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Tag Archives: Maine

Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins….wild Maine blueberries at their best!

Good morning!! It’s a beautiful clear, crisp September morning and fresh blueberry muffins are on their way. I just went for a short paddle on the pond. The mist was rising over the warm water, the birds were chirping, the loon was diving for breakfast and the sun was peaking through the tree tops. This is my favorite time of year, when the air begins to cool and dry out. I love Fall!!!

I’m using up the last of the wild Maine blueberries in my refrigerator for a batch of muffins. We are heading to Belfast, Maine later today to meet up with my sister and her husband. They recently purchased an RV (a.k.a. motor home) and are camping on the coast. We decided to stay in a hotel instead of the cushion on top of their kitchen table…my aching back!

These muffins will be the perfect breakfast tomorrow morning as we sip coffee overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, watching the sun rise. I hope you are having a wonderful, long weekend…take some time to relax or do something fun…life is too short! Bon appetit!

P.S. I like to use my special “muffin-top” pan, but a regular muffin tin will work great, too.

Blueberry Muffins

2¾ cups Pamela’s Gluten-free Wheat-free Baking & Pancake Mix
2/3 cup sugar
1 stick butter(room temperature)
1 cup vanilla yogurt (room temperature)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups fresh blueberries (or thawed, drained frozen berries)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 2 muffin pans. Combine Pamela’s mix and sugar in a large bowl. Cut in butter until it resembles fine crumbs. Combine yogurt, eggs and vanilla in a small bowl and pour all at once into flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Gently fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups two-thirds full and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans immediately. Makes 12-18 muffins.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2012 in Breakfast

 

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Fiddleheads…end of the season!

I think it’s officially over. Fiddlehead season, that is! I went to the Farmer’s market last Friday and bought my last batch of fiddleheads until next year. My family has only recently been enamored with this early Spring delicacy. We tried them many, many years ago and although our friends assured us they were delicious, we didn’t agree. We had just moved to Maine and figured it was an acquired taste. My husband thought they tasted like grass! Then, last year, I tried them again – only I added a bit more flavor this time by using garlic and balsamic vinegar. We now love these little green ferns.

According to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Bulletin #4198, Facts on Fiddleheads, they are the young coiled fronds of the ostrich fern that grow on the banks of rivers, streams and brooks in late April, May and early June. It is advised not to eat them raw. They are best when fresh, but can also be frozen or pickled to preserve them for later enjoyment. Maybe next year, I’ll try a different way to prepare them and fall in love all over again…

I know they grow in New England, but I’d love to hear where else you can find them. Please leave me a comment and we can track them everywhere! Enjoy!

Saute’ed Fiddleheads

3 cups fresh fern fiddleheads
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt/pepper to taste

Clean fiddleheads thoroughly. Rinse well and remove brown, papery fronds. Trim ends. In a large saute’ pan over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. Add garlic and saute’ briefly. Add cleaned fiddleheads and cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring often. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve warm. Makes 3-4 servings.


 
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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Side Dishes

 

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Sea Grass Bistro in Yarmouth, Maine…phenomenal food and gluten-free!!

Photo courtesy of Sea Grass Bistro Facebook page.

Last night, my husband and I went out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. We usually go into the city of Portland and eat somewhere we’ve been before and know the menu has gluten-free options. We wanted something different this time, something special. I let my husband decide where we would go, because he’s the one with the diet restrictions and I wanted him to feel comfortable with a new restaurant. So, he did a general search for gluten-free menus in the Portland area. I’m not quite sure how he found this restaurant, but I’m very glad he did! It’s the Sea Grass Bistro and it’s located in the town of Yarmouth, Maine – about half way between Portland and Freeport (home to L.L. Bean‘s flagship store).

The majority of the menu items are gluten-free and they are clearly marked with a GF on the menu. We both enjoyed an appetizer – my husband had a creamy risotto with roasted red peppers and I had a small piece of grilled tuna with pea pods. We followed this with a very light and tasty salad of local mixed greens. Our entrees were melt-in-your-mouth delicious! My husband enjoyed a parmesan crumb-crusted pollack filet and I had the pan-seared breast of duck. According to our server, the menu changes every three weeks. All of my food items were gluten-free, too, and I let my husband taste each one. For dessert, he had a flour-less chocolate torte and I had home-made coconut ice cream.

Remember the movie “When Harry Met Sally” and Meg Ryan did that scene in the diner? My husband thought his chocolate torte would qualify for that kind of scene!!

So, if you are ever in this area of Maine, make a visit to the L.L. Bean store and for dinner, head down Route 1 and eat at the Sea Grass Bistro. Maybe you’ll see us there – we will be going back, often!!!

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in Dining Out

 

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Apple Crumble…add sweetness to your winter!

I went to visit a good friend today. We had a very nice time, chatting about life and things we have in common. She cooked lunch for the two of us and it was delicious! For dessert, she made an Apple Crisp — she said she’s been craving one for over a week now! (Me, too!) It was so sweet and juicy, with that little bit of crunch on top. It was the perfect way to end the meal.

This reminded me of a recipe I have for Gluten-free Apple Crumble. In the middle of winter when everything is either white or dirty brown (especially in Maine), it’s hard to remember the other seasons and their bounty of ripe, colorful fruit. I’m grateful to be able to get fresh apples that still taste good at this time of the year!

Here’s to winter wherever you are, add a little apple sweetness to your table.

Enjoy!

Apple Crumble (Gluten-free)

Crumb crust/topping:

1½ cups gluten-free rolled oats

2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

½ cup Pamelas’s Gluten-free Baking and Pancake Mix

1 stick butter, softened

Filling:

4 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

½ cup sugar

3 tablespoons Pamela’s Gluten-free Baking & Pancake Mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 9 inch baking dish. For the crust — in a large bowl combine oats, brown sugar and ½ cup Pamela’s mix; stir to combine. Cut butter into oats mixture and blend well. For the filling — in a large bowl combine fruit, spices, sugar and Pamela’s mix; toss with a spoon to coat well. Pour fruit mixture into the greased dish. Spoon oats mixture on top of fruit and spread evenly. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Desserts

 

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Fresh snow for Christmas!!!

I was so excited when I got out of bed this morning! We had about 5 inches of fresh snow covering everything…just in time for a White Christmas in New England! Yippee!! It made for a messy drive to work, but worth it.

I’ve done a little research and discovered that a White Christmas has many definitions. In some places, it’s good enough to have snow on the ground come Christmas morning, although the amounts vary. In other places, it must actually snow during the 24 hours of Christmas day – even if it’s only one snowflake mixed with rain.

For me, snow on the ground is good enough! I have always lived in New England and it “feels” like Christmas to me when the ground is white and it’s cold outside. Maybe we’ll build a snowman or woman… Maybe we’ll go snowshoeing while the turkey is cooking… Or, maybe we’ll just sit by the fire, listen to Christmas music and look at the tree while sipping a steaming cup of coffee… Whatever we choose, we’ll enjoy being together and relaxing!

P.S.  Sorry, no recipe with this post, just my wishes to everyone for a holiday filled with peace, laughter and joy!

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Potato Leek Soup with Crabmeat… Wow!

A "10"? You decide...

Winter has been slow in coming to Maine this year. We’ve had unusually warm temperatures, after the foot of wet snow the day before Thanksgiving! That snow is gone now, but we had a little dusting last night. I hope we get a bit more in time for Christmas. I’ve always lived in New England and Christmas without snow is just not right! I like a cold and white Christmas season!

Another reason I like the colder weather is the chance to eat more hot soups. Sometimes they’re the whole meal and sometimes just a starter. This past weekend, I decided to try a new one. I’d bought a leek at the grocery store in hopes of turning it into a yummy soup. I have a cookbook that specializes in Maine soups (Superb Maine Soups by Cynthia Finnemore Simonds — https://secure.downeast.com/books/maine/superb-maine-soups.html ), so I looked there first. I liked her recipe, but as my usual scientific nature took over, I experimented with it, changed it and made it my own!

My husband rated this soup a “10” followed by a “Wow”! I should clarify that my husband is not a picky eater, but because he is now eating gluten-free food, the “Wow” factor is sometimes harder to get. The crabmeat I added to this soup made it really filling and it was our main meal for the day, with a simple gluten-free roll on the side. I’m sure it would also taste great without the crabmeat – your choice!

Potato Leek Soup with Crabmeat

 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 leek  (slice vertically, remove roots and dark green leaves), rinse and chop finely

6 small new potatoes, diced, skin on

1 clove garlic, minced

dash of salt/pepper

3 cups vegetable stock

¼ teaspoon dried dill

6 oz. crabmeat, fresh or canned

1 can (12 oz.) whole evaporated milk

In a large soup pot, heat oil and butter on medium-high heat until melted. Add chopped celery, carrot and leek and sauté until tender. Add in diced potatoes and garlic. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Slowly pour in vegetable stock. Add dried dill, turn the heat down to simmer and cook until potatoes are soft when stuck with a fork. Once potatoes are soft, use a potato masher to break up the large chunks of potatoes. (It does not have to be a uniform texture.) Add the crabmeat and evaporated milk and simmer until heated through. Serve with a pinch of fresh chopped parsley, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Soups

 

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Apple Cinnamon Puffs…adventures in apple picking!

Ok, I admit it, I procrastinated a little too long this year. I’ve been going to the same apple orchard since my son was very little (he’s in college now). It’s a small orchard run by an old-timer nestled in the mountains of Western Maine alongside a beautiful river. My favorite apple variety is Macoun and the old-timer told me long ago that the Macoun was a late apple. So, I waited until the end of October this year to go apple picking. I planned it on a day when I could have lunch with a friend that lives about half way there. I was excited to hand pick each one and take that first crisp, juicy bite! As I’m driving up to the barn where they sell cider, honey, maple syrup and, of course, apples, it feels a little deserted. No one was in the barn or the orchard. The only greeter was the old-timer’s friendly German Shepherd! It didn’t really bother me, because I know many small farm stands work off the honor system. They leave their fruit or vegetables out and you weigh them and leave money in a box nearby. Except in this case, there were no apples out. So, I took an apple-picking tool off the wall and walked into the orchard. I was very surprised to see that every tree was bare. Ok, not every tree, but I don’t like Red or Golden Delicious, so they don’t count to me. I walked through the rows of trees and not one of them had an apple, not even on the highest branches! I had missed the season! I had read in the local newspapers it was a good year for apple crops, so I truly expected to find plenty still on the trees.

I was disappointed, but not daunted. I was determined to find apples that day. I drove toward another orchard in a neighboring town, but a sign on the side of the road said they only had “drops”. “Drops” are those apples that fall on the ground under the tree. Many orchards use these to make cider because they are usually over-ripe and softer than apples still on the tree. No “drops” for me – I wanted crispy, crunchy, juicy apples right off the tree! So, I kept driving.

There are many orchards in the western part of Maine and I know roughly where a few of them are located. I headed toward one I had passed by a couple years ago when exploring the back roads – PieTree Orchard in Sweden, Maine. (http://www.pietreeorchard.com/) When I drove into their parking area, again, it was deserted. They were closed during the week, because the picking season was over. Luckily, they had apples out and available to buy using the honor system. Finally, I was able to buy a bag of organic Macoun apples. Success at last!

I hope you enjoy this gluten-free recipe. Use your favorite apples, and hopefully you didn’t have to drive to three towns all over the county to get them!

Apple Cinnamon Puffs 

5 large red apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

½ cup sugar

1¾ cup Pamela’s Wheat-free/Gluten-free Baking & Pancake Mix

4 tablespoons butter, melted

¾ cup milk

2 tablespoons sugar with ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Place sliced apples in a medium bowl, add sugar and stir to combine. Pour the apple mixture into the greased baking dish and spread evenly. In a large bowl, combine Pamela’s mix, melted butter and milk. Stir well to make a soft dough. Drop the dough by spoonful on top of apple slices and spread evenly over apples. Combine the 2 tablepoons sugar and cinnamon in a small dish and sprinkle on top of the dough. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Makes about 6 servings.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Desserts

 

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