Over the weekend I had the pleasure of going to Kennebunkport, Maine. If you are asking yourself, where have I heard about this place before, here is the answer. It is the place where the Bush family spends their summer among many other places I am sure. It is a quaint little town that will bring pure relaxation and pleasure to your life. With a view of the shoreline and the sweet smell of the ocean air, it is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of your daily life. We stayed at The Beach House (1), which I highly recommend. There is a cocktail hour in the afternoon where you can enjoy a glass of port or brandy, or simply just a cup of tea. They also serve breakfast in the morning to all their guests. The staff makes you feel at home and are very accommodating to your needs.
I also recommend Joshua’s Restaurant (2) for a classy dinner. They feature the trifecta: always freshness first, organic or natural second, local or from Maine third. With a combination like this, the dishes are delightful to the tastebuds. Their creations are pure perfection. You can check their menu here.
As we headed back to Boston, we stopped at the Maine Diner (3). It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network. They specialize in breakfast dishes that feature Maine lobster and Maine blueberries. It’s inexpensive and a great way to start the day. Wherever you decide to stay or eat in Kennebunkport, I can ensure you will be one happy customer if you take my suggestion.
Happy (belated) Chanukah! This past weekend my family had what my mom dubbed “Latke Fest 2012.” In celebration of the last night of Chanukah we made three latke recipes that yielded about 100 latkes in total. Our kitchen was basically transformed into a latke factory. We made a traditional version from an old Jewish cookbook we’ve used for years. Then a sweet potato version that’s actually a Rachel Ray recipe that my mom has made before. And lastly we tried a new recipe that I saw in the Food Network magazine this month: Spinach Latkes. The recipe caught my eye because: 1. Jewish recipes are hard to come by among all the Christmas cookies recipes in magazines this month (no offense because you know I love cookies), and 2. whenever I see a spinach recipe I immediately think my mom will be interested (I was right).
I enjoyed all three recipes that we made, but this new one was particularly great. I enjoyed that it had more than just potato and seasonings. It includes a few different vegetables, plus feta cheese right in the latke. The cheese added a nice creaminess to the latkes. If you need some healthy fritters in your life, I would give these a try!
Saute the chopped spinach in a pan over medium heat with a little oil. After the spinach is wilted in a couple minutes, take the spinach off the heat and let it cool to room temp.
Next, heat some more oil in the pan and saute the sliced leeks for 10 minutes until tender. Add the chopped scallions and cook for 3-4 more minutes. Make sure to season with some salt. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temp.
Grate the potatoes. Put the grated potatoes in a clean towel and squeeze out the excess moisture. Combine the potatoes with the eggs, flour, spinach, leeks, scallions, feta, and seasonings. Once the mixture is uniform, it’s ready for frying.
Heat up vegetable oil in a heavy skillet for frying. Once the oil gets hot enough (sizzles when water is flicked at it), form latkes the size of a heaping tablespoon or about a quarter cup. Make sure they are flat like pancakes so they will cook through. Fry them for a couple minutes on each side until golden brown. Try not to put too many latkes in the pan at once, or the oil will drop in temperature.
While you’re frying the latkes, you can set your oven to about 200, and place the batches of cooked latkes in the oven to keep them warm.
During the Lenten season, my church has soup suppers on Wednesday night. I usually bring a pot of soup to church twice a year for this event. One of my favorite things to do is to take a recipe and adapt it in order to please the masses. I went on the Food Network website and found a delicious recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup by Emeril Lagasse. It sounds delicious but there were a few things that I needed to change. I didn’t think the general population at my church would enjoy chickpeas and I wanted to cut down the cost by eliminating the pancetta. I knew I needed to make a larger batch than what the recipe provided so I kept that in mind when I went to the grocery store. While there, I saw that Bob Evans sage sausage was on sale for $1.99 so I knew that would sub out the pancetta and save me money. Here’s how I made the soup and it is sure to please.
1 package Bob Evans sage sausage, 2 yellow onions (diced), 3 stalks celery (diced), 3 carrots (diced), 4 cloves garlic (minced), 28oz canned diced tomatoes, 3 15 oz cans cannellini beans, 1 15 oz can kidney beans, 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, 2 sprigs rosemary (minced), 5 sprigs thyme, 2 bay leaves, sprinkle of crushed pepper, 1 head kale (cut into bite size pieces)
1. Brown sausage in the bottom of a large stock pot. 2. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook until tender. 3. Add diced tomatoes, beans, and stock. Let it come to a simmer. 4. Add rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and crushed pepper. When the soup is complete, be sure to pull out the thyme sprigs and the bay leaves. Continue cooking until the beans and vegetable are tender. 5. Add the kale and cook until tender. Enjoy!