Praline Kettle Corn and Smoked Paprika Popcorn – Stove-Top Style

While we are home this week having adventures of the cozy sort, we’ll probably watch another movie and we’ll probably want popcorn to go with it.  The column this week ran with all sorts of popcorn variations that we’ve played with over the years –Lime and Cumin Popcorn, Truffle Sea Salt Popcorn, Curry and Red Pepper Popcorn, Parmesan and Black Pepper Popcorn and Kettle Corn.   All stove-top varieties, because one, it’s so much better and two, it’s so much better for you.

Kettle Corn smaller

Stove-Top Praline Kettle Corn
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup corn kernels
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup sugar
Big pinch sea salt

Have a large bowl ready before beginning.  Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Your pot has to have a lid and if it’s a glass lid that’s super helpful.  Add two corn kernels to the pot and wait for them to pop.  At the same time they pop, the oil will begin to smoke just a little bit.  This means it’s time to add the rest of the corn kernels, pecans, sugar and salt.  You need to add them all at once and stir for just 10 seconds or so.  Make sure to get that lid on before the first one pops, your goal is to just barely coat the popcorn with the sugar.  Cover with the lid and shake the pot with potholders or a kitchen towel holding each handle.  Shake the pot every 20 seconds or so until the popping sounds have diminished to every 1 seconds.  Don’t wait to make sure that all the kernels get popped.  Instead, err on the side of not burning the sugar and a few more unpopped kernels . Immediately transfer the popped corn to the ready bowl.  Use tongs or a spoon to turn the popcorn and distribute the sugar.  Serve with lots of napkins and be careful to wait until the sugar has cooled!

Makes WAY more than you think (about 16 cups)

Smoked Paprika smaller

Stove-Top Smoked Paprika and Lemon Popcorn
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 cup corn kernels
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Have both a large bowl and the melted butter ready before beginning.  Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Your pot has to have a lid and if it’s a glass lid that’s super helpful.  Add two corn kernels to the pot and wait for them to pop.    At the same time they pop, the oil will begin to smoke just a little bit.  This means it’s time to add the rest of the corn kernels.  Add the smoked paprika carefully and quickly once the kernels begin to pop.  Cover with the lid and shake the pot with potholders or a kitchen towel holding each handle.  Shake the pot every 20 seconds or so until the popping sounds have diminished to every 1 to 2 seconds.  Immediately transfer the popped corn to the large bowl and drizzle both the melted butter, lemon zest and salt over all.  Use tongs or a spoon to coat thoroughly.  Serve immediately with lots of napkins!

Makes WAY more than you think (about 16 cups)

Popcorn 1 smaller

Getting ready for movie time!

Yellow Tomato, Ginger and Lemongrass Shrimp over Coconut Rice


YellowTomatoShrimpPeasCoconutRiceToday, on this snowy day in Maine when the kids are home from school, the column ran with this recipe for Yellow Tomato, Ginger and Lemongrass Shrimp over Coconut Rice.  There’s also a recipe for Butterscotch Mocha Cake with Butterscotch Buttercream that was inspired by Kate Schaffer’s Olive Oil Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream from her book “Desserted.”  Kate and Steve own Black Dinah Chocolatiers on Ilse au Haut and if we are lucky we get to visit them at least once a summer.

Enjoy this beautiful day!

Go Pats!… I Mean Wes

Is there anything good about your team not playing in the Super Bowl?  Hmmm… For starters, it’s safe to spend the game with others without embarrassing outbursts and too much enthusiasm.  If one team looses, at least it’s not yours.  One can focus on the food and not so much the game.  Turns out there are a few upsides after all!

As for the food, I’ve been thinking about what sounds good to me this weekend and found this recipe in my column archives.  I’m thinking some oven-fried potatoes and a big salad plus maybe a brothy soup to go with it.

Go Welker! (even though you don’t play for the Patriots any more and your uniform is the wrong color).

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Red Onion Meatloaf Sandwiches on Baguettes w/Havarti and Sautéed Onions and Peppers
Sandwich makings:
2 baguettes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
1 red pepper; seeded, cored and sliced
1 green pepper; seeded, cored and sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Havarti, sliced
Red Onion Meatloaf (recipe below)

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Heat the oil and add the onions, peppers, salt and pepper.  Sauté until tender and remove from heat.

Slice baguettes in half length-wise and place on a baking sheet.  Place slices of meatloaf on baguettes and top with onion and pepper mixture and the slices of cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Slice into 3-inch pieces and serve.

Serves 12

Red Onion Meatloaf
4 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cups chopped red onion
4 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 cup breadcrumbs
2 cup vegetable juice
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons parsley
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes.  Mix all of the ingredients together; pat it into two 9×4 loaf pans and place in the oven.  Bake for 1 hour or until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 160 degrees.  Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Happy game day to you all

Breads – To Knead or Not to Knead

Spinach, Sun-dried Tomato & Artichoke No Knead Bread 5

I’m a fan of them all, kneaded and no-knead breads.  They are all my children and I love them, different though they be.  This week’s column is on ways to use sourdough starter in breads for flavor rather than as a leavener.  I know, I know, sourdough IS a leavener, but not for someone who has limited space and time, say someone who cooks out of a boat galley.  Therefore, because sourdough isn’t a fail proof method for me on the boat, I’ve developed my own ways of using it that don’t require so much tending.

There are also a number of other sourdough breads that I’ve posted in the past should you get super excited and find yourself on a bread roll….  Ha!

Still ‘Ha!’

Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake

Chocolate, strawberries and cream?  What could be better?  Nothing in my estimation!

This recipe is a little simpler than the one in the photo, but it’s no big deal to split the cake and the cream in two, add the strawberries to the center and garnish with a few more.

The girls can’t believe they have to wait until after dinner to have it!

Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake

Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake
Chocolate Cake:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks of butter)unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice and the rest milk to make 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and dust with cocoa an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan.

In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together.  When incorporated, add the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla extract.  Sift all dry ingredients together and add to the mixture alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.

Pour into cake pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the center comes clean.  Cool for 10 minutes.

Strawberry Filling:
1 pound strawberries, washed, dried and stemmed
6 tablespoons sugar
pinch salt

Slice strawberries into 1/4-inch slices.  Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and let sit 1 hour.

Cream Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt
1 cup heavy cream

In a mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese and sugar together.  Add the vanilla and salt and then slowly add the heavy cream.  Increase the spead and whip until the mixture holds stiff peaks and the volume has doubled.

To assemble, place cake on a platter with a lip.  Spread the cream frosting over the cake and spoon strawberries and juice over top and.  Serve immediately.

Serves 8 to 16 people depending on the size of the slices.


Spinach Soup – Eat Your Greens

After a spell of overindulgence, there’s nothing our bodies crave more than vegetables and especially green ones.   In all shapes and forms, greens are good for us and the greener, the better.

Today’s column runs with a recipe for Spinach Soup and it’s variations.  The soup is a brilliant emerald-green and scrumptious and warm all at the same time.  My favorite variation is the Spinach with Cannellini Beans and Chicken.  It’s one where you could use leftover chicken and add it at the very end or sauté a chicken breast or two along with making the rest of the soup.

Spinach Soup photo

Spinach, Cannelli Beans and Chicken Soup
This soup is a gorgeous, bright green, and should be served immediately. If you would like to make it ahead, prepare everything, up to adding the spinach. When you are ready to serve, heat the soup to a simmer and purée with spinach in the blender as per the directions.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced onions; about 1 medium onion
1 1/2 cups diced celery; about 2 stalks
1 cup peeled and diced parsnips; about 2 parsnips
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Several grinds of fresh black pepper
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 ounces spinach leaves, de-stemmed and well washed; about 3 cups lightly packed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
14 ounces chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces; about 2 chicken breast halves
1, 15-ounce can cannellini beans
Garnish with minced chives or a swirl of crème frâiche

In a medium stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables, salt and pepper and sauté until they become soft and translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil.  Add the stock and again bring to a boil.

Place the uncooked spinach leaves in the blender and pour the hot stock over the leaves.  Carefully purée in a blender.  Meanwhile, heat the second 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the stock pot over medium-high heat and add the chicken.  When the chicken is just cooked through, add the beans to heat and then the pureed stock back into the pot.  Mix well, turn off heat and serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6

Eatin’ My Greens Too!

Thanksgiving Dinner Sides – A Supporting Role

This week’s column on Thanksgiving sides got me thinking of all the creative things you can do with vegetables (other than cream of mushroom soup and crispy onions).  Not that there’s anything wrong with that!  Here are a couple of ideas for you if your family will let you try them!

Roasted Mushrooms in Garlic and Beer
Broccoli with Roasted Red Onion and Lemon
Spicy Green Beans and Orange Bell Pepper
Roasted Parsnips and Kale
1-1/2 pounds parsnips peeled, cored and fibrous centers removed; about 3 pounds before the prep work
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil; plus a little more for the kale
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a little more for the kale
Several grinds of fresh black pepper
4 cups lightly packed kale leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the parsnips into 2-inch lengths as you would carrot sticks. On a roasting pan, toss with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until parsnips begin to brown on the edges and are cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile, toss the kale with a little more olive oil, salt and pepper. When the parsnips are cooked, place the kale on top of the parsnips and return the pan to the oven. Roast for another 5 minutes or until the kale begins to crisp slightly.

Serves 6 to 8

Peach Vanilla Jam – Last Days of Summer in a Jar

While we can’t hold back the tide or the change of seasons, we can bottle it for a moment and pull it off the shelf to spread on our scones in the middle of winter.  This column has one of my favorite jam recipes and thanks to a dear friend in Boothbay who has a huge peach tree, we have a plethora of jars on our shelves.  And the recipe for Peach Vanilla Jam is in yesterday’s column in the Portland Press Herald.

Summer in a jar.
Summer in a jar.
Thank you John and Becky! (and Tom for the delivery!)

Stocking up!

On Air and At Sea with Lemon Yogurt Three-Grain Pancakes

Cameras and questions at the ready, Jackie Ward and Mike (the super fun camera guy, okay, Jackie’s super fun too) from the local NBC station, WCSH6’s the Morning Report, spent a morning with us in the galley, in the garden and then on the bay.  We had Lemon Yogurt Three-Grain Pancakes with Berry Syrup for breakfast and Asian tacos and spring rolls for lunch. We were especially relieved when the day turned out to be a gorgeous one and the sunny shots were easy to come by.  Thank you universe (and Jackie and Mike).

Here’s part one of two segments airing on WCSH’s Morning Report.  The second we’ll post when it airs.  If you are local, be sure to tune in between 6 and 7am tomorrow morning! This recipe also ran with the Maine Ingredient column in last week’s Portland Press Herald.


Multi-Grain Lemon Yogurt Pancakes with Fresh Berries

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest; zest from one lemon
3 tablespoons lemon juice; juice from one lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for the skillet

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center and add all of the wet ingredients.  Mix well with a whisk starting in the center and working outward.  Mix only until just combined.  Let rest for 15 to 30 minutes.

Turn the oven on to warm.  Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium-high heat for several minutes.  Coat the griddle  with a small amount of butter and ladle the pancakes onto the griddle.  When the pancakes begin to bubble on one side, it’s time to flip them to the other side.  Cook until they are golden brown on both sides.  Transfer the first batch to the oven to keep warm and cook the second batch.  Serve immediately with fresh berries or a berry syrup.

Makes 12 pancakes

Fresh Berries with Lemon
2 cups mixed berries such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries
(hulled and quartered)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a small bowl combine all ingredients and set aside while the pancakes are cooking.  Serve immediately on top of the pancakes.

Raspberry, Strawberry Syrup
1 cup raspberries
1 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the berries and the sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and boil for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, add the vanilla and serve. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 1 1/2 cups of syrup

Spinach Smoothie – Green AND Tasty

A good friend of mine often shows up to our meetings together with her breakfast – a bright green drink so brilliant, it’s hard to know how she got it to be that green.  We are talking neon, nuclear green.   So one day, I asked her.  Spinach, she says, is the key, without the purple or red colored fruits which muddy the hue.  She then goes on to tell me that she adds kale, celery, cucumber and cilantro to her morning beverage.  I’m skeptical.  Until I try it.  It’s actually not that bad… and then I get used to it and it’s pretty good… and then I look forward to it.

There are mornings when I feel I’m drinking salad, but hey, I feel good, it tastes good and my pants like it too.  Win, win!  This one is one of my favorites and for more smoothies, click on over to the Maine Ingredient.

I’m not sure what I’ll do when we go sailing and the cord for the blender doesn’t reach the plug on shore.  Maybe Jon will rig up a human run generator where everyone can take a few spins around the deck while the blender is going and then we roll it up until the next morning.  Or maybe I’ll just have an apple for breakfast.


Spinach, Celery, Kiwi Smoothie
2 cups lightly packed spinach
5 ounces partially peeled cucumber; about 1/3 of a cucumber
1 stalk celery
1 peeled kiwi
1/2 ripe banana
1 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon raw honey

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth.

Makes 3 cups

Salad, it’s what’s for breakfast