Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Turkey Soup with Vegetables

Turkey Soup

The winter is in full swing, the wind is howling around the house, the holidays are over, and it is time for some simple, but warming soup. Rummaging in my freezer, I had located a turkey wing, left from Thanksgiving. So, I just added a quart of water, 2-3 handfuls of frozen vegetables, and heated it all, with the wing still frozen. Wonderful flavor steeped from the turkey bone into the soup, and once the meat was heated and soft I pulled it off the bone, and added it to the soup. When the soup finished slow cooking after 30 min, I discarded the bones, and served the soup. The turkey had been brined, so there was still enough salt and herbs in the turkey to be sufficient for the soup.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pasta Florentine

Pasta florentine

This is light, vegetarian, full of flavor and light wintery comfort food. It gets its meaty and mushroom flavor from the boca burger, a crunch from the red bell pepper, thick stewy consistency from the spinach and pasta and the light and refreshing taste from the spinach and tomatoes combination.

1/2 ts olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 portabella mushroom boca burger, cut into small dice (or larger if you like)
1/4 cup water
1 small package of frozen but thawed, chopped spinach (like Green Giant) or fresh spinach
2 oz Fiber gourmet elbow pasta
crazy salt, pepper
1/2 ts maggi chicken bouillon concentrate
1 fresh garlic clove or 1/4 ts garlic powder
1/2 red bell pepper, small dice
1 cup passata (or chopped fresh tomatoes)

Use a heavy bottom pot. Heat the olive oil and saute the onion and the diced veggie burger, until the onion is softened and slightly browned, and the boca burger pieces are slightly browned. Add the bell pepper, mix and add the water to scrap off the browned bits from the pot bottom. Add the spinach, pasta and the rest of the ingredients. Mix gently and well so that all the ingredients are mixed. Bring up the heat, and then let simmer on low for 12 min until the pasta is cooked.

Optionally: add parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gift Idea: Reusable cup sleeve

Chic and reusable: cup sleeves for that hot latte at Starbucks or Verve. Available at Etsy.com by megan auman.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Red red red Salad (Legal Seafood)

Red red red salad

One of my favorite salads that I had a few years ago at Legal Seafood in Boston: the red red red salad. Radicchio, dried cranberries and cherry balsamic vinaigrette, with some pecans and goat cheese.

1 head radicchio, cut in thin stripes
2 TB dried cranberries (or black cherries)
1 TB goat cheese, crumbled (or gorgonzola)
1 TB pecans, toasted and/or spiced (or walnuts)
Black cherry balsamic vinaigrette

Prepare salad and ingredients, and serve with vinaigrette.

Black cherry balsamic vinaigrette:
very good olive oil
black cherry balsamic vinegar (available @Fiore, Bar Harbor, ME)
1 garlic clove, grated (microplaned)
1 TS honey
1 TS mustard
salt, pepper

Fill all ingredients in a jar, and shake well.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Belgian Endive with Apple, Pomegranate, Pecans and Goat cheese

Endive salad with apple, pomegranate, pecans and goat cheese

Another great winter salad: endives, celery, apple, toasted pecans, pomegranate seeds and goat cheese with a Galeo dressing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Local artisan cheese in Maine

Local cheeses in Maine, mostly goat cheese. The Appleton Creamery Goat Cheese, of course, is my favorite.

The article in the Maine Mag.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Exhibit by Kathryn Oliver at the Carver Hill Gallery in Rockport

Planing for a trip to Rockland? This is a destination, too. Opening Reception and Performance by Kathryn Oliver at the Carver Hill Gallery in Rockport on Wednesday, November 11th 2009.

Kathryn Oliver - playwrite, visual artist, sculptor and painter - will have paintings, ceramic sculpture, large puppets and mobiles on exhibit at the Carver Hill Gallery from November 11th to December 7th 2009.

For more information, check here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Beet Stuffed Baked Apples

Sweet and Sour Baked Apple w. Beets

several apples, washed and cored
1 beet, peeled and cut into sticks
1/2 cup beef stock (or vegetable stock)
1 TB balsamic vinegar
1/2 ts whole cloves

Core apples and place in baking dish. Stuff with beet sticks. Fill the area around the apples with the mix of beef stock, balsamic vinegar and cloves. Bake at 430F for 30 min.

Serve with goat cheese and pinenuts.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Looking for cute aprons ?

A great online and in-state find for gorgeous aprons: 2 Fresh Threads, Portland, ME.

2 fresh threads
po box 3083
portland, maine 04104
p. 207.317.1536
e. info@2freshthreads.com

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce

This is not necessarily skinny, but it is vegan (no eggs, no butter, no sugar), so quite light and just a divine rich chocolate taste, and light cake texture.

Ingredients for a small spring form:
1/3 cp whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
1/3 cp cocoa powder
1/4 ts salt
1/2 cp soy milk
1/4 cp canola oil
3/4 cp pure organic maple syrup
1/2 ts apple cidre vinegar
1 ts vanilla extract

Raspberry Sauce (for a small cake):
1 cp frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 ts maple syrup
1/2 ts vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with non stick cooking spray. Sift together flours and baking powder and baking soda. In a saucepan, heat the soymilk on low-medium heat. When it is slightly bubbling, add the cocoa powder and whisk well until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Combine the other liquid ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Add the cocoa mixture and combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry.

Pour batter into prepared pan, bake at 350 F for 25 minutes until a toothpick or butter knife comes out clean. Let cool completely and frost with your favorite frosting.

Vegan Banana Bread

small spring form
1/4 cup splenda brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups pastry flour

¾ cp whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt

2-3 TB semi-sweat mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1/4 cup vanilla soy milk, mixed with
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 TB earth balance no-transfat margarine, melted

¼ cp apple sauce, optionally
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 8x4 bread pan with non stick cooking spray, or lightly coat with margarine. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and dry spices. Mix together the soy milk, apple cider vinegar, margarine and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and add the bananas. Mix well. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spicy Red Kuri Squash Soup

Squash soup

  • 1 ts olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 hot red chili, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 small diced and peeled red kuri squash (also known as Japanese squash, orange hokkaido, or uchiki kuri squash)
  • 1 medium sized peeled sweet potato
  • 2 small diced and peeled carrot
  • 4 cups water (or 2 cups water and 2 cups chicken stock)
  • 2TB ajvar (roasted red pepper paste)
  • Salt and pepper
  • crème fraiche, to serve
  • fresh parsley, chopped, to serve

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When warm, add the onion and red chili and soften. (ca. 3 to 4 min). Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for 1/2 minute. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Cover with the water or stock.

Add the avjar and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Purée the soup. Add more stock or water if necessary.

To serve, add a teaspoon of crème fraiche, and parsley.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Simple Apple Pie

Apple Pie

  • 1 store-bought frozen pie crust, thawed
  • 2 pound tart apples such as Brock or Spencer, peeled, cored and sliced
  • juice of one fresh lemon
  • grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 TB brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Unroll pie crust. Transfer to an non-greased 17- by 14-inch baking sheet or a pie shaped baking dish.

Toss apples with lemon juice and zest in a large bowl, and sprinkle granulated sugar over apples. Place apple slices on pie crust. Either arrange neatly (or not so neatly), or fold in dough border over apples if making a galette, pleating dough as necessary, to form a 9-inch round, or simply place in the pie form.

Bake pie 30 minutes, then loosely cover with foil and bake until apples are tender and crust is golden, 25 to 30 minutes more. Sprinkle some brown sugar on top of apples, and bake 15 min more.

Cool to warm or room temperature.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The sour grapes of 2009

The sour grapes of 2009

Yes, there are grapes growing in Maine, and they are even sweet if the summer does not decide to rain out like this year. The harvest (on my house wall) was late this year, but plentiful. It still makes for great fresh pressed grape juice.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Home-made Apple Cider

Apple cider

Fall, the time of apple picking and apple abundance. Cider is readily available, but it is also easy to make at home with the right equipment (e.g. a Breville juicer).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Onion Chutney

Onion chutney requires only a few ingredients - onions of course (any will do, but red onions give the nicest colour and sweet taste), a vinegar - sherry, red wine, raspberry or balsamic are all ideal, and brown sugar, together with some bay leaves, juniper berries and peppercorns for flavour.

Chop 6 large onions as coursely or finely as you like and heat with a small amount of canola oil in a stainless steel pan until they are soft. Add 1 cup of your chosen vinegar (or a mixture of vinegars) and 1 cup of brown sugar, and drop in a couple of bay leaves and 15-20 crushed black peppercorns and 5 juniper berries. Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer gently for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the onions have gone translucent and all the liquid has evaporated.

Pour the hot mixture straight into small (200g) sterilized jars, seal, and store somewhere cool and dark or in the fridge. The chutney should keep for at least 6 months. To ensure the chutney can keep even longer (1 year plus), put the sealed jars in boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes. Line metal jar lids with greaseproof paper to protect them from the vinegar in the chutney.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Cherry Tomato Tart

Fall reminds me of onion tarts, accompanied with young white wine. Onion, caramelized in balsamic vinegar, baked with ham, cumin seeds, heavy cream, eggs on a pizza dough like crust. But, I was lazy and hungry, so a quick and dirty version had to do. I cut some layers of phyllo dough into round shapes, and lines small tart forms. One was filled with onion chutney, and topped with a mix of ff sour cream and (full fat) grated gruyere with some nutmeg. A second was lined with halved cherry tomatoes, and sprinkled with shredded mozzarella and basil. A third was filled with a mix of eggbeaters, sour cream and spices, and the 4th was filled with peeled sliced tiny picked apples, mixed with some brown sugar, ground cloves and a bit of maple syrup. Baked for 25 min in a 425F preheated oven.

Onion Tart
onion tartelette

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Common Ground Fair, Unity, ME

Common Ground Fair, Orono

It was the time of the year again to slowly say goodbye to summer, store away the umbrellas from the patio, say hello to Fall bringing red leaves to the maple trees, and see what the summer had created on the farms and in the gardens at the annual Common Ground Fair in Unity, ME. The summer threw in one more warm summer day, and the people, young and old, flocked to Unity on Saturday.

Common Ground Fair, Orono

The common ground fair feels like a big farmers market, with additional large tents hosting Maine crafts and demonstrations of how to make baskets for your catch of fish or harvesting, make shiny sleek canoes, how to spin your own wool the old fashioned way, make felts or bake maple syrup beans in hot cast iron pots buried in the ground.

Common Ground Fair, Orono

At the Rose gate, visitor were greeted by the strong fragrance of Sweet Annie, a herb growing wild in Maine. Wreaths were bound with flowers, and bushels were taken home. Wool was selected for the winter sweaters and the lamas and alpacas producing the wool were petted and talked to (talk about knowing where your materials come from...!). Cold cider was sampled, and bags of macoun apples were carried home. Til next year!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Roasted Balsamic Beets with Pine Nuts and Goat Cheese

Balsamic Roasted Beets

Balsamic roasted beets

6 medium beets (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup beef stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 star anise
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Brush the beets clean and cut in large chunks. Place in a baking dish, and whisk the stock, balsamic vinegar and rest of ingredients together, and pour over the beets. Cover with foil, and bake for 1h. Turn off heat, and leave in oven for another 30min.

Makes 5-6 servings.

Roast beet salad with pine nuts and goat cheese


2 TB rice vinegar
1/2 ts olive oil
1 ts spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
some salt

Whisk the ingredients to a vinaigrette.


1 TB toasted pine nuts
1 oz soft goat cheese
1 cup of roasted beets, cooled

Arrange the beets on a plate. Drizzle with vinaigrette, and top with pine nuts and goat cheese.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Food Scene in Portland, ME (NY Times)

THE overnight temperature is dropping toward frost this week and probably won’t rise above it until May. Most of the cruise ships are gone, and with them the fudge buyers, the lobster seekers and the chowderheads who clog the Old Port neighborhood in the summer.
But the quiet and the chill are deceptive. Portland’s many chefs and bakers, its turnip farmers and cookbook sellers and assorted mad food geniuses are gearing up for another lively winter.

“I wouldn’t call it a competition, I’d call it a collective,” Josh Potocki, the chef and owner of 158 Pickett St. Café in South Portland, said of the city’s food scene. “We are all trying to raise the level of food in Portland to insanely high.”

It’s working. With a simmering sense of injustice, I recently ate my way across some of the city’s new and offbeat restaurants. Why doesn’t my neighborhood have an all-day restaurant that makes its own spicy sausage, or one that produces house-made crackers and hot sauce for oysters? When will my market organize a ratatouille contest?

And how is it that students at Southern Maine Community College have unfettered access to long-fermented water-boiled bagels, when I have none?

In the last decade, Portland has undergone a controlled fermentation for culinary ideas — combining young chefs in a hard climate with few rules, no European tradition to answer to, and relatively low economic pressure — and has become one of the best places to eat in the Northeast. The most interesting chefs here cook up and down the spectrum, from Erik Desjarlais’s classically pressed roast ducks at Evangeline, to the renegade baker Stephen Lanzalotta’s gorgeously caramelized sfogliatelle (sold out of the back of Micucci Grocery, an Italian-imports shop), to Mr. Potocki’s simple but brilliant chili-garlic cream cheese and handmade bagels.

Tablecloths, Asian fusion and spherification are out (the locals aren’t interested in, or rich enough to indulge in, frivolous food experiments, the thinking goes). Nose-to-tail, rustic French and Italian, and small plates are in.
“I’ve cooked all over, and I kept coming back to Portland,” said Krista Kern Desjarlais, the chef and principal owner of Bresca, who has worked at Gotham Bar & Grill and Guy Savoy in Paris. Her butter-browned gnocchi with charred cherry tomatoes and her blueberry tart — a creamy filling, usually so dull, transformed by buttermilk — are infuriatingly delicious.

Chefs here feed off one another’s work in a way that’s impossible in larger cities (Portland’s population is about 65,000, and it has a compact urban center), constantly eating in and commenting on one another’s restaurants. “I’ve made enemies, for sure,” said Joe Ricchio, a bartender who makes Vietnamese pho on his days off, has a weakness for flaming scorpion bowls, and writes a blog titled Portland Food Coma.
In 2007, Mr. Ricchio started a festively debauched event now known as Deathmatch, a kind of extended “Iron Chef” dinner, with each invited chef contributing a course. “Each one takes five years off your life,” Mr. Ricchio said.

The first one was a foie gras gorge, and later themes have included venison, Japan and, most recently, death itself, an 18-course fantasia of a last meal. That dinner began predictably, with osetra caviar, but spiraled toward feijoada, a huge croquembouche, and bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches served by young women dressed as Catholic schoolgirls, wielding hot mayonnaise in squeeze bottles.

Most of Portland’s young chefs are men, marked by tough-guy tattoos and a combination of culinary idealism and anarchy. Many have worked in — and walked out of — one another’s kitchens. Some have paired off (the chefs of Evangeline and Bresca are newly married but maintain separate restaurants) or undergone messy splits (like Mr. Potocki and his former partner Allison Reid, who now plies her bread peel a few blocks away at Scratch Baking Company, making deeply browned levain loaves and a competing strain of bagel).
Many have cycled through the twin temples of Sam Hayward’s Fore Street or Hugo’s on Middle Street, where Rob Evans is the chef. These are the kitchens that first defined Portland as a destination for rigorously local and regularly delicious food.

“Faites simple,” Escoffier’s famous motto “make it simple,” is painted on the wall at Evangeline’s dining room. Mr. Desjarlais, the chef and principal owner, says that his major culinary influence is Richard Olney, the American food writer. (Mr. Desjarlais, now 33, had not yet been born in 1974, when Mr. Olney published “Simple French Food,” a rustic and revolutionary answer to Julia Child’s formal recipes.)

Mr. Desjarlais’s kitchen, however, has a more stress-inducing motto posted over the door: “Always Work With a Sense of Urgency.” In his entree of chicken breast neatly rolled in prosciutto, the flavors are almost shockingly spare — chicken, broccoli, carrot, butter, ham — but each plays off the others. And for an ambitious young chef to serve a boneless chicken breast dish in this day of off-cut fetishism — even a clabber-fed, organic one — shows true courage.

Local food lovers say that kind of self-directed cooking is what makes Portland’s food so good.

read more.....

BRESCA 111 Middle Street (Franklin Arterial), (207) 772-1004.
COFFEE BY DESIGN 43 Washington Avenue (Cumberland Avenue), (207) 879-2233.
EVANGELINE 190 State Street (Congress Street), (207) 791-2800.
THE FRONT ROOM 73 Congress Street (Howard Street), (207) 773-3366.
MICUCCI GROCERY CO. 45 India Street (Middle Street), (207) 775-1854. (italian import store)

MIYAKE 129 Spring Street (High Street), (207) 871-9170.
158 PICKETT ST. CAFÉ 158 Pickett Street (Broadway), South Portland, (207) 799-8998.
PACIARINO 468 Fore Street (Cross Street), (207) 774-3500. (also sells home-made organic pasta)
RABELAIS 86 Middle Street (Franklin Arterial), (207) 774-1044.
ROSEMONT MARKET 559 Brighton Avenue (Montrose Street), (207) 774-8129, and 88 Congress Street (Merrill Street), (207) 773-7888.
SCRATCH BAKING CO. 416 Preble Street (Pillsbury Street), South Portland, (207) 799-0668.
VIGNOLA 10 Dana Street (Commercial Street), (207) 772-1330.

Others, not mentioned in the article:
Cinqueterre, 36 Wharf Street Portland, Maine 04101

James Beard Foundation praises Cinque Terre's authentic Italian cuisine: "Many guests find it hard to remember they’re in Portland, Maine, as they tuck into chef Lee Skawinski’s 'casually elegant' Northern Italian specialties at Cinque Terre. Skawinski not only crafts an authentic Italian menu, he aims to create a truly Italian dining experience...To really take you away, the meal can be augmented with wine from the restaurant's award-winning, all-Italian wine list. What makes the whole thing sing, though, is the logic behind the magic. Located on the cobblestoned Wharf Street in the heart of the city’s Old Port, Cinque Terre is smack in the middle of a vibrant seaside community, reminiscent of its namesake region...So remember, despite what your atlas says, Cinque Terre, Maine, makes perfect sense."

Hugos, Chef Rob Evans won James Beard Foundation Best Chef of the Northeast 2009

My favorite:
The 2 Fat Cats Bakery, right next to Micucci.

Bon Appetit: Portland, the Foodiest Small Town of the U.S.

Monday, September 14, 2009

How the Cat makes Quesadillas

How the cat makes quesadillas

1 St. Joseph Lavash, cut into 4 quarters
2-4 TB ff refried beans
fresh ground pepper
1 ts chili oil
1/4 small red onion, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced and cut into thin strips
1/2 cherry pepper, finely chopped (no seeds!)
some leftover chicken or steak, cubed
1/2 ts cumin
1/2 ts chili powder
2-3 TB water
2 TB low-fat Mexican cheese mix

On a cutting board, prepare the lavash (cut in half, and then half the halves again). Pair 2 quarters each for a quesadilla. Cover one quarter each with 1-2 TB refried beans, and crush black pepper on the bean spread.

In a skillet, heat the oil and add the onion and cherry chili. Saute until slightly soft. Add all the spices, the bell pepper, chicken or beef (or both), and the water, and saute on low heat until the bell pepper is tender. Turn off the heat.

Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan to high heat. Distribute the bell pepper steak mix on the bean spread of the two quarters. Sprinkle with the cheese and close with the second lavash quarters. Place on the heated skillet, and, depending on the heat of the stove, turn the lavash to the other side, once it has browned on the bottom side. Turn off the heat, and let the other side get brown and the cheese melt. Serve straight up or with salsa, green onions and sour cream. Says the cat.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Walnut Kalamata Bread

Kalamata Pecan Bread

One of my favorite fast home-made breads, and instead of individual servings, this time in family size.

1 cup Insta bake
1/2 cup ground FiberOne cereal
1/2 TB baking powder
1/2 cup sliced marinated kalamata olives
1/4 cup walnuts or pecan, fresh chopped and slightly toasted
3/4-1 cup ff milk
2 TB of kalamata olive water

Mix all the dry ingredients first, and add olives and nuts. Add the wet ingredients, and mix. It will be a dry, clumpy dough, but not too crumble. It should come together as a dough, just not very smooth. Fill in a small bread baking dish, and bake at 400F for 45-60min.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

It is still relatively warm and sunny outside, so not really time yet for hearty stews yet, nevertheless I felt like one. I had a few small steaks in my freezer, and improvised on the remaining ingredients. Melissa D'Arabian again was my inspiration: succulent slow cooked meat, fork tender, smelling delicious. So, here is a french inspired beef stew with some extra kicks.

ca 300 gr of chuck, steak or other type of lean beef, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
1 small red onion and 1 small white onion, diced
1 TB clarified butter (ghee)
2 medium-sized garlic cloves, chopped
2 springs of fresh rosemary or thyme, chopped
1/2 TB Mrs Dash garlic and herbs
1 cup of good dry red wine, a cabernet sauvignon or Cote du Rhone(my favorite is Menage a Trois)
1 cup of water
1/2 cube of beef bouillion
other vegetables such as dried porcini or fresh button mushrooms
2 TB tomato paste
1 TB flour, dissolved in 1/4 cup of water
1/8 cp red wine
1/2 TB creme fraiche
salt, pepper to your liking

In a dutch oven (or any skillet you can place in the oven with a tight lid), heat the clarified butter and sear the meat chunks. Once browned, add the onions and carrots, and sear, too. After 5 minutes, add the garlic and sear for another 1-2 min. Add the red wine, and scrap the bottom of the pan gently. Add the water, bouillon, and other vegetables. Stir, and take of the heat. Add the tomato paste and the flour. Cover with a lid, and slow roast in the oven for 3h at 325F. Occasionally, stir the stew.

Before serving, add salt and pepper to taste, and more red wine to give it a bit of an edge and the creme fraiche (or sour cream) to add it some elegance. Serve with roasted potatoes and vegetables. Enjoy!

Makes ca. 5-6 small servings or 4 dinner sized servings.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mesclun Greens with Black Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette


In Bar Harbor, a new store opened this month: Fiore LLC. I had seen this type of store in Paris a few years back, a store that lets you taste a large variety of extra-virgin olive oil so that you can selected exactly the one flavor you like best (think wine tasting!). I must admit I've been a extra-virgin olive oil collector ever since.

Fiore has a selection of mild, fruity olive oils, from Greece, Italy and Spain, and I especially liked the one with Persian Lime and Chipotle. Accompanying the olive oil, a selection of balsamic vinegars is offered. The blueberry balsamic vinegar must be the crowd favorite, because it doubles as a gift from the vacation in Maine. My favorite is the black cherry balsamic vinegar, and the white peach balsamic vinegar.

So, with my new goods of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a raw wooden salad bowl from the raw woods store on Main street in Bar Harbor I made this salad today.

Black Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1 garlic clove, grated
1 TB black cherry balsamic vinegar (or regular balsamic vinegar)
1 ts Dijon mustard
1/4 ts soy sauce (thanks, for the tip, Melissa D'Arabian!)
a few drop of liquid sweetener (such as Fiberfit)
1/2 TB extra virgin olive oil
fresh crush pepper and Mrs. Dash garlic and herb

2 handfuls fresh greens, from the garden, Farmers market or store
some arugula salad
1/3 red bell pepper, diced

Use a wooden salad bowl (or another large, flat bowl) and whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients in the bottom of the bowl. Place the salad on top, and when ready to serve mix the salad and vinaigrette. Serve with a few slices of mozzarella!

Fiore Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars
8 Rodick Place
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
website (including online ordering)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The summer favorite: ratatouille


A timeless summer favorite when the zucchini, beans, tomatoes, bell peppers and herbs are plentiful in the garden and at the Farmers market. It does not need much more then a TB of good olive oil, and it will steam away to a tender bite in its own juices, caramelizing it to a sweet flavorful dish (or, short cooked, with some original vegetable crunch). A meal in itself, a side, a pasta sauce, great with goat cheese or mozzarella and a glass of cabernet. Summer!

1 zucchini, cut into thick cubes
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into stripes
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into stripes
1/3 red onion, diced
1/2 summer squash, cut into thick cubes
a handful cherry tomatoes, halved
handful yellow beans, ends cut off
1 TB extra-virgin olive oil with persian lime
salt, pepper, 2 springs of fresh rosemary (chopped), fresh basil (chiffonade)
1-2 large garlic cloves, grated
Mrs. Dash garlic and herbs
fresh grated parmesan cheese

Prepare all the vegetables (wash and cut them). In a heavy dutch oven, heat the olive oil and saute the onion until translucent and then add all the vegetables, and close the lid (important! ---- the purpose is to saute the veggies in their own steam and not add additional liquid). After 5 min, stir, and add the salt, pepper and fresh herbs and the garlic. Saute for another 5-10min, depending on how much crunch you like in your veggies. Serve with some fresh grated parmesan cheese!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Who painted the carrots?

Rainbow carrots

The surprise find at the Farmers' Market this week were 'rainbow carrots', or at least this is what I call them because they come in all colors of the rainbow. They taste similar to regular carrots, and,... chopping them up for the salad, I wondered who took the time to color them....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fettucini with Ratatouille

Fettucini with Ratatouille

A great leftover lunch or light dinner --- a big pot of ratatouille with fresh zucchini, beans, red bell pepper, fresh corn, cherry tomatoes and garlic, rosemary and basil, and using leftovers with a serving of lemon pepper FG fettucini, some porcini mushroom, pine nuts and fresh mozzarella. Satisfying, flavorful and healthy.

1 zucchini, cut into thick cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into stripes
1/3 red onion, diced
1 summer squash, cut into thick cubes
a handful cherry tomatoes, halved
shaved kernels of 1 cob of fresh corn
possible additional veggies: eggplant, edamame, french beans, eggplant, .......
1 TB extra-virgin olive oil
salt, pepper, 2 springs of fresh rosemary (chopped), fresh basil (chiffonade)
1-2 large garlic cloves, microplaned
fresh grated parmesan cheese

Prepare all the vegetables (wash and cut them). In a heavy dutch oven, heat the olive oil and saute the onion until translucent and then add all the vegetables, and close the lid (important! ---- the purpose is to saute the veggies in their own steam and not add additional liquid). After 5 min, stir, and add the salt, pepper and fresh herbs and the garlic. Saute for another 5-10min, depending on how much crunch you like in your veggies. Serve with some fresh grated parmesan cheese and pine nuts!

2 oz FiberGourmet lemon pepper fettucini
1 oz dried porcini mushroom, reconstituted in hot low-sodium, ff chicken broth
1 cup of ratatouille
1 ts pine nuts
1 slice of fresh mozzarella, cubed.

Cook the fettucini in hot water for 12 min. Meanwhile, rehydrate the porcini mushroom in hot chicken broth. In a saute pan, heat a cup of ratatouille and add the rehydrated porcini mushroom. Once the fettucini is cooked al dente, drain them and add them to the vegetable mix. Mix and heat for 1 min. Serve with pine nuts and the mozzarella! Enjoy!

1 lunch + 1 veggie + 1 fat serving

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Apple Pecan Cranberry Salad at Jordan Pond House

Apple Pecan Cranberry Salad at Jordan Pond House

This is the time of the year to go hiking, in the nearby beautiful Acadia National Park with its beautiful hikes and views, and, of course, some well-deserved early dinner somewhere in Bar Harbor or the roadside lobster houses. This is a crunchy fresh salad at the Jordan Pond House, served on the lawn, with a side of good weather (and dressing!).

dried cranberries
with balsamic vinaigrette

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pasta della Isola d'Elba

pasta della  Isla d' elba

I found this recipe on one of my favorite Swiss food blogs, la cucina mia. It sounded like a great light summer pasta dish, and it is: incredible flavorful and great texture. And, how much better can it get than a Isle of Elba inspired summer pasta dish?

2 oz Fiber Gourmet long fettucini
cook according to instructions

1 ts extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 of a small red onion, small dice
1/3 red bell pepper, small dice
about 10 Kalamata olive halves (in brine, not oil)
1 generous TB capers
1 garlic clove, minced
about 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
5 sundried tomatoes, cut into thin stripes with a scissors
4-5 large basil leaves, rolled like a cigar, and cut into fine slices
1 TB pine nuts
salt, pepper

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil and fry the onions and bell pepper. After ca. 5 min, add the olives, capers and garlic clove. Saute and mix well. Add a ladle of starchy pasta water to loosen the sauce. Add cherry tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, basil leaves and pine nuts as well as salt and pepper. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, preserve a laddle of pasta water, drain the pasta, and add the pasta back to the sauce in the pan. Mix all ingredients, and heat again until the pasta water more or less is evaporated. Serve with 2 small slices of fresh mozzarella. Enjoy!

1 dinner entree

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Swordfish with Tabbouleh

1/4 cup bulghur (cracked wheat)
1/4 cup hot water
4 gherkins, diced
1 green onion, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/3 English cucumber, peeled and diced
1/3 green bell pepper, diced
large bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
bunch fresh mint, chopped
salt, pepper
1/2 ts cumin seeds
juice of 1 lemon

Soak bulghur in the hot water for 1 hour. Meanwhile, chop the vegetable, and put in a medium sized bowl. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the bulghur as well a 1-2 TB liquid from the gherkin jar to the cracked wheat. Now, mix in all the vegetables, stir gentle, and chill for 1-2 hours.

(makes 2 servings for lunch or 1 serving for dinner, ca. 220 kcal alltogether)

3 oz of swordfish
1 ts ghee (clarified butter)
salt, pepper

Heat the ghee in a skillet til smoking point. Salt and pepper the swordfish, and caramelized from both side for 3 min in hot skillet.

Serve swordfish and the tabbouleh (half for a lunch, and the entire serving for dinner). Enjoy!

Another great recipe!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Perfect for those summer Sundays when friends come over, or to bring to a potluck occasion.

Strawberry Rhubarb mix:

1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons heartsmart bisquik
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
3 cups diced rhubarb

1 cup heartsmart bisquik
1/4 cup brown splenda
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix white sugar, heartsmart bisquik, strawberries, and rhubarb. Place the mixture in a 9x9 inch baking dish.
(or 10x8 inch if you like IKEA).

Melt butter. Mix 1 cup of bisquik mix, brown splenda, and oats. Add butter, and mix all until crumbly. Distribute crumble on top of the rhubarb and strawberry mixture.
Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until crisp and lightly browned. Cool and serve with ff coolwhip

Makes about 12 servings a 226kcal.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Maine Mussels with Tomato Marinara

One of the great things of summer in Maine are: going clamming or getting your own mussels from the coast. Unfortunately, no longer this summer, because the 'red tide' closed most areas again for the next weeks. But the fish monger at the local farmers market still had (pricey) mussels from a certified dealer. So, it was time for mussels in a tomato marinara, garlic, white wine, and fresh rosemary. With it, some fresh french baguette from Chase's in Belfast.

1 can fireroasted tomates (with garlic)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 ts extra-virigin olive oil
morton lite salt, fresh ground pepper (to taste)
Mrs. Dash garlic and herbs
1/4 cup white wine (Chardonnay)
a twig fresh rosemary, chopped

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onions. Once transluctant, grate the garlic into the pot, and stir. After 1-2 min, add the white wine, and let the liquid evaporate. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, Mrs Dash and rosemary. Heat well and sautee for 3 minutes on medium-high heat. Make sure the mussels are well clean and de-bearded. Add mussels to the pot, and close the pot with a lid. Steam the mussels in the tomato marinara for 5-7 min, until all mussels are open (discard those that do not open), and cooked. Serve with pasta or a piece of baguette!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Haddock with Rainbow Chard

A light meal for those warm summer days, with ingredients from the local farmers market. Haddock, young rainbow chard, garlic scapes, cherry tomatoes, and an orange bell pepper with some lemon and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Delightful!

1/2 haddock fillet
PAM, salt, pepper

1 ts extra-virgin olive oil
small bunch of young rainbow chard, sliced
2 garlic scapes, sliced into small pieces
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 orange bell pepper
salt, pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Grill the haddock with salt and pepper in a hot, PAM-sprayed skillet until cooked (ca. 5 min, both sides). Remove fish, and keep warm on the serving plate. Add the olive oil to the pan, the garlic scapes, rainbow chard, tomatoes and bell pepper. Sautee for 5 min, then add the lemon juice, salt and pepper (not much salt, the parmensan cheese is also to add saltiness!). Sautee for 2 more minutes, and microplan in the parmesan cheese. Stir, and serve with the haddock!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Elderberry Soda

It is the time of the year again. The elderberry bush is rich with white flowers, and it is time to make elderberry syrup this year. Elderberry is wonderful in different varieties: syrup, juice in the fall made from the black berries and elderberry liquor. Elderberry syrup is not common in the US to be able to buy in many stores (IKEA is an option). But you can plant a tree or look for a tree, and make your own syrup. It tastes very refreshing in the summer, and has numerous health benefits, we won't even mention.

Elderberry Flower Syrup
(makes 1 l of concentrated syrup):

40 elderberry flowers
1.5kg sugar
1.2 ltr water

In a large pot, heat the water and dissolve the water. In a non-reactive bowl (porcelain, glass or metal), place the rinsed elderberry flowers (green parts removed), and the lemon peel. Once the sugar is dissolved, stir and take off the heat. Pour over flowers, and mix gently mix. Let sit for 5 days, and stir twice a day. Strain using a cheese cloth, and fill in a sterilized bottle with a cork or a fliptop.

Elderberry Flower Soda

1 ounce elderberry flower syrup
1 cup sparkling water (plain)
Lots of ice

Fill a glass or pitcher with ice, just before serving. Use a ratio of 1 ounce syrup to 1 cup sparkling water. For a pitcher, use around 6 ounces of syrup and six cups of sparkling water. Stir well and enjoy!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fettucini with Vegetarian Marinara

Again, it is Fiber Gourmet pasta night, like almost every night because the pasta is truly light: high fiber, 40% less calories and tastes just like regular pasta, and, because of thehigh fiber content, it keeps me full for hours.

2 oz Fiber Gourmet long fettucini

Vegetarian Marinara:
1 ts extra virgin olive oil
1/3 red onion, diced
2 TB Morning star breakfast starters (ground beef, vegetarian)
1/2 can of salt-free diced stewed tomatoes
splash of olive juice (from a jar of green olives)
salt, pepper, Mrs Dash garlic & herbs
1 TB ketchup
1 ts liquid chicken stock extract
1 small branch of fresh rosemary
a few basil leaves
a splash of liquid sweetener

Cook pasta according to instructions (12 min in boiling water, don't rise, just drain). In a skillet, heat the olive oil and brown the onion and the Morning star vegetarian beef. Then, add all the other ingredients, and simmer until the pasta is cooked al dente. Drain pasta, and serve on plate with sauce. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Swiss Roesti with Kalamata Olives

Roesti is a traditional Swiss potato dish, made from grated potatoes that have been cooked or steamed before. Traditionally, they are fried in clarified butter until crisp on both sides, and served with a fried egg or a meat dish. I updated my version, and mixed in some bacon, a bit of parmesan cheese, and kalamata olives. It was delicious, flavorful and quite skinny! However, no way to get around the clarified butter in this dish!

1 Yukon gold potatoes (ca. 100g)
1 ts bacon bits
1 ts low-fat parmesan cheese
salt, pepper to taste
5-6 kalamata olives, sliced
1 ts clarified butter (ghee).

On the day before, steam or cook the potato until half cooked (they should still half raw, so that they keep some texture when grated. They will finish cooking when fried), ca. 10 min. Cool and set aside.

Peel the cooled potato, and grate on a coarse grater. Handle gently. Add the bacon bits, salt, pepper, parmesan and kalamata olives. In a skillet, heat the clarified butter, and distributed over the bottom of the pan with a brush. Add the roesti mix to the skillet and form them into a patty shape. Fry for several minutes, and then break up the patty and mix the potatoes again so that some of the brown bits are inside the roesti, too. Then, press into a patty again, and finish frying. If you are skillful, you can turn the roesti around and fry it from the other side, too (I can't!). Serve!


Low-Carb Artisan Sourdough Bread

This bread is one of my favorites. It tastes great, is light in calories and low-carb and it is fool-proof to make (and I am a novice bread baker!). I make 2 versions of this bread, one in the bread machine and for the other one I prepare only the dough in the bread machine and bake it in a clay bread baker for a crispier crust and artisan bread shape. The ingredients are the same. (Note: I do not prepare the low-carb bread mix according to instructions, since it calls for high fat ingredients like eggs, butter and cream. However, since this low-carb bread mix typically has more problem rising, I add twice the regular amount of yeast and the Baker's dry milk, which work great.)

Bread ingredients:
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup King Arthur sour dough
1/2 package Bob's Red Mill low-carb bread baking mix
2 TB King Arthur Baker's special dry milk
2 TB linseeds
2 TB caraway seeds

2 TB Red star active yeast
1 ts sugar
1/4 cup warm water.

Mix the yeast with the sugar and warm water in a small container and proof (wait until it is all bubbly).

Meanwhile, layer the ingredients ordered like in the list into the bread machine (wet ingredients first, then dry, the yeast mixture should only touch the dry ingredients). You can mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add them to the bread machine, or just stir them lightly inside the bread baking basket.

Bread machine version: For this version, set the setting to regular bread with light or normal crust.

Artisan version: Uses clay baker.
  • Set the bread machine to dough setting.
  • While the bread machine is making the dough (around 1.5 hours), water the clay bread baker in warm water for 30 min.
  • When dough has ready, drain bottom of clay baker and pat dry.
  • Grease sides and bottom generously.
  • Punch down dough, and shape into loaf and place in clay baker.
  • Let stand, covered with waxed paper, in warm place until dough nearly reaches top of cooker, 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Cut diagonal slashes, 1/2 inch deep, in top of dough with razor blade or sharp knife.
  • Soak top of cooker in water about 15 minutes; drain; pat dry and grease.
  • Preheat oven to 450F.
  • Place covered cooker in hot oven.
  • Bake 25 minutes.
  • Remove cover, bake until top is brown, 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove from cooker and cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Greek Strawberry Cheese Cake

No, it is not a 'greek cheese cake'. I am not even sure there is such a thing, but since the Greek claim to be the originator of Western culture, there likely is one. This is a cheese cake that uses Greek yogurt for the cheese layer, and in my case a low-carb biscuit mix (carbquik) for the base layer, and fresh strawberries in the middle. So, skinny, low-carb, low-calorie, you name it. But it all does not matter then this cheese cake is delicious !

Base layer:
2 TB carbquik (or any low-cal/low-fat biscuit mix)
1/2 TB any whey
2 TB non-fat butter milk
1 Tbsp egg beaters
¼ ts almond extract
¼ ts baking soda

Cheese cake filling:
1/2 cup non-fat greek yogurt (I used Fage)
1/2 ts vanilla
1 TB eggbeaters
1 TB splenda
1/2 TB Big train pancake mix (or any other low-cal/fat/sugar pancake mix)

Strawberry layer:
1 cup frozen strawberries, fresh, sliced
1/2 ts vanilla
1 TB splenda

Make the batter and the fillings in separate bowls. For the cheese cake filling, mix greek yogurt and other ingredients until it is a really smooth, creamy texture. Mix the strawberries with the vanilla and splenda.

Fill batter in a small, sprayed spring form, and bake at 400F for 5 min. Take out of oven, pour strawberries over solid surface of the cake base, and pour cheese filling on top of strawberries. Bake for another 20-25 min at 400F. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

entire cheese cake: 1 breakfast + 1 fruit (190kcal)

Note: as you can see in the photos below, I used fresh sliced strawberries, which I had frozen for a few days and then thawed. Beautiful juice, but not so great for the cheese cake because the cake layer gets too soggy. Next time, I use fresh strawberries.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Roast Chicken in Clay Baker

My mother made chicken like using a clay baker when I grew up, and has always been my favorite version. Today, clay bakers are retro but making a comeback, since they are also great for bread baking to create a crisp crust. Retro or not, it is a great way to roast chicken without added fat or liquids, but cook in its own juices. The idea is that the clay cast is soaked in water for 30 min before roasting the chicken. The absorbed moisture develops steam inside the baker and roasts the chicken. Removing the lid during the last 30 minutes makes sure the chicken has a brown crisp skin. Love it!

Roast chicken in clay baker

special equipment: clay baker
1 thawed organic chicken, washed and patted dry
salt, pepper
10 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
sweet paprika

Soak clay baker in warm water for 30 min. Preheat oven at 375F.

Rub the patted dry chicken with salt, pepper and the sweet paprika. Fill the garlic cloves inside the chicken cavities. Remove clay baker from water, dry with a towel, and place chicken in the bottom part of the clay baker. Close the clay baker with its lid, and place in oven. Increase heat to 425F, and bake for 90min. After 90min, remove clay pot from oven, remove lid, and place clay baker back into the oven for another 30min. Turn off heat, and serve chicken!

For a skinny version, discard the fat collected in the bottom of the clay baker. However, it is very tasty, of course, served over some mashed potatoes...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mole Chicken Enchilada

Mole, an interesting Mexican concept.... a chocolate spicy savory sauce with a bold character. It works even better for enchiladas, covered in mole and baked with cheese. Here we go, mole chicken enchiladas, gone perfectly skinny.

Chocolate (mole) chicken enchilada

1 Joseph's 4 net carbs small pita bread (cut in half)
1 TB jarred mole (I used Donna Maria)
1/8-1/4 cup low sodium, fat-free chicken stock
1 TB chipotle sauce (from a can of chipotles in sauce)
2 oz leftover grilled chicken breast
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 TB ff vegan low-fat cheddar cheese

In a skillet, break up the mole with a fork and thin out with the chicken stock to make a sauce. (Note: When I opened the jar, the oil of the sauce had collected at the top of the jar, and I just threw it out. So, the sauce is lower in calories than indicated on the jar.) Add the chipotle sauce to the mole, and stir well. Add in the cubed chicken, cover with the sauce and heat through. If too thick, add more water. Split the pita bread in half, and slide each half both sides through the hot mole sauce so that it covers both sides of the pita breads. Now, fill half of the chicken pieces in each pita, add some red bell pepper, and roll it up. Place seam side down in a baking dish. Add the remaining mole on top of the 'enchiladas'. Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 450F for 10 min (or until cheese melted). Add some more red bell pepper on top, and serve! Divine!!!

ca. 260kcal

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Luxurious Fruit Sauce for Greek Yogurt

This is a luxurious fruit sauce inspired by Ina G., a great sauce to keep on hand for the daily yogurt or Fage. It makes a large serving that will keep in the fridge for a while.

Raspberry rum sauce
1/2 bag of frozen raspberries, thawed
1 TB sugar
1/2 cup water
1 TB fiberfit
1 small jar sugar-free strawberry preserve (I used Hero)
1/2 TB brown rum

In a pot, heat the water, sugar, and fiberfit and raspberries until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm (don't boil it!). Take off the stove, and let cool to room temperate. In a food processor (or magic bullet), add the preserve, rum and half of the raspberry mixture and mix until a smooth silky texture is reached. Pour half of it into a jar, and mix the other half with the remaining raspberries (all ingredients will fit into a larger food processor).

Serve a few tablespoons with sweetened fage and fresh berries!