Secretary of state to show how to make vintage recipe

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap will prepare fish balls from a vintage Maine cookbook Friday in a cooking demonstration that is open to the public.

The demonstration begins at 11:30 a.m. at the R.M. Flagg Maine Kitchen Cooking School at 1212 State St.

In addition to being in government service, Dunlap has more than 20 years of experience in the food service industry, including cooking at restaurants in Bangor and Bar Harbor. The vintage recipe was found in one of four promotional cookbooks found in the Maine State Archives. The cookbooks are “99 Potato Recipes” from 1938; “Maine Sea Foods: A Sampler” from 1939; “121 Tested Recipes Made with Famous State of Maine Canned Foods” from 1941; and “The State of Maine’s Best Seafood Recipes” from 1945. The cookbooks have been scanned and transferred into PDF and CD formats and are now for sale for $15 each on the state website.

The cookbooks were originally developed by the Maine Economic Development Commission and the Department of Sea and Shore Fisheries to promote the state’s signature foods.


Cleonice bistro closing after 12 years of fine dining

Rich and Cary Hanson announced last week that they are closing Cleonice Mediterranean Bistro after more than a dozen years in business. The last day of service will be Dec. 31.

Chef Rich Hanson said the outpouring of support from customers since the announcement has been “really humbling and gratifying.”

Cleonice opened in 2002 in the historic Luchini Building on Main Street. About three years ago, it moved into the Maine Grind building at 192 Main St., and the Hansons took over management of the coffee shop, which serves breakfast items, sandwiches, soups, pastries and a few dishes from Cleonice. The Maine Grind will be closed for the next month or so while the owners look for someone else to manage it.

Rich Hanson said closing Cleonice was a financial decision. After the economic downturn, the couple had to close their restaurant, Table, in Blue Hill.

“We only have the money that we make at (Cleonice), and the cushion got smaller and smaller,” Hanson said. “Even though we had a good summer, the summer didn’t make up for the hole that we had last winter. We just got to the point where we couldn’t do it anymore.”

When Cleonice first opened, Hanson said, people predicted the business would struggle. “I was told that Ellsworth was a tough town,” he said. “It wasn’t used to fine dining, and you couldn’t sell things like octopus or calamari. Well, they’ve both been on my menu for the entire time we’ve been here, so I’m proud of that.”

Hanson and Cleonice became well known all over the state for its food and farm-to-table philosophy. Hanson was a finalist in the farm-to-table competition at Harvest on the Harbor in Portland, and he often participated in charity events such as the annual Taste of the Nation dinner to fight childhood hunger.

Hanson said although he has already had a couple of job offers, he and his wife will take a few weeks off to wind down Cleonice business and sort things out before deciding what path to take next.

“I want to stay in the restaurant business, but not in the restaurateur business,” he said. “I still love cooking and working with people on the line. I may be getting a little long in the tooth, but I still have a few good years left in me.”

The owners of the Maine Grind building said on the Cleonice Facebook page that they are already in talks with various parties about opening a Maine Grind-style eatery in the same space. They said they will make an announcement later this month.


Altiero’s new book will be celebrated at dinner

Cellardoor Winery will team up with Kerry Altiero, chef/owner of Cafe Miranda in Rockland, on Jan. 16 for a three-course dinner celebrating the publication of his new cookbook, “Adventures in Comfort Food: Incredible, Delicious and New Recipes from a Unique, Small-Town Restaurant.”

The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour and will include wine and appetizers. All guests will receive a signed copy of the cookbook and the opportunity to submit a dish for the chef to cook that night.

The dinner will be held at The Farmhouse at Cellardoor Winery, 367 Youngtown Road and costs $100.

For reservations or to purchase a gift certificate for the evening, call 763-4478.


Two Fat Cats Bakery offers samples at open house

Two Fat Cats Bakery will host a holiday open house from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday.

The bakery, at 47 India St., will offer samples from its Christmas menu, including sticky toffee pudding, yule logs, Christmas cookies, fruitcake bars and raspberry- cranberry breakfast strudel. Hostess gifts, such as local, handmade rolling pins and Pie of the Month Club memberships, will also be for sale. The Pie of the Month Club entitles the holder to 12 pies over the course of a year for $260. (A mini pie of the month club costs $50.)

For more information, contact Stacy Begin at 347-5144 or [email protected]

Party will include viewing of local chef on food TV

Shannon Bard, chef/owner of Zapoteca Restaurante y Tequileria, will host a public viewing party Wednesday at Glass at the Hyatt for the Food Network’s new show, “Kitchen Inferno.”

Bard flew to Burbank, California, to tape the show, which pits chefs from all over the country against increasingly tough competition in an effort to win up to $25,000.

The party will begin at 9:30 p.m., and Bard’s episode – “Holiday Heat” – airs at 10 p.m. Glass at the Hyatt is a craft cocktail lounge in the Hyatt Place Portland-Old Port Hotel at 433 Fore St.

“Kitchen Inferno” is hosted by chef Curtis Stone. Each episode has four rounds. In the first round, a chef cooks against a “rising star chef” for a pot of money worth $5,000. If the contestant chef wins, she must then decide whether to keep the money or move on to round two, where she will cook against a “master chef” for a pot that has grown to $10,000. The third round is a cook-off with a “celebrity chef” for $15,000. If the contestant makes it to round four, cooking against a “world class chef,” the pot of money is $25,000.

Bard appeared on “Beat Bobby Flay” last spring, but said she found the “Kitchen Inferno” competition “much easier.” Even though she lost, “Beat Bobby Flay” helped build her confidence in front of the camera, she said, and made her more relaxed this time around.

“This one I went in with the attitude, ‘I’m going to go all the way in,’ ” she said.

Bard did not let the big pot of money intimidate her. She figured that even if she lost the cash, the marketing opportunity for her restaurants in Maine and New Hampshire were worth at least that much. She just wanted to do her best and “represent my brand,” she said.

The show asks the contestants what they will do with the $25,000 if they win it. Bard told them she would take her family on a nice vacation to pay her four children back for all the sacrifices they have made and support they have given her over the years while she opened and managed her restaurants. Bard can’t disclose how she did on the show, so you’ll have to watch this evening to find out. If you can’t catch the episode, it will air again at 1 a.m. Dec. 11 and 5 p.m. Dec. 13.

Does this mean Bard will become a regular on food TV? Not likely. She’s already turned down opportunities to audition for “Chopped” and “Cutthroat Kitchen.”

“I never say never,” Bard said, “but I’m not going to go out looking for it.”


Sweetgrass bazaar will have lots of local foods

The 5th annual Sweetgrass Holiday Bazaar will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 347 Carroll Road.

Local foods will be paired with wines and spirits from Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery. Appleton Creamery will sell its artisan cheeses, and the Pemaquid Oyster Company will sell fresh oysters to eat or take home. WaldoStone Farm will sample its line of oyster sauces and bloody mary mixers, and bloody mary cocktails will be available by the glass.

Bixby Bars will sample and sell their candy bars, and Transfiguration Hermitage will have fruit cakes and other treats. Bleuberet will have a variety of their artisanal jams and sauces to take home or give as gifts.

G & L Float Rope Creations will sell float rope baskets and mats from reclaimed lobstermen’s lines. Brae Maple Farm has created needle-felted ornaments in the shape of sheep, donkeys, golden retrievers and cats. All of the ornaments are made from wool raised on the farm. QDLoon Repurposed Bird Feeders will have a selection of feeders made from recycled objects. For more information, call 785-3024.