Cook Book Winner and Old Favorites

Many thanks to those of you who left comments about “Always in Season”. It’s a lovely book and I’m happy to be sending my copy to Marjorie Lewis! Marjorie, please email me or message me on Facebook with your address and I’ll get it right out to you. Enjoy!

I’ve been making a lot of old favorites lately. I thought that for those of you who haven’t been with me long, you might want to take a peek at these. If you have been reading Mignardise for a while, then…

1. YOU ARE TOTALLY AWESOME

2. You may have forgotten about these delicious ideas. I often get so busy trying new recipes that old favorites are ignored.

Almost every week for the past month, I’ve cooked up a batch of Roasted Ratatouille. I love this like you wouldn’t believe. All the vegetables get soft and caramelized and it’s crazy good. It’s great right out of the oven with a sprinkle of Parmesan, or over pasta or pearl couscous. It’s delicious at room temperature all by itself or spread on a crostini.

 

While I can still get my favorite Sungold tomatoes at the farmers’ market, I’m making roasted cherry tomato sauce. It’s a cinch and full of sunny flavor. I’m planning to freeze a couple of batches so I can have a taste of summer later in the year.

 

 

 

This tomatillo salsa is always hit when I bring it to a party. It’s worth taking the time to grill the vegetables. Last time I made it I also grilled some corn on the cob and added it to the salsa. An excellent idea, if I do say so myself.

 

 

If there’s any zucchini left over after making ratatouille, I can’t resist baking it into something, like this chocolate zucchini cake or this spice cake.

 

Twice now I’ve made this Peach and Blueberry Coffee Cake that is absolutely my new favorite. I have no photos of it (but I do have one on the freezer for later!), but please do visit Eat the Love for the recipe and lots of stunning photography.

Bloggers everywhere are already going crazy for anything pumpkin flavored, but I’m not there yet. I’m still enjoying the bounty of summer and I’ll only give it up when absolutely forced to.

Which might be as soon as next week, In which case, I’ll be whipping up Pumpkin Blondies for sure.

‘Til then, enjoy the sunny days, the cool nights and some old Mignardise favorites.

 

 

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Pasta with Summer Squash and Caramelized Onion PLUS a Cookbook Giveaway

In case you haven’t heard yet, Meatless Monday is now a thing.

It’s a food blogging thing, a Twitter thing with a hashtag #meatlessmonday and an Instagram thing. There’s a Meatless Monday Facebook page and a pretty great MM website.

 

Are cows and chickens behind the Meatless Monday mania? Who knows, but I like the idea of encouraging people to go without meat at least one day a week. It’s not asking a whole lot. No one is strong-arming you to go full-on vegetarian.  Me, I gave up red meat and “the other white meat” over a year ago, just because. Because I honestly prefer the taste of vegetables and grains and seafood and I’m lucky enough to live in a place where it’s abundant, fresh and accessible.

A meal without meat is not just a bunch of side dishes. You can find meatless recipes everywhere, including the spots I mentioned above. A new favorite source for me is this book:

 Always in Season by Elise Richter  was recently put out by Islandport Press, a local publisher dedicated to New England authors and artists.  I adore the colorful, cheerful  illustrations by Teresa Lagrange. The recipes are predominantly vegetable (or fruit) based, but there are some good ones for you meat and fish lovers too . So far I’ve bookmarked Maple-Glazed Scallops with Carroty Rice Pilaf, Lemony Spinach and Quinoa Soup, Pumpkin Lasagne and a Blueberry Bundt Cake.

The book follows the New England growing season month-by-month and the recipes make use of what you’ll find at the farmers’ market any time of the year. If it’s September, it must be zucchini! So let’s make roast it up, caramelize some onions and mix it all together with some creamy ricotta and herbs for dinner tonight. It’s the perfect choice for Meatless Monday!

 

Pasta with Summer Squash and Caramelized Onions                                                         adapted from from Always in Season by Elise Richer and illustrated by Teresa Lagrange

3 medium summer squash (green or yellow), each one quartered then cut into 3/4″ slices

4 Tbsps. olive oil, divided

1 tsp. sea salt

freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts, toasted

1 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 yellow onions, halved crosswise and cut into 1/3″ slices

12 oz. farfalle (bowtie pasta) or other shape of your choice

3/4 cup fresh ricotta

2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Spread the cut squash on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 3 Tbsp. olive oil. Roast in the oven. After 15 minutes, remove squash from oven, season with 1.2 tsp. salt and some freshly ground pepper. Stir with a spatula and return to oven for another 15 minutes, until very soft and browned in some spots. Set aside.

Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add onion slices and toss to coat. Turn heat down to medium-low and cook onions, without disturbing them, until the ones on the bottom are lightly browned. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and stir. Continue cooking  and stirring occasionally until the onions are very soft and brown. (This can take up to 45 minutes or so – be patient). Remove from the heat and stir in balsamic vinegar.

Cook pasta until al dente. Scoop out one cup of pasta water, the drain. Place ricotta in the bottom of a large serving bowl and whisk in a few spoonfuls of the hot  pasta water, until the cheese is cre

amy and smooth. Add pasta, roasted squash, onions, basil and parsley, Parmesan and a generous grind of black pepper. Fold gently to combine. Add salt if necessary. Sprinkle nut on top, then serve with additional Parmesan if desired.

Would you like a copy of your Always in Season? I have one to give away, thanks to Islandport Press. Here are a couple of ways you can win…

1. Leave a comment here (see where it says “leave a comment” at the top of the post -click on it), letting me know you’re interested.

2. Follow Mignardise on Facebook here. Come back and tell me you “liked” me in another comment. If you are already a Facebook fan (thanks!), please let me know.

3. Follow me on Instagram here. Come back and leave another comment telling me you did. If you are already a follower (that’s so awesome!) let me know in an additional comment.

Thanks – looking forward to hearing from you!

 

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Blueberry Bran Muffins: Have Two, They’re Healthy

 

 

 

Corn, tomatoes and blueberries are the big three of summer, the stuff we wait for all year then gorge ourselves silly for several weeks. But August in Maine totally belongs to the wild blueberry. There’s no getting around it. Blueberries are special to Maine, in much the same way lobster is.

Wild Blueberries are naturally occurring (uncultivated) lowbush blueberries. They have been growing in Maine, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces for over 10,000 years. Unlike cultivated blueberries, the wild ones are not planted. They spread naturally and slowly, with careful management. (from www.wildblueberries.com)

There are over 60,000 acres of wild blueberry barrens in Maine. And 99% of the harvest is frozen. So only 1% is available fresh, found at farmers’ markets, side-of-the-road stands and some local grocers.

Here on Mignardise, you can find many ways to bake (and even cook!) with blueberries.

There’s Blueberry Crumb Cake, Blueberry Scones, Blueberry Crumb Bars and a Maine Blueberry Cake. But not a single blueberry muffin. How sad is that? Very, very sad. So today I make up for that surprising omission.

Who doesn’t love a good blueberry muffin? This one isn’t a giant sugar bomb and that’s just one of the things I really like about it The other? It contains Greek yogurt, maple syrup and plenty of bran. If you have it, use whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose for even more fiber and nutrients. I sprinkled a little granola on top too.  You can feel good about a muffin like this. So good, in fact, you’ll probably want two. Go ahead. Blueberry season only rolls around once a year.*

Blueberry Bran Muffins                                                                                                                      adapted from Barefoot Contessa

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. kosher or sea salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

7 oz. plain Greek yogurt (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or honey)

2 large eggs, plus one egg white, lightly beaten

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups oat or wheat bran

1 1/2 cups wild blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350. Thoroughly grease a 12 -cup  muffin pan or line with paper liners.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, sugar, vegetable oil, maple syrup (or honey), eggs and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Gently stir in bran until thoroughly blended, then add blueberries and mix well.

Scoop the batter into muffin cups, filling almost to the top. Bake for 22-30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

 

*It’s ok to use frozen wild blueberries if you want to make these any time of the year. Wyman’s frozen wild blueberries are excellent. No need to thaw before adding them to the batter.

 

 

 

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Summer Vacation Spectacular: Maine

As August stretches to a close, there’s still time for a summer vacation.Especially if you’re in Maine. Because Maine is Vacationland. We have the license plate to prove it.

Within just a few hours, often much less, you can be anywhere in the state that could be considered Vacationland. There’s no need to jet off to a national park. We’ve got that.

No need to load up the wagon a la National Lampoon’s Family Vacation. Your’e never too far from one of our beaches along the Atlantic coast. You prefer  lakes? Not a problem. Maine has hundreds of lakes. You can camp off the grid or you can book a luxurious resort.

What’s the best way to figure out where to go and what to do, when there is so much to see and do? You can start  with Maine magazine’s 48HRS feature. Every month they send staff members out to explore places all over the great state o’ Maine. They do all the legwork so you can enjoy.

I recently had the great privilege of being a guest writer for Maine and it was such a fun and fantastic experience. Bob and I had an awesome  weekend “working” Mt. Desert Island (aka MDI). It’s a place that people visit from all over the world to see the best of Maine. Here’s a taste of MDI (and it was all delicious) but if you want to share my whole weekend, click over to 48HRS for all the details.

Low tide in Frenchman’s Bay

 

Lupine, on Bar Island in Bar Harbor. You can walk to it at low tide.

Foggy Southwest Harbor, aka the “Quiet Side”

 

 

Thuya Garden in Northeast Harbor. It’s early June, so the garden hasn’t quite bloomed yet.

 

Delicious Lobster Cobb Salad lunch at Watermark in Northeast Harbor

Jordan Pond, in Acadia National Park

The most famous popovers in Maine at Jordan Pond House

Biking the carriage roads in the park, Eagle Lake

A difficult decision…choosing a flavor at Mt. Desert Ice Cream

Always befriend a lobster holding an ice cream cone!

Do check out Maine magazine. And if you enjoy my article, let them know. I’d love to have the chance to spend another 48 hours somewhere in Maine.

 

 

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