Saturday, July 22, 2017

Chowder after Maine

Before we left for Maine, I bought some white sweet corn but had no time to prepare it. When we came home it was a week old but still ok so I cut it from the cob and used the cobs to make a little chowder base.


I was in a cooking mood and had some large shrimps to add a bit of flavor overall. So here is what I did

5 cobs of corn cut from cob, cobs reserved
1 shallot minced
1 clove garlic minced
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 pound raw shrimp, shells removed and reserved
1 onion whole unpeeled
1 carrot rough chop
2 stalks celery rough chop
1 tsp thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream 
Salt and pepper to taste


Place the naked cobs in a pot with the shrimp shells onion, celery, carrots and thyme. Cover with water and simmer till veggies are tender about 40 minutes. strain and reserve the liquid as this is your base for the chowder. Discard the veggies.

In a fresh pot melt the butter and saute the garlic and shallot. Add the flour and cook a minute then add back the broth (should be about 5-6 cups). 
The soup will thicken a bit. If you want it to have more body, and flour or Wondra to thicken it up.  Add salt and pepper to taste and verify your seasoning. Bring to a slow boil and add 1/2 the raw corn. Allow the corn to cook and then run the imersion blender through to make a creamy soup. Now add the rest of the corn and the shrimps(chopped if they are too large) and allow the shrimp to cook through. Finally, add the cream and serve it up.

The Birthday Boy...

Nick and the rest of the family came to celebrate his birthday, the last few weeks before he starts his new job. He is a big fan of Wheatfield's Strawberry Wedding Cake but I found this recipe on Pintrest to make with a triple berry filling and Marscapone and cream frosting. As Ina says, 'How bad can that be?'. It was a light moist vanilla cake and the filling was just great. Easy to make but tough to keep it from sliding all over!

Check out the recipe on Lifeloveandsugar.com  Berry Marscapone Layer Cake.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Sweet Little Maine Trip

My intentions were honorable but my planning was poor. We headed to Maine to sample the local culture and abundance of seafood. We wasted some time trying to figure out what to do but sometimes there was just nothing to do. We spent a lot of time driving, saw some sights, ate some of the local cuisine ( turns out the 'lobster roll' is a bit over rated.)

We tried to hit the high points, followed advice of friends and locals. Some things panned out like the Lighthouse tour by boat, some things did not like a visit to Peaks Island. Not much to do there but we walked 17k steps that day as we did not 'reserve' a golf cart for the visit (who knew?)  and when one became available, we were ready to go back to the mainland, exhausted. Our average activity was about 15k per day so none of our heavy eating habits really took hold of our waistline.

The highlights of the tour were the lighthouses and the lobsters for sure. We sampled some local brew and distilleries. Met some family for dinner and lots of locals eager to share tales of their great state. The kindness of strangers was evident almost everywhere we went. A lovely lady loaned Brenda her L.L.Bean jacket on a chilly lighthouse cruise, and people were generally friendly and accommodating. It was cool, very cool, some days just hitting above 60 and one day finally getting to 80. We welcomed the cool weather and while I was comfortable, Brenda was uncomfortable at times. Dressing in layers was key.

We drove a lot probably close to 700 miles over the course of a few days. Never made it as far as Bar Harbor but we felt like we spent a lot of time in the car. The coastal highway was kind of a bust as it showed little of the coast and slowed down a lot though all the little port towns. All in all, if I did it again, I would spend less days or perhaps fly into Bangor which is more centrally located.

We loved the botanical gardens at Booth Bay and hiked some trails on the warmest day there. 
We ate at a lot of wharf based diners stacked with lobster traps and lobster boats loading and unloading.


We loved all the lighthouses and craggy rocks and marveled at the expensive coastal homes. 

All in all we had a great time, learned a few lessons about vacationing in the states and planning ahead. The star of he show was the lobster. I vowed to eat one everyday and pretty much ate 2 all but one day. Mission accomplished. 





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