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.


Chocolate Mousse

Buckle up for the simplest and most pleasing dessert ever. Forget that it’s made from tofu and keep an open mind!

Actually Vegan and gluten free, this mousse can stand in for a “fancy” dessert and can be whirled up in minutes in a Cuisinart.

It’s made simply from silken tofu, semi sweet chocolate chips, Maine maple syrup and pinch of salt and vanilla.It may even be good for you.

Here’s how it goes:



  • 2 blocks of silken tofu
  • 10 oz semi sweet chocolate, melted 1 TB vanilla
  • Maple syrup to taste
  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. Place tofu, salt, some maple syrup and melted chocolate into a cuisinart. Process until creamy. Add as much chocolate as you’d like to create a denser pudding and correct the sugar to taste by adding more maple ,if desired.
  2. Pour into ramekins and let set for a couple of hours to chill, then decorate the top with fresh berries and chocolate shavings.
  3. Practically guilt free and sure doesn’t taste it!


February Valentines

Valentine’s day is the bright point in an otherwise grey Maine month.

While the occasional fine winter weather creates an opportunity to get outside and play, it’s easy to let thoughts of a sandy beach or exotic shores take over.

Winter is a great time to travel and dream. Or to hunker down and embrace the goodness of Maine solitude if travel isn’t in the plans. Imagine a cozy fire, dinner on a cookstove, wet mittens from a ski or a good read and beloved pet who’s happy to have you at home on a snow day!

This Valentine’s Day for me will be a homespun one…a dinner table set for two in front of the fireplace and a French farmhouse speciality simmering on the back of the stove. A chocolate dessert.

That’s how this year feels to me and I am grateful for home, hearth and companionship.

Vegan-Resolve To Eat Clean

Photo Credit Laura Cabot

What does it mean to be a Vegan? In a phrase, “a stricter vegetarian.”

There is a rainbow of variations on veganism: flexitarin, pescatarian, lacto-ovo veg, lactose free veg, ovo -veg…and these are not new ideas. Some of these date from the 6th century BC. Many believe that Jesus was vegetarian, maybe even a Vegan.

When considering a super clean and eco-responsible diet, Veganism immediately comes to mind. By omitting animals from the diet , and the violence of slaughter , animal testing and animal by-products as well as embracing a “plant forward” approach to diets and eating, the focus changes to one that supports our planet in less obvious ways. Vegan speaks to health, ethics, environmentalism and in some cases religion. As well as being kinder and gentler on the body, which is the ultimate “temple.”

In today’s world, the average chicken consumption per person is 100 pounds annually, up markedly from years past. Have you ever thought about how much water this generates the need for? In the chicken processing component alone, one of the world most precious resources is extravagantly overused. Yes it’s true that vegetables need water too, but soybeans require far less of a “footprint” than say beef, the biggest user/ polluter of them all.

“Problems are born of excess”. This is a quote from me. I firmly believer that most disease comes from too much…too much food and drink, too much cholesterol, too much protein ,alcohol, coffee, cheese, whatever… too much quantity, too much inactivity.

Veganism with its insistence on a plant based diet and healthy oils naturally tends towards the inclusion of more vitamins and minerals, fiber and healthy plant compounds.

We need our plants and trees to stay in balance on this earth, not more grazing land for McDonald’s burgers. Give me the mysterious rainforests with all their still undiscovered secrets.

Many people I talk to don’t even try to make New Year’s resolutions. The thinking is that they can’t even change themselves let alone the world. My thinking is that one by one, we can create change if we embrace it ourselves. One by one…. and the time is now.

~ Laura Cabot

Vegan Truffled White Bean Pate

Everybody loves Hummus….but why not up your game and try this delicious twist on a bean spread that everyone will adore. Great as a spread on bread or a dip for veggies.

Truffle oil is the luxury ingredient and it is optional, since not everyone loves the flavor. I like to use white cannelloni beans and save the “aquafaba” , or bean water from the can as a healthy egg alternative. The stuff has a viscosity a lot like eggs and will stand in for whipped egg whites in many recipes.


  • 2 TB EVOO

In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until smooth with a bit of chunk ( that’s how I prefer it, others like it silky smooth).

Using a spatula, place the dip/pate into a bowl . GARNISH with EVOO and chopped parsley

Depending on how you intend to use the pate, you may add some of the aquafaba if you’re going for more of a dip that a spread.

Keep the mixture tight for a sandwich spread. Wonderful on a pita with lots of sprouts and cucumber!