Cook the Book – Lentil & Sun-Dried Tomato Salad

Lentil and Sun-Dried Tomato Salad

I like French lentils for this recipe as they are tastier and they don’t get mushy as fast.

2 cups lentils
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced cucumber
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Juice of one lemon
Goat or feta cheese for garnish (optional)

Cook the lentils in salted, boiling water until done, about 25 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Combine the lentils with the remaining ingredients (except the cheese). Garnish with crumbled cheese and serve.

Serves 6-8

From: At Home, At Sea: Recipes from the Maine Windjammer J&E Riggin

Cook the Book – Potatoes Roasted with Red Wine

Potatoes Roasted with Red Wine

These are Jon’s all-time favorite potatoes.  I serve them often with the Roasted Pork Loin found in At Home, At Sea: Recipes from the Maine Windjammer J&E Riggin.

6 to 8 medium sized red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 whole head garlic, peeled
2 to 3 cups red wine
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375°. Put all the ingredients except the cream into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Cover and bake for 1 hour, stirring once or twice. Remove cover, add cream and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes.

Serves 4-6

Cook the Book – Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom Barley Soup

3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup pearled barley
6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
1/3 cup tamari
1/3 cup dry sherry

Melt the butter in a medium sized stockpot over medium heat; add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring the soup to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until the barley is completely cooked. Serve.

Serves 6-8

Cook the Book – Riggin Rib Roast with Horseradish Cream

Riggin Rib Roast with Horseradish Cream

No rib roast would be complete without Yorkshire pudding.

Rib Roast (bone-in), about 4 1/2 to 6 pounds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Three cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 425°. Place roast in a roasting pan, fat side up; rub the roast with salt, pepper and paprika. Place the roast into the oven, reduce heat to 325° and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Rub the roast with the remaining ingredients; return it to the oven and continue to roast to the desired temperature until the internal temperature of the meat reads 120° for rare, 125° for medium-rare, 130° for medium, and 135° for well done. Remove the roast from the oven and let it rest 10 minutes before slicing.  The internal heat of the beef will cause it to continue to cook another 10 degrees.

While the roast is resting, make the Horseradish Cream, below.

Horseradish Cream

The amount of salt you use will vary depending on whether you use bottled or fresh horseradish.

3 tablespoons bottled horseradish or 1 tablespoon grated fresh
Salt as needed
Freshly ground black pepper as needed
Juice of half a lemon
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

Mix all the ingredients except the whipped cream together. Gently fold in the whipped cream and serve.

Makes 1 cup

Serves 6-8

Cook the Book – Pumpkin Bread

When I make this for a special afternoon tea, I replace 1/3 cup orange juice with 1/3 cup Grand Marnier.

Pumpkin Bread

2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 16-ounce can pumpkin
2/3 cup orange juice (or 1/3 cup orange juice and 1/3 cup Grand Marnier)
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 cup currants or raisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Grease 1 loaf pan. Cream the shortening and sugar together. Add the eggs, pumpkin, juice and optional liquor and mix thoroughly. Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and stir until just mixed. Pour the batter into the loaf pan; bake until the bread springs back when lightly  pressed (about 1 hour).

Makes 1 loaf

Cook the Book – Chicken, Roasted Red Pepper and Couscous Salad

Chicken, Roasted Red Pepper and Couscous Salad

3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups couscous
1 large red pepper, roasted, seeded, and diced
1/4 cup minced chives
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Several grinds on the pepper mill
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Bring the water and salt to a boil.  Add the chicken and reduce the heat until the liquid is just below a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of the liquid, remove the chicken from the rest of the liquid, and set the chicken aside to cool. Bring the reserved liquid to a boil and remove from heat.  Stir in the couscous, cover, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Dice the cooled chicken. Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. Fluff the couscous with a fork; toss it with the vinaigrette, chicken, and remaining ingredients.

Serves 6-8

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Cook the Book – Cranberry Almond Biscotti

Cranberry-Almond Biscotti

A passenger of ours, Lauren Hubbell, gave this recipe to me.  To dress them up a bit, dip one end of the biscotti into melted semi-sweet chocolate and place on waxed paper to cool.  Biscotti are crunchy and store well.  They’re excellent for dipping into coffee, hot cocoa, or whatever you’d like.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
1 cup whole almonds

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease one cookie pan. Mix together all the ingredients.  The dough will be stiff and sticky. Grease your hands well and form the dough into 2 logs (1 x 2 x 15 inches) place on the greased cookie pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the logs from pan to rack and cool for 5-10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°. While still warm, slice the logs at an angle into 3/4-inch slices.  Place the slices on an ungreased cookie pan and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on rack.

Makes 2 dozen

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Cook the Book – Focaccia


We usually have focaccia at some point during the week on the boat.  I make it with several of the toppings, below, for lunch, or as an accompaniment to an entrée.

1 1/2  tablespoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Cornmeal for dusting

Combine the yeast, salt, and flour in a large bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup water.  Add more water if needed. Knead for 10-15 minutes. Oil the bowl and the top of the dough, cover, and set aside in a warm, draft free place to rise until doubled (about 1 hour). Preheat oven to 350° and oil two cookie pans. After the first rise divide the dough and place half on each pan.  Work both pieces flat either with your hands or with a rolling pin.  If the dough is fighting you (keeps shrinking back when you stretch it), just let it rest for 5 minutes and continue until it reaches the edge of the cookie pan. Oil the top of the dough and let it rise until doubled.  Press your fingers quickly into the dough all over the surface as if you were playing the piano and then dust with both salt and pepper.  Bake until golden brown (around 35 minutes).

Makes 2 focaccia

Some of my favorite focaccia toppings:

Green Olive Tapenade and Goat Cheese
Ricotta and Prosciutto
Caramelized Onion, Sautéed Green and Red Peppers with Onion
Red Onion, Mushroom and Parmesan Cheese

Stovetop Focaccia

Our good friend Jim Amaral is a baker and owns a fabulous statewide bakery called Borealis Breads.  He uses organic wheat grown by farmers in Aroostook County (“The County” as it’s called, covers most of Northern Maine) and has done more for the quality of bread making in the state than any other business around.  He and his family came sailing with us a few years ago and when he saw my woodstove, his first comment was about how great it would be to bake flat bread on TOP of the stove.  Of course I’m used to cooking stews and the like on top of the stove, but baking bread had never occurred to me.  We tested it out that week in many different ways.  After several tries and the indignity of having smoke billowing from my galley, I now use the stovetop at least once a week, most often to make a basic focaccia.  I clear the pots off of the stove and then clean it.  I don’t oil it because of the aforementioned smoke, but simply throw down a fairly thin piece of dough directly on the stove surface.  I find myself needing to move it frequently as there are many hot spots that will scorch the bread.  Once I’ve flipped the bread over, I oil it and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.  This bread should be served immediately.

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French Onion Soup

In the spring, one of my favorite people gifted me with her mother’s french onion soup crocks and while I was excited to share about it then, it was too close to summer for anyone but me to be all that jazzed about French Onion Soup.  Only in Maine would someone find a day cool enough in June to still be wearing a sweater and thinking something warm and cozy for dinner.  SO, here we are in October and I managed to wait.  Yeah, me.

French Onion Soup

This is not the most traditional way to make French onion soup, but it sure is tasty and it doesn’t take four hours to sweat the onions.  Dawn, a galley colleague, makes it this way every week on her boat.  She made it for us one night and it was so yummy I had to develop a recipe for it.

Now, with the proper bowls and an honest to goodness salamander (restaurant broiler), I make crostini instead of croutons and melt the cheese the traditional way with the crostini floating as a raft in the soup and the cheese a generous mound on top.  Only a minute or two under the broiler produces bubbly, melted goodness.

This soup is infinitely better when made with homemade beef stock or broth.  I know it adds to the time factor but if you make the stock in batches to have on hand, it’s so worth the effort, and so much better for you.

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
5 cups onions (3 to 5 onions)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup red wine
6 cups beef stock
5 oz. grated Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups diced country or French bread

Preheat oven to 400°.  Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onions and sauté for 15-20 minutes or until all of the onions are soft, translucent and golden brown.  Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Stir in flour and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add wine and then the beef stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for at least 1/2 hour.  Meanwhile, toss bread cubes with butter and spread onto a baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the croutons are golden and crispy.  Serve the soup with cheese and croutons on the side so your guests can add the amount that they like of each.

Serves 4-6

Comfort Food Fan

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Pappardelle with Lobster, Leeks and White Truffle Oil

Summer in Maine often means lobster, and lobster we have. This recipe calls for making a lobster stock with the bodies and shells of the lobsters after the meat has been removed. The stock is then reduced with cream to make a rich sauce, which should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon when it’s ready to be tossed with the pasta.

Pappardelle is a broad fettuccine and if you can’t find it is easily substituted with another broad, flat pasta.

4 live lobsters, each about 1 1/4 lb.
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, white and green portions separated
2 large carrots, chopped
6 celery stalks, chopped
1 bay leaf
10 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, plus 1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound dried pappardelle pasta
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons white truffle oil

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the lobsters one at a time, headfirst. Cover and cook until the lobsters are red, about 7 minutes. Transfer the lobsters to a large bowl filled with ice water and let cool completely. Separate the claws and tails from the bodies. Remove the meat from the claws, knuckles and tails and cut the tail meat in half lengthwise. Reserve the shells and bodies and refrigerate the meat until ready to use.

To make the lobster stock, using a chef’s knife, cut the lobster bodies in half lengthwise. In a large saucepan over high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the lobster bodies, cut sides down, along with the shells, and cook without stirring until golden underneath, 4 to 5 minutes. Chop the green part of the leeks and add to the pan along with the carrots, celery, bay leaf and 2 quarts cold water or enough to cover. Lay the parsley sprigs on top, bring to a simmer and immediately reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the stock is golden and flavorful, about 2 hours.

Julienne the white part of the leeks, then rinse and drain well. In another large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add the leeks and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Strain the lobster stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and add to the pan with the leeks. Add the cream, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce is reduced by two-thirds (about 3 cups), 35 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot two-thirds full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente (tender but firm to the bite).

Add the lobster meat to the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Stir to mix and cook until the lobster is heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoons of the truffle oil. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, add the sauce and stir gently to mix. Divide the pasta among warmed individual bowls. Garnish with the chopped parsley and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoons truffle oil.

Serves 4