Pan-Seared Cauliflower with Kale Pesto

It’s possible that 10 years from now, kale will be the equivalent of big hair from the 80’s or some other ill-advised fad, but for now, it’s one of my favorite vegetables.  Roasted, pan-seared, or pureed into pesto, this high octane vegetable is as delicious as it is good for us.

This dish could easily be a main course in our family with a bed of couscous or brown rice for a simple, a healthy weeknight dinner.  Otherwise, it’s a show stopper as a wonderful side to a larger meal.


Pan-seared Cauliflower with Kale Pesto

Did you know that the green leaves on the bottom of the cauliflower heads are edible? Use them for kimchi, a small slaw, garnish, or in a stir-fry. Think about them as you would cabbage.

1 head cauliflower
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Several grinds of fresh black pepper
2 anchovies, minced
1/2 cup kale pesto
2 tablespoons pine nuts

Remove the green leaves from the cauliflower. Make slices 3/4-inch thick beginning at one end as you would bread. When you reach the core, turn the flat side down and repeat until you have cut all four sides. Discard the harder and more fibrous core.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the cauliflower, salt and pepper and cover with a lid. Check often to stir and reduce heat to medium if the pieces begin to darken too much. Break any large pieces with a wooden spoon. When the cauliflower begins to soften, about 10 minutes, add the anchovies and mix in well. Add the kale pesto, mix well and transfer to a bowl or platter. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve.

Serves 4 to 6

Kale Pesto
This pesto is slightly milder than the perfumy basil variety, with a minor bitter note. It’s a star in our house and is used in soups, pastas, sandwiches and pizzas – all the ways you would consider for a traditional pesto. Also, if you have someone with a pine nut allergy, sunflower seeds are an excellent substitute.

8 ounces kale leaves, stems removed; about 8 cups lightly packed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
several grinds of fresh black pepper
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese; about 1/2 cup
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 teaspoons minced garlic; about 3 cloves

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Freeze what you won’t use within a few days.

Makes 2 cups

Here’s to healthy eating!

Cook, Sip, and Sail Away on Penobscot Bay – a Maine Gourmet Feast

Join us on the Schooner J. & E. Riggin for a unique Maine Gourmet Feast! Come savor the best of Maine’s local foodways on this 4-day foodie adventure!

Maine Gourmet Cruise

Meals will feature the best of the best: oysters from Pemaquid Oyster Company, produce from acclaimed Hope’s Edge Farm, award-winning cheese from Appleton Creamery and Hahn’s End. Every night will feature a different specialty cocktail demo (be sure to bring your own vodka, gin, and whiskey!). Come join us and celebrate the outstanding local food MidCoast Maine is famed for and celebrate the release of the newest cookbook Sugar & Salt Book Two – The Orange Book.

This delectable foodie cruise will take place on our Maine Windjammer, the Schooner J. & E. Riggin from August 1st – 4th (2016)  at only $650 per person.

Cooking (and sipping) away on Penobscot Bay

New Cookbook!

Announcing Sugar and Salt: Book Two -The Orange Book!  This collection of recipes from my galley and home kitchen will arrive at our door step (or barn step) soon!  Here’s a look at the process….

Photo by Rocky Coast Photography
Over the past several months we’ve been getting serious about producing a cookbook, so we made a lot of food.
Photo by Rocky Coast Photography
Some of it was chocolate! And delicious.
Photo by Rocky Coast Photography
Some of it was healthy. And delicious!
Photo by Rocky Coast Photography
When we couldn’t hold all of the pieces in our head any longer, we posted it all over the office walls.
Photo by Rocky Coast Photography
We got to knit. And made a Ball jar cozy (several actually) using Mim Bird‘s pattern.
Photo by Rocky Coast Photography
Occasionally, we made cocktails. They were well timed.
Then Elizabeth made them look pretty in photos.
Then Elizabeth made them look pretty in photos.
Photo by Rocky Coast Photography
And then we drank them.
Photo by Rocky Coast Photography
Some of us had lemonade instead. And also, one of us got confused.
Photo by Rocky Coast Photography
Then we made Brussels sprouts that were so good we almost didn’t get the photo (because we ate them all while standing at the stove).
Photo by Rocky Coast Photography
A lot of words got written and someone had to take a doggie break.
Photo by Rocky Coast Photography
And then there was more food.

Now that was fun!

Click Sugar and Salt to order.

Masts, Bowsprit, Anchors, Oh My!

In the fall, we removed the masts and bowsprit so that we could get at the deck up forward and replace deck planks and any deck beams that needed tending.  While we were at it, we also removed the anchors and three out of the four spars.  Now that the winter deck project is complete, it was time to put all of those sticks back in place so we could look like a schooner again.

Early yesterday morning, we set out to North End Shipyard where the masts and spars were stored. With the help of a masterful crane operator, we had everything back in place by lunch time.  What a difference a couple of hours make!

Early morning pow wow with Capt. before leaving the dock. (Yes, that’s Justin making a guest appearance for the morning!)  We lured him with Willow Street doughnuts.
Our crane operator extraordinaire.
What’s missing from this schooner picture? Why masts and a bowsprit, of course.
Guiding the foremast into place.
All stop for a second to check everything out and then lower away. As tradition goes, we placed a silver dollar under the mast for good luck.
Main mast goes next.
Over she comes.
Almost there!
Down easy, slow and steady.
Down easy, slow and steady.
Now to get the shrouds laced up…
Go teamwork!
What do you do when the lift line gets caught on the mast collar? Why send a Justin up the ratlins to free it of course.
What do you do when the lift line gets caught on the mast collar? Why send a Justin up the ratlins to free it, of course.
Hold on tight! And clip in too, please.
The bowsprit and the anchors were the last to go on and before the tide got too low to stay in this spot, we were back to our home berth looking a whole lot more like ourselves.
Happy to have the ole’ girl back together in one piece.

Coastal Living’s Daily Catch!

Thank you, Betsy Cribb of Coastal Living Magazine’s Daily Catch, for a great article on the Riggin and our Maine Food Cruises.  You captured it perfectly!

Salmon with Corn Relish and Zucchini Blossom Fritters. Photo by Elizabeth Poisson.

In the news!


Grown-Up Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Cheese


A few weeks ago we finally watched the movie Chef. I know many of you may have already seen it – we tend to be a little behind the curve when it comes to what’s new, which is what happens when you sail on a boat for half the year. No worries, though, by the time we get around to seeing a movie at the theater, it’s gone and another new and hot cinematic triumph is in its place. Never-the-less, we do get to the good ones eventually and Chef did not disappoint.

The food scenes were so beautifully shot and inspiring that all I wanted to do when the movie ended was don my apron, pick up my knife, and get cooking.

I think all artists of any craft, whether it’s food or fiber, wood or paint, find themselves in moments of needing to go inward to silence the competing voices, no matter if it’s for a moment or a year.  In those moments, I find I must simply breathe, relax and trust that this gift of mine for creating food will again flow freely and with joy.  And it does.  Always.  When creativity begins to flow again, it’s the sweetest of places.

As I watched “Chef” and reveled in the crispy crust and gooey, dripping, melting cheese of a grilled cheese sandwich that he makes for his son, I thought of how evocative the simplest of meals are. How the simplest things sometimes require attention to detail to make them great. The bread was a brioche or a beautiful sourdough, buttered liberally all the way to the edges. The several different kinds of cheese were layered thickly. The heat was low enough to allow the cheese to melt all the way through and the bread to brown into crispy perfect.

And then I NEEDED to make grilled cheese.  Right then.

And what goes better with grilled cheese than tomato soup – making us happy for something warm to wrap our hands around.

The quality of the tomatoes in this recipe matter a good deal as they are the centerpiece. If you have home-canned tomatoes, this is the place to use them. If you have frozen whole tomatoes, this is the place to use them (skins removed). If not, good-quality canned tomato like San Marzanos are lovely and work perfectly well. Don’t attempt to use fresh tomatoes this time of year, not worth the cost or effort.

Grown-Up Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Cheese
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups diced onions; about 1 large onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Several grinds of fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons minced garlic; about 6 cloves
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
6 cups whole or quartered tomatoes

1 cup minced scallions
1/2 cup crème fraiche

Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 7 to 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the salt, black pepper, basil, paprika, garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes or so, stirring frequently. Add the flour and stir until well incorporated. Add the white wine and chicken broth and again stir well. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. For grownups, garnish with scallions and crème fraiche.

Serves 4 to 6

Grilled Cheese
1 stick salted butter, softened
8 slices peasant bread or sourdough bread
8 ounces sliced extra sharp cheddar cheese Cabot or other good quality cheddar
4 ounces sliced Monterey Jack cheese
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Heat a large griddle over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, butter 1 side of each of the slices of bread. Make sure the butter reaches all of the edges. Place 4 slices on the griddle, butter-side down and place the cheese slices on top, dividing evenly. Top with the second slice of bread, butter-side up.

Grill for 4 to 6 minutes each side or until the bread is golden brown and crispy and the cheese is completely melted and gooey in the center. Remove from griddle and slice in half. Serve with Dijon mustard.

Serves 4

Creative and happy