Wheatless Wednesday – Maine Lobster Bake

0

Lobster Bake14

Maine is famous for it’s lobsters and summer is not considered complete here without at least one old fashioned lobster bake.  Traditional lobster dinners include lobster with drawn butter, corn on the cob and steamers (Ipswich clams) and sometimes potatoes or eggs, often served on these inexpensive, but iconic, blue platters that mimic retro diner tablecloths.   I tried lobster for the first time on my first trip to Maine, way back when my husband and I were just dating.  He went to summer camp in Maine as a kid and he has many fond memories (and good friends) and still loves to come here.   I’m pretty sure he brought me up here all those years ago as a relationship test, which luckily I passed with flying colors.  I learned how to eat lobster, waterskied in Bear Pond and slept on a cot in one of the old cabins, three actions which, I’m sure, made me marriage worthy.  My three sons followed in their father’s footsteps and consider themselves Wigwammers to the core, first as campers, then as counselors.    It’s no coincidence that we have a house across the lake from Camp Wigwam and come to Maine as often as possible.  It’s a little slice of heaven on earth.

Lobster Bake16

We were lucky enough to be invited to an authentic Maine Lobster Bake that was catered by our friend, Tom DeLois.  He provided and prepared everything, freshly procured that morning, including the seaweed which they gathered by boat from the ocean.  I was not involved in the preparations in any way, except for taking lots of pictures to document the process, which is simple but takes some effort.  It’s also a great way to feed a large group in a casual but festive manner.

Lobster Bake2

This technique can easily be done on the beach but we used a flat gravel driveway.  Just use something to elevate the cooking surface, a flat metal sheet or galvanized tub.  Layer your chosen ingredients with seaweed and  light the fire.  Tom and his crew were veterans and really knew what they were doing.  I have to admit it was nice to have someone else take care of dinner…

Lobster Bake5

In an effort to minimize damage to the area, they cleared the gravel down to the bare dirt, then set up the cooking area with four concrete blocks and a metal tray.  They stacked layers of wood and newspaper.  The four metal sides(on the ground in the photo) are to block the wind if necessary.

Lobster Bake1

The first layer is wet seaweed which they collected themselves from the ocean.

Lobster Bake6

Next is bags of clams (steamers), lobsters and foil wrapped red skinned potatoes.

Lobster Bake7

Topped with raw eggs and corn on the cob.

Lobster Bake8

Wrap everything tightly with aluminum foil.

Lobster Bake9

Finish with another thick layer of wet seaweed.

Lobster Bake4

Light the fire and cook about 45 minutes.  TIP:  When the eggs are hard cooked, you know it’s done.

Lobster Bake10

The unveiling…

Lobster Bake18

One of the nice things about a traditional lobster bake is the leftovers!  The next day I made a composed salad with the remaining lobster, eggs, potatoes and corn cut off the cob.  I added some chopped tomatoes and scallions and arranged it all on a bed of fresh romaine.

Lobster Bake12

I also made a big pot of clam chowder with the leftover clams and potatoes.  I sautéed a couple of chopped onions and garlic in butter, then added chopped potatoes, vegetable broth and milk and cooked it all for an hour or so until it’s slightly thickened.  Add the clams toward the end and cook another 20 minutes or so on low heat.  Don’t let it boil or the clams will get touch and chewy, like rubber bands.  Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Lobster Bake13

 

Meatless Monday = Roasted Asparagus and Leeks

0

Asparagus and Leeks1

 

GoodMotherDiet has temporarily relocated to Maine for the summer. We have a house on Bear Pond nestled at the base of Bear Mountain.  Maine is a land of a thousand lakes and mountains where time goes more slowly. and we spend our days outside taking advantage of the abundance of nature.  Life is very casual and dinner is generally a last minute gathering of friends at our various homes or restaurants after a long day of playing on the lake or hiking in the mountains, sometimes squeezing in a sunset cocktail before heading home to make dinner.

Maine

I flew in yesterday on the red eye and I am still getting my bearings. As always happens when I switch homes, I have to remember the layout of the kitchen, relocate the silverware drawer and take a look at the contents of the pantry.  It usually takes me several trips to Hannaford before I have everything restocked. By evening we had our first dinner party, a typical potluck which travels from house to house along the lake.  My contribution to the meal was Asparagus and Leeks with shallots and garlic, drizzled with olive oil and roasted in a hot oven.  Although it is not the prettiest or most elegant of dishes, it is simple and delicious, a perfect addition to any meal.   For an added touch of flavor, you can drizzle with balsamic vinegar before serving.

Roasted Asparagus and Leeks

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 bunch asparagus
2 large or 3 small leeks
2 shallots
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsn olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsn balsamic vinegar (optional)

 

Asparagus and Leeks5

  • Trim rough end of asparagus and place in a baking dish
  • Trim  root end of leeks and cut off tops where the leaves start turning green.  Wash leeks under running water, fanning each layer like a deck of cards to remove any dirt left between the layers.  Pat dry and place in the baking dish.

Asparagus and Leeks6

  • Slice shallots lengthwise into large matchsticks

Asparagus and Leeks4

  • Slice garlic into thin strips
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Asparagus and Leeks3

  • Drizzle with olive oil and gently toss to coat vegetables with oil

Asparagus and Leeks2

  • Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, stirring 3 or 4 times.  They should be tender and beginning to brown on the edges.

Asparagus and Leeks1