Friday, August 29, 2008

The Aspiring Locavore- Heirloom Tomatoes and Luscious Lobster

The Morris Farm Trust in Wiscasset, Maine is the gracious host for The Aspiring Locavore- Fresh, Local, Possible- A Maine Cooking Class. We gather on the fourth Tuesday of every month to share the freshest foods that are available in our area. Read more Here. Our August class involved a hands on approach for students to create delicious dishes. One thing we created was a Lobster Chevre Pate. Since the recipe was directly out of our heads- I thought it best to write it down here. Come join us next time at the Morris Farm for The Aspiring Locavore in September.
Lobster Chevre Pate
We decided that this light dish would be perfect on crusty bread OR chilled and made into little patties. The patties can be dipped in a beaten egg, then breadcrumbs and fried in butter until golden. The crispy patties can then be served atop fresh greens for a lovely salad.
You need:
11-12 oz plain fresh chevre at room temperature
6 oz cooked chopped lobster meat
the juice of 1/2 a lime- approximately 3 T
3 T finely chopped fresh cilantro
dash of sea salt
a few grinds of black pepper
Mash the chevre in a shallow bowl with a fork. Stir in the lime juice, cilantro salt and pepper. When combined, add the lobster and stir gently until completely incorporated. Serve immediately or Line a dish with plastic wrap and fill with the pate. Fold the plastic up over the mixture. Cover with another layer of wrap and chill until you are ready to use. When you're ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap until the pate is exposed. Unmold the pate onto a pretty plate and gently peel back the wrap to uncover the pate. Sprinkle the pate with a little more freshly chopped cilantro and serve with bread rounds or crackers. Delicious!
Savor. Linger. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mimosa Dressing Makes Lobster Sparkle

Light and refreshing- a Mimosa is a delightful summer champagne cocktail. For a change of pace, serve your freshly cooked lobster draped with the flavor of champagne and citrus-minus the alcohol. You won't miss the butter. The orange juice concentrate is bright; the vinegar tangy. Together they allow the flavor of the lobster to shine- with just the right zing. Add a dash of cayenne for a spicy finish. Yum!
Mimosa Dressing
This light dressing is wonderful on seafood
Makes about 1 cup
3 T honey or maple syrup
1/3 c orange juice concentrate
2 T champagne-vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 T light olive oil
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Chill.
Savor. Linger. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Chocolate Chevre- a new twist on cheesecake

Here is a different way to experience chevre and chocolate. You can scoop the mixture into balls and serve with slices of tart apple and fresh berries. Whipped cream and a drizzle of melted chocolate on the top finish the dish with flair.
Chocolate Chevre Crème
Here we combine the flavors of fresh chevre with the decadence of dark chocolate- too delicious!
12 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate bits
2 oz unsweetened chocolate- chopped
16 oz plain fresh chevre
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt the chocolates together in the bowl of a double boiler. Add the chevre and stir until completely combined. Add vanilla and salt. Pipe into small dessert glasses. Serve with whipped cream.

Savor. Linger. Enjoy!
Cynthia Finnemore Simonds

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fresh Summer Ratatouille

We celebrated all things local last evening at Agren Appliance in Augusta, Maine. This was the first in a year long series of cooking classes that we are taping to post online and show on local cable stations around Maine.
Whether you are in Provence or on the coast of Maine this summer dish will have your tastebuds singing! Use the freshest ingredients you can find from your local farmer's market- your rewards will be rich! Make this dish in three parts- base, veggies and dressing. Each one is easier than the last but the sum is more than the parts.
Serves 4-6
Base Layer:
1 1/2 cups finely diced pepper- you can combine colors if you like. I often use red orange and yellow with some green Anaheim pepper for good measure. Be sure to remove the stem, seeds and light colored ribs inside before chopping.
2 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c finely diced sweet yellow onion
3 fresh tomatoes (a generous 1 1/2 cups) peeled, seeded, and finely diced. Reserve all of the juice.
1 sprig fresh thyme
3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
1 sprig fresh oregano
1 sprig fresh rosemary
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Veggie Layer:
1 zucchini (a medium to large squash) sliced in 1mm rounds
2 Japanese eggplants, sliced into 1mm rounds
1 yellow summer squash (a medium to large squash), sliced into 1/16-inch rounds 4 tomatoes, sliced into 1mm rounds
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t olive oil
1 t fresh thyme leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 t sugar
2 T Assorted fresh herbs (thyme flowers, chive blossoms, thyme)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

For the Base Layer: Combine oil, garlic, and onion in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes (and any juice), thyme, parsley, and basil. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes; add peppers and simmer gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove and discard herb stems. Reserve 1 Tablespoon of the base mixture and spread the rest in the bottom of an 12-inch skillet.
For vegetables, heat oven to 275 degrees. Arrange the sliced vegetables in an alternating pattern in the middle of the pan on top of the base layer. Overlap so that 2-3mm of each slice is exposed. Around this strip, continue to layer the vegetables in a spiral pattern. Continue to lay the vegetables in a spiral around the first strip that allows slices to mound slightly toward the center. Continue layering the veggies until pan is filled (you may have some slices left over.

Combine the garlic, oil and thyme leaves in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle this mixture over the vegetables. Cover the pan with a layer of parchment. Cover this layer with foil and seal edges well. Bake until vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife, about 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes. Replace the foil if the veggies start to brown. If there is excess liquid in pan, place the pan over medium heat on the stove top until the liquid has reduced. (At this point it may be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve cold or reheat in 350-degree oven until warm.)

For the dressing, combine reserved base layer mixture, oil, vinegar, herbs, sugar and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
To serve: Broil until lightly golden brown. Slice into six pie shaped pieces and carefully lift onto plate with a spatula. Drizzle dressing around each plate. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve hot.