Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oyster Creek Mushroom Company- Wild Mushroom Dip

Dan and Candice Heydon own and run Oyster Creek Mushroom co. in Damariscotta, Maine. They are certainly the purveyors of the most extensive wild mushroom selection in the region. Fortunately they attend many of the farmer's markets so we can all enjoy fresh and dried mushrooms as often as possible. Oyster Creek sells online so you too can create delicious dishes with wild Maine mushrooms. This recipe is from their website and is absolutely delicious!
Oyster Creek Wild Mushroom Dip
8 oz. cream cheese
3/4 oz. Maine Wild Mix {dried mushrooms}
2 - 3 cloves roasted garlic
parsley and or chives (chopped)
salt & pepper to taste
Reconstitute dried mushrooms in 2 cups hot water for 30 minutes. Drain, saving the soaking liquid. Rinse mushrooms with cold water, then press with a paper towel to remove excess liquid. Chop the mushrooms fine, saute in very little olive oil a few minutes. Add soaking liquid to mushrooms being careful not to use any sediment at the bottom (sometimes wild mushrooms can be gritty). Simmer slowly, stirring occasionally until liquid is gone but mixture is still moist. Remove mushrooms to a bowl to cool. Add mashed, roasted garlic, softened cream cheese, herbs, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate before serving. This can also be used as a sauce over pasta by thinning the dip with a little yogurt or cream, and heating it up a little.

Caesar Salad with Fresh Maine Blueberries

When I first made this salad for friends- they came back with their bread to scoop out any leftover dribbles of dressing from the empty bowl. Please your family and your friends with this simple yet flavor dazzling recipe. My children even love it!
Caesar Salad with Fresh Maine Blueberries
For the Dressing:
2 lemons
1 anchovy or 1⁄4-1⁄2 t anchovy paste
2 T minced garlic
1 T Raye’s stone-ground mustard
1 T cider vinegar
3 dashes Tabasco
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
6-8 oz. extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄4 t salt
1⁄2 t fresh cracked black pepper
In a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, juice the lemons. Add the anchovy, garlic, mustard, vinegar, Tabasco and Worcestershire. Whisk together for one minute. Be sure all of the ingredients are well blended.
SLOWLY drizzle the oil into the bowl as you whisk. Continue whisking until all of the oil is incorporated.
Whisk in the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
For the Croutons:
Either purchase ready made croutons at your local market or…
1 loaf of bread- you can use pumpernickel, crusty baguette or what you have on hand
1⁄3 c butter
1t garlic powder
1⁄4 t fresh cracked black pepper
dash salt
Cut the loaf of bread into 3⁄4” cubes. Place in a large bowl.
Melt the butter and stir in the garlic, pepper and salt
Pour the butter mixture over the bread cubes and toss to coat all pieces.
Arrange a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet
Place the bread cubes on the rack. Toast in a preheated 350’ oven for 6-9 minutes
Remove from oven and cool. Croutons can be stored in a plastic bag or airtight container in the freezer for several months.
For the Salad:
3 heads of Romaine lettuce
1⁄4 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 hard cooked eggs- peeled and chopped (you can use three raw egg yolks if you like)
1 c fresh Maine Blueberries
Wash the lettuce and tear into bite-sized pieces. Remember, not pieces that you have to fold twice before they will fit into your mouth. Think of the circle the size of a golf ball- they should fit through that Place the clean, dry, torn lettuce in a beautiful bowl.
Just before you serve, whisk or shake the dressing well. Drizzle the dressing onto the greens. Add the Parmesan cheese, chopped (or raw) eggs, Blueberries and croutons. Toss well to coat all of the little lettuce leaves with dressing.
This salad looks beautiful with the addition of a head of chopped radicchio tossed in with the final ingredients. Add Grilled marinated chicken, shrimp or steak.

Blueberry Bruschetta- An Appetizer with a Surprise

Try out this ‘bruschetta with a twist’. Delicious atop your favorite multigrain bread or with your favorite chips or celery sticks. Feel free to increase the heat to your taste.
Blueberry Bruschetta
1 c. fresh Maine Blueberries
2 c. diced fresh or canned tomatoes
1 T. minced fresh garlic
1/4 c. fresh cilantro chopped finely
1/4 c. fresh chopped parsley
2 T. fresh lime juice or cider vinegar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 T. sugar or splenda
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
2 T. olive oil
In a medium non-reactive bowl, place all ingredients. Stir well to incorporate. Chill an hour or overnight. The blueberries will tint the whole mixture a beautiful shade of burgundy.

Blueberry Smoothies All Around

Here's one for the whole family. Kids and grown-ups alike all love a good smoothie. Whip this up on a school morning for a quick and healthy breakfast.
Blueberry Smoothie
Frozen or fresh Maine Blueberries can be used in this recipe. Be sure, as always to check the berries for bits of stem or leaves before you place them in the blender.
Serves 4
1 c. blueberry juice or orange juice
1 c. skim milk
1 c. plain or vanilla yogurt
2 c. clean fresh or frozen Maine Blueberries
2 ripe bananas- peeled or 2 c. of fresh fruit in season- pitted cherries, raspberries, or strawberries
2 T. fresh lime juice
3 T. Maine Maple Syrup
2 c. ice
Sprigs of mint for garnish
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until all of the ice is completely crushed and the mixture is smooth and delicious. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Blueberry Cobbler

Here's another way to enjoy fresh Maine Blueberries...

Blueberry Cobbler
This fresh tasting treat is especially sumptuous with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. Blue tooth smiles will surround your table with plates extended for second helpings. You can double this recipe- and increase the size of your pan- if you’re serving a crowd.
6 c. fresh Maine Blueberries- rinsed and free of stems
1 to 1 1/2c. sugar or splenda to your taste
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. cold water
4 T. cornstarch
5 T. fresh lemon or lime juice
2 c. plain oatmeal
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter at room temperature
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Add the berries and cinnamon. Slowly bring fruit mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Pour into a 9x9 greased glass baking dish.
In a separate bowl mix together the topping ingredients. Stir until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the hot berries.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Here come the Blueberries

Where did August go? Already it's time for blueberries.

Blueberries are some of Maine’s most famous edible treasures. These tiny purses filled with sweet and sour, enrobed in royal purple, burst on your tongue leaving a smile behind. Just the idea of fresh blueberry pie makes me think of summer. These versatile berries are an excellent addition to any meal. By themselves or atop a salad, the blueberry explodes with both color and flavor- a feast for both your eyes and mouth.

If you look at the flower end of each berry the fruit bears a perfect five pointed star. Native Americans told stories about these “star berries”. Blueberries were dried and used in soups, stews, and jerky. The wisdom of the Native Americans spoke of the health giving properties of the berry that scientists are confirming today. Blueberries are one of the best fruits to eat for their antioxidant qualities. Not only are they healthy- they’re delicious too.

We all have read the book Blueberries for Sal. If you’re lucky enough (or brave enough) you have gone blueberry picking yourself, you know this is no easy task. There are no plink-plank-plunks in the bucket of today’s blueberry harvest. These days rakes are used by field workers to scoop the berries off of their stems. They carefully remove the leaves and package them up in tidy quart containers. It’s a difficult job that they make so easy for us.

The delicious berries are ready to be incorporated into your favorite recipe. Whether it’s muffins, salad or smoothies- they add fiber, vitamins and incredible flavor to your meal. Try them whenever you would use strawberries, raspberries or cherries. Dried blueberries are a wonderful addition to trail mix, and are great to snack on by the hand full.

When you see fresh Maine Blueberries at your local farm stand buy a few extra quarts. At home, place the quart containers of unwashed berries in individual zip plastic bags and store them in your freezer. They will be ready and waiting for your favorite recipe this winter. Any time of year is a great time to eat fresh Maine Blueberries!
Blueberry Bran Muffins
These muffins are a delightful treat on a summer morning. They are scrumptious hot out of the oven. If you and your family can’t eat them all- they freeze well. Just place them into a plastic zip bag and toss them in the deep freeze for later.
3c. Bran (All Bran Cereal works well here)
1c. Boiling water
1/2c. melted butter or oil
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
2c. buttermilk
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t cinnamon
2 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 c. fresh Maine blueberries- washed, with any stems removed
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. melted butter
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a dozen large muffin cups with papers.
Place Bran in a bowl. Pour boiling water over the top and cover. Let stand for 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the melted butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat well for three minutes.
Add the softened bran mixture. Stir until well incorporated.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Mix just until blended. Do not overmix or the muffins will be tough.
Gently fold in the blueberries.
Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon gently fill the muffin cups to 3/4 full. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly golden.
Place the 1 t. cinnamon and 1/2 c. sugar into a shallow bowl and mix together. In another bowl place the 1/2 c. melted butter. When the muffins are still warm dip the tops lightly in the melted butter then into the cinnamon sugar. This will form a most delicious crust.
You can also make this recipe using mini muffin tins or a 9 x 11 pan- adjust the baking time to be sure the centers are done and the edges not too brown.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Hummus with a Twist

This Saturday we'll be at the Camden Farmer's Market from 9:30 to 11:30. Fresh Maine Salads will be available and I'll have some tasty samples to share. Hope to see you there!
We're always looking for easy, healthy snacks for summer gatherings. Here is a Hummus recipe that will keep your guests coming back for more. If you prefer another bean- this is a great way to use your imagination. Adzuki or black beans also fit this recipe. Experiment and dazzle your taste buds.
Hummus with a Twist
2 cups cooked chick peas (garbanzo beans)
2 cloves garlic- roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup tahini
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
olive oil
1/4 cup roasted red peppers roughly chopped

Pour the chick peas (If you are using canned chick peas pour in the liquid as well) into a blender or food processor bowl. Pulse until mashed. Add the garlic, salt, lime juice and lemon juice and blend. Add the tahini, cumin, cayenne, and fresh parsley or cilantro and blend until smooth. If you need additional liquid to make it the consistency you like, add a drizzle of olive oil while you blend or process. If you want to keep the fat content low you can add a drizzle of water instead.
Place the hummus into a shallow bowl. Garnish with the roasted red pepper pieces and serve with carrot sticks, pita bread triangles, celery or your favorite dip vehicle.
You can save out a half cup or so and turn that into a salad dressing for tomorrow's supper. This recipe is even better the next day.
Savor. Linger. Enjoy!