One of the many questions I get from folks in the cooking realm is what to do with all the veggies that come for their CSAs. Now that Community Supported Agriculture has taken parts of our country by storm, the questions keep coming. Among them are… What else can I do with my kale? How do I use up that ugly kohlrabi that keeps turning up in my box? Is there a way to combine all of these veggies in a meal or dish?
On our Maine Gourmet Food Cruises we talk about how to combine veggies, what to do to make them interesting, and how to preserve them if you just have too darn much to use in a week’s time.
Vegetable Tip: To keep lettuce and greens longer in the refrigerator, wash the lettuce and remove every bit of water that you can and then layer the leaves with a dish towel or paper towel. Store in a large tub with a lid or in a resealable plastic bag. I’ve used this technique on long, at sea adventures, on the Riggin and in my home kitchen to great effect. Another way to preserve hearty greens is to clean and dry them, ribs removed. Once they are dry, coat them in a thin layer of olive oil. They will last for at least a week and a half in the refrigerator.
Thinking about greens galore and our next Maine Food Cruise, July 6 to 9!
At first glance, soups and stews might not seem all that glamorous in terms of a topic for a gourmet cooking cruise, however, how to begin and season a soup or stew is the very basis for not only many a diners’ dinner, but also the sauces that can elegantly top a seared tenderloin or grilled salmon.
From stock to pistou, we’ll talk about how to make super tasty and healthy soups, stews, and sauces and then sample them for lunch or for dinner. Perhaps it will be a Coconut Curried Lentil and Potato Soup with Nan or a Pork Loin Roast with a Rhubarb and Red Wine Reduction Sauce. Who knows, because the menu is different every week on the Riggin, so your guess is as good as mine.
Soup, Stew, and Sauce Tip: The time a cook takes to saute the vegetables at the beginning of a soup, sauce, or stew can not be underestimated. When the vegetables caramelize a bit and begin to develop a little brown on the bottom of the pan, flavor is building. To rush this process is to forgo the depth of flavor that is possible forever.
Come share some super good food with us! July 6 to 9 is our next Maine Food Cruise, but there are more on the schedule. Check it out!
Fresh sourdough baguette straight from a wood fired oven? Sure! Off the coast of Maine on an historic sail boat? Even better.
Gourmet cooking cruises, culinary travel, or Maine Food Cruises, no matter what you call them, they all have the same thing in common – local Maine food, grown sustainably, and served with care and attention on the deck of the Schooner J. & E. Riggin. We serve what I call swanky comfort food all summer long, but our special Cooking with Annie trips have an additional element – a bit of education.
We aren’t “in class” all day long, so if you have a spouse or friends that are just interested in eating well while you learn a few more tips and techniques to add to your culinary arsenal, this is perfectly planned.
That said, anyone who wants to spend all day in the galley with me, watching and learning, absolutely can. From 6am to 7pm, I’m in the galley making breakfast, lunch and dinner, so there are plenty of chances to get your hands doughy or dirty, so to speak.
The first in the series of topics that we talk about during the trip is bread.
Breads – to knead or not to knead, sourdough or quick breads, baguette or stirata, the world of bread is big and the options are many.
Bread Tip: Did you know that there are two ways to encourage the formation of gluten (what gives a loaf it’s loft and structure) in bread? Kneading is one and more moisture is another. So to achieve a similar result, you can either spend 5 to 10 minutes kneading your bread or you can add more liquid to your dough and let time do the work.
Gourmet cooking cruises? Who doesn’t want to eat well on vacation? July 6 to 9th is our next Maine Gourmet Food Cruise.
On a sunny day in June, our Maine Knitting Cruise crowd took to the island armed with indigo dye and yarn. The process was magical, beautiful, creative, and a complete blast.
Below is the best of the process start to finish. Ending with the yarn hanging over the wood stove for a final dry. Of course the day wouldn’t have been complete without an all you can eat Maine lobster bake too!
But before lobster’s were had in plenty…
Can’t wait to do this again
The first of our Maine knitting cruises has come and gone with great success and many highlights to share!
The trip began with a visit to the Swan’s Island Company north of where the Riggin is docked. Jackie Ottino Graf, the resident dye-master and social media maven of the company, took us through the dyeing process, handed out complementary patterns with yarn, and shared her extensive knowledge.
The next day found us in the Rockland yarn shop, Over the Rainbow Yarn, owned by Mim Bird, resident knitting instructor extraordinaire, for last minute items and extra yarn (because who doesn’t need EXTRA yarn)? We left the dock shortly after for our 4-day adventure armed with more yarn than we could possible knit in as many days.
Our first day had us romping across the bay to feisty winds and feistier seas with a promise of sunnier days to come. Mim started everyone off with information on how to knit with multi-colored yarn, the difference between a tonal yarn and variegated yarn, plus many more tidbits and facts.
As with any knitting retreat, some dug right in to their project and managed to knit furiously, finishing on the last night. Others meandered their way through the day, working on the official project some and their pet projects as well.
I’ll post photos of the actual dyeing process next, because that cool event deserves it’s own post.
My hands are blue (from indigo), but my spirit is sunny
P.P.S. Our next two knitting cruises are June 19 to 22 and August 31 to September 5. You should come!
There’s a new sandwich gig in Rocklandtown and it’s delightful. Malcom and Jillian Bedell, of From Away fame, have joined the corps of high-caliber restaurants in town with their food truck, Wich, Please. This tiny kitchen, serving breakfast and lunch sandwiches such as a swanky BLT built on sourdough bread, with frisee, confited tomatoes and crispy bacon, began with a Kickstarter campaign and the faith of several hundred fans and supporters.
That belief has paid off and the food truck is open for business beginning this week. Set up to handle two cooks max, Malcom and his assistant have very little room to maneuver in this small food truck. Actually, the space looks pretty familiar – a lot like my galley. No jumping jacks for those two, just the dance of two chefs moving from one place to the next weaving in and around each other to reach for the next ingredient. Cassie, my assistant cook, and I get this all too well.
My Rubenesque, a vegetarian Ruben made with roasted beets and Morse’s sauerkraut, was a well-balanced blend of texture and flavor. The crispy bread off-set the crunch of the kraut and the easy bite of the beets – the flavors all complimenting one another.
Located on the edges of Rockland Harbor with the tang of the sea greeting the outdoor park seating, there’s no doubt that these two have a formula for success. Oh, and try the grilled cheese too – ours was with caramelized onions, pickled jalapenos, and chips.
Good luck to you both! Today is taco Friday, friends, from 4-7pm.
P.S. My galley is still smaller.
The sun is out, the wind is up, the days are long, and it’s time to go sailing. With less than a week before we board, our army of workers is steadily and happily working towards getting out there on the bay. Orders of food are arriving daily and the garden is nearly completely planted for the season with protective hoops and plastic for the basil, tomatoes and peppers. This can be a very hectic time of year. I am trying to write all of my columns and blog posts for the summer before we leave the dock in addition to organizing the end of the girls’ school year. With all of this going on, we have to remind ourselves to take deep breaths of warm air, to lift our un-scarved faces to the sun, and to take our lunch in the grass or on the deck.
Soon the view out of my “office” will be granite-studded islands and wide expanses of water. We are all so looking forward to being out there…. You should come too!
June – long, gorgeous days of summer