Saturday, September 29, 2012

CHIVES - Dehydrating them for the Winter

 You know, almost everyone has chives in thier garden and if you don't it is one of the most versatile and easiest of the herbs to grow and maintain. Give it a good sunny spot and it comes back year after year, even getting bigger and spreading a bit. It starts in the early spring and continues giving you chive goodness for all your baked potatoes and garnished for 7 months of the year. It is practical, flavorful, and colorful.
 It is kind of sad when the garden starts to fade and I started thinking about all the chives growing in mine. I have transplanted to several places and I have lovely bunches of it growing about my yard. I love chives in soups, salads, on baked potatoes, as a flavor in fish sauces, and as a simple and colorful garnish all year round. I decided to cut some, bring it into the house and using my kitchen scissors, I cut it up into little bits and spread it on trays in my Excalibur Dehydrator yesterday. I dried them at 95 degrees for about 5-6 hours and then poured them into a jar (pictured) so all ready for when the snow falls and the plants all fade. I will still be having chives on my potatoes at home. I know people freeze them too and I have tried freezing them but honestly, I don't always remember where they are in the freezer and forget about them. If I have them handy in a jar near my stove, I am likely to be using the chive goodness all year round!

Trays of chopped chives going into the dehydrator!

Ready for winter! My jar of dried chopped chives!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Melissa's Honey Poppy Seed Salad Dressing - Super Delicious and Healthy - Recipe Makes over a Quart!

I still have Fall Greens, late tomatoes, late zucchini, and broccoli in my garden for salads. Since I recently harvested some honey from my two bee hives, I wanted to make a big batch of honey dressing for my fall salads. This particular recipe is an adaptation from an old Helen Corbitt Recipe where I use Honey instead of sugar and a few other adaptations. Looking to have a healthy and locally sourced dressing in my kitchen!

Melissa's Honey Poppy Seed Salad Dressing

Mix all ingredients in a blender of food processor for best results.

1 1/4 c. honey (I used my own Cape Ann Abbott honey)
2 Tbsp. Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard
2/3 c. white vinegar
1/2 small chopped Vidalia Onion
2 tsp. salt
2 c. olive oil
3 Tbsp. Poppy Seeds or Chia Seeds

Whiz together for at least 60 seconds until thick and very weel blended. Have a quart Jar Container ready and keep refrigerated. Undeniably Super Good!

Photo: My fall greens, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, and store bought carrot salad mix freshly made. The perfect background for the Honey Poppy Seed Dressing!

My Beehives in my East Gloucester Garden

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Honey Apple Crisp with my own recently harvested Cape Ann Honey!

 Honey Apple Crisp Recipe

Preheat oven to 350-375 degrees

Use large greased pie plate or similar glass baking dish
4-5 large apples peeled, cored, and cut up
1/4 c. honey
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1/4 c. raisins
1/2 lemon juiced
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
3 teasp. cornstarch

Toss the above ingredients in a large bowl and place in baking dish or pie plate

1 c. quick cooking oats
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1/3 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
1/4 c. melted butter
1/4 c. honey

Mix the topping ingredients together and place on top of apples. Bake for 40 minutes on lower shelf. If you oven is a hot oven bake at 350 degrees and if it is a slower oven try 375 degrees. Delicious served warm and with Whipped Cream or Frozen Yogurt.

Since there is a smaller amount of melted butter in this then other similar recipes, it is fairly low fat. You can substitute a cooking oil for butter if so desired or use agave syrup instead of honey. I had just harvested my honey from two backyard hives so I was game to use honey in this recipe. It is quite good!

 Bottom Layer of Apples - place Oatmeal topping over the apples before baking
After 40 minutes of baking, take out of the oven and this is what it looks like!

Serve either warm or cold but warm is better! Yes, I did use my own harvested honey and it made the dish extra special!! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gloucester Food Blogger's Jennifer Goulart Amero, Melissa Abbott, Heather Atwood, and Laurie Lufkin Meet at Franklin Cafe to Dine, Wine, and Regale! Getting the Skinny on each other's Blogging and Food Projects! Great Mind's of Gloucester Glitterati Meet! The Earth Moved! This is what we ate and talked about.

Jennifer Goulart Amero, Melissa Abbott, Heather Atwood,
 and Laurie Lufkin Meet at Franklin Cafe 
Well, we had been talking about meeting for a month and we had to change the date last week but last night the oceans parted, the planets aligned, and the heaven opened for a few local Cape Ann bloggers to meet, discuss, and open up to each other about their recent projects, ideas, technical finds, and blog adventures. Jenn Amero got us fixed up at The Franklin Cafe and when we got there a gorgeous table was prepared and an aperitif bottle of Prosecco was iced and waiting for us. It was much like drinking Champagne and it was the perfect thing to get the ball rolling and the party started! 

It was so much fun to meet for a 2nd time and this time with Laurie Lufkin who is such a local Cape Ann Mover and Shaker. It was wonderful to hear all about her upcoming trip to Las Vegas with her All American Caprese Potato Salad Entry in November. She confirmed to us that her trip was on and we got the inside scoop on Food Contest adventures. You can read all about Lauries fascinating inspired cooking recipes on her blog: . Just as a head's up, there is a post on a spectacular Brownie Cake which looks to die for right at the top!

Delicious Fish Quesadilla with Queso Fresco and Fresh Guacamole
Heather Atwood recently wrote an amazing blog entry on her blog about Julia Child. Heather as you may know is the Gloucester Times Foodie who writes wonderful weekly columns about her amazing Food Videos and Adventures. 

She even described a meeting she once had with Julia Child and little stories about Julia which were poignant and special. A recent symposium at Radcliffe University to celebrate Julia's 100th birthday spurred on the blog post when Heather attended the event last week. Check it out, it is lovely writing! 

During this we enjoyed some appetizers from the Franklin Cafe Menu which included "Warm Matchsticks of Zuchinni with Toasted Almonds, Percorino and Balsamic Gastrique" and amazing "Tuna Tartar with Soy, Cucumber  and Wasabi Aioli on a Delicious Crostini"

Next, we had a chef's choice of: 
Incredible Mushroom and Duck Risotto

All the while, we got the skinny on Jennifer Goulart Amero's new blog called: She has already documented some of recent adventures at: The Taste of WGBH, the new Harbor Walking Tour in Gloucester, and The YMCA's Taste of Cape Ann Event at Cruiseport. Jenn is an amazing and vivacious personality, really interested in local events and parties. It is no wonder her twitter handle is @companyprtygirl! Her next blog post promises to be about Brew Fest and the world of Beer!
Pan Seared Cod with Oyster Mushrooms, Scallions,
Citron Blanc on a Wonderful Chive Mashed Potato

As for myself, Melissa Abbott, I was in awe at this table of wonders, listening to all the amazing stories. I had brought a small gift of my recently harvested honey from my backyard hives which I passed out just before the pan Seared Cod arrived at the table. This was a dish which had the subtle flavoring of Oyster Mushrooms paired with chives in a great mashed potato! The Bee Chronicles continued while we discussed wine, Napa, travel, boats, Gloucester, great seafood, and my blog .

Beautiful Painting by the Bar at The Franklin Cafe

I would call our dinner and meeting a great success! Definitely want to Thank Maria Seniti Figurado the owner of The Franklin Cafe for being such a wonderful host to our gathering. The ambiance, food, wine, and company made this a special night. Unforgettable to say the least! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Grilled Cheese Haddock Sandwich with Avocado, Tomato, and Tartar Sauce

Grilled Cheese Haddock Sandwich with Avocado, Tomato, and Tartar Sauce

I made this sandwich on my cast iron pan using leftover baked haddock, cheese, tomato, avocado, mayonnaise and relish today and it was really yummy. If you ever have any leftover fish which isn't quite enough to have for leftovers, making a lunchtime grilled cheese sandwich with it can be quite delectable!  Served with carrot sticks!
I made a quick little Tartar Sauce Spread for both pieces of bread out of sweet pickle relish and Cains Mayonnaise and then layered leftover haddock, tomato, cheese, and avocado between two pieces of bread and grilled on a cast iron pan in a little olive oil with a second cast iron pan on top to flatten things like a panini press. Worked well! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Honey Balsamic Herbal Salad Dressing

 These are Fall Greens and the last of my Heirloom Tomatoes and Zucchini for a salad tonight. My husband planted the trout lettuce in August and it is ready now. So wonderful to have greens in the garden this time of year. I am always trying to get tomatoes and lettuce to be growing at the same time for salads and this year we did it!! This coincides with our Abbott Honey crop and I decided to make some Honey Balsamic Herbal Dressing to go with these amazing greens from our garden!

Honey Balsamic Herbal Salad Dressing Recipe
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. honey
1 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
1 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 c. olive oil

Shake together in a jar. It tends to mellow overnight in the refrigerator and the honey and herbs bind to the oil and vinegar, but you can serve it right away!

Happy Salad Making! Melissa :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More Adventures with Melissa's East Gloucester Bee Keeping Endeavors- Taking the Honey from the Frames

Still have honey filtering but
I bottled this up for my kitchen tonight!
Honey House
 I set some entrances into a bottom board below my honey supers on my bee hives on Friday. This allowed the bees in the supers to go out of the supers but not get back into the super once they got out. This was a new thing for me and I had read about doing this and watched few YouTube videos describing doing it. Last year, I just brushed the bees off the frames with my bee brush before I took the frames into my honey house to process. It worked ok, but I had quite a few bees in the honey house with me while I processed the honey. It is pretty hot in my honey house, so I don't want to wear my bee suit the entire time I am doing the manual crank on my processor to get the honey out of the frames. Anyway, I checked the supers the next day and there were still quite a few bees in the frames. This morning, Sunday, I got my smoke ready, my bee suit on, my bee brush, my hot water in a thermos to keep my wax cutting knife hot and I was on a mission. I was pleasantly surprised when there were very few bees in the frames. I have two hives, and the right hand hive had more bees but easily brushed off and I also had less than 20 bees on the left hand hive. I put the beautiful white capped honey supers in a covered bin and brought them into my honey house. Very few bees came in with me. I think I had three bees the whole time I was in there processing the honey. The best part is I got them all out too. I have a screen set up to keep the bees.
Plastic Bin with Honey filled frames
brought into Bee House today!

Decapped Honey Super Frame
going into Processor to get honey out of the Comb
Two Hives
Honey Spinner
It is quite a job spinning all the honey out of the frames but half way through, my husband Charlie came home from Lobstering and helped me at the end. I am presently filtering the honey overnight and plan on bottling it tomorrow. I also will be processing the beeswax in the next week or so and I also plan to do some posts on making cosmetics and mead. Stay Tuned for more of my East Gloucester Bee Keeping Adventures!
Melissa aboard the Blue Pearl in Gloucester Harbor
with her Pomeranians Captain and Scupper

Monday, September 17, 2012

The World of Melissa's East Gloucester Honey Bees - Checking the Hive in Preparation to take the Honey

Today, I am checking the Bee Hives in preparation for taking honey next week! I am getting ready to take this years crop but first I am going to light the smoker and check the hives to access what I am dealing with so I can be fully prepared. First I put on my bee suit  and light the smoker. I used some left over's from my basket making along with some hive fuel and I got some beautiful smoke.

Yesterday, I straightened out the honey house and got everything in order, made a list of things I need to take the honey and the wax. You can see my smoker outside the honey house and just inside you can see the gray barrel and crank I use to spin the honey out of the frames. The barrel has a spigot on the bottom and then I strain the honey into the white plastic bucket. I bought some super fine strainers. I also need to set up a cooktop outside to process my wax.

I opened one of my hives and found this beautiful "capped" honey all ready to go! The hive is chock a block full! Everything looks really healthy. My bees were fairly mellow when I opened the hives and I encountered no problems or saw anything strange.

I have two hives of Italian Bees. They seem very happy and productive and have been no trouble at all! They are positioned facing the southwest in a shady corner of my backyard. The location seems to be a very happy place. I like it because I can see the bees while sitting on my porch. They are fun to watch.

I took out one of the frames to inspect the honey and capping and it looks very good. I took a photo of it. My next project will be to construct a bee escape to use. I have always just brushed my bees off but I am going to try the bee escape method this year. I ordered some parts and should be able to coordinate that later this week. Once I get the bees out of my super frames. I will process the honey and the beeswax in my honey house. Last year I made some lotions, cosmetics, and lipbalm with my beeswax. I am hoping to make some candles this year. I will have quite a bit more honey than I had last year by the looks of things and I am very happy about that!

Inside the happy Hive! My bees are very cute. I see them all around the neighborhood but as far as I know they haven't bothered anyone. We have had one of the best gardens I have ever had this summer. We couldn't believe how many squash and tomatoes we got and I think beside using Seaweed and Lobster shells for fertilizer, the other secret to our success is our honey bees.

I will do an update next week when I take the honey, then later for when I process the beeswax, and then bottle the honey. I have some plans to make some yummy jam soon too. Stay Tuned for more on the World of Melissa's Gloucester Bee's!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup or Lemony Pasta Sauce

This is a fabulous thick creamy chicken pasta soup with a lovely lemon flavor. It is very easy to make using leftover chicken. I have also used this as a Pasta Sauce with rave reviews!

Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup Recipe

6 c. chicken stock
1/3 c. orzo pasta
1/2 c lemon juice
6 egg yolks
1+ c. shredded chicken
salt and pepper to taste

Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan on your stove. Add Orzo and cook 10 minutes. Take 1 c. of stock out and slowly and gently beat it by dribbles into 6 egg yolks. When you have added all the stock add this mixture back into the soup at a lower heat with the lemon juice. Then add the chicken, salt and pepper and you are ready to serve!

fresh lemon juice
makes a very creamy soup without cream!
 chopped leftover chicken and lemon juice 
Makes a wonderful 1st course or even a light meal

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Adventures in Dehydration - "Everything Granola" Recipe

A couple of jars of
Everything Granola
My Excelsior Dehydrator is quite an amazing machine! It makes breakfast too! My husband was buying a Post cereal in the store with nuts and dried fruit in it to the tune of $3.95+ per box. I decided to make a "Super Granola" or an "Everything Granola" which would outstrip and outdo anything you can buy commercially and also be super healthy, economical, and delicious! I had made granolas over the years in my oven and they were ok, but often they got a little over toasted. I figured with the 9 tray Excelsior Dehydrator Machine, I could make a gallon+ of the stuff with no problem and I was right! One of the things I learned was that you add the dried fruits after the dehydration process and this keeps  the "everything" in the "Everything Granola" from getting overcooked and hard.

Mixing the Everything Granola
in a Bowl before Dehydration

Melissa's Everything Granola Recipe

8 c. Quick Oats
1 c. Bran
1 c. Sunflower Seeds
1/2 c. Chia Seeds
1/4 c. Coconut
2 c. chopped Nuts 
(I used a combo of Raw Walnuts, Cashews, and Almonds)
1 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 c. Flax Seeds
1 c. Pure Maple Syrup
1 Tbs. Cinnamon
1 Tbs. Vanilla Extract
2/3 c. Coconut Oil
1/2 c. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Salt

After Dehydration Add:
1 c. raisins
1 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. dried blueberries
1 c. chopped dried apples
1/2 cup chopped dried mango

Mix all the ingredients from the 1st list in a large bowl until well coated. You can fold everything in with a spatula. 

Spread the mixture on to Paraflexx sheets or Parchment paper
on your dehydrator trays. I dehydrated at 155 degrees for 3.5 hours which seemed the right bit of crunchiness to me.

I took the Everything  Granola out of the Dehydrator and poured it back into the large bowl and added the Dried Fruit from the 2nd list. Some of that dried fruit such as the Apples, Blueberries, and Mangos I had previously dehydrated from fresh fruit.

You can use any combination of ingredients to create your own healthful and economical breakfast cereals. I bought overstocked apples and mangos which were on a reduced price shelf at the super market. I also dehydrated some of my own fresh picked wild blueberries for this batch. Keep an eye out for things in season which you can get below usual cost and dehydrate and add to your Granola. 

I can't wait to try this with other fruits I plan to dehydrate. I may never buy cereal at the store again! Enjoy!

Happy and Healthy Cooking, Melissa

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Locally Sourced Eggplant or Zuchinni Parmesan with Local Tomatoes and Herbs

Eggplant Parmesan with Ricotta
I used two Eggplants

Made a Homemade Sauce out of a
Bowl of My Tomatoes in my crockpot, which included things growing in my garden such as onions, peppers, basil, parsley, oregano. I also added a chopped carrot and a little maple syrup to make the sauce sweeter and less bitter. Basically I whiz everything up in my food processor in a rouch chop way and cook for several hours in my crockpot.

To Prepare Eggplant or Zuchinni for the casserole: I slice and lightly salt the eggplant or zucchini and cover for a few hours to release water. Drain off water, bread or flour and fry eggplant slices in olive oil a few minutes each side.

I layered tomato sauce, breaded and fried eggplant or zuchinni,
parmesan cheese, mozzerella cheese, ricotta cheese, topping with sauce and mozzarella. The ricotta in the middle of two layers of Eggplant or Zuchinni.

Baked in 350 degree oven for 1/2 hour

Allow to sit for a few minutes before slicing into squares. Serve with a tossed salad. If you desire you can add a layer of cooked turkey, chicken, or hamburger to the casserole. If I do this, I put it on the bottom layer. A great way to use the end of summer Zuchinni, Eggplant, and Tomatoes while flavoring it all with in season herbs. I froze one of these casseroles for later!

Happy Cooking, Melissa