Holiday Baking – See it on 207!

I had the privilege of cooking with Rob Caldwell of WCSH6 and the show 207 a couple of weeks ago.  The first of three segments aired last night and you can watch me making Chocolate Rosemary Tart with Sea Salt Caramel Bark here.  The other two will air over the winter and as we know, we’ll let you know.  The recipe for the tart is on their site and if you’ve already got Sugar & Salt: The Orange Book, then you just need to add rosemary to the recipe in the book.

This was my first time in the new O’Maine Studio, which is a lovely upgrade from the former kitchen.  But it got me reminiscing as I was the first chef to do a spot in the original studio kitchen.  How many years ago was that?  Not gonna count.

Chocolate Rosemary Tart with Sea Salt Caramel Bark Photo (c) 2009 by Elizabeth Poisson
This bark has nuts in it, but the one I made for 207 was just flavored with vanilla and sea salt.

Thanks Rob and the gang for a fun time in your new studio!

Local Talent – Chefs, Writers and Producers

Yesterday was a food-filled day and today my head is bursting with new recipes to create and stories to tell.  I can’t decide where to let my fingers fly – the kitchen or the keyboard.

Kitchen first, to bake a loaf of no-knead bread which I started yesterday when Sharon was visiting. I wanted to show her what the dough should look like when first mixed because while I can write “the dough should look like wet biscuit dough and if you are familiar with breadmaking, it looks way too wet, almost panicky-too-wet,” it is so much easier simply to show.

We then had a brownie snack before lunch, lunch, and a brownie for dessert.  The Espresso Brownies.  The brownies could be consumed without guilt because we had a big shrimp salad inbetween.  No, I don’t have the recipe for it.  I just made it up with leftover that were in the fridge.  But I can tell you how I made it.

Romaine lettuce, chopped, washed and drained.  Maine shrimp, pan fried with lots of garlic.  Kale chopped and sauteed with lots of garlic.  Rice noodles soaked in water and then cut into shorter lengths (about 2 inches).  Quarter and slice tomato and peeled cucumber. Combine everything in a large salad bowl.

To make the dressing, whisk an egg yolk with dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, tamari and minced garlic.  Drizzle in 1/4 extra virgin olive oil and 3/4 canola oil until mixture thickens.  Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.  Toss with salad and serve with grilled homemade bread, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.

Then it was on to a foodie dinner at the Hartstone Inn, hosted by the acclaimed Michael and Mary Jo Salmon.  Everyone brought either an appetizer or a dessert and then sat to share drink, food and stories.  Heaven.  Old friends and new.

My contributions were Carrot Cake with Pinapple and Black Pepper and Chocolate Tart with Toasted Coconut and Sea Salt.  The sea salt and toasted coconut were a perfect crunchy, sweet, and salty combination on top of this bittersweet tart.

To new friends:  MargaretNancy, Sean and Heather and old:  Kerry and Lani.

Cheer to you all for your fantastic food and such fun!

Photo credit Sharon Kitchens

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Before the Chocolate Tart

 After a full day of writing, which began as inspired creativity and ended when more words just wouldn't come, I turned to the kitchen for a little fun.  As you've perhaps already read, I planned to follow a Fine Cooking recipe for Chocolate Tart.  After discovering a serious lack of ingredients, but substitutes for all, I reach into the refrigerator for the butter and milk.

The milk, which came in glass jars from our dairy farm, had been transferred to a gallon Tupperware container with an ill fitting lid.  The jars were needed by the farmer due to a drought in containers, her not wanting to buy more, and us not wanting to pay for more.  This may seem like too much information, but just wait, it does bear on the rest of the story.  Also, it bears mentioning that we live in a one hundred-plus year old house and the floors are not level.  Most anything that goes missing in the kitchen can be found under the stove as that's where the floor slants.

Back to reaching for the milk… I think you see where this is going.  With the butter tucked at my elbow, and two hands on the ONE GALLON milk container.  Which is full.  Of milk. I move to shut the door.  The container bangs on the door, falls to the floor in slow motion, tilts over… and suddenly milk is EVERYWHERE and making a downhill race for underneath the stove. 

I throw the butter (which I still haven't found – maybe it's behind the stove), dive for ALL of the kitchen towels, plus the bathroom towels and the kitchen rug to stop the rushing river of milk.  The good news is the kitchen floor is now gorgeously clean.  Oh, and yes, E was kind enough to get the whole thing on film.

Spilled Milk

The kitchen, now much cleaner than before, is again ready for me to begin the tart.  To make the shell, I reach for the flour.  Hmm.  No flour in the canister.  Right. I bought some two days ago.  Head to the pantry.  Hmm. No flour.  Right.  As I play back in my head where the flour could be, I realize that I bought it but then left it at the store.  Sigh.

Head to the store.  Did I mention it's a blizzard outside, but never mind, I have to pick up the girls from a friend's house anyway. 

Once at the store, I find the manager and tell her my story.  She remembers.  Because she's the one who put my flour back onto the shelf two days ago.

And this is why I love living in a small town.

The tart was worth it even though this wasn't the "fun" I imagined.

© 2008 Anne Mahle