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 Rigginand 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.
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!
For years, a visit to the rustic fishing village of Stonington, Maine required a walk down Main Street to the Purple Fish, a little publicized, but revered little gallery run by Jan and Evelyn Kok. When we shared with our guests the not-to-miss sites of Stonington, these two people and their gallery were always top of the list. We described Jan and Evelyn as the oldest kids we knew. With their heads of hair that had turned fully white and their backs bending to the weight of gravity a little more each year, the vitality and energy of this couple dimmed not one bit.
I say that when I grow up, I want to be like them. As a couple. As a person. I always left the Purple Fish feeling as if I had my priorities straight. Life is about good music, harmony, joy, stories, laughter, love, sharing… the important things.
Evelyn has now left us, but today in the mail I received a whiff of her essence in the form of her artwork. Christina Ships, owner of Inn on the Harbor in Stonington and also niece to these incredible human beings, has taken on the project of sorting through Evelyn’s artwork and turning them into cards and stationary. (We’ll be selling these in the ship’s store this summer. Let us know if you’d like us to send you a set: 6 packs are $20 plus shipping for either of the Riggin shots or a collection of the sea shells.)
So for a moment, Evelyn was alive again, stories of her wafting across the screen of my mind leaving me with tears in my eyes and joy in my heart.
Last fall, the wood stove that we inherited when we bought the Riggin 18 years ago, died. Admittedly, it was a slow death, complete with many repairs and upgrades, but once the stove was out of position, like a soldier out of step with the rest of his/her unit, the flaws became more evident. The first one being, no one should be able to look from the outside wall of the fire box and see through a crack to the grate inside. No one. Ever.
But before we were able to get a good look at the stove from all angles, we had to get it out of the space it had occupied for almost 40 years. (Remember that we inherited the stove with the Riggin. The original installation would have been some time in 1977.) To get the stove out required a feat of engineering, as with most anything involving schooners where everything is heavy and nothing is square. The trick to getting the stove out had to include no one getting hurt, so just getting a bunch of crew muckled onto the thing and muscling it out of the space wasn’t going to work. We’ve tried to fit more than three people in my galley space and trust me, there’s no room to maneuver a single thing, much less a several-hundred pound stove.
This would require the largest muscle of all – the brain. Often in the schooner world, heavy objects are moved by rolling them over logs or poles rather than sheer brute strength. This concept applied to the stove worked brilliantly. Several oblong fenders were placed on the sole in front of the stove where I usually stand. The stove was then carefully tilted on end to rest on top of the fenders and then rolled out of the galley space to in front of the stairs. Then fenders were placed on the backside of the stairs and with a pulley system rigged to the boom, rolled up and out of the galley. From there, the boom was able to swing the stove off the deck and onto the dock.
Once the stove was in the back of the truck, Cap. took it to be repaired at Bryant Stove Works, a well-known stove repair company in our area. The sad news came when the owner of the store suggested that she had cooked her last meal and the best use for her was a 21-gun salute. Good bye, old friend.
Lucy installed in her new home!
Hello, new friend, with your shiny chrome, your curlicues and your warming shelves. Welcome to my galley. I’m thinking her name should be Lucy. It’s an old-fashioned name and a wood stove on a 1927-built schooner should have an old-fashioned name. Plus, if some goes wrong I’ll be able to say, “Luuucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.” I hope we will become fast friends, Lucy.
We are feeling sheepish – but not in the bashful sense, rather in the fiber way. In celebration of the wonderful sheep that give us fiber for all of our knitting projects, the Schooner J. & E. Riggin launches a year-long giveaway of gorgeous yarn. It’s the year of the ram (or the goat or the sheep depending on who you are talking to) and in honor of the Chinese zodiac (yang) and it’s Lunar New Year, 52 Skeins and our Maine Knitting Cruises will be giving away one skein of yarn from small, hand-crafted vendors. Some are our favorites and some are new to us, but no less lovely.
Each week, the yarn will be featured on our Maine Knitting Cruise page, on Facebook, and all the other social media places you might expect (Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest). To enter to win head on over to the Maine Knitting Cruises Facebook page and do the following – a) leave a comment, b) tag a friend (for an extra entry) and/or c) share the post (for an extra entry). Enter each week. At the end of the year, we will draw one name from all 52 weekly winners. This lucky person will win a 52 skein stash of yarn (valued at over $1,300).
As it turns out, the hardest part of this giveaway might be on our wallets here at home. All of this yarn is so gorgeous, that we will not be able to resist making purchases of our own.
Good luck to you all. And may the best sharer win!
We believe in ewe.
We kick off Week 1 of 52 Skeins with locally (to MidCoast Maine) spun and dyed ontheround yarn! To know more about ontheround and where to find her fabulous yarn and details on the whole 52 Skeins giveaway visit the Maine Knitting Cruises page on our website.
The actual race started out well and then drifted to a lumpy sea at the end, but man did we have fun. The entertainment began the night before with the small boat races.
There were two categories- rowing and sailing. Oh, and a prize for the crew members who made the biggest fools of themselves. Justin, Ella, Toni and Cassie got right into the spirit of things and dressed the part of pirates and… a moose?
In any event, Cassie and Toni, entered into the rowing race, had their oars pilfered at one point and were firing day old biscuits at competitors. Ella and Justin, the sailing contingent, resorted to using a bilge scoop to paddle the chamberlin failing enough wind and managed to both stay in their boat. Unlike Cassie and Toni who ended up attempting to swim and tow the peapod.
Once back on board, the night ended perfectly with a collective round of Mingulay Boat Song and we went to our bunks with the harmony of the music still reverberating in our chests.
So much laughter!
Hey Gang! Come join us for a taste of Maine, some good fun and a lobster or three!
This fall, I was the surprised recipient of a beautiful bushel of pears from what we think is a Seckle Pear tree. That gift, however, did not come co-bundled with an abundance of time. I was determined that this gift would not sit too long while I put it off until the pears were passed perfectly ripe and had moved into “uh oh.”
To hustle along, I decided to not can them as whole pears, but as nectar. Making nectar is a much easier process than canning whole fruit, as it does not require peeling. It begins with making a loose pear sauce much the same way one would apple sauce by bringing to a simmer pear quarters and water and cooking until the pears are either tender or falling apart. Pear varieties will differ in whether they stay together once they are fully cooked or fall apart – just like apples.
With the addition of lemon juice and sugar plus a hot pack canning process, pear nectar emerges. I’ll use it all winter long in smoothies instead of honey, as a juice for brunch, a foundation for mixed drinks, combined with ginger ale for a special drink for the girls and, well, I let you know what else I come up with!
Thank you, friend Glen. I’m glad we are both good at sharing.