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johnnyd

eG foodblog: johnnyd - Dining Downeast II

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As the lobster shells slowly transform into stock, destined to enrich my chowder empire, I made a simple lobster sandwich with the bagel from 158.

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It was a messy affair. Lobster juice dripped down my chin as I savored the chunks I had cut large and mixed with a smidge of celery and red onion. One grind of white pepper and I was in heaven.

:cool: okay, okay - that was over the top! But it was pretty good.

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By popular demand: Fridge Porn!

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When it comes to the fridge, I am a pack rat. I have two small jars of white wine remnants that will surely embellish a sauce - I just don't know where they are.

Condiments are taking over and I am getting nervous. Mrs johnnyd is on an Indian food jag so the chutneys and eggplant pickles are vying for space against my sauce leftovers and marinade experiments. :angry:

Any leftover meals are promptly saved in our armory of chinese soup containers. One day recently we were shocked to find all thirty (or so) were used up and in the fridge holding an ounce of something or other.

Chaos ensued.

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The fridge door holds a lot of power ingredients. You have to be good to get a spot in there. Mostly because it commands easy access and you better have some killer flavor profile to get in (note Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk for example). Capers, Horseradish, fish sauce and green peppercorn in brine automatically gain fridge-door cred, of course.

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Freezer has five pounds of Gulf of Maine Shrimp, some feijoada and chicken stock. Lobster stock is on the menu, as noted earlier. Big bag on left is about fifteen pounds of local fresh cod. We try to stock up on fun ice cream thingies (Hoodsie Cups this week) for late night snacks.

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Thanks for the link back to the shrimp chowder - you mention the end of local shrimp season. When is the local season in New England - I think it is hard to find local shrimp and I would like to know when to look for it.

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When is the local [shrimp] season in New England

Maine Shrimp are truly legendary. Do take the time to read through the topics on Maine Shrimp in the New England forum and you'll get a sense of how great they really are.

But to answer your question, the season when they are landed here in New England (and best for consumption) is mid-December to mid February. Within that time, many are bought and processed to a frozen product. Thus, they are available on restaurant menus in-state, and hopefully in coming years, out of state as well.

Ask for them at your local seafood purveyor and your favorite restaurants! :smile:

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Oh, my. As one who can only eat a bite or two of lobster (don't ask why), I am in awe.

But, you've shown a few vegetables. Local? From your own garden?

And, I'd think seafood and sweet corn (just look at my avatar) are a natural.

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But, you've shown a few vegetables. Local? From your own garden?

And, I'd think seafood and sweet corn (just look at my avatar) are a natural.

We have only a square yard for herbs at the house. It's been a great growing season this year, weatherwise - I just haven't had the chance to go out and look. We do have a farmer's market today - and I haven't been yet this year so there's a plan shaping up for today.

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I'm fascinated by all the blue water shots. We've barely seen the sun this "summer" and our water has been relentlessly gray. The lobster looks pretty good too.


Edited by Abra (log)

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Thanks for all the enticing photos of your part of the world, and of the food. :smile: I dipped my big toe across the border to Maine while travelling around the Maritime provinces years ago, had a taste of the deep fried clam strips, and vowed to make a trip just for Maine one day. You've got me pulling out the road atlas for next summer!

I noticed that you like to have certain sauces, condiments on a "red plate" close at hand when cooking. What works well for me is a plastic Lazy Susan. I had one of those 5-separate-dishes serving platters that sat on a Lazy Susan. One of the compartments broke and I wasn't able to use it. While shopping at a second hand store, I saw another set with exactly the same dishes, and missing one. I was delighted now that I not only had a complete set for serving, I also had 2 extras!

But, what will I do with the extra "Susan"? It works perfectly to hold my most used spices and sauces by my stove. :biggrin:

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Super blog, JohnnieD! Shot my Saturday afternoon in the butt, alright! :raz:

Blog on, and long may you eat!

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Back home briefly to upload pictures of our doings this morning. Nice to have all day to play foodblog for a change! :smile:

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This is Deering Oaks Park in Portland,

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It is host to a steadily growing Farmers Market on Saturdays

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It was pretty busy today. We stocked up on some great fresh vegetables.

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The crowd was entertained by this accordian player,

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Have to run back out but lots more scenes to upload later today!

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What kind of tomatoes did you get? Report on variety names with opinions, please!

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Ahh! the broadbeans are here! I wait a little longer before I buy so they get bigger. I couldn't resist the baby yellow squash - we got a big handful.

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These blueberries are from Sanford, an hour or so southwest of Portland, by the New Hampshire border. Might be from those blueberry bushes that grow four or so feet tall. We ended up with a box of smaller ones from downeast. I think they're sweeter.

There was also blueberry pie. I pity the fool who won't buy a slice of blueberry pie! :cool: We bought two.

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The top oval sign reads m.o.f.g.a which is the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardners Association, a non-profit group who endeavor to help growers in Maine.

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These blueberries are from Sanford, an hour or so northwest, by the New Hampshire border.  Might be from those blueberry bushes that grow four or so feet tall.  We ended up with a box of smaller ones from downeast.  I think they're sweeter.

There was also blueberry pie.  I pity the fool who won't buy a slice of blueberry pie!  :cool:  We bought two.

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Your blueberries look quite a bit bigger than those we get at The Cabin. Our's are short little plants that grow on recently logged outcroppings that are primarily granite.

But, if you want to really eat a Great Blueberry Pie, buy a mess of them and make this.

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After the Market we went to our favorite sushi bar, YOSAKU, #1 Danforth Street.

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Chef Tak, Yosaku's owner, was a tuna buyer on the waterfront when I met him in the mid '90s. He liked it here so much he settled here, brokering sushi-grade seafood and running the sushi bar at Benkay restaurant, on India Street. Yosaku is three years old now, I think.

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Tak wasn't there this afternoon - probably beating one of his customers at tennis (hey, we're a small town!) - but his able staff prepared the usual sumptuous plates.

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Agedashi Tofu, Ohitashi, and some gyoza back there

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Bonito, Bincho-Maguro sushi - Toro, Kampachi Sashimi - Shitaki/Shiso maki roll

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And this item, new to the menu, is Tsubu Gai, sea conch sashimi.

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I think they flash boil it, pull it out, slice-y slice-y, and plate it spilling out of it's shell. Served with ponzu. Ve-r-ry tender, unlike some of the stuff in Florida I've had, and wonderful flavor. This inspired me to harvest those periwinkles tomorrow and see what happens.

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Your blueberries look quite a bit bigger than those we get at The Cabin. Our's are short little plants that grow on recently logged outcroppings that are primarily granite.
That's why I think those come from these new blueberry "trees" I see around here now. Bigger fruit, more pulp. The blueberry barrens downeast are like yours: small, scrubby buggers with stiff little branches and small, sweet berries growing all over the granite.

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As we were leaving, Tak arrived and asked if everything was alright. He was decked out in his running gear and had been jogging around the Eastern Promenade. Well, of course everything was great, we said. He helped us with our little wedding reception on a busy Valentine's Day. He's a wonderful guy.

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Outside of Yosaku is a statue of film Director, John Ford, who grew up in Portland, Maine.

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I thought he might help Carrot Top, Dejah and I think of a title for a movie with a giant, mutant lobster.

Mr. Ford, looking out to sea from his bronze director's chair, surrounded by granite blocks representing his academy awards, offered no advice. :hmmm:

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The Eastern Promenade, the eastern edge of Portland's peninsula, sits high on a bluff.

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It's also called Munjoy Hill which is a kind of corruption of "Mount Joy", so named after the many brothels that operated there in the 18th and 19th centuries. "Munjoy" is best said out loud with half or more bottle of rum under your belt. :blink:

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After the Market we went to our favorite sushi bar, YOSAKU, #1 Danforth Street.

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Are those carp streamers up there all year round? In Japan, we put them up around Boys' Day (May 5).

Those KIRIN (Japanese beer brewery) parasols are impressive!

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It's time to call on fatdeko! Founder and Chief Curator of the Casco Bay Institute for Applied Intoxicological Studies, indefatigable eGullet contributor in the Spirits and Cocktail forum, I sought his irrefutable guidance in the creation of a destinct cocktail from Maine.

To do this, you'll need indigenous ingredients - we surmised.

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Are those carp streamers up there all year round?
Hello Hiroyuki! I don't think they stay out long as the weather here is very fierce in the Wintertime. Is there an appropriate time of the season to take them down?

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An indigenous Maine cocktail contains:

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Cold River Vodka - uses potatoes from Freyburg, Maine. The distillery founders include a neurosurgeon from Freeport (who grew up in Presque Isle).

Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy - is actually made in Somerville, Mass but ranked #1, #2, #6 and #9 in the top-ten selling liquors in Maine last year. Why four times, you ask? Different sized bottles! 98,000 cases sold.

Moxie - considered the USA's first mass-produced soft drink. It was designated on May 10, 2005, as the official state soft drink of Maine.

First, myers (fatdeko) chills 2oz of Cold River,

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Then sinks an ounce or so of Allen's,

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Then, the Pièce de résistance... Moxie Foam!

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Myers reduced 2 litres of Moxie to about 14oz, then added eggwhite and a little orange gelatin, and charged it up in a soda siphon. Myers is not a foam man, but he said he had fun doing this one.

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Added at this point, Angostura Bitters, which, believe it or not, is marketed by World Harbors of Auburn, Maine.

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Finestkind! :raz:

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That's Nan'l. He's from Maine too.

Myers christened this the Local Anesthetic because

a) It was created at Local 188, where fatdeko tends bar,

b) It uses local ingredients

c) The main ingredient, Cold River Vodka, is owned by a, well... a neurosurgeon.

How does it taste? Freakin' strong as a November gale, that's for sure. Sweet, cloying I'd say. Redeemed, however, by this fine vodka that comes out of the background once the sugar dissipates.

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I heard a rumor that Moxie had been purchased by one of the big soda companies and was going to be discontinued. Just a rumor. But I am glad to see that Moxie is still available and being appreciated in new and novel ways.

The scenery is lovely, and the food looks terrific - so different from what I am eating, and yet so tempting - which pretty much sums up what I love about foodblogs, now that I think about it.

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Finestkind! 

I've been enjoying the scenery, the lobster, the good writing and the sea breezes here in the sweltering MidWest. But Finestkind!

I thought that was a Canadian Down East locution! I spent an enchanted summer in Dalhousie, New Brunswick when I was a girl. The locals used it all the time, and even after we moved it's a part of my family vocab. One word, and so many memories of roadside fried clam joints and lobster for fifty cents apiece off the dock at Chatham.

The t is not pronounced in NB.

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Are those carp streamers up there all year round?
Hello Hiroyuki! I don't think they stay out long as the weather here is very fierce in the Wintertime. Is there an appropriate time of the season to take them down?

That's very simple. Soon after Boys' Day is over.

By the way, Yosaku is the title of a very famous enka (Japanese ballad), where Yosaku is a woodcutter.

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