Tuesday July 23, 2013 | 06:57 AM

North Haven, Maine. Local lobsters, oysters, cherry vanilla ice cream and oversize oatmeal-raisin cookies capped our evening meal preceded by burgers on the grill for lunch.  The big debate was whether to have potato salad and Cole slaw at lunch and chips with our dinner lobsters or save it all for the evening meal.  We kept lunch simple with grilled grass-fed beef burgers and a local tomato salad.  For dinner we started with the oysters accompanied by a wonderful Vire Clesse 2010 from France.  It went well with the oysters and lobster, but I’d steer clear of the Cole slaw and potato salad, which we served, when drinking this complex wine--a classic partner with shellfish.

Burgers, local grass-fed beef with tomato salad

North Haven oysters 

For our oysters I went to Adam Campbell’s North Haven Oyster Company on Middle Rd. where there’s a self-serve fridge filed with oysters.  A baker’s dozen is $10 and the oyster knife is another ten.  
I don't know of any other self-serve oyster shack, but that's drill at North Haven Oyster on Middle Rd.
There are several places on the island to buy lobster from local lobstermen, but the easiest route is to get them from   Brown Coal’s Wharf in the village.  
Brown's Coal Wharf where lobsters are in a holding tank  at the edge of the wharf
North Haven lobsters fresh off the boat
It’s been a while since I’ve shucked oysters—I won’t be working for Eventide oyster bar anytime soon—but after the first few stubborn ones it was a snap.  Turn the oyster upside, take your knife to the pointed end and using a fair degree of force, pry it open.  It helps to wear a heavy protective glove in case your knife slips.  A thick grilling glove works well. Set the oysters on a platter off shaved ice; I serve them plain, no sauce whatsoever. North Haven oysters are intensely briny but sweet--a perfect oyster.
Our neighbor, a personage of venerable charm, gave me her method to cook lobsters.  She advised to fill a pot with about four inches of sea water, wrap the lobsters in seaweed and steam for 15 minutes; her husband, Paul, chimed in and thought 20 minuters was better.  I did it for 17 minutes and they were perfectly cooked in the lobster cooker set over an outdoor gas burner where they steamed for the allotted time.
The lobster cooker is a great utensil to have to steam  lobsters
Local soft-shell lobsters, oysters, potato salad and Cole slaw
For the final bit of local flavor we dug into Doreen Cabot’s Foggy Meadows Farm Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream for dessert.  I had a yen for oatmeal cookies, and I made a big batch to go with Doreen’s incredible ice cream. 
Maraschino cherry ice cream from foggy Meadows Farm and oatmeal-raisin cookies 
For potato salad, boil new potatoes until soft, drain, peel and mix with a dressing of about 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise for about 2 pounds potatoes,2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish, 1 tablespoon sandwich spread of jarred tartare sauce, pinch mustard, 2 hardboiled eggs, chopped, and salt and pepper.  Mix all together and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
For Cole slaw, chop a small head cabbage finely or process in a food processor.  Mix in 1 small onion finely chopped and stir in about 1/3 cup sugar.  In a saucepan mix together about 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1/3 white vinegar, 1 teaspoon celery seed, pinch mustard powder and salt to taste Bring to the boil.  Pour over the cabbage, mixing well.  Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours.
For the oatmeal-raisin cookies,  in a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, pinch salt; set aside.  Cream together 2 sticks softened sweet butter with 1 cup each of white sugar and light-brown sugar (packed) until well mixed.  Add 2 large eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, mixing well.  Add  the flour to the butter mixture, in several batches, mixing gently until well combined. In a large  bowl mix together 3 1/4 cups oatmeal and 1 cup golden raisins.  Add to cookie dough, mixing on low speed (or use a wooden spoon) until combined.  Using an ice cream scoop, drop servings of dough onto several  large cookie sheets (or do in batches) lined with parchment or a silpat; wet your hands and flatten the balls of dough, spaced well apart on cookie sheet.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes, rotate pan and bake another 8 to 10 minutes until crisp around the edges.  Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a cookie sheet to cool completely.  

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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.

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