Back to Food Safari/Travels

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:

TAKES MINUTES . YIELDS ABOUT 6 PORTIONS

INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD

  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!

MAKE THIS FOR YER SWEETIE! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

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.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 CUP COOKED AND DRAINED CANNELINI BEANS, SAVE THE LIQUID
  • 2 TB EVOO
  • 2 TB FRESH LEMON JUICE, AND A LITTLE LEMON ZEST
  • 1 LG CLOVE GARLIC
  • 1/2 tsp. WHOLE GRAIN GARLIC
  • SEA SALT AND FRSH PEPPER , TO TASTE
  • FRESH HERBS TO GARNISH OPTIONAL
  • 1 TSP WHITE TRUFFLE OIL OPTIONAL

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!

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Photo Credit: Laura Cabot

TOPPING
2 CUPS FRESH COARSLY CHOPPED CRANBERRIES
1/2 CUP SUGAR
1 TSP ORANGE ZEST
1/2 CUP CHOPPED TOASTED WALNUTS

CAKE
3/4 CUP MELTED BUTTER
3/4 WHITE SUGAR
2 LARGE EGGS, ROOM TEMPERATURE
1 TSP. VANILLA ZEST OF ONE SMALL ORANGE
1 CUP FLOUR
PINCH SEA SALT

METHOD

  1. PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES
  2. GREASE A 9 IN SPRINGFORM PAN
  3. IN A BOWL COMBINE CRANBERRIES, WALNITS, SUGAR AND ZEST. TOSS WELL. POUR INTO THE PAN.
  4. IN ANOTHER BOWL, COMBINE SUGAR AND BUTTER. MIX WELL. ADD EGGS, BEATING WELL.
    THEN ADD VANILLA AND REMAINING ORANGE ZEST.
    ADD FLOUR AND SALT, MIXING TILL SMOOTH.
    BATTER SHOULD BE QUITE THICK , SPREAD CAREFULLY OVER THE FRUIT/NUT MIXTURE UNTIL COMPLETELY COVERED
  5. BAKE ON A PARCHMENT SHEET FOR 30-35 MINUTES.
  6. LET THE BAKED CAKE COOL FOR 15 MINUTES, THEN LOOSEN THE PERIMETER WITH A KNIFE, CAREFULLY RELEASING THE SIDES OF THE PAN. REMOVE THE RING SLOWLY AND REMOVE.
  7. GENTLY INVERT ONTO A PLATE USING A BUTTER KNIFE TO ASSIST WITH THE EDGES, IF NEEDED.
  8. YOU’VE GOT A BEAUTIFUL AND FESTIVE HOLIDAY DESSERT, LUSCIOUS ENOUGH TO SHARE WITH COMPANY!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! ~ Laura

Southern Collard Greens

Actually originating as a slave dish, it jumped the fence into plantation homes due to sheer goodness and clever cooks. Many say that”pot likkur” or the rich stock remaining from the cooked greens actually sustained many slave families as it is the most nutritious part and was undervalued by the whites.

Cooked with a ham hock or smoked turkey leg the dish is delightfully smokey. Vinegar and pepper adds a kick, chicken stock, time and a slow flame work the rest of the magic.

Let’s warm up the kitchen….

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 LARGE BUNCH COLLARD GREENS,
  • RIBS OR STEMS REMOVED, LEAVES WELL RINSED
  • CHOP INTO MEDIUM SQUARES
  • CHICKEN BROTH, 1 QT.
  • 1 SMOKED TURKEY LEG
  • 1 LG CHOPPED WHITE ONION
  • SALT, PEPPER AND RED PEPPER FLAKES TO TASTE
  • OIL TO SAUTE
  • A DASH OF CIDER VINEGAR

METHOD

  1. CHOOSE A HEAVY POT WITH A HEAVY LID.
  2. PLACE ON A MEDIUM FLAME
  3. ADD OLIVE OIL TO THE POT, MAYBE A 1/4 CUP
  4. ADD ONION AND SEASONINGS AND SAUTE UNTIL TRANSLUCENT.
  5. ADD GREENS AND TOSS TO COAT
  6. ADD TURKEY LEG AND CHICKEN STOCK, GIVE A STIR.
  7. COVER AND COOK OVER LOW FLAME FOR A FEW HOURS, STIR OCCASIONALLY.
  8. THE MEAT OF THE TURKEY LEG MAY BE CHOPPED AND RETURNED TO THE POT.
  9. KEEP COVERED AND BE SURE THERE IS ADEQUATE LIQUID FOR THE LONG COOKING PROCESS WITHIN.ADD ADDITIONAL IF NEEDED.
  10. SERVE WITH HOT CORNBREAD AND HONEY BUTTER. ADD A PILE OF BBQ RIBS OR BEANS! A GREAT NOVEMBER MEAL.

NOTE: the ribs of the collards mat be saved, chopped and started sauteeing first ( if you prefer not to waste them). They take a little longer to cook ,so give them a head start!

Bob’s Pickled Pears

Photo Credit Robert Stafford

 

Bob lives in Friendship, Maine. Bob loves food.

He does many things well, so I wasn’t really that surprised to taste some fantastic pickled pears and learn that he had prepared them.

They were served with toasted walnuts and a good Bleu on an inspired chessboard one evening at dinner at their ocean view home. An invitation to Bob and Patience’s lovely home for dinner never ever disappointed. Good wine, good conversation, great food and always some incredible handmade elements are their signatures . Luck to have their friendship…in Friendship!

Like these pickled Bosc pears, good things are often worth the wait, these delicacies fall into that category. Not that hard to make, it’s more like waiting for a good pear season. Those seem to come every other year or so.

When it rains, it pours pears, at least here in the mid-coast where often old farmsteads had a few fruit trees, usually apples and pears. Pear trees are distinctive in their upright profile, quite different from other fruit trees. I am lucky enough to have one in my yard which is laden with fruit this year! So….let’s pickle some pears!

BOB’S PICKLED PEARS

Save some of these for your charcuterie plates or to accompany game or fowl at festive meals.Good with a pork chop!

6 pounds of small firm pears, peeled and cored
2 tb whole cloves
6 star anise pods
4 cinnamon sticks
1 large knob ginger peeled and sliced thin
3 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
2.5 cups sugar, white
1 cup brown sugar

Dash of salt
Tie all spices into a small muslin bag.
In a large stainless steel pot, mix together the water, sugars and salt and cinnamon sticks and spice bag…bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer for 7 minutes.
Add the pears in batches, one layer at a time, cooking until barely tender, 12 minutes or so.
Once the pears are all cooked transfer them to smaller Mason jars or one larger glass gallon jug(s).
Pour the hot pickling liquid over them and make sure to add another cinnamon stick and star anise to each.
Clean up any drips for a clean edge being sure to leave some headspace it you are actually canning these in a hot water bath. I use many at a time in my catering work, so I put mine up in large glass jars and refrigerate them cool, capping tightly.

These also make a dandy Holiday gift…always a welcome addition to the table or larder!

Cheers,

Laura Cabot

Caprese Salad

 

Caprese is a state of mind.

Late summer heat, ripe tomato, a garden full of herbs, notably basil.

Put it all together with a little fresh mozzerrella, good olive oil, salt and pepper and you have a keystone of September goodness.

It’s not complicated. There are no proportions to adhere to.

Just enjoy.

Garlic Scape Pesto


Looking for a seasonal dinner with “wow factor” that can be prepared in 3 minutes?

If you have a food processor and garlic growing in your garden, you’re in luck! Try garlic scape pesto. Pesto can be made with almost any green herb but when it’s mid-summer in Maine, we have gorgeous scapes for two minutes. So let’s use them on pasta, baguette, grains…or whatever!

INGREDIENTS:

  • SCAPE TIPS (the tender part) 1 CUP (you may blanch these to tame the flavor, if preferred)
  • 1/2 CUP TOASTED PINE NUTS OR WALNUTS
  • 1/2 CUP XVOO
  • 1/4 CUP PARMESAN
  • 1/2 CUP BASIL TOPS, OPTIONAL
  • A FEW DROPS OF LEMON JUICE AT TIME OF SERVICE, TO BRIGHTEN THE FLAVORS.

METHOD:
THIS IS A SIMPLE RECIPE, BUT THE ORDER OF INGREDIENTS INTO THE FOOD PROCESSOR MATTERS.

  1. FIRST PULSE THE SCAPES IN PROCESSOR FOR 30 SECONDS.ADD BASIL HERE, IF DESIRED
  2. ADD NUTS AND PROCESS FOR ANOTHER 30 SECONDS. SCRAPE DOWN THE BOWL
  3. ADD THE OLIVE OIL AND PROCESS FOR 1 MINUTE ON HIGH
  4. ADD THE CHEESE AND PULSE UNTIL ALL IS COMBINED
  5. ADD SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE.
  6. SERVE IMMEDIATELY TOPPING WITH A SQUEEZE OF LEMON.

THIS PESTO FREEZES AND STORES BEAUTIFULLY.

IT’S SUMMER IN A JAR!

Romesco Sauce Recipe


Romesco Sauce, while pairing beautifully with salmon, is a culinary gift from Spain and brings that excitement to our fresh fish dish.

It only requires a handful of ingredients and is easy to prepare using a food processor:
  • Fire grilled roasted red peppers, cleaned of their charred skin and seeds
  • Smoked paprika
  • Salt and peper
  • A little anchovy paste, optional
  • Fresh chopped garlic to taste, start with a tsp.
  • A bit of orange zest
  • Crushed Natural almonds, start with one cup
  • 1/4 cup of good olive oil
  • Some dried or stale bread, less is more but it works to tighten up the sauce.
Romesco doesn’t even need a recipe. To make a quart I begin with perhaps 6-8 roasted whole red peppers, cleaned. And a cup of almonds. Pulse these in a food processor with the seasonings, nuts and bread  to desired texture. I prefer mine slightly chunky but a silky texture can be achieved with more and longer processing time.
 
Correct seasonings
I top mine with more oil and it keeps for a week under refrigeration. It’s a terrific go-to for most any grilled protein.  Enjoy!

Easy Stovetop Hollandaise Recipe


MAKES A QUART. Keeps for a week covered under refrigeration. Takes 20 minutes. Use a good sized double boiler and have a sturdy whisk on hand As well as a cool bowl to pour the sauce into when finished.

In French Cuisine, Hollandaise is a classic Mother sauce, meaning one of the basics that others spring from, such as Béarnaise. It is an emulsified sauce. Basically the same idea, but using a different acidifier in this case lemon juice rather than a reduction of wine, vinegar, herbs and pepper which acidify and typify a Béarnaise.

This is a stove top recipe taught to me “on the fly” during a sauce crisis at dinner service one evening by the very able James Hatch who was assisting me on the line back in the Pine Cone days, circa 1989. Visit James now at his dining spot, the fabulous Home Kitchen Cafe in Rockland ME….he still uses this recipe taught to him, no doubt, by his Dad at the Cupboard Cafe in New Harbor, Maine.

For our Hollandaise, use the best eggs and butter you can find. I like free range eggs and good unsalted butter ( gives a rich color to the sauce) which I melt, then clarify.

To clarify just means pouring off the milk that collects in the bottom of the melted butter… or simply don’t use it. I save mine for a chowder.

INGREDIENTS

  • A DOZEN ORGANIC EGGS, SEPARATED ( save the whites for an low fat omelette)
  • 1 POUND OF UNSALTED BUTTER,MELTED. I LIKE GRASS FED
  • 1 CUP FRESH SQUEEZED LEMON JUICE at the ready
  • SALT AND FRESH GROUND WHITE PEPPER TO TASTE
  • A DASH OF TOBASCO SAUCE OR CAYENNE PEPPER

On your stovetop, warm the water at a medium heat under the double boiler as you pour your yolks into the top half.

From THIS POINT ON NEVER STOP WHISKING. Adjusting the heat lower as needed, slowly drip in the melted clarified butter until the eggs emulsify and the sauce thickens to your desired consistency . It will thicken further as it cools. If too thick for your purposes, add back in some of the milk from the clarifying process to thin it. Correct the taste with salt, pepper and tabasco, continue stirring until some of the heat is out of the sauce.

Pour your Hollandaise into an airtight container or bowl, cover with Saran wrap. Best if used immediately, but the sauce will hold for a few days in the refrigerator and can be brought back to room temp carefully. Good at Brunch, on crab cakes or poached salmon!

Enjoy Spring~

Wild Ramp Butter


This recipe is courtesy of my friend in fine cookery, Charlotte Davenhill. She makes the most delectable ramp butter….and you can see by her recipe that it isn’t hard. The trick is to chop more than you need in a food processor with sea salt and EVOO, then store it under refrigeration until more is needed:

Use only the strappy, green leaves.

Wash and dry them throughly.

Process with salt to taste and EVOO in a food processor.

To make ramp butter, just add cubed, fresh butter to the chopped greens mixture and blend until there are no more butter lumps . More greens equal a stronger garlic flavor. Keeps well and tastes heavenly.