Asparagus and Tomato Gratin

Asparagus – classy, healthy and easy.  Three of my favorite things!  One incredibly simple way I like to do asparagus at home is to roast them in a bag with lemon and thyme.  The tang of the lemon combined with the herbal flavor of the thyme is a perfect combo for a light, healthy side to almost any protein.

Other asparagus recipes detailed in the latest Maine Ingredient column are:

Asparagus and Tomato Gratina
Red Rice and Asparagus Salad
Hake with Pork and Potatoes and Asparagus

Lemon and Thyme Bag-Roasted Asparagus
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bottoms off one or more bunches of asparagus.  Place asparagus onto a large paper bag, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add 1 lemon cut into 8 wedges and a generous sprig of thyme. Roll the bag closed and then place into a baking sheets with sides. Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until the asparagus is just done.

Caveat:  There are some that suggest that oiling the bag before putting it into the oven is a way to keep it from burning, however, that has never made much sense to me. I’ve also never had an oven fire while making this recipe, so there.

Asparagus Tomato Gratin

Asparagus Tomato Gratin (see link above for recipe)

Sad that the asparagus will go away soon, but happy to start seeing peas and strawberries

Remember the time…

Remember the time when most of the people in this picture were NOT married?  Johnny (red shirt) and Andy (kneeling by the kettle) are both married to wonderful women and live in New York City.  Chris (blue shirt second from the left) is also in New York City.  All are working and supporting themselves in smart, creative ways!  Good work, guys.  Capt and I are proud of you.

RememberTheTime SarahBaldwin

Lobster bake with Schooner J. & E. Riggin crew.

Fun Photo Friday – Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry On

Last Minute Memorial Day Offer hits Yahoo!

Many thanks to Laura Begley Bloom and Yahoo for their mention of our last minute Memorial Day travel deal.  How nice it for a small business like the J. & E. Riggin to be in the company of Disney World, Carnival Cruise, Fleet Week in NYC and the CITIES of Las Vegas, Washington DC, and San Francisco.  The 25% discount applies to our first four trips – check them out!


Susan Poirer – Flikr

Remember the time…

Remember the time when you were so little that your cheeks were still chubby and you still took naps?  I think this was the day that you went to pick blueberries in the center of the island and just plunked yourself down in a the center of a patch, eating more than you saved in your little cup.

As for Danny,  he didn’t have a beard or any wrinkles!


Cocoa Dipped Sugar Wafers – Boarding Cookies

They look like Snickerdoodles, but they aren’t. These delicate wafers are thin, buttery, crispy bites of goodness and perfect with coffee or tea in the late afternoon or early evening.  They are an alternate to my usual Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Served with fresh strawberries picked from the garden, they are an elegant treat to our boarding ritual.  Welcome aboard.  And if you can’t come sailing with us this year, at least you can have the cookies that begin our good times together!

Strawberries & Snickerdoodles Boarding Snack

The recipe is inspired by a friend, Nancy Seibert, who used to make boarding cookies way back in the day for another boat on which both Jon and I worked.  Her bakery was called Baggywrinkle Bakery and I’ve loved her Almond Sugar Cookies ever since my first bite.  These are a riff on her yummies.

Cocoa Sugar Wafers – Boarding Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For Rolling:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and then the salt and flour.  Mix until just combined.

Combine the cocoa and sugar for rolling in a small bowl.  With a number 40?? scoop or two teaspoons, form 1-inch balls of dough.  Roll in the cocoa and sugar and place onto a baking sheet.

With the flat bottom of a glass, gently press the cookies flat.  Dunk the bottom of the glass in the rolling mixture if it begins to stick.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until the edges are beginning to brown.  Transfer to a cooling rack.  Serve with coffee and tea on a night that you are welcoming your own guests or with and ice cream and fresh fruit combination.

Makes about 30 cookies

Christmas in Spring

They come in brown paper packages, neatly wrapped and packed.  A few of the packages have a fragrance.  I smell cumin as it passes in front of me and then chocolate and chili powder.   I don’t sashay from curtain to curtain singing, “…these are a few of my favorite things,” however, I am filled with glee and anticipation as the waft of fresh paprika crosses with the elegant scent of vanilla bean.

Christmas in May/June 2

Lotta Almonds

Christmas in May/June

A big white truck has just delivered Christmas to my door in May.  The cache is from Morgan Mills, King Aurthur, Mrs. Meyers and a host of others and will be added liberally to our meals all summer long.  Yipee, yea, I’ll be cooking on my woodstove soon!

Who wants to go sailing on the bay with us this year?!  Click here to make your reservation.

Organizing away my BIG pantry

Throwback Thursday – New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder was one of the first things I learned to make when I came to Maine to work on a Maine windjammer more than twenty-five years ago.  This simple recipe is both a signature dish and an iconic meal that embodies the characteristics of New England in general and Maine in specific:  hearty, warming, simple, frugal and nourishing.

ThrowbackThursday FMC

Eating Spring Dug Root Vegetables – Parsnip Latkes

How fun to have both harvested the last of the parsnips on the same day that I planted next spring’s crop.  In playing around with these ivory beauties, I created a couple of new recipes for a column:  Parsnip Latkes, Root Vegetable Soup, Roasted Parsnips and Collard Greens.

Parsnip Latkes

Gone Digging

Maine – A Place to Stop and Smell the Sea Air

The state of Maine is a place of unrivaled beauty in so many ways, but none more eye-popping than the day when, after a hard spring rain, the sun emerges and suddenly, the grass turns a shocking green and the flowers all open to show off their finery.

Such was the day I drove back from Portland after doing a 207 shoot.  I had Sugar & Salt books to sell and ended up winding my way down and around the peninsulas around Boothbay Harbor.  It’s so rare for me to be exploring our state this time of year what with a schooner to get ready to sail, a household to pack up, girls to organize and crew to train.  However, the day was just too much of a gift to not enjoy.  And so I stopped, several times, to enjoy and to sell a lot of books too!

Thanks to Southport General Store and Gift Barn (Janet, De and Maria you made my day!  I hope we end up getting to enjoy each other more on one of our knitting cruises.), Oak Street Provisions, The Village Store, Sherman’s Books and Stationary and Maine Coast Book Shop for your purchases.

Other than the fantastic stores that I visited, some all ready for the summer season, and some with shelves just being dusted and stocked as I walked in the door, this is what I saw that day:

Cozy Harbor, Maine

Cozy Harbor, Maine

Cozy Harbor, Maine

Lobster buoys in Cozy Harbor, Maine

Nature path – Boothbay Harbor, Maine


Sun on bright green moss


More sun on more bright green moss


Southport, Maine


Sherman Zwicker in Boothbay, Maine

Sherman Zwicker in Boothbay, Maine

Lovin’ my state


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