Food, Recipes

Buttermilk + Oysters

IMG_6831Before we were frozen out of Maine a few days ago, we had dinner at one of our favorite Rockport restaurants, Nina June, in the heart of the village.

IMG_6833It is the brainchild of Sara Jenkins who combines her love of Mediterranean food with her Maine roots.  She is also a cookbook author, the most recent one written with her mother Nancy Harmon Jenkins, a food guru in her own right.

On a cold night, we started with soup that combined leeks, potatoes, oysters and buttermilk in a creamy base.  It was so good that I had to see if I could recreate it for dinner on a chilly Houston night.  

IMG_0114I started with the known ingredients and added chicken broth and half and half.  I can’t promise that it was as good as Sara’s, but it wasn’t bad.  Here’s how it went together.

Buttermilk Oyster Soup

1 pint oysters, cut in half if they are large

l leek, finely chopped

3 red potatoes, finely chopped

1 c. chickens broth

1 qt. half and half

1/2-1 c. buttermilk

salt and pepper to taste

Saute oysters in about 1/4 c. of their liquid for about 2 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.

In a large saucepan, cook leeks and potatoes in chicken broth until potatoes have softened.  Add half and half and heat through.  Add buttermilk and oysters with salt and pepper to taste and heat until all ingredients are blended.

IMG_0117Simple enough, the soup was very tasty and a perfect meal with a green salad and  cornbread muffin.    Next time I make it I might add a few drops of Tabasco and I can also imagine it with spinach or kale as an ingredient.  Hmmm, what started at Nina June may take on a life of its own.

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Boating, Maine

Exploring New Places

Damariscotta RiverIt’s possible we will never explore all that the coast of Maine has to offer, but we do give it a good try.  This time out, we ventured south to the Damariscotta River .  Getting there was a bumpy ride thanks to southwest winds, but once we reached the river we were in calm water with houses on both sides nestled in heavy woods.  Have I ever mentioned that Maine has a LOT of trees?

Damariscotta RiverI hadn’t expected to see lobster pots in the river, but though fewer, there they were and the holiday didn’t keep lobstermen from checking their traps.

As we went upriver, we noticed a difference in the type of boats.  No sailboats and though there were a couple of sizeable power boats,

Damariscotta River more common were smaller recreational craft.

DamariscottaAt the river’s head is the lovely little town of Damariscotta

Damariscottaour destination for oysters on the deck at Schooner Landing.

Maine facesIt seems a number of others had the same idea as there was no place for another boat to tie up.  We were saved by a friendly boater who allowed us to raft up to his vessel.  Talk about a Maine accent, this guy had it!

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About oysters,  Damariscotta has long been known for them, but these days the natural grown ones are gone thanks to overfishing.  Common now on the river are sights like this where oysters mature after having been seeded.  If you can believe it, 60-70 million oysters are harvested annually from the river, and they are delicious.  In late September, Damariscotta hosts an oyster festival where one can eat oysters prepared in a variety of ways to his heart’s content.

lobster trapsAfter lunch, we made way to Christmas Cove, our destination for the night, passing through what is called The Gut which separates Rutherford Island from the mainland at South Bristol.  This is an active lobsterman’s harbor as evidenced by platforms stacked with their paraphernalia

lobster boatand the fact that lobster boats far outnumber pleasure craft.  Old Glory qualifies as the most unique one I have seen and makes me think its owner has a real sense of pride and, perhaps, humor.

Christmas CoveIn minutes, we arrived at Christmas Cove where Captain John Smith dropped anchor on Christmas 1614.  It is said to have been a favorite spot for sailors ever since, and with its serene surroundings it is easy to see why.

Pipe DreamsIndeed, it was a peaceful spot where we found ourselves alone at the pier indicating that the summer crowd has lessened which is the beauty of boating in September and October.

MaizyAfter a long day, Maizy is looking to record our adventures.  She will have lots to remember!

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Leaving PEI Behind

Some places you go just because they are there, and that’s how we got toPrince Edward Island. You cross a very long bridge to get there, and once started across there’s no turning back.

The first thing that got my attention was the number of churches, and  no matter how small they all had tall steeples.  I couldn’t help but wonder how a place with so few people could support so many churches and if each one had its own preacher.

Check out this sign in a Charlottetown church.  Inline skating? In a church?  Wouldn’t you love to know the story behind that warning!

I was surprised to see huge cruise ships in the harbor which raised another question: where did all those people go?  Green Gables perhaps?

Speaking of Green Gables, we didn’t go but there were reminders of Anne’s presence.

The island is rich with farmland

and cattle

and did I say churches!

My favorite thing about Prince Edward Island?  The oysters rockefeller at Claddagh Oyster House. They’d be worth going back for!

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