grilled salmon tomorrow night is on tap. But I would love to do a mushroom bisque with these too. And tempura mushrooms! I’ll report back after my next foraging excursion…where? I cannot tell!
I’m excited to be a part of this annual event in Portland this year, it will be my second time as a participant! Last year I did something with my favorite tool, the torch. This year I’m going to do the same, just different fruit and sauce.
As a HUGE foodie, admirer of professional chefs and fan of Food Network, I got to meet Michele Ragussis of the Next Food Network Star (that’s her, 2nd to right with the cool hair) at a press meeting last week. Hey Michele, my middle name is also Michele with one L, by the way! She was also on Chopped (one of my favorite shows); I told her I wanted Chopped to host a themed show for innkeepers, an all breakfast version as I love a good challenge! Maybe I’ll email the show… Also in the picture are Alison Pray and Tara Smith (far left and right) of Standard Baking Company in Portland.
Come visit us all at this delicious event!
The fun includes:
- toasted marshmallow
- oven roasted tomato and peppercorn (great for Bloody Marys)
- grapefruit basil
- blueberry thai basil
- chile pepper
Anyone who follows me knows that I like to use the torch in the kitchen. So I decided to burn some marshmallows to infuse. That’s where it started. There are marshmallow flavored vodkas out there but I wanted to try making my own, but with my favorite Maine spirit, Twenty 2. I like a good Bloody Mary now and then (think I learned that from my parents, thanks mom and dad!) and most of all, I love citrus and basil. Oh and let’s not forget about the sweet and spicy cocktails, so I had to do a spicy infusion!
The last five need another day or two and I’ll post about those later!
Next up? Cocktails using the infusions! Stay tuned…
A REALTOR friend from Maryland whom I met on Twitter sent me the nicest gesture of thanks for simply sharing my knowledge (social media and real estate) – a tin of that fabulous Maryland Old Bay Seasoning. So I had some Maine crab and decided to make a crab dip seasoned with Old Bay, a bit of mayo, ricotta and white cheddar. Delish! Thank you, Chris!
The Bangor Metro magazine decided to do a feature in their March issue for Maine Maple Sunday. They decided to interview me for their “food file” section. So I did a recipe for caramels using Maine maple syrup!
Maple Pecan Turtles
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
4 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. pure maple extract
8 oz. chopped pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Maine sea salt (optional)
quarter sheet pan (rimmed baking sheet about 9×13 or smaller)
Line baking sheet with parchment and coat very lightly with butter or cooking spray. Spread all but 2 tablespoons of the pecans evenly and set aside.
In a 3-quart saucepan, combine evaporated milk, maple syrup, corn syrup, butter, and sugar and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. The mixture will take at least 15 minutes to get near 220°, but goes quickly from that point so keep watching. Add the maple extract and continue to cook until the caramel reaches 250° and appears dark caramel in color.
Pour the caramel over the pecans. Toss the chocolate chips over the hot caramel and let sit for 20 seconds or so. Then spread chocolate with an offset spatula to coat evenly.
Toss the remaining pecans over the chocolate. Scatter a few sprinkles of the larger grains of sea salt over the mixture. Let harden at room temperature for a few hours or place in freezer for 30 minutes. Cut into squares. Keep in air-tight container at room temperature.
For best results, Moos suggests wrapping the hearts individually in waxed paper for gifts, as they soften as they warm up.
1 pint of ripe strawberries and 1 half pint raspberries, crushed, add to airtight container and cover with 2 cups vodka. Let sit in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
Add to a shaker with ice, 1 cup of the berry vodka, 1/4 cup St. Germain and shake. Fill a martini glass with about 1/4 cup club soda and fill the rest with the berry mixture. Add a small piece of lemon peel and enjoy!
This is the natural color, there is no added juice at all. It’s beautiful and delicious!
I thought I would post a blueberry recipe today since I just found a link to my blog from WildBlueberryHealthBlog.com today. They named me their #5 food blogger for us foodies infatuated with Maine!
White Chocolate Chip Blueberry Oatmeal Cookie
Makes about 36
1 stick butter, softened
¾ cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup medium cut oats (not quick cooking)
2 cups flour
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup fresh Maine blueberries (if using frozen, allow to thaw and drain completely; or you can use non-Maine blueberries if you have to)
Preheat oven to 350
In mixing bowl combine butter, sour cream and sugars in mix on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and mix until smooth.
Add baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and salt to mixture and combine.
Fold in oats, then flour and mix until just blended. Fold in white chocolate chips.
Drop onto parchment or silicone lined baking sheet by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until puffed and barely dry to the touch. Try not to allow the cookie to brown.
These are actually soft enough to make in small muffin tins.
Thanks to my friend Sarah, owner of Beachmere Inn, she reintroduced me to St. Germain French liqueur which comes from the Elderflower. And it is FABULOUS! So I’ve been performing some cautious experimentation with it as it’s not inexpensive. Today I created one cocktail with fresh Clementine juice, St. Germain, Twenty2 Vodka from Maine, a splash of Chambord and club soda; the other with Clementine juice, vanilla vodka and Twenty2 vodka.
Here are the details of my St. Germain Clementine:
Juice 6 Clementines to yield 3/4 cup
Mix 1/2 cup Clementine juice
1/4 cup Twenty2 vodka
1/8 cup St. Germain
1/8 cup Chambord
1/4 cup cranberry juice shake over ice, then add 1/4 cup club soda and stir – makes 2-3 cocktails
The Clementine Creamsicle:
1/4 cup Clementine juice
1/4 cup vanilla vodka
1/8 cup Twenty2 vodka shake over ice
I first had a cocktail with St. Germain at Maine Bartenders Bash last year in March, for the kickoff to Maine Restaurant Week (where this year I will be one of the 5 judges for the dessert competition!!). The cocktail was the creation of Portland’s, The Corner Room and bartender John Meyers.
“The Rathbone Sour”:
1 1/2 ounce Cold River Vodka
1 ounce St. Germain (Elderflower)
3/4 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
4-6 Fresh Basil Leaves
Muddle the St. Germain and basil. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a basil leaf or lemon twist.
I’m going to recreate my orange and basil cocktail using this recipe! Thanks to The Beachmere Inn for reintroducing me to St. Germain – I was at the inn this past weekend and they made a “Beachmere Bubbly” with St. Germain, Champagne and Club Soda – it was fabulous!
Maine Restaurant Week runs March 1-12 with a kickoff event February 28th.
My sweet tooth and I are thrilled to be one of the five judges for the new dessert competition this year.
Come join us for this fabulous foodie event!