Jingle Rock Sip’n’Shop – Come Support Cape Ann Vendors

We are very excited to be hosting our first Sip’n’ShopSeveral Gloucester vendors will be selling their wares (come support them) like

Come enjoy some Rockin’ Holiday Music, a cocktail and fun hassle-free shopping.  Hope to see you all on Wednesday.

From New Orleans to Gloucester

Hey Joey! Kate Lufkin here. I moved back to New Orleans in August and haven’t been keeping up with GMG as much as I should, but I just saw this story on the nola.com homepage and thought of you and the weird lobsters that you guys land!

Hope you find it interesting!


Lake Charles shrimper catches freaky crustacean under I-10 bridge


Read the entire article here

Today’s Rockport Harvestfest Schedule


Make Your Own Instrument!


Family Activities


10am to 12pm at the Old Firehouse Trust


Sponsored by Rockport Music

Dog Parade!

Family Activities

11:30 in Harvey Park with prizes awared following the parade

Dog Parade is sponsored by the Cape Ann Animal Aid

Sasquatch  & Co.


11am – 12:45pm in Dock Square

Folk & Americana

Ipswich Ale Beer Truck


11am – 6pm. Enjoy the craftsmanship of microbrews under the tent on T Wharf

Ipswich Ale Brewery

Cooking Demo: Paola LaBoa demonstrates how to make his award-winning pesto


11am on T Wharf

Paolo’s pesto was featured in La Cucina Italiana Magazine

Eric Wilson & John Rockwell


11am to 11:45am on T Wharf

Old Cold Tater


12pm to 2:30pm on T Wharf

Celtic, Folk, Americana

The Buddy Walker Band

Live Music

1pm, 2pm, 3pm in front of Bearskin Neck Leathers on Old Harbor Road.

Polish Polka music from a band founded nearly 65 years ago! Sponsored by Bearskin Neck Leathers

MIT Juggling Club


1pm & 3pm on Bearskin Neck, 2pm in Dock Square

MIT Juggling Club

Cooking Demo: Laurie Lufkin, creator of prize-winning recipes and accomplished cook


1pm on T Wharf

Nicholas Bogosian


1pm to 2pm

Roots music

Cooking Demo: Seafood Throwdown


2:30pm on T Wharf

Sponsored by NAMA

The HarvestFest Cape Ann Contra Dance

Family Activities

2:30pm to 5:30pm

Sponsored by Cape Ann Contra Dance

Scarecrow Chase. Find the the Great Scarecrow! A parade for children of all ages (in costume or not).

Family Activities

3pm, beginning in Harvey Park

The Sturdy Oaks


3pm to 5:30pm on T Wharf

Bluegrass, Folk, Americana

Art/Light: a public send-off to a temporary public art installation


6:15pm on Lumber Wharf (public access behind 1 Main Street and down Pier Avenue)

WOCA Nonprofit Fair (WOCA stands for: What’s on Cape Ann?)

Family Activities

All Day in Harvey Park


NYRE Food Booth


All Day in Harvey Park

Local Fare Food Tent. The best of New England regional food producers come together under one tent!


All Day on T Wharf

Local Fare Food Tent

Stores open during Harvestfest!


All Day throughout downtown

See all music sorted by time here.

HarvestFest is TODAY!!!: Cooking Demos, Live Music, Local Food & Contra Dancing!!!

Don’t miss Rockport’s HarvestFest THIS Saturday, October 19th from 10am to 6pm. The fun includes dancing and a bit of Ipswich Ale, among other delights. This post would be a million words long (really!) if I included everything going on, so for the details check out the website:  www.rockportartfestivals.com/harvestfest/schedule-of-events In the meantime, here are just a few highlights:

  • Rockport Music is sponsoring a Make Your Own Instrument Workshop for children at 10am (first come, first served)
  • Cape Ann Animal Aid is sponsoring a Dog Parade at 11:30, with lots of fun prizes to be awarded!
  • Bearskin Neck Leathers is sponsoring the Buddy Walker Band, a polka band founded 65 years ago with performances at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm in front of the shop.
  • The MIT Juggling Club is joining the fun with performances throughout the afternoon.
  • The HarvestFest Contra Dance, sponsored by the Cape Ann Contra Dance group, will host an outdoor dance in Dock Square, complete with live musicians and a caller. Did you ever think there would be dancing in the streets in Rockport?
  • -1The Annual Scarecrow Chase Costume Parade for children begins at 3pm. Lots o’ fun & a treat for children are in store.
  • Don’t forget the all-day food & drink under the big tent on T Wharf. Ipswich Ale, Twin Lights and an awesome roster of vendors will be on hand.
  • Cooking demos will take place throughout the day, culminating in the famous Seafood Throwdown at 2:30, sponsored by the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance.RFHarvestFest2013FoodVendors
  • Finally, close out the festival by sending off the public art installation that has been on Lumber Wharf all summer (due to be disassembled the day after HarvestFest). Head over to Lumber Wharf at 6:15 to join us to say farewell to this very cool piece of public art.HFsummerbuildartlight

Because Wedding Season is fast approaching………..another clever idea from my friend Beth!

I know this story isn’t really Cape Ann oriented, but since lots of you will either be hosting or attending a wedding shower sometime this Spring/Summer, I thought this was a really clever idea.

This project comes from my friend Beth at www.hungryhappenings.com.  I have posted a few of her ideas in the past, particularly at Halloween, because she is so creative but I think this idea takes the cake!  If you need ideas for pretty much any themed party, check out her blog.

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cheese Ball Wedding Cake


1 whole head (bulb) of garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
2/3 cup blanched and slivered almonds
2 – 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (or freshly grated Parmesan)
pinch of salt
optional: pinch of white pepper (don’t use black)
optional decorations: a tub of cream cheese, or edible flowers, or white cheese slices

Ateco 5357 11 Piece Plain Round Cutter SetSpecial Equipment Needed:

4 1/2″, 3 1/4″, and 2″ round cookie cutters
food processor or an electric hand mixer
offset (angled) metal spatula
tin foil and plastic wrap
optional: piping bag fitted with a coupler and a #21 star tip


Preheat oven to 400 degrees (I use my toaster oven for small jobs like this.) Cut head of garlic in half and set on a piece of tin foil. Drizzle olive oil over garlic.  Fold foil and pinch edges closed. Roast in oven for 35-45 minutes until garlic is golden brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Squeeze the two halves of the garlic to expel the soft roasted garlic. Note: I put my garlic through a garlic press, just to remove the darker outer skin of the garlic cloves, so that my cheese spread didn’t get too brown. It isn’t necessary, but I think the cakes look better cream colored than tan.
Roast the slivered almonds. Pour the almonds into a skillet set over medium or medium low heat. Stir often as they roast until they turn golden brown.  I usually heat the nuts until they just begin to brown, then I turn off the heat and allow the nuts to roast in the residual heat of the skillet.  I don’t worry about burning the nuts that way. Allow the nuts to cool to room temperature.

Combine the cream cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, roasted garlic, salt, and white pepper, if using, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until creamy and smooth.  Add nuts and pulse 10 times just to incorporate the nuts.  If using an electric mixer, combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and blend until smooth and creamy, roughly chop the nuts and combine.

Line each of the round cookie cutters with plastic wrap. Spoon the cheese spread into each of the cutters, making sure to completely fill the cutter. Level off the cheese spread using an offset spatula.
Fold plastic wrap over the top of the cheese spread. Flip the filled cookie cutter upside down. You need to make sure the cheese completely fills the cutter. As you can see, in the middle picture, the cheese doesn’t completely fill the cutter on the left. Use your fingers to press the cheese to flatten it out so that it fills the cutter around the edges. If you skip this step, your layered cakes will have gaps where the cakes touch.

Chill for at least 2 hours, and up to several days.

Unmold and unwrap the chilled cheese rounds.  Set the 4 1/2″ cheese round on a serving platter or small cake stand.  Each of the cheese rounds (a.k.a. cake layers) will have a wrinkled looking exterior caused by the folds in the plastic wrap.  This is unavoidable.  To smooth out the top and sides of your cake layers, run an offset spatula under hot water, dry, then use it to smooth the top and and sides of the cheese round. I actually filled a glass with hot water and just dipped the spatula into the water, then wiped it dry with paper towels, and used it to smooth out the wrinkles.  Once you’ve smoothed out the bottom cake layer, stack the 3 1/4″ cake layer in the center on top of the first layer.  Smooth it out then add the third and smallest cake layer and smooth it out.

You can now decorate your cake any way you’d like.  Keep is simple and add a small cake topper, pipe cream cheese “frosting” in a lovely pattern on the cakes, cut slices of white cheese using mini cookie cutters into flowers or polka dots and attach them with a dab of cream cheese, or arrange edible flowers all over the cakes.

Making Baked Stuffed Clams with Clark Dexter…YUM!

Here it is, friends!

A new episode of Inspired Cooking airs on Cape Ann TV tonight at 8:30 and the show features one of my favorite guests the talented Clark Dexter!  Clark is a legend in the restaurant industry around here and is food can’t be beat.  Clark makes food that brings me back to my childhood–great memories of eating at The Hearthside in Essex for special occasions and enjoying every second of it!

Although this recipe is not exactly like the stuffed clams that Clark served at the restaurant he said it is pretty darned close.  So go and get some clams and treat yourself and your family to some excellent baked stuffed clams!

BAKED STUFFED CLAMS recipe by Clark Dexter

6 Cherrystone Clams
12 oz. Water
(2) 6 ½ oz. Canned Chopped Clams drained, reserve liquid
1 Med. Shallot – Chopped fine
6 Tbls. Butter
6 Tbls. Flour
2 Tbls. Fresh Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbls. Bread Crumbs
1 Tbls. Sherry Wine
1 Dash Tabasco Sauce
½ tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/8 tsp. White Pepper

Wash Cherrystone clams and put them in 12 oz. of water.

Bring this to a boil and cook until clams open. Remove clams and retain the water and the shells that the clams were cooked in.

Remove clams from shells and grind or coarsely chop.

Sauté shallots in butter until soft about 3 minutes.
Add flour to make your roux and cook about 3 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the liquid the clams were cooked in.

Next add the roux, cook until thick, then add the clams.
If the mixture seems too thick, add a little of the clam juice from reserved canned clam juice.

Let this mixture cool for a few minutes.


2 cups of fresh bread crumbs
1 cup of milk crackers
¼ lb. Butter
1 clove of finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/8 tsp. celery seed
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. Italian seasoning which consists of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano, and basil.
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a large frying pan. Add onions, garlic and celery to pan and sauté until soft ( about three minutes). Add seasonings and parmesan cheese. Cook about one minute.
Turn off heat, add bread and cracker crumbs.

With a tablespoon, put clam mixture into clam shells, not over-flowing the shell.

Now top with crumbs.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes on a baking sheet until the clams are golden brown. Serve with fresh lemon wedges.

*You can make the clams up ahead of time and refrigerate for up to three days.  They also freeze very well and can be kept frozen for up to three months.    If frozen, it’s best to thaw before cooking.*

This is my plate of clams…..I dug in the minute I could!

Thank you again Clark for sharing your recipes with us and I look forward to shooting another episode soon!

Lily’s Springtime Shortbread Cookies video from how2heroes!

Here’s the link to Lily’s awesome and easy Springtime shortbread cookies video that she did with how2heros last week.  They came to our house and shot her cooking in my Mom’s kitchen and she had a ball.  Because I don’t know how to imbed the video unless it is on youtube, all I can provide you with is the link so here goes:


The recipe is on the same page and it would be a great rainy day project for today!  Enjoy and if you watch, please leave a comment and I will be sure to share them with my girl–I am very proud of her!

Recipes from Saturdays Home and Business Expo from Lily and Laurie

Good afternoon friends!

Thank you all so much for coming out to see our food demos at the Expo on Saturday.  It meant a lot to have you there and I am so glad that both Lily and I made lots of samples to hand out–you guys were hungry!

So here is the recipe I promised you all.   Remember, if you and your family are not fans of a particular ingredient, feel free to substitute or opt not to add whatever it is.  Just as long as you like pasta, cheese and some spices and some type of veggies you will be ok!

Please feel free to email me with any questions and I will happily help you!  And if you make either of these, please let us know what you think.

Kid Friendly Southwestern Mac & Cheese4 tablespoon canola or olive oil, divided
1 cup diced red, green, yellow bell peppers (use whatever you like)
1 cup diced sweet onion
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon sweet chili powder
1 tablespoon granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
1 cup corn kernels (canned or frozen defrosted is fine)
1 cup drained rinsed canned black beans
2-14.5 oz boxes Pasta Plus (yellow, purple or green box) Pasta
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups 1% milk
3 cups shredded reduced fat Mexican blend cheese
2 cups shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
1 cup crushed reduced fat tortilla chips
Salt & pepper to taste 

In a medium skillet over medium, heat one tablespoon of canola oil until shimmering.  Add peppers and onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add spices and toss or stir to coat, cooking for a few more minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in corn and black beans.  Set aside.

In a large pot, cook pasta in well salted water.  Drain, toss with a bit of oil to prevent sticking and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, combine remaining 3 tablespoons of oil with flour and whisk over medium heat until lightly browned.  Slowly whisk in milk and bring to a low boil, whisking constantly.  Reduce heat to low and slow incorporate all of the shredded cheese.  Stir until smooth and creamy.  Add white pepper and check seasoning of sauce–add salt and pepper to taste.

Add cooked pasta and vegetables to the cheese sauce and stir to combine.  Stir in chopped cilantro and top with crushed tortilla chip crumbs (if ready to serve).   Serve immediately or transfer to an oven safe dish, wrap tightly and freeze.  Enjoy!

And now for Lily’s fabulous:

Chocolate Strawberry Goodness Pie

One package chocolate graham crackers (about 10 crackers), crushed to yield about 1 1/2 cups
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
l-large box instant chocolate fudge pudding (uses 2 1/2 cups milk to make the whole box)
2 1/2 cups 1% milk
8 oz (one cup) semisweet chocolate
5 whole strawberries plus 2 cups chopped
Whipped creamCombine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in the food processor or in a large bowl and mix well until combined.   Press into 9” pie plate.  Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.  Cool completely.
Combine pudding mix and milk and whisk until combined.  Refrigerate until ready to use. 

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave and stir until smooth and creamy.  Paint the cooled crust with the melted chocolate and dip the whole strawberries in the chocolate to coat.  Set berries aside on parchment paper to harden and cool.

When ready to assemble pie, spread sliced strawberries over chocolate coating on pie crust.  Spoon prepared pudding over strawberries and smooth.

Decorate pie as desired and garnish with chocolate covered strawberries and whipped cream.

Episode #4 of the Gourmoo Cook Off–the Dessert Round–and a giveaway!

Hi Friends:

Here is the second to last episode of the Gourmoo Cookoff, the dessert round.  Check out the episode, our dessert creations and then after watching, let me know what you might have made with the delicious lactose free dairy products made by Lactaid and a one hour time frame.

Leave your comment below and on Tuesday, March 22nd I will make two random draws from all of the comments left here on GMG and on my blog and will award two winners with great prizes.  One winner will receive a $25.00 Amazon gift card, sponsored by Lactaid Milk, and one winner winner will get three (3) free Lactaid Milk coupons.

You can gain additional entries into my giveaway by tweeting or sharing this post on Facebook.  Just make sure you leave an extra comment indicating that you have done so.

Here’s the episode and

good luck in the giveaway!

Episode #3 of the Gourmoo Cook Off………the Entree Round

Hi friends.  Here’s episode three of the Gourmoo cook off that I participated in last December.  As you will see the competition was tough but I was proud of my dish, even though I did under cook the beautiful fish that Steve Connolly Seafood generously shipped out there for me.  But who wins this round?  You have to watch to find out!

Will be posting the next round tomorrow or Thursday, along with a generous giveaway from Lactaid Milk…….stay tuned!

Round one of the Gourmoo Cook Off–check it out!

Hi Friends!

No, I didn’t get stuck head first in a snow bank or lost in a blizzard…..these last few months have been chaotic and wonderful at the same time and it is time to finally come up for air……….and write a quick new post.  Getting settled in our new apartment and all is well 🙂

I know that some of you new that I went to the Gourmoo Cook off sponsored by Lactaid Milk the first week in December but if you didn’t know that, you do now :-).  I have to say, wearing flip flops in December was a real treat.

So, without further delay, here is the first installment in the series, the Appetizer Round:


PS–Steve Connolly Seafood shipped those gorgeous scallops out to California for me!  🙂  Thank you!

Laurie Lufkin $10,000 Pumpkin Cake Video At The Gloucester Daily Times


According to Laurie Lufkin the secret to this prize winning recipe is the caramel sauce. The official name of the recipe is New England Buttermilk Pumpkin Cakes with Sour Cream Apple Caramel and Dried Cranberries. She created this dessert for a recipe contest that involved using a Hood dairy product, and in a moment of inspiration she used sour cream as one of the creaming agents for the caramel sauce topping. The result helped her to win a $10,000 prize and another step in her climb up the recipe contest ladder.

Click here for the video and recipe printable at the Gloucester Daily Time taste Of The Times Website

A pot of corn chowder for Lily

As it often happens, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season ends with my girl sniffling and blowing her nose, wrapped on the couch in quilts and this year was no exception.  When I asked her what she would like for dinner she said corn chowder so I figured the least I could do to make her feel better is whip up a batch.  So here is the end result:

Corn Chowder for Lily

8 cups chicken broth
3 pounds potatoes, washed and diced
8 oz bacon, diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4-15 oz cans corn, drained
2-15.25 oz cans creamed corn
1/2 gallon 2% or whole milk
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup Wondra flour (optional)
White pepper to taste
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, bring diced potatoes to boil in chicken stock.  Allow to cook until fork tender but not soft.  Be sure to check doneness after about 7 minutes.

Set yourself up a colander with a bowl or pan underneath to catch the chicken broth when you drain the potatoes.  Drain potatoes and set them and the cooking broth aside.

In the Dutch oven render the bacon over medium low heat until the meat is crispy.  Remove the meaty bits with a slotted spoon and set them aside.

Increase heat to medium and add the onion, celery and thyme and season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Sprinkle in the flour and allow vegetables to cook down until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add drained corn to pan and stir to combine.  Cook for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the reserved chicken broth and the creamed corn to the pot and bring to a simmer.  Add the milk (you don’t have to add all of it) and the heavy cream.

At this point you can slowly whisk in the Wondra flour by sprinkling it slowly in to the liquid, whisking constantly.  The Wondra flour will give the chowder a lovely “velvety” consistency–I learned this little trick from Gail “ The Chowder Lady” Matthews.

Bring the chowder to serving temperature, add some white pepper if you want to and re-season with salt and pepper and use the crispy bacon as garnish in individual bowls or just put it back into the pot and stir.

And look at that–Lily is feeling better–I think the soup helped!

Laurie Lufkin On TV Diner Video


(TV Diner) – Thanks to the 2nd Annual Hood New England Dairy Cook-Off and Hood Sour Cream, Laurie Lufkin from Essex, Massachusetts is $10,000 richer! For a complete list of delicious recipes, just to go www.hoodcookoff.com.

Here is Laurie’s Winning recipe-

New England Buttermilk Pumpkin Cakes with Sour Cream Apple Caramel and Dried Cranberries

Makes 6 cakes

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup Hood® Fat Free Buttermilk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tsp demerara sugar, divided
6 Tbsp sweetened dried cranberries, divided
Hood® Original Instant Whipped Light Cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3 Tbsp salted butter
1/4 cup Hood® Heavy Cream
3/4 cup Hood® Sour Cream
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Cortland apples, peeled and cut in to 1/2” to 3/4” matchsticks

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 6 1 cup ramekins with nonstick spray. In a medium size bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla. Slowly mix in dry ingredients and beat until well combined. Divide batter among ramekins, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp demerara sugar and bake 25 to 28 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. Meanwhile, make the apple caramel. In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, mix the sugar and water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir gently until sugar is dissolved. Allow mixture to boil until mixture starts to darken. When the liquid is medium caramel color turn off the heat and whisk in the butter until melted, then the cream and sour cream til smooth. Add salt, vanilla extract and apples. To serve: Plate cakes individually, spoon caramel over top and top with 1 Tbsp cranberries and whipped cream

Making Salmon and Dilled Potato Pie with Jerry from Cape Ann Pies–YUM!

Hi Everyone–I’m back after a whirlwind couple of weeks–cookoff madness but more on that later. I went to the world headquarters of Cape Ann Pies on Rockport last week to visit with all around nice guy and amazing baker/cook Jerry Ryan.

Apologies right off the bat here for lack of pictures in this post but my pics and myself are separated at this very moment and I cannot access them. Will add the pics tomorrow but wanted to get this recipe out for today as the show is airing on Cape Ann TV tonight at 8:30. Watch the show–Jerry is full of helpful hints to make pie making much easier and take the mystery out of making your own crust.

When I tell you that the afternoon slipped by like it was five minutes, I am not exaggerating. Jerry and I could have talked about pie crust, baking and quick breads until sunset for sure. He is very knowledgable about baking and cooking general and I advise you to make this savory salmon pie asap. His crust recipe is here too–a bonus for all of us–and we are so lucky to have him and his Cape Ann Pies in our community.

Salmon and dilled potato pie

This recipe is for a 10” deep dish pie. Serves at least 8 if you slice it into 8 generous slices.

Pie Dough — top and bottom crusts

White flour 2 cups, gently sweeped (11 ounces)

Salt 1 tsp

Sugar, white granulated ¼ cup (about 2 ounces)

Butter, cubed, chilled 8 ounces (two sticks)

Water, chilled 5 ounces (maybe. Depends on many factors)

 Filling—for a deep 10” glass pie plate.

Salmon– 1.5 lbs fish

Potatoes, red, par boiled and cubed 12 ounces (about 1.5 cups)

White onion, rough chopped

Half a medium sized onion

Celery, rough chopped About 1.5 cups

Carrots, peeled, rough chopped About 1 cup

Garlic, minced 1 tablespoon

Thyme 1 teaspoon

Dill 1 teaspoon

Salt 1 teaspoon (maybe more to suit your taste)

Pepper ½ teaspoon

Olive oil 2 tablespoons (at least)

Water 2 cups

Chicken stock 12 -14 ounces

Whole pepper corns 4

Bay leaf 1 or 2

Make the pie dough crusts first if you’d like. Or not. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and dump it on a clean surface. With the tips of your fingers, press the pieces of butter down and away, creating flakes. Do this over and Over until your fingers hurt. Touch the butter as little as possible. Once the butter is mixed in and you’ve got flakes and small bits of butter/flour, it’s time to add water.

Create a depression in the center of the dough pile and add the water to this depression. Now you’ve got a pool. Mix the dry ingredients a little at a time to this very cold water. Add a tablespoon of water at a time if you need to bring the dough together. Mix just enough so the dough and hold together relatively well. It’s ok if there’s some dry flour.

Cut the ball of dough in to two halves and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Make the Filling Bring water, bay leaf, crushed whole pepper corns, (and a wedge of lemon if you’d like) to a simmer. Add salmon for maybe 2 minutes at a simmer. Remove and dry. Save 1 cup fish water for the filling.

Add olive oil to another pan. Heat the oil. Add carrots, celery. Let them cook awhile till you can smell them. Add the garlic and the dill, thyme, salt, pepper. Let cook until everything is soft. Don’t burn the garlic.

Add the potatoes and keep cooking. Add the chicken stock, 1 cup fish stock and the salmon. Mix it all together and cook. Add more liquid if you’d like. Cook and then cool completely before filling pie.

Prepare Pie

Take out the dough and roll a top and bottom crust. Place one dough in the pie plate (best to use glass) and fill this with the fish and dilled potato filling. Cover with the second crust and crimp and make it look nice. Brush with egg white.

Place in pre-heated 350 oven for one hour. Check the bottom of the pie to make sure it’s browned. Add more cooking time if necessary. Maybe lower the oven temp 25 degrees and more to lowest rack. Remove. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

This was one of the most delicious savory pies I have ever tasted in my whole life and I had to restrain myself from eating more than one piece…..

Seafood Throwdown at the Rockport Harvest Festival

When Heather Atwood from Food for Thought and the Gloucester Daily Times called me early in the week and told me that they were looking for a competitor for the Seafood Throw down because one of the hotel chefs was unable to compete, it took me about 5 minutes and a little convincing from Heather to say “what the heck, I’ll do it!”  In the last few months I have been involved in two live cook offs, one in Newport, RI and one in Chicago (more on that another time) and sent recipes to cooking contests at least once or twice a week–you could say that competition is in my blood I guess.   I was told that I could bring an assistant, someone to help me out with the cooking and chaos and together we would hope to create the winning dish.  Who would be available and willing to subject themselves to this type of competition at the last minute?

When I told my 9 year old Lily that I was doing a Throwdown in Rockport on Saturday the first thing she asked me was, “who is going to be your assistant” and that answered my question right there—I pointed right at her.  She leaped up from her chair and gave me a giant hug and the smile on her face was priceless.  Lily loves  to cook!

Here’s Lil before the action got underway posting with the shredded money scarecrow in front of the bank.

The fun thing about these Throwdowns is the mystery seafood.  Although Lily is allergic to all seafood–fish and shellfish–I figured that she could deal with other elements of the dish so that was the plan.  And as for plans, we talked about what we could make with a fillet, a fish steak, lobster, mussels and even steamers and we felt pretty good about our strategy.  I was assured that because I had not gone to culinary school and have absolutely no formal training I would not have to contend with a whole fish–whatever the secret ingredient was, it would be ready to cook.   We packed the car with ingredients, equipment including my Cuisinart, pans, bowls, tongs, spatulas, you name it……we were ready!  And also a list for the grocery store to grab perishables on the way.

We arrived at the big tent on T wharf and since we had a few hours before the competition, Lil and I enjoyed the Rockport Harvest Festival for a while.  Even though it was really really blustery people seemed in good spirits and there were lots of people in town enjoying the festivities.   And then, it was time to cook.  The classic comment from Lily was “look Mom, I’m getting my game face on!” with a big growl after it……..

Here is Heather Atwood and Sandy Farrel introducing the competitors–it was me and Lil against Chef Steve Ryan from the Emerson Inn ( http://www.emersoninnbythesea.com/about.htm) in Rockport and his chef brother.  But we were undaunted–we had a plan for almost anything and we were sticking to it……..remember that……..a plan for ALMOST anything…….

and the secret seafood is…..JONAH CRAB!  Ooops…we didn’t have a plan for that.  As a matter of fact I had never cooked a crab in my entire life.  And I rarely eat them, as delicious as they are.

But we forged on.  With a few little tips from our judges and our audience we got the crabs going.  Whenever I watch a cooking challenge show on TV I get nervous if the contestants don’t get their protein on quickly–these things take time to cook and deal with.  With the crabs in the pot I had time to think………..until one tried to escape!

So I put a pile of pans on top of the baking sheet and that was the end of that!

We got some claws and whole crabs cooked and in the meantime, Lily was working on the grilled sweet potatoes.  It was a very important job and she did it beautifully.  I also cleaned and stemmed the rainbow chard and got it ready to cook.

Lily was the most wonderful assistant possible.  However, we were at a distinct disadvantage—Lily is allergic to all seafood and therefore couldn’t help me pick the meat out of the crabs.  So I got down to it.  And cracked shells, and picked meat and cracked more and picked more—I wasn’t making much progress but it gave me time to think about what i was going to do with this meat–and I decided to make crab cake but needed a heck of a lot more meat to do so.

And then our great friend Jannine and her husband Dan showed up at the back of the tent to cheer us on—and asked me if I needed help.  Since Lil was allergic it was determined that because I had a disadvantage that Jannine could come in an pick the crabs for me–and thank goodness for her!  I now owe her big time!  She picked enough for me to make six gorgeous cakes.

I had Lily prepping ingredients for the cakes, zesting lemons, chopping herbs etc.  We didn’t want to do too much to the crab because like with most delicate seafood, you don’t want to mask its natural flavor.  Luckily, I had brought eggs, panko crumbs and herbs from my garden with me and we went for it.  Remember–I said we were prepared for everything!

I formed the cakes gently (the secret to good crab cakes), heated some olive oil and placed them in the pan.  I gave them time to brown, held my breath and flipped them over—and voila!  Gorgeous!

I whipped up a sauce in the food processor (yes, I dragged it all the way down there) using more herbs and olive oil etc., heated the honey glaze for the beautiful grilled sweet potatoes that Lily had made and seasoned the chard that had been cooking with the shallots and garlic.

We were ready to plate–and await our fate.  But win, lose or drawn it was an amazing day—and I could not be more proud of my girl Lily for her skill and help and more thankful to my friend Jannine for pitching in to help when I needed her (desperately) and being a great friend!  And this is the plate we came up with:

Yes, I should have put a lemon wedge or something in the middle of the plate because the blank space looks funny, but I was pretty darned proud of our efforts.  The judges, two wonderful men from Rockport, Bill Lee and Bob Smith, with vast experience in both cooking and eating local seafood were the judges.  And I must say, before we go any farther, how terrific our competition was–Chef Steve and his brother, also a local culinary professional, produced a gorgeous plate, using the meat of the crabs and the shells and bodies to make a stock and produced a gorgeous plate–they also made a crab cake and a crabmeat stuffed crab shell–but because I was cooking I didn’t get a picture of it!  The were wonderful, friendly generous guys who were as honored to be there as we were and I would say had as much fun as we did–and they had a great time with Lily too, not taking themselves or the competition too seriously for sure–they were terrific competitors!

Anyway,  it all came down to the judging–and this is what happened–thank you to my friend Donna Ardizzoni for the great video!

I am so proud of my girl,  grateful to my friend Jannine and so happy to have been part of the ThrowDown!

Food Feuds In Essex–the Great Fried Clam Battle Airs Tonight–It’s CLAMTASTIC!

“Iron Chef, Michael Symon dives into this seafood battle head first. In Essex Massachusetts (http://visitessexma.com/) it’s all about fried clams but Woodman’s and JT Farnhams make them better than anyone else. Michael Symon jumps in their kitchens, talks to foodies and even goes clamming to figure out who has best fried clams in Essex.”

I grabbed this blurb about tonight’s episode from Internet Movie Database online because it pretty much sums up the action that took place here in our gorgeous town in July—but I have a few behind the scenes photos to share with you, courtesy of the wonderful crew at Essex River Cruises (http://www.essexcruises.com/) who took Chef Symon to the clam flats to see where these delicious fried morsels of seafood goodness came from.

Iron Chef Michael, Dillon from Essex River Cruises and the TV crew prepare for the clam digging–looks like they are waiting for the tide to go out a little more to me.

Receiving instruction on how to dig for clams–and it is a good thing because that clam fork is pointed and sharp!

Iron Chef Symon finds a razor clam.

Something you don’t see to often and might never again–makeup touch ups on the clam flats.

Chef Symon, Producer Mark Summers and the crew.

As much as I wanted to be there, I was taping my TV own show that day.  However, I asked a friend who works at Woodman’s to get me an autograph, and she did–thank you Roisin–and thank you Chef for taking the time to sign it:

I love what is says!

The fried clam was invented in Essex so this was the perfect place for such a food feud for sure!  Here is a link to they history of the friend clam


and in the interest of fairness, here’s a link to JT Farnham’s listing on the Visit Essex dining page:


Be sure to tune in at 10:oo pm Eastern Time tonight to Food Network and find out who wins this epic battle of the fried clam.

I know………….but I am not telling!

Here’s a blue ribbon winner from the Fair….Sweet Sesame Crusted Shrimp with Asian Ginger Garlic Sauce

You know I love the Fair.  Lil and I spend a ton of time there during the 11 days volunteering, seeing friends, eating and having fun competing in the food contests in Coolidge Hall.  We both were very lucky this year and did well in the competitions and are so grateful for our good fortune!

If you think that the competition is not tough at the Fair you are mistaken.  There are women and a few men who compete in the food competitions in Coolidge Hall that have enough ribbons to make a giant blanket and probably paper one wall of their house–my friends Jannine Fisk, Donna Marie Ryan, Susan Laurence, Deb Stewart, Sheryl James are included in that group and so many more.  I didn’t even know these ladies a few years ago but they accepted me in to their circle of “Fair Weather Friends” and my life, and Lily’s,  has been enriched by them in so many ways since I joined their ranks in 2007.  Going to the Fair, seeing our friends and lots of friendly competition make us look forward to the first week in October every year.

There are competitions every weeknight and weekend days throughout the Fair.  The week started off this year with Fleishmann’s Yeast “Bake for the Cure” which I was thrilled to place third (http://laurielufkin.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/me-bake-a-yeast-bread/).  On Tuesday, Pillsbury Pie Crust Championship came an went without any ribbons for me but my friend Susan Laurence brought home the blue ribbon and I was thrilled–her pie was a lovely creation loaded with strawberries and just gorgeous, topped with chocolate curls–maybe I can pry the recipe out of her?

Wednesday rolled around and it was time for one of my favorite contests, Make it With Malto-O-Meal Cereal Contest.  As you know, I love to both cook and bake and this is my chance to give up the rolling pin for the night and cook.  Malt O Meal is a low cost cereal sold at some grocery stores and discount chains and the varieties offered mimic some of the most popular brand name cereal in the aisles today.  They have their own version of frosted flakes and that is what I chose for my creation.  I decided to do a crusted shrimp but I knew that the sweetness of the cereal needed to be tamed.   I added some panko breadcrumbs and toasted sesame seeds and created a delicious appetizer that the judges liked enough to award me the blue ribbon!

Here’s the recipe and a few pictures—the ribbon comes with a nice little cash prize as well and I am still very excited to have won!

Sweet Sesame Crusted Shrimp with Asian Ginger Garlic Sauce

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoons honey
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoon chopped scallions for garnish

Whisk together ginger root, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar honey and garlic in a bowl.  Set aside for 30 minutes.  Strain sauce through a fine sieve and serve with shrimp.

2 cup Malt O Meal Frosted Flakes
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup sesame seeds
12 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 egg white
1/4 cup canola oil

In the bowl of a food processor, process Malt-O-Meal cereal, panko crumbs and salt.  Add sesame seeds, pulse once to combine and pour prepared mixture in to a shallow dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together shrimp and egg white. Crust shrimp, four to six at a time, in crumbs and press crumbs on to shrimp to adhere if necessary. Set aside when coated and repeat procedure with remaining shrimp.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Cook shrimp, six at a time in a single layer in pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove shrimp from oil and drain on a flattened brown paper bag. Repeat with remaining shrimp and serve with Asian Ginger Garlic Sauce.  Garnish with chopped scallions.

Multi Marx Mushroom Mac & Cheese–Delicious, Comforting and yes, good for you!

Once in a while an offer comes along that is too good to refuse. I have lots of foodie friends who keep me connected when there are contests and giveaways to enter, especially when there is free food involved. To that end, Marx Foods (http://marxfoods.com/) offered food bloggers 5 wonderful sample packs of their dried mushrooms if they agreed to participate in their Blogger Mushroom Recipe Challenge (http://marxfood.com/mushroom-recipe-challenge/).

You know me, never one to back down from a challenge so this is what I came up with, bearing in mind four things:

1. Lil and I have a crazy life lately–like that is something new, right?–and having something I can freeze part of to eat at a later date works for us

2. The weather is getting cooler at night and some comfort food was on my agenda to make anyway

3. I had lots of odds and ends of cheese in the fridge that needed to be used

4. I have sneaky ways of making comfort foods much healthier than the traditional version but still very very delicious! I love a good mac and cheese but adding the reconstituted dried mushrooms and a bit of the mushroom “broth” gave this classic a whole new dimension of deliciousness! And not one person can tell that I slipped in the high fiber pasta for the traditional

Multi Marx Mushroom Mac & Cheese

1/2 cup dried Marx Porcini Mushrooms

1/2 cup dried Marx Black Trumpet Mushrooms

2 cups low fat milk

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 pounds light or reduced fat cheese, cut in to small cubes or shredded–I had about four ounces Muenster, mozzarella, a bunch of sharp cheddar and American in the fridge so that’s what I used, all light or reduced fat versions except the Muenster

2 -one pound boxes pasta–I used one box of Pasta Plus (the pasta in the yellow box) and then I found a new type of pasta–it is in a green box and it is multi colored–orange/tan/green veggie pasta with a full serving of veggies in every serving and full of vitamins and fiber but you can use regular pasta too!

1- 6 oz package fresh sliced crimini mushrooms

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Place dried Marx mushrooms in separate small bowls or cups. Cover mushrooms with boiling water and set aside to reconstitute while you are getting everything else organized–they take about 20 minutes to soften and plump back up.

In a large pan, whisk together milk and flour. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally–mixture will thicken slightly.

In a large pot cook pasta in well salted boiling water–drain when cooked to al dente and set aside–be sure to read package directions as the whole grain pasta cooks differently than traditional. When drained, pour pasta in to a large bowl and set aside.

Drain dried mushrooms through a fine sieve, reserving liquid. Pat dry, chop and set aside-these are the black trumpet mushrooms.

When milk and flour mixture is at a low boil, reduce heat to medium low and slowly stir in cheese, a little at a time until melted. Add more cheese and continue until sauce is thick and velvety. Whisk a few tablespoons of the mushroom liquid in to the cheese sauce to spread that rich mushroom flavor all throughout the dish. I froze the rest of the mushroom “broth” and can’t wait to use it the next time I make soup.

In the meantime, in another pan melt butter in a large saute pan and brown mushrooms over medium low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

When all of the cheese is incorporated in to the sauce, pour over cooked pasta and mix well. Add all mushrooms and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I divided this batch up into three casserole dishes, put crumbs on two, wrapped them well and froze them. At this point you can add seasoned and buttered cracker or bread crumbs over the top if you wish. We ate the rest very happily two dinners in a row without the crumbs–delicious!

And there you have it–rich, delicious, earthy, comforting, nutritious, easy, cheesy and YUMMY!

Me? Bake A Yeast Bread?

I have always been one of those people who thought that baking a yeast bread was very difficult–yeast was some sort of mysterious creature and that terrible things would happen if I didn’t do everything just exactly right.

Well, that really isn’t true and the only way to figure that out is to just start making bread.  So I did.  Last Winter I made endless loaves of olive bread, lots of pizza crust (yes, that counts) and a few others and had fun in the process–and lots of nice bread to go with dinner and toasted for breakfast the next day.  There really is nothing better for dinner than a big salad, nice bread and a piece of grilled fish or some lobster and steamers in my opinion.

But as usual, I am getting off track.  Last week at the Topsfield Fair I entered the Fleishmann’s Yeast Bread contest.  When I say that the competition was fierce, I am not kidding.  There is so much talent there–some of these ladies have been baking bread their whole lives.  I knew that I probably wouldn’t have a chance if I chose something too complicated since I am still a novice but I was inspired by an idea I saw on the King Arthur Flour website for a twisted stuffed bread.  I also had to be realistic–I could not spend all day waiting for dough to rise, punching it for a second rise and then bake it—a girl has to work–so my friend Caroline Craig suggested that I tinker with her overnight dinner roll recipe so I did.  My final bread dough and filling recipe is completely different than the original that I found in the King Arthur email but I followed the procedure for making the figure 8 shape with good results.  So, gathered up my courage and just went for it–and I am so happy I did!

This recipe makes two loaves.  I submitted one to the Fair and made one for home that we enjoyed with soup and salad for dinner.  I added some finely chopped preserved lemon–preserved by yet another talented friend Beth–to the loaf I kept for myself and that little bit of salty citrus really added something to the mix.    Try it–feel free to use whatever filling ingredients you like–and let me know how you made out.  You don’t  have to do this one overnight.. You can do this early in the day and then bake it for dinner but I actually refrigerated it and baked it off in the morning before I went to work.  YUM!

Overnight Fennel & Cheese Brunch Twist

For the dough:

2 cups milk, warmed
1/2 cup plus one tablespoon olive oil, divided, plus additional for oiling the bowl
4 1/2 teaspoons Fleishmann’s Yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
6 1/2 to 7 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

For the filling:
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh lemon thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced fennel
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
3/4 cup drained oil packed sun dried tomatoes
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine warm milk, olive oil, Fleishmann’s Yeast, warm water and sugar. Beat once to combine and allow to rest until foamy.

Beat in the eggs and then slowly incorporate 6 cups of the flour on medium speed until dough forms, adding as much of the remaining one cup flour as necessary to form a cohesive dough. Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes until dough is smooth.

Oil the mixing bowl and let dough rise overnight covered with plastic wrap.

In the meantime, saute sliced fennel with one tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

When ready assemble twist, punch down dough and divide in half and roll out to about 8” x 22” on a well floured surface. Sprinkle on granulated garlic, half of the herbs, half of the fennel, olives, sun dried tomatoes and cheese. Roll the dough the long way to form a log, pinch the seam closed and place on a parchment covered baking sheet.

With kitchen scissors, lengthwise down the center of the log about 1” deep most of the way down the log, leaving about 1” on each end uncut. Twist one end to the right and one end to the left, tucking the ends underneath the log to form and “S” shape. Cover the bread with buttered plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow to rise again for an hour. In the meantime, repeat process with remaining dough and filling and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake twists, one at a time, in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting with foil after 20+ minutes to prevent over browning. Allow to cool before cutting and enjoy!

And how did I do in the competition you ask?  Well, even if you didn’t I am going to tell you–I came in third!  I was thrilled with the win and for me, placing in a bread competition is a huge step in the right direction when it comes to learning the art of bread baking.

And my friend Deb Stewart came in second with an amazing pizza—she is quite an accomplished cook and another one of my “Fair Weather Friends” who has enough ribbons to make a quilt, and perhaps wall paper her living room with them.  I was in very very good company.