Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Broccoli Gods Visited Me! Tutorial on Blanching and Freezing Broccoli from your Garden

Boil some water in a steamer or large pan - I use one with a mesh insert

I know that this topic isn't the most interesting or succulent meal topic but I have an unbelievable amount of Broccoli in my garden this year. The first crop is always the biggest with large heads of broccoli just asking to be picked. The trick with growing broccoli is that you never let it go to flower. When the heads start getting yellow flowers, it is past its prime. The plant will actually stop producing. If, indeed, you cut off all the heads before they flower then new shoots spring up and although smaller then the first crop they are abundant and keep producing until November. I do a lot of veggies stir fries so I love the addition of Broccoli. I have 18 plants this year so I will be eating lots of broccoli but I can't possibly eat it all right now. Last year, I blanched and froze some of it and it was super successful for me. The broccoli I froze was just as succulent and delicious as it was freshly picked. I decided to do the same this year and I documented how I did it for all of you would be arm chair gardeners who aren't sure how to do it, well, here is my method and it works well. The trick is to steam it lightly for 5 minutes and then plunge the broccoli into an ice water bath, pack up in freezer bags, label, and stick in the freezer. If you manage to do 20 bags, well, thats broccoli once a week through the winter for 20 weeks. We all know the price of food gets sky high in the winter and planning the addition of fresh vegetables form your own garden is a real hedge against inflation plus being yummy! Pictorial Instructions below:

Add Fresh Broccoli to steaming water 

set the timer for 5 minutes

cover while it cooks

Make a bowl of ice water in your sink

After 5 minutes plunge broccoli in ice water

I then put my broccoli in a spinner and spinet to dry
you can also just drain and pat with paper towels

Broccoli ready for my freezer!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lobster and Garden Vegtables in Herbal Cream Pesto Sauce over Pasta

Charlie had shucked some Lobster Meat the other day and I thought about what yummy thing I wanted to do with it.

 I had read about doing a Pesto Cream Sauce and since I have so many fabulous herbs in my garden such as Basil, Spearmint, Tarragon, Thyme, Oregano, Parsley, and Rosemary. I had the idea to make a multi herbal cream sauce without the Nuts in it.

My backyard garden in East Gloucester is a riot of Peas, Bok Choy, Broccoli, my first Zuchinnis, and Spinach.

I picked a basket of Veggies.

-I had snow peas and regular Peas which I shucked. They are so sweet, it is like eating candy to taste them.

-I washed and chopped the Bok Choy and Zuchinis including some of the leaf part of the Bok Choy which is really delicious!

-I processed in my food processor, all the herbs and the spinach

- I chopped an onion

Next I made the Pesto Cream Sauce by taking

3 Tbsp butter and sauted a little bit of the finely chopped onion in it.

Then I whisked in 
2 Tbsp Flour 

and then quickly added 1 cup marsala wine (you can use white wine) and 1 cup of whipping cream.

I then added about 1 cup of finely chopped Herbal Pesto from my food processor

I kept the Pesto Cream Sauce hot in a double boiler.

- I cooked some Pasta (you can use any kind) 

- I Sauteed the rest of the Onion in 3-4 Tbsp of good olive oil in a large wok and then added the chopped vegetables and cooked a few minutes til crisp, then I added the Lobster Meat and sautéed a few moments and then directly added the hot (but not boiling) Pesto Cream Sauce. I added a bit of grated parmesan cheese at this point too and you can serve some grated parmesan on top of the dish which I did but never took of photo of it. I served the whole concoction over pasta that was tossed with olive oil and lots of salt and pepper. Really Really Good!!  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lobster Salad Sandwich on Anadama Bread with Garden Red Leaf Lettuce

Lobster Salad Sandwiches on Anadama Bread

Lobster Salad with celery
Charlie with 2 Live Lobsters in our backyard
cooked lobsters

My husband Charlie went lobstering yesterday before the big thunderstorm and came home with 8 lobsters from the haul he got on his ten pot trawl. He cooked them up for me outside in our lobster cooker and was good enough to shuck them for me. I made him a Lobster Salad Sandwich for all his efforts.

You haven't lived until you have had a Lobster Salad Sandwich on Authentic Anadama Bread!

The recipe for Anadama is on this blog with videos in previous post.

Lobster Salad Recipe

Fresh Lobster Meat slightly chopped

Freshly chopped celery

Cains Mayonnaise

Red Leaf Lettuse from my Garden
                                                                                                    Mix together and assemble

sandwiches on toasted Anadama

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Anadama Bread - Making it the Authentic Way Videos and Recipe

Anadama Bread
One of my earliest memories was of the grand opening of the new large Anadama Bread factory in Rockport, MA. The year was 1956 and the bakery was located on Pooles Lane behind the Railroad Station. I was about 2 1/2, it was a cold January day, everyone was dressed up and because of my age, everyone seemed very tall to me. Everyone stood around large white machines, ovens, convertor belts, wrapping machines watching Anadama Bread being made. My grandmother, Melissa C. Smith was in a wonderful suit with a huge corsage. The smells and memories of that opening day have never left me. There were huge vats of dark molasses and steamed corn meal mush on one side of the building and an enormous oven in the center. The story of Anadama Bread was on every loaf of bread along with the signatures of my grandparents, Bill and Melissa Smith. Below is exactly what it said. In my book, "The Legacy of Three Melissas, Authentic and Original Cape Ann Recipes", I have photos of the bread in wrappers as well as bakery photos. 

The Real and Authentic Story of Anadama Bread
from Rockport, MA

This is "truly" a bit of Rockport, Massachusetts, for Anadama Bread originated in this town many years ago. This is the true story of a local fisherman whose lazy wife always gave him steamed corn meal mush and molasses for dinner. One day he came in from fishing, he found the same corn meal mush and molasses for dinner and being very tired of it, he decided to mix it with bread flour and yeast and baked it saying, "Anna Damn Her." The bread was so delicious that his neighbors baked it calling it Anadama Bread. 

Videos of Authentic Preparation and Recipe Below
or complete history, photos, recipes for Anadama Bread available in my book

Anadama Bread

Anadama Bread on
1st Rising

Anadama Bread - Making it the Authentic Way Part 1

Anadama Bread - Making it the Authentic Way Part 2

Anadama Bread - Making it the Authentic Way Part 3

Anadama Bread - Making it the Authentic Way Part 4

Anadama Bread - Making it the Authentic Way Part 5

The Real and Authentic Anadama Bread Recipe
1/2 cup course cornmeal
2 cup boiling water
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup organic blackstrap molasses (buy it in a health food store)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 package or 1 Tbsp. dry active yeast dissolved in 1/8 cup warm water
5 cups unbleached flour

Using a double boiler, boil some water in bottom section (see video) and put 2 cups hot water in the top part of double boiler, when hot whisk in cornmeal a little at a time with wire whisk. Add 1/2 cup molasses, 2 Tbsps. butter, and 1 tsp. sea salt. Cook on low in double boiler for at least an hour. You may let it sit overnight for even better texture and flavor. I talk about why in the Video so be sure to watch the video to get the complete overview.  Cool cornmeal and molasses mixture to luke warm. Combine cornmeal/molasses mixture with 5 cups of unbleached flour and softened yeast. Knead until completely combined and stays in a ball. You can do this in a mixer with a dough hook, food processor, or by hand in a bowl. Place dough in greased bowl and let rise 60 minutes in warm place covered by plastic wrap or damp cloth. When double in bulk, knead again on floured surface for a few minutes and then form into 2 loaves. I go over the best way to form them in the video. Place loaves in greased heavy bread pans, cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 60 more minutes. When double in bulk preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake loaves for 45min -1 hour. Check to make sure oven isn't too hot, if they start to brown quickly, turn down oven to 375 degrees. Depending on your oven, they may be done earlier so start checking them at 40 minutes. 

It has been my pleasure to share this bit of Cape Ann history with you! I hope you bake this with love and enjoy it in your home! I would love to hear your experiences! Happy Baking!

2 loaves just out of the oven!

I hope you enjoy my family legacy and make some Anadama yourself! Happy Baking, Melissa

Parlez Moi Blog: A Quintessentially Cape Ann Cookbook

Parlez Moi Blog: A Quintessentially Cape Ann Cookbook: Gloucesterite Melissa Smith Abbott's sensational cookbook, "The Legacy of Three Melissas" Has been breaking records for book sales since i...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Melissa's Mint Chocolate Chip Cranberry Walnut Cookies

 Melissa's Mint Chocolate Cranberry Walnut Cookies are sort of like eating something like a peppermint patty oatmeal cookie. Unexpected and interesting!

                                          Ingredients: 1 cup butter, 1 cup dark brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, 2 lg. eggs, 1 tsp. almond extract, 2 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 cups flour, 3 cups oatmeal, 1 bag mint chocolate chips, 1 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Mix together all the ingredients in the order given in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment if possible.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes and then cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Melissa's Fresh Flounder Stuffed Roll Ups cooked on a Bed of Lime - My husband caught the fish off Niles Beach in Gloucester, MA

Flounder Rolls Ups baked on Lime served with Fresh Broccoli and Green Onions
Oriental Bok Choy Salad on the side 

My husband Charlie Filleting the Flounder
Flounder Fillets

Saute Onions and Chopped Herbs in olive oil
and butter, then add a bit of wine

Add Some bread crumbs and a squeeze of lime,
salt and pepper, and Parmesan cheese

Place Fillet on board with a little stuffing
roll up tightly
Place Rolled Fillets on bed of sliced Limes,
olive oil, and wine

Place additional stuffing on top of roll ups
drizzle with more wine and olive oil
Bake 375 for 15-20 minutes
Served with Melissa's Oriental Bok Choy Salad

1 Large Flounder or 4 fillets 
1/2 chopped onion 
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (I used Tarragon, Parsley, Oregano)
3-4 Tbsp. good olive oil
2 Tbsp Butter
1/4 c Marsala or white Wine
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 sliced lime


Saute onion until translucent in olive oil, add chopped fresh herbs, add butter, wine, cheese, and bread crumbs, toss lightly (add more wine if too dry)


Slice a lime and place on the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil and sprinkle of wine
roll up fillets tightly with stuffing in the middle
place fish roll ups on top of sliced limes
Sprinkle top with the rest of breadcrumbs, spritz of lime juice, sprinkle of wine and a bit more olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Serves Two

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Melissa's Oriental Bok Choy Salad - I grew it in my Gloucester, MA backyard!

Oriental Bok Choy Salad

                                                   Click to watch YouTube Video

Bok Choy Growing

Red Leafed Lettuce
In My Gloucester Garden June 2012

Melissa's Oriental Bok Choy Salad 

 Watch Video to see how I do it!

This is my second year of growing Bok Choy and I love it! Not only does it make great salads, it is fantastic in stir fries with chicken and shrimp.

Take a large glass jar and pour in: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup white sugar, 3 Tbsp. Tamari - shake well

Ingredients for Salad:
Place in large bowl thinly sliced fresh large Bok Choy, 1 head sliced red lettuce, 4-5 chopped green onions, 1/2 cup chopped almonds, 1/3 cup dried cranberries, Chopped herbs from garden including tarragon, chives, mint, sage, and parsley. (any fresh herbs you have in season)  1 package of ramen noodles broken into bits. Throw away flavoring packet. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and pour over the dressing. Super Yummy!! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lobster Salad on Home Grown Greens and Melissa's Chia Seed Dressing

Lobster Salad with Melissa's Chia Seed Dressing (recipe below) on a bed of my backyard greens! Last Friday Night, the weather was fantastic, so we decided on a spontaneous sunset dinner on our boat Blue Pearl in Smith's Cove, East Gloucester. I harvested a variety of greens from my garden and pulled together a lovely baby spinach and red leaf lettuce salad. We packed up the salad and some shucked lobster meat which was kept on ice and headed out! 

First shuck cooked lobsters and chill in the refrigerator.

This is my Gloucester greens garden. I added shredded carrots, cranberries, tomatoes, and a fantastic poppyseed dressing. 

Melissa's Chia Seed Dressing for Lobster Salad on Backyard Greens

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsps. dry mustard
2 tsps. sea salt
2/3 cup vinegar 
3 Tbsps. onion juice
2 cups olive oil
3 Tbsps. Chia Seeds

Blend in mixer or blender at a low speed. First, combine sugar, seasonings, vinegar, and onion juice (grate an onion and squeeze out juice) and blend for a few minutes. 
Gradually beat in oil as if you were making mayonnaise. When thickened, beat in Chia Seeds. Chia seeds are filled with protein and are similar to poppy seeds. You can substitute poppy seeds if Chia Seeds are unavailable.

Melissa's Delicious Easy French Bread

Melissa's Delicious Easy French Bread right out of the Oven!

Ingredients: 1/4 cup marsala wine, 3/4 cup warm water, 2 teaspoons yeast, 1 Tbsp. honey, 1 teasp. sea salt, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 3 cups King Arthur Flour, 1 Tbsp. melted butter
yeast, wine, warm water in bowl

add honey, salt, olive oil, flour
knead well in mixer, processor, or by hand

when you are done it should look like this
cover with plastic wrap and let rise 45-60 minutes
sprinkle some corn mean on pan 

form into two long loaves and place on top of sprinkled cornmeal
slash bread with knife or kitchen scissors. Brush with melted butter and
cover with plastic wrap let rise for another 45-60 minutes
Bake in a hot 375 degree oven  for about 30 minutes with a cake pan of hot water on the
lower rack to provide steam in the oven. This makes it great!
Loaves should be hard on the outside when done
and nicely browned. 

Let cool and slice to enjoy serving with lots of butter. I make this often as it is cost effective, delicious,
and beautiful to serve with dinner. I save 2nd loaf for later either wrapping it up and putting in refrigerator or even freezing it for another special dinner. Great with Italian food!

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