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Archive for October, 2010

Samples of Natural Food Products for Food Bloggers

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

{jars on branch}

Hi. I am looking for food bloggers who would like to be considered to sample natural food products, review cookbooks and consider writing about them on their blog.  Do you know anyone who might be interested?  If so please send the blog URL and email address of the blogger to me at kitchens.sharon at gmail.com.  THANK YOU!!!!

About the samples:
* I work with primarily family owned companies that produce maple syrup, nut mixes, cheese alternatives  and honeys. Good, tasty stuff.
* On occasion a chef client will have a cookbook, so let me know if you are interested in writing a review/trying out a recipe.
* The companies I work with are involved with the products they produce. The ingredients do not contain words Michael Pollan’s grandmother would not understand.
* No payment is involved and no review is required. If you try the product don’t like it and don’t want to write about it I respect that. Want to write about it and say you liked this and not that, and are fair about it, I respect that too.
*Shipping is covered.  Unfortunately, at this time I can only ship domestic (usually via UPS or Fed Ex)
*Please let me know if you have any allergies and/or dietary restrictions.
*Ultimately who receives samples is up to my client/the owner of the company, all I can do is recommend you/your blog.

Photo by Julia Stotz.


Monday, October 18th, 2010

I hear the word “candy” and I immediately start playing the Iggy Pop ballad in my head…”Candy, candy, candy I can’t let you go…All my life you’re haunting me…I loved you so…”  What a great song. Know what else is pretty cool (okay no where near Iggy Pop cool)… Saveur Magazine’s Classic Candy Time Line 1794 – Today.

Necco Wafers

Necco Wafers 1847

Clove Gum

Clove Chewing Gum 1914

Sugar Daddy

Sugar Daddy 1925

Apple Torte with Breadcrumb – Hazelnut Crust

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

The November issue of Bon Appetit has a lot of good recipes, several I will be writing about in the coming week or two. This one, for Apple Torte with Breadcrumb-Hazelnut Crust I could not wait on and since tasting it think neither should you. If you like sweet things, fruit pie, carrot cake kind of goodness at all you really need to make this right away. This is a lick the bowl (of ground up hazelnuts, breadcrumbs, milk, sugar, butter, and grated lemon peel) good torte!

Just a couple notes on the recipe…

Ingredients: Apple Filling – since tasting locally sourced apples I’m telling you there IS a difference in taste. If you can find local do, it will make a huge difference. I don’t even think I can ever eat a Granny Smith again, not that there is anything wrong with them, but really here is where local makes a big difference in taste and texture (local = tender). I used Wealthy and Red Gravenstein from my apple CSA. *See apple notes below from Out on a Limb CSA.

Use apple cider instead of white wine, I did and having baked with the latter in pie recipes in the past, am glad I went the cider route.

Do make the steps ahead you can according to the instructions. I did, and it made it a lot more enjoyable than spending hours on it in the same day.

Special Equipment note, in addition to a 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable pan you will need a food processor. My mini Kitchen Aid broke while grinding the sugar/hazelnut mixture. A friend who I loaned my first (normal size) one to broke it for me, or her boyfriend did (lesson learned think who you loan stuff too you value).


Red Gravenstein
Late Summer. Uncertain Italian or German origin, 17th century or earlier. The most famous of all pie apples, Gravenstein is also good for dessert and sauce. There are numerous strains of the apple, this deep purple-red strain can be found in old orchards in southern Maine. Mary Jones used this Red Gravenstein from Sweetser’s Orchard in Cumberland to win the Maine State Pie Championship a few years ago. She told me it’s “sweet but very hard to describe…real nice…full-bodied…wonderful flavor.” Ripens earlier than most cooking apples, over the course of several weeks.  It’s a minor miracle that Mary “somehow saved them until January for the State Championship.”  The tree is large, vigorous, perfectly shaped and hardy to about central Maine. Grown conventionally.

Fall. Cherry crab seedling. Excelsior, MN, 1868. An absolutely excellent all-purpose variety, Wealthy is also considered to be one of the best of all pie apples.  The flavor is more sweet than tart and the texture is soft without being mushy.  The fruit ripens over a long period. It’s also a good acid source for fermented cider. Our old friend, long-time orchardist, 95-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 104 years ago are still going strong.   The naturally small sized extremely hardy tree is productive moderately vigorous and long-lived. Grown conventionally.

Photo Bon Appetit.

Smitten Kitchen Roasted Eggplant Soup

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

I drove home from Boston yesterday to cooler temps and wind, putting me in the mood for something warm and comforting. I also needed a recipe that would use up the tomatoes and eggplant I had left sitting on the counter. Hot soup!  This recipe for Roasted Eggplant Soup from one of my favorite food blogs (Smitten Kitchen) is simple, quick, and full of flavor. The aroma it created in my house intoxicating. With a bit of goat cheese on top and a piece of toasted baguette on the side it is sure to be a regular meal this winter.

goat cheese topped eggplant soup

*Just a note, it is funny the blogger writes “I’ve been doing a spectacular amount of hemming and hawing over this post….is it too late to talk about eggplant and tomatoes?”….Well, let me just say I had to move my (beloved) eggplants to a local greenhouse where my permaculture farmer friend Dave could help me save them. The guy has a green, or golden, or something plants love thumb. Seriously, my eggplants went from lazy tiny things to big robust beauties. There are more coming, this week. I was given my first two and was entirely ambivalent about eating them. How could I?  Imagine a vegan (I’m not) finding a vegetable too beautiful to eat it – I mean I grew this vegetable from a seed. After a few days of sitting beautifully on the counter my eggplants began to get soft in a few spots, telling me eat me soon or not at all. Well, no way was I going to waste them and since they were not going to stick around in their given shape..soup!  As for tomatoes, I buy local year-round from Backyard Farm tomatoes.


Top photo Smitten Kitchen.

Grain Surfboards 2010 Fall Party

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Good times at the Grain Surfboards 2010 Fall Party last night. Bonfire, hilarious film with some excellent surfing footage on the most unlikely of apparatus (shown on the barn wall!), and a buffet of delicious foods. I brought the “gourmet” SMORES combination of marshmallows and graham crackers from Whole Foods with Scharffen Berger Milk Chocolate bars. The kids loved them, so did some adults. One guy threw a board he had messed up into the fire so the surf gods would send good waves. He could have fixed that board, but it was a beauty to watch burn and you know I just got texted the waves at the local beach aren’t so flat so looks like I’ll be going out today after all.





Poster and top photo Grain Surfboards.

Apple Picking

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

A few pictures from my morning apple picking expedition in Standish, ME. with my friend Dave from the Urban Farm Fermentory.











Reusable Grocery Bags

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Why on earth would anyone want to use a plastic bag at the supermarket when there are so many reusable, beautiful, cool (!!) options out there. A few of my favorites…


Sea Bags (Custom tote bags made from recycled sails)


Bolga Basket (Fair trade, sustainable wage, handmade African baskets)


NOLA‘s Jack and Jake’s Grocery Tote (Unique pieces made from discarded fabrics in New Orleans)


ECOBAGS (Set of 5 Cotton String Shopping Bags and a Hemp Stuff Sack)

Seared Scallops with Pumpkin and Herbed Orzo

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Saturday morning my friend Ellen and I went to the Camden Farmers’ Market. It was warm and sunny so the market was bustling. With only two weekends left for the outdoor market I was grateful to find so many vendors. I picked up a few Maitake (Hen of the Woods) to saute with garlic and butter. For the next couple hours as I made my way around Camden I kept sticking my head in the brown bag with the mushrooms and inhaling. It smelled like the woods. From Peacemeal Farm I picked up organic garlic, shallots, parsley, and lettuce. Here is where it gets fun (okay the mushrooms and probably anyone who saw me inhaling from my bag thought that was fun or really funny – looking anyway) – with Kevin Weiser of Hubbard Brook Farm who sold me a big Blue Hubbard Squash. I’ve always thought of that magical looking vegetable and wondered what (other than decorating) does one do with it. I told him I’d been intent on getting a pumpkin (I did pick up one from Bahner Farm) for a recipe, but was curious if I could replace it with his squash. He said the flavor is about the same (I think pumpkins are a tad sweeter now that I’ve tried both). Then I asked how do you get it open (having carved numerous pumpkins I’ve got that down, but Blue Hubbards are a bit more awkwardly shaped). He said put it in a bag and drop it on the floor (cement/harder the surface the better). That was it I bought it. Are you kidding me, I thought, I get to start making dinner tonight by slamming a squash on the floor. It was so mischievous sounding (trust me I’ve had my non angelic moments and this does not come close, but still quite fun).

A few hours later…in Ellen and Bob’s garage…


In Ellen and Bob’s kitchen…


I made Seared Scallops with Pumpkin and Herbed Orzo from the October/November 2010 issue of Fine Cooking. The only deviation I made was using the Blue Hubbard Squash instead of pumpkin. I used the salted and roasted the (larger than pumpkin) seeds from the squash for the scallop portion of the recipe. I also eliminated the heavy cream and used a little less orzo since there were three of us not four (what the recipe should yield if prepared according to instructions). If I must say so the results were delicious and the experience all fun.

Top photo Ellen McMullen.

Pancake Breakfast at Camden Snow Bowl

Monday, October 11th, 2010

This past weekend I attended my first pancake breakfast at the Camden Snow Bowl since I moved here. The blueberry pancakes with (real) maple syrup were good, the company great, but the foliage the scene stealer.  The chair lift up the mountain provided an opportunity to see some of it, and the walk down offered a gorgeous view of Hosmer Pond.




Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

It’s pouring rain here in Portland. I’m enjoying the sound of the rain, wet leaves, cooler air, boots with tights, and relaxing mood. An appropriate type of day to get me back in the yoga studio after so many months away.

Photo Coquinete.