Archive for November, 2015

Thanksgiving “Musts” from In Cod We Trust

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015


In case you are still creating a Thanksgiving menu, I offer these recipes from my book “In Cod We Trust.”  Three are Wampanoag Tribe member recipes; one is from the now closed Newburyport restaurant, Enzo, which focused on dishes using the best New England Ingredients.  All four would be special to “show-stopper” on a Thanksgiving table, while remaining loyal to the traditions.  All photos are by Allan Penn.

Brussels Sprouts Panzanella Salad-10404

Brussels Sprout Panzanella Salad with Candied Bacon

serves 4-6

This brussels sprout recipe, from the now closed Enzo Restaurant in Newburyport, answered the question, “how do we make a panzanella salad – the traditional Italian bread salad made with summery red tomatoes and fresh basil – in New England in the winter?” The result looks nothing like its parent, and should enjoy its own unique place at the table. Blanched Brussels sprouts tossed in a molasses-pancetta vinaigrette with roasted wild mushrooms, toasted bread, and finished with the deluxe pieces of candied bacon, this is North Shore Farm food; it says winter on coastal Massachusetts the way a panzanella says summer in Tuscany. There are many steps, but they’re easy, and each could be completed a full day ahead, the whole assembled quickly.   Ingredients

4 cups Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, and the sprouts sliced 1/4”

3 cups mushrooms, a mix of shitake and button is good, cleaned and sliced

6 tablespoons olive oil – divided

salt and pepper to taste

3 cups cubed bread – semolina or a country-style loaf

2 slices good quality bacon, cut into 1/2” wide sections

2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 cup, or to taste,

Pancetta Molasses Dressing at room temperature


In lightly salted boiling water, blanch the sliced Brussels sprouts, dropping immediately into ice water. Spread the leaves out on paper towels to dry, padding the top layer with more paper towels. Try to get as dry as possible.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the mushrooms with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and lay out on a baking sheet. Roast for fifteen minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to get brown and crispy.

Toss the bread cubes with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, or more if the bread does not look completely coated, and lay out on a baking sheet. Toast in the same oven until brown, about fifteen minutes, depending on your bread.

In a small bowl, toss the bacon pieces with the brown sugar. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil, lay the bacon, scraping the loose brown sugar on top. Still at 400 degrees, roast for fifteen minutes, or until bacon is brown and crispy; watch carefully that it doesn’t burn. Remove from oven and lay pieces out on a baking rack to “dry.”

To assemble the salad:

In a large bowl toss the sprout leaves with enough dressing to liberally coat. Distribute dressed sprouts liberally among large salad bowls or on one large platter. Distribute mushrooms on top of the sprouts. Toss croutons and the candied bacon all over.

Pancetta-molasses dressing

Yields about 3 cups

3 oz pancetta, sliced or cubed

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup molasses

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup oil (I use a blend of olive and canola oils)

Cook pancetta in a skillet until crisp and browned and the fat is rendered out.  Cool slightly and then place pancetta and all the rendered fat in the bowl of a food processor.

Add the mustard molasses, and vinegar to the processor bowl.  Turn the processor on and let it grind up the pancetta. When the mixture in the bowl looks semi-smooth, pour in the oil.  When the dressing looks cohesive and smooth, turn off the processor and check for seasoning. Taste for salt, or more molasses or vinegar: it should taste sweet, sour and salty together.

This dressing should be stored in the refrigerator and brought up to room temperature (or heated) before use.

Aquinnah Salad-10467


Aquinnah Autumn Salad: Blueberry & Butternut Squash Salad with Dried Blueberry Vinaigrette

4 dinner-sized portions

This dinner salad is a surprising, opulent composition of tastes, a delicious reflection of the high-key colors of a late summer day in Aquinnah. Roasted butternut squash, caramelized red onion, fresh blueberries, and toasted sunflower seeds lay on a bed of local greens, beneath the sweet dried blueberry and balsamic vinegar dressing. This “vinaigrette,” dried blueberries cooked down with balsamic vinegar, olive oil whirred in, is so unctuous and fruity it can accompany almost anything: venison, chicken, even salmon. The dressing amounts here make plenty, so try it everywhere. With a soup, particularly the Wampanoag Fish and Oyster Chowder, this salad makes a glorious meal. In any season it’s served, this looks like a late autumn bouquet, and tastes like a September harvest, the cusp of summer’s last berries and fall’s new squashes.

For the dressing

1 cup dried wild blueberries

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

for the salad

1 butternut squash, or 3 cups peeled and cubed

1 large red onion, cut into wedges

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 teaspoon salt, preferably sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 large head Bibb lettuce, washed and torn into pieces

juice from half a lemon, or 1 tablespoon

2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and picked over

1 cup toasted sunflower seeds

more salt and pepper to taste


Make the Blueberry Vinaigrette: Place the dried blueberries and vinegar into a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes, or until the mixture is reduced by half. Cool briefly, and then put it into a blender or food processor with 1 cup oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend until smooth. This can be done a couple of days ahead and stored in the refrigerator, but it will thicken considerably. To soften, warm briefly in a small saucepan.

To prepare the salad:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the squash cubes and onion wedges with 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan, and bake until the edges are brown and crispy, about 45 minutes. These can be done ahead, and served on the salad at room temperature.

In a large bowl, toss greens with remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle lemon juice over all, and toss again. Lay greens on individual plates, or on a large serving platter. Mound the squash and onions over the greens. Toss the blueberries on top, and sprinkle half the toasted sunflower seeds over that. Pour dressing in desired amount over the salad. Sprinkle the remaining sunflower seeds on top.

Cranberry Crumble-10789

Wampanoag Cranberry Crumble

serves 6-8

Tribal elder Gladys Widdis prepares this dish for Cranberry Day on Martha’s Vineyard, the annual October Wampanaog Festival that honors their ancestors and the harvest, and particularly the cranberry which sustained tribe for over twelve thousand years, according to tribal history.


1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen then thawed.

For the Topping

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 cup oatmeal flakes

6 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces

3/4 cup chopped pecans

Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 8” x 11” glass or ceramic baking dish In a large bowl mix together sugar, flour, spices, and cranberries. Pour into baking dish. In the bowl of a food processor blend together the dry ingredients for the topping. Add the butter, and pulse lightly to cut it into the flour. (Alternately, put all the dry ingredients into a bowl, and cut the butter in with a pasty cutter or 2 forks.)

When the mixture is the size of small peas, add the nuts. Process or mix a little more, just until blended.

Top the cranberries with the streusel, and bake for 35 minutes, or until the crumble is brown on top and bubbling with juice. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Indian Pudding-1875


Earl Mills’ Indian Pudding

serves 6-8

There are hundreds of recipes for Indian Pudding, but anyone who ever dined at The Flume restaurant in Mashpee will affirm that Earl Mills’ Indian Pudding is the best. It doesn’t hurt to remind people when you serve your Earl Mills’ Indian Pudding that this recipe is that of Chief Flying Eagle, chief of the Mashpee Wampanoag Indians. A lovely twist of fate makes Mills not only a revered Indian chief, but also a respected chef. Mills has many wonderful, authentic recipes that represent the Cape Cod land, sea, woods, and fields – corn chowder, clam cakes, clam chowder, succotach; in its day The Flume was considered the best restaurant on Cape Cod. Among Indian Pudding recipes, Mills’ cannot be equalled. I was lucky enough to have lunch with Earl in Mashpee, and he shared his secrets.


4 cups milk

1/3 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup molasses

2 eggs

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon grapenuts

1 tablespoon tapioca

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla


Combine all of the ingredients in a double boiler, and whip over simmering water Continue to cook over a low flame for an additional 1 – 1 1/2 hours, whipping occasionally, until the pudding starts to thicken. Once it starts to thicken, remove the whip and allow the pudding to thicken naturally, and forma skin or crust on top. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. If serving later, refrigerate. Warm in a microwave or double boiler. Add milk if necessary.

Dogtown Dire Brew

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Dire Brew


Some of the best local food pours from a tap at the Cape Ann Brewing Company: Dogtown Dire Brew, created by Head Brewer Dylan L’Abbe-Lindquist, is a history lesson, a botany lesson, a cultural lesson, and a cold, molasses-y quaff worthy of Easter Carter.

Dogtown is a real and storied chunk of uninhabited land, about five square miles or 3,600 acres, in the center of Cape Ann. The colonial road from Gloucester to Pigeon Cove traveled straight across this boulder-strewn, rough-hewn farmland and pasture at Cape Ann’s center, once described by the artist Marsden Hartley as a cross between Stonehenge and Easter Island. First settled in 1693, Dogtown began as a respectable community. Some people say that the men all left for either the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812. Some say the Riverdale bridge created an alternate shore route to Pigeon Cove, and that drained the life from this plucky village. The children grew up and moved to the coast for work. By the turn of the 19th century, only a brambly crew of spinster women – women like Easter Carter, Granny Day, and Tammy Younger – considered either witches or healers – and a couple of freed slaves remained in this dwindling cluster of structures. Legend says the women kept dogs for protection and company. The women passed away; their houses crumbled but the dogs, then wild, roamed the moors and woods; the region was colloquially renamed “Dogtown.”

The book which best describes this once spirited village’s decline into a moss-covered secret is “In the Heart of Cape Ann or the Story of Dogtown,” by Charles E. Mann, published in 1896. The Dire Brew story begins on p. 31:

“‘Aunt Smith’ (Aunt Rachel Smith) used to make a ‘dire drink,’ brewed from foxberry leaves, spruce tops, and other botanical specimens, which she was wont to peddle in the village, saying as she entered a house, ‘now, ducky, I’ve come down to bring a dire drink, for I know you feel springish.’”

Gloucester resident Kitt Cox, a serious musician, a personal chef, (and a counselor at the North Shore Postpartum Depression Task Force), saw in these lines a way to rekindle a little of that legendary Dogtown moxie. One of Dogtown’s most zealous devotees, Cox has written and recorded songs about this haunting place, a point which gained him entry into the recently organized “Friends of Dogtown,” whose mission is “to conserve, interpret, and celebrate Dogtown’s unique historical and ecological heritage for the benefit of citizens of Cape Ann and the general public.” Check out their website, if only for a magical listen to a few Dogtown peepers.

Cox approached Dylan L’Abbe-Lindquist, who, born in a Rockport kitchen, and Head Brewer at Cape Ann Brewing Company, had the pedigree to start treading Aunt Smith’s path. He understood the spirit of Cox’s Dire Brew idea instantly.

A sort of brewing scholar, L’Abbe-Lindquist appreciates the history as much as the science to beer. “In the 1600, 1700, and 1800’s beer was much lighter in alcohol; it was basically a safe way to drink water,” he said; fresh water harbored all kinds of dangers.

“There’s no human pathogen that can survive in beer.”

L’Abbe-Lindquist knew that a beer produced in 1780 would have been dark. In the malting process, he explained, after the barley is moistened and allowed to germinate, it is thrown in a big oven, and heated to a certain temperature, depending on how light or dark your “malt” will be, and thus how light or dark will be your beer.

“Back then, they didn’t have access to technology that would make this process exact. They had no controls; the malting was done over a smokey, open fire, which resulted in a dark, smokey brew. L’Abbe-Lindquist reproduced this method for his Dire Brew, using a specifically “dark, smokey malt.”

The malted barley is then mixed with hot water. The liquid from that process is poured off, put in a kettle with hops, and brought to a boil. While he didn’t use foxberrry and spruce tops, L’Abbe-Lindquist did forage the important next ingredients. With his new baby in a backpack, L’Abbe-Lindquist and his wife went into Dogtown and collected staghorn sumac and winterberry for this Dire Drink. He also added rose hips, cranberries and juniper berries to his personalized Dogtown brew, certain that all these ingredients could easily have been one of the “botanical specimens” Aunt Rachel Smith foraged herself in 18th century Cape Ann.

Even hops were local then, L’Abbe-Lindquist told me, and they can still be spotted climbing discreetly in places on Thacher Island and in certain Rockport yards.

Aunt Rachel, L’Abbe-Lindquist knew, would certainly have been hoarding pricey refined sugar for much more special moments than a daily drink to cure “springishness.” And as sugar boosts the alcohol content, not something she would have wanted necessarily from a daily drink, the less expensive more available, lower-glycemic molasses would have been the sugar included in a 1780‘s brew. Thus, molasses is another critical component to Dogtown Dire Brew, and one that gives it not just Dogtown credibility but makes it a mellow drink crowded with character.

The results of this historical, local-centric study in brewing are available on tap at The Cape Ann Brewing Company in Gloucester for a limited time. A cold, chestnut-colored serving with a creamy head, a smokey molasses drink with herbal esthers, Dogtown Dire Brew is more than a fine 2015 cure for feeling “springish,” whatever that may feel like.


You Should Go.

Sunday, November 8th, 2015


This is truly a spectacular end-of -the-most-beautiful-autumn event.  Just read on to see how a grand New England harvest will be celebrated by great local talent.  Three words: you should go.

From the Tigerlily website:  On November 14 and 15, Colby Farm will be turned into a pumpkin shaped arena for a farm to table culinary battle royale.
Colby Farm is raising heritage breed organic turkeys this year, and we could not miss the opportunity to showcase them in a Thanksgiving event. But we wanted to do turkey-day with a twist, so we came up with the Great Pumpkin Challenge.
Four chefs each day will fight head to head for the title of Mayor of Pumpkinville! At the end of the event, one worthy chef will receive the coveted Golden Pumpkin Trophy.
Guests and judges will vote for their favourite dish during each course made with the top ten Thanksgiving ingredients. Each dish will be paired with a locally crafted beer, cider or wine from Far From the Tree Cider, Riverwalk Brewery and Zorvino Vineyards.
As if that is not enough, we have Chef Angela from Market Square Bakehouse creating her own interpretation of a Thanksgiving dessert spectacular! A huge dessert buffet be the crowning glory for this event, accompanied by crafty coffees from One More Cup coffee. Just a hint, the Drunken Pumpkin is not to be missed!
What are the top ten ingredients, you ask? They are:
Sweet Potatoes
Butternut Squash
Brussel Sprouts
Green Beans

Of course, we added an 11th ingredient. Pumpkin. How could we have a Pumpkin Challenge without pumpkin?
Now for the amazing culinary talent that will delight your taste buds and take you on this delectable journey…


Chef Ryan Costigan of Woodland Catering
Chef Jeremy Glover of Ceia Kitchen & Bar, Newburyport
Chef David Stein of Stockpot Malden
Chef Nick Peters of Seaglass Restaurant at Castle Manor, also a top 5 contestant in Hell’s Kitchen.
Chef Rob Martin of When Pigs Fly, Kittery, ME
Chef Ryan McGovern of Foreign Affairs Bistro & Wine Bar, Manchester-by-the-Sea
Chef Michael Beers, Award-winning Private Chef
Chef Steve Asselin, Drynk Restaurant
We also have amazing judges on board to help critique the plates:
Steve Buckley, Boston Herald
Ilene Bezhaler, Edible Boston
Ann Reily, Newburyport Magazine
Heather Atwood, Gloucester Daily Times
Kelly Schetzle, Northshore Magazine
Carolyn Choate, TV13, Nashua
Full bios for chefs and judges (along with tickets for the dinner) are available at
Copyright © 2015 Tigerlily’s Events, All rights reserved. 

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Giving Superfoods: The Great American Milk Drive

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

milk carton

I think a lot about how food systems have failed so many, about how good nutrition has become as much a privilege as two cars in a driveway.

For anyone who cares about these things, here is a way to INSTANTLY provide families with important nutrition. Here is something you can do RIGHT NOW that will have enormous impact on the health of people right in your community.

Give them a gallon of milk. You can do it easily online for just $5, Right NOW at this link: The Great American Milk Drive

But here is more to think about:  In Massachusetts, 1 in 8 people struggle with hunger.   Milk is the most requested but the least donated item in Food Banks.  To a family in need, milk can be a key ingredient, and it makes any meal or snack more nutritious.

Milk is an easy, relatively inexpensive way to provide servings of protein, Vitamin D, and potassium.

nutritional info

In partnership with Feeding America, The Great American Milk Drive is making this happen:  Your contribution at the link above is instantly turned into a coupon for a family IN YOUR COMMUNITY to use at the grocery store for a free gallon of milk.

Milk really is a superfood. I have written that if we named it something else athletes would (and should) be chugging it, promoting it, branding it. In my house, milk shares the refrigerator shelf with blueberries, the Superfoods.

Give this Superfood.

Local Ginger & Garlic from David Calvo

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Calvo ginger, 1 pound

If there is an important New England building with some woodwork in it there is a very good chance that somewhere inside is a mantle, a sculpture, a plaque, or a capitol created by David Calvo’s fine woodworking studio in E. Gloucester, MA.

Trinity College Chapel, The Peabody Essex Museum, Holy Cross College, Wellesley College, Phillips Academy, Roxbury Latin School. Harvard University, all over. Seemingly, if Ralph Waldo Emerson visited a place, David Calvo ultimately designed a mantle for it.

But Calvo is almost as fine and serious a gardner as he is a woodworker. He is selling his fresh, Gloucester-grown ginger, and will soon also have garlic.

harvested ginger

(Calvo photo)

I am now a Gloucester-grown-ginger ambassador. Everything is better – from chicken soup, to sauteed carrots to tuna poke – with thin slivers of this crisp, peppery root stirred in, chopped in, or diced in. This is not like the brown-paper covered root we get at the grocery store; it’s moist but firm, and freshly spicy.  And it’s grown in a hoop house in Riverdale.


David Calvo's ginger, pickled


If you would like to purchase David’s ginger or his garlic (I will be racing you for the garlic.) you can reach him here: or on twitter and Instagram: @davidcalvo235

To see more of David’s woodworking click here:  Calvo Studio

Roasted Fresh Figs in a Cast Iron Skillet

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

roasted figs in a pan


“Figs in a Cast Iron Skillet” is not so much of a recipe as a good reminder that cast iron’s serving prettiness equals its emissivity.

Deconstruct your favorite “figs wrapped in proscuitto” recipe and put everything in a cast iron pan. There’s more flavor and more drama.

whole pan figs


According to Kenji Lopez Alt’s great blog, “Serious Eats; The Food Lab,” the thing about cast iron, besides its charm, is NOT actually conductivity; cast iron will heat where the flame is, but it might have cold spots where the flame isn’t. But, when the pan gets hot it stays hot, which makes it great for searing a steak. Emmissivity is another legitimate cast iron virtue. (- along with requiring small amounts of oil in a saute, so it’s supposedly “healthier,” and it is almost indestructible. Some people even claim extra iron leaches into your food when you cook with cast iron, so you can skip your daily vitamin that day, but I wouldn’t count on it.)

Emissivity is the ability to emanate heat above the surface. Imagine stainless steel, which basically has no emmissivity. If you hold your hand above a hot stainless steel pan it’s not that hot. If you hold your hand over a well-heated cast iron skillet, you feel the feet two inches up. All this is from Mr. Lopez-Alt.

I was inspired here by a Jody Adams pizza recipe printed years ago in Gourmet Magazine: fresh figs, fresh sage, prosciutto, honey, and Taleggio cheese. An amazing pizza, indeed. But I had no Taleggio, considered the Camembert of Northern Italy. With fresh figs on my counter, and 45 minutes before I needed to take something to my friend’s Actifio lunch, I created this. The Baley Hazen Blue Cheese (Jasper Hills) leftover from the weekend was too good to waste, but please grab that Taleggio if you can.

(About that bit of vinegar in my recipe, and the MYTH that cast iron cannot tolerate acid? – The vinegar adds enough balance to the sweetness of fig and honey, and Mr. Lopez-Alt says it’s ok to use a little bit of acid in a cast iron pan; he deglazes chicken in his,)

The beauty of this is also that the pan goes right to the table, or into your car and then to a table, just have a baguette ready. Serve the now soft fruit, bathed in sauce, onto a crust of bread, like jam. Don’t fret if the fruit cools; the flavors get better.

I used a 9″ cast iron skillet; of course, expand all the ingredients if you use a larger skillet, and have more figs.  Feel free to “roast” on top of a wood stove, over an open fire, in the woods, outside a tent, in a snowstorm.  This IS a cast iron skillet.  Again, this is not really a recipe; more of a concept, but it makes a heck of an appetizer, and a spectacular lunch.

Now I’m ready to “cast-iron” Seckel or Bosc pear halves, thinly sliced, and fanned in the pan, maybe drizzle with them with a champagne vinegar, thyme honey, and toss with small cubes of Fontina or Havarti cheeses, and more fresh thyme.

pan with crust of bread & fig

Roasted Fresh Figs in a Cast Iron Skillet


6 fresh figs

2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 fresh sage leaves ribboned

2 tablespoons prosciutto, sliced into 1/4” ribbons (or more to taste)

about 10 whole walnuts

2 ounces cheese – Gorgonzola, Camembert, soft goat cheese (or more to taste)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the figs into quarters, but do not cut all the way through, so they can open like a flower. Drizzle all over with the honey, vinegar, olive oil.  Sprinkle with sage, prosciutto, and walnuts.  Roast for 15 minutes.