Heather vs. Howard: Broiled Quahaugs

February 8th, 2016


The Provincetown fisherman knows more profanity in more languages than any other breed in the world, and he can cuss five minutes without saying the same word twice. But he cusses with such a beguiling grace and naivete that he can shout all night on Saturday and go to Mass on Sunday with a conscience as clean as new-washed bedsheets. – from the Provincetown Seafood Cookbook, Introduction, by Howard Mitcham.


Howard Mitcham is the author of the Provincetown Seafood Cookbook, first published in 1975. Anthony Bourdain discovered it, and called the Provincetown Seafood Cookbook the best seafood cookbook in the world. Old paperback copies begin at around $60.00, and hardcover copies at $200. I just noticed that Dover Publishing has reissued it. Clearly, they know a good cookbook. I suggest you click fast or drive fast to purchase this new release for $16.95 in paperback.

Mitcham was born in 1917 in Winona, Mississippi. He died in Hyannis, MA in 1996, dividing most of his life between New Orleans and Provincetown with some Greenwich Village in between. Deaf from meningitis as a teenager, Mitcham was a well-known character in all these places, but also a poet, a recorder of the sizzle in these places, and an authoritative cook. Provincetown history here is as vital as the recipes.   The large and small stories site this town in history:  the arrival of the Portuguese and how they changed the face of fishing in Provincetown and the smells in its kitchens, or stories of how salt cod ruled the town for years.  Every square inch of space that wasn’t dock or road was covered in the wooden racks upon which the salted cod dried. When the industry ended  (with refrigeration) the wood from all those racks was used to build houses in Provincetown. To this day those houses are called “salt houses,” and they are unpaintable, so soaked in salt is the wood. The paint just peels right off.

The writing is vividly noisy, smelly, crispy, honest and real:

In the 1840’s and ’50’s Provincetown was the wealthiest town per capita in New England, and mackerel was one of the cornerstones of this prosperity. In those pre-refrigeration days salt mackerel was the most widely eaten seafood product in America, one of our principal sources of protein, and every small grocery store had its barrel of salt mackerel standing alongside the cracker barrel (and casting off a reek that you could smell all the way out in the street. Those old time grocery stores must have been fragrant things with their medleys of smells: whale oil, mackerel, salt meat, cheeses, hard tack, coffee, kerosene, leather, rope, peppermint, horehound candy and so on. Modern packaging and the supermarket have really murdered the nice smells which gave glamour, mystery, and seductiveness to the old time grocery store.

Like the Provincetown Seafood Cookbook, Mitcham’s other cookbooks, Creole Gumbo and All That Jazz, A New Orleans Seafood Cookbook, (1978) and Clams, Mussels, Oysters, Scallops, and Snails: A Cookbook and a Memoir, (1990), all cover the wild streets, bars, wharfs, clam flats, oyster beds, draggers and salty deliciousness that happened in those two cities, or the kind of mood that prevailed in places like Cookie’s Tap in Provincetown:

The Lord took away a great bon vivant and gourmet back in 1946 when he laid a heart attack on Friday Cook in the prime of his life, only forty-eight years old. His grandfather had come here as a cabin boy and cook on Captain Kibby Cook’s whaling vessel, and the family adopted the name of both of the vocation and the benefactor. Friday ran one of the most amazing bar and restaurants in America. All the fishermen hung out at Cookie’s and they would bring in their “trash” for which there was no ready market: crabs, giant lobster, squids, butterfish, catfish, wolffish, pollocks, blinkers, conches, tinkers, quahaugs, and Lord knows what else. Friday and his wife, Clara (and later sons Wilbur and Joe) would cook this stuff in all sorts of tantalizing ways, and they’d pile it on the counter. Anybody who didn’t look TOO greedy and hungry was invited to help himself. I remember that in my first summer here I didn’t spend a nickel on food. I spent my dimes on beer at Cookies, and the food was on the house. The late John Gaspie, the clamdigging bon vivant, wold sit with me all afternoon, spinning fabulous yarns as we devoured galvanized tinkers and squid stew, and sipped the foamy. Halcyon days they were.

Pay attention to that list of “trash fish.” I’m not just writing about the Provincetown Seafood Cookbook because we will never see this kind of color in our culture again, for what that’s worth; I hope Mitcham’s text and recipes make people think about how much the fishing industry has changed – or not – since 1975.  Mitcham was already seeing changes, poignant foreshadowing of today’s crisis. He writes in 1975:

Today’s fishing is composed of diesel-powered draggers which pull their bag-like otter trawls across the bottom of the sea. There are about thirty of these vessels in the Provincetown fleet, and when the summer tourists go home the fleet becomes the economic backbone of the town. But economic and ecologic problems have become so acute that no one can say for certain whether the fleet will grow or become extinct; as the catches become smaller and fuel and operating costs rise to astronomic heights, it becomes pretty obvious that the government is going to have to help; it will have to subsidize the fishermen in the same way that it now supports the wheat and cotton farmers. But as long as the codfish and flounders are with us, things will turn out right.

Not so much.

Mitcham never imagined we could fish the oceans clean of cod, but he already foresaw haddock’s demise:

One of the saddest chapter of our fouled up modern ecology is the decline and fall of the noble haddock. A few years ago it was the topselling fish in America, and a money maker for Provincetown’s fishermen. It is one of the highest gastronomic treats for gourmets. But its numbers have gone into such a tailspin in recent years that biologists are afraid it will soon be as extinct as the dodo, great auk, and passenger pigeons. Overfishing has done it. Foreign factory ships and trawlers and our own beam trawlers (we can’t blame the Russians for everything.) have swept the George’s Banks so clean that there are not even enough fish left there to spawn, as they did in the past. Man’s inhumanity to man is equaled by his inhumanity to nature.

Chapter 1 from The Provincetown Seafood Cookbook is entitled “The Shellfish.” It covers quahaugs, steamer clams, sea clams, mussels, oysters, scallops, snails, and periwinkles. I’ll be selecting a couple of recipes from each section. Snails and periwinkles will be interesting. I’m beginning with a very simple recipe, a kind of beginners slope for Mitcham. (Some of Mitcham’s recipes are three-ingredient-simple, and some have twenty-five ingredients, but they always work. I have never yet seen a superfluous ingredient or step in a Mitcham recipe.) This is for a simple broiled in the half-shell morsel of shellfish topped simply with a little Tabasco and bacon. I used “little necks,” sometimes called “top necks” in the grocery store, but I’m including Mitcham’s handy chart to keep things straight.




The most important point to remember is that a quahaug is not officially a clam. A quahaug is Venus mercenaria; in New England clams are the soft-shell ones, Mya arenaria, that end up steamed, fried, or in chowder. (Although there is a quahaug chowder, too.)

little necks


Mitcham has a bunch of interesting quahaug recipes, and I will write a long, dinner version next week, but this recipe is a perfect composition: briny + heat + sweet, salty.

Quahaugs are easy to source (on the coast) and a trustworthy seafood. I purchased these at Whole Foods; they were wild, dug in Wellfleet the day before I purchased them, a wild, local seafood responsibly captured with loads of flavor. But here’s Mitcham on the Provincetown history of the quahaug, a really good example of how resilient fisheries can be.  To a point:

If the Indians hadn’t taught the Pilgrims how to dig quahaugs they would all probably have starved to death that first hard winter in Plymouth. Ever since that time, especially during depressions, a lot of other folks would have gone hungry except for a bucket of steamed “hogs.” Like the shmoos, they were a self-perpetuating bounty. But only up to a certain point. During the depression of the early ’30’s, when money was so very very scarce, a barrel (three bushels) of quahaugs would fetch two dollars, so the desperate commercial clam muckers raked Provincetown mudflats as clean as a hound’s tooth. And to cap it off some sort of epidemic killed off most of the eelgrass which produces the microscopic diatoms on which quahaugs feed. This double disaster made quahaugs so scarce that many people thought they were extinct. But around 1940 the eelgrass began to make a comeback, and so did the quahaugs, and so did the dollar. The current wholesale price of a bushel of littlenecks is $34 ($102 per barrel), and they must be purchased from commercial clam farmers or fishmarkets. This is one of the sharpest comebacks of almost any commodity on the market except call girls.

We shared a dozen of these for a light lunch – absolutely nothing else – and felt as if we had just dined on something very special, and as if we had been incredibly – surprisingly – well-nourished.

quahaugs with bacon


Broiled Quahaugs

serves 2

2 dozen littlenecks or cherrystone quahaugs

6 slices bacon


Many people prefer this simple broiled quahaug dish to the more elaborate clams casino.

Open the quahaugs, over a pan to catch the juices. Cook the bacon in a skillet unilt it is 3/4 done; cut the strips in 1-inch pieces. Place rock salt on 2 sizzle platters or pie pans and place the clams on the halfshell on top of the rock salt. Spoon a bit of the liquid (strained of grit) over the clams.  Add 1 drop Tabasco to each clam. Lay a piece of the bacon on top of each clam. Place them under the broiler flame until the bacon is browned. Serve at once.

Notes:  I used “Ribs Within” nitrate-free, chemical-free bacon made from pigs raised on Amish farms.  Just try some.

As you can see, be careful to only cook the bacon 3/4 in advance or else it will get a little too crispy under the broiler.  To open these littlenecks I actually steamed them just a tiny bit to get the shell just starting to open. I’m just a whuss with a clam knife.

p.s.  Thanks, David Calvo, for providing this little gem of pure bacon joy: baby’s first bacon

“Heather vs. Howard” and more news.

February 1st, 2016



My blog has been too quiet recently, only because I’ve been working on a bunch of projects.

Here is a sketch of what’s going on: this blog will be redesigned soon, and will change a little. I will be writing occasionally for the Gloucester Times, and will post those local food stories – like this one on Magnolia 525 Tavern and Restaurant! – in one section of my blog.

In another section I’m looking forward to sharing a new video series. It’s called “Stories Served Here,” and that’s all I’m saying for now!

I’ve also become more and more sensitive to local, national, and international fishing issues, which is leading me to collaborate with some great friends on a new cookbook idea. Sorry to be coy, but I can only say “details coming soon!” But I will be attending Slow Fish 2016 in New Orleans in March, so watch for posts about that, too.

Until then, I am going to begin a new, very specific blog series, weekly posts featuring recipes from a cookbook declared by Anthony Bourdain to be “the best seafood cookbook in the world,” The Provincetown Seafood Cookbook. Written by the amazing chef Howard Mitchum, who lived, fished, and cooked in both New Orleans and Provincetown, (Now deceased, Mitchum was completely deaf since childhood.) The Provincetown Seafood Cookbook is now out of print, but so full of salty stories (like cooking fish on the back of a red-hot tailpipe), visions of what it was like to live in a fishing town just fifty years ago (certain species were already declining, but mostly people considered Mackerel as important as Swordfish) and perfectly written recipes full of good details (like don’t add cornmeal to soaking soft shell clam water because the bellies will be full of raw cornmeal after you cook them), that this cookbook is truly a seafood bible.

But my point is not really to sell more out-of-print cookbooks; my point is celebrate Mr. Mitchum’s talents, and to highlight how much the fisheries have changed. First published not really that long ago, 1975, Mitchum has recipes for Flounder, Halibut, Mackerel, Sardines, Pollock, Butterfish, Skate, along with what you would expect – Swordfish, Haddock and Cod. In the “Crustaceans” chapters he includes Moonsnails and Periwinkles along with that ubitquitous list that starts with Clams and ends in Quahogs. It’s been not quite fifty years, and the list of what people consider “fish for dinner” has shortened to three species: Cod, Haddock, and Swordfish. Ok, maybe Tuna. People look at the other fish on the list above as if they are monsters, when once – less than fifty years ago – they were as welcome to the dinner table as cod.

I promise, whether Mitchum is preparing Haddock Meurniere or Fried Codfish Jaw Bones, his recipes are perfect, and should be tried. While I am not committing to a Julia vs. Julia year of cooking, Heather vs. Howard will be a systematic approach to The Provincetown Seafood Cookbook. I will choose ten recipes from each of the five chapters, starting with Chapter 1, “Quahogs.” If I cannot find the ingredients, if a certain seafood is not available anywhere, I will highlight that, too, because how much fishing, selling fish, and cooking fish has changed is part of the story here.

Watch for the first post by February 7. I’m hoping we all learn a lot from Mitchum’s recipes, even the ones we can’t make anymore, if only because of just that.

Lastly, I am working on a NEW blog all together, one produced with friends. That will be where many other great recipes will be posted, restaurant discussions, and stories that make life generally interesting. That blog should be up by March. I already have recipes I’ve been dying to share, like Sook’s Silken Tofu with Crispy Shallots. Or I want to talk about Matt Billey’s gorgeous, hefty candlesticks, sculpted out of wood leftover from his real-life, hand-built wooden sailboat, moored in Manchester.

In sum, this blog will be reworked soon, including video content and the “Heather vs. Howard” series. A new blog will be up at another site, coming in March. Cookbook news will be leaked as appropriate.

Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook will just continue the random loveliness. As ever, thanks to all of you for following!

xo, Heather

Magnolia 525 Tavern & Restaurant

February 1st, 2016

Mag sign

The reasons to visit a cafe, a bistro, a neighborhood pub are not the same as reasons to visit a “bar” or a ”restaurant.” A bar invokes both the singularity of drinking and perhaps the singularity of being single. Making restaurant reservations assumes the meal is the first priority.

But the neighborhood pub falls somewhere between the “clean, well-lighted place” from the Hemingway short story and the Cheers bar where everybody knows your name. The food and drink should be good to excellent, but, more importantly, these places answer a critical and ageless need: the need for a comfortable seat, maybe a familiar waiter, and an easy exit away from a taxing work week. It would be good if this kind of restaurant also had a cheerful dining room where everyone from the pre-schooler to the father-in-law can find something for dinner, and the waitstaff doesn’t mind finding the high chair. The on-tap list should be heavy in beer’s with names that evoke gritty life, hop vines, and/or pumpkins. A glass of wine doesn’t have to be a Robert Parker stud, but it should dance a little with the first relaxing sip, a Chardonnay that sets up perfectly with a Chicken Caesar Salad or a Cabernet that, beside the house burger, makes the week’s woes disappear. A house-crafted cocktail is a bonus.

Magnolia 525 Tavern is doing a skillful job at being a virtuoso variation of this kind of place.

On a recent January night we drove through Magnolia darkness down the winding Hesperus Avenue. It felt as if the entire world had left town or gone to bed, although it was only 6:30. Making the left hand turn onto Lexington Avenue, everything changed; cars lined both sides of the street. An inviting glow spilled from the glass doors of Magnolia 525. The handy parking lot in the rear was filling up.

Inside, Magnolia 525 purred with conversation. Replays of Tom Brady’s sacks were being broadcast across three television screens over the bar, but the well-dressed booths on the other side of an elegantly paneled half-wall allowed diners to ignore – or not – last weekend’s tragedy. In other words, from the comfortable booths it was easy to glance over to the bar’s t.v., but it also felt snug and relaxed on that side of the restaurant. Industrial-chic pendant lights created a gentle, youthful brightness.


Tavern fries


Nachos and chicken wings are de rigeur in a place like this, and Magnolia 525’s menu is studded with these pubby standards, but I recommend you go right to the Tavern Crisps. This is bar food, or sharing food worth leaving your own neighborhood for: a little thicker than a potato chip, Tavern Crisps have heft to them. Fried to a luscious bronze, they are crowned with spoonfuls of homemade creme fraiche, then showered in bacon and chives. The nachos and wings are good, but I would go where chef Justin Plumadore’s heart seems to be, as in the beautiful attention this basket of potatoes receives.


That heart showed up in the nicest places on this menu, like in the Stromboli, which my daughter declared the best thing she’s eaten in years: a torqued rope of crusty pizza dough, melting cheese, prosciutto, and pepperoni served with a marinara sauce. The pizza (crispy almost cracker-like dough with a variety of toppings) is good pub fare, but the stromboli seems to be the best cheesy, crusty 525 inspiration. (I thought this was just a little salty, but again, my daughter declared it perfect.)

Steak Tips


Plumadore’s heart appeared in the Root Beer and Soy Sauce Steak Tips. Fired perfectly rare as requested, these were meaty, juicy parcels of tender steak. The root beer and soy sauce seemed to have caramelized away, leaving their mark only as a nicely balanced – delicious – background.


icelandic lamb


Again, that heart appeared in a nightly special of Icelandic lamb chops, served with crisp green beans, roasted potatoes and a bright, three-onion gremolata. Each element was well-prepared, fresh tasting, and full of character. The ingredients and execution, while straightforward, showed that care and pride is alive and well in that kitchen.


Baba Burger


And then there is the burger, the cornerstone of the neighborhood place. Some restaurants create burger towers, a mile-high pile of ingredients the least of which is the ground beef on the bottom, sacrificing edibility for architecture. Although big on wow, these stray far from the main point of a burger: a vehicle (the bun) for a well cooked 1/2 pound of high quality ground beef with a couple of complementing flavors (mustard, ketchup, red onion, etc.) We tasted the special burger that day, the Baba O’Riley (sic), ground black angus beef served with baba ganoush, red pepper and feta cheese. I have to confess I am more of the “meh” school of ordering hamburgers from menus. I am usually eyeing more adventurous options, but The Magnolia 525 burger feels exactly like what a burger should be, a reliably delicious way to enjoy a serving of hot, perfectly charred black angus beef. Magnolia 525 seems to believe that the burger is what it’s all about; what’s on top is accent. This is a burger to come back to, a burger to remember when you are at work imagining just the comforting dinner you want to have with your date on Friday night, a burger that calls out for a glass of red wine, a burger that you can’t reproduce at home and that’s why you order it out.  I’ve left my school, and will be ordering it again.

Manager Matthew Rask has assembled an earnestly creative cocktail list with some nice local nods, like the “The Red Blazer,” made with Ipswich Privateer rum, carpano antica, and maraschino liqueur. “The Dogtown Sour” is a hand crafted whiskey sour made with Ryan & Wood’s rye. “Marshall’s Last Stand,” named for our favorite local farm, is made with Ransom Old Tom gin, apple juice, lime and honey. Rask, half Swedish, and a member of Spiran Lodge, the Rockport Scandinavian Society, even includes lingonberries in “The Undecided,” – citron vodka, lingonberry, triple sec, and lemon juice topped with prosecco.

Rask Cocktail


We sipped a “Char #4,” named for the 55-second char the oak barrels receive in order to create the perfect batch of bourbon: the Rask drink was stovetop-smoked cherries and oranges muddled with a vanilla syrup with bourbon on the rocks, not your mother’s manhattan.

Another local nod, “525” refers to this tiny hamlet’s telephone exchange. The village of Magnolia is cited in guide books for its once-upon-a-time history of grand hotels, fine shops, and summering aristocracy, which all ended gloomily with the Depression and a number of fires. But the updated Magnolia 525 energy – and care – is leading a revitalization – (along with the Magnolia Farmers’ Market in the summer!) With its doors open, with Plumadore in the kitchen and Rask’s warm smile at the door, Magnolia 525 Tavern & Restaurant is making Magnolia the neighborhood of neighborhoods. If you don’t live there, brave the darkness this winter and find it.

Restoration Noodles

January 5th, 2016


An old post that deserves a reprint!

Like most of us, kitchen inspiration and appetite came to a screeching, brakes to the floor halt yesterday, January 1st.  I didn’t think I could eat another thing, forget imagine and prepare another meal.  At the same time I couldn’t bear seeing leftovers being hauled out and called dinner.

This happens every year, and every year I begin January with Asian soups, those wonderful great soothing bowls of broth piled high or low, depending on your appetite, with noodles, vegetables, flecks of protein, sesame oil, soy sauce, cilantro, chilis – all the tastes that have been absent from dinner in the last month if your last name is Atwood.


These are loosely inspired by dan dan noodles,  also called “peddler noodles,” noodles with pork and peanuts, because not only did all the sentiments above apply to my dinner ideas, but I have a gorgeous bronze D’Artagnan heritage ham in my refrigerator.  One of the most versatile proteins to take with you to foreign recipes, a heritage ham is like a good suitcase, it can carry almost any cuisine.


This is basically two very simple parts: noodles and boy choy cooked together in a seasoned broth, topped with browned ham, dry chiles, garlic, shitake mushrooms, and peanuts.  That’s the chart, but substitute away:  Any kind of noodle.  Collards or swiss chard for bok choy.  But reserve the pork, chili, garlic and peanut combination; It has the light deliciousness to create culinary amnesia, erasing all memory of too much tenderloin and trifle.





Restoration Noodles

serves 4



1 1/4 cups salted dry roasted peanuts

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 dried chili pepper or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 cups chopped ham

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 cup sliced shitake mushrooms

3 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos (divided)

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

8 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon sesame oil

8 ounces birds nest style egg noodles (or 2 nests per person)

1 medium head bok choy, washed and chopped

chili oil to taste



Coarsely chop the peanuts.  Heat a large saute pan to medium high.  Add peanut oil.  When hot, add chili pepper or red pepper flakes.  Do not let burn.  Add ham and garlic, and saute until the ham begins to sear.  Stir in shitake mushrooms, and cook until all beings to caramelize, or get dark brown.  Stir in 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or Bragg’s) and brown sugar and cook to combine all, about a minute.  Stir in all but 1/4 cup of the peanuts.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.  Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg’s.  Add the noodles and cook according to directions.  Add the bok choy five minutes before the noodles are done.

In each bowl, put a few drops of chili oil.  Lift noodles and bok choy into the bowls, ladling broth over all.  Cover with ham and peanut mixture.   Sprinkle a light dusting of reserved peanuts over all.


Thanks for 2015; wishes for ’16

December 30th, 2015

wreath 2


Thanks to all my friends here for helping make 2015 such a special year.

In Cod We Trust arrived in bookstores, and I have had many, many wonderful times sharing it.

Thanks for believing me when I say it’s interesting, delicious, briny, piquant, suave, sweet and just fascinating to cook, dine, and live along the coast of Massachusetts.

With a batch of new projects simmering, I look forward to sharing them here very soon.

Until then, for 2016 I wish that our coastline would once again be crowded with fleets of small fishing boats and that our local food economies continue to thrive.

But, mostly, I wish that you all have a healthy year full of many shared, delicious meals. And even some nice ones all by yourself.

Edward Gorey’s Eggnog Muffins

December 23rd, 2015



Even if you do not yet own my cookbook, “In Cod We Trust,” where this recipe is featured, you must make Edward Gorey’s Eggnog Muffins for Christmas Morning.

Edward Gorey, the author and illustrator of cryptic Edwardian cartoons that celebrate obscure vocabulary words, and Gothic if not marginal humor, died in 2000. He never missed a performance of the New York City Ballet. If he wasn’t wearing fur coats and high-top sneakers, he was drawing men stealthily approaching Victorian carriages wearing fur coats and high-top sneakers. He loved bats and cats. He attended Harvard, and roomed there with the poet Frank O’Hara.

Upon graduation Gorey began a poetry club with two of America’s great poets Donald Hall and John Ashbery. He was a genius, an obdurate idiosycratic, and lived with many cats in Yarmouth, on Cape Cod.

To find Edward Gorey’s Eggnog Muffin recipe is, for the large cult that has risen up around this gentle man with almost unidentifiable tastes (Along with George Balanchine and Balthus, Edward Gorey unashamedly enjoyed the television series “Petticoat Junction” and “Cheers.”) an emotional goldmine.

“E” is for Eggnog, which makes muffins mellifluous.




Edward Gorey’s Eggnog Muffins

Makes 24 muffins


2 cups flour

2/3 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup eggnog

1/2 cup rum

5 tablespoons melted butter

1 egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin tins or line them with papers.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl or large glass measuring cup stir together eggnog, rum, melted butter, egg, and nutmeg.  Add to dry ingredients and stir gently just to combine.

Spoon into muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted comes out clean.

Give Cape Ann 2015

December 7th, 2015

Give Cold Brew Coffee. Wake someone up Christmas morning with Rockport coffee. Twin Lights Coffee, LLC launched this summer as a stand at the Rockport Farmers Market, manned by the husband and wife coffee drinking team Amy Sharfstein Rich and Steven Rich. Devotion has trailed them and their cold-brewed coffee, called “Ice Velvet,” ever since. Fans say: “It’s the best coffee you will ever taste, smooth and addicting.” Order online at twinlightscoffee@gmail.com or from the Ice Velvet Facebook page. A growler (such a punchy house gift!) is $30 with refills at $25. Or you can order your Ice Velvet in its signature stainless steel “Waves” liter bottle for $50. Combine Ice Velvet with some Cake Ann pastries for a home run Rockport-created Christmas gift.

Give local tea. Just Herbals is a local company that creates beautiful herbal teas and an elderflower syrup, all produced with locally grown or wild harvested plants, even Alprilla Farm ginger. These are teas to energize Cape Anners, keep us free of free radicals, allow us to sleep better, digest better, reduce our inflammation, give us healthy skin and hair, even uplift our spirits. Billed as healthful, Just Herbals Elderberry Syrup is also delicious splashed into sparkling water or prosecco. Just Herbals is a delicious way to infuse good health into anyone’s day. Just Herbals Teas and Elderberry Syrup are available right now at PRESENT, the Community pop-up holiday shop at 120 Main St., Gloucester. Teas are $8-$9.


Give a great apron. Real cooks need real aprons. Alexandra’s Bread sells bread worthy of a Parisienne mademoiselle, but it also sells Cordon Bleu-worthy aprons. There is a line of frilly aprons for the cook with a sense of style, and there is a line for those like me who crave a sturdy cover, a solid apron that finishes the day blasted in flour, and launders freshly over and over again. I personally like the denim powerhouse of an apron. I also like the “pinafore” type, 100% cotton apron with a cod print. The French-blue canvas apron sporting sailboats would be great in a seaside kitchen. And then there are children’s oilcloth aprons, perfect for your small cookie decorator. While you are there, pick up a Green Devil, the spicy, green-olive filled loaf, an alum of this column in years past. Aprons are $25-$28. Alexandra’s Bread 265 Main St., Gloucester.


cod apron

Give Cake Ann. Inga McCarthy debuted her pastry wizardry this summer at the Rockport Farmers’ Market. After just one market and maybe two tweets, the word was out; get to the the Rockport Farmers’ Market by 9:00 for the Kouign Amann (pronounced queen aman) – sugary puff pastry fireworks disguised as a plump fist of brown dough with an unspellable name. Cake Ann’s Kouign Amann had without warning almost unseated Nisu as Rockport’s favorite treat from an oven. McCarthy then began purchasing flats of berries and fruits from her farmers’ market neighbors, and there was no stopping her. She would return the following week with fluffy cakes and muffins starring those local fruits, often topped with a jaunty pile of whipped cream frosting, each wrapped in her signature parchment. Cake Ann quiche, made with Rockport’s Seaview Farms eggs, bacon, and kale, express yet another holy farmers’ market partnership. Cake Ann will soon have a convenient home of its own in the Gloucester Common, the small mall just beside The Common Crow, but for the holidays Cake Ann is taking orders by phone or email. #617-930-4218 orinfo@cakeann.com. They will deliver to your home or you can pick up your treats at Seaview Farms. Orders must be placed by December 22nd. Give a local Buche de Noel!

Cake Ann Peppermint Cupcakes

Give Mayflour: Jocelyn Pierce’s modern pastries are marked by elegant simplicity and her devotion to local and organic ingredients, (both of which she uses whenever possible, which is probably 90% of the time) and butter. Pierce loves butter. She dedicates serious time sourcing local ingredients, and is particularly proud of the Ipswich farmer who supplies her with the hundreds of dozens of organically grown eggs she needs each year. “Eggs are so important,” Pierce says. She creates cakes and cupcakes that blush with naturally tinted buttercreams, or stately stand with old fashioned cream cheese frostings, or shine with classic ganache. No frosting pom-poms here, seasonal local flowers tumble naturally over Mayflour cake layers. Mayflour has no retail door through which to walk (only the bright commercial kitchen in the Whistlestop Mall, tucked ironically behind Dunkin’ Donuts in Rockport.) but her cakes and pastries can be ordered through her website. And now you can send (or pick up) Mayflour quality and style in the form of this fetching wooden gift box: small boxes ($46) include three sweets, and a dried seasonal nosegay. Large ($64) boxes include four sweets, a nosegay, and a honey or jam. http://mayflourconfections.com/http://mayflourconfections.com/

Mayflour large gift box

photo by Esther Mathieu


Give Sicily or Portugal. The Cave is such a cache of good food gifts, you simply need to walk in, spin yourself around, and point; certainly there will be something delicious and interesting to give at the tip of your finger. But, should you want your gift to journey off the island, you can begin with the localness of The Cave, but travel from there to Sicily or Portugual. I particularly like these compositions in geography: Organic Marchesi di San Giuliano Sicilian Red Grapefruit Marmalade, Omnivore’s Salt, and a package of honestly Sicilian oregano. The marmalade comes from the 800 year old Sicilian estate of San Guiliano, whose products are made from fruit grown on the estate, and produced there in small batches. Omnivore’s Salt is a natural sea salt blend with fennel and hot peppers, a secret ratio from the producer’s Sicilian nonna. Featured in GQ Magazine and on the website Food52, Omnivore’s Salt has become a darling for foodies everywhere. Sicilian oregano is definitely for the nonna in your life.

Or give Portugal: Put Doce de Fico – a luscious Azorean fig spread, Koroneiki Portuguese extra-virgin olive oil, and a bottle of Quinta de la Rosa wine together in a basket: each of these alone would be a brilliant food gift; the sum of their parts add up to a September day on the River Douro.

Give Sicily

doce de figo


Give Responsible Fish. Give someone a share from Cape Ann Fresh Catch. Few people understand anymore what kind of fish to buy. There is plenty of fish in the fish case at the grocery store, but the newspaper is telling you that the federal government (NOAA) claims there are no fish left in the sea. There are those codes of red, yellow and blue, but who can keep them straight? Cape Ann Fresh Catch is all you will ever need. Based on the model of community supported agriculture, Cape Ann Fresh Catch guarantees sustainable fish caught responsibly in local waters. Because CAFC fish is so fresh (caught within 24 hours of pick up), and because it is always a sustainable fish caught with responsible methods, a CAFC share guarantees you the most delicious, healthy protein (cleaned and filleted, or whole fish options) and you never need to wonder if it’s safe or if it’s correct. The share system has become much more flexible. Can’t pick up that week, or need to pick up at another drop-off location? – just email them. CAFC is also beginning to add more local products to their share system; they are now offering fish stock and prepared meals, and soon you will be able to order Grants’ Family Farm (from Gloucester) eggs with your share.

This is a big local food gift, and a certain commitment, but there are lots of fun ways to give a CAFC share. Promise to be the person who picks the share up each week. Or, promise to be the fish-preparer every week. Or, give a CAFC share saying, “let’s make this be our night to cook together.” This gift will last for at least six weeks, and it’s a great way to support local fishermen and our waters. Telephone: 978-865- or click here:  http://www.capeannfreshcatch.org/

Give Local Grass-Fed Beef. The Lane family has been operating Seaview Farm in Rockport for over 175 years. To give a gift certificate for their CSA or a share of their grassfed beef, is to give a piece of Rockport history and its future. Supporting Seaview Farm is a means to keep it there. For the ideal Dickensian Christmas dinner, Seaview Farms has prime rib roasts and prime rib steaks – raised on Rockport soil – for purchase in their South St. Farm store. Seaview Farms is now offering a “Lucky 13” beef promotion; when you purchase anything from the farm store equaling $10, a “cow” is marked off on your “Lucky” card. On the 13th purchase you receive $10 off a beef purchase of your choice. Tuck a Seaview Farms “Lucky 13” card in someone’s stocking?

Give Turtle Alley Chocolates and how to make them. Turtle Alley Chocolates are a carnal pleasure. There is nothing, nothing quite as perfect a gift as a pound of Turtle Alley chocolates, handmade in Gloucester and Salem, designed by owner Hallie Baker’s extra-sensory intelligence for flavors and textures. Turtles, truffles, bark – you choose, but I am hoping everyone on Cape Ann receives a box of these for Christmas. That stated, this year, you can also give the more intense cook in your life the Hallie Baker cookbook in which she spills all her turtle secrets!

“Turtle, Truffle, Bark, Simple and Indulgent Chocolates to Make at Home” is the ideal gift for the person you know who owns a candy thermometer. Give the book, but include a pound of truffles, too!

Turtle truffle bark

Give healthy oceans. Who fishes matters. That’s the tagline for NAMA, the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, an organization based in Gloucester that is working “to enhance and maintain healthy marine ecosystems by organizing a decentralized network of community-based fishermen, fishworkers, and allies,” declares its mission.

Who fishes matters. Think about it; if you buy your fish from a local boat that fishes off the New England coastline with a crew who have homes near your house, children in schools near you, who are out fishing to make a living wage for their families, the whole impact of that economy is very different than what happens when you purchase frozen fish from an Asian company with no traceability. You have no knowledge under what circumstances that fish was caught, and it could be anything from the use of explosive devices, to extreme pounding techniques which destroy coral reefs, to slavery. This is not a matter of just quaint vs. big; it is a matter of the ocean ecologies being unable to sustain the unregulated over-fishing that produces cheap food, not to mention the labor issues that accompany these practices.

Who fishes matters; it’s true. If you care, or know someone who cares, go to the NAMA website. Read about their work. Make a contribution, and receive the 2015 Eat Local Seafood Ornament, which you can then gift to someone you love who loves the ocean.


Give “In Cod We Trust.” Shamelessly, I suggest my own cookbook as a gift for the cook in your life, or for the friend you know who lives far from Massachusetts, and is homesick for Indian Pudding and cranberry sauce. Or for the armchair anthropologist you know who enjoys reading stories and histories about local foods. Filled with recipes from the Portuguese, Sicilians, Finns, Swedes, and Wampanoags who have settled on these shores, along with classic clam chowder and blueberry grunt, my cookbook testifies that culturally the coast of Massachusetts is honestly as varied as the coast of France.

“In Cod We Trust” can be purchased locally at The Bookstore of Gloucester, The Book Shop of Beverly Farms, and Toad Hall in Rockport.  (Or here, on my website.)

ICWT cover

Give Gossip! Carry your groceries home in this spunky new bag created for the Cape Ann Museum.  Printed with “The Gossips,” a design by Virginia Lee Burton, founder of the Folly Cove Designers, this bag is historical, still very funny, and still very chic.  It proves that Virginia Lee Burton and the Folly Cove designers struck the perfect design chord sixty years ago, and still do. It’s thrilling that the Cape Ann Museum is once again making locally produced, great style functional, exactly what Jinnee imagined.

Gossips bag

The Give Cape Ann Alumni list; great gift ideas – that are still great – from previous columns.

Fudge Everything

Jen’s Twisted Sauce

Fishermen’s Wives Cookbook

Atlantic Saltworks

Alexandra’s Green Devils

Tucks Candy Canes

Cape Ann Olive Oils

Dinner Dealer

The Nutty Redhead nuts


Thanksgiving “Musts” from In Cod We Trust

November 22nd, 2015


In case you are still creating a Thanksgiving menu, I offer these recipes from my book “In Cod We Trust.”  Three are Wampanoag Tribe member recipes; one is from the now closed Newburyport restaurant, Enzo, which focused on dishes using the best New England Ingredients.  All four would be special to “show-stopper” on a Thanksgiving table, while remaining loyal to the traditions.  All photos are by Allan Penn.

Brussels Sprouts Panzanella Salad-10404

Brussels Sprout Panzanella Salad with Candied Bacon

serves 4-6

This brussels sprout recipe, from the now closed Enzo Restaurant in Newburyport, answered the question, “how do we make a panzanella salad – the traditional Italian bread salad made with summery red tomatoes and fresh basil – in New England in the winter?” The result looks nothing like its parent, and should enjoy its own unique place at the table. Blanched Brussels sprouts tossed in a molasses-pancetta vinaigrette with roasted wild mushrooms, toasted bread, and finished with the deluxe pieces of candied bacon, this is North Shore Farm food; it says winter on coastal Massachusetts the way a panzanella says summer in Tuscany. There are many steps, but they’re easy, and each could be completed a full day ahead, the whole assembled quickly.   Ingredients

4 cups Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, and the sprouts sliced 1/4”

3 cups mushrooms, a mix of shitake and button is good, cleaned and sliced

6 tablespoons olive oil – divided

salt and pepper to taste

3 cups cubed bread – semolina or a country-style loaf

2 slices good quality bacon, cut into 1/2” wide sections

2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 cup, or to taste,

Pancetta Molasses Dressing at room temperature


In lightly salted boiling water, blanch the sliced Brussels sprouts, dropping immediately into ice water. Spread the leaves out on paper towels to dry, padding the top layer with more paper towels. Try to get as dry as possible.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the mushrooms with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and lay out on a baking sheet. Roast for fifteen minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to get brown and crispy.

Toss the bread cubes with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, or more if the bread does not look completely coated, and lay out on a baking sheet. Toast in the same oven until brown, about fifteen minutes, depending on your bread.

In a small bowl, toss the bacon pieces with the brown sugar. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil, lay the bacon, scraping the loose brown sugar on top. Still at 400 degrees, roast for fifteen minutes, or until bacon is brown and crispy; watch carefully that it doesn’t burn. Remove from oven and lay pieces out on a baking rack to “dry.”

To assemble the salad:

In a large bowl toss the sprout leaves with enough dressing to liberally coat. Distribute dressed sprouts liberally among large salad bowls or on one large platter. Distribute mushrooms on top of the sprouts. Toss croutons and the candied bacon all over.

Pancetta-molasses dressing

Yields about 3 cups

3 oz pancetta, sliced or cubed

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup molasses

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup oil (I use a blend of olive and canola oils)

Cook pancetta in a skillet until crisp and browned and the fat is rendered out.  Cool slightly and then place pancetta and all the rendered fat in the bowl of a food processor.

Add the mustard molasses, and vinegar to the processor bowl.  Turn the processor on and let it grind up the pancetta. When the mixture in the bowl looks semi-smooth, pour in the oil.  When the dressing looks cohesive and smooth, turn off the processor and check for seasoning. Taste for salt, or more molasses or vinegar: it should taste sweet, sour and salty together.

This dressing should be stored in the refrigerator and brought up to room temperature (or heated) before use.

Aquinnah Salad-10467


Aquinnah Autumn Salad: Blueberry & Butternut Squash Salad with Dried Blueberry Vinaigrette

4 dinner-sized portions

This dinner salad is a surprising, opulent composition of tastes, a delicious reflection of the high-key colors of a late summer day in Aquinnah. Roasted butternut squash, caramelized red onion, fresh blueberries, and toasted sunflower seeds lay on a bed of local greens, beneath the sweet dried blueberry and balsamic vinegar dressing. This “vinaigrette,” dried blueberries cooked down with balsamic vinegar, olive oil whirred in, is so unctuous and fruity it can accompany almost anything: venison, chicken, even salmon. The dressing amounts here make plenty, so try it everywhere. With a soup, particularly the Wampanoag Fish and Oyster Chowder, this salad makes a glorious meal. In any season it’s served, this looks like a late autumn bouquet, and tastes like a September harvest, the cusp of summer’s last berries and fall’s new squashes.

For the dressing

1 cup dried wild blueberries

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

for the salad

1 butternut squash, or 3 cups peeled and cubed

1 large red onion, cut into wedges

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 teaspoon salt, preferably sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 large head Bibb lettuce, washed and torn into pieces

juice from half a lemon, or 1 tablespoon

2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and picked over

1 cup toasted sunflower seeds

more salt and pepper to taste


Make the Blueberry Vinaigrette: Place the dried blueberries and vinegar into a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes, or until the mixture is reduced by half. Cool briefly, and then put it into a blender or food processor with 1 cup oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend until smooth. This can be done a couple of days ahead and stored in the refrigerator, but it will thicken considerably. To soften, warm briefly in a small saucepan.

To prepare the salad:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the squash cubes and onion wedges with 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan, and bake until the edges are brown and crispy, about 45 minutes. These can be done ahead, and served on the salad at room temperature.

In a large bowl, toss greens with remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle lemon juice over all, and toss again. Lay greens on individual plates, or on a large serving platter. Mound the squash and onions over the greens. Toss the blueberries on top, and sprinkle half the toasted sunflower seeds over that. Pour dressing in desired amount over the salad. Sprinkle the remaining sunflower seeds on top.

Cranberry Crumble-10789

Wampanoag Cranberry Crumble

serves 6-8

Tribal elder Gladys Widdis prepares this dish for Cranberry Day on Martha’s Vineyard, the annual October Wampanaog Festival that honors their ancestors and the harvest, and particularly the cranberry which sustained tribe for over twelve thousand years, according to tribal history.


1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen then thawed.

For the Topping

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 cup oatmeal flakes

6 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces

3/4 cup chopped pecans

Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 8” x 11” glass or ceramic baking dish In a large bowl mix together sugar, flour, spices, and cranberries. Pour into baking dish. In the bowl of a food processor blend together the dry ingredients for the topping. Add the butter, and pulse lightly to cut it into the flour. (Alternately, put all the dry ingredients into a bowl, and cut the butter in with a pasty cutter or 2 forks.)

When the mixture is the size of small peas, add the nuts. Process or mix a little more, just until blended.

Top the cranberries with the streusel, and bake for 35 minutes, or until the crumble is brown on top and bubbling with juice. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Indian Pudding-1875


Earl Mills’ Indian Pudding

serves 6-8

There are hundreds of recipes for Indian Pudding, but anyone who ever dined at The Flume restaurant in Mashpee will affirm that Earl Mills’ Indian Pudding is the best. It doesn’t hurt to remind people when you serve your Earl Mills’ Indian Pudding that this recipe is that of Chief Flying Eagle, chief of the Mashpee Wampanoag Indians. A lovely twist of fate makes Mills not only a revered Indian chief, but also a respected chef. Mills has many wonderful, authentic recipes that represent the Cape Cod land, sea, woods, and fields – corn chowder, clam cakes, clam chowder, succotach; in its day The Flume was considered the best restaurant on Cape Cod. Among Indian Pudding recipes, Mills’ cannot be equalled. I was lucky enough to have lunch with Earl in Mashpee, and he shared his secrets.


4 cups milk

1/3 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup molasses

2 eggs

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon grapenuts

1 tablespoon tapioca

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla


Combine all of the ingredients in a double boiler, and whip over simmering water Continue to cook over a low flame for an additional 1 – 1 1/2 hours, whipping occasionally, until the pudding starts to thicken. Once it starts to thicken, remove the whip and allow the pudding to thicken naturally, and forma skin or crust on top. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. If serving later, refrigerate. Warm in a microwave or double boiler. Add milk if necessary.

Dogtown Dire Brew

November 16th, 2015

Dire Brew


Some of the best local food pours from a tap at the Cape Ann Brewing Company: Dogtown Dire Brew, created by Head Brewer Dylan L’Abbe-Lindquist, is a history lesson, a botany lesson, a cultural lesson, and a cold, molasses-y quaff worthy of Easter Carter.

Dogtown is a real and storied chunk of uninhabited land, about five square miles or 3,600 acres, in the center of Cape Ann. The colonial road from Gloucester to Pigeon Cove traveled straight across this boulder-strewn, rough-hewn farmland and pasture at Cape Ann’s center, once described by the artist Marsden Hartley as a cross between Stonehenge and Easter Island. First settled in 1693, Dogtown began as a respectable community. Some people say that the men all left for either the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812. Some say the Riverdale bridge created an alternate shore route to Pigeon Cove, and that drained the life from this plucky village. The children grew up and moved to the coast for work. By the turn of the 19th century, only a brambly crew of spinster women – women like Easter Carter, Granny Day, and Tammy Younger – considered either witches or healers – and a couple of freed slaves remained in this dwindling cluster of structures. Legend says the women kept dogs for protection and company. The women passed away; their houses crumbled but the dogs, then wild, roamed the moors and woods; the region was colloquially renamed “Dogtown.”

The book which best describes this once spirited village’s decline into a moss-covered secret is “In the Heart of Cape Ann or the Story of Dogtown,” by Charles E. Mann, published in 1896. The Dire Brew story begins on p. 31:

“‘Aunt Smith’ (Aunt Rachel Smith) used to make a ‘dire drink,’ brewed from foxberry leaves, spruce tops, and other botanical specimens, which she was wont to peddle in the village, saying as she entered a house, ‘now, ducky, I’ve come down to bring a dire drink, for I know you feel springish.’”

Gloucester resident Kitt Cox, a serious musician, a personal chef, (and a counselor at the North Shore Postpartum Depression Task Force), saw in these lines a way to rekindle a little of that legendary Dogtown moxie. One of Dogtown’s most zealous devotees, Cox has written and recorded songs about this haunting place, a point which gained him entry into the recently organized “Friends of Dogtown,” whose mission is “to conserve, interpret, and celebrate Dogtown’s unique historical and ecological heritage for the benefit of citizens of Cape Ann and the general public.” Check out their website, if only for a magical listen to a few Dogtown peepers.

Cox approached Dylan L’Abbe-Lindquist, who, born in a Rockport kitchen, and Head Brewer at Cape Ann Brewing Company, had the pedigree to start treading Aunt Smith’s path. He understood the spirit of Cox’s Dire Brew idea instantly.

A sort of brewing scholar, L’Abbe-Lindquist appreciates the history as much as the science to beer. “In the 1600, 1700, and 1800’s beer was much lighter in alcohol; it was basically a safe way to drink water,” he said; fresh water harbored all kinds of dangers.

“There’s no human pathogen that can survive in beer.”

L’Abbe-Lindquist knew that a beer produced in 1780 would have been dark. In the malting process, he explained, after the barley is moistened and allowed to germinate, it is thrown in a big oven, and heated to a certain temperature, depending on how light or dark your “malt” will be, and thus how light or dark will be your beer.

“Back then, they didn’t have access to technology that would make this process exact. They had no controls; the malting was done over a smokey, open fire, which resulted in a dark, smokey brew. L’Abbe-Lindquist reproduced this method for his Dire Brew, using a specifically “dark, smokey malt.”

The malted barley is then mixed with hot water. The liquid from that process is poured off, put in a kettle with hops, and brought to a boil. While he didn’t use foxberrry and spruce tops, L’Abbe-Lindquist did forage the important next ingredients. With his new baby in a backpack, L’Abbe-Lindquist and his wife went into Dogtown and collected staghorn sumac and winterberry for this Dire Drink. He also added rose hips, cranberries and juniper berries to his personalized Dogtown brew, certain that all these ingredients could easily have been one of the “botanical specimens” Aunt Rachel Smith foraged herself in 18th century Cape Ann.

Even hops were local then, L’Abbe-Lindquist told me, and they can still be spotted climbing discreetly in places on Thacher Island and in certain Rockport yards.

Aunt Rachel, L’Abbe-Lindquist knew, would certainly have been hoarding pricey refined sugar for much more special moments than a daily drink to cure “springishness.” And as sugar boosts the alcohol content, not something she would have wanted necessarily from a daily drink, the less expensive more available, lower-glycemic molasses would have been the sugar included in a 1780‘s brew. Thus, molasses is another critical component to Dogtown Dire Brew, and one that gives it not just Dogtown credibility but makes it a mellow drink crowded with character.

The results of this historical, local-centric study in brewing are available on tap at The Cape Ann Brewing Company in Gloucester for a limited time. A cold, chestnut-colored serving with a creamy head, a smokey molasses drink with herbal esthers, Dogtown Dire Brew is more than a fine 2015 cure for feeling “springish,” whatever that may feel like.


You Should Go.

November 8th, 2015


This is truly a spectacular end-of -the-most-beautiful-autumn event.  Just read on to see how a grand New England harvest will be celebrated by great local talent.  Three words: you should go.

From the Tigerlily website:  On November 14 and 15, Colby Farm will be turned into a pumpkin shaped arena for a farm to table culinary battle royale.
Colby Farm is raising heritage breed organic turkeys this year, and we could not miss the opportunity to showcase them in a Thanksgiving event. But we wanted to do turkey-day with a twist, so we came up with the Great Pumpkin Challenge.
Four chefs each day will fight head to head for the title of Mayor of Pumpkinville! At the end of the event, one worthy chef will receive the coveted Golden Pumpkin Trophy.
Guests and judges will vote for their favourite dish during each course made with the top ten Thanksgiving ingredients. Each dish will be paired with a locally crafted beer, cider or wine from Far From the Tree Cider, Riverwalk Brewery and Zorvino Vineyards.
As if that is not enough, we have Chef Angela from Market Square Bakehouse creating her own interpretation of a Thanksgiving dessert spectacular! A huge dessert buffet be the crowning glory for this event, accompanied by crafty coffees from One More Cup coffee. Just a hint, the Drunken Pumpkin is not to be missed!
What are the top ten ingredients, you ask? They are:
Sweet Potatoes
Butternut Squash
Brussel Sprouts
Green Beans

Of course, we added an 11th ingredient. Pumpkin. How could we have a Pumpkin Challenge without pumpkin?
Now for the amazing culinary talent that will delight your taste buds and take you on this delectable journey…


Chef Ryan Costigan of Woodland Catering
Chef Jeremy Glover of Ceia Kitchen & Bar, Newburyport
Chef David Stein of Stockpot Malden
Chef Nick Peters of Seaglass Restaurant at Castle Manor, also a top 5 contestant in Hell’s Kitchen.
Chef Rob Martin of When Pigs Fly, Kittery, ME
Chef Ryan McGovern of Foreign Affairs Bistro & Wine Bar, Manchester-by-the-Sea
Chef Michael Beers, Award-winning Private Chef
Chef Steve Asselin, Drynk Restaurant
We also have amazing judges on board to help critique the plates:
Steve Buckley, Boston Herald
Ilene Bezhaler, Edible Boston
Ann Reily, Newburyport Magazine
Heather Atwood, Gloucester Daily Times
Kelly Schetzle, Northshore Magazine
Carolyn Choate, TV13, Nashua
Full bios for chefs and judges (along with tickets for the dinner) are available at

Copyright © 2015 Tigerlily’s Events, All rights reserved. 

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