Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Caper and Kalamata Olive Pan Sauce

The column runs today.  What’s for dinner?  Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Caper and Kalamata Olive Pan Sauce; Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes; and Toasted Pinenut and Garlic Spinach.

I made this meal for my mom and dad when they were last out.  Mom liked it because it felt light and Dad liked it because it was hearty enough.  Score!

Annie
Sometimes you can please all of the the people all of the time

And this is what the greenhouse looks like the morning after…

growing under a greenhouse covered in snow

Coffee Cocoa and Chili-Rubbed Pork Loin with a Brandy Cream Sauce

OR a Pineapple Salsa.  I couldn’t decide.   Should it be a round, full, rich Brandy Cream Sauce or a Pineapple Salsa bursting with fresh, bright and healthy?  I couldn’t decide so I made both.  The rub is a snap to make but oh, so elegant.  Then all you need to decide is do you go decadent or fun?  Either will work.  Both are in the column that ran today in the Portland Press Herald.  Coffee, Cocoa and Chili-Rubbed Pork Loin with a Blood Orange, Walnut and Manchengo Salad.

Coffee Cocoa and Chili-Rubbed Pork Loin

Annie
With friend or all to your self!

Homemade Chicken Nuggets – Latest Column

Recently Ella asked what a chicken nugget was and in one of those parenting moments when you realize so many things all at once, I thought about how sheltered she is, how lucky she is, how proud I am of the choices we are able to make and also, how sad that she doesn’t get that “fun” food.  Isn’t it interesting that I equated “chicken nuggets” with “fun” food.  But what I really meant was the the fun that comes from the very clever marketing of a Happy Meal.  And then I thought, “Wait a minute!  I can make my own nuggets.  We can still have ‘fun’ food!”  and that is how the recipes for this column were born.

We all pitched in and helped, the girls now FAR more adept at working with dough and rolling out the rolls than they used to be when much of their time was spent seeing if they could submerse their arms into the big bag of flour all the way up to their shoulder.  They’d start by just putting their hands into the flour, to which I didn’t usually object, because, hey, who can resist the silky feel of flour in your hands.  Usually in a moment when my back was turned, the temptation would become irresistible, and my next snap shot would be of the bag of flour swallowing my child.  Happy child, messy kitchen.  Bread is never a clean event on the best of days, although much more so now than it used to be.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce
Simple Romaine Salad
Buttermilk Dinner Rolls

Annie
Remembering the little people when their cheeks were big and rosy all the time…. sigh.

Salads and Farmers Markets – It’s all Green

The Rockland Farmer’s Market opens today and through no fault of my own, coincides perfectly with this weeks column in the PPH about salads and greens.  With all of the micro and baby greens available to us this time of year, the old stand by of tomato, cucumber and lettuce salads dressed with ranch should be a thing of the past, at least for a little while, until tomatoes and cucumbers are fresh from the garden and irresistible in a number of ways including salads.

The baby greens and baby kale that have just made their way into my refrigerator will become the basis for a number of salads, as will the goat cheese from Appleton Creamery.  The greens are light and delicate so will be accompanied by same in ingredients.  The kale will receive a heartier paring.

Fiore olive oils and vinegars have become a staple for us in our salads and while the company suggests pairing a flavored olive oil with a flavored vinegar, I find they are too special and precious to use both in combination so it’s the standard good extra virgin olive oil pared with a flavor vinegar such as my favorites Black Cherry or Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegars.  For the summer, I’ll end up using the Grapefruit White Balsamic or the Summer Peach White Balsamic.

Favorite salad combinations:
Baby greens, dried apricots, shaved fennel and pinenuts dressed with my standard olive oil and Summer Peach White Balsamic.
Baby kale, Appleton Creamery goat cheese, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts dressed with my standard olive oil and Black Cherry Balsamic.
Oakleaf lettuce, sliced pears, caramelized walnuts and blue cheese dressed with lemon juice and Blood Orange Olive Oil.

The combinations are endless and you almost can’t go wrong.

Annie
Thinking of what salad to have with tonight’s lasagna.

Crêpes – Retro Pancakes

Crêpes are one of those ultra versatile meals that can go fancy breakfast or quick weeknight dinner, sweet or savory, planned or using up bits of leftovers.  The recipes in the column today tend more toward the informal, however, the one my family has used for years on Christmas Day is as elegant as it gets.  While Christmas has past, New Years Brunch has not, so it’s not too late to experience what is the Holy Grail for our family, Crêpes Eggs Benedict.

Crepes

 

Annie

Win A Free Cookbook!

If there are any of you who don’t have one of my cookbooks, At Home, At Sea, yet, here’s your chance to win a free one! Blogger of Delicious Musings is offering a free cookbook to the best comment made on a post of my recipe Dill, Lemon and Goat Cheese Pesto.

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It ran in the Portland Press Herald for the first time last year with a few other pesto recipes.

Hope someone deserving wins!  I want to hear the first recipe the winner makes from their new cookbook.

Annie

© 2009 Anne Mahle

Portland Press Herald – latest column

Many of my grandma's baking recipes called for sour milk, the modern equivalent of which is buttermilk.  You can cause milk to sour by adding one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk, but you need to use a little bit less of the created buttermilk because it's a little thinner than store bought. 

What I'm finding as I use raw milk is that while raw milk will sour faster than pasteurized, once the milk goes sour it has a fabulous consistency which is perfect for baking.  On the boat, I end up using half and half, cream or milk that has soured but has a second life making flavor in brownies, scones, biscuits and Irish soda bread.

This week's The Maine Ingredient column in the Portland Press Herald is about making your own cheese – ricotta, ricotta salata and Y(5) yogurt.  Y(5) yogurt is a cultured yogurt that is sweeter, a little less sour and thicker than others I've made at home and on the boat and I can't make it fast enough to satisfy the mouths in this family.  The only downside is it's not meant to be recultured, meaning you need to use a packet of culture from New England Cheese Supply Company every time. 

To make yogurt cheese, which is spreadable and somewhat like goat cheese, line a deep bowl with cheese cloth and pour the yogurt into the cloth.  Tie the ends and hang over the bowl by threading a wooden spoon through the knot and resting the spoon on the edge of the bowl. Allow the whey (the liquid) to separate from the solids overnight.  Remove the cheese cloth and enjoy on crackers, toast or drizzle with olive oil and herbs. 

To make cheese balls, roll into small equal sized balls and place in a jar of olive oil and a sprig of rosemary.  Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks. If the oil has congealed, simple let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes and then remove the yogurt.

Annie

© 2009 Anne Mahle

Sending out 100 year old sourdough starter

SourDoughStarter
When, in my most recent PPH column on no knead sourdough bread, I offered to send a bit of my 100 year old sourdough starter to anyone who wanted it, I had no idea the response would be so great!  Usually when I offer to send something to readers I get four or five requests.  This time?  Try over 130!

And then the trick of how to get that much starter going quickly was the least of the worries.  How to package it, mail it and get it all done without spending days on it?  The post office had enough priority mail boxes to send out 39 packages the first week.  We cleaned them right out.  And thankfully, the boxes that we ordered online arrived yesterday and now we can mail out the rest.  So far, packaging 1 cup of starter in a 2 cup plastic container with a lid, putting that into a ziplock and nesting it in newspaper sounds as if its working.  I haven’t heard from anyone that they received a Jaba the Hut mess in their mailbox.

The sourdough has been quite accommodating and has grown by leaps since the requests began coming in and it’s actually looking happier and healthier with all of this activity.  Of course, I’ve had to make some bread, pancakes and waffles with it, I just couldn’t resist.

Annie
If you asked for some sourdough, don’t fret, its coming!

UPDATED 6/15/10
Due to the overwhelming response of requests for this starter we can no longer offer it free of charge. There is now a nominal charge of $10 for the starter and $5 for shipping. Thank you for your understanding.

© 2009 Anne Mahle