Welcome to Maine

Today is National Maine Day. Maine was the 23rd state to join the union. It’s also the most eastern point in the United States. Artists flourish in Maine. From poets to painters to writers, the great state of Maine has been a source of inspiration for centuries.

Fun Foodie Fact from Maine
This first fun fact goes without saying. Nearly 90% of the Lobsters in America come from the coastal waters of Maine. Restaurants in Maine often serve lobster within 48 hours of being caught, and steam them right in the ocean water for extra authentic flavor.

Clam Chowder is the most common chowder in Maine, although some restaurants serve Seafood Chowder or Lobster Chowder. Like all New England Chowders, these are made with cream.

Wild Blueberries are the Maine State Berry. Maine produces nearly all of America’s blueberries. The popular gourmet food company, Stonewall Kitchen, is based in Maine. While they sell a variety of Maine’s bounty, their Blueberry Jam is awesome.

I don’t think you could squeeze even one more berry into one of their jars. Needless to say, Blueberry Pie is the dessert of choice in Maine.

Many of the truly Maine inspired dishes are made utilizing ingredients readily available in the spring. Unfortunately this is the middle of winter. When it came time to create my menu celebrating Maine, it was more a matter of punting.

One of my favorite Winter Menus is also a simple menu. Warm bake bread, a winter salad and satisfying soup. No winter supper would be complete without a cozy warm dessert. Let the beauty of Maine be our inspiration.

Maine Winter Menu
Warm French Bread
Winter Apple and Pecan Salad
Lobster Chowder
Blueberry Bread Pudding

Warm French Bread
1 cup Boiling Water
1 tablespoon Yeast
1/3  cup warm Water
2 teaspoons Salt
1 tablespoon Shortening
2 tablespoons Sugar
1  cup cold Water
5 cups Bread Flour, or more
1 Egg, for wash
Butter as desired for serving

Place 1 cup hot water in the microwave for 3 minutes to get it boiling.

While the first cup of water comes to a boil in the microwave, dissolve the yeast into the warm water. Stir it around until it is all mixed.

Combine the salt, shortening, and sugar in the bottom of the stand mixer bowl using the whisk attachment. Switch to paddle attachment. Pour the boiling water over the shortening mixture. Mix slightly to combine.

Pour the cold water in next. Then pour in the yeast mixture.

Slowly add bread flour, one cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the side of the mixing bowl. The dough should be tacky but not sticky.

Switch to hook attachment. Let the dough knead on high for 8 minutes.

Remove bowl from stand mixer. Cover with kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in the bowl for about 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 170 degrees. Spray a jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Line a second pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease the paper and set aside.

Separate the dough into two equal parts and place on the first pan Let the dough sit for about 5 minutes so that it will be easier to shape.

Spread the dough out with your hands. Stretch it slightly until you have an oval about 1-inch in thickness. Roll the dough up into a log shape. Take the ends of the log and fold them into the middle, with the ends touching.

Turn the loaf seam-side down onto the lined baking pan. Repeat with remaining dough.

Using a sharp knife, quickly cut 3 diagonal slits into the top of each loaf.

Whisk egg until frothy. Cover loaves with egg wash, making sure to get in each slit.

Place the loaves in the warm oven and let rise for about 15 minutes.

Turn the oven up to 400 degrees and set a timer for 15 minutes. Let loaves sit undisturbed in the oven while the temperature increases for the set amount of time.

Turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Rotate the pan around in the oven. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, until the loaves are a nice golden brown.

Note: For crustier loaves, mist the outside of the bread with water a few times during the final baking cycle.

Remove from oven. Cut bread with a serrated knife into slices that are not cut all the way through, only started to make “breaking” bread easier.

Serve warm with butter. If desired, serve one loaf with the salad and a second loaf with the chowder.

Winter Apple and Pecan Salad
Creamy Maple Dressing
2 tablespoons Shallot
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
3 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
2 teaspoons Sugar
1/2 cup Canola Oil

Finely mince shallot. Place in a small bowl. Add mayonnaise, maple syrup, vinegar and sugar. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Refrigerate, covered, until serving.

Winter Salad
2 (5 oz) packages Mix Salad Greens
1 cup dried Cranberries, divided
1 cup Pecan halves, divided
2 medium tart Apples
1/4 Red Onion

Scatter mixed salad greens over a large rimmed platter or shallow bowl. Scatter half of the cranberries and pecans over the greens, set aside.

Thinly slice apples, scatter over the greens. Toss salad and set aside.

Peel red onion. Cut in half down the middle. Reserve half for another use. Place remaining half, cut side down, on a cutting board. Cut in half again. Again reserve half for another use. Thinly slice remaining quarter. Break onion into slivers. Scatter half of the onion over the salad, toss to blend.

Scatter remaining cranberries, pecans and onion slivers over the top of the salad. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Lobster Chowder
10 oz cooked Lobster Meat (claw and body meat)
2 cups Milk
2 cups White Potatoes
1 cup Yellow Onions
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Flour
2 cups Chicken Stock or Seafood Stock
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme
1 teaspoon Celery Seeds
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
Chives for garnish

Note: While fresh Lobster Meat is best, frozen or canned is fine for this recipe.

Soak lobster meat in milk while preparing the rest of the soup.

Peel and dice the potatoes into chunks. Peel and finely dice the onions. Set aside.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add diced onion. Saute for 3-4 minutes then add flour and stir together. Reduce heat to low and allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Do not let this burn or darken!

Whisk in stock until fully incorporated.

Remove lobster meat from milk and set aside. Add milk to pot, mixing well. Add potatoes to pot and continue to simmer for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are softened (20-30 minutes)

Add fresh thyme. Season with celery seeds, salt and pepper to taste. Add lobster and allow to simmer for 7-10 minutes to build the lobster flavor.

Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with chives and serve.

Blueberry Bread Pudding with White Chocolate Sauce
Bread Pudding
1 loaf (16 oz) French Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups frozen Blueberries
3 large Eggs
4 cups Heavy Cream
2 cups Sugar
3 teaspoons Vanilla
1 (12 oz) package White Chocolate Chips

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Grease a 13-inch by 9-inch casserole dish and set aside.

Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and set aside. Rinse blueberries under cold water, let drain well.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, cream, sugar and vanilla. Stir in blueberries and baking chips. Stir in bread cubes; let stand until bread is softened, about 15 minutes.

Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake, uncovered, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

While the bread pudding bakes and cools, make the sauce.

White Chocolate Sauce
1 (12 oz) package White Chocolate Chips
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla

For sauce, place white chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chips. Add vanilla; whisk until smooth. Serve with bread pudding.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

6 thoughts on “Welcome to Maine”

  1. What a beautiful web site you have developed. I poked around and saw many interesting things. I. particularly like the Feast of the Seven Fishes post. It was very well thought out and appealing. When my family was younger I used to do the Feast. My oldest son called it the Feast of the Seven Crustaceans because I liked shell fish so much. Looking forward to reading more.


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