Sunday, October 26, 2008

let us digress...

"There is a renaissance occurring, a return to some time honored methods of producing food.  The increasing interest in sustainable agriculture is one, the revival of wood-fired ovens for baking is another.  This project is for us both a means to making a living, and a template for others to follow --people who are seeking authenticity in their lives--right livelihood."  -Robert Hunt owner/baker of Bohemian Bakery in Vermont on building his wood fired oven.  

While researching artisan breads and ovens online (which I do on a regular basis), I stumbled upon Robert Hunt the owner and operator of Bohemian Bakery.  His philosophy on returning to time honored methods of producing food encompasses my ideology regarding food, it's production and consumption.  I have believed for so long that there is a way to harmonize as humans with our food source (the earth) from planting seeds and growing to harvesting and preparing.  The sad truth is that we have lost touch with what is solely responsible for our day to day existence - the air, water, and earth - and it's effects are devastating .  After surrounding myself for the past few years with people who think and eat very similar to myself, it is a bit of a shock to encounter this cultural divide in the way of food, and I wonder to myself, just how do we reach these people?  The "food as fuel" people, the ones who merely eat to get them through the next part of their day.  

I am not saying that I expect everyone to eat with such passion as I, but to put some thought into the nutrition (or lack there of) that is going into their bodies.  To try new things, to put effort into needing less super sweet and appreciate the natural sweetness of many foods, the natural goodness of food in its most raw state.  Education is the only way.  Teaching our children where our food comes from, teaching our parents and adults where to find and how to prepare native fare.  The more I researched the more I found that Maine has many great resources beginning with Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) that have endless educational opportunities, links, phone numbers, farmers, publications, and much more.  I am making a commitment to try and expose these great programs, meetings, and events as well as I can...I hope you all stay tuned.

Until then, take a moment to wonder, just where the food on your plate came from, who has helped it get there, and how it is effecting your body now and in the future. 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

my morning commute

Every morning between 6:30 and 7:00 I am driving across the causeway to deliver hot danish to the store and every morning, there is a different version of this view.  If only I had a coffee in my hand and my best friend by my side, it could easily be the best moment ever - hot danish, sunrise, and a good espresso.  Even without the coffee and best friend, I still pull over some mornings to appreciate the true beauty of coastal Maine, it's islands, and the beautiful sunrise!  

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the story of anadama...according to my mother.

Anadama bread is the one bread I really remember my mother making from scratch when I was young (and no, the brown bread in a can DOES NOT count mom) and every time she made it she told the same story of how the name "Anadama" came to be called just that.

According to my mom there was a fisherman, and this fisherman had a wife, Anna.  Everyday when he came in from hauling she would have waiting for him, a loaf of bread made of cornmeal mush and molasses.  Day after day, this cornmeal mush and molasses bread began to get to this fisherman.  Finally, coming home from an extremely long and hard day only to find that same loaf on the table yelled "Anna, damn 'er!" 

 And came to be.

I still love this bread, and have been making two loaves a day for The Sea Store for a week now (though I would love to make more!!) and they seem to be a hit!  Stop by anytime, or if you want a special order, send me a quick note at!  Thanks to everyone for all your support.

the danish are in...

After a couple of different recipes, Dave Mac and I sat down this fine morning and tediously tested the danish to see which recipe was better...and the second try was the best...of course it takes everything I have to give the mass of dough three turns, then roll it out into a big square, but hey, it was significantly better.  Hope you all enjoy!  This morning there are blueberry cream cheese, homemade peach butter (made by yours truly) cream cheese and fresh Maine apple turnovers. So get to The Sea Store while they are hot!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

seasons of change

A little taste of fall in Maine for those who have never been or those who may be missing it!  The trees are on their way out now, just past peak, but still beautiful with all the muted reds, oranges, and yellows.  What a welcome fall gave us when we arrived!  I wish it would last a little longer however, this morning when I was loading pastries and bread into my car, I had to scrape frost off my windshield...ahhhh, here comes winter!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Yesterday was my first bake day for The Sea Store in Spruce Head and all went well!  As of today here is what's available:

  • Maine blueberry cream cheese danish
  • Anadama bread (cornmeal/molasses for those that don't know the story of "anna")
  • Sourdough baguettes
  • Banana bread
  • Chocolate Whoopie Pies
  • Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
  • Chocolate Chip cookies
  • Ginger Molasses cookies
  • Maine blueberry muffins
My sister Alicia and her fiance Matt have done a fabulous job in renovating this old General Store into a warm friendly place to meet neighbors and friends, have a quick snack, cup of coffee, or order breakfast or lunch. . . wood burning stove included.  There are daily food specials the Matt makes to order as well as breakfast and lunch menus.   I encourage you all to go and check it out!  It may be a bit out of the way, but what a beautiful drive!! See you there!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

oh how far we have come

While sipping our fresh french press coffee the other morning at my parents cottage in Millinocket, Maine, Dave Mac stumbled upon an old local cookbook titled Campfires to Cupboard. The only reference to a date was in the introduction when the author made note of her father cooking in 1918, so I think it is safe to say, this book is "old". However, the first recipe we came to really dated the book. . .here it is, verbatim (spelling and all).

-Grand Lake Guide's Coffee-

2 Qt. coffee pot, filled 2/3 full of water

(Grand Lake water if possible)

Hang over open fire on the end of a pole. Take 1/4# coffee and one egg. Break egg and mix with coffee, shell and all. Let water come to a near boil pitch and dump in coffee. Set in as close as possible to fire with nozzle towards heat. Let it boil up over the nozzle and back into the pot. IT will circulate as a perculator. Let boil 10 minutes and set back a foot and pour in a cup of cold water. Watch it settle. Taste it It's good.

Yes my dear friends, this was how coffee was consumed in Grand Lake, Maine in the early 1900's, and to give credit where credit is due ~ thank you to the author, Mr. George MacArthur.

I am quite Smitten

While at my best friend Anna's place (yup...the one in Star, NC), she shared a new yummy site I would love to introduce to you all, it's called Smitten Kitchen and this woman has some wonderful treats sweet and savory. I have really enjoyed scrolling through and seeing what's new!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

MP B&B part two

We sat down to dinner...a bowl of roasted sweet potato/parsnip soup and a three bean salad on a bed of "rocket" (also known to the rest of us as arugula). Simple enough. Then came the wine pairing. There were four beautiful glasses placed before us: one for white, one for red, a water glass, and a small crystal dessert wine glass. The table couldn't have been anymore beautiful and intimate. We started with the bean salad and a white and learned that the acidity of the dressing on the salad and the acidity of the wine offset each other just enough to create a nice smooth finish.

Then came a warm, creamy, caramel sweet potato soup that paired perfectly with a red pinot noir from Cotes de Rhone Mark Parsons chose. So gentle were the flavors when mixed together, like no other wine I had ever sipped. Following the main course, naturally, there was cheese. A fresh Gouda made at the monastery on the hill and a five year aged Gouda
were paired with a very sweet wine from a small South African distiller. . . and get this. . . only seven hundred bottles made by a friend of his.

It doesn't end here. After a deep comfortable slumber, we woke to coffee brewing from the French Laundry, juice, and home made Belgian waffles with real maple syrup. It was truly difficult to tear myself away from Mark's home. The hospitality that was extended to us is impossible to put into words and I am forever grateful for his knowledge, wisdom, class, humor, and love. A million times ... thank
you M.P.

MP B&B part one

I have decided that I am quite the wine lover...this discovery comes after spending a mere 24 hours with a dear friend Mark Parsons. Now, I always expect nothing but a fabulous time with this man. There is hardly a moment that there is not something new to is how the day began: we arrive at Crosskeys vineyard that Mark manages and get a private wine making 101 walking tour of the fresh grapes off the vine, fermentation tanks, and oak aging barrels (where we learn what the term "oakey" means). Next we have our own personal wine tasting seminar where I was taught how to taste (first over the tongue, then down the sides of the tongue, then over the tongue again...slurping is not necessarily mandatory to appreciate the wine).  We tasted
six wines: Joy Red, Joy White (both table wines), Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and a Meritage. The most fascinating and tasteful to my palate was the Meritage who's name stems from the words merit and heritage blended together and is a label used exclusively for a specific American grown Bordeaux varietal.

This was only the beginning.

We then followed him up the mountain to his warm and welcoming apartment where, in a whirlwind of activity, we roasted up sweet potatoes, parsnips, onions, and shallots in the oven, whipped up a coconut custard pie (a recipe he had memorized of his aunts)...(oh, did I mention he is from the south??!) and set a divine table for three. The veggies emerged from the oven sizzling and caramelized and tossed into a pot of warming vegetable broth and brought to a simmer. This, my friends was shaping up to be a fabulous soup! Dave Mac had the honors of "blitzing" the soup to a pulp and then we learned a magnificent trick.


By adding an acid, either lemon juice or an aged balsamic, to the finished product you will have a completely different experience. The lemon juice we found to to brighten up our earthy soup, leaving you with a burst of fresh citrus-y nutty-ness. However by adding a few drops of aged balsamic you will find a deep caramel flavor instead. The evening was cool and caramel sounded so inviting...balsamic it was.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

family + friends + food = LOVE

rustic rosemary-feta heirloom tomato tart

A pause in North Carolina has allowed us to indulge in some baking with family and friends... and to stretch our legs and eat good food again.  We arrived in Hendersonville by Monday afternoon and by dinner time we were indulging in a meal fit for kings at our friends Dave and Amy's house with everything on the table being freshly plucked from their wondrous garden out back. We also arrived just in time to have the opportunity to stroll through Ashville's farmers market on Wednesday, which of course made us dearly miss Portland's farm fare, however, there were goods enough to fill our bags:  heirloom tomatoes, fresh goat cheeses, beets, greens, carrots, onions, fresh eggs, and of course one of my favorite bakers in North Carolina...Dave from Farm and Sparrow.  This man knows how to bake, offering naturally leavened wood fired breads, pastries, and bialys.  We had a feast that night with Dave Mac's family of rosemary tomato tart,  fresh mushroom, red pepper, and tomato fritatta, and a salad simply garnished with pears, toasted almonds, olive oil and lemon juice.  All of this accompanied by plenty of laughs and stories.

In the middle of all the madness, it is so incredible that good food, family, and friends can calm the nerves, fill the belly, and provide all the nourishment one needs in life.

Thank you to all those who fed, housed, and love us in North Carolina, we are forever grateful to you all. XOXO.