November 2017

The $15 hamburger has become standard fare in Portland at some of our finer restaurants.  That price  gets you rarefied beef blends (short-rib and brisket are a favorite) molded into the shape of a typical hamburger and sandwiched on a hand-made roll like brioche.  Add hand-cut fries made from heritage potatoes and slices of heirloom tomato and local lettuce and the picture is burger heaven.  But where oh where are those less costly burgers that are as good as their pricier counterparts?

Ruski’s dive bar vibe

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No dish typifies New England cooking better than baked haddock fillets topped with a white sauce and buttered crumbs.  The flavors are so inimitable and pure.  I like haddock best for this dish but cusk or pollock, though not as flaky, are fine alternatives.  What’s more, these fish, from local waters,  are so economical, running anywhere from $3.99 to 6.99 per pound. In New York at specialty fishmonger, Citarella, they’re priced at $15.99 per pound, termed  “wild caught” in New England waters (most likely Maine).

Season the haddock fillets on both sides before topping with sauce to bake

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If you’re planning to visit the East Bayside Portland indoor winter farmer’s market, which has been held at 84 Cove St. for several years, remove it from your GPS.  The building, which resembled a dude cave more so than a farmer’s marketplace, is no more as we know it. The location has indeed changed–but no one knows for sure where it will be held.

It’s still scheduled to open on Saturday, December 2, for the 2017-2018 season.  But an entry on the Maine Farmers’ Market website lists the site as TBD.

It’s not clear why the market organizers left their Cove Street space, except that the lease held by Swallowtail Café and the farmers’ market is being taken over by Taproot Magazine.

The tables at the year-round Swallowtail cafe at Cove Street

One reason might be pure economics regarding the tenancy on a 12-month basis.  The market operated there for 5 months along with Swallowtail’s Café and Market Place, which might not have been viable   economically to keep as a year-round space. Read more…

Pudding cakes are an alchemy of baking, a luscious dessert that has two layers: a creamy pudding underneath crowned by a sponge cake that rises like a soufflé.

It takes minutes to prepare and the one featured here is a lemon pudding cake.  The batter has just few ingredients: egg yolks, whipped whites, melted butter,  flour, sugar, lemon and milk.  Voila! It puffs up in the baking leaving behind a luscious pudding underneath.

Serve the lemon pudding cake warm or refrigerate and serve chilled with whipped cream

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