We spent last week on Mount Desert Island in Maine, where we rented a cabin on the shores of Somes Sound, so I missed last week’s post (but I did not miss the garden and the weeds awaiting me). One of the tasks before we left was a quick pass through the garden, which resulted in the basket of cherry tomatoes above, to be added to the bowls already on the kitchen counter. Some of these went along with us for salads. To clear the counters, the rest were turned into sauce, using Michelle’s Lazy Baked Tomato Sauce. It smelled wonderful but it all went into the freezer for now.
A few more things were picked from the garden. The larger tomatoes were used with tomatoes from the counter in a batch of gazpacho that served as dinner, with leftovers taken along for lunches. With the beans essentially dead, it was surprising to find a few more beans that were not affected by disease. I also got my first Amarylla tomatillos, a yellow tomatillo from, surprisingly, Poland. It was bred to grow in cooler climates. Also pictured is the first Arroz con Pollo pepper, a spice pepper that is new to me this year. It ripens to yellow.
The peppers of Arroz con Pollo are small and grow upright at the top of the plant. The plants are looking very stressed from the drought. Fortunately it rained the weekend we left, so hopefully they recover because I want a few more of these peppers.
I did no gardening last week, just hiking, sightseeing and lots of eating. But I did get to the MDI Garlic Festival. It is a small event compared to other garlic festivals, but it was fun. I scored a few things at the festival. I found the Phillips garlic I wanted to try. These heads were purchased from the Salty Dog Farm of Milbridge, Maine. They grow beautiful garlic. The sea salt in the middle came from the Eggemoggin Salt Works in Deer Isle, Maine. A very potent salt that is going to be saved for seasoning and not brining. Not pictured were the goat cheeses we purchased from Sunset Acres Farm & Dairy, a piece of Sea Smoke and a small wheel of the cultured Camembert-like cheese. We bought a baguette on the way home and the cheese was the star of a wine and cheese party on the porch while we watched the lobster boats do their evening rounds on the Sound.
Did I mention lobster? Part of the plan for the week was to eat a lot of lobster and crab. The best experience was probably the lobster stew at Jordan Pond House in the park. The lobster stew is a signature dish at this restaurant on the shores of Jordan Pond, along with its popovers, strawberry jam, and afternoon teas on the lawn. I have had many great dishes here but have avoided the lobster stew. I am not cheap, just value conscious. Paying $22 for a bowl of soup and a popover does not seem a great value, but this year I did it!
My vision of a lobster stew was a few pieces of lobster in a milky broth. The bowl I received would be considered a cup at some restaurants, and was actually dwarfed by the popover I chose (it was a good day for popovers, which are finicky beasts even for the pros). I tried the first spoonful of the broth and could not believe the flavor that was concentrated in that one spoonful. My wife had the same reaction. It was creamy and buttery and intensely flavored of lobster and the sea. There are lots of attempts to duplicate the recipe, and I am going to try to find one that approximates it. If you get a chance to eat at Jordan Pond House, the lobster stew is something you have to try.
We are back and the weeds in the garden are still calling my name, but I am ignoring them for now. Meanwhile, head over to Daphne’s Dandelions with me, our host for Harvest Monday, to see what is growing in other gardens around the world.