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Archive for the ‘Epicurean Events’ Category
Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
I finally attended one of Portland, Maine’s infamous Pocket Brunches. I was holding out for one that (a) really caught my eye and (b) I would be in town for. Being a southerner by birth and mindset, I love almost all things southern and have a special place in my heart for New Orleans. One of the greatest places on earth.
Here it is: Pocket Brunch Mardi Gras. Thank you KSP for helping organize and assisting with my anti-paypal experience. A & J glad we could share our first PB experience.
The morning after Nemo the blizzard came to Portland and dropped 2-3 feet of snow, or more depending on snow drifts.
Masks and menus for all.
Kathleen & Tandem‘s delicious coffee and Suzette Scones (with candied orange – so good).
Bruleed Grapefruit (not pictured Pocket Bacon, of which I did not partake)
Pocket Brunch Krewe second lining in 18 degree weather. How we do it in Maine.
Bubba’s Lounge – large rooms filled with an inordinate amount of stuff. LOT of lunch boxes everywhere. Rows and rows hanging in every room. I’d not heard of the place before this event, but now know it is infamous for it’s 80′s nights. The place has dance floors that light up. Not my scene, but super choice for this event.
Virgin Bloody Mary w/ crawfish. I had a few crawfish. My friend J showed me how to eat them. Pull the head off and suck the guts out. So good. I want more!
Lex Jones & the Badass Brass
The Bearded Lady. He looks just like Zach Galifianakis and sounds like him too. p.s. have you seen “Between Two Ferns” – ZG’s Internet comedy series? It’s hilarious. Love him.
King Cakes. Really good!
Four or so hours later brunch was done. It was a fun time. I’ll probably go to another this summer.
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Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
I’m a curious person by nature, and when gifted the opportunity to write about Maine’s food sources for the state’s largest daily newspaper I jumped. Well I kind of hopped, the happy hop. The Root is my “excuse” to traverse the state in search of people and practices essential to bringing the kind of food I like to eat to the table. It’s almost (ALMOST) like an uncredited experience at Cornell’s esteemed School of Agriculture, whose alumni I find tapping for expert advice in my writing more and more.
When I was at university I took a few pre-law classes and participated in moot court (for those not familiar with moot court, it is a competition in which participants stimulate court proceedings in front of legal experts), which became one of the defining experiences in my life. I was assigned to represent a church that practiced Santeria and sacrificed animals. My personal feelings were absolutely opposed to what the church was (accused of) doing. Wanting to do well on the project and to impress my professor, who was one of the finest academics I’ve had the privilege to learn from, I put my personal feelings in a box and went forth representing my client to the best of my ability (and yes, my team won and eventually the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the church in the real life case overturning the town’s ordinance making the ceremonies unlawful…so how about that!). This defining experience taught me many things I’ve come back to over and over again in life, including the gift that sometimes to move forward you have to consider the motivation and thoughtfulness that goes into acts you yourself might not participate in.
What this translates to in regard to my visiting a farm and observing the breaking down of a hog is this… I don’t eat pork…I don’t even eat red meat…but that doesn’t mean doing it is wrong and more so the reason I haven’t eaten red meat maybe more than my childhood obsession with “Charlotte’s Web” is that the stuff sealed in plastic wrap at the supermarket looks disgusting. OK, kind of off track. Here it is…like with the case in university I feel it is my duty as someone who is writing about Maine’s food sources to cover all kinds of ground – not just things I’m comfortable with. Treating animals inhumanely is wrong. Giving animals a wonderful life and then humanely slaughtering them to feed yourself, your family and friends – using the whole animal and not discarding parts of it – I respect that. More, I greatly appreciate those persons like Iggy and Andrew who I feature in my most recent Root post, who are taking the time to educate persons how to do this. In essence they are gifting knowledge and appreciation for whole animal cooking and bringing an awareness to the subject. In my opinion, and trying not to judge here, if you are going to eat meat you should (a) source it locally = much better chance the animal lived a happy life (b) understand the process of how it came to be on your plate. The whole process.
This trip to Greene, Maine I made last weekend was the first step in my process of understanding how meat ends up on the kind of table I’m most likely to be seated at. The second step I’m taking is going to be a lot harder for me, but I believe incredibly rich – a once in a lifetime experience if you will. In March I’m heading to the Hudson River Valley to witness the slaughtering and butchering of a cow by masters in the field. The moment that cow’s life ends is going to be huge and I can only hope I’m truly prepared. That’s me though, you live you learn…each day is an opportunity to expand your mind.
Take this for what you will, disagree heartily, but please try not to judge…try to appreciate the act of learning with the best of intentions.
Here is the post…and an extra photo I ultimately though beautiful thought best not to include in the paper’s version…
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Monday, January 21st, 2013
Per Rowan Jacobsen’s recommendation I contacted Greg Garrett of Forbidden Oysters, about sampling some of his Eastern Shore grown oysters. I grew up eating Chesapeake oysters and at a young age developed a love for the bivalve which truth be told rivals any and all chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever met (for those who don’t know me well enough, that’s a big statement). I have yet to meet an oyster I don’t like, but some I love. While I don’t have a way with words like Rowan does, I can tell you this …love would be more the word I would describe with Greg’s Forbiddens than like. They are fresh, of the sea, not too salty.
What Rowan said about Greg’s oysters: They are so delicious that (this may get me in trouble) they don’t taste like Chesapeake oysters at all. They are saltier than other Chesapeake oysters I’ve had, while still not being as punishingly, bitter salty as Chincoteagues and others that are grown on the Atlantic side of the Eastern Shore. The moderate salt is perfectly balanced by an irresistible sweetness and an instantly and unmistakably recognizable flavor of artichoke leaves dipped in butter sauce. Really, extraordinary flavor.
What Greg had to say about Forbidden Oysters…
Do you have any special stories relating to your farm?
Our farm is on the York River, where America won its freedom from the British in 1781 when Cornwallis surrendered right here on our river. My 14X Great Grandfather was the Founder of Yorktown. He arrived from England in 1620, and that’s when our family started eating oysters out of this majestic river.
Our exclusive oyster grounds are at the mouth of the river where it meets the Chesapeake Bay. The current is especially strong and the bottom is very hard. The York River is the closest of all the major rivers to the opening of the Chesapeake Bay where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, so it is known to be the saltiest and cleanest. Our location may be the only oyster grounds on the York that is more influenced by the Chesapeake Bay water than the river’s rainwater from storms, as it gets replenished with the Bay’s salty water twice a day. Consequently, our oysters are incredibly clean & have a taste like no other.
How did you come upon naming the farm?
We have been fighting our County for the right to have our oyster farm here for over 3 years. Even though we live on our own island, connected to the mainland by a narrow land-bridge and are zoned for agriculture, they have been trying to close our farm. It’s all a political payback. We have all permits needed from the state, and have never had any complaints or issues with the Health Dept. The County wants us to cease operations… but we have refused, and recently won in court. Now they are appealing to the Va. State Supreme Court…. So the FORBIDDEN Oyster brand seems to fit !!!
What challenges did you face, if any, when you developed the oyster farm?
The county’s harassment. Plus we face NE and are wide open to Nor’easters for 27 miles… so storms are tough here. My wife calls our 6 acre property a “lighthouse plot”.
When did you decide you wanted to follow in the family business?
It never was a business before …. Just awesome oysters that EVERYONE wanted to eat! We actually started the business.
What defines the Chesapeake Bay for you?
As a kid, l used to snorkel through the eel grass and see all the aquatic creatures. It was fascinating. By 10 years old, my brother & I set up a roadside stand selling clams, shrimp, crabs etc. I can never remember not knowing how to waterski. I used to go all night fishing with my father and brother when l was 6 years old. I captained a skipjack in the national championships when l was 14. Currently, at 54, l still water ski, kayak, sail, jet ski, fish, wind-surf, & swim.
How do you enjoy your oysters?
Raw; why would you mess with perfection?
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Sunday, January 13th, 2013
The “Immigrant Kitchen Project” is Lindsay Sterling’s brilliant response to wanting to learn how to cook traditional recipes from around the globe without spending $$$. Since Since 2008, Sterling has been introducing herself to strangers from foreign countries (literally in one instance walking up to a barista at Starbucks) and asking them to teach her how to make a traditional dish. She writes about the experiences on her blog and passes on the cooking lessons on monthly basis for $15-35 donation per person (classes max out somewhere between 12-15), which she turns over to the Freeport-Pownal food pantry after covering the cost of groceries. Amazed? Me too, and folks she’s the real deal and the classes delicious and fun. Friday night I attended her Indian cooking class and if not for a schedule conflict I’d be back for her February Haitian class.
You can find the recipe for Indian Tandoori Chicken as taught to Lindsay by Sudha Chalichamu from Hyderabad, India here. In the class I took we learned to make Indian Chicken Biryani for a Crowd. Sorry folks, but the recipe is super long. If you want a copy comment here and I’ll ask Lindsay if it’s okay for me to make a copy and mail it to you (we received handouts with the recipes at class).
My friend J brought Bosnian beer. I was shocked to find out it was made in Banja Luka, an area known to me for an entirely different reason.
Marinate Chicken with ginger garlic paste, lime, turmeric, Indian chili powder, yogurt, salt, and one package “Special Bombay Biryani” spice mixture. Marinates in fridge for 6 to 24 hours (longer the better).
Super hot green chilis, white onion, mace, cardamom pods (green and black), whole cloves, cinnamon bark, cumin, and bay leaves. Heat in large saute pan or wok with lid. Oh, and salt – turns out there is a lot of salt in Indian food.
Once onions are soft and slightly brown, add tomatoes. Stir and cover.
Chicken cooking for 20 minutes so sauce thickens, but chicken does not fall off bone.
Assembling to eat. Yes, it is traditional to eat with hard boiled eggs.
Delicious traditional Indian dinner! Serve with wedges of lemon and sliced onion to cut down on spice.
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Thursday, December 20th, 2012
Dear readers, you have no idea how hard this secret was to keep. I really, really wanted to tell you all as soon as I knew…but I couldn’t …had to wait…till NOW. I’m writing the blog “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources” for The Portland Press Herald!! I’ll be profiling farm families, reporting on farm-based education and internships, conducting Q&A’s with master beekeepers, offering tips on picking a CSA, and much more. So much more. It’s all going to be very delicious and really, really fun.
When I was in university I dreamed of being a journalist. I wrote for the student newspaper, interned at broadcast and print outlets, and was (of all things) the weather gal for a student TV show. After graduation I moved to Manhattan, where I’d wanted to live for as long as I can remember. I interned at a fashion magazine in the photo department and fell in love with the long walk to work, fashionable oh so smart editors, the pulse and promised myself one day I’d have a desk with as many rolodexes as the editor (three of the biggest I’ve seen to this day). One day I’m going to be a writer. That’s what I thought.
Well, things turned out a bit differently and after years away from writing of any sort I began this blog. This space known as Delicious Musings is how I’ve navigated my way back to what I really love. Sharing stories. It is a place where my almost insatiable curiosity is met, where enough is never enough, and I can do what I want however and whenever I choose. It is a place of freedom and great joy. As is life sometimes, this thing is working itself out.
First came the Huffington Post with an opportunity to write about bees (I’m researching some pretty incredible folks now who hope to interview in the new year) and now The Portland Press Herald. I’m very grateful to my friends for all their encouragement and to the editors who allow me to dwell in their space.
My first two posts:
Maine’s Best Roosts: the 1st Maine Poultry Coop Contest
(photo of Mary & John Belding’s coop in Harrison, Maine. The Coop is mobile, 5′ by 8′, built on an old axle, with rubber tires. Construction is of hardwood (floor and 1″ by 2″ uprights), with 1/2″ thick pine siding, used polycarbonate for doors and windows, used metal roof. We move the coop around in our small orchard in the summer and use flexible electric poultry netting to keep the birds out of our garden. The coop usually houses 12-15 birds.)
Gift Farm-Fresh Produce with a CSA
Thank you Universe, dear readers, friends, new readers, editors.
Top photo by Richard Brzozowski. Bottom photo by Stacy Brenner.
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Friday, November 30th, 2012
Let’s be clear about something, I love coffee. Black no sugar, cream or anything else to corrode that pure caffeinated rush. Thankfully living in Maine offers me ample choices of what I consider to be some of the best coffee in the U.S. (sorry stateside friends, but nothing compares to the coffee I’ve had in Italy and France…sure it could be that I’m there, but let’s leave it this way for now…I mean we come close).
Gift the gift of coffee this season. Gift local, gift handmade, gift love. Oh, and if you really love the person (say, um it’s me then also gift a pain au chocolate from Standard Bakery Co…because nothing says love to me like good coffee and that particularly heavenly chocolate ensconced item).
Blue Bottle Coffee makes incredible coffee and for those not already in the know, Tandem Coffee Roasters is run by three former Blue Bottle employees: the husband and wife team of Kathleen and Will Pratt, and Vien Dobui. According to Sprudge: Mr. Dobui was head of training and research for both coasts, Mrs. Pratt was the manager of Blue Bottle’s Mint Plaza location (and headed up operations for their NYC expansion), and Mr. Pratt has extensive roasting experience with the company. Tandem is located in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood. Here’s a post I did on the Blue Bottle Coffee book signing where I met the absolutely love pair of minds that brought BBC and Miette to life. Sending caffeinated sugary hugs to you both!
Speckled Ax, another favorite Portland coffee spot is a retail outlet opened by Matt Bolinder, of Matt’s Coffee. According to Portland Food Map, Matt’s Coffee is included in Food & Wine magazine’s December holiday gift wrap-up. It’s always so great to see your local favorites make national news. Really happy for these folks, they do a bang up job. p.s. THANK YOU, thank you, thank you AF for introducing me to this place. I will forever be grateful for the coffee knowledge you bring to my life (and all else!).
Matt’s Coffee photo courtesy of Food & Wine.
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Monday, October 22nd, 2012
Here’s what I did this weekend:
Technically, not the weekend yet…Thursday night I watched the new documentary on Ethel Kennedy, an insider’s view of the Kennedy dynasty.
Friday night I was invited to a Wine & Cheese Tasting at Whole Foods Market in Portland. We sampled five wines and an ice cider and eight cheeses from the Cellars at Jasper Hill.
When I found out I was lactose intolerant my senior year of college I argued with the doctors and my body. How, after spending three years on a near lactic diet of pizza, tuna melts, ice cream and let us not forget Sal’s blue cheese dip that went nicely with the greasiest of wings…how on earth could I be intolerant to it!? Let’s just say my futile attempts to convince my body otherwise did not go well. Flash forward more than a decade, I’m in Whole Foods Market in Portland explaining to the woman behind the cheese counter what I can and cannot eat. Goat and sheep, check. Cow, nope. Maybe it was because she was so nice, or it could have just been she knew a heck of a lot about cheese, but she encouraged me to try an aged cheese – it has less lactose she said, and I did. It was a two or three bite size sample of a cheese that left me wanting a lot more of it (and my body was OK with it!). That was the day I met Shannon (a fellow Chicago Bears fan) and the moment I fell hard for Jasper Hill’s Cabot Clothbound Cheddar.
It was also the beginning of a less than scientific study of how tolerant my body could be with cheese. Portion size it seems has a lot to do with it (and alas no milkshakes). Anyhow, the Cellars at Jasper Hill …conjures up a magical (I’d like to think this Harry Potter style and all) place set in reality in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. A concrete bunker (aka cave) built by Andy and Mateo Kehler with climate-controlled rooms where batches of cheese are tasted, tracked and analyzed till they are released to the public.
Sunday I went back to the store and picked up some of Jasper Hill’s Alfa Tolman and Cabot Clothbound and a bottle of the Lockhart, Pinot Noir to go with them.
*For more information on Jasper Hill Farm and the Cellars, pickup Issue # 15 of Diner Journal (published 2010) with the thoughtful article by Annaliese Griffin on Jasper Hill Farm and The Cellars’ system.
Landaff by Landaff Creamery, aged at Jasper Hill
What does one do after eating cheese and drinking wine? Go do dinner of course. A business associate in town for a couple days invited me to dinner. Having heard raves about Grace recently I suggested we go there and was not disappointed.
Since I’m eating dessert these days (giving myself thru the holidays then I’ll wean myself off sugar again), I supported ordering multiple desserts. After all, this place is known for their pastry chef Ilma Lopez. Next time I’m doing the same, only I might order two servings of the Bananas as I’m not wont to share that dish again YUM!
Bittersweet – Layered Chocolate Cake w/ 72% Ice Cream and White Chocolate Crumble
Figs – Lemon Curd, Honey Meringue and Yogurt Sherbert
Bananas – Toasted Hazelnuts, Milk Chocolate Cream and Vanilla Marshmallows
I finished this book, read this article on Larry Flynt in The New York Times(online) and the November issues of Saveur. Penny de los Santos images inspire and the article “Cassanova Nation” is no exception.
While listening to the Donovan Frankenreiter station on Pandora I stitched a few coasters for friends from a couple of the fabrics I picked up at Alewives Fabrics (thanks again SL for pointing me there).
Saturday night, still exhausted from getting back late Friday night and up early for the chickens, I stayed in and downloaded the medical comedy/drama “Emily Owens, M.D.” starring Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep’s daughter). It’s really good. *I cannot stand ads so network television is pretty much out for me as it is (unless it’s football), thus I usually wait till midway through or the end of a season and download episodes onto my laptop. According to Wiki.answers: A typical 1 hour TV show has 16 minutes of commercials. No thanks!
Sunday I attended a signing with Blue Bottle Coffee Co.‘s James and Caitlin Freeman at Tandem Coffee Roasters for their new book The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes. I picked up a copy there from Rabelais (a co-host of the event). *Check out the book trailer (video produced by White on Rice Couple) and take a glance at my first BBC experience.
The book is about coffee growing, roasting, drinking and the food that goes with it anytime of the day. A little something sweet to think about dear readers is the recipe for Saffron-Vanilla Snickerdoodles in the ever so perfectly titled chapter “Perfect for Dunking”… Okay, pause…the truth of it is I’ve never been a coffee dunker. Or a tea dunker or really any kind of dunker…nope, not even as a kid did I dunk Oreos into my milk. It’s never too late to try, right?? and maybe this will be it. Or maybe not, and I’ll just make these ever so soulful sounding cookies and munch on them between sips of coffee or tea.
James Freeman wrote this book for the kind and enthusiastic people who line up for his coffee. As someone who has and certainly remains enthusiastic about it, let me say thank you James for creating good coffee and now this book, which I look forward to reading so I may better understand coffee.
Want to know more about Tandem (where I’ll be found when in town) check out this article on Sprudge (the coffee news site pointed out to me by my knowledgeable coffee friend Anestes.
During half-time I made Smitten Kitchen’s Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel using Wealthy and Smokehouse Apples from Out on a Limb Heritage Apple CSA.
A fun bit on Wealthy apples from the CSA site: Cherry crab seedling. Excelsior, MN, 1868. One of the most famous of the hardy all-purpose varieties, Wealthy is also considered to be a standout among pie apples. If you want to try a single-variety crisp or pie this week, try one with Wealthy. At peak ripeness, the flavor is more sweet than tart, and the texture is soft without being mushy. Just before it’s ripe, the pie flavor tends to be slightly tart. Wealthy makes a tart, creamy sauce. It’s also a good acid source for fermented cider. Our old friend, long-time orchardist, 96-year-old Francis Fenton of Sandy River Orchards, believes Wealthy—not McIntosh—should be the favorite commercial apple of northern New England. The trees his father planted in Mercer 105 years ago are still going strong.
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Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
In honor of FOOD DAY, my friend Ilma (a talented pastry chef) and her husband Damian Sansonetti prepared a gourmet meal rooted in ingredients grown at Dandelion Spring Farm, a small organic farm in Newcastle, Maine. The 20 or so persons in attendance nourished ourselves with the following menu (they plan to do more of these next year for those of you going, why didn’t I know about it, shoot I missed it…)
Herb & olive oil grissini
Lamb terrine “naso alla ooda”
Beet & dill “deviled” eggs
Black kale, roasted beets, fall squash, arugula, farmers cheese, hard cider vinaigrette
Cavatelli (My favorite dish of the evening, absolutely delicious!!)
Housemade pasta, slow cooked lamb and tomato ragu eggplant, sweet garlic, calabrian chili, black olives
Lamb “sile famiglia” (I did not eat this, but I’m sure my fellow diners loved it)
Roasted local lamb chops, saddle & leg, braised swiss chard, rainbow carrots, maine potatoes, natural herb jus
Housemade raw milk ricotta cheese, fennel, lemon, sea salt
Raw milk panna cotta trifle, beets & quinoa
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Monday, October 15th, 2012
The other night I was invited to a cooking class with Ana Sortun at Whole Foods Market in Portland by the truly wonderful Barbara Gulino, the store’s marketing team leader. Should anyone from the Whole Foods national exec team read this – I want to first applaud you for having the sense to hire her and second tell you I sure as heck hope you know how lucky you are to have her. Barbara’s energy, straight shooting no nonsense talk, big heart and passion for food make her a respected member of the Portland Maine food community. At this store (and I’m saying this from my personal perspective w/ no ad $ involved) there really is an emphasis on team and supporting local. I can’t say that’s true about some other Whole Foods stores in communities where a couple friends live (fyi in huge urban environments). I just know Barbara’s hard work goes a long way and gets people like me in the doors more frequently than I might otherwise. I’ll be at Friday night’s Cellars at Jasper Hill Cheese & Wine Pairing and depending on who’s playing that day the Beer Tasting there on Saturday, October 27. Hope to see some of you at both/either!
And now to Ana Sortun. Before winning a James Beard award for her Cambridge, MA restaurant Oleana (thank you again James for one of the best birthday treats ever – dinner there..xo) she spent time apprenticing with a Tunisian chef and traveling through the Eastern Mediterranean. Julia Moskin’s piece in The New York Times is the best I could find on Sortun’s background. This review in Saveur of Oleana is spot on.
Attending a class with her was a wonderful experience. I recommend it if you have the chance. *Contact Sofra or Oleana as she does do classes on occasion during the winter. The other best bet is to keep an eye on what is going on at Stir (Barbara Lynch’s demo kitchen/bookstore next door to their produce stand in Boston’s South End).
Sortun was at Whole Foods as part of her publicity tour for her new Chef Sets, her “chef-inspired homemade meals” in a box. In the class she made the “from scratch” version of Couscous with Moroccan Spices & Almonds with Chicken (Vegetarian instructions are on the Chef Set site).
Sortun opened up by telling the 20 some people in the room above the store about Moroccan food. They use steaming as a primary cooking technique, which is what makes couscous light and fluffy when served there (* Sortun said when cooking couscous soak in a little liquid at a time so it has time to “grow” slowly and stay light – she said “you want it to feel like feathers when done”). Sortun explained the art of eating a couscous dish is to “add liquid broth little by little as it’s consumed” – in Morocco she explained they put the couscous on top of the meat/vegetables so it does not absorb all the sauce. Moroccan cuisine we learned, also emphasizes balancing earthy and sweet spices. Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean, Sortun’s informative and easy to follow cookbook, is organized by spice and herb groupings or families. If you want to learn more about which spices compliment each other and the individual qualities of each spice this would be a good book to own.
I wanted to make the Chef Set of Couscous with Moroccan Spices & Almonds with Chicken before publishing this post, but I have leftovers and ingredients that need to be eaten/used up before I return to the market. Soon as I do I’ll share my impression, though it shouldn’t count for too much. I say this, because each individual’s cooking experience is going to be completely different based on time/taste/cooking knowledge/kitchen utilities… For $6.99 I recommend you pickup one and spend the 15 minutes cooking it (plus “x” amount of time and $ @ a market picking up additional ingredients). I also recommend you pickup her book and at least skim through it first to get a flavor for her and her cooking. It’s $34.95, but a great investment if you are interested in Moroccan/Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. **Think holiday present to yourself. Oh, in which case if you do gift say her book and the set please also consider getting one each of Nancy Harmon Jenkins and Paula Wolfert‘s cookbooks on Mediterranean cuisine. That would be an amazing (!!) gift for you/a cook in your life. p.s. Nancy is a truly good person so support her and from what I can tell of Ana so is she. Maybe some day I’ll be fortunate enough to meet Paula. xo
Chicken with Moroccan Spices & Barley Couscous as inspired by Ana Sortun’s Chef Set, Recipe by Ana Sortun
4-5 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1″ cubes
2 large onions, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into very thin slices
1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon; divided
1 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch saffron
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp honey
1/2 cup blanched almonds, toasted
1 tsp demerara sugar
Kosher salt to taste
3 Tbsp and 3/4 Tbsp EVOO
2 cups couscous (not Israeli kind, it’s bigger and not good for this recipe)
1 tsp harissa
1/2 cup pitted green olives, like picholine or lucques
1 tsp orange flower water (you can buy some at Sofra, it’s beautiful smelling)
Heat a large saucepot over medium heat (Sortun always uses medium not high heat). Add 2 Tbsp EVOO, chicken, sliced onions, carrots, 1 tsp cinnamon, ginger, saffron & turmeric. Cover w/ 2 cups of water & simmer for 15 minutes, until the onions are soft & the chicken is cooked through.
Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Place couscous in a large mixing bowl with 1 Tbsp of EVOO and some salt to taste. Add 1/2 the boiling water & stir to coat the couscous w/ water to start hydrating. Let sit 5 minutes & add the rest of the water. Stir w/ a fork to fluff.
(Topping) Use a food processor, fitted w/ a metal blade, finely grind the toasted almonds w/ the remaining 3/4 tsp of cinnamon, demerrara sugar, 1/2 tsp kosher salt (something flaky & light, just not Morton’s) & tsp EVOO.
Check the chicken for seasoning, adjust by adding more salt if necessary. Stir in orange blossom water, honey, olives & harissa. Spoon the chicken & vegetables into a deep bowl & top w/ 1/2 cup of steamed couscous & 1 – 2 Tbsp of almonds.
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Thursday, September 27th, 2012
I was voted in as a new member of the Cumberland County Extension Association at the Annual Meeting and bonus got to have delicious homemade peach pie from the Annual Meeting Pie Contest. Woohoo! I am honored to be on the board (thank you Kate for recommending me). This will hopefully be an opportunity for me to give back to the organization that provided bee school and a backyard poultry workshop. Next year, Master Gardeners (hopefully, if they accept me).
Penny Jordan of Jordan’s Farm and the Cape Elizabeth Farm Alliance gave the keynote address. With everything she does (farming, promoting farming, running a CSA and market…) I wonder does she sleep? Oh, and she’s so nice. Penny taught me a little more about cucumbers and convinced me to grow pickling ones next year (hers are so yummy).
A highlight of the evening was watching the 2012 Award Recipients receive their awards – Shirley Milliken was awarded the Outstanding Homemaker Volunteer – she is so cute! Who even knew there is a Maine Extension Homemakers?? Turns out it has 1,000 members involved throughout the state.
Okay…the pie shot…
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