Archive for October, 2016

April Bloomfield’s Butternut Squash -Coconut Tart (Pie.)

Thursday, October 27th, 2016



Sometimes you just need one recipe to inspire to you into a holiday.

April Bloomfield’s Butternut Squash – Coconut Tart is my Thanksgiving 2016 inspiration. (She calls it a tart, but, the recipe requires a 9” or 10” fluted pie dish, 2″ deep. It’s a pie.) I loved this pie’s perfect crust and coy departure from tradition.

The sweet, friable pastry refuses to allow a butternut squash filling to soggy it even a day later. Even two days later. The coconut milk in the filling adds a creamy, luscious, mysterious flavor that never challenges the Thanksgiving-ness of the whole thing. There is no mistaking this as a great Thanksgiving dessert, but the coconut makes it better.

For those too busy cooking (or coming up with less fatigued Thanksgiving menus) to pay attention to the hottest new chefs, Bloomfield is the winner of Food and Wine’s “Best New Chef” in 2007, winner of the 2014 James Beard award for Best New Chef in New York City. She has cooked in the The River Cafe and Chez Panisse kitchens, and owns two Michelin stars, one for The Spotted Pig, the first-ever “gastropub,” and one for The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, both in New York City. Carnivores and cooks consider her first cookbook/memoir A Girl And Her Pig exciting bedside reading.

After reading and cooking from Bloomfield’s second book, A Girl and Her Greens. I’m a believer in the accolades. Her recipes are detailed in interesting ways, not “fussy” (her word), but she understands which small efforts really make a difference. For instance, this pie. Bloomfield grates the chilled Pasta Frolla into the pie dish. The result is that decidedly separate but equal pastry.



Dollop whipped cream on a slice, and festoon it with toasted coconut; bring on the pilgrims.

All it took was one good recipe, and my enthusiasm for this holiday with too structured a template, is re-racked.  FYI, Bloomfield’s Slow Roasted Leeks with Walnut Breadcrumbs is also on my Thanksgiving menu. (p. 192, A Girl and Her Greens.)



April Bloomfield’s Butternutsquash and Coconut Tart (Pie.)

– from A Girl and Her Greens


2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large egg yolks lightly beaten
For the filling:
a 3 lb butternut squash, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 cups well stirred unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup superfine sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk


For the tart shell:
Sift the flour into the food processor, then add the powdered sugar, butter, and salt. Pulse the mixture until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and pulse until a crumbly dough forms. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and lightly knead just until smooth. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Cut the chilled dough into 2 or 3 large pieces and grate it through the large holes of a box grater. Use your fingers to press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the pie dish to create an even layer. (I used a 9” pie pan, about 2” deep, and had some pie dough and filling leftover. I was able to make 3 very sweet small tarts with these.) Prick the bottom and sides randomly with a fork to prevent the crust from rising during baking. If you have the time put in freezer for 15 minutes. (Alternately, make this in advance and keep in freezer.)
Remove the dough from freezer and lay a piece of parchment down into it. Add rice or beans or marbles to the pan to weigh down the dough. Bake just until the edges turn golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and allow the crust to cool. (Leave oven on.)

For the filling:
Place the two halves of the squash flat side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until the squash is very tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes.
Transfer the flesh to a blender with the coconut milk, and puree until smooth. Add the sugar and cinnamon with the blender running. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time. Blend well until all is incorporated.
Set the pie dish on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the crust up to 1/4” from the rim. (Again, you will have leftover.) Bake until the filling is set, 45 minutes to 1 hour. If the crust begins to get too brown, cover the pie loosely in foil for the remainder of the time.
Remove pie from the oven, and let cool to room temperature. Serve with whipped cream and toasted unsweetened coconut.

The Other Cape

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016



Welcome to The Other Cape, a new online magazine celebrating Cape Ann. (Click that link.)

Stories and beautifully curated photographs of Cape Ann’s best – the old, the new, and the fringe, The Other Cape is a kind of magazine-as-compass. If you don’t live here, you will want to visit. If you do live here, The Other Cape will remind you why.

As a local food writer who sometimes ventures into style, I think our “other” Cape is having a renaissance. I can’t keep up with the growers, makers, bakers, coffee roasters, picklers, and even gorgeous terrarium designers hanging signs (and posting websites) on Cape Ann everyday.

A small flock of young farmers has grown up in the last five years, and they are talented, tireless, and, as farming on rock demands, inventive. Today, you can find Cape Ann-raised eggs, chicken, turkey, pork – and in the spring Salt Marsh Farms in Essex will have lamb – for dinner.

Nationally prominent Boston chefs – you know who they are, and if you don’t you can read about them soon in The Other Cape – are not just calling Cape Ann a beautiful place to live, but they are betting on this to be the next great place to have a restaurant. They are putting Gloucester fish, Essex clams, produce from Cape Ann farms, pasta from our new pasta-maker, Danielle Glantz, on their menus.

The Cape Ann AirBnB business is busting out, a certain sign that people are discovering the unique culture on our granite peninsula, which, by the way, is supposedly a great chunk of North Africa left behind by a glacier on its slide to Canada.

Cape Ann has had its share of renaissance times; Gloucester is, after all, “America’s oldest seaport.” Post 1623, fishing and quarrying attracted immigrant communities that salted cod, braided Nisu and celebrated saints galore. A-list artists writing, painting, and chiseling on Cape Ann were once almost thick as fishing boats in Gloucester harbor. Almost. For heavens sake, we have an organ company! (C.B. Fisk, Inc.)

There are many stories to write about Cape Ann’s past, and more to write about its exciting future, the crafts people, the innovators, the renovators, the incubators. And there are hundreds of beautiful places to see, from the best Dogtown trails to the best works at the Cape Ann Museum.

“The Other Cape” will be an almost monthly way to check in on what’s new, what’s interesting, and what’s beautiful here.

About that “other” thing: Cape Ann is the other Cape, why? It has more granite than sand? It’s “uphill” from Boston? We have no Kennedys?

Or, maybe it’s because one of our best keep secrets is the sensual pleasure of lying on a warm slab of granite, not sand, beside the Atlantic ocean. Maybe it’s because, while we’re “uphill” from Boston, we’ve got a highway blessed by an orange dinosaur and the Rockport Line from North Station, not the Southeast Express Way, that links us to the city. Maybe it’s because we have no Kennedys.

We have Sefatia. Check out my piece on the mayor who cooks – or on Pastaio via Corta – in the first issue of The Other Cape.

A great meal in Rockport – Moqueca, Brazilian fish stew

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016


When I was a young girl my mother and I took off on a winter day for Provincetown, the farthest tip of what seemed to my young self the land of pilgrims and saltbox houses. For lunch we found a small restaurant with steamed-up windows and about eight tables serving Portuguese kale soup – Caldo Verde. Again, I was young and knew nothing, but that soup seemed to me as exotic and unlikely on Cape Cod as it was warming, wholesome, slightly spicy and delicious.

The Blue Lobster Grille in Rockport has reproduced this happy memory. At the far end of a different peninsula – the other Cape, generally represented on menus by baked haddock and lobster rolls – you can now find a sizzling bowl of the delicious, soul-warming, healthy Brazilian fish stew, Moqueca.


This steaming bowl – so hot it continues to simmer for a good five minutes after being served – of layered fresh haddock, fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and olive oil, is a reason to drive to the very end of Cape Ann any time of year, even better, on a chilly day between November and April, particularly if you are in need of a light, healthy meal with roots in a sunnier climate.


Agnoldo Oliveira and his wife took over the ownership and kitchen at The Blue Lobster Grille a few years ago. In that time they have very nicely provided the meals someone getting off a tour bus in Rockport would want – Corn Chowder, Lobster Rolls, Boiled Lobster, Baked Stuffed Lobster, and that Baked Haddock.

But the Oliveiras are from Brazil, specifically a southeastern town near Espirito Santo, where Moqueca Capixaba is served in traditional black pots made from black clay and mangrove tree sap. On his most recent trip home Oliveira returned with ten of these clay pots, called Panela de Barro, impossible to find here. In the panela Oliviera serves his native moqueca Capixaba. (Another Moqueca – Moqueca Bahiana – from the northeast region of Brazil called Bahia, is made with fish, peppers, and coconut milk.)

There is no coconut milk in this version, just bright, light flavors that multiply the virtues of Cape Ann’s clean native haddock.


When you order the Moqueca, you are served three parts: the clay pot filled with the bubbling fish stew, a pyramid of yellow sazon-seasoned rice, and a second, smaller clay pot. The latter is called the Pirao, and contains a combination of all the ingredients in the fish stew, chopped fine, simmered, and thickened with casava root. Spoon a little stew onto the rice, some pirao, take a bite of the warm, wonderful flavors and textures, and continue.

Again, each pot is cooked to order, and takes about 10 minutes, leaving a diner plenty of time to make it up the street to their performance at the Shalin Liu. But, don’t wait for concert tickets; invite a friend to lunch on one of these gorgeous Cape Ann days, and drive to Rockport.

I love that there is now a warm, healthy Portuguese-named stew waiting at the end of both Massachusetts peninsulas!

(Moqueca will be served for lunch and dinner at the Blue Lobster Grille all year round. Dinners are served through the winter on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; lunch is served everyday.)

The Best Way To Spend A Sunday on The North Shore.

Monday, October 17th, 2016




Chive Events Sunday Suppers came back today.

The mood was pure Sunday afternoon – muted, reticent, warm sun with just enough breeze to urge a few more leaves off their branches.

The food was like a horn-blowing, marching band of bold deliciousness.




Carrot-ginger-chickpea latkes with house-cured wild salmon. Maitland Mountain Farm kimchee-cakes.  Chef Perkins’ perfect boules baked in his transportable bread oven. Molded beehives of Valley View Cheeses layered with roasted garlic. Roasted sweet tomatoes and Valley View feta. Creamed salt cod and leeks on black bread. Ham and bean stew.

More Valley View cheeses. More Maitland Mountain farm pickles – giardiniera and pickled mushrooms.

Kim Gregory’s organic desserts provided sweetness afteward. That brownie?! If you live on the North Shore, seek out Kim Gregory’s Pure Pastry – probably the most beautifully executed, luscious, all-organic desserts this food writer has been served.

Chive Events Sunday Suppers build community in a bunch of ways. Chive donates their time; local vendors donate food and alcohol. The proceeds go to an organization that often shares the same Chive dedication to community and sustainability. Guests enjoy one of the best meals they could have on the North Shore in a place that surprises: a barn, a field, a former Beverly Farms summer camp with great bones hoping to be a farm school.


The Garden School, formerly Camp Mitchman, in Beverly, MA, was this Sunday’s host and beneficiary. With a song in their hearts, so to speak, Brothers Ben and Jon Zoba purchased this grand but neglected property, designed by the architect James L. McLaughlin, who also designed Fenway Park, two years ago. The Zoba’s plan/dream is to have a school for the “Gap Year Student,” a year for someone in between life decisions to farm in the warm months and read books in the cold ones. It’s a curriculum built on the opposing lessons of physical and cerebral work: agriculture and literature. Dig, till, plant, weed and harvest outside under sun and sky until the ground freezes. Then go inside, light a fire, and talk about what you’ve been reading. (Parents, the Zoba brothers also promise to help that gap year student manage college applications, if need be.)

Watch for more Chive Sunday Suppers. Honestly, they are quietly wonderful ways to spend a Sunday, the North Shore’s secret cultural gems.



Pasta con le Sarde – Local Pasta with Local Mackerel

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016


From the Massachusetts Fishing Report for October 6, 2016 in the blog “On the Water:”

With water temperatures plummeting and the lessening of the bluefish threat, mackerel will continue to become more common. Proven mackerel locations from Harding’s Ledge to the BG Buoy should be worth probing with a Sabiki…While it’s been challenging with those Nor’easter rollers, Nahant has bass and mackerel…Mackerel are easy pickings from boats and off the Salem Willows Pier. It’s crazy stuff off Castle Rock in Marblehead as bass can be seen in the clear water coming up out of the structure to chase a live-lined mackerel!

Although typical of October, it cannot be overemphasized how special the fishing is right now! Mackerel are the bait of choice and can be found in Cape Ann Harbor, especially just outside. A few who patronize Three Lantern lucked into large linesiders in Loblolly Cove recently. Live mackerel were pure magic. When anglers have caught a break in the combers the beaches have been steady. The footbridge of Good Harbor has been hot at night.

The stripers are there to win and the blues are blitzing, but, oh, consider those mackerel. Oh, those mackerel. As is evident from the report above, mackerel are everywhere whether you want them as bait or for dinner.

I received from Danielle Glantz, owner of Pastaio via Corta, a Gloucester-landed mackerel and a recipe with which to prepare it. As I have written in the past, visiting Pastaio via Corta means so much more than handmade fresh ravioli and hand turned gnocchi. Ask Danielle for a recipe; she is a dazzling and generous resource.

I cannot emphasize how complex and flavorful this dish is; I count ten layers of flavor.  This is not spaghetti and red sauce.

If you don’t have your own fishing rod, ask your local fish market or grocery store to order some fresh mackerel. Your fishmonger will probably get nostalgic about the days they actually carried the fish that were swimming in the waters beyond their own docks. That fishmonger might get so emotional about those days he’ll give you a recipe, too.



Pasta con le Sarde

Serves 4

4-5 tablespoons olive oil, divided + more to taste
1 medium onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced into 1/2 rounds
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lightly chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, about 20 threads
4 medium mackerel fillets, divided
2 medium red bell peppers (about 1 cup) thinly sliced
1/2 hot chili (about 1 teaspoon) thinly sliced
1/2 cup pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs, tossed with 1/2 cup olive oil, and toasted in a 350 degree F. oven
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound spaghetti
salt for the pasta water

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, in a skillet large enough to hold the pasta, heat the olive oil to medium. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and saffron, and cook until the onions become translucent but do not brown, about 5 minutes.
Take 2 of the mackerel fillets (setting aside the other 2) and slice them on the diagonal into 1/2” wide pieces. Lay the pieces skin side down in the hot pan, and let cook for about 3-4 minutes.
Add peppers and chilis to the pan, and stir together. Turn mackerel, and let all cook until the peppers just begin to break down, about 5 minutes. Add the pine nuts, and lower heat, still allowing the onions and peppers to cook, while you finish the dish.
Preheat the broiler.
Add the pasta to the water, and cook according to directions. Meanwhile, rub the last two mackerel fillets with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place under the broiler, skin down, and cook until they are slightly browned on top, about 5 minutes. Remove from broiler, squeeze with lemon, and keep warm.
Give the peppers a toss. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the water, adding it either directly to the pan or simply add the pasta into the onions and peppers very wet. With two wooden spoons toss the pasta in the peppers and onions, deliberately lifting the pasta up high, and dropping it back into the sauce. The sauce should begin to drape the pasta as the starchy water blends with the onions and peppers. Keep the pan on warm if you need to. Keep tossing all the ingredients until the strands appear shiny with the sauce. Drizzle some olive oil over all. Squeeze more lemon over all, and taste the pasta for salt and pepper.
To serve: divide pasta among 4 bowls. Sprinkle a good 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs over each serving. Sprinkle parsley over that. Divide the broiled mackerel into 4 portions, placing a portion of mackerel to the side of the pasta. Serve immediately.


***Pastaio via Corta

Pig Roast Lessons, Mojo, Yuca, and Cuban Sandwiches.

Friday, October 7th, 2016



We had a pig roast. It was great, but no one needs a review of someone else’s party, so I am just going to recite the lessons learned and three important recipes.

My pig roast started with another pig roast, years ago, at Rich and Janis Tester’s house. That’s when I first saw the “La Caja China,” which means Chinese box in Spanish speaking places. The Testers had one in their back yard. I was having wine, and visiting with people, kind of unaware, and then I saw Rich Tester rushing to his kitchen with a medium-sized perfectly roasted pig on a platter.  “That box,” I thought.




La Caja China is a well insulated plywood box invented by a Cuban family to replace the way they roasted meats back home in Cuba. The pig is sandwiched between two grates, which makes it easy to turn (only turned once). Then a tray of hot coals is set on top of the pig.  The pig roasted tends the coals for 4-6 hours. If all goes well, you do that turning thing at about hour 3, to crisp the skin. If all goes well.




If you are us, the pig will be done in 8 hours. We started with a very large pig, 130 pounds live weight. Our pig, raised lovingly in Essex, MA at Salt Marsh Farms, was 100 pounds minus the head and trotters (pig language for feet.)

If you live on or near Cape Ann, here’s another thing you need to know: Salt Marsh Farms is providing Cape Ann residents truly local livestock and poultry options – pork, lamb, and poultry raised in Essex.  If you are longing for the chicken of your youth, chickens that taste not like marigold blossoms (did they ever taste like marigold blossoms?) but like chicken, find a Salt Marsh Farms chicken.




I am obsessed with them now, purchase them when ever I can, freeze them, even give them as gifts. They are not inexpensive, as chickens go, but this is no longer your everyday Tuesday night dinner; these are fine-dining chickens, chickens that will make chicken soup a 5 star option. These are chickens with which to make the perfect chicken sandwich:  sliced breast meat, a little mayo, salt and pepper on white toast. These are meaty, naturally moist, and just full of chicken-y flavor chickens.

For more waxing about Salt Marsh Farms poultry, read Bo Abrams’ letter, reproduced at the bottom of this post, written the night after her first Salt Marsh Farms Chicken experience this summer. If only for the beautiful sentences, read this testimony.


Salt Marsh Farms owners Liz Jaeger and Edgar Foudray will be offering lamb, pork, and most importantly LOCAL TURKEYS for thankgsiving. Order now! You can email Liz and Edgar at or call them at (617)-617-6171.  They are often at the Cape Ann Farmers’ Market.  On Wednesdays they sell their goods to Alprilla Farm in Essex and Cedar Rock Farms in W. Gloucester.

Returning to pigs, Liz and Edgar raised our chunky pig. They were helpful every step of the way, and the results were many, many gorgeous, charred, sweet, roasted porky pounds of meat, pounds which just took longer than anticipated because our pig had enjoyed his own dinners so much.

More pig roast data: Danielle Glantz, of the pasta shop Pastaio via Corta, came to our house two days in advance. Glantz has had some Cuban Pig Roast experience. Contrary to all the online videos which recommend injecting the meat with various concoctions, Glantz studded the pig all over with about a pound of garlic cloves, rubbed it well with salt, and then made a paste of more garlic, bitter orange juice, and dried oregano. Who knows how this method compared to the injections? As people pulled at the warm roasted meat in the dark, no one was complaining.

Another lesson: Mojo. Know it. Make it. Repeat.

Garlic, lime juice, oregano, cumin, and olive oil, Mojo is the crowning glory to all thinks pork, as far as I can tell. I made a great batch of it, and, in the dark (remember our pig was 3 hours late!) I ladled it over the warm meat. A few spoonfuls of that tucked into a warm tortilla (Brian Knowles just kept toasting them over the gas flame in the kitchen) would make a vegan stray.


Yuca, a traditional Cuban Pig Roast accompaniment, was another revelation. Where has this starch been all my life? Apparently it has far more vitamin C than potatoes, and it is a great source of antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Yuca consumption is associated with healthy insulin and cholesterol levels. And, my is it good. Crispy, with far more toothsome character than a potato, our yuca was boiled, tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, and then roasted. We took them steaming from the oven, comforted them with spoonfuls of translucent onions, and – tada! – a healthy ladle of mojo. Just fantastic.



Cuban Sandwiches. When the La Caja China is degreased and tucked away for next year. When the yard is cleared of plastic cups and paper plates. When the refrigerator is bulging with roasted pork, have another party and make Cuban Sandwiches.

I happen to have had a loaf of homemade Portuguese Sweet Bread on my counter. To the state of Florida, which seems to have made the Cuban what it is, I say find yourselves a Portuguese bakery and remake your sandwich. I think the Portuguese Sweet Bread is all a Cuban roll wants to be and more: soft, sweet, tender sandwiching warm, salty, savory.


Pig Roast Lessons in summary:

  1. The Floridian Cubans know their pork; La Caja China works.
  2. Salt Marsh Farms is raising pigs; you could get one of these for your pig roast if you live on Cape Ann. You just need to time your roast with their pigs’ lives.
  3. Salt Marsh Farms also has delicious chickens and turkeys, available for Thanksgiving.
  4. Mojo is the best sauce in the world. Make it in batches. Pour it on roast pork from your oven, yuca, Cuban Sandwiches, almost anything.
  5. Yuca is the new kale.
  6. Cuban Sandwiches are as good as their fame suggests, but they are better made with Portuguese Sweet Bread.
  7. Here are my recipes, very simple recipes that are important to know even if you are not having a pig roast.

Mojo Sauce

makes 1 cup


8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) ground cumin

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in a blender, and taste for seasoning.


Roasted Yuca

Serves 6-8

4-5 yuca, about 8-10” long

3 tablespoons olive oil + more for tossing the yucca

3 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced into 1/2 rounds

salt and pepper

1/2 thinly sliced red chili or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup mojo sauce


Bring a very large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel the yuca. (Make a slice down the length of the yuca. At that slice take the point of a knife and get under the skin, beginning to pull it back. Once the skin begins to pull away, you can help it along with the blade of the knife, both cutting and pulling at the same time.) Chop the yuca into 5-6” lengths, and add to the boiling water. Reduce to simmer, and cook until a knife inserts easily into the yuca, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet saute onions and chilis in olive oil until softened and almost translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Remove cooked yuca from water.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. When cool enough to handle, cut each yuca piece in half lengthwise. Remove any tough inner fiber. Cut pieces into lengths again, so you have something that looks like yuca “fries,” about 1” in width. (They will shrink when roasted.) Toss “fries” in olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread them in a roasting pan. Bake for 25 -30 minutes, or until they being to turn brown and crispy.

Remove browned yuca to a platter, and distribute the onions over them. Ladle some mojo sauce over the yuca to “dress” it. Put remaining sauce in a pitcher to serve on the side. Serve immediately.


Cuban Sandwiches

Makes 6


12 slices Portuguese Sweet Bread or another slighty sweet, tender loaf

Dijon mustard

6 slices Swiss cheese

about 1 pound roast pork

Mojo sauce

6 slices boiled ham

6 garlic-dill pickles, chopped


Lay out 6 slices of bread. Layer first mustard, cheese, roast pork, about 2 tablespoons mojo sauce, ham, and fresh pickles. Top with 2nd slice of bread.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Toast sandwiches in a large skillet to brown each side. Remove to oven to keep warm and completely melt cheese while you toast the remaining sandwiches. Serve warm.



Bo Abrams Love Letter to Salt Marsh Farms Chicken, reproduced with her permission

Hi Liz and Edgar,

Last night we had the most amazing meal because of the Kosher King heritage breed chicken we got from you.  Lately the sweltering heat has made me not want to do much of anything by the end of the day. Especially cook.  But I had our lovely kosher king chicken (which we nicknamed Bernie* because Kosher King Heritage Breed Chicken is a mouthful) and a very hot and cranky family that was going to start complaining that they were hungry so I decided grilling was the only way forward. 

Cooking a whole chicken on the grill takes a little more time than in the oven (at least on mine) but oh man was it worth it. I gave Bernie a jacket of a fresh garlic and rosemary and sea salt rub and while it roasted I made a simple but oh so sumptuous salad with baby greens and cucumber and heirloom tomato and I marinated grated carrots in a lemony vinaigrette to toss together when the chicken was ready. Then I prepped new potatoes and they went on the grill. And thick slices of multiple colors of beets brushed with olive oil? Yep. Them too on the grill.    

And because life is awesome I put together a blueberry buckle in a cast iron skillet.  AND Yesirree, that went on the grill too.  Can you picture this meal?  Sultry summer night on the porch with the soft glow of fairy lights in the civil twilight. A gentle breeze. Serenaded by crickets. Fragrance of roasted chicken mingling with the sweet smells of flowers all around us.

You know how sometimes you give thanks and then dig in to your meal and it is genuine but cursory and then the meal begins? Not this meal.  Our appreciation grew with each bite. Bernie was truly was the most delicious chicken we have ever eaten but there was more to it. 

We are always thankful for our farmers and our food, but on this night everything was enhanced. It was incredible to be able to taste the nuances of the flavor that comes from the hopes and dreams of starting a new crop and raising a new flock.  We could feel the camaraderie and the nuttiness of long days and broken machinery. The kinds of seasoning that only come from shared stories as weeds are pulled and birds are chased.  All of this and more showed up at our table, as if the laughter and tears and sweat had watered the soil in this long hot summer. 

My irritable family was transformed to a grateful group from the sustenance of hope as much as the deliciousness of the food.  Truly the meal was magical. But I do have one regret.  That I only got one chicken. I recommend making TWO. Same amount of work but then you get leftovers! Thank you for your hard work and commitment. 


*We named her Bernie for so many reasons but most especially because of this Portlandia Episode. 

Pigeon Cove Ferments, local sauerkraut with Cape Ann terroir

Thursday, October 6th, 2016




Certain Cape Ann grocery shelves now stock a healthful, new local product: sauerkraut made from cabbages grown in Essex, lacto-fermented with salt from the Atlantic Ocean, produced by a young family in Pigeon Cove.

Kristen and Dylan L’Abbe-Lindquist have created Pigeon Cove Ferments, a line of crisp, briny, fresh-tasting sauerkrauts that promise to transform a Cape Ann Reuben sandwich into Brooklyn gold – as in, this sauerkraut is as good if not better than anything from an earthen crock in that pickle and hipster dense borough.




Here’s the story: The L’Abbe-Lindquists, with their young son, Ronin, live in Dylan’s childhood Pigeon Cove home. Kristen has a degree in Sustainable and Equitable Food Systems.  She started a garden and had hopes for a true Pigeon Cove Farm, but a new baby made her rethink what she could do with her degree, and how she could help out the family.

While working at the Common Crow, Kristen noticed that the store dedicated a particularly large amount of shelf space to sauerkraut. Fermentation, she noted, must do well on Cape Ann. Dylan is the head brewer at Cape Ann Brewing, Co. He knows about fermentation. (The couple already had a relationship with Noah Kellerman at Alprilla Farms in Essex through Cape Ann Brewing.)

With a new business plan the gorgeous green spheres of Brassica lolling almost comedically over the Alprilla Farms fields had purpose, destined for the Pigeon Cove Ferments crocks.


The L’Abbe-Lindquists produce the sauerkraut – 4 delicious flavors! – in a kitchen at Blackburn Industrial Park. The Atlantic Saltworks Company, the company that evaporates local sea water down to salt crystals, is conveniently their neighbor, and now their second most important ingredient. We are talking Cape Ann terroir.

Pigeon Cove Ferments is already breaking the sauerkraut rules, becoming a special fermented product in flavors that will make you just want to serve them on their own:

Turmeric & Ginger

Garlic Dill

Peppered Caraway


Two more flavors –

Red Beet, Ginger & Bay Leaf

Curried Carrot Kraut

– will be available in various farmers’ markets. I say look for all of them, but the Red Beet, Ginger & Bay Leaf would earn both beauty and modernity marks on a holiday table.  DO NOT BE AFRAID: these krauts are more cool, bright salad than salty, malodorous vegetables, that thing people fear in sauerkraut.

Serve Salsa Kraut with Trupiano’s sausages on a crusty bun.

Serve Peppered Caraway Kraut with some golden fried hake in a Virgilio’s roll.

Make your own version of a Cuban Sandwich with ham, cheese, pork, mustard, and Garlic Dill Kraut on toasted Portuguese Sweet Bread.

Turmeric & Ginger Kraut with Cabot Clothbound Cheddar Cheese on sliced, buttered, grilled Alexandra’s Whole Wheat Bread might just be the new “Cape Anner.”

You can find Pigeon Cove Ferments on these shelves and at these events:

Common Crow


Lanesville Package Store

Seaview Farms Store

Also, they will be at:

the outdoor and indoor Cape Ann Farmers’ Markets

Rockport’s Harvestfest, October 15th

North Shore Food + Gift Emporium, Turner Hill, November 20th

Ales over ALS, October 22nd

The world needs young people seriously growing food again. It’s old news, but small family farms promote the health of soil, the health of the environment, the health of the people who consume this local produce, and the health of the community that comes together around these efforts.  Sauerkraut is the Superfood to all that.

Here’s some good information on the health benefits of sauerkraut and lacto-fermentation in general:

Benefits of Lacto-Fermentation