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Here’s a disclaimer–my Mom makes the most delicious traditional potato salad…just the right mount of  mayo, potatoes boiled to perfection, the right spices, large pieces of onion for those that don’t care for them(she says they can just pick them out), hard boiled eggs on the top, and lots of love.  When I think of potato salad, that’s what comes to my mind.
However, when I saw a contest listed on my favorite cooking contest websites (www.cookingcontestcentral.com and www.contestcook.com) asking for creative “out of the box” potato salad recipes, sponsored by Reser’s Fine Foods, I remembered something I had made a few years ago, scribbled down on a piece of paper and filed away both in my brain and in the GIANT pile of recipes I have stacked near my desk.  And I use the word “stacked” loosely…

When I have an idea, I often do a rough version first and always write it down.  Often, I don’t give the recipe away (even if someone asks for it), or publish it anywhere, just in case there is a contest out there that it might fit and that’s what happened here.  My hand written version was rough, I didn’t write down how much of anything, just the idea and basic ingredients and this is what it came out to after much tweaking:

You should have seen me, laying on my side lawn like some kind of doofus, taking close up pictures of potato salad but for those of you who know me, that should not come as much of a surprise.

All-American Caprese Grilled Potato Salad

2 pounds red, white and blue (purple) baby or fingerling potatoes, washed and dried
10 cups cold water
4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
2/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, julienned (not oil packed)
2 cups seeded and diced fresh Roma tomatoes
1 cup – 1/2” diced fresh mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice clean potatoes in to 1/3” slices on the diagonal, ensuring that potatoes are large enough not to slip through grill grates.

In a large pot or Dutch oven add water and 2 teaspoons of salt.  Add sliced potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil potatoes until partially cooked through and nearly fork tender.  Drain and immediately rinse potatoes in cold water to stop the cooking process.  Allow to drain thoroughly, patting potatoes dry with a towel if necessary.

Pour potatoes in to a large bowl and gently toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning and one teaspoon kosher salt.

Preheat outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to high.  Reduce heat to medium and grill seasoned potatoes until cooked all the way through, tender and marked by the grill, turning once.  Remove from grill and allow to cool to room temperature.  Potatoes will cool quickly if spread out on a sheet pan after grilling.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine sun dried tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil and remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning.  Gently add grilled potatoes to the bowl and toss to combine.  Add basil and re-season with salt and black pepper to taste.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Well,  my potato salad was chosen as a finalist in the contest, Reser’s America’s Best Potato Salad Challenge and I am thrilled.  The judging process was rigorous!  There were 606 entries, they were narrowed down to 30, each dish prepared by chefs and then a judging panel rated them on taste, creativity and appearance.

Here’s what you can do for me.  In exchange for my nifty recipe above.  Would you go to this link: http://www.resers.com/special-offers/campaigns and vote for my recipe please?  The top five finalists, based on the qualifications above, coupled with the amount of votes, get to go to a cook off in Las Vegas and compete.  Having never been to Vegas, I would LOVE to go and cook this salad for the judges.  It is a facebook only contest so if you are not on FB, you have to sit this one out.  Voting is daily through the end of  August and then we wait until September 17th for the cook off contestants to be announced!  Thank you to all of you for your support–I really appreciate it!

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Hi Friends!  Get ready for a barrage of blueberry recipes coming at you.  I am participating a blueberry recipe contest for bloggers and have been creating some really fun dishes using this delicious and really nutritious fruit.

This recipe is great because not only does it use lots of blueberries, but when the salad is all put together, you have an explosion of color on your plate.   You might think that making your own marinade and salad dressing is challenging, but believe me, read through the recipe, gather your ingredients and try it.  I would love to know what you think.  So without further delay, here’s my recipe:

Summer Splendor Balsamic Blueberry & Pork Salad with Double Duty Blueberry Vinaigrette

For the Vinaigrette:


1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3-4 teaspoons honey, to taste
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
Zest of one lemon
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons white wine
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor, combine shallot, mustard, honey, blueberries, lemon zest and juice, white wine and basil.  Pulse until combined and basil is finely chopped.  Drizzle in olive and canola oil until emulsified and dressing is bright in color.

Season with salt and pepper to taste–the mixture will be bright blueish pink and look delicious!   Pour one half of the dressing in to a zip top bag and set aside.  Reserve remaining dressing and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Salad:

1 1/4-1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin, cleaned
2 cups fresh bluberries, divided
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1-10 oz bag mixed baby greens
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes

Place pork tenderloin in zip top bag that contains half of the blueberry vinaigrette and shake to coat.  Refrigerate pork for at least 2 but up to 6 hours.

In the meantime, about a half hour before serving, take pork out of the refrigerator, keeping it in the marinade, and allow to come to room temperature before grilling.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups blueberries, balsamic vinegar and sugar and bring to a simmer.  Cook until most of the blueberries have burst, about 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Preheat outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium high.  Remove pork from blueberry marinade, pat dry and discard marinade–yes, the pork will be a bit pink.

Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Place tenderloin on the center of the grill, cover and cook 12-15 minutes, turning every 2-3 minutes until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F.

Remove pork from the grill to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing in to 1/2” slices.

Toss salad greens with goat cheese, tomatoes and desired amount of blueberry vinaigrette and serve on one large platter or individual serving plates.  Top greens with sliced pork tenderloin, spoon balsamic blueberries over pork and sprinkle remaining fresh blueberries over salad.  Enjoy!  Serves 3

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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.

TOPPING FOR CLAMS  

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!

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I spent a long time thinking about this one……it’s for the Fresh Supersweet Corn Blogger recipe contest and I was trying to think outside the box…..salsa….no, its been done……salad, I could, but not sure what I would do……soup, I do love corn chowder but they already have one on their website www.freshsupersweetcorn.com.  So I moved on to baked goods in my mind.

Corn muffins?  Yum, but done.  Cornbread?  Also delicious, but nothing out of the ordinary.  And then it hit me.  Fresh Supersweet Corn is sweet, right?  Just like it says in the name!  Well, this is what I came up with–and trust me, it is delicious!

Sweet Caribbean Corn Upside Down Cake by Laurie Lufkin

1 1/4 cup coconut milk

1 cup fine yellow cornmeal

1 stick salted butter

1 cup brown sugar, divided

2 1/2 cups Fresh Supersweet Corn

1/4 cup (one nip) coconut rum

1 fresh mango, peeled and cut in to wedges

1 orange slice from the center of the orange

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs at room temperature

3/4 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons coconut extract

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup toasted sweetened flaked coconut

sweetened whipped cream

On the stove top or in the microwaved bring the coconut milk to a low boil.  Quickly whisk in the cornmeal until smooth and set aside.  Cornmeal will absorb the coconut milk while you are preparing the rest of the cake.

Remove husks from 3 ears Fresh Supersweet Corn and remove kernels from cob with a sharp knife.  It is easiest to use this type of setup:

Invert a small bowl in to a larger bowl and it is easy to cut off the kernels and then the bowl will catch them.  Break up any kernels that are stuck together with your fingers and set corn aside.  If you plan to make corn chowder in the near future, save the cobs as they make a great base for the soup.

In a seasoned 12″ cast iron skillet, combine butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.

Add Fresh Supersweet Corn and cook for two minutes, stirring gently.  Remove from heat and stir in coconut rum and set aside.

Peel and pit mango and cut in to slices.

Arrange mango slices in a  flower pattern in the Fresh Supersweet Corn mixture.

Cut a 1/4″ horizontal slice from the middle of  large navel orange and cut off the peel

Place peeled orange slice in the center of the mango slices to form a flower and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In another bowl, lightly beat together eggs, canola oil, vanilla extract and coconut extract.  Whisk in cornmeal and coconut milk mixture and mix until smooth.

Whisk mixture until smooth.

Gently whisk in dry ingredients until just combined.

Pour mixture over mangoes and corn and smooth with a knife if necessary.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes until a tester inserted in to the center of the cake comes out clean and edges are lightly browned.

Allow cake to cool in the pan for 30 minutes and invert on serving plate.

Because both the mangoes and the corn floated around a bit, I took a small knife and moved the corn to reveal the “petals” of the flower too, the mangoes.

Cake can be served warm or at room temperature, topped with a sprinkle of toasted coconut and a bit of sweetened whipped cream.

Serves 12.  This is a dense, rich cake with the sweetness of the corn, coconut and mango and the little bit of crunch of the toasted coconut.  If you make it, please let me know what you think—enjoy!

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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 & Cheese 

4 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 cream 

Combine 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.

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Hi friends.

Time as gotten a bit away from me and I need to catch you up on the Gourmoo Cook Off.  Episode two, the side dish round was so much fun.  Everyone had frazzled nerves the first round, with the cameras, the lights and the unfamiliar kitchen.  But things settle down in the second round and everyone felt more comfortable.

In the third round the Entree round, we had additional time to prepare our meals for the judges and the pressure was on.  Again, Steve Connolly Seafoods sent me out some gorgeous cod loins and although it not on the video you will see, one of the judges actually asked me if I had just caught the fish that morning because it was so fresh.

Watch and see what happens!

I will post episode #4, the dessert round, tomorrow or Friday and a lovely little giveaway, sponsored by Lactaid milk to go along with it…..stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

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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.

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!

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I could not be more proud!  Not only has my girl Lil been on national TV (The Nate Berkus Show) and featured in a national magazine (Kiwi Magazine) but now she is bringing home the ribbons at the Topsfield Fair!

Over the weekend, Lil won two blue ribbons and one red second place ribbon for her desserts–and she is giving out her recipes.  Her third ribbon, a red second place, was for a version of her rice pudding that she made on the Nate Berkus show last week.  I am so proud of my girl!

Happy Apple Streusel Muffins–Recipe by Lily for the Topsfield Fair Muffin Contest

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter

Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cup diced apple
1/4 cup cinnamon chips

Heat the oven to 400°F with the oven rack in middle. Put cupcake papers in 12 standard muffin cups

First, make the streusel topping:

Combine the flour brown and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces.

Combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a large bowl.

Combine the milk, melted butter, vanilla, and egg in a medium bowl. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, and stir only until the flour is moistened. Gently stir in apples and cinnamon chips.

Divide the batter into prepared muffin cups, filling them about 2/3 full. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of streusel over each muffin.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a couple of muffins comes out dry. Cool slightly.

Makes 12 -14 muffins

Three C’s Cookies–recipe by Lily for Topsfield Fair

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1 egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup cashews

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put silicone baking mats on three cookies sheets.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, kosher salt and baking soda.

In a large bowl, beat together shortening, butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla and milk until light and fluffy.

Turn mixer to low speed and beat in dry ingredients.  When mixed, add chocolate chips, cranberries and cashews and mix until combined.

Using a medium ice cream scoop, dish out cookie dough on to prepared pan, 12 to a sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are lightly browned.  Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

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Let me tell you, I am one lucky girl.  I get to do fun things and cook with great people and chefs that not everyone gets to do–and believe me, I appreciate the opportunities!

A little while back, I got the chance to tour the Steve Connolly Seafood facility in Boston–what an impressive operation–and even better than that the chefs cooked three delicious recipes that they shared with me to give to you right now.  The show with these recipes will air again this Friday at 4:30 and then again Sunday at 11:30 am on Cape Ann TV and then next week, another show with a new recipe and more of our tour.

These recipes are easy to make at home using readily available ingredients and fairly simple techniques. Trust me– you want to make these recipes and they will be a HUGE hit with your friends and family!  I took lots of photos on our visit so that you can see how the finished dishes should look.

Please let me know if you make these recipes and how they came out–and as always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

And a HUGE thank you to Chef Michael and Chef Carlos for interrupting their busy schedules and sharing their delicious recipes with all of us and to David Coombs and his staff for showing us around–thanks a million to all of you!

ASIAN LOBSTER AND MELON SALAD

Lobster Meat, fresh

Diced ¾ inch……………………….1 cup

Honeydew Melon, ripe

Diced ¾ inch……………………….1/2 cup

Cantaloupe, ripe

Diced ¾ inch…………………..…..1/2 cup

Mango, ripe

Diced ¾ inch…………………..…..1/2 cup

Ginger , minced………………..………1 tsp

Orange zest, fine julienne………..……… 1 TBSP

Cilantro leaves…………………..……..1 TBSP

Mache or Baby  Spinach…………….3 oz.

Dressing:

Orange Juice…………………………1 oz.

Rice wine vinegar…………………..1 TBSP.

Canola or Peanut oil……………….1/2 cup

Sriracha sauce………………………..1/2 tsp.

Sea salt and black pepper…………to taste

For dressing:

Place orange juice, vinegar, Sriracha sauce, salt and pepper in a stainless steel bowl. With a wisk, blend in the oil until emulsified.

For the salad:

Toss the Mache or Spinach leaves with a little dressing and place on a platter. Put Lobster, Fruit, Ginger, Orange zest, and Cilantro in a stainless steel bowl. Add rest of the dressing, and toss  until coated. Put the Lobster Salad over the Greens, and garnish with edible flowers.   Serves 2

And here is another gorgeous and easy recipe–you can use halibut as Chef Carlos did or he said you can use any other firm fleshed white fish–just watch the cooking time if it is on the thinner side.

Nova Scotia Halibut with Roasted Corn and Tomato Salsa

2 Halibut portions skls/bnls…………………….2  each,  9 oz.

Olive oil………………………………………………….2 TBSP

For Chive sauce:

Unsalted Butter…………….….4 TBSP

Shallots, minced……………….2 TBSP

White Wine, dry…..……….….2 TBSP

Chives, chopped……………….2 TBSP

Sea salt and Black Pepper….to taste

Salsa

Corn, shucked …………………………….…….2 ears

Olive Oil……………………………………………2 tsp

Plum Tomatoes, peeled & seeded………..2

Chives, chopped……………………………..…2 TBSP

Sea salt and Black pepper…………………..to taste

For the Salsa:

Slice off the corn from the cobs and break up the kernels.

Dice tomato into  ½ inch pieces and put in stainless steel bowl with chives.

Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan until hot, and add corn, tossing and pan

roast until lightly caramelized, and add to bowl with tomatoes.

Season with salt and pepper and mix together. Reserve.

Wipe pan clean for next step.

For the Halibut: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Season Halibut with salt and pepper. Add oil to pan until hot and place Halibut in pan flesh side down and pan sear until nicely browned. With a non stick spatula, turn Halibut over gently onto skin side, cover fish with foil, place pan in oven, turning temperature down to 350 degrees and cook 10 minutes until just done. Do not overcook.Remove fish to warm plate and cover with foil. Return pan to stovetop, add 2 TBSP butter and shallots and sauté until transparent. Add wine and reduce by half, add remaining butter, and swirl in the pan. Add chives at end, correct seasoning and set pan aside off the burner.

Plating:

Place large spoonful of Corn Salsa to one side of plate. Place Halibut on plate leaning on the salsa, spoon butter sauce over the fish, and garnish with fresh chives. Serves 2

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