"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Celebrate: The Maine Summers Cookbook

 Author, Henry James called 'summer afternoon' the two most beautiful words in the English language, and I completely agree.

I usually start fantasizing about summer around Valentine's Day and wear flip flops (and a sweater) trick-or-treating.

However, as much as I love the season, it's the folks who are forced to wear snow suits over their Halloween costumes, who really know how to make the warm days count.

If you ask me, there's nothing like a summer in New England.
Recently, a friend gave me a wonderful cookbook I know I will be delving into come February -but I am enjoying it just as much right now.
It's called The Maine Summers Cookbook written by renowned fisherman and swordfish boat captain (as featured on the Discovery Channel series, Swords), Linda Greenlaw and her mother, Martha Greenlaw. The book is as much about recipes as it is about summer traditions and celebrations on Maine's Isle au Haut.

If you're up for a little armchair travel to a charming seaside town where folks link up boats for a picnic on the water (i.e. rafting up) and revel in impromptu parties and gatherings -I think I've got just the ticket.

Caution: You may not lose your luggage, but you could find yourself struggling with a real craving for lobster...my advice? Go with it.

I read cookbooks for the pictures, personal stories and, of course, the recipes. This book -with fantastic photography by Jim Brezin, has got it all. Linda and Martha write like you are a new friend they are introducing around the island, and are quick to credit their neighbors for recipes and insights they share in the book. Fun, friendly informal. (Have you logged on to Travelocity yet?)

The Greenlaws call it, "Recipes for delicious, sun-filled days." I call it escapism.

In fact, I was so inspired, I have already tested a couple of the recipes for my own family.

They were a hit! Even the dog couldn't resist and ran away with a potato. Luckily, I made extra.

Here's what Daisy (and the rest of us) ate:

An excerpt from The Maine Summer Cookbook
Capered New Potatoes 

 1 pound new potatoes, scrubbed well (all I had were gold potatoes and it worked out fine!)
3 Tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs

Bring enough salted water to cover the potatoes to a boil. Cook the potatoes, in their skins for 10 minutes. Drain and leave to cool slightly.

Prepare the gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Clean and oil the rack.

Finely chop the capers and blend with the butter. Make a deep slit in each potato and fill ilt with the caper butter.

Tightly wrap each potato in separate squares of single-thickness aluminum foil and grill for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the foil and serve immediately, garnished with parsley sprigs. Serves 4-6

 All photography from the book is by Jim Bazin.
Photo of potatoes in a bowl are by Bonnie McCarthy for This American Home.

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