For the first time in 18 years, Jon and I took a vacation. Together. By ourselves. For the first time in 18 years I had a series of days strung together where my only thoughts were about naps, walking on the beach, or reading the third book in my stack. Days. In a row. Not being responsible for meetings, communication, the other wonderful beings in my life. All of it left behind for a while. What an absolute gift.
It got me thinking about our trips on the Riggin and how we are able to offer this same gift to those that sail with us. But really, we can only offer and provide it for those who give it to themselves – by choosing their time, by allowing their rest, by being good to themselves. We are honored to offer it, but also honored that you choose it for yourselves.
While we were in warmer climes, we also had a chance to eat out – and be inspired. One restaurant in particular had an array of menu items laden with vegetables served in all sorts of creative ways and topped or melded with a dash of carbs and a smattering of protein. I came away with food ideas overflowing in my head. Wait, does that mean I can write off that meal? In any event, I’ll be sharing some of the so-called fruits of that inspiring meal over the courseof the next few weeks. Here’s the first – tangy roasted tomatoes and creamy roasted squash combined with the acerbic bite of fresh spinach surrounded by comforting risotto and farmer’s cheese.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Tomatoes with Lemon Risotto and Farmer’s Cheese
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks; about 4 cups
2 tomatoes, cut into at least 8 wedges each; about 3 cups
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
4 ounces farmer’s cheese
2 cups lightly packed spinach leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash and tomatoes separately with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet with sides. Roast the tomatoes for 30 to 35 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Remove them from the pan and continue roasting the squash until it begins to brown on the edges and is completely cooked through, about another 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the risotto. When the risotto and squash are done, assemble by laying the spinach leaves on a platter and topping with risotto. Follow with the roasted tomatoes and then the squash and farmer’s cheese. Serve immediately.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup diced onion; about 1 medium onion
2 cups Arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine
4 to 5 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of white pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest; zest from about 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice; juice from about 1/2 of a lemon
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. If the onions begin to brown, reduce heat to medium low. When the onions are translucent, add the rice and stir for one minute. Add the salt, pepper, lemon zest and 1 cup of the broth and stir. Bring to a simmer and wait until the liquid is absorbed before adding more broth. Continue to add the broth, one cup at a time, as needed, stirring frequently. The rice is done when the liquid is completely incorporated and the grains are just the tiniest bit al dente in the center. Add Parmesan cheese and lemon juice.
Serves 4 to 6
It’s a cranberry time of year when the brilliant burgundy globes garnish plates and glasses galore. This cocktail was inspired by a delicious cranberry syrup made with leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving.
And then the box of citrus came from Florida filled with juicy, plump grapefruits, and well, Capt. “needed” a cocktail after a long day down at the boat and… Now we all have a wonderful recipe to share with friends.
Fresh Sea Breeze
1 1/2 ounces Cold River Vodka
3 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
1 1/2 ounces cranberry syrup (see recipe below)
ice for serving
3 cranberries in syrup as garnish
ice for serving
1 candied grapefruit peel as garnish
Add ice to an old-fashioned glass. Pour vodka and grapefruit juice over the ice and stir. Add the cranberry syrup and let it fall to the bottom of the glass. Garnish with cranberries and lime wheel.
Makes 1 cocktail
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
3 cups water
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the cranberries all “pop” and release their juices. Cool and store in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Makes 4 cups
Two more thoughts for holiday gifts… I mean, it’s still early for those procrastinators out there, so no time like the present, People!
I’ve been in love with these Giovani wine glasses for a couple of years. Now they come with the Riggin logo on them. Cool, huh?
Much merriment and happiness to you all.
It’s a tradition on the Riggin to have homemade cookies with coffee or tea for boarding. These are a fun batch I made this boarding and they were perfect for a foggy, chilly evening at the dock!
Thick & Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies
A faster way to get warm cookies in your mouth is to make the dough, wait 5 minutes for it to set a little and roll it into a log. Wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it. When you are ready for a few cookies, cut 1/2 inch rounds off of the log and bake for a few minutes longer than the recipe calls for.
You can also use this recipe to make bars – simply spread the dough evenly in a greased 9 x 13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes.
16 ounces semisweet chocolate (either chips or coarsely chopped)
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler. Set aside to cool slightly. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla lightly with fork; sprinkle in the coffee powder and stir until dissolved. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars and beat until creamy. Gradually beat in the egg mixture. Add the chocolate and ginger and beat until combined. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into the mixture and beat until just combined. Do not overmix.
Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until it firms up to a fudge-like consistency. Line 2 cookie pans with parchment paper. Form 1-inch balls and place them 1 1/2 inches apart on the cookie pan. Bake about 10 minutes, turning the cookie pans about halfway through. Cool on racks.
Makes 2 dozen
After coming home from a trip to witness no less than 30 seagulls feasting on our out-of-control compost pile, some fist shaking ensued and then some head scratching. How could we compost the many and weekly 5 gallon buckets of vegetables scraps that come off the Riggin all summer long and have the compost meal du jour, enticing as it is, be less attractive or available to our critters? The result were these shipping pallets — free from the local dump. We started out nailing them together and then found that it was far easier to use polypropylene line to marry the unmatched ends together. They’ll be topped with a sheet of luan plywood and all of a sudden, the seagull restaurant is closed!
Radishes are one of those vegetables that I’ve always wanted to like, but… never have… until recently, when I began growing them for immediate gratification. The days to germination for radishes is 7 to 10 days, so they have my heart just for the small feeling of success that comes every time a row of baby leaves emerge.
But roasted — now that’s a different story. Roasting radishes, just as with any other root vegetable, brings out all of the sugars and softens the flavors. And they are lovely this way. They almost taste like potatoes — not quite mind you — but enough to ease any lingering doubt that these “mini root vegetables” can be a star.
2 bunches radishes, de-stemmed and cleaned
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and then carefully add the radishes. Sprinkle with salt and cover. “Stir” every minute or two by holding the handle of the pan and the lid with potholder and shake the pan like your grandmother used to do for popcorn. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the radishes are browned on the outside and very tender on the inside.
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.