Early Spring Soup, based on Kesakeitto

March 27th, 2013


This is a reprint of a recipe I love.  It looks like a painting and tastes like a spring garden.  Based on a Finnish recipe called Kesakeitto, or Finnish Summer Soup, this is a small mound of the most delicate spring vegetables pooled in a broth of hot, fresh milk, garnished with smoked salmon and peas.  My version of the dish crosses the Atlantic and backs up a season; I call it “Early Spring Soup in New England.”


Small parsnips, baby turnips, tiny yellow beets, broccoli florets, the tiniest baby potatoes, and a dice of carrots, all cooked quickly in boiling salted water, mound in the center of each bowl.

I looked for the best vegetables I could find.  I chopped the larger vegetables like parsnips and carrots, still looking for the smallest versions of them, into a tiny dice.  If a beet or turnip was small enough, I sliced them into rounds.   Along with a variety of vegetables, I wanted a variety of shapes, not just a pile of diced Birds Eye veggies.  The only vegetable I kept whole were the tiny potatoes.

I found a treasure of root vegetables at a Winter Farmer’s Market, but if seeking freshly dug produce isn’t on your to-do list this week, a keen eye at the grocery store will allow you a beautiful palette in your bowl, and probably a delicious one.

All the vegetables are cooked in boiling, salted water, beginning with the vegetables that make take the longest, (in my case it was the potatoes,) to the vegetables that will cook the fastest, using your judgement.  My order went like this:  potatoes cooked for two minutes, then I added the diced parsnip and carrots, then the beets and turnips, then the broccoli.

Half the deliciousness of this soup is the milk broth, simply the freshest, best milk you can find heated with a tiny bit of sugar and flour, and poured hot over the vegetables.  The thirty-eight Jersey cows at Appleton Farms in Ipswich can take a bow here.

I slit open a few snap peas, and saved the tiny beads inside for a garnish, along with some thinly sliced radishes, and fresh dill.  Rosy chunks of smoked salmon crumbled over the top.  I prefer the hot-smoked chunky kind for this, and used the locally cured Sasquatch smoked salmon available at Willowrest in Gloucester, but Steve Connolly also sells excellent hot-smoked salmon.



Early Spring Soup, based on the Finnish Kesakeitto


serves 6-8


4 cups organic whole milk, preferably local

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus 1 tablespoon for the vegetables

8 cups of tiny, fresh vegetables:  broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, new potatoes, zucchini, carrot, onion, asparagus tips, kohlrabi, beets, turnips, fennel, radishes,  and especially peas

water to cover

for the garnish:

1/2 pound hot-smoked salmon

fresh radishes, thinly sliced

fresh peas, or the tiny peas from inside 4-5 snap peas

fresh dill, chopped

fresh pepper, use white pepper if you want to retain the whiteness of the milk



In a large saucepan stir together the sugar, flour and salt.  Slowly at first, stirring to blend, add the milk.  Whisk until mixture is smooth.  Gently heat the milk, whisking it occasionally to keep the flour from cooking on the bottom of the pan. Do not let it boil.

In a separate large pot, bring the salted water to a boil.

Prep the vegetables, peeling the potatoes, carrots, beets and turnips to keep them tender, and cutting all into roughly equivalent size.

When the water boils, drop in the vegetables that will take the longest to cook, like the potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, etc.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, and then add the lighter vegetables like radishes, peas, and broccoli.  Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon or sieve, and distribute them evenly into heated bowls.  Pour the hot milk over the vegetables but not to cover.  Allow the vegetables to rise attractively in a mound out of the milk.

Crumble the smoked salmon over the top, and garnish with radish, peas, and dill.  Grind some pepper over all, and serve immediately.


A great meal in Rockport – Moqueca, Brazilian fish stew

October 19th, 2016


When I was a young girl my mother and I took off on a winter day for Provincetown, the farthest tip of what seemed to my young self the land of pilgrims and saltbox houses. For lunch we found a small restaurant with steamed-up windows and about eight tables serving Portuguese kale soup – Caldo Verde. Again, I was young and knew nothing, but that soup seemed to me as exotic and unlikely on Cape Cod as it was warming, wholesome, slightly spicy and delicious.

The Blue Lobster Grille in Rockport has reproduced this happy memory. At the far end of a different peninsula – the other Cape, generally represented on menus by baked haddock and lobster rolls – you can now find a sizzling bowl of the delicious, soul-warming, healthy Brazilian fish stew, Moqueca.


This steaming bowl – so hot it continues to simmer for a good five minutes after being served – of layered fresh haddock, fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and olive oil, is a reason to drive to the very end of Cape Ann any time of year, even better, on a chilly day between November and April, particularly if you are in need of a light, healthy meal with roots in a sunnier climate.


Agnoldo Oliveira and his wife took over the ownership and kitchen at The Blue Lobster Grille a few years ago. In that time they have very nicely provided the meals someone getting off a tour bus in Rockport would want – Corn Chowder, Lobster Rolls, Boiled Lobster, Baked Stuffed Lobster, and that Baked Haddock.

But the Oliveiras are from Brazil, specifically a southeastern town near Espirito Santo, where Moqueca Capixaba is served in traditional black pots made from black clay and mangrove tree sap. On his most recent trip home Oliveira returned with ten of these clay pots, called Panela de Barro, impossible to find here. In the panela Oliviera serves his native moqueca Capixaba. (Another Moqueca – Moqueca Bahiana – from the northeast region of Brazil called Bahia, is made with fish, peppers, and coconut milk.)

There is no coconut milk in this version, just bright, light flavors that multiply the virtues of Cape Ann’s clean native haddock.


When you order the Moqueca, you are served three parts: the clay pot filled with the bubbling fish stew, a pyramid of yellow sazon-seasoned rice, and a second, smaller clay pot. The latter is called the Pirao, and contains a combination of all the ingredients in the fish stew, chopped fine, simmered, and thickened with casava root. Spoon a little stew onto the rice, some pirao, take a bite of the warm, wonderful flavors and textures, and continue.

Again, each pot is cooked to order, and takes about 10 minutes, leaving a diner plenty of time to make it up the street to their performance at the Shalin Liu. But, don’t wait for concert tickets; invite a friend to lunch on one of these gorgeous Cape Ann days, and drive to Rockport.

I love that there is now a warm, healthy Portuguese-named stew waiting at the end of both Massachusetts peninsulas!

(Moqueca will be served for lunch and dinner at the Blue Lobster Grille all year round. Dinners are served through the winter on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; lunch is served everyday.)

The Best Way To Spend A Sunday on The North Shore.

October 17th, 2016




Chive Events Sunday Suppers came back today.

The mood was pure Sunday afternoon – muted, reticent, warm sun with just enough breeze to urge a few more leaves off their branches.

The food was like a horn-blowing, marching band of bold deliciousness.




Carrot-ginger-chickpea latkes with house-cured wild salmon. Maitland Mountain Farm kimchee-cakes.  Chef Perkins’ perfect boules baked in his transportable bread oven. Molded beehives of Valley View Cheeses layered with roasted garlic. Roasted sweet tomatoes and Valley View feta. Creamed salt cod and leeks on black bread. Ham and bean stew.

More Valley View cheeses. More Maitland Mountain farm pickles – giardiniera and pickled mushrooms.

Kim Gregory’s organic desserts provided sweetness afteward. That brownie?! If you live on the North Shore, seek out Kim Gregory’s Pure Pastry – probably the most beautifully executed, luscious, all-organic desserts this food writer has been served.

Chive Events Sunday Suppers build community in a bunch of ways. Chive donates their time; local vendors donate food and alcohol. The proceeds go to an organization that often shares the same Chive dedication to community and sustainability. Guests enjoy one of the best meals they could have on the North Shore in a place that surprises: a barn, a field, a former Beverly Farms summer camp with great bones hoping to be a farm school.


The Garden School, formerly Camp Mitchman, in Beverly, MA, was this Sunday’s host and beneficiary. With a song in their hearts, so to speak, Brothers Ben and Jon Zoba purchased this grand but neglected property, designed by the architect James L. McLaughlin, who also designed Fenway Park, two years ago. The Zoba’s plan/dream is to have a school for the “Gap Year Student,” a year for someone in between life decisions to farm in the warm months and read books in the cold ones. It’s a curriculum built on the opposing lessons of physical and cerebral work: agriculture and literature. Dig, till, plant, weed and harvest outside under sun and sky until the ground freezes. Then go inside, light a fire, and talk about what you’ve been reading. (Parents, the Zoba brothers also promise to help that gap year student manage college applications, if need be.)

Watch for more Chive Sunday Suppers. Honestly, they are quietly wonderful ways to spend a Sunday, the North Shore’s secret cultural gems.



Pasta con le Sarde – Local Pasta with Local Mackerel

October 11th, 2016


From the Massachusetts Fishing Report for October 6, 2016 in the blog “On the Water:”

With water temperatures plummeting and the lessening of the bluefish threat, mackerel will continue to become more common. Proven mackerel locations from Harding’s Ledge to the BG Buoy should be worth probing with a Sabiki…While it’s been challenging with those Nor’easter rollers, Nahant has bass and mackerel…Mackerel are easy pickings from boats and off the Salem Willows Pier. It’s crazy stuff off Castle Rock in Marblehead as bass can be seen in the clear water coming up out of the structure to chase a live-lined mackerel!

Although typical of October, it cannot be overemphasized how special the fishing is right now! Mackerel are the bait of choice and can be found in Cape Ann Harbor, especially just outside. A few who patronize Three Lantern lucked into large linesiders in Loblolly Cove recently. Live mackerel were pure magic. When anglers have caught a break in the combers the beaches have been steady. The footbridge of Good Harbor has been hot at night.

The stripers are there to win and the blues are blitzing, but, oh, consider those mackerel. Oh, those mackerel. As is evident from the report above, mackerel are everywhere whether you want them as bait or for dinner.

I received from Danielle Glantz, owner of Pastaio via Corta, a Gloucester-landed mackerel and a recipe with which to prepare it. As I have written in the past, visiting Pastaio via Corta means so much more than handmade fresh ravioli and hand turned gnocchi. Ask Danielle for a recipe; she is a dazzling and generous resource.

I cannot emphasize how complex and flavorful this dish is; I count ten layers of flavor.  This is not spaghetti and red sauce.

If you don’t have your own fishing rod, ask your local fish market or grocery store to order some fresh mackerel. Your fishmonger will probably get nostalgic about the days they actually carried the fish that were swimming in the waters beyond their own docks. That fishmonger might get so emotional about those days he’ll give you a recipe, too.



Pasta con le Sarde

Serves 4

4-5 tablespoons olive oil, divided + more to taste
1 medium onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced into 1/2 rounds
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lightly chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, about 20 threads
4 medium mackerel fillets, divided
2 medium red bell peppers (about 1 cup) thinly sliced
1/2 hot chili (about 1 teaspoon) thinly sliced
1/2 cup pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs, tossed with 1/2 cup olive oil, and toasted in a 350 degree F. oven
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound spaghetti
salt for the pasta water

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, in a skillet large enough to hold the pasta, heat the olive oil to medium. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and saffron, and cook until the onions become translucent but do not brown, about 5 minutes.
Take 2 of the mackerel fillets (setting aside the other 2) and slice them on the diagonal into 1/2” wide pieces. Lay the pieces skin side down in the hot pan, and let cook for about 3-4 minutes.
Add peppers and chilis to the pan, and stir together. Turn mackerel, and let all cook until the peppers just begin to break down, about 5 minutes. Add the pine nuts, and lower heat, still allowing the onions and peppers to cook, while you finish the dish.
Preheat the broiler.
Add the pasta to the water, and cook according to directions. Meanwhile, rub the last two mackerel fillets with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place under the broiler, skin down, and cook until they are slightly browned on top, about 5 minutes. Remove from broiler, squeeze with lemon, and keep warm.
Give the peppers a toss. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the water, adding it either directly to the pan or simply add the pasta into the onions and peppers very wet. With two wooden spoons toss the pasta in the peppers and onions, deliberately lifting the pasta up high, and dropping it back into the sauce. The sauce should begin to drape the pasta as the starchy water blends with the onions and peppers. Keep the pan on warm if you need to. Keep tossing all the ingredients until the strands appear shiny with the sauce. Drizzle some olive oil over all. Squeeze more lemon over all, and taste the pasta for salt and pepper.
To serve: divide pasta among 4 bowls. Sprinkle a good 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs over each serving. Sprinkle parsley over that. Divide the broiled mackerel into 4 portions, placing a portion of mackerel to the side of the pasta. Serve immediately.


***Pastaio via Corta

Pig Roast Lessons, Mojo, Yuca, and Cuban Sandwiches.

October 7th, 2016



We had a pig roast. It was great, but no one needs a review of someone else’s party, so I am just going to recite the lessons learned and three important recipes.

My pig roast started with another pig roast, years ago, at Rich and Janis Tester’s house. That’s when I first saw the “La Caja China,” which means Chinese box in Spanish speaking places. The Testers had one in their back yard. I was having wine, and visiting with people, kind of unaware, and then I saw Rich Tester rushing to his kitchen with a medium-sized perfectly roasted pig on a platter.  “That box,” I thought.




La Caja China is a well insulated plywood box invented by a Cuban family to replace the way they roasted meats back home in Cuba. The pig is sandwiched between two grates, which makes it easy to turn (only turned once). Then a tray of hot coals is set on top of the pig.  The pig roasted tends the coals for 4-6 hours. If all goes well, you do that turning thing at about hour 3, to crisp the skin. If all goes well.




If you are us, the pig will be done in 8 hours. We started with a very large pig, 130 pounds live weight. Our pig, raised lovingly in Essex, MA at Salt Marsh Farms, was 100 pounds minus the head and trotters (pig language for feet.)

If you live on or near Cape Ann, here’s another thing you need to know: Salt Marsh Farms is providing Cape Ann residents truly local livestock and poultry options – pork, lamb, and poultry raised in Essex.  If you are longing for the chicken of your youth, chickens that taste not like marigold blossoms (did they ever taste like marigold blossoms?) but like chicken, find a Salt Marsh Farms chicken.




I am obsessed with them now, purchase them when ever I can, freeze them, even give them as gifts. They are not inexpensive, as chickens go, but this is no longer your everyday Tuesday night dinner; these are fine-dining chickens, chickens that will make chicken soup a 5 star option. These are chickens with which to make the perfect chicken sandwich:  sliced breast meat, a little mayo, salt and pepper on white toast. These are meaty, naturally moist, and just full of chicken-y flavor chickens.

For more waxing about Salt Marsh Farms poultry, read Bo Abrams’ letter, reproduced at the bottom of this post, written the night after her first Salt Marsh Farms Chicken experience this summer. If only for the beautiful sentences, read this testimony.


Salt Marsh Farms owners Liz Jaeger and Edgar Foudray will be offering lamb, pork, and most importantly LOCAL TURKEYS for thankgsiving. Order now! You can email Liz and Edgar at saltmarshpoultry@gmail.com or call them at (617)-617-6171.  They are often at the Cape Ann Farmers’ Market.  On Wednesdays they sell their goods to Alprilla Farm in Essex and Cedar Rock Farms in W. Gloucester.

Returning to pigs, Liz and Edgar raised our chunky pig. They were helpful every step of the way, and the results were many, many gorgeous, charred, sweet, roasted porky pounds of meat, pounds which just took longer than anticipated because our pig had enjoyed his own dinners so much.

More pig roast data: Danielle Glantz, of the pasta shop Pastaio via Corta, came to our house two days in advance. Glantz has had some Cuban Pig Roast experience. Contrary to all the online videos which recommend injecting the meat with various concoctions, Glantz studded the pig all over with about a pound of garlic cloves, rubbed it well with salt, and then made a paste of more garlic, bitter orange juice, and dried oregano. Who knows how this method compared to the injections? As people pulled at the warm roasted meat in the dark, no one was complaining.

Another lesson: Mojo. Know it. Make it. Repeat.

Garlic, lime juice, oregano, cumin, and olive oil, Mojo is the crowning glory to all thinks pork, as far as I can tell. I made a great batch of it, and, in the dark (remember our pig was 3 hours late!) I ladled it over the warm meat. A few spoonfuls of that tucked into a warm tortilla (Brian Knowles just kept toasting them over the gas flame in the kitchen) would make a vegan stray.


Yuca, a traditional Cuban Pig Roast accompaniment, was another revelation. Where has this starch been all my life? Apparently it has far more vitamin C than potatoes, and it is a great source of antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Yuca consumption is associated with healthy insulin and cholesterol levels. And, my is it good. Crispy, with far more toothsome character than a potato, our yuca was boiled, tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, and then roasted. We took them steaming from the oven, comforted them with spoonfuls of translucent onions, and – tada! – a healthy ladle of mojo. Just fantastic.



Cuban Sandwiches. When the La Caja China is degreased and tucked away for next year. When the yard is cleared of plastic cups and paper plates. When the refrigerator is bulging with roasted pork, have another party and make Cuban Sandwiches.

I happen to have had a loaf of homemade Portuguese Sweet Bread on my counter. To the state of Florida, which seems to have made the Cuban what it is, I say find yourselves a Portuguese bakery and remake your sandwich. I think the Portuguese Sweet Bread is all a Cuban roll wants to be and more: soft, sweet, tender sandwiching warm, salty, savory.


Pig Roast Lessons in summary:

  1. The Floridian Cubans know their pork; La Caja China works.
  2. Salt Marsh Farms is raising pigs; you could get one of these for your pig roast if you live on Cape Ann. You just need to time your roast with their pigs’ lives.
  3. Salt Marsh Farms also has delicious chickens and turkeys, available for Thanksgiving.
  4. Mojo is the best sauce in the world. Make it in batches. Pour it on roast pork from your oven, yuca, Cuban Sandwiches, almost anything.
  5. Yuca is the new kale.
  6. Cuban Sandwiches are as good as their fame suggests, but they are better made with Portuguese Sweet Bread.
  7. Here are my recipes, very simple recipes that are important to know even if you are not having a pig roast.

Mojo Sauce

makes 1 cup


8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) ground cumin

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in a blender, and taste for seasoning.


Roasted Yuca

Serves 6-8

4-5 yuca, about 8-10” long

3 tablespoons olive oil + more for tossing the yucca

3 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced into 1/2 rounds

salt and pepper

1/2 thinly sliced red chili or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup mojo sauce


Bring a very large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel the yuca. (Make a slice down the length of the yuca. At that slice take the point of a knife and get under the skin, beginning to pull it back. Once the skin begins to pull away, you can help it along with the blade of the knife, both cutting and pulling at the same time.) Chop the yuca into 5-6” lengths, and add to the boiling water. Reduce to simmer, and cook until a knife inserts easily into the yuca, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet saute onions and chilis in olive oil until softened and almost translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Remove cooked yuca from water.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. When cool enough to handle, cut each yuca piece in half lengthwise. Remove any tough inner fiber. Cut pieces into lengths again, so you have something that looks like yuca “fries,” about 1” in width. (They will shrink when roasted.) Toss “fries” in olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread them in a roasting pan. Bake for 25 -30 minutes, or until they being to turn brown and crispy.

Remove browned yuca to a platter, and distribute the onions over them. Ladle some mojo sauce over the yuca to “dress” it. Put remaining sauce in a pitcher to serve on the side. Serve immediately.


Cuban Sandwiches

Makes 6


12 slices Portuguese Sweet Bread or another slighty sweet, tender loaf

Dijon mustard

6 slices Swiss cheese

about 1 pound roast pork

Mojo sauce

6 slices boiled ham

6 garlic-dill pickles, chopped


Lay out 6 slices of bread. Layer first mustard, cheese, roast pork, about 2 tablespoons mojo sauce, ham, and fresh pickles. Top with 2nd slice of bread.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Toast sandwiches in a large skillet to brown each side. Remove to oven to keep warm and completely melt cheese while you toast the remaining sandwiches. Serve warm.



Bo Abrams Love Letter to Salt Marsh Farms Chicken, reproduced with her permission

Hi Liz and Edgar,

Last night we had the most amazing meal because of the Kosher King heritage breed chicken we got from you.  Lately the sweltering heat has made me not want to do much of anything by the end of the day. Especially cook.  But I had our lovely kosher king chicken (which we nicknamed Bernie* because Kosher King Heritage Breed Chicken is a mouthful) and a very hot and cranky family that was going to start complaining that they were hungry so I decided grilling was the only way forward. 

Cooking a whole chicken on the grill takes a little more time than in the oven (at least on mine) but oh man was it worth it. I gave Bernie a jacket of a fresh garlic and rosemary and sea salt rub and while it roasted I made a simple but oh so sumptuous salad with baby greens and cucumber and heirloom tomato and I marinated grated carrots in a lemony vinaigrette to toss together when the chicken was ready. Then I prepped new potatoes and they went on the grill. And thick slices of multiple colors of beets brushed with olive oil? Yep. Them too on the grill.    

And because life is awesome I put together a blueberry buckle in a cast iron skillet.  AND Yesirree, that went on the grill too.  Can you picture this meal?  Sultry summer night on the porch with the soft glow of fairy lights in the civil twilight. A gentle breeze. Serenaded by crickets. Fragrance of roasted chicken mingling with the sweet smells of flowers all around us.

You know how sometimes you give thanks and then dig in to your meal and it is genuine but cursory and then the meal begins? Not this meal.  Our appreciation grew with each bite. Bernie was truly was the most delicious chicken we have ever eaten but there was more to it. 

We are always thankful for our farmers and our food, but on this night everything was enhanced. It was incredible to be able to taste the nuances of the flavor that comes from the hopes and dreams of starting a new crop and raising a new flock.  We could feel the camaraderie and the nuttiness of long days and broken machinery. The kinds of seasoning that only come from shared stories as weeds are pulled and birds are chased.  All of this and more showed up at our table, as if the laughter and tears and sweat had watered the soil in this long hot summer. 

My irritable family was transformed to a grateful group from the sustenance of hope as much as the deliciousness of the food.  Truly the meal was magical. But I do have one regret.  That I only got one chicken. I recommend making TWO. Same amount of work but then you get leftovers! Thank you for your hard work and commitment. 


*We named her Bernie for so many reasons but most especially because of this Portlandia Episode. 

Pigeon Cove Ferments, local sauerkraut with Cape Ann terroir

October 6th, 2016




Certain Cape Ann grocery shelves now stock a healthful, new local product: sauerkraut made from cabbages grown in Essex, lacto-fermented with salt from the Atlantic Ocean, produced by a young family in Pigeon Cove.

Kristen and Dylan L’Abbe-Lindquist have created Pigeon Cove Ferments, a line of crisp, briny, fresh-tasting sauerkrauts that promise to transform a Cape Ann Reuben sandwich into Brooklyn gold – as in, this sauerkraut is as good if not better than anything from an earthen crock in that pickle and hipster dense borough.




Here’s the story: The L’Abbe-Lindquists, with their young son, Ronin, live in Dylan’s childhood Pigeon Cove home. Kristen has a degree in Sustainable and Equitable Food Systems.  She started a garden and had hopes for a true Pigeon Cove Farm, but a new baby made her rethink what she could do with her degree, and how she could help out the family.

While working at the Common Crow, Kristen noticed that the store dedicated a particularly large amount of shelf space to sauerkraut. Fermentation, she noted, must do well on Cape Ann. Dylan is the head brewer at Cape Ann Brewing, Co. He knows about fermentation. (The couple already had a relationship with Noah Kellerman at Alprilla Farms in Essex through Cape Ann Brewing.)

With a new business plan the gorgeous green spheres of Brassica lolling almost comedically over the Alprilla Farms fields had purpose, destined for the Pigeon Cove Ferments crocks.


The L’Abbe-Lindquists produce the sauerkraut – 4 delicious flavors! – in a kitchen at Blackburn Industrial Park. The Atlantic Saltworks Company, the company that evaporates local sea water down to salt crystals, is conveniently their neighbor, and now their second most important ingredient. We are talking Cape Ann terroir.

Pigeon Cove Ferments is already breaking the sauerkraut rules, becoming a special fermented product in flavors that will make you just want to serve them on their own:

Turmeric & Ginger

Garlic Dill

Peppered Caraway


Two more flavors –

Red Beet, Ginger & Bay Leaf

Curried Carrot Kraut

– will be available in various farmers’ markets. I say look for all of them, but the Red Beet, Ginger & Bay Leaf would earn both beauty and modernity marks on a holiday table.  DO NOT BE AFRAID: these krauts are more cool, bright salad than salty, malodorous vegetables, that thing people fear in sauerkraut.

Serve Salsa Kraut with Trupiano’s sausages on a crusty bun.

Serve Peppered Caraway Kraut with some golden fried hake in a Virgilio’s roll.

Make your own version of a Cuban Sandwich with ham, cheese, pork, mustard, and Garlic Dill Kraut on toasted Portuguese Sweet Bread.

Turmeric & Ginger Kraut with Cabot Clothbound Cheddar Cheese on sliced, buttered, grilled Alexandra’s Whole Wheat Bread might just be the new “Cape Anner.”

You can find Pigeon Cove Ferments on these shelves and at these events:

Common Crow


Lanesville Package Store

Seaview Farms Store

Also, they will be at:

the outdoor and indoor Cape Ann Farmers’ Markets

Rockport’s Harvestfest, October 15th

North Shore Food + Gift Emporium, Turner Hill, November 20th

Ales over ALS, October 22nd

The world needs young people seriously growing food again. It’s old news, but small family farms promote the health of soil, the health of the environment, the health of the people who consume this local produce, and the health of the community that comes together around these efforts.  Sauerkraut is the Superfood to all that.

Here’s some good information on the health benefits of sauerkraut and lacto-fermentation in general:

Benefits of Lacto-Fermentation

Feather & Wedge, Rockport’s new place.

September 17th, 2016


Feather & Wedge is open, and it’s even better than I could have imagined.

Its architecture and design are to restaurants what the Shalin Liu is to concert halls: petite but powerful iterations of their province. I walked into Feather & Wedge on Friday evening and felt as if I was walking into a chic, finely lit space, but also a restaurant so intimate and inviting that it seemed to have already been in Rockport for years.

The grand black and white graphic of Blood Ledge Quarry on the immediate wall instantly captured a mix of modernity and antiquity.  (Feathers and wedges are tools used to split granite, referring to Rockport’s once vital quarrying industry.) The room’s clear, punctuated lighting makes the room feel candlelit, effecting enchantment. At the same time Feather & Wedge could have borrowed – in a good way – themes from the main office of the Rockport Granite Company, the Pigeon Cove stoneworks that dominated the town economy at the turn of the 20th century: the high ceilings and over-sized, gently Victorian decorated mirror behind the bar.




This is Rockport, our pin-prick of a town, so there were friends, of course, to greet right away. It was truly lovely to say hello, how’s it going, and sit down beside them at the bar, to enjoy the Italian wine,Vernaccia, in a long-stemmed, thin-rimmed wine glass with a proper size bowl. (I have a thing about wine glasses; the shape of the usual stubby restaurant goblet destroys nose and taste and in wine. Why have a good wine list if you are going to kill it in a crude glass?) The wine list is utterly compelling, with a lot of, “oh, they have that!” I couldn’t decide between the Vernaccia or a Loire Sauvignon Blanc so the bartender gave me a sip of the Loire wine, which was delicious, but had slightly more fruit than I wanted at that moment. My guest was instantly happy to see the Provencal Minuty Rose, one of her favorites on the list; I sipped hers which she described as gamey-forward rose, not too sweet, and pairing well with food – and ordered that for my second glass.

We sat at the corner table, one seamless window offered us Main St., and we could nod to friends passing by; the other wall window looked down to the Old Harbor; again, quintessential Rockport framed in new ways.

I am a fan of the limited menu, a few things done very well with the flexibility to highlight local ingredients as they are available. That’s the Feather & Wedge principle so far. I’ve been told the menu may expand a bit more, but never become a fold-out event. Last night we enjoyed a dish so local it deserves a photo on Google Maps: Pastaio Via Corta handmade spaghetti (Pastaio via Corta is the new fresh pasta shop on Center St. in Gloucester), tossed with fresh lobster and local corn. The lobster was as tender as the corn, and all a light, sweet drape over the perfectly al dente spaghetti.

The gutsier entree option was the roast leg of lamb with braised escarole and a half a head of roasted-to-butter- garlic.




The executive chef, Patrick Steele, has a provenance with the venerable Barbara Lynch Gruppo. Steele cooked at the Lynch South End seafood restaurant, B&G Oyster, which specialized in small plates of inspired seafood creations. Feather & Wedge similarly offers a variety of small plates (not necessarily seafood) that will change almost daily, making it a nice way to order as a four-some; have the assortment of small plates and then share two entrees. May I say this makes perfect pre-Shalin Liu dining?

To be clear, this is not the local pub; prices reflect the quality of both the bar and dining menus. – A glass of wine is between $8 and $10. Small plates are $7 – $9; and entrees are $25.

At that table in the corner, I was acutely aware of how wonderful this seat, and this restaurant, will be with a light snow falling on Main St. Also, how beautiful it will be after the DPW have raised the small Christmas trees on the streetlights. And then how beautiful it will be in the spring, when the pansies start fluttering in Main Street’s window boxes. Feather & Wedge already feels like classic Rockport.


Pop-up Farmers’ Market – local pasta meets local produce!

September 13th, 2016


Astrid of Astrofarms at Moraine Farm

At this pop-up farmers’ market, all you need do is walk in the door and a beautiful, fresh, local dinner is practically made. Leave someone at home to start the pasta water boiling while you run out!

This Friday – September 16th, 2016 – from 12- 4 p.m. Astrid from Astrofarms in Beverly will set up her harvest at Pastaio via Corta, 11 Center St. Gloucester.  Astrid will have this and more:


baby mustard greens,

Toscana kale,

red curly kale




shelling beans



hot peppers

The Case

Pastaio via Corta has handmade pasta made fresh every day, often handmade cheeses, olives, and a fine selection of Italian cooking basics.

Go to this pop-up market Friday and take home all the ingredients for pasta fagipoli, pasta puttanesca, or almost all the ingredients for Marcella Hazan’s Linguini with Crab and Arugula or her Pasta with braised Celery, Onion and Pancetta.


A perfect autumn Cape Ann event!

September 13th, 2016


This menu says it all!  – for the Salt Marsh Farms pulled pork alone…



Seafood Throwdown in the Boogie-down Bronx!

September 2nd, 2016

Karen Washington

“Why not the Bronx?!”

When nationally renowned food activist Karen Washington met Niaz Dorry, director of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, at a conference last spring, Dorry explained that NAMA often distributed its message through something called Seafood Throwdowns. Seafood Throwdowns are cooking competitions held in public spaces to promote under-utilized species and to teach people about sourcing local fish.

“Yeah,” Dorry said, “We’re having one in Brooklyn this year – “

“Brooklyn?!” Washington called out, “why does everything happen in Brooklyn?! Why not the Bronx?!”

Inside that question lies almost the entire issue of food justice. Why not the Bronx? Why does society – even the most conscientious among us – systemically omit neighborhoods of color from the good food conversation?

Dorry immediately understood the obviousness of her own omission, and right there began planning with Washington the “Garden of Happiness” First Annual Seafood Throwdown in the Bronx! – between 181st and 182nd.

corn & Garden of Happiness

As Washington declared many times last Sunday afternoon, in between the smiling young DJ’s pulsing Rhianna and Michael Jackson spins, “we’re not in Brooklyn! We’re not in Queens! We’re not in Manhattan; we’re in THE BRONX! – this is the ‘First Annual Seafood Throwdown in THE BRONX! – the Boogie-down BRONX!”

The secret fish was bluefish. Michaela Hayes from Rise and Root Farm and Crock and Jar teamed up with Suzanne Cupps from the restaurant Untitled at the new Whitney Museum.

Suzanne Cupps & Michaela Hayes


They competed against Aneesha Hargrave from the fresh salad franchise Chopt. This Seafood Throwdown attracted social brass.



A very tall New York State Senator Gustavo Riveira, looking like a basketball center at a church supper, joked for a couple of hours with his District 33 constituents, even after admitting that fish creeped him out. But, he added, “anytime Karen Washington says show up, I show up.”

Gustavo Riveira

Aside, he confided that he had five more events to attend that day, and meals to eat at each of them, but he pointed to the opulent display of Rise and Root Farm heirloom tomatoes:

“See those tomatoes over there? I have a nice loaf of whole grain bread at home. I’m going to buy the ugliest tomatoes – the ugliest ones always taste the best – and I’m going to go home tonight and slice some of that bread. I’m going to lay some thick slices of those tomatoes on top, and lay slices of fresh mozzarella over them, and that’s going to be my dinner tonight!”

Rise and Root Tomatoes

I saw him leaving 45 minutes later, happily swinging a plastic bag heaving with Rise and Root tomatoes.

Joe Heller, Resource Conservationist for the USDA and his wife helped to judge the Throwdown. Heller declared his earnest professional interest in seafood issues, saying he hoped the USDA could partner better in the future with fishermen.

Deborah Lomax from the Bronx Health Department and the Center for Health Equity, “responsible for lowering the health inequalities in this borough,” seated herself at the judge’s table, declaring before she tasted her first bluefish dish, “I can’t wait to have the taste of equity in my mouth!”

The New York Botanical Gardens nurtures its 250 acres, 50 gardens and hundreds of millions of plant species just around the corner from this Bronx block party. Built in 1891 upon the estate of Pierre Lorillard, who amassed a fortune with the world’s most popular plant, tobacco, the NYBG has a pedigree peppered with names like Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Morgan and Rockefeller. It’s treasures include 50 acres of Old Growth forest – the original un-cut, un-logged trees that once covered the island of Manhattan. It includes the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden designed by landscape designer Beatrix Jones Farrand. Its library holds the writings of Charles Darwin and Carl Von Linne (Linnaeus), who created our latin system for naming plants. Karen Washington is a New York Botanical Garden board member.

Here is a short history: Karen Washington, single mother of two and a physical therapist, purchased her brick row house between 181 and 182nd in the Bronx in the early 1980’s. One day she saw a man with a shovel in the vacant lot across the street from her new house. She asked him what he was doing, and he said, “I”m going to build a garden here.”

“Well, let me help!” Washington replied. Today that garden, named “Garden of Happiness,” is an extravagant plot of land filled with mature trees, a chicken coop, and garden plots heaving with tomatillas and papalo, Porophyllum ruderale, a tender spicy green similar to cilantro used in Mexican cuisine. To step into the Garden of Happiness on an August morning is to be struck hard by the simple lesson that gardens and trees are easy bandaids to the harsh concrete heat of the city. Temperatures drop and mood lifts when one steps off the street and into this bountiful half-acre of chlorophyll and leafy shade.

Garden of Happiness Bench

Garden of Happiness

garden of happiness trees

Garden of Happiness tree


Here’s a glimpse of Karen Washington’s biography now:

Since 1985 Karen Washington has been a community activist, striving to make the New York City a better place to live. As a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens, she worked with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens. As an advocate, and former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, she stood up and spoke out for garden protection and preservation. As a member of the La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, she helped launched a City Farms Market, bringing fresh vegetables to the community. Karen is a Just Food board member and Just Food Trainer, leading workshops on growing food and food justice across the country. In 2010, she co-founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization supporting growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012, Ebonymagazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country, and in 2014 she was the recipient of the James Beard Leadership Award. Since retiring from Physical Therapy in 2014, Karen is Co-owner/Farmer at Rise & Root Farm.

It all started with a garden, the garden which offered a cool bench at the First Annual Seafood Throwdown in the Bronx. Today Carmen Pepe and his wife maintain The Garden of Happiness, which is also part of the NYBG Bronx Green-up initiative.

Karen Washington & crew

Wearing an untucked button-down shirt and rumpled khakis, Todd Forrest, the Arthur Ross Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections at the New York Botanical Garden, mingled with the crowd and followed the chef’s work throughout the cooking process. Washington introduced him as “a dear friend, and the heart and soul of the New York Botanical Gardens.”

Todd Forest - New York Botanical Gardens

Forrest, in turn, had nothing but deference and praise for Washington. “who has just made the Bronx a more wonderful place.”

The Seafood Throwdown was part of the 181 – 182nd Block Party, a precious time for an urban kid, Washington describes, when New York City actually stops traffic on their street for a day. Washington says, “We try to live in this community, to celebrate a day kids can run around in the streets with no cares, to be free.

181 - 182

At one point, a parked car needed to exit the street, and a pack of adults sprang forward to protect a few young kids still wobbly on their small bicycles. The DJ called into his microphone, “Hey, watch those kids! They’re our future!”

A day to practice bike riding on a wide open street. Gardens. Fresh farm-raised vegetables. Each of these components were treasured this day in the boogie-down Bronx. Each seemed to be valued far higher than communities I see with less concrete and more trees. Karen Washington acknowledged as much, describing the one farmers market in the Bronx, La Famiglia Verde, as an extremely important event for this particular community, important in ways one doesn’t associate with local melons and fresh cut flowers.  Washington said this about working at La Famiglia Verde:

“If I see someone who just got out of prison, and they have nothing to eat, I hand them some food. Or if I see someone walking by, and I know they have no money to feed their family, I hand them some vegetables. They might say to me, ‘but I don’t have a check,’ and I say to them, ‘did I say anything about a check? – just get over here!’”

“I grew up in the projects where people took care of each other. Today, with materiality, the explosion of the media, emphasis has been on things, not basic human compassion. The rise of the individual has taken over, and we have lost community. We lost how to lean on each other, to share things. People don’t want to borrow because they’re afraid they will be thought of as ‘poor.’ It’s become shameful to be poor.”

Washington’s words ring true in communities far beyond the Bronx.

Here is Aneesha’s winning bluefish recipe.

Aneesha's winning bluefish


Chopt’s Aneesha’s WINNING Bluefish “Mejor” – “Better Bluefish”


For the Tomato Sauce:
1/2 cup good quality olive oil + 2 tablespoons (divided)
8 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons “Mama Lil’s Goathorn Peppers” or jarred roasted peppers
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
6 medium – large tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1 diced green pepper
1 cup diced raw bluefish (skin removed)

For the bluefish:
2 pounds bluefish fillets
olive oil
about 4 lemons, sliced into rounds
salt and pepper

For the salad:
2 bulbs fennel, stalks and tough end removed
4 leeks, cleaned, halved lengthwise, then cut into 6” lengths
8 Hungarian wax peppers or your choice of peppers
olive oil for tossing vegetables
1/2 cup diced red onion
kernels from 2 ears of corn
handful of chopped celery leaves
1 teaspoon capers
salt for finishing
Spanish olive oil to taste

To finish:
sea salt
chopped parsley leaves
For the sauce:
Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan to medium heat. Add the garlic cloves, and lower temperature. Cook until garlic just begins to soften but becomes sweet. Add the peppers, and cook to blend flavors for 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan, and stir to blend in the warm pan. Remove from heat.
Pulse very lightly in a food processor, just to mix well and blend in the garlic, not to puree.
Add sherry vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Heat a 10” saute pan to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil, and saute the green pepper until softened, and just beginning to brown. Add the tomato sauce, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the diced bluefish, and simmer until the fish is cooked, another 5-7 minutes. Set sauce aside.
For the bluefish fillets:
Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Brush the lemons lightly with olive oil, both sides, and lay on the grill closely together, making a surface upon which to lay the fillets. Rub fillets lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Lay the fillets on top of the lemon slices, and cover grill. Roast for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through, and flakes easily when pushed with a fork. (Alternately, lay the lemon slices on a foil-covered baking sheet. Lay the fillets on top of the lemons. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees F. until the fish flakes easily, about 8-10 minutes to the inch.)

For the salad:
Chop fennel bulbs into 1” wedges. Toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat a grill or grill pan to high heat, and lay fennel slices on top. Cover grill or pan, and cook for 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until fennel is cooked through but not mushy. Halfway through, toss leeks and pepper in olive oil and salt, and add to the pan, cooking them similarly.
Allow vegetables to cool slightly before tossing. Then put all in a large bowl, adding the onion, corn, and parsley leaves. Toss in the capers. Taste for salt and pepper, and drizzle good quality Spanish olive oil over all to taste.

To assemble dish:
1. On four dinner plates, spoon out approximately 3/4 cup of the chunky sauce. Lay a serving of grilled bluefish on top. Spoon the vegetables over all. Finish with salt, more chopped parsley leaves, and capers.

Karen video

Karen Washington interview

Pastaio Via Corta – pasta is changing Glosta

August 23rd, 2016


Danielle at the Seafood Throwdown

Once a softball player, ever a purist, Danielle Glantz has opened a “pastaio,” a fresh pasta shop named “Pastaio via Corta” – “pasta maker on a short street,” transforming “a short Gloucester street” into a Florentine neighborhood.


Glantz will say her palate was actualized as a child at her Lebanese mother’s and grandmother’s sides in her home in western Massachusetts. (Her father is Italian.)  Bold, fragrant dishes created with love and joy in a family kitchen seems to be the Glantz culinary syllabus.

She received a degree and a Brillat-Savarin Medal of Merit from the Culinary Institute of America (after starting out at the University of Hartford on a softball scholarship). She cooked for four and a half years at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA, and returned to Massachusetts as sous chef at Nico and Amelia Monday’s restaurant The Market on Lobster Cove. After a year there Glantz became head chef at Short and Main, the Monday’s and partners’ second restaurant on Main St. in Gloucester. But Glantz still speaks with awe of her grandmother’s shish barak, a tiny lamb and pine nut tortellini served in a yogurt soup, as if that cooking had more power over Glantz’s professional style than the other way around.

Yet, under Chez Panisse chefs Jean-Pierre Moulle and David Tanis, Glantz saw that purchasing locally meant more than the promise of better tasting produce; it meant a commitment to the community.

With this personal canon, Glantz has opened Pastaio via Corta, a handmade pasta and cheese shop on Center St. in Gloucester.

Pastaio Counter

If you have noticed the small chalk sandwich board saying “fresh pasta” on the corner of Main St. across from Passports, follow the pointing arrow; just go. It’s your lucky day if Glantz has made burrata, a sphere of freshly pulled mozzarella so plump with cream that it bursts at the tenderest pressure, and they are not all spoken for.

While I was there last week, a 30-ish year old woman walked in and said, “I came here for your burrata; my mother says it’s the best she’s had in her life, even after living in Italy for years.” Glantz smiled back with her steady, brown-eyed soundness. This is the woman who, when talking about working with the wood-fired oven at Short and Main, said, again with that straight-shooting clarity, “the oven will own you unless you own it.”

Glantz makes burrata, mozzarella, and stracciatella every week, but it disappears as quickly as it goes in the case. If luck isn’t your thing, order ahead: 978-868-5005.


making gnocchi

Pastaio gnocchi

The Case

Glantz makes all of the pasta by hand in her shop. On any day (Glantz is open 7 days a week, from 11:00 – 7:00.) you can walk into the sun-filled store, and she is standing behind the counter rolling dough into long snakes, breaking off thumb-size pieces for gnocchi, and then rolling each on the wooden board that imprints those signature gnocchi lines. Or she is pressing tiny disks of pasta into orrechiette. On Thursdays and Saturday’s she makes ravioli. Last week’s were filled with ricotta, mascarpone, Parmigiana Reggiano, cardoons, squash blossoms, olives and basil.

Glantz makes four basic kinds of pasta: short, stuffed, long, and “pastine” – or soup pastas. She always has a whole wheat pasta made from Alprilla Farm’s milled whole wheat. Flour is now the symbol of Glantz’s conviction.

“I believe that good food should be available to everyone. When I thought about opening my own business, I thought, if I’m entering the market as someone who is honestly concerned about farm-to-table living and sustainability, I’ll start with pasta,” – a product that can make local, healthy ingredients like wheat, eggs, milk and vegetables available to everyone.

Gloucester Italians have already discovered Pastaio via Corta. The day I was there a 40-ish year old man named Caesar, wearing bright orange running shoes to match his silver and orange motor cycle helmet, sat on the bench for a good 45 minutes. He just wanted to talk about homemade ricotta cheese, a certain sign for me that Pastaio via Corta has already improved our community in many ways.

Glantz competed with this dish in last week’s Cape Ann Farmers’ Market Seafood Throwdown.  For the record, Cape Ann Fresh Catch will be selling whiting, so delicious in this summery pasta recipe, this week (8/25).


Seafood Throwdown Radiatore


Pastaio via Corta Seafood Throwdown Radiatore

serves 4 for dinner


1 whole whiting or 2 small (about 1/2 pound of cooked meat)

3/4 cup olive oil, divided (for fish and cherry tomatoes)

salt and pepper

1 pound Pastaio via Corta radiatore

2 tablespoons minced garlic 1 pint cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup chopped basil

1 cup squash blossoms, roughly chopped


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Heat a clean grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Rub fish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap fish securely in aluminum foil, and lay on grill. Grill for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish flakes well when checked. Remove from the grill, and open the foil slightly to stop the cooking. After it is cool enough to handle, pull the flesh from the bones, discarding the skin. You should have about a cup of fish, or to taste. Set aside.

In a large skillet heat 1/2 cup olive oil to medium high. Add garlic, and toss in the pan very briefly, for about a minute Do not brown. Add cherry tomatoes. Toss a bit with the garlic, and let cook until the tomatoes just begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Add the pasta to the water and cook for 2 minutes, if using Pastaio via Corta, or until al dente. (Boxed radiatore will take 5-7 minutes.) Drain pasta but leave a small amount of water on the pasta, just dripping a bit, and toss the pasta into the pan with the cherry tomatoes. With 2 wooden spoons, start tossing the pasta in the pan with the tomatoes. Add the fish, and keep tossing, until the pasta begins to “drape” with the liquid in the pan. (Return the pan to warm heat if necessary.) Toss in the fresh herbs, squash blossoms, and toss well again. Taste for salt and pepper, and serve immediately.