Friday, June 13, 2014

Easy Rhubarb Raspberry Honey Cake - 1 pan

Need a quick dessert and you have some Rhubarb in your garden and some nice local honey? I paired my fresh garden Rhubarb with some fresh Raspberries I had but you could use Rhubarb alone or pair it with Strawberries or even Apples. Whatever fruit is available would make an easy but stunning dessert. The raspberries are particularly wonderful because of the additional red color it naturally gives the dessert.
Rhubarb Growing in my Garden

RECIPE Rhubarb Raspberry Honey Cake

2 c. fruit combination chopped Rhubarb and raspberries
1/3 c. + 2-3 Tbsp Honey
Cinnamon/Nutmeg to taste
1 Lemon
1 c. + 1 Tbsp Flour
3-5 Tbsp. Melted Butter
1 teasp. baking powder
dash of salt
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk

Place 2 c. of combination Sliced Rhubarb 
and Raspberries (or other fruit)
in a greased cake pan or pie plate
Drizzle on 2-3 Tbsp honey, touch of cinnamon/nutmeg, and juice of 1 Lemon and a bit of grated rind. Dredge the fruit mixture with 1 Tbsp of flour. Pour over the fruit dredged with flour 2-4 Tbsp of melted butter.

Beat together a batter of 1 c. flour, 1/3+ c. honey, 1 teasp. baking powder, dash of salt, 2 eggs, 1 Tbsp melted butter, 1/2 c. milk until well blended but do not over mix or you will toughen the cake. Use a quick light touch. Pour the batter over the fruit and bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 30 minutes. Let cool and use a knife to loosen sides. You can serve right out of the pan or invert the cake onto a pretty plate. 
Best if served warm with freshly whipped cream.

My Honey from my Backyard Hives
There is something supremely satisfying about making a Rhubarb Cake. It is a thing I do every June. I have sometimes covered the whole thing with whipped Cream and served it. I have even made 2 layers and covered them with Whipped Cream. The tang of the Rhubarb and the redness of the Raspberries makes the most incredible color to end your meal. Pairing it with local honey instead of using sugar makes this extra special. 

If anyone is interested in East Gloucester honey please click here to visit my website where it is available to purchase.

Happy Growing, Support Your Local Grower or Your own Backyard Endeavors,
Melissa Abbott

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Melissa's Fish Dip

Fish Dip Recipe
5-6 Oz. Leftover Grilled Mackerel or other Fish
1/2+ c. Cream Cheese
1/4+ c. whipping cream
1-2 Tbs. Chopped Fresh Chives
1-2 Tbs. Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 finely chopped Shallot

Mix together in Small Bowl with a fork until completely blended. This makes about 1 c. of Dip. Serve with toasted Pita, Crackers, or toasted French Bread as a before dinner appetizer.

I admit the one of the reasons I have a food blog is so I can remember some of the things I make. For years I never wrote anything down and I vaguely remember making something and really wish I had the steps written down. Sure I have those tattered pieces of paper stuck into an old cookbook with things scribbled on them. Most of them make little sense. 

This Fish Dip, made with leftover barbecued Mackerel caught off Gloucester, MA was as elegant and delicious as anything I have ever eaten. It is hard to imagine this lowly fish making such a great appetizer. Highly recommend! I don't have any excuse for not making this again because I now have preserved the recipe.

Happy Cooking,
Melissa Abbott

Monday, June 9, 2014

Rustic Grilled Freshly Caught Gloucester Mackarel with a Wedge of Lime, Ear of Corn, and Greenbeans paired with Beautiful Homegrown Garden Salad

Your know you must be a real Gloucester Native if you relish a bit of Grilled Mackerel, if you aren't a Gloucester Native and you like Grilled Mackerel then that's as good as being born in the Addison Gilbert Hospital and going to Central Grammar in the 1960's. If you knew who Bob Karcher and All Swekla were and how they broke up all those fights while everyone passed in the halls then you probably had your share of Mackerel Dinners back in the day. You probably also know about corning a Hake and how to cook Finnan Haddie. 

I use a Simple Olive Oil, Salt
and Pepper Marinade on Cleaned Fish
This is the time of year mackerel are caught as they swim just outside and inside Gloucester Harbor. They tend to run this time of year is magnificent schools not far below the surface of the water. It is what the Striped Bass are chasing. So while you are trying to get a tinker mackerel to use as bait for a Striper, you may hook a few mackerel for your Dinner. Of course, many people think of them as lobster bait but there are very good eating with a flaky but tender meat and worth the work it takes to get out the bones.
I caught these fish on one cast on a Sabiki Rig

There is a trick to taking out all the bones and I think that is why people don't like the fish because of the bones, all the while, it is Omega rich and sustainable. If you are at all interested in subsistence living then this fish is for you. The fish is easy to catch because it latches on to a very simple Sabiki rig on any old pole. 
This ends up being pretty good considering you aren't going shopping at DeMoulas Supermarket that day and spending a wad of cashola. Pair this dish with a salad straight out of your burgeoning Spring Greens Garden and you have an old timey Gloucester meal your ancestors thought was just great. While your friends may turn up their noses at such fare, there is something supremely satisfying about the sustainability and effort it takes to catch a humble but delicious dinner.
My Dog Captain was helping me
fish off Niles Beach

There is that old Sea Shanty
"Gloucester Girls,
They Have No Curls,

Heave Away Haul Away, They comb their hair with cod fish bones,
We're on our way to Australia"

Charlie Putting them on Gas Grille

You just cook the whole fish right on the Grille. The skin gets "charcoal grilled" but you are just going to peel off the skin for the delectable meat underneath. So don't worry if it seems sort of burnt.
All Grilled and Ready to serve

I served with a wonderful Salad with the Fish made from my Freshly Picked Home Grown Lettuce. There are two kinds in the Salad, Red Leaf and Boston. I paired the Lettuce with red grapes, grated carrot, a few tomatoes, and sunflower seeds.

Here it is! The test of whether you really have it in you to Eat Locally and Think Globally. Grilled Mackerel with an Ear of Butter and Sugar Corn, Fresh Green Beans and a Homegrown Salad. Delicious!! 
My mother in law always floured and fried the mackerel and thats an old school alternative to the Grille. I spritzed both the Mackerel and corn with some lime and it was delightful!!

Happy Fishing, Gardening, and Cooking in Gloucester, MA,
Melissa Abbott
June 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sweet Potato and Apple Dog Biscuits made with Garden Fresh Mint and Parsley

Even the dogs can benefit from fresh produce from the garden. I made some Mint, Parsley, Sweet Potato, and Apple Biscuits today and yes, my dogs loved them! This recipe made about 3-4 dozen small cookies. These were pretty simple to make and have you checked out the prices for dog biscuits lately and with all the scare of buying this that come from China sickening dogs, I decided to make my own. 
This is the recipe and the result!

These are the Fresh Breath Mint and Parsley Dog Biscuits 
Fresh Mint and Fresh Oregano from the Garden

1 baked sweet potato (I microwaved mine for 6 minutes)
5 Tbsp. Chicken Broth
2 c. King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 c. Corn Meal
1/4 c. chopped fresh Mint
1/4 c. chopped fresh Parsley
1 Chopped Apple

Mix everything in a food processor or blender. Roll Out with some extra flour to 1/4 inch thick and cut with a small biscuit cutter. I really wish I had a cut dog bone cutter but even if you don't have a cutter you could use a knife and cut into squares. Place on a greased or silicone baking mat and bake at 325 degrees in the oven for 40 minutes. Then turn off oven and let dry for an additional hour. I also put a tray of these in my dehydrator at 135 degrees for 6 hours with the same result.

This is the Dough after going through the food processor
 and getting ready to roll out.

Close Up of the Dog Biscuits

Scupper and Captain riding to the dock on the Inflatable!!
Happy Baking, 
Melissa Abbott

Friday, May 30, 2014

Baked Stuffed Flounder with Shallots, Portobello Mushrooms, Broccoli with Marsala Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Baked Stuffed Flounder with Shallots, Portobello Mushrooms, Broccoli with
Marsala Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Right Out of the Oven!

Since my husband has Lobster Traps, he sometimes gets Flounder in the traps or sometimes we catch them while hanging out on the boat. Sometimes we fry the fish and sometimes I stuff it with crab or lobster but for today I decided to try a tasty Marsala Wine Vegetable Stuffing. I love the taste of Mushrooms paired with Marsala and the cracker crumbs and mushrooms soak up the flavor and and then it permeates into the meat of this delicate fish in a beautiful way and creates a magnificent and tasty dish. You can make a Neuburg Sauce with some Lobster Shells and sometimes I do but I love a nice cheese sauce with a fish and broccoli. Broccoli and Cheese sauce go hand in hand.

Making the Cheddar Cheese Sauce
to pour over assembled stuffed flounder roll ups


Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

1. Saute in Heavy Cast Iron Pan - Med to Med Hi : 2 Shallots, 1 chopped Portobello Mushroom, 1/2 c. chopped cooked broccoli in 2-3 Tbsp. Olive Oil and 1-2 Tbsp Butter until cooked nicely. Lower heat. Add 1/2 a sleeve crushed Ritz Crackers (I crush mine in a sandwich bag with a rolling pin) and 1/2 c. Marsala Wine. Take off any heat and place to side to cool slightly.

2. Butter or Olive Oil a Pyrex baking Pan (I just love how Fish comes out cooked in Glass). Take 4 Flounder Filets (enough from one large fish your husband caught off Gloucester, MA or you can buy store bought Flounder or would work with Sole too) and divid stuffing into 4 portions and using your palm compress each portion and then role up a Filet around it and place in Pan. Role up all 4 filets. Let sit while you make the cheddar cheese sauce.

3. Saute another chopped Shallot in 2-3 Tbsp Butter for a couple of minutes, don't burn butter and then add 2 Tbsp Flour and stir with a whisk and add 1 c. milk, 1/2 c. Marsala Wine, and 1 c. Grated Cheddar Cheese. If it is too thick add more milk or wine or both.

4. Pour Cheddar Cheese Sauce over the Stuffed Flounder Filets and crush a couple of Ritz Crackers and sprinkle across the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until bubbly. Serve Immediately!

Pour Cheese Sauce over
Stuffed Flounder Filets

Sprinkle a Couple of Crushed
Ritz Crackers Across the Top

before popping into a 375 degree oven. 

Stirring the Cheese Sauce
till grated Cheddar Cheese is all melted.

Ready to Serve
Toasty Bubbly and Hot

Happy Flounder Fishing,
Melissa Abbott

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Baked Rhubarb Honey Lime Mint Marinade on Wild Norwegian Salmon Recipe using Early Spring Cape Ann Perennials! Fantastic!

Norweigen Wild Salmon
marinating before Baking
If you are like me, you can't wait to start harvesting and cooking out of the garden. This is still fairly early for a New England Garden but we put a few things in early in May along with some perennials like, Mint, Honey, and Rhubarb. I couldn't wait to use some of the Rhubarb which is almost a vinegar  or a lemon with its tartness. I decided to marinate some Norwegian Wild Salmon with a combination of what was available in my Spring 2014 Garden. I have to say that the combination of flavors was wonderful and so unexpected. It worked particularly well with Salmon but I am thinking it might be great on any fish. This is what I used and this is how it happened. Granted if you don't have a garden, you could buy the ingredients but maybe this will inspire you to plant some mint, rhubarb and lettuce for next year. Both the Rhubarb and Mint are fantastic perennials (which means they come back every year). I have used the mint soaked in my honey to make a spectacular infusion of Mint Honey from my bees last year and put up about 20 jars of it and sold them all. I loved the taste of that honey so I thought to myself, what the heck, just marinating with these two items has got to be good.

My Rhubarb Plant
 I later cut off the flowers so as to not deplete the plant of energy
It took a couple of years but it grows in between granite boulders in my back yard.

One of my Hives
You can see a few bees flying about

Chocolate Mint
I have to say I love this variety. I also grow a few other varieties in my yard but this is my favorite

Rhubarb Honey Lime Mint Salmon Marinade Recipe:

1 stalk of rhubarb washed and scraped, then cut into matchsticks
10-15 Mint Leaves Chopped 
Juice of one small Lime
2 Tbsp Honey
Pepper to taste
1+ Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Lb+ Filet of Salmon
Baking Dish with a cover
Olive Oil brushed on Baking Dish

1. I actually combined everything except the Salmon in a small bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so to let the juices of the Rhubarb come out and combine with the other flavors. 

2. I placed my 1+ Lb Salmon Filet in a covered baking dish with skin side down. I brush the backing dish with olive oil.

3. Spoon the Marinade over the Salmon and let sit in the refrigerator with the cover on the baking dish until you are ready to cook.

4. Bake Fish in Covered casserole at 375 degree oven for 17 min and then take off cover and bake for 3-7 additional minutes. Test for doneness by gently cutting into salmon to make sure it is baked through. 

5. Loosen the fish off the skin and place on a heated plate to serve. I served mine with a little garnish of mint leaf, corn on the cob, and a baked Idaho potato with a sour cream and fresh chopped chives (also from the spring garden), and a Tablespoon of hot toasted Pine Nuts.

Salmon is garnished with a mint leaf, corn on the cob, and a baked Idaho potato with a sour cream and fresh chopped chives (also from the spring garden), and a tablespoon of hot toasted Pine Nuts

Super Satisfying and fantastic to start cooking with Fresh Garden Produce so early in the year. Using what is available locally and in your own 
years is something to aspire to and it makes your cooking like nothing else available. So inspiring!

The Lilacs were blooming in my yard
while I was cooking this dish and I thought I would include this photo because the scent in my yard was ecstatic. Brilliant color!

Thank You for Sharing my Enthusiam and Love for Gardening and Cooking out of the Garden from May thru November in New England! 
Happy Spring!
Melissa Abbott
Gloucester, MA

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Lime Salad (using my newly grown East Gloucester Spring Lettuce) with Fresh Mint and Toasted Pine Nuts - 1st Chance this Spring to really make a dish for dinner out of the Garden!

Strawberry Rhubarb Lime Salad
(using my newly grown Spring Lettuce)
Fresh Garden Mint and Toasted Pine Nuts

 When I tell you that this Salad was exceptionally good, please believe me because OMG, to die for delicious! Who knew that Rhubarb in a Salad could act like a vinegar and create the most sublime taste.

To begin with I was super excited to have the lettuce getting big enough to start harvesting this Spring and this means a very important thing to me. It means we can start eating out of the garden and for that I have a lot of gratitude because there really truly is nothing else like it in this world!

The Rhubarb in my Garden this year!

The Rhubarb cut and trimmed out in the garden.
I do this because the Rhubarb Leaves are poisonous and I don't want my animals or visiting children to ingest any of it. So I never bring the leaves into the house.
This is the Bounty of Lettuce in my Garden right now.
It's not huge but you can go in and trim a few leaves out of the center for a couple of salads and the plant keeps growing.
I chose to use mostly Boston Lettuce
but you could use any kind
Fresh Mint in the Garden. This is Chocolate Mint but you could use any kind
or a Spearmint with great result.

Little Photo of my Hives today.
The bees are exceptionally busy with all the
Apple Blossoms in the neighborhood.
I used Honey from them in this recipe too!

Strawberry Rhubarb Lime Salad 
(using my newly grown Spring Lettuce)
Fresh Garden Mint and Toasted Pine Nuts

1 rhubarb stalk, trimmed, 
sliced into diagonals and then into matchstick size pieces
2 Tbs. Honey
Juice from 1/2 Lime
8-10 Strawberries hulled and sliced
1/4 c. chopped Fresh Mint Leaves
3-4 Tbsp. Toasted Pine Nuts
Several Fresh Picked Lettuce Leaves - I used mostly Boston with a couple of Red Leaf leaves and I sliced them to bite size
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Sprinkle of Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

1. Combine the Rhubarb sliced into Matchsticks, honey, and lime juice in a small bowl and leave to marinate for several hours.

2. Combine sliced Strawberries and a bit of honey to taste and let that marinate as well in a separate bowl for several hours.

3. When ready to assemble the 2 salads just before dinner. Toast the pine nuts in the oven for several minutes until they start to turn brown. Take out immediately. When they are done, combine Rhubarb/Lime/Honey Mixture, Mint, Strawberries, and Pine Nuts in a bowl together. In a larger bowl toss the lettuce with Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper and then toss in the Rhubarb/Strawberry/Mint mixture. 
4. Serve right away on a glass plate or bowl. The Rhubarb acts as a Vinegar with the Olive Oil and makes the most delicious Dressing. 

Completely Sublime Recipe using your Garden Rhubarb!
Your Guests will be talking about this Salad for Days!

I know everyone wants a Rhubarb Pie or Cobbler but maybe you want to use the Rhubarb and not have it be a ton of calories in the recipe or perhaps you don't have time to heat up the oven in the house and bake. This is the perfect way to get your Spring Rhubarb Fix, using fresh produce from your backyard, and delight in this seasonal favorite in a very different and unexpected way!

Happy Spring Gardening, Melissa