Friday, November 30, 2012

My Dec 1 & 2 Weekend Event Wish List!

 Here is my Party and Event Wish List for this Weekend, Dec 1 and 2, 2012 -  in and around Cape Ann. There are a lot of Events/ Open Houses in loads of the local shops and galleries but these stand out as a few I want to make:
Hey, We're ready to go to a Party!
1. Studio VO Open House on 121R East Main Street - Sat and Sun Dec 1 and 2 open at 10:30am - Refreshments

2. Rocky Neck 8th Annual Winter Show Opening Dec 1, 6pm-8pm at new cultural center on Wonson St.

3. Santa arrives by lobster boat at Motif #1 in Rockport at 3:45 pm Dec 1,  followed by a parade and tree lighting with music by the Dock Square Carolers. Come early and enjoy church fairs in the morning, festive music, and great shopping in our beautifully decorated seaside village.

4. The Annisquam Village Sewing Circles Christmas Fair - It is the 176th year!! Annisquam Village Hall, Leonard St. 8:30am-1pm

5. Holiday Open House at the True North Gallery, 25 Woodbury St. S. Hamilton, MA Talismanic Animals from Lands of Snow & Sand
Yup’ik & Zuni Animal Carvings

Not sure I can get to everything but this is my pick!

Happy Weekend,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Little Pizza Appetizers

I used my left over Angel Biscuits split in half for this quickly pulled together Appetizer.
I have this recipe in my cookbook "Legacy of Three Melissas"  but I will put this recipe here on the blog because it is such a generous recipe, there are usually leftovers for other things. I also make little sandwich appetizers with these biscuits using any kind of seafood salad such as Tuna, Lobster, or Shrimp that I have on hand. Chicken Salad is also popular!~


5 c. flour
1/2 c. honey or sugar
1 c. butter
1 pkg dry yeast
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Warm Water
2 c. buttermilk

Stir dry ingredients together. Disolve yeast in warm water and then stir in room temperature buttermilk. Cut Shortening into the flour, You can use a pastry tool but I use a food processor and pulse it.After the butter in cut into the flour, I add the buttermilk yeast mixture. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead slightly to make a soft dough. I roll it out a bit with a wooden rolling pin. Then I use biscuit cutters to cut out rounds in 1/4 inch thick dough but you can use a glass with good results. Let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. I usually lightly brush the tops of the biscuits with butter and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Serve with a special dinner or soup.

To Make Mini Pizzas:
I split the biscuits place on a baking sheet and top with tomato sauce and a mixture of parmesan and mozzerella cheese. Sprinkled with my own dried Oregano and Basil from my garden. You can use fresh herbs too! I bake for 5-10 min in a 350 degree oven until done and serve immediately with coctail napkins. The biscuits work well for a cocktail pizza because they aren't greasy, easy to pick up and have a bit of a crunch.

This is the time of year, just before the holidays when there are many impromptu celebrations, people dropping over, or parties to attend where you must bring something. Bringing an appetizer usually doesn't compete with the hostess and is welcome everywhere. You can make these up ahead of time and pop into an oven at a party and they are ready in 10 minutes.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two Studios and a Marriage Opening at Walker Creek Furniture Nov. 24, 2012 Robert and Patty Hanlon Welcome the Public to their Studios and Home, Three Buildings of Wonder

The Staircase in their home leading to an upstairs Gallery
My friend Heather Atwood, told me about the event (Two Studios and a Marriage) and suggested I meet her there. She had done a fabulous piece about the Hanlon's on her blog earlier this fall ( and I was mesmerized by the trees growing up through their kitchen in the photos from her piece so I knew that visiting their studios would be amazing. I am posting a few photos here. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in this case it is true! Robert's paintings and furniture are inspired and Patty's fiber and collage art are major works of art! Visiting thei r home and studios was really a peak into the mind and heart of two artists working within a marriage. Very Inspiring!
Glass Doors into Home and Gallery
Pieces byRobert Hanlon on left and Patty Hanlon on right

Large Piece by Patty Hanlon

More of Patty's Captivating Pieces

Door in Robert Hanlon's Studio

Robert Hanlon's Studio

Robert Hanlon's Work

Robert Hanlon's Furniture Pieces displayed outdoors

Patty Hanlon's Studio - Large Fiber Art on the Wall

Patty Hanlon's Studio and Fiber Art Pieces

Photos from the Show "Two Studios and a Marriage, New work by  Robert and Patricia Hanlon. Show runs until Feb 27, 2013 at Walker Creek Furniture, 57 Eastern Ave., Essex, MA 978-768-7622

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Favorite Portobello Mushroom Appetizers - Great for the Holidays - Everyone asks for the Recipe!

A Platter of Portobello Mushroom Appetizers

I cut slices of French bread
and lay on cookie sheets to toast one side
I start my Portobello Mush room Appetizers by making my Easy French Bread. You can buy French Bread at the Store with good success as well but when you make it with my bread, it comes out super amazing and people get this really far away look in their eyes when they eat this, like it is the best thing they ever ate.  One time a man at a party ate one bite and said to my husband; "your wife made these?" and he got this "gaze in his eyes" and said: "You better keep her".  I will often bring these to parties because I can make it up ahead of time and its a wonderful appetizer with drinks.  I get questioned rather intensely about what is in them and how you make them, so after a bout of bringing them around this past Thanksgiving weekend, I am breaking down and posting them on this blog so I can just direct people here to find the recipe.
I toast one side of the bread slices in my broiler and then I turn over and butter the other side with Cream Cheese. You can use a low fat version and it works just fine.
I toast One side of my French Bread Slices

I saute slices Portobello Mushrooms in butter in a cast iron pan.
For two cookie sheets of french bread rounds (11/2-2 Frech breads) I used 1 stick of butter,  2 thinly sliced large Portobello Mushrooms
After the Portobello Mushrooms are cooked,
I add about 3/4 c. brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste
After the Mushrooms are cooked, I put a piece on top of each french bread round which has been buttered with cream cheese. I drizzle a bit of the brown sugar and butter sauce over each round.

At this point, I cover the appetizers to take to the party or use for later. These particular appetizers are chilling outside on my porch on Thanksgiving Morning as I did not have room in my refrigerator. Once you get to the party or your ready to serve them at home. I place them under a broiler for a few minutes to get bubbly and brown the top a bit. Serve right away with cocktail napkins. People devour them so I always bring extras.
Plate of Portobello Mushroom Appetizers after being broiled and ready to serve on a platter. Delicious!!


11/2 - loaves French Bread, you can use commercial brands or make your own. My recipes:

2-3 large sliced portobello mushroon
1 container or package low fat cream cheese or regular cream cheese, both work well
1 stick butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

I use 2 covered with aluminum foil cookie sheets for transport and broiling the appetizers just before serving.

Instructions: Slice the french bread and toast on one side, turn over and butter with cream cheese liberally. Saute mushrooms in butter and then top with brown sugar, salt, and pepper after they have cooked a bit. Place a mushroom slice on each round and drizzle with brown sugar butter sauce. When you are ready to serve place under the broiler for a few minutes and serve on a pretty platter with cocktail napkins.
I hope you enjoy making these as much as I enjoy them. They are the perfect thing to bring just about anywhere. Everyone asks me to bring them and I can make them up in advance and so there is little muss of fuss, except to heat them up by putting them under a broiler for a few minutes. Once I went to a Christmas Party with them and the host put them in the oven when I wasn't looking and burnt them. Everyone ate them anyway!!

Happy Holiday Season,

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bringing the Bread and Honey - Thanksgiving 2012

I don't cook Thanksgiving Dinner, at least on the day of Thanksgiving. My husband Charlie and I visit our relatives. I am bringing a couple of things and these are the things of life. Honey from my garden beehives and Bread baked with love by me. It seems to me that this is the stuff of life, the very essence of what it means to be alive, Bread and Honey. I am thankful for both of these things and it makes me happy to make and bring them. In a sense, it says it all for me. 

Loaves of Anadama Bread recipe:

Melissa's Delicious and Easy French Bread:

Bread is a staple of life and one of mankind's most basic of foods. It is thought that in prehistoric times, basic starches like ferns, cattails, and roots were pounded with rocks and laid on flat rocks over a fire to make a kind of flat bread. Later this was expanded to include grains and naturally occuring yeasts used in leavening of the bread.  Parts of the ancient world made a paste of wine and flour or bran, which was set in a warm place and allowed to ferment, thus making the first yeasts. I actually use both honey and wine in my french bread to commemorate this. It instills a specific flavor and taste but also connects us to a very specific and ancient but wonderful taste.
In fact in the bible we have a very early reference to bread in the Lord's prayer: "Give us this day our daily bread". bread symbolizing the very fuel that sustains and powers the physical body but also the spiritual body! Bread also symbolizes our basic needs, necesssities, and living conditions coined by the term "bread winner" given to the household's main economic contributor.
The World of Melissa's Honey Bees:

Bringing Honey symbolizes the bounty and basic sweetness of this earth and the Thankfulness we express is so sweet. Bees also symbolize eloquence , speech, and intelligence . In Hebrew, the word for bee, Dbure, has its origins in the word Dbr, speech. They settled on the mouth of the child, Plato, " announcing the sweetness of his enchanting soul " is a quote attributed to Pliny and  Saint Ambrose, the patron-saint of beekeepers. According to Virgil, Bees have a grain of divine intelligence and the famous Pythia, the priestess of Apollo, was called "the Bee of Delphi". In some texts from India, the Bee represents the spirit becoming intoxicated with the pollen of knowledge.  
Because of its honey and its sting, the bee is considered to be an emblem of Christ : it represents his mildness and mercy on one side and his justice on the other. 

All the great prophets of history refer to honey in the Scriptures. Speech is honey, it represents softness, justice, virtue and divine goodness. The Koran uses holy terms to talk of bees and honey :"Honey is the first blessing that God gave the earth". Virgil calls honey the celestial gift of the dew, dew itself being a symbol of initiation. Honey even designates supreme bliss and the state of Nirvana. Symbol of all sweetness, the honey of knowledge creates the happiness of mankind. 
Honey, the perfect food, symbolizing the very essence of life itself  and the giving of Thanks for it.
This reminds us to be Thankful for our relationships and family. I think Bread and Honey say this, don't they? 

Having said this, I will admit that for us, this year seems a little poignant because we'll be visiting his Mom in our thoughts only this year.  This is the first year she hasn't been with us, at least physically,  I am remembering her with fondness this morning. She always made creamed onions and lots of pies on this day. Charlie and I would go to her house and pick her up with all her boxes of beautifully prepared foods for the drive to her daughters house for the mid day dinner and visit. Anyway, a shout out to Priscilla, we miss you!

My Mother-in Law Priscilla Abbott last Christmas

Instead I cook Thanksgiving Dinner on the weekend afterwards, which seems like it makes more sense anyway. I get to distribute my Bread and Honey Thanks on my Thursday visitations.

 I really wish I did get to cook Thanksgiving Dinner at my house and maybe someday I will, but for now, we visit and try to fit into other households and play the role of guest and bringer of Bread and Honey. It isn't bad being a guest, don't get me wrong. I don't have the stress and pressure of cooking a dinner for several people and making sure the house is decorated and clean. In a way, my bread and honey symbolize my industriousness all year long. I am a lot like the Bee, organized and supremely busy. In fact my name Melissa means Honey Bee.
On the weekend, I get to relax and just make dinner and pretend it is the leftovers from Thanksgiving all weekend. Lots of Turkey Sandwiches and Soup get made. There is something in turkey which makes you sleep better. It is a restful weekend, quiet and introspective as winter descends on us here in New England. Although I still have herbs and broccoli in my garden and I just finished digging up the last of my potatoes (which were amazing by the way). I had planted some Idahos that were sprouting in the kitchen and I couldn't believe the size of the potatoes we grew in our raised beds on rocky Cape Ann.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family and know that I love you and I am bringing you symbolized Bread and Honey in the form of this blog post.

Love and Blessings,

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Open Kitchen LIVE! An Interactive Google+ Hangout for Cooking, Recipes, Foodies, and Fun!

Today I hung out at a Google+ Hangout called Open Kitchen Live. It was pretty cool. It is a place where people can meet and discuss cooking and see cooking demonstrations so it is like an interactive TV show. I always imagined interactivity with the TV. It is sort of a dream come true. 

Today I watched and talked to Julie Geary of Classic Cooks of Gloucester, MA while she made two different types of Cranberry Relish and she showed a really amazing way to carve and present a turkey. I thought I knew how to carve a turkey but she really was a Pro

The first thing you have to do is join Google+, you get a free Gmail account and Google+ is a little like Facebook only different. I like Google+ and many people think it is the wave of the future. I decided to look into it and try it and I like it very much. Because I have a blogger food blog, it is so easy to post on both Youtube and Google+, everything is connected. There are a lot of Foodies and interesting people on Google+ too. The Google+ page for Open Kitchen Live is:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dehydrating Pineapples - It's so Delicious - Like CANDY!

Store Dried Pineapple in an Air Tight Jar

If you have ever bought dried Pineapple in the store you know how expensive it is. I bought this Pineapple on Sale for $2.99!

I cut my fresh pineapple into think slices and then dry in my Excalibur Dehydrator on Parraflex Sheets for about 8 hours at 135 degrees. Then I turn it down to the lowest setting and leave in on overnight. You get a delightfully crisp fruit leather that is so sweet and yummy it's like eating Candy!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cleaning Your Microwave with Vinegar and Hot Water! It Works!

Ok I admit it, I sometimes use my microwave and usually it is to heat up something like leftovers on a night I haven't planned much to cook. Invariably this means whatever I have heated up gets all over the microwave and it seemed that no matter how much I scrubbed I couldn't get some of the gunk off. I tried the recipe using Vinegar and Hot water and it really works!! So Easy Try it!
 Add 1 cup Vinegar and 1 cup Hot Water 
and Cook in Microwave for 10 Minutes! 

The Wipe Down!! I used a paper towel and all the caked on stuff even in the corners comes off. The Door even gets clean!
Totally Clean!! So Easy!

1 c vinegar + 1 c hot water + 10 min microwave = steam clean! Totally works. No more scum, no funky smells!

Thanks for Reading!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Food Bloggers! Local Food Bloggers otherwise known as "Gloucester Glitterati" get together for another evening of Networking!

Tonights Gloucester Glitterati Meeting 
was hosted by Seaport Grille! Local Food Bloggers meet and talk Blogging, Cookbooks, Recipes, Social Networking Tips and Tricks, Video, Ideas, and Experiences! A fun night!

From left ot right:
 Jennifer Goulart Amero of

Melissa Abbott of 

 Pati Pawlak producer of Google + Open Kitchen program

 Heather Atwood Columnist for Gloucester Times and 

Emily Roach from 

Seafood Pizza Appetizer!

Fresh Swordfish!

Chicken Piccata

Lobster Mac and Cheese

House Specialty Seafood Scui Scui

I really enjoy getting together with chefs, food bloggers, restaurant owners, Idea people, interesting and interested people and I can't think of a better set of people to spend an evening with discussing our blogs, social networking platforms, networking, writing, food, wine, ideas, books, and experiences. Everyone brings a different view to the table and over laughs and wine we discussed Polish Cooking, Prune Cookies, Cooking in Seawater, Writing Cookbooks, Corporate Sponsors, Seafood, Gloucester, Fresh Fish, Documenting our Process, Seawater and Rum, living in Gloucester, Google+ Open Kitchen, Food Demonstations, and living and working in beautiful Gloucester, MA. 

Thanks to Sheree DeLorenzo for her special care and love and for everyone making the extra special effort to come out on a rainy Tues Night to get together with each other. We missed Laurie Lufkin who was planning on coming and sick with the flu. She was going to tell us all about her Las Vegas adventures in the Recipe Contest World.

Everyone brought a unique perspective to their blogging adventures and it is such an education to learn what others are doing with various platforms, events, and ideas. 

Thanks to Everyone for coming and for being my friend. I really love you all and enjoyed every minute tonight!

Blessings All,

Who Ever Heard of Cup Cake Stuffing? You would have to be a Nut to make this...So Crazy, it's Good!

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click on photo to be taken to article on Huffington Post with the recipe! So crazy, it's good! You would have to be a nut to make this recipe!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

How to clean your shower Naturally with Dawn and White Vinegar!!

Keep one of these sponges with a handle that dispenses soap in your shower. I fill mine with white vinegar and a squirt of Dawn dish washing soap and this makes the best tool and natural cleaning solution for your bathroom.  I used to use Dawn and Vinegar in a spray bottle but this works wonderously well. Keep it handy and after bath of shower use it to wipe down the walls and doors. I even use it on my sink. Everything dries sparkling clean!F

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Chili Pepper Taco Seasoning made in my Kitchen with my Vitamix, Excalibur Dehydrator, and my Garden Veggies

I love making my  own  seasoning from Natural ingredients and things that I have grown in my garden. This year, I had lots of hot peppers, tomatoes, herbs, zucchini, cukes, and green peppers. I whizzed up a bunch of them in my Vita Mix blender and used plenty of hot peppers for seasoning. You can use anything you want in the recipe as long as you use tomatoes and hot peppers, you really can't go wrong. 

Basically what you are looking to do it create a frothy thick blenderized mix of your hot peppers and veggies and then you are going to pour this mix onto Paraflexx sheets in your Dehydrator and dry the big old puddle you have made for about 12 hours at 135 degrees.Pour your mixture onto Paraflexx sheets in your dehydrator.

When it dries, it looks like a hard dried crusty version of your big puddle. I am not are doing it right!

You peel the dried puddle off the Paraflexx sheets and then place them in a dry container for your Vita MIx and create a powder from these dried veggies and hot peppers. Be careful, I wear gloves while I do this and a funnel. Jar it up and when you need a bit of heat for your tacos, soups, or sauces, add a pinch of this! No chemicals, just your own dried veggies, herbs, and hot peppers.

I am totally sure there are all sorts of variations to this. I added a bit of vinegar to my mix to give it a tang. I have used it successfull as a seasoning for everything under the sun but especially as a Taco Seasoning. The taco seasonings you buy in the store have so many chemicals, gmo grown foods, and preservatives that honestly, I don't want that stuff in my food. Great Solution!

I love my Vita Mix and my Dehydrator! I don't know how I ever lived without them!
Happy Drying,