February 9, 2011

Coastal Island Serenity!

Bailey Island is a unique coastal community featuring a serene way of life and has recently celebrated its 250th birthday.
 Bailey Island in Casco Bay is within the town of Harpswell, Maine.

A Maine House Mosaic
 It was originally named Newaggin and was first populated by European settlers in the 17th century.

The first settler of the island was William Black, or better known as “Black Will”, who was a freed slave from Kittery, Maine. Black Will took possession of the island in 1727 after spending many years of his life there. Newaggin the island, later became known as “Will's Island!”

Legend has it that in 1742, Reverend Timothy Bailey may have bought Will's Island for one pound of tobacco and a gallon of rum from William Black. In another variation of the story, the minister's wife liked the island and so the Baileys bribed municipal officials to find a flaw in Will's title to the island and award it to them. In any event, after Timothy Bailey and his wife took possession of the island, William Black left to live on Orr's Island. From then on, the island was known as Bailey Island.

The islands surrounding Bailey Island are Elm Island, Cedar Ledge and Pond Island which are steeped in tales of pirate treasure of gold and adventure. Pond Island is also the site of the ghost tale telling of a murdered pirate who stands guard over a buried treasure. The coastline runs roughly 216 miles and included larger islands of Sebascodegan (Great Island), Orr’s Island and Bailey Island, all connected by bridges. There are a scattering of 200 smaller islands only accessible by boat.

The Bailey Island Bridge was recognized as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1984 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The Bailey Island Bridge is reported to be the only granite Cribstone bridge in the world.

When visiting Bailey Island, be sure to have lunch at Bailey's infamous, Cooks Lobster House! It has a lengthy menu, pricey and very busy! The featured recipes today are Estelle's however. We just felt in the mood for some crabcakes once we remembered our day trip over to the island!

Estelle's Crab Stuffed Portabello's
1 cup crabmeat
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
4 tablespoons Parmesan
House Seasoning, recipe follows
2 portobello mushroom caps, or 10 white mushrooms caps
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the crabmeat, cream cheese, parsley, green onions and Parmesan. Season with House Seasoning, to taste. Stuff the mushroom caps with the mixture and top with bread crumbs. Spray the tops with nonstick spray to help them brown. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is hot and melted.

Once I tried Robert Duvall's mother's recipe for crabcakes, I have used none other. We voted them The Best!! I have made them for years, especially at our catfish fry's and holidays. You quickly learn in the South that anything, well almost anything, topped with a Ritz Cracker is gonna' be a winner!

Estelle's Crabcakes
1 pound  lump crabmeat
2 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 small onion, grated
1/2 tablespoon mustard powder
18 Ritz crackers, crushed
Combine all ingredients except the crackers. Add crackers crumbs in as close to sautéing as possible so that they crab cakes don’t get too moist from the other ingredients. Form into patties. Sauté in frying pan over medium-to-high heat in butter, 10 minutes per side. Make sure that it’s crispy outside but moist and juicy inside. .

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