Pea Pesto Crostini

More than ever, my guests are eating a “plant forward” or Vegan diet , or simply avoiding the heavier appetizers.

That’s the time to say “we see you” with an appetizer that will please everyone, even that thin-as -a -rail Vegan niece.

Try visualizing “whirled peas”. No really! Fresh, blanched and drained peas whirled in the cuisinart with good EVOO, Parmesan, parsley leaves, seasonings and toasted pine nuts.

Bright green and velvety, this spread needs no recipe, just salt to tastes and spread on freshly toasted baguette right before serving. The color will oxidize if done too far ahead.

Simple, good for you and appealing even to kids….VISUALIZE WHIRLED PEAS this Independence Day!

A New England Fourth of July

We here in New England value several things to mark this Great American Holiday. Ideally family around the table, sparklers and fireworks.

A plater of salmon, peas and new potatoes tells guests that the garden is on point. In Maine we might throw a lobster boil with “all the things” as side dishes. It’s generally too early for local corn on the cob, but new dill, potatoes and shelling peas are new and exciting at this time every year. Ditto the salad greens.

Lunch is over, and the grill is cooling down. Desserts are set out and the lemonade its refilled.

Before the lawn games begin and the fireflies fade into fireworks, let’s give thanks for the independent spirit, our families and the people that make our country still the greatest on earth.


June is a heady month.

The first greens of spring offer incredible salads. The asparagus bed is producing and the rhubarb is in overdrive.

Rhubarb is something I never tire of. Rheum, or the garden variety we know from Grandmother’s garden is a plant with many culinary and medicinal uses. Famously tart, it’s almost always used with sugar. Only the stalks are edible. It has savory applications too (think of a glaze paired with ginger, hoisin and hot honey for barbecued chicken). Or a yummy toast spread.

My favorite is a deep dish pie or crisp paired with lemon and lots of vanilla. I’ll share my recipe in this month’s seasonal recipes section.

Meanwhile , if you can’t keep up with your crop of rhubarb, it freezes beautifully. Or make a fine bouquet!

These are wonderful summer days, enjoy!

Rhubarb Crisp

This recipe is wonderful with the season’s first tender stalks, but if you don’t mind “stringing” the stalks like celery, you can use them all season long. I like to dice and freeze extra for the winter months. Make your dice about a half inch, it holds up to the baking better.

RHUBARB CRISP, serves 6 to 8. Bake until bubbly at 350 degrees, about 40 minutes

3 # trimmed rhubarb stalks
Zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tb vanilla and a dash of cinnamon
1 tsp. Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup quick cooking tapioca

Mix all together. Let this soak and soften the tapioca while you prepare a bottom crust, or this can be omitted. Sometimes a crunchy topping is enough.

1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 stick of cold butter

Cut the butter into the dry mixture .

1/2 cup crumbled quick oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts , if desired

Grease a glass pan of choice with butter, add the rhubarb mixture.
Top evenly with the crumble. I add a few more pieces of butter on top of all.
We enjoy this dessert hot out of the oven with a local vanilla ice cream or gelato!


Homemade Buttermilk Dill Ranch Dressing




Add, to taste FRESH LEMON JUICE, no seeds, I like a bit of lemon zest and EVOO.

Whisk together TO COMBINE, then refrigerate in a covered jar.

This delicious SALAD DRESSING will keep for a week or more!

Use sparingly, especially on TENDER SPRING GREENS

Eat . Your . Vegetables.    And enjoy the fleeting jewels of Spring.

~ Chef Laura

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Photo Credit Laura Cabot

We’re talking claytonia. It looks like a tiny, edible water lily with a flower in the center, a tender oval green with a long graceful stem. Also known as Miner’s Lettuce in the West, claytonia may actually be the way the West was won.
During the goldrush, native claytonia kept the miners alive at times when other food was scare and things weren’t, er, panning out. It’s absolutely loaded with Vitamin C.

We’re fortunate to have Barbara Boardman of White Duck Farm in Waldoboro active in her greenhouse planting and harvesting these delectables and others varieties of young and succulent greens. Much like a Spring hen starved for something fresh, we of Waldoboro flock to our greens “pick up station “ at a designated spot in town, tote home our bags of fresh greens and create abundant salads out of Barb’s greens.

The claytonia is my personal favorite, since it is available for the short Spring season only, and I relish it’s fresh and sprightly flavor! We like to mix it with other young and tender greens like the first kales and butter lettuces.
Pair this pretty Spring green with a creamy homemade Ranch dressing loaded with fresh dill weed.

Please check for our Ranch dressing recipe under Seasonal recipes,

Happy Eating and Happy Spring!

Savory SKYR Sauce

Photo Credit Laura Cabot

A word about Skyr.

I love it for breakfast with my homemade granola and fresh berries . I always thought it was a yogurt, but it is ,in fact, a cheese and tremendously healthful, full of probiotics. It takes a savory turn in Icelandic cuisine as outlined here in Chef Gunnar Karl’s recipe from his restaurant Dill.

  • 1/2 half cup skyr
  • 6 TB sour cream
  • 1 TB honey
  • Sea salt, fresh nutmeg to taste

Cider vinegar to taste.

Combine all, cover and chill for a few hours to let the flavors marry. A perfect dip or spread for meats and crudity!

Couldn’t be easier.

Food Safari Iceland

I’ve just returned from a whirlwind week in the land of fire and ice. It did not disappoint!

Known widely for scenes filmed in Game of Thrones, the sites were many and varied with mossy waterfalls and unique volcanic rock formations, a black beach, diamond bay ( ice floes) a unique national park, AKA UNESCO site, eroding glaciers, Arctic winds and Icelandic horses. So many activities!

Reykjavik, the capital city was warm and welcoming , even with snow flurries in April . Everyone is friendly and helpful. Sporting a vibrant art scene, it boasts a more than adequate coffee culture, and a great deal of style. Not only is everyone chic and gorgeous ( could it be the fish oil we were served at breakfast?) but the Danish influences on architecture and interiors were very clean and appealing. Reykjavik is also home to a thriving nightlife scene and a stellar music festival, Iceland Airwaves. Oh! And a punk rock museum, a phallus museum(!), a contemporary art museum featuring, among others, the work of Robert Crumb who you may remember from Zap Comics….and so much more!

Every town in Iceland has a geo thermal hot pool and we fell in love with the bathing rituals which are purely Icelandic. Even our hotel had a steaming hot pool with a sandy bottom. We craved a more natural hot spring experience and hoped for a day at the Blue Lagoon and a silica mud mask . Sadly, the erupting volcano prevented that, but a day at Sky Lagoon was lovely, if not a bit commercial.We got to experience the seven step bathing ritual from a cleansing shower to a salt scrub and steam room after a lovely hot soak and cool water mist. There was a charming small cafe associated with the spa and we enjoyed a nice lunch afterwards. There are many healthy choices here.

Speaking of which, the New Nordic Cuisine, coined by Chef Gunnar Karl seems to be resonating throughout the city with elevated fine dining available widely. Fresh fish and especially lamb are excellent. It also features Iceland’s unique Farm to Viking fare, so if you’d like to share a sheep’s head and chase that with geo- thermal baked- in -the -ground rye bread and a shot of Brennivin ( basically Aquavit) I’ll give it a try with you. We did experience the fermented shark, which tasted like stinky cheese and is basically an excuse to do a shot of Brennivin, and their wonderfully earthy lamb soup, served traditionally in a bread bowl. Don’t expect a lot of salads here in winter, an island economy is prevalent.

Dairy, meat and fish comprise the mainstays of Icelandic fare. The dairy is rich and delicious and Skyr “yoghurt” was an epiphany. It’s not really yoghurt. Turn to my seasonal recipes to see how it’s used as a savory sauce!

Book a flight, Iceland is too good to miss! June would be prefect timing, tho the Northern Lights are difficult to view after early April.

The Root Cellar

What’s in your root cellar? Possibly more important than “what’s in your wallet” as the commercial goes.

Here, I’m sharing an image of my little farmstead. The reason being that not only is it a beautiful shot of Maine in March, but perhaps you can imagine my traditional root cellar built into the basement of this old house I call home. The temperature stays at an ambient 40 degrees, much like my restaurant’s walk in. Good for roots, cabbage and wine too!

March is a key month for eating up what remains in store from the growing season. Typically, in Maine, that’s apples, potato, onions, turnip, cabbage and carrots. Add some salted or corned beef and we can see how the boiled dinner stayed a key player in late winter menus the world over. I’m thinking of the Irish corned beef and cabbage popular at St.Patrick’s Day and how appropriate that still is to a traditional Maine menu.

Let’s finish up with apple pie and celebrate the best of Maine and Ireland this St. Patrick’s Day.

Ides of March Refrigerator Challenge – Maine Potato Boxty

Sure, these are a traditional Irish food and you can wait until St. Patrick Day and wash these fluffy potato pancakes down with a Guinness.

But , honestly, most Mainers have Maine potatoes in their refrigerators right now along with green spring onions …or at least an old onion with greens on top. Splurge on some buttermilk and you basically have it made.

Boxty are traditional potato pancakes, a dish most closely associated with the Northern Midlands of Ireland and my recipe of preference contain potatoes both grated raw and boiled/mashed. I season mine with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. That’s it. Otherwise its potato , flour eggs and buttermilk mixed with the mashed and grated potato to form a patty then fried in oil. Crispy on the outside and fluffy interior, that’s what you’re after. Makes a wonderful side dish, or make them thin and use them like a wrap. My favorite may be to create tiny, bite sized ones and top with sour cream or creme fraiche and caviar or smoked salmon like a blini appetizer! Nice with a glass of Cremant!


  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1tsp. Baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup mashed Maine potato
  • 1 1/2 cups grated raw potato
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Butter or oil to fry ( I prefer avocado oil)


Sift all dry ingredients in one bowl.

In another, mix mashed and grated potato.
Add the dry ingredients.
Gently add the buttermilk, taking care not to over stir, which toughens the mixture.

You’ll want a stiff batter, almost a dough. Add more buttermilk if the mixture seems too stiff.

Using a cast iron griddle , pre-heat the pan. The pan should be hot but not smoking Add some oil, then a dollop of batter, flattening slightly.

Cook until golden brown using a moderate heat  (needed to cook the dough through without burning), then flip only once.

Transfer to a warm plate and keep warm ,covered in the oven ,until all dough has been fried.

These delicious pancakes can be just as welcome at breakfast or as a side dish for dinner!

Because they are so quick to make, I sometimes enjoy them as a fast lunch with a green salad.