Food

Challenged!

“Growing up here, there was never more than a day or two of weather like this.”  

foggy daySo spoke my neighbor commenting on the run of less than perfect days experienced in the last month.  Like so many other places on the planet, midcoast Maine has had unusual heat that combined with fog and humidity have made for some pretty uncomfortable days.  Here we suffer through  because most homes have no air conditioning.  For me, that means spending more time than usual at the grocery or TJ Maxx where it is cooler.

The uncommon heat also means spending less time in the kitchen.  Not only does the heat take away appetite, using the cooktop or oven adds to the discomfort so whatever is easy to fix with minimal cooking is the answer.

Breakfast and lunch are easy. Cereal or a blueberry muffin heated quickly in the microwave suffices in the morning.  

A midday sandwich, especially one made with lobster, is more than satisfactory.  

healthy foodDinner is a bit more challenging, but I’ve gotten pretty creative with salads.  This time of year corn and tomatoes are at their best and layering them with cucumbers, red onion, olives, feta cheese and basil makes for a delightful and refreshing meal.

food photography

Sometimes it’s tomatoes stacked with mozzarella on top of lettuce flavored with diced pancetta and sprinkled with balsamic dressing that is dinner.

A favorite again takes advantage of the season’s bounty and adds grilled lobster.  There are never  complaints about anything made with lobster!

So, though we may not be enjoying the weather we can still celebrate food made with plenty from land and sea.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Maine

When Company Comes

Boy, it’s hard to keep up with blog writing and reading during the summer months when I am in Maine. If you’ve been along with me for a while, you know we do lots of boating, and there’s more that keeps me crazily busy. We have lots of company which means extra meals and some pretty quick turnarounds when it comes to preparing for the next round of guests. I’m not complaining though because we are very lucky to have this special place to share.

So, what do we do when company comes? The first night is simple. We have a lobster dinner which is such an easy one to prepare. The hubby steams or grills the lobster leaving me the simple task of roasting potatoes and corn

blueberry cobblerand making a blueberry cobbler from those yummy wild Maine blueberries. You can be sure no morsel is left.

Perry CreekThe boat makes entertaining simple. We may go to a beautiful cove

lobster rolland have lobster rolls aboard.

IMG_1481One of the nice things about having a power boat is that you can plan an outing and know how long it takes to get to a destination. There are several places that can be reached conveniently for a lunch on the deck.  Luke’s is one of our favorites.

IMG_1484With fresh seafood abundant, most folks go for a delicious haddock sandwich, fish and chips or a clam roll. Oh, and some choose lobster again since there’s no such thing as too much when you are visiting!

wyeth-web-2
Christina Olson painted by Andrew Wyeth

On those occasions when the weather doesn’t cooperate, there are two quite wonderful art museums in nearby Rockland. CMCA has rotating exhibits of contemporary art and the Farnsworth Art Museum has an outstanding permanent collection. In both, all the art is created by artists who have a connection to Maine and that includes such famous names as Winslow Homer, George Bellows, Alex Katz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Nevelson, Andrew Wyeth and many more.

This time of year a favorite place to visit is the Endless Summer dahlia farm where there are 250 varieties of breathtakingly beautiful dahlias.

PA179261 (1).jpgTaking a walk on the dirt road is always a pleasure and a great place to take photos.

Children's ChapelAlong the way a stop at the Children’s Chapel is a delight to the senses. No matter the season, it is a tranquil oasis with  stunning views of Penobscot Bay.

So, do you get a feel for that which keeps me away from the computer for days on end? I so delight in the gift that is the coast of Maine and am always happy to share it with you though there may be gaps between posts.  Speaking of, I better get the beds made before the next friends arrive.

I so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Maine

Think Maine, Think Lobster

IMG_9061Mention Maine and it seems the first thing people think about is lobster.  It is true that lobster is plentiful in Maine and at a lesser cost than in many places so people do indulge when visiting.

lobster shackWhere do you find these tasty crustaceans?  Along the coast, they are available at any number of roadside shacks selling lobster in all its forms.

Red's EatsPerhaps the most well know is Red’s Eats in Wiscassett.  

Red's EatsI’m not sure how it got so famous, but rain or shine you can be sure there is a line of folks waiting to order.

IMG_7293 (1)Red’s may draw the crowds, but I like best the shacks that are on the water.

lobster boatsThere you can eat outside and watch the comings and goings of the lobster boats.

IMG_7309You can be sure there is competition among these lobster shacks with each one claiming to serve the best.  Now, I can tell the difference between lobster rolls, but with steamed lobsters it’s  hard to distinguish among them.

  lobster rollWhen it comes to lobsters, there are two places I enjoy them most.  One is on the boat anchored off an island enjoying a picnic with a good lobster roll, one that is mixed with a little mayonnaise and nothing more.

The other is at home where we serve up some pretty good lobster be it steamed or as an ingredient in a tasty dish. 

lobster mac 'n cheese
Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese

No matter how it’s prepared, I never get tired of it and hope those lobsters continue to abound off the Maine coast.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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musings

Over and Done!

Christmas is over and done, and I have to confess to that being a relief.  In the days leading up to the holiday, I have to fight off being blue.

FamilyIt makes me sad that our small family,  which now includes sons-in-law and grandchildren, is rarely all together during the holiday season.

9780740784323_p0_v1_s192x300I miss reading The Night Before Christmas to kids

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand leaving cookies and milk for Santa.

I experience sadness remembering the people who are part of Christmases past and wish that I weren’t the only member of my original family still here.

But enough of that.   Today is a new day and with it the blues disappear.

HoustonI will enjoy time in Houston while awaiting the return to Maine

Roque Island, Mainewhere there is boating, exploring islands and spending time with family and friends.

lobsterWithout question I will eat more lobster!

Most of all, I plan to live each day to the fullest, to be grateful for what good health allows me to do, and to give lots of hugs!  That should get me through the months until next Christmas when I’ll probably again feel a little blue.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Food, Table Settings, Tablescapes

One More Time

With our time in Maine running out, we are trying to do the things we so enjoy one more time.  At the top of the list is a lobster dinner, one of the easiest we prepare at home.

lobster guyLuckily, my lobster guy is still bringing those tasty crustaceans in and when he knows I want a few of the day’s haul, he calls and in his wonderful Maine accent he says he’s on his way in and to meet him at the dock.  Minutes later I have lobster that have been out of the water no more than a couple of hours.  You just can’t beat seafood that fresh!

lobster potWe steam the lobster in about 2″ of water, salted and with a little seaweed, for approximately 18 minutes.  When it is ready, the hubby cracks the claws, slits the back and drains the water from the shell which eliminates most of the challenge of eating a lobster. (Check out the how to here.)

Lobster dinnerWith steamed lobster, the sides are always the same: fresh corn on the cob and roasted or steamed potatoes.  For something so good, there are no fancy fixins!

lobster tableTable settings for a lobster dinner are the simplest.  The same lobster plates are used time and again

lobster tableand I recently found lobster themed paper placemats that are perfect for a messy dinner because they can be thrown away.

lobster tableNecessary accessories include a cracker for the claws and a little fork to dig the last bite from those hard to get to places.

lobster tableThese cute little fishes hold a lemon slice that can either season melted butter or be used to clean hands when the lobster is all gone.

lobster tableLet me assure you that any table setting is secondary to the groans of satisfaction that accompany any lobster dinner!

lemon pieIf there is room for dessert, our favorite is something made with lemon and nothing beats my friend Pam’s lemon pie.  She generously shared the recipe which is posted here. Even if you can’t have the lobster dinner, do try the pie.  You’ll be glad you did!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Table Settings, Tablescapes

And on the Table….

OK, now that we know how to eat lobster, let’s get it on the table!

lobster tableI just found these cute lobster placemats.  What’s great about them is they are paper so no matter how messy they get, they go right into the trash.  The only thing that has to be washed are the napkins or if they are too messy also get thrown away.  It’s easy to replace them as I have on hand lobster themed fabric which I cut  into 18″ squares and hem stitch on the machine.  Making your own napkins is an easy project and much less expensive than buying them.

lobster tableWhenever lobster is served, out come these plates, some round,

lobster tablesome oval but all with a lobster.

lobster tableNo matter how casual the table, I like to have something on its center.  With blooming things so plentiful right now, it’s easy to gather colorful bunches which this time are put in small sprinkler cans.  I’m crazy about containers that require no flower arranging skills!  The burlap wrapped candle holders I happened to find on sale at one of my favorite Camden shops, but they would be so easy to duplicate so go ahead and copy the idea.

lobster tableTo finish the table, I chose these glasses which were found in an antique shop.  They are a little dinted and worn and pack memories of my grandmother.  I’m betting some of you will remember these, too, and how cold they felt in your hand when they were filled with fresh made lemonade or sweet tea.

lobster tableAll done, it’s back to the kitchen to load trays with steamed lobster, corn on the cob and roasted potatoes.  It just doesn’t get any better!

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Random

On Eating Lobster

I’ve been eating lobster for so many years I can’t remember the first time or if I had a clue how to proceed.  I have a vague memory of cracking the claws with a rock which turned into a real battle!

lobsterWhen we have guests in Maine they are always greeted with a lobster dinner, and quite a few of those folks have never eaten a lobster that wasn’t served lazy style meaning all the hard work was already done.  Now, we don’t do all the work, but we do try to make eating a lobster as painless as possible.

lobsterGenerally, we steam the lobster and when it is cool enough to handle, the hubby snips off the end of the claws and drains the water from them.  Nothing is worse than having retained water splatter all over the place and fill your plate with liquid.

lobsterThen, he lays the lobster flat on its back

lobsterand cuts through the middle of the tail.

lobsterThat makes it very easy to remove the entire tail with one pull of the fork.  So far, so good?

lobsterBy the way, when you’re eating lobster, you don’t want to overlook the little bite that’s in the two outer tail fins.  Just pull them off to find this little surprise that is one of my favorite bites.  Now, that may be something everybody doesn’t know and you will look very expert when someone notices you getting an extra bite!

lobsterIn addition to splitting the tail, the hubby puts a couple of cracks in the claw

lobstermaking it much less of a challenge to remove the tasty morsels that are in the claw and the knuckle.

lobsterSome folks have the patience to pull off the legs and get the meat out of them, but unless the lobster is of some size, say 2 pounds or more, to me it’s not worth the effort.

So, there you have it, at least this is how you’d eat a lobster at our house and we serve it with lots of napkins and lemon juice to rinse your hands with because there’s no way eating a lobster is a tidy process!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind