Deer Isle, Maine

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I think I can confirm Deer Isle, Maine as one of my favorite places to visit.

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Let me preface with some background about our family. We are active. We do not sit very long. Our children mountain bike and kayak. We are fine sitting in front of an ocean for hours. But not just sitting. So Maine, well, it’s a perfect thing for us.

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Deer Isle is a quiet little island located about an hour and fifteen minutes (south)west of Acadia National Park. It was once known for farming and now, it’s a well-known arts and fishing community. So in addition to being a quiet place – nothing is really open after 7 PM, it is a farmhouse mecca .

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And yes, I was having a field day with my camera in this environment. There is a distinct difference between a Maine farmhouse and a Pennsylvania one. The huge difference is the connection of the barn to the house itself – we were informed this was to accommodate for the harsh Maine winters. But then there is trim around the windows that is clearly Maine farmhouse. And I grew to love the Maine farmhouse as the week went on. So much so I told my husband we have to include that and this on our house one day. Even the barn being attached to the house too. He stated he wasn’t too sure about that, due to it being a fire hazard, but I assure you we will have a barn attached to our house one day.

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Of course we rented a farmhouse too – what did you expect? It actually was a boarding house at one point, but is now owned by a brother and sister. The other sibling and her husband own the adjacent home that has this view (below) of blueberry fields and the Penobscot Bay.  Harry, Kate and dog Jake quickly became acquainted with our family and Harry introduced us to their blueberry fields. He also informed us of the best way to make blueberry muffins – putting more blueberries then a recipe asks for, just enough to keep the batter together. We were pretty sure Harry wanted some blueberry muffins and after picking cups and cups, we happily obliged.

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Most of our days centered around these views – a pebbled beach, pathways of blueberry picking, runs and bike trips down an unpaved road, lined with farmhouses. And that bay. Seriously – when I’ve read about Maine in blogs, I’ve kind of laughed at the thought it was that magical. Nothing is that magical. But maybe, just maybe it is. And maybe part of that magic resides in the fact it was summer and vacation. But whatever it is, count us in.

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This is no ordinary sorbet

Sometimes on the weekend, I turn on PBS. Because for most of the day on Saturday, I can get my fill of cooking shows. For some reason the kids and I watched Joanne Weir a week ago. I’d never seen her show before, so I was intrigued when she was teaching this pretty boy how to make pineapple sorbet and some veal dish. Then I had to explain to the girls what veal was. See, we pretty much were stuck on the pineapple sorbet from the beginning.

It is such an easy thing, to make sorbet. For every four cups of puree, you will need one cup of sugar. So whatever fruit you use, you can go by this golden rule and be OK.

I began with a whole pineapple. And I cut it up. There is no special way to do this. I usually chop the top and bottom off and then slice away at the peel. Cut in quarters and slice off the top of the triangle part, which is the core. You don’t want that in your mixture. You all know why. Chop up the remaining pineapple and place in the blender.

Oh yes, blend that pineapple up.

And then strain it. Pieces in your sorbet are not desirable.

Use a spoon to push the good stuff through the strainer.

Then one must add sugar. Again using the ratio 1 cup of sugar per 4 cups of puree. Our puree came out to be around 3 1/2 cups. So I added about 3/4 of a cup of sugar. I am not a fan of super-sweet. Pineapple can be sweet enough, so this is an entirely personal thing, this sugar addition.

Place a little puree in a pot with your sugar. On medium heat, melt the sugar into the mixture until it looks clear. Use a spatula or, your finger, to see if your sugar has melted. If it comes out looking grainy, then it’s not quite done. Return this sugar mixture back into the other puree and stir well. Let it cool in the fridge for 1 hour before putting it in your ice cream machine.

We are almost there. Making ice cream or sorbet is a painful process for us impatient people. After many, many minutes, about the time your ice cream maker sounds like it’s struggling to get through, it’s time to stop.

You will have very soft sorbet. Beautifully sweet, pineapple sorbet.

And now you have to put it in the freezer another hour or two for it to firm up. Which sucks. But this process will reveal why this step is necessary when we finish up the whole ensemble.

But if your freezer is like ours, you will not have nice, firm sorbet.

Oh well.

So, the end part. The part that got my oldest and I wondering. When Joanne drizzled olive oil and sprinkled fleur de sel on her pineapple sorbet. And the guy she was teaching looked in horror at her. WHAT? You put olive oil and salt on your sorbet? Yes, yes she did.

And let me tell you. It’s good. Very good. My eight year old liked it as well.

Pineapple Sorbet with extra virgin olive oil and fleur de sel

from Joanne Weir

Ingredients

1 pineapple

1 cup of sugar

Olive oil

fleur de sel

Method

  1. Place the pineapple in a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing down on the solids to extract the puree. Discard the solids. Measure the puree and allow 1 cup (220g) sugar for every 1 litre (4 cups) puree.

  2. Place about 1 cup (250ml) of the fruit puree in a saucepan over medium heat. Add all the sugar and bring to simmer, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Combine with the remaining pineapple puree. Chill for 1 hour until cold.
  3. Pour the mixture into a shallow container and freeze until frozen at the edges. Remove and beat with an electric beater. Pour back into the container and refreeze. Repeat 2 or 3 times, then freeze until firm. (Alternatively, churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions.)
  4. To serve, scoop the sorbet into bowls, drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over each bowl and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.

This is where I impress you (not really)

 

I kind of felt like Cher in “Mermaids” making these. A friend of mine made these for a brunch last week and wouldn’t you know it, my son’s first grade room parent was there and assigned me to make them for the end of school year party.

OK.

But instead of melting chocolate, I made dark chocolate ganache. I gave the kids their own supplies and for one moment this week, they did not fight, or whine, or drive me nuts. I am not sure what is happening this week other than the end of school, super hot weather, sort of stuff. But the kids are especially crazed.

And now they are high on chocolate.

Ingredients

Marshmallows

Pretzel Sticks

Chocolate chips

Heavy whipping cream

Sprinkles

And now I will leave it up to you to figure out how to put these together.

Food and Kids

Feeding children is a complete mystery – how all can be fed the same way as babies and toddlers and then develop their own likes and dislikes later on. My kids are no exception. When they were babies I made all of their food. I remember mushing avocado and banana together and my oldest loved it. I could inhale a whole avocado on any given day. But my son, who could drink a gallon of milk in two days, could not stand it. My girls are not fond of milk, other than in their cereal. My son, will not have milk in his cereal. Are you getting me here?

So when it comes to meals – there is no sympathy. Occasionally there may be, but rarely. My mom worked a full-time job outside of the house and always, always, made a complete meal for us. Like baked clams on the half-shell, veal cutlet parmigiana, beef goulash (yuck). And we were always expected to eat it. Or, we would go hungry. One of the things I inherited from my mom was meal planning. Every week I sit down and write out the meals and prepare the shopping list. I sift through magazines or, blogs, that I love for meals. One of my favorites is Real Simple. Last night I made Sweet Potato and Gruyere Turnovers. I thought the kids would love them and I even omitted the swiss chard at first to see if they would fly better. My kids inhale my Butternut Squash Gnocchi. Basically the same kind of ingredients. Starch and cheese. This would even be wrapped it in a pie crust.

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The girls began eating with interest. Then slowly it faded into dislike. Boy wouldn’t even touch his. He picked at the crust and we finally made him take a bite to his dismay. Blobs of sweet potato mixture sat on their plates after the demolition of crusts. My only thought was the texture. The sweet potato was grated and this can be gross to a kid. Maybe mashed would of been better. Then mixed with the sauteed onions and gruyere cheese.

So while we liked it, the kids could of cared less and went to bed on bellies full of green beans and pears.

So I keep trying. And keep searching for recipes we all will like.

Some of my favorite food blogs:

She Eats Bears

Pictures and Pancakes

Smitten Kitchen

Another Lunch

What are some of yours?