January 31, 2011

A Soothing Haven!

Need a touch of glamour, an air of extravagance or perhaps a bit of nostalgia? When our days seem hectic, too fast- paced and somewhat maddening, we need to retreat to one place in our homes where we can relax in luxurious comfort! It's all about creating your space where you can shut out the least for an hour or so! 
 At The Maine House, it is the bath!

A Maine House Mosaic

Yes, dear can have luxury on a budget! Perhaps these few ideas will inspire you to create your own romantic little retreat right inside your home.

  • Wallpaper can give your bath space old-house charm!

  • Stencil flowers, ribbons, birds, whatever your fancy is to create a faux chair rail or design on your bathroom wall! Decorate the corners by converting pretty mirrors from antique picture frames.

  • Vintage linens which you have saved from your grandmother could be used to create a beautiful window treatment. I love this idea!

  • One of my favorite feminine flairs is to hang balloon curtains over the bathroom window. A lush balloon shade also communicates luxury. Place a wall sconce to the side of the window for that soft lighting effect! 

  • Create a corner that can hold all of your special little luxuries for your bath and fill a basket with your favorite lotions, scented oils and bath beads. My favorite scents are Bronnley's Lavender and Lime & Bergamot scents!

  • Decorate your bath with something living and green...a plant that thrives on moisture and is lacy, such as a fern!

  • You may find a use for that silver heirloom tray you have stored away. Don't throw away those lovely empty perfume bottles! Think of them as vintage and fill them with colored water or simply display them empty of their fragrance, along with a vintage powder box.  A silver mirrored tray could hold crystal accent pieces for a sophisticated bath.

  • Details such as whimsical hooks can be hung in places throughout your bath to display a fluffy white towel! Match your shower curtain hooks to the towel bars which will be so visually pleasing. I used an elaborate wrought iron hall rack and converted it into my fancy towel of my favorite things!

  • Bursts of bright colors and fresh flowers in the bathroom provide a pleasing pick-me-up in the morning.

  • A seashell collection can be converted into a border for an inexpensive mirror. Simply arrange your collection to your liking, then attach the shells with a glue gun. You can then enjoy your collection which will bring back your fond memories each and every day!

  • Inherent simplicity is created with colors of blue and white or grey and cream!

  • A pleated sink skirt can camouflage an older sink that may have exposed pipes beneath. Simply attach with velcro strips while carefully creating knife pleats.

  • Subtle touches of pink or blue soften a black-and-white vintage bath.

Whatever your ideas, incorporate a few of your favorite things!
It can make life joyful!

January 30, 2011

Tradition and Enchantment at Clay Hill Farm!

There is a state welcome sign that you will see when entering Maine that says,
 "Welcome to Maine.....the way life should be!"
 We have found this to be true, more and more.
Last July we discovered yet another treasure that is on our "favorites list!"

A Maine House Mosaic

 A few miles outside of  the downtown Ogunquit village, we found a place to leave the stress of life behind, and...relax. We celebrated last July 4th by having dinner at Clay Hill Farm! The setting of Clay Hill Farm rests on eleven acres of rolling lawns, colorful gardens and their tree farm's protected woodlands. It is indeed a  tranquil retreat for those who enjoy beautiful and delectable food, while enjoying the natural beauty of Maine. We quickly learned that there is much more to Clay Hill Farm than the quaint New England restaurant!

While strolling the grounds, we came across a beautiful fish pond in the center of this woodland sanctuary, which was surrounded by nature trails and hundreds of  birdhouses. Many of the birdhouses were built by local residents as old as 93 and even children as young as five, and several were memorial dedications. We followed a brick path along the colorful cottage- look gardens and summer green front lawn up onto a generous front cocktail deck ... all the way to the garden gazebo. I head read about their fairy houses scattered among the gardens and it truly was fun to be surprised by finding them tucked away in amongst all the wild plantings of honeysuckle, blueberry plants and burning bush.

 A working farm built in 1780, (I am still constantly amazed by the historical dates we find throughout our New England travels) their restaurant is part of the original farmhouse, which still features the original farm's big red barn. Clay Hill Farm has been family owned and operated since 1986. Where else could you find an award-winning, environmentally friendly restaurant, tree farm and wedding venue that offers children's programs, environmental initiatives,  and participation in the community that show their commitment to traditional values and modern day concerns? 

In 1991, Clay Hill Farm became the first and only restaurant in the country to be nationally certified as a wildlife habitat and bird sanctuary. A long history of eco-friendly land care and respect for Maine's natural resources, earned Clay Hill Farm recognition from the state in the Environmental Leadership program.

I had ordered the Shrimp Scampi and let me just say....deliciosio!

Clay Hill Farm Shrimp Scampi
1 1/4 lbs lobsters or 4 ounces cooked lobster meat
8 large shrimp, peeled & deveined
10 scallops
1/2 lb lemon-pepper linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups white wine
1/2 fresh lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup salted butter

If using a whole lobster, cook it in simmering water for 20 minutes. Let cool and pick out lobster meat.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. When boiling, add pasta, stirring occasionally.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the shrimp and scallops to sauté pan. Stir immediately to coat the seafood with the oil.  Let cook a minute or two, until the shrimp turn pink.  Add the white wine and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until the liquid is reduced a little. Add the lemon juice, chopped parsley, garlic and lobster meat. Turn off the heat on the stove and add the butter to the pan. Let it slowly melt into the sauce as you swirl the pan. Drain the pasta, add to the sauté pan and toss.

You can tell from listening to co-owner, Gordon Lewis, as he takes you through a tour of the gardens at Clay Hill Farm, that he has a true love and sentiment of this little farm and he fully intends to leave the world a better place for us all to enjoy for many years!

"Have you ever observed a humming-bird moving about
 in an aerial dance among the flowers -
 a living prismatic gem....
it is a creature of such fairy-like loveliness
as to mock all description."
 ~W.H. Hudson, Green Mansions

January 29, 2011

Ya'll Ready for Some Football?

The Maine House is hosting The Superbowl Party! Hosting a sports-themed party for a large group of friends or family is just a fun thing to do! Toast your team, no matter what the score! Each year, all the boys would ask, "What's on the menu Mom?" So, this year, even though the boys will be remain in Texas and The Mori's will be in Atlanta, they still would like some ideas for hosting their own celebration!

We are keeping up with all the activities back home in Arlington as  Cowboy Stadium prepares for the 2011 Superbowl. The boys tell us all of Fort Worth and Dallas are busy with fans streaming in and the news channels setting up camp. How exciting! Great for business!  Darling and I are extremely homesick for our beloved "Fort Worth!" Whether they are pulling for Green Bay or Pittsburgh (yes, we are a house divided), it will be a celebratory event! It is one of our family connections and we love it!

My dear and longtime friend, David, shared these fabulous recipes with Estelle's. I have known David for many years....a southern boy from Chapel Hill, NC, with the most delightful laugh and sense of humor! David loves to cook and inherited his culinary flair from his darling Mother, Miss Kathleen! Thank ya'll so much for sharing!!

Luke the Duke in original Steeler design!

Healthy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Light & Tangy Coleslaw

Greg loves cooking with "Smoked Paprika!"

1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. sugar substitute
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
4-lb. pork tenderloin
1 onion, chopped
2 cups light apple juice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups light barbeque sauce
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
Whole wheat buns for sandwiches

1-1/4 cups fat free mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar substitute
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning or seasoning salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1 cup shredded carrots
3 scallions, chopped

In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, sugar substitute, onion powder, and garlic powder together. Rub the pork tenderloins with the spice mixture.

In a slow cooker, add the seasoned pork, onion, light apple juice, and apple cider vinegar. Cover and cook on high for 4 to 4-1/2 hours. Shred the pork in the slow cooker using 2 forks. Add the barbeque sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and scallions. Let it cook for an additional 30 minutes and allow the sauce to thicken.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayo, sugar substitute, cider vinegar, celery seed, Creole seasoning, and black pepper. Add the cabbages, carrots, and scallions. Toss well to combine and serve the finished slaw on top of the pulled pork in a whole wheat bun or as a side.

"Lightened" Several Layers Cheese Dip
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup tomato salsa plus more for serving
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
1 cup No Fat Sour Cream
1 package reduced-sodium taco seasoning
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1 cup diced fresh avocado
1 cup fresh or frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1 (4.25-ounce) jar diced green chiles, drained
3 ounces 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar, grated (about 3/4 cup)
3 ounces 50% Reduced Fat Jalapeno Cheddar, grated (about 3/4 cup)
Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Tortilla chips

In medium bowl, combine beans, 1/4 cup of salsa and lime juice; mash into coarse puree with potato masher or fork. Microwave mixture on high power for 30 seconds at a time until warm; spread over bottom of serving dish.
In small bowl, combine sour cream and taco seasoning; spread over bean mixture. Top with layers of tomatoes, avocado, corn, chiles, cheese and cilantro, if using. Serve with tortilla chips and additional salsa.

Healthy Turkey Taco Dip
1 lb. ground turkey breast
1 package taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup water
16 oz. can black beans
15.5 oz. jar of salsa
1 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz. light cream cheese, softened
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped black olives

Cook turkey over medium heat in nonstick skillet until no longer pink, stirring to break up meat. Add seasoning mix and water; bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.

Add black beans and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese. Spoon the turkey mixture into a 2-1/2 qt. baking dish.

In a mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with the sour cream. Spread over the meat mixture and spoon salsa on top. Top with lettuce, green onions, chopped tomatoes, and black olives. Scatter the remaining shredded cheese on top. Serve with baked tortilla chips.

Simply Divine!

Estelle's Peanut Butter Brownies
1/3 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish.
Cream butter, peanut butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until fluffy, 3-5 minutes.Beat in eggs.
In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. Beat into peanut butter mixture on low speed, just until incorporated. Do not overmix. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into prepared baking dish, spreading with a spatula to even it out. Bake in preheated oven 28-34 minutes, until golden around the edges. Let cool completely before cutting.

"Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!"
Original design by Cane River Creations on Etsy!
Visit Miss Vicki's designs on

January 28, 2011

Cooking Lesson #101...Baking Muffins while Hibernating!

 Many hibernating animals seek insulation from excessive cold!
Yes, that would be me!

 Certain animals spend part of the cold season
 in a more or less dormant state!
Yes, that would be me also!

Hibernating animals store enough food in their bodies to carry them over until food is again obtainable and
all body activities are reduced to a minimum!
Oiy Vey.... me again!! 

A Maine House Mosaic

The snow continues to fall! Mounds and mounds of snow! We have had a total snowfall of 45 inches thus far!  So....I decided what better way to spend this winter day, than in the kitchen...baking! Imagine the smells of sour cream coffee cakes and yeast breads baking in the oven! Transfer the love of family into the art of baking! Isn't it in our kitchens where we feel our happiest, most creative and adventuresome? I love the ritual of an afternoon cup of hot tea and a little something sweet. So when you find yourself "hibernating" on a winter afternoon, one of these little muffins will delight you with some of "The Gift Horse" Lemon Tea!

Estelle's Love Muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 1/2 t. vanilla
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease the muffin baking pan. Carefully mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl, lifting and "fluffing" the dry ingredients with a fork.
Melt the butter in  small bowl. Whisk together the melted butter, sour cream, egg & vanilla. Stir butter mixture, chocolate chips and pecans into the dry ingredient mixture, jut until combined. Do not overmix.
Divide the batter among your muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes.

Snickerdoodle Muffins
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp cream of tarter
¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 ¼ cup sour cream
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar + 2 T. cinnamon (combined)

Cream the butter and sugar until soft about 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until each is incorporated.
In a separate, mix together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and cream of tarter.
Add the flour mixture and the sour cream alternately to the egg-butter mixture in the additions. Start with the flour and end with the flour. Scrape the bowl occasionally.
 Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out muffin batter one at a time and drop into a shallow bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the muffin around in the mixture until it is covered completely in cinnamon sugar.. Place muffin into a greased muffin tin.. Depending on the size of your tins, you should get about 12 to 14 muffins. Bake them for approx. 20-22 minutes in a 350F oven or until they are golden brown.

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar

1 3/3 cup flour
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 t. orange extract
1/4 cup orange juice
1 T. grated orange zest
1 3/4 cup grated carrots
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. To make the filling, place cream cheese in a small bowl, add sugar. Mash with a fork (soften cream cheese at room temp for 1 hr) and combine until well blended.  Cover and chill in freezer 10 minutes.
To make the muffins, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Cream butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (hand mixer does fine) and add eggs one at a time while mixer is running on slow speed.  Add orange extract, orange juice and orange zest. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in carrots, raisins and walnuts. Place batter in each greased muffin tin, about 2 tablespoons. Add a dollop of cream cheese into the center of each muffin. Cover with remaining batter until muffin cup is 3/4 full. Bake 20-22 minutes. Cool prior to removing from the muffin tin!

The Gift Horse Restaurant Lemon Tea (Monroeville, Alabama)
6 quarts water
4 quart-size tea bags
1 cup sugar
2 12-ounce cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

Bring water to a boil. Add tea bags. Remove from heat and cover, let steep for 20 minutes. Add sugar and lemonade concentrate, stirring until dissolved.

"The tea hour is the hour of peace. Strife is lost in the hissing of the kettle.
 A tranquilizing sound second only to the purring of a cat!"
Agnes Repplier

January 27, 2011

Bring.... It.... On.... Crazy Sista!

Weather Bulletin...."The roads are really, really bad,"
The snow is expected to get heavier by afternoon and could complicate the evening rush hour, particularly in New England. "The worst is apparently yet to come, and we are running out of room to shovel the snow!"

As I sat at my writing desk, gazing out the window, lost in my thoughts, I  wondered, "is this a trick? Am I really in Siberia?"  Remember, we are Southerns all the way and still not accustomed to New England Winters! I am used to walking out the front door in flip-flops and Capri's even during the winter months. I probably have a pair of flip-flops in every color known to man that I have not been able to unpack yet! Somehow I find that depressing! All white, snow laden hills, icy streets, gray skies and wind howling..... and I might add...NEGATIVE 13 degrees!! And..more on the way! Seriously?

 I began to look at our past photos of our beloved Pensacola Beach and listen to some good ole' country tunes that were from our beach playlist. Then the sweet sounds of "Cheeseburger in Paradise" began playing by Jimmy Buffett and that led me to thinking about Lulu Buffett's cookbook my sister gave me two years ago...Crazy Sista! This is one GREAT cookbook, in case you want to pick one up for yourself! Yes, all you put smiles on all of us at The Maine House! The photos, some good and spicy southern food and some of our beach playtunes!!

Lucy Anne "Lulu" Buffett has a restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama!
 As Greg would say..."Fun on a Bun!"
 Perhaps this will provide a little insight on Lulu!

Letter from LuLu
Dear Friends,
This is not your basic “how to” cookbook. I like to think of it more as a visit to my kitchen. You’re sitting at the counter as I vigorously chop vegetables and loudly tell stories with a sometimes annoying drawl. We’re drinking some iced tea or something stronger, in which case, I tend to get louder and my drawl gets crazy lazy. Good music is playing in the background, and I mean good songs with melodies and lyrics that rip out your heart or make you feel like a princess, like Frank Sinatra, Jackson Browne or Seal (not that devil music that sounds like a lot of scratchy screaming and passes sometimes for a song). There is plenty of laughter bouncing off the walls as tree frogs squirm across a picture window overlooking the bucolic river. Pick any random day; that is where you can find me, cooking up a storm and talking up a blue streak with family and friends around the stove.

Our Southern Caviar
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

4 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup chopped red onion
1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup chopped fresh parsley

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar; cover tightly and shake vigorously to dissolve sugar. Set aside.
 Rinse and drain peas well. Place in a large glass or aluminum bowl. Add remaining ingredients and dressing. Toss well. Transfer to plastic container, cover and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. Serve with tortilla chips or saltine crackers.

For Grillades:
4 pounds sirloin steak, about ½ inch thick
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
½ cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onion, chopped
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
3 cups whole canned tomatoes, with juice
2 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
LuLu’s Perfect Pepper hot sauce to taste (Tabasco will suffice, if you don't have Lulu's)
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup parsley, freshly chopped, plus some for garnish

Remove and discard fat from sirloin. Pound meat until slightly flattened, about ½” thick. Cut into 2” squares.
In a small bowl, combine salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Sprinkle sirloin with season mixture, toss to coat evenly. Once meat is thoroughly seasoned, sprinkle with flour and again, toss to evenly coat. In a heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sirloin and brown on all sides. Do this in batches if need be, you don’t want to overcrowd the pieces. Add chopped onions and green peppers. Cook for 2 minutes. Add celery and cook for another 5 minutes.
Crush tomatoes by hand (it’s messy and will make all manner of squishy noises, but it’s the fastest, best way to do it) and add, with juices.
Reduce heat to a simmer. Add beef broth and remaining seasonings: bay leaves, oregano, and basil.
Cook uncovered on low heat for 1-2 hours (or as long as you can stand it) until meat is tender.
If gravy becomes too thick, add a little more water or beef broth. Five minutes before serving, add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Add minced garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Just before serving, add green onions and parsley. Serve over baked cheese grits and garnish with remaining parsley.

For Baked Cheese Grits:
6 cups cooked regular grits
3 eggs, beaten
½ pound cheese, shredded…some great choices are sharp cheddar, Gruyere, or smoked Gouda
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 or 2, maybe 3 dashes LuLu’s Perfect Pepper Hot Sauce (again, Tabasco will suffice)

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Add cheese and butter to hot grits and stir well until cheese is melted. Beat together milk and eggs. Whisk a small portion of hot grits into milk mixture and stir well. Return mixture to grits. Add salt and pepper. Pour into a 2 quart baking dish and bake for 45 minutes.

Our Joe Patti's Night on Pensacola Beach
Sweet and oh yes, Warm Memories!

January 26, 2011

Falling in Love....with Peaks Island!

After just one visit, we fell in love with Peaks Island, Maine!
 Peaks Island is part of the city of Portland, but it is a small village in a gorgeous ocean setting. It was our first weekend outing when Spring finally arrived last year. We jumped in the car, drove down to Old Port, hopped the ferry and our adventure began!
 In a short 15 minute ferry ride, we had the island in our sights!

A Maine House Mosaic

There was a feeling of a small, eclectic New England community greeting us. Friends and neighbors were returning home, talking excitedly about their day, catching up on news and discussing weekend plans as they proceeded on foot up the main street toward their homes.

 You don't need a car on the island, in fact, they discourage this, wanting to keep island traffic to a minimum, while the preferred method of getting around the island is either, walking, golf cart or bicycles. Seagulls were flying overhead, following the lobster boats heading out to the bay on their quest to fill their traps with the daily catch, which would then be the dinner feature at Peak's Island Inn!

The homes on the island are unique, colorful, architecturally interesting and vastly different! There is a historical church on the island dating back to 1861 and an elementary school established in 1832. Can you imagine?

Residents on the island were very friendly, waving and telling us the direction we needed to walk in order to experience the water route! We encountered large stands of winterberries making vibrant splashes of bright red all along our walk. Bittersweet grows wild and rampant. A tangle of its berries grows in front of the rocks leading down to the water. The sun brought a beautiful shade of blue to the water while white waves crashed against the rocks.

We decided to have dinner at The Inn prior to heading back to Portland from our island tour. There was hustle and bustle all around as The Inn staff prepared for an evening wedding out in the gazebo. This apparently is a popular establishment for small weddings and I can see why...totally romantic gardens overlooking the bay with the nightlights of Portland in the background and gentle ocean breezes pouring in! I have read that there are already 32 weddings booked for this year!

Some of Peaks' Inn featured dishes are squash ravioli with duck sausage in a cranberry cream sauce, artichoke and spinach dip which is served in a bread bowl with lots of crispy homemade pita chips and topped with Havarti cheese, a Maine shrimp dinner which featured a pound of Maine shrimp (keep in mind that Maine shrimp seem quite small to us and don't compare to Gulf Shrimp) but are tasty, Chicken Piccata which has just the right amount of lemon and capers in the sauce and for their featured lunch dish, it was The Grilled Rachael! For dessert.....The Peanut Butter Pie......oh heaven!!!

Shipyard was their featured go-to beer and they had Old Thumper on tap.
 We experienced a glass of The Inn's Malbec wine (a red French Bordeaux claret blend) that was simply divine! We later found it at Whole Foods in Portland.

Are we going back you ask? You betcha! We plan to return to  Peaks Island during the spring bird migration. It's a top spot to see migrating birds, with trails through a number of wetlands. And we're very much looking forward to experiencing the inn's monthly brunch. We've heard it's one of Maine's best. That's it!
Yes, darling and I shall experience "birds and brunch!"

Estelle's has two great recipes of her own that are similar to those served at Peaks Island Inn!

Estelle's Grilled Rachael
5 ounces sliced roasted turkey breast
2 ounces sliced Pastrami
2 slices sourdough bread
Unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Russian or Thousand Island dressing
3 thin slices Swiss cheese
1/4 cup Creamy Coleslaw

Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat.
 Layer turkey slices, along with Pastrami slices on griddle and let cook for 1 minute.
Butter one side of 1 slice of bread and spread opposite side with Russian dressing; place buttered-side down on griddle. Butter one side of remaining slice of bread and place buttered-side down on griddle; top with cheese. Turn turkey and Pastrami, then top with coleslaw. Cook until turkey, Pastrami and bread are warmed through and cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Sandwich turkey, Pastrami and coleslaw between bread. Slice and serve immediately.

Melissa's Almost Heaven in a Pan
20 Oreo Cookies
1 8- ounce package of Cream Cheese, Softened
2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 12- ounce tub of Cool Whip

Press crushed cookies into the bottom of a 9 x13 inch pan. Reserve a few crumbs for topping. In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Stir in peanut butter until well blended. Then, fold in whipped topping. Spread over the Oreo cookie base and sprinkle reserved crumbs on top. Freeze 1-2 hours, Thaw 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.


The Inn on Peaks Island

January 25, 2011

Mississippi Style!

Growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, we experienced the "best of the best" food, I would say. My parents belonged to The Knife and Fork Club in Jackson and oh, the fond memories I have of their evenings when they would dress up in their cocktail attire and have an evening out with their social group. Jackson had some fine dining places for certain. While some are still in operation, others have closed their doors long ago. However, we still hold onto the memories and the recipes passed down from their generation. These are two old south recipes that are so defining of my beloved birth state!

New Orleans has Creole sauce, North Carolina has vinegar-based barbecue sauce, Texas has salsa, Tennessee has tomato-based barbecue sauce, Cleveland, Ohio, has ketchup, and Mississippi has Comeback Sauce. Comeback Sauce, which also has some, shall we say, rather interesting alternative spellings such as  "kumback" or "cumback."

Now in case you have not heard of Comeback Sauce, let alone tasted this bit of heaven, there are actually numerous can use this delectable sauce as a salad dressing, a dip for appetizers, or just on crackers for a snack with a touch of cream cheese. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination! A cross somewhere between a rémoulade sauce and Thousand Island salad dressing, this is one sauce that can be claimed as a Mississippi original.

This tangy sauce was originated in the 1930s at a Greek restaurant, The Rotisserie, located in Jackson, Mississippi. Known back then as simply their house dressing, it very quickly caught on and earned fame, spreading across the city to other restaurants and eventually across the south. Comeback Sauce is truly the queen mother of all Mississippi condiments.

Mr. Mike at The Mayflower is the oldest surviving original practitioner in the science of "Comebackology!" The Mayflower's sauce has a touch of celery, or celery seed that others do not have. It's perfect for their onion rings and iceberg salad.

From The Rotisserie, Comeback Sauce spread to all the other Greek restaurants and beyond. Creshale's, the Cherokee, Walker's Drive In, Hal and Mal's and C.S.'s all have their version.

The review of Creshale's Comeback Sauce is smooth and unassuming  Creshale's has good Comeback Sauce, but they have an even better jukebox. It is, hands down, the best jukebox in the state of Mississippi. And it's free!

Never has there been a more appropriately named food item in the American culinary cannon. Once you have tasted it, you don't have to ask why it is called Comeback!

 The Elite Cafe's Comeback Sauce
2 large garlic cloves , minced
1/2 cup yellow onion, grated
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup mustard
1/2 cup salad oil (some use cottonseed oil)
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. black pepper
Dash of paprika
1 T. water
3 T. Lemon Juice
Dash of salt and pepper to taste

Place garlic and onion in blender and blend until mixed. Add other ingredients and blend well. Refrigerate.

Estelle's serves Comeback Sauce with Greg's favorite....Fried Okra!

Estelle's Fried Okra
1 pound of okra
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
2 cups of yellow cornmeal
2 cups of self rising flour
1 t. of salt
Couple dashes of "Slap Ya Mama" Cajun seasoning
Deep fryer and fresh canola oil

Preheat the fryer to 375 degrees F.  or if using a skillet heat the oil. Cut the okra either into 1/2 inch slices or lengthwise; set aside. Whisk together the buttermilk and egg; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal with the flour, salt and Cajun seasoning. Dip the okra into the buttermilk and then dredge in the flour mixture. Fry in batches for 3 or 4 minutes, or just until golden brown; don't overcrowd! Sprinkle with additional salt if desired; serve hot.

"To understand the world,
you must first understand a place like Mississippi."

William Faulkner