Friday, May 24, 2013
John Golden has written about food, dining and lifestyle subjects for Downeast magazine, the Boston Globe, Cottages and Gardens magazine, Gourmet magazine, Cuisine magazine, the New York Times and the New York Post.
In his highly opinionated blog, John reports on his experiences dining out all over Maine and his visits with food personalities, farmers and farmers’ markets throughout the state.
Artemisia lives up to the meaning of its name and the name of its location—artful, aromatic food located on charming Pleasant Street—a hideaway location indeed.. The restaurant has been in Portland longer than I have and until recently lunch and brunch were its métier.
Artemisia's location on Pleasant St. is part of a charming urban mix of early 19th century houses and offices for Portland's creative crew of architects and artists
I went there years ago for lunch in the days when the city was hardly the culinary whiz bang that it is today. Creative salads and sandwiches, creaky tables and a lot of cozy ladies with neatly coiffed hair favored this outpost café. With owner/chef Celia Bruns at the helm, she made the place famous (for some) with her invention of a sweet potato sandwich, which was a lot better than it sounds (it’s still on the menu). Slices of sweets are grilled, put on whole grain bread with avocado, sprouts, red onion and tomatoes set in a lemon poppy-seed mayonnaise—a painstaking reminder of 1970s California cuisine, which perhaps should remain in the nostalgic past rather than front and
Roasting a whole chicken on the barbecue grill is more of an art than you’d think. Type of charcoal, “roasting” temperature and preparation of the chicken are all important factors to consider.
I like to use a mixture of hardwood briquettes and real hardwood charcoal. Trader Joe’s sells excellent long-burning high-heat briquettes for $7.99 for 18 pounds and Whole Foods has a relatively inexpensive brand of natural hardwood charcoal, 8 pounds for 6.99. I mix up the two charcoal styles in equal batches.
This 4 1/2 pound bird is a heritage Freedom Ranger raised by Frith Farm in Scarborough; let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before barbecuing
I had two of the best preparations made with locally sourced ingredients available now at farmers’ markets. These were freshly foraged ramps and fiddleheads beautifully prepared by Chef Abby Harmon at her wonderful restaurant, Caiola’s.
The ramps were put into a savory pudding that Harmon makes quite often with various other ingredients like lobster, crab or whatever her whimsy. They’re folded into a luscious bread pudding, giving ramps center stage as the main ingredient, so sweet and creamy in its devise.
As for the fiddleheads, generally not my favorite spring green, they were sautéed in white wine and butter with Yukon gold potatoes and crispy bacon. This was a great dish and has made me reconsider fiddleheads because these were a wonderful rendition.
The other springtime favorite, asparagus, is still in very short supply as our cool weather continues; and it has not become a widely available restaurant dish yet. A few of the farmers, though, have some at the Wednesday and Saturday markets. If you don’t get to either market by early morning, you’ll miss these spears because whatever is there sells out fast.
An uninterrupted diet gleaned from the menu at Nosh Kitchen Bar could spell an early demise for those following a healthy lifestyle. Yet an occasional wisp of the fat and fries, the outrageous burgers and beers might, for some, keep the demons of culinary ennui at bay.
Prepped and ready to go from the open kitchen at Nosh
Still, there’s nothing incidental at Nosh, that Yiddish word meaning “snack” –a particular kind of repast taken like a sly quick-fix
Rhubarb is commonly mistaken as a fruit when it’s actually an herbaceous plant that is customarily used in fruit-based preparations like rhubarb-strawberry pie, crisps and compotes.
It’s just now appearing in farmers’ markets, and their arrival along with fiddleheads, asparagus, ramps and green garlic are sure signs of spring.
Rhubarb likes rich soil and sun to partial shade to grow