Saucy, spicy, and fresh
Salsa is a sauce, admittedly a very chunky, hearty sauce that doesn’t pour easily, but it is still a sauce! It’s also a sauce that, by most accounts, is the most popular condiment in the United States and perhaps in the world. Centuries before Columbus landed on the shores of the New World, tomato and pepper farming had spread from the land of the Incas to Central America and Mexico. The climate was perfect for growing lush crops of both, and blending these two veggies together was inevitable. Adding spices, onions, chilies, and herbs probably came from early beliefs that many of these commonly available ingredients are of real value in warding off fevers and other maladies. Plus, family recipes of salsa added lots of spark and variety to a diet based mainly on rice, beans, and corn.
An easy, festive treat for any occasion
All of us who could not envision a world without chocolate owe our gratitude to the Conquistadors who first brought this precious commodity back to Europe centuries ago. They were introduced to this most delectable treat by the Aztecs of Mexico who harvested the cacao, finely ground it, and brewed a beverage often flavored with chilies or cinnamon and sweetened with honey. This concoction, xocolatl, was typically served during important ceremonies and was thought to improve one’s stamina and help fight fatigue.
Home-cooked meals that warm up chilly days
Casserole—the word brings up memories of home-cooked meals, savory scents, and stick-to-the-ribs satisfaction. So what exactly is a casserole and how did it get its name? Casserole comes from the French word casse, meaning a case, referring to a large deep dish that can be used both in the oven and then as a serving vessel. The word is also used for food cooked and served in such a vessel. Today, this cookware is usually called a casserole dish or casserole pan.
Sorbets and other sweet treats
These days, we find so many frozen treats in markets and small shops that it is sometimes hard to choose our favorite! Gelato and frozen yogurt shops seem to spring up overnight on every street corner. We go for good old-fashioned American ice cream, but then again…
Eat mushrooms for a fat-free flavor boost
Mushrooms—most of us have strong feelings about this simple form of fungi found in almost every corner of the world.
Stay warm this winter with homemade soup
In New England, early settlers boiled seafood shells for soup and used less appealing bits of chicken and beef for broth that became a staple of their diet. To the soup, they added vegetables from their root cellars. Root vegetables fed families throughout the long Northern winters.
Hearty chicken recipes for cold winter nights
Getting two people to agree on the best way to roast a chicken is almost impossible, but there is no doubt that it is just about everyone’s favorite “go-to” meal during the winter months. Here Jim and I offer two of our best chicken dishes to take the chill off our New England winter weather. We probably have consumed hundreds of chickens on the way to finding out what the perfect roaster is; it is one of our all-time favorite meals. It does not matter if it is just the two of us on a cold winter night or if we have “important” guests. Somehow the combination of oven-roasted chicken and vegetables, along with mashed garlic potatoes always works. The second recipe for a warm and hearty chicken stew is the dish for a snowy Sunday.
Sweet or savory—always a treat
Banana Brioche, Chocolate Caramel, Coconut Praline, Brandy Apple, Butterscotch Raisin—the list of tempting bread pudding recipes trending today is endless. Yes, this usually humble American dish has taken on new life in recent years. Bread pudding probably originated in Europe in the eleventh century when folks left no waste and used leftover bread crusts to make a custardy treat. Still thought of as a family dessert dish made with leftovers (nothing wrong with that!), it has become the quintessential comfort food, now proudly listed on menus both as a dessert and in savory fashion as a main dish. We have to say it has been and remains one of our favorites!
One of the world’s healthiest foods
Brussels sprouts, once voted the most hated vegetable in England, have come into their own as nutritious and versatile side dishes. They also make delicious garnishes, appetizers, and healthy additions to soups and stews. We’ve eaten them locally as an appetizer served warm from a roasting pan with a maple-based sauce and Gorgonzola cheese; at home, we roast them with salt, pepper, and other root veggies including sweet potatoes: both preparations are delicious!
Zesty recipes for a versatile fruit
Lemons are one of the most versatile fruits used in cooking and an essential staple in our kitchen. Indeed, nothing brings sunshine indoors more than the big white ironstone bowl filled to the brim with fresh lemons on our kitchen counter. From cocktail garnishes to desserts, lemons can be used - and usually are at our house - in recipes for any meal, at any time of day. Lemon juice is in the recipe for our top-selling Maine wild blueberry jam and, blended with parsley, it is one of our favorite scents in our line of dishwashing detergents. Something about the aroma makes us think of cleanliness, freshness, and brightness.
Many folks on the Seacoast crown the holidays with a fabulous feast shared with family and friends. For us, the incredibly busy time of fourth quarter in the retail world comes to a screeching halt. We can finally take a breath, sit back, and enjoy all that is really important about the holidays . . . sharing time with the people you care about.
A vegetable delight
Little did we know when starting to investigate the humble radish that this healthy little vegetable comes in so many varieties and stars in so many wonderful recipes. The name radish comes from the Latin word for “root” and is a plant in the same family as horseradish and turnip. With a mild peppery flavor and distinctive crunch, radishes are a great spring garden plant. They are easy and quick to grow, and they thrive in almost any season, in any climate. Because radishes do not require a lot of space or attention, you can grow them in containers or in a traditional garden bed. Either way, expect a harvest about one month after sowing the seeds—ideal for those of us who love instant gratification!