October 31, 2012

The Maine Ingredient: Sailing through ship's stores

By Anne Mahle

I will not go to the grocery store. I will not go to the grocery store. I will not go to the grocery store. The refrigerator is full of food that has come off the boat (Maine windjammer Schooner J.&E. Riggin).

Shelves of condiments taking up space. Farm vegetables that need refrigeration after our warm days last week. Chicken livers and gizzards from a batch of processed meat birds waiting to become pate and who knows what. There. Is. No. Space.

When I was serving 30 people (as I do all summer long on the schooner), it seemed like not very much food. The boat refrigerators seemed alarmingly empty. Now that the same food is in my home fridge and I'm serving four, we can't eat it fast enough.

However, if there's anyone on the planet that should be able to make dinner from a full fridge of leftovers, little bits of this and that and tons of vegetables, it's me. I do this all the time. Substitute here, change it up there. When there isn't a grocery store within an hour's transportation, as is true for me all summer long, a girl learns to deal and make do.

In addition, why spend money at the grocery store when I have perfectly good food for oodles of dinners and lunches right at my fingertips? It just takes a little determination and willpower to not go the easy route. Time for the voices to settle down and the cooks to get cooking.

In another perfect storm of vegetables, the CSA vegetables arrived in our driveway as I write this column. More food! Aren't we blessed with abundance?

 

ROASTED DELICATA AND ONION WITH GOAT CHEESE AND BRESAOLA

Bresaola is a simple form of salted and spiced dried beef. It's delicious and easy to make at home, and not that hard to find in a specialty deli case.

1 cup short or long grain brown rice

3 to 4 cups delicata squash peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch chunks; about 1 delicata squash

3 cups sliced onion; about 1 large onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Several grinds of fresh black pepper

1 sprig of thyme

2 ounces bresaola or other dried beef

4 ounces goat cheese

Bring a medium stock pot of salted water to a boil. Add brown rice; cook for 40 minutes. Drain in strainer, cover and set aside for the squash.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In an oven-proof skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the squash and onions and cook until vegetables begin to brown and soften, about 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper and thyme and cook for another 5 minutes. Add bresaola and mix thoroughly.

Dot the goat cheese on top and place the pan in the oven. Roast for another 20 minutes or until the vegetables are completely soft and the goat cheese begins to brown just a little. Serve over brown rice.

Serves four to six.

DELICATA SQUASH AND KALE POT PIE

3 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups diced onion; about 1/2 large onion

3 cups delicata squash peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch chunks; about 1 delicata squash

1 cup diced carrots, peeled; about 1 carrot

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Several grinds of fresh black pepper

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

8 ounces kale, chopped, stems removed and washed

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock

2 deep dish pie crusts

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Melt butter; add onion, squash and carrots to pot. Add salt and pepper and saute for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and onions are translucent. Add flour and stir well. Add kale and then the stock, and stir well. Bring to a simmer and test for salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the crust and lay the bottom crust in a deep dish 9- to 11-inch pie plate. Add the filling; lay the top crust over the filling. Pinch edges closed and cut a few vent holes in top. Bake for 1 hour or until the center is bubbling and crust is golden brown.

Serves six to eight.

 

Anne Mahle of Rockland can be reached at: chefannie@mainewindjammer.com

 

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