Yay! It’s getting to be salad weather. Cobb salad makes a wonderful meal, especially if accompanied by a basket of fresh-from-the-oven popovers and smooth maple-flavored custards with strawberries for dessert.

Just because Cobb salad was invented in California doesn’t mean it can’t happily travel back East for a visit and while here, be made with local double-smoked bacon and Maine organic turkey or chicken. One of these days soon, Maine will produce blue cheese, but in the meantime I’d recommend the fabulous Great Hill blue from a dairy in Massachusetts.
Servings: 4
8 to 12 slices bacon, preferably double-smoked
6 cups mixed greens
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked turkey or chicken, cut in chunks or slivers
1 large ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
2 cups diced seeded tomatoes
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1⁄2 cup bottled balsamic vinaigrette (see note)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons snipped chives

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat until crisp, about 12 minutes. Drain on paper towels and crumble coarsely.

Spread greens out on a large platter or four individual plates. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Make rows or a spoke-like design with the bacon, turkey, avocado, tomatoes and chopped eggs, and scatter blue cheese over the top.

 In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette and mustard. Pour dressing over salad in a spiral pattern, sprinkle with chives, and serve.

Make your own simple vinaigrette or buy a good brand such as Newman’s Own.


Leavened only by eggs, these crisp, airy creations seem sort of magical. I like to serve popovers as an accompaniment to a soup or salad meal, or for breakfast, spread with jam or maple butter. (This same batter, by the way, is the one used to make Yorkshire pudding.)
Servings: 10 to 12 popovers
1 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1⁄4 cups whole or reduced-fat milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Generously butter a 12-cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk and melted butter. Pour liquid ingredients over flour mixture and whisk just until smooth. Batter should be the consistency of thick cream. (Can be made a couple of hours ahead and held at cool room temperature or refrigerated. Rewhisk before using.)

Pour batter into the muffin cups, filling about  full. If any cups remain unfilled, spoon about 2 tablespoons water into bottoms of empty cups.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the popovers are risen, golden brown and crisp. Do not open  oven until near the end of the baking time. Unmold onto a wire rack and use the point of a small knife to pierce a small hole in the side of each popover to allow steam to escape. Serve immediately.

Fresh local eggs make all the difference in these custards, which are flavored with smoky maple syrup and topped with fresh strawberries.
Servings: 6
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1⁄2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pure maple syrup
11⁄2 cups light cream or half-and-half
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 cup sliced strawberries tossed with 1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter 6 6-ounce custard cups or ramekins.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, brown sugar, and salt until smooth. Whisk in maple syrup, cream, and rum. If any lumps of brown sugar remain, strain mixture through a medium-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup or another bowl. Pour or ladle custard mixture into custard cups. 

Place cups in a large baking pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake in the preheated oven until the surface of the custard appears shiny and the pudding still jiggles slightly when gently shaken, 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the shape of the ramekins. Remove from the water bath and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.

Toss strawberries with sugar and set aside at room temperature for about 1 hour. Spoon berries over custards and serve.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Dishing Up Maine” (Storey Publishing 2006) and “The New England Clam Shack Cookbook” (Storey 2008). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula.

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