Saturday, May 30, 2015

Whitehall, Camden

Over the Memorial weekend, I had an opportunity to visit the newly remodeled Camden hotel Whitehall. Maine is 95% very New England traditional chic as if the time stopped in 1940. I am, however, a fan of anything modern, so a hotel that looks traditional on the outside but has a modern interior design gets my attention. Camden with a very well-to-do summer guest clientele has several boutique hotels, and Whitehall is the latest. My friend C. came visiting over the weekend from Boston, and it took little convincing for him to stay in Whitehall and I had a good reason to check it out myself, one week after it officially opened. whitehall-1
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While I waited for C. to arrive (who got sidetrack outlet mall shopping in Kittery and Freeport) I enjoyed free coffee, scones and internet in the Whitehall lobby getting some work done.
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Not only are all hotel room remodeled, but celebrity Chef Sam Talbot mans the new restaurant Pig and Poet.
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Beside a large bar and restaurant space, Pig and Poet also has 2 beautiful patio areas, one directly in front of the hotel, and one nestled more privately between the restaurant and the hotel.
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After some hiking, we returned for cocktails and appetizers on the back patio.
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We even returned for dinner, but I did not take any photos. The interior design of the hotel and the restaurant is spectacular. The food was a bit hit and miss, some dishes were excellent, some just average. The baked items, however, were all to die for.  According to C. the breakfast was spectacular.
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I am sure in the summer, this place will be crammed. But I plan to come back, a great place to hang out.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Vegan Curried Chicken Salad

Vegan chicken salad ---  now, this sounds like an oxymoron, but the idea for this salad is inspired by a chicken salad recipe, but I wanted a vegan version. The flavors and textures is like a chicken salad, but the main ingredients are roasted cauliflower florets and chickpeas instead. This ‘chicken’ salad tastes wonderful, very crunchy, and it is very satisfying and also filling thanks to the vegan mayonaise. It travels well to picnics, and keeps in the fridge for a few days. A summer staple!

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Vegan “Chicken” Salad

  • 1/2 cup fat-reduced veganaise
  • 1/3 cup mirin (or sushi vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup mango chutney (out of a jar)
  • 2 TB curry powder
  • 1 ts salt

Mix all these ingredients in a food processor until really smooth. Scrap every last bit out with a silicon spatula and place in a large mixing bowl.

  • 2 bags of frozen cauliflower (unthawed) or 1 fresh head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 long stalks of celery, cut into small dice
  • 1/4 cup of cashews, chopped
  • Optional: 1/4 cup raisins or fresh grapes, halved

Preheat oven to 350F, and place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet, and spread out evenly. Roast for about 20-30 min until tender and slightly roasted.

Meanwhile, cut the celery and mix the remaining ingredients with the curry salad sauce.

Add the cauliflower, and mix.

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Serve a room temperature or chilled. Sprinkle with cilantro or leafy parts of celery.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Moroccan Lemonade

In the summer, it is great to get together for an afternoon in the garden or on the deck, at a picnic or a garden party. Often, this calls for festive drinks --- home-made iced coffee with vanilla gelato, limoncello with prosecco, or a sophisticated non-alcoholic lemonade.

This lemonade is a beautifully aromatic with a subtle Moroccan flavor with cinnamon and a gorgeous deep pink color.

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Moroccan Lemonade

  • for the syrup:
  • 4 inch slice of organic orange rind
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tablespoon of dried rose pedals  (available in natural living stores)
  • 2 tablespoon of dried hibiscus flower (available in natural living stores)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar

for the lemonade:

  • 3/4 cup of fresh pressed lemon juice
  • half gallon of water

I got the orange rind of the one orange I grew over the last year…

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These are the dry ingredients for the syrup.

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Add to water and sugar in a sauce pan, and bring to a boil for 1 min. Dissolve the sugar and turn off the heat. Let steep for about 30min.

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Meanwhile, juice about 5 lemons to get 3/4 cup of lemon juice.

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Pour the lemon juice in a large container. Pour the syrup through a sieve and add to the container. Fill with water, and chill the lemonade. Serve with ice cubes.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Cozy spaces for summer

Ah, summer ! I could spend all my time outside, with an open patio door, flowing between inside and outside, inhabitable space with fresh air, sunshine, a breeze, to eat meals, read a book, work, meet with friends. Even small spaces can offer this cozy outdoor ‘living room’. Here are a few inspirations that I found (and immediately would book in an AirBnB in a foreign city. Paris? Lisbon?)

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Where my salad comes from

One of the themes of this blog is ‘eat seasonal, local food’. In Maine, this is not an elitist idea but something most of the people of Maine pursue, and the local farmers, farm land and farmers markets are plentiful. Afterall, Maine does feel sometimes like stuck in the 50s, in a good way. In the summer (i.e. now) I get most of my produce from the Farmers Market and the rest from my garden. There are always the same farmers, and familiar banter develops over the years. Here is one of my favorite farmers, Mark. His arugula and mesclun salad mix is divine; it is crunch fresh and does not wilt for over a week. …… and here is where it really comes from.

Farm to table.

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