Cooking with Annie’s – Annie Copps AND Annie Mahle

I first met Annie Copps when she was the food editor for Yankee Magazine.  She came on board during a romantic, misty night in August for a dinner of turkey confit, housemade spaetzle, and I can’t remember what else.  We instantly hit it off.   Our love of food, local, New England, Maine, and writing just sealed the deal.

Annie Mahle and Annie Copps
Both Annies and both of their latest cookbooks.

That was in 2010, and after naming the Riggin one of the top 10 places to have “Dinner with a View”, we lost touch a bit.  But as social media will do for most anyone, we kept in touch sort of watching and cheering for the good work we each were doing.  But as it happens in our small, foodie world, things circle back around and Annie (Copps), after adding PBS Food to her extensive resume, is now writing cookbooks.  Like me.  Her latest is The Little Local Maine Cookbook and it’s a gem filled with traditional Maine recipes, history, and stories.  It’s perfect for a gift or for the cookbook collector.


local Maine food
Gathering the freshest food available from my own garden.

The fantastic part of this whole story is that Annie will be on board August 18 to 20th and we’ll be cooking up a storm, sharing stories, cooking demos, kitchen tips, and lots of delicious food.  Plus we’ll laugh.  A lot.  We’ll be cooking out of each other’s books – recipes such as her delicious Tourtiere, Lobster Rolls (the correct and traditional way, thank you very much), and Blueberry Boy Bait and my Roast Pork Loin with Brandy Cream Sauce, Oysters Mignonette, and Lemon Berry Tartlet.

The link to the original Yankee Magazine article and video is still live, if you’d like to see where this creative trip began almost ten years ago.

And of course there will be lobster!

We’ll be talking about our areas of love and expertise – which of course encompasses anything from knife skills to lobster history and bread baking to recipe development.  You’ve got both of us for a full 3 days, so let’s talk food and sample the Annies’ cookbooks to our hearts content!

And, hey, if you can’t make the August 18 to 20th trip, we’ve got a few other foodie cruises that still have limited space.  Check out the Maine Food Cruise page on our site for more info.



Edible Maine – Three Squares at Sea

Fantastic articles about the J. & E. Riggin just keep coming. I don’t know what else to say about this write-up in Edible Maine, except I love the story, I love the photos, I love everything about this article. You can read “Three Squares at Sea”  out online or order a copy from the Edible Maine website.

Recipes included in the article are Garden Carrots and Leeks Au Gratin, Clementine Walnut Bread, and Peach Ginger Jam.  You can find some of these recipes in At Home. At Sea – The Red Book, 2nd Edition.

Thank you Claire Jeffers, Douglas Merriam, and Edible Maine!

Boat Magic with Yankee Magazine

For those of you who don’t live in Maine or New England, this month’s issue of Yankee Magazine might be a harder to come by, but if you can get your hands on a copy, do it!  Amy Traverso, accomplished writer, has given the Riggin wonderful kudos and Mark Flemming, photographer extraordinaire, adds a lovely balance to her words.

Recipes included in the article are Pecan Sticky Buns, Cornish Game Hens with Smoked Shrimp and Brandy Stuffing, Zucchini Gratin, and Lime Pie Jars.  You can also find these recipes in At Home. At Sea – The Red Book, 2nd Edition.

This is one of the best articles we’ve seen on our sweet girl and you should check it out.  #boatmagic!

Photo by Mark Flemming


Cook, Sip, and Sail Away on Penobscot Bay – a Maine Gourmet Feast

Join us on the Schooner J. & E. Riggin for a unique Maine Gourmet Feast! Come savor the best of Maine’s local foodways on this 4-day foodie adventure!

Maine Gourmet Cruise

Meals will feature the best of the best: oysters from Pemaquid Oyster Company, produce from acclaimed Hope’s Edge Farm, award-winning cheese from Appleton Creamery and Hahn’s End. Every night will feature a different specialty cocktail demo (be sure to bring your own vodka, gin, and whiskey!). Come join us and celebrate the outstanding local food MidCoast Maine is famed for and celebrate the release of the newest cookbook Sugar & Salt Book Two – The Orange Book.

This delectable foodie cruise will take place on our Maine Windjammer, the Schooner J. & E. Riggin from August 1st – 4th (2016)  at only $650 per person.

Cooking (and sipping) away on Penobscot Bay

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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Cook the Book – Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread goes perfect with New England Boiled Dinner and of course the perfect side for your St Patrick’s Day dinner.

There are several theories as to the significance of the cross in soda bread. Some believe that the cross was placed in the bread to ward off evil (the devil) or to let the fairies out of the bread.

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2  teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 cup currants
1 1/2 cups sour milk

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Mix in the sugar, caraway seeds and raisins.
Stir in the milk until a ball forms. Turn onto floured board and knead until smooth (about 5-10 turns). Cut the dough in half and shape into two 6″ round loaves. Place the loaves on the cookie pan. Make two cuts on top of the loaves in the shape of a cross.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Makes 2 loaves

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

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Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

Every year, three or four mom’s and our kidlets congregate in one of our small kitchens and completely sugar up our kids with Christmas cookies.  Mountains of frosting and sprinkles are usually constructed on top of the unrecognizable sugar cookies as they decorate with an unrestrained hand.  The floors are wooden and everything wipes down in the end.  This year, the girls asked if they could have a food fight with the leftover frosting.  Hmm.  Definitely not in the house.  Too cold to go outside.  Don’t want to have to wash the coats anyway.  Hmm… “What if we get our bathing suits on and do it in the tub, Mama?  Please?”  SURE.  Good idea.  And one I got to say “yes” to in the sea of what sometimes seems continual “no.”  The giggles are to be treasured for a lifetime.

The standby chocolate peanut balls and the sugar cookies usually have a recipe or two that make an audition, but don’t last for more than a year.  Not so with this recipe taken straight from Bon Appetit December 2005.  Good job guys.  These are like the best Oreo’s a person could imagine – on steroids.  Love them.

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetend Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 drops (or more) green food coloring

1/2 cup crushed red- and white-stripped candy canes or hard peppermint candies (about 4 ounces)

Whisk flour, cocoa and salt in medium bowl to blend.  Using mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended.  Beat in egg.  Add dry ingredients:  beat until blended.  Refrigerate dough 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Scoop out dough by level tablespoonfuls, then roll into smooth balls.  Place balls on prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.  Using bottom of glass or hands, flatten each ball to 2-inch round (edges will crack).  Bake until cookies no longer look wet and small indentation appears when tops of cookies are lightly touched with fingers, about 11 minutes (do not over bake or cookies will become too crisp).  Cool on sheet 5 minutes.  Transfer chocolate cookies to racks and cool completely.

Using mixer, beat powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl until well blended.  Add peppermint extract and 2 drops food coloring.  Beat until light pink and well blended, adding more food coloring by dropfuls if darker pink color is desired.  Spread 2 generous teaspoons filling evenly over flat side of 1 cookie to edges, top with another cookie, flat side down, pressing gently to adhere.  Repeat with remaining cookies and peppermint filling.

Place crushed candy canes on plate.  Roll edges of cookie sandwiches in crushed candies (candies will adhere to filling).  Store in singe layer in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 18 sandwich cookies

Heaven to bake and then eat these cookies!

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Maine Ingredient – Turkey and Accompaniments

The latest column is hopefully a help to all of those who stress over Thanksgiving Dinner.  I offered to help by email anyone who would like to ask questions about their specific meal.  Happy to help blog readers too.  I’ll post any questions so that everyone can benefit.

Brined and Roasted Turkey Breast
Sage and Rosemary Gravy
Cranberry and Challah Stuffing

Grateful for ALL of it

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Turkey Confit

If you don’t care to break down your own turkey, it’s easy enough to ask your butcher to provide these pieces for you.  I know its not common to have 4 cups of rendered fat hanging around most households, but again, your butcher can provide this for you. I used pork fat rendered from a whole pig broken down last winter.  It was deeelicious.  Lard can be found in either the baking or butter section of your grocery store.

If you would like breast meat as well, you have a couple of options.  One is to confit both breasts, bone on, with everything else.  The directions and timing would remain the same.  The other is to brine the breast and roast it while the rest is heating up and skin crisping.  That recipe is part of today’s Brined Turkey Breast column in the PPH.  The third option is to simply marinate it in something sagey, garlicky and delicious and roast it again while the confit is crisping up.

2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh black pepper
5 tablespoons minced sage and rosemary
legs, wings and thighs from a 12 to 14 pound turkey
4 cups duck fat, port fat or lard

Pulverize the salt, pepper and herbs in a food processor or spice grinder.  Rub the entire exterior of the turkey pieces and place on a platter with sides high enough to catch any liquid that will drain from the turkey.  Do not cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Place the turkey and fat in a Dutch oven or other oven proof pot with lid.  Bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours until the meat is so tender it is nearly (but not) falling off the bones.

At this point you can remove the turkey and crisp up the skin right away.  Even better is to cool the turkey completely.  Refrigerate until you are ready to use it and then bake it for an hour on a roasting pan.  Serve immediately and enjoy how the skin is crispy and the meat just falls off the bone.

Serves 6 to 8

Happy Turkey Day to you all!

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Stuffed Turkey Breast

The fancy word for stuffed turkey breast is “galantine,” which I love because it sounds so elegant.  In any event, it’s a fairly easy, but elegant way to serve turkey for a small group.  With lots of side dishes you could get away with 8 to 10 people.

Use your favorite stuffing or my recipes for Cranberry and Challah Stuffing; Bacon, Rosemary and Cornbread Stuffing or  Sausage and Apple Stuffing.

3 cups of your favorite stuffing
deboned whole turkey breast from a 12 to 14 pound turkey, skin on, about 4 pounds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil

Lay the turkey breast skin side down between two large layers of plastic wrap.  With a meat tenderizer, pound the breast until it is an even thickness and 1/2-inch thick.  Discard the plastic.  Season the breast with salt and pepper.  Place the stuffing in a row in the middle of the pounded turkey breast short side to short side.  Roll one side of the turkey up and over the stuffing, tucking everything in as neatly and tightly as you can.  Roll the other side to make a log with the stuffing in the center.  Use tooth picks to hold the final edge in place while you tie it with butcher’s string every 1 to 2 inches.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Heat a large, oven proof skillet over medium high heat and add the canola oil.  Carefully place the roll into the pan.  Brown for 10 minutes on all sides, turning as needed.  Transfer skillet to oven and cook for 45 minutes or until an internal thermometer reads 155 in the center of the roll.  Let rest 5 minutes and slice in 1/2 inch slices.

Serves 6 to 8

E was able to follow the recipe without a picture, by practicing with a piece of paper first.  It’s actually harder to write than it is to do.

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