Lunch

Porcini Lamb Meatballs with Fennel Carrot Shallot Mushroom Sauce

Grass-grazed Lamb Meatballs with Fennel Sauce

Lamb Meat balls in Fennel Shallot Carrot Mushroom Sauce.jpg

Grass grazed ground lamb creates a flavor canvas for the palette of plentiful vegetal pleasures from nature. To make these luscious gluten free lamb meatballs tender and moist, I soak pulverized dried Porcini mushrooms in beaten egg to replace the usual breadcrumbs. Adding to the richness of flavor, texture and creamy experience of the dish, is the use of tons of fennel root, replacing celery in the Mirepiox trio, which begins the satiny sauce preparation.

To make this sensational savory dish for yourself, the ingredients and directions, including food styling tips, are as follows:

Meatball Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ground lamb - grass-grazed

  • ½ cup of rendered duck, or other, fat for browning meatballs (or use coconut oil)

  • ¼ cup dried Porcini mushrooms – pulverized

  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil

  • 1 large egg – free range, well beaten

  • 1 medium shallot – minced

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • ¼ teaspoon of coriander – ground

  • ¼ teaspoon of allspice – ground

  • ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg – ground

  • ¼ teaspoon of turmeric – ground

  • ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper – ground

  • ¼ teaspoon of white pepper – finely ground

Meatball Directions

  1. Soak the pulverized Porcini in the beaten egg for at least 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, slowly caramelize the shallots with the salt and spices in the olive oil, stirring frequently. ~15 min

  3. In a 2 Quart bowl, blend the porcini/egg and the cooled cooked shallot/spice mixtures.

  4. With clean hands, thoroughly knead the ground lamb into the wet mix.

  5. Portion the meatballs with a 1½ inch release style scooper, onto a wax paper lined sheet pan.

  6. With wet hands, roll the portions into rounded balls. Refrigerate for 30 minute or more to firm before browning.

  7. Make the sauce while they are chilling.

  8. Brown the meatballs all over, in your favorite fat. Drain and add them to the sauce as they finish.

  9. Cook the meatballs in the simmering sauce for about 15 minutes.

  10. For best results, let the finished recipe cool and refrigerate covered overnight to meld the flavors.

Fennel Carrot Shallot Mushroom Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 pint of broth, your choice of what you have on hand - be ware of salt!

  • 1 cup of fresh fennel bulb - finely sliced

  • 1 cup of Vidalia onion – medium chopped

  • 1 cup of shallots - thinly sliced

  • 1 cup of carrots - chopped

  • 1 cup of Baby Bella mushrooms (Crimini) - sliced

  • ¼ cup of olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon of wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, marjoram or savory

  • 1 teaspoon of dried or fresh parsley

  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • ½ teaspoon of white pepper – finely ground

  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper – finely ground

  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper – medium or fine grind

Fennel Carrot Shallot Mushroom Sauce Directions

  1. In a large lidded skillet, sauté the fennel and onions in the olive oil on medium low heat until softened and nearly clear. Add the shallots and cook for another 2 minutes.

  2. Add the carrots and mushrooms and continue cooking for 5 minutes.

  3. Make a well in the center of the pan to make a space for the tomato paste. Spoon the paste into place and let it cook for a few minute while stirring to prevent scorching. Stir the cooked paste into the rest of the pan mixture.

  4. Add the broth and vinegar into the pan and stir everything together. Bring the pan to a boil then reduce the heat so the contents simmer.

  5. Add the meatballs as they are browned and slightly drained.

  6. Cook the meatballs in the sauce for about 15 minutes.

  7. For best results, let the pan cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight to meld the flavors.

Serve reheated, garnished with chopped fresh parsley

 Fresh Fennel Bulb Halves

Fresh Fennel Bulb Halves

A Jubilant July Picnic at Coastal Maine’s Mead Meadow

Part 2: Seafood Appetizers

 

 Photos by Michael Marquand  Recipes by Marilinda Hodgdon  Welcome to Part 2 of our Southern Maine picnic, inspired by the glorious fresh bounty of July by the sea. In the last post I presented the Red, White and Blue Sparkling Prosecco and Lambrusco Sangrias to sip with our seafood appetizers. In this post I present the appetizers: my versions of oysters on the half shell with mignonette sauce and lobster claw and pea puree crostini.  The fresh oysters on the half shell are adorned with a colorful mignonette sauce, made of freshly snipped chives from Mead Meadow’s herb garden, minced mini cucumbers, crushed pink peppercorns and Moscatel wine vinegar.

Photos by Michael Marquand

Recipes by Marilinda Hodgdon

Welcome to Part 2 of our Southern Maine picnic, inspired by the glorious fresh bounty of July by the sea. In the last post I presented the Red, White and Blue Sparkling Prosecco and Lambrusco Sangrias to sip with our seafood appetizers. In this post I present the appetizers: my versions of oysters on the half shell with mignonette sauce and lobster claw and pea puree crostini.

The fresh oysters on the half shell are adorned with a colorful mignonette sauce, made of freshly snipped chives from Mead Meadow’s herb garden, minced mini cucumbers, crushed pink peppercorns and Moscatel wine vinegar.

 The sourdough crostini slices are loaded with a pureè of shallot and fresh English peas. The freshly caught local lobster claws nestle into the pea pureè . The claws are draped with lemony Amontillado Hollandaise sauce and are garnished with fresh pea tendrils. The local seafood vender graciously sold us just the claws we wanted by simply putting our order in a couple of days ahead. Some shops carry fresh containers of just claws, since they also sell just the tails. Because we ordered ahead of time, we were able to ask them to be careful to keep the claws as intact as possible for our aesthetic purposes. Some were a little ripped or separated, but I made due by covering those spots with the sauce. Angela of Mead Meadow grew the peas herself, on my request, to make sure we would have the pods and tendrils for our shoot. In spring and early summer they are plentiful in most markets these days.

The sourdough crostini slices are loaded with a pureè of shallot and fresh English peas. The freshly caught local lobster claws nestle into the pea pureè . The claws are draped with lemony Amontillado Hollandaise sauce and are garnished with fresh pea tendrils. The local seafood vender graciously sold us just the claws we wanted by simply putting our order in a couple of days ahead. Some shops carry fresh containers of just claws, since they also sell just the tails. Because we ordered ahead of time, we were able to ask them to be careful to keep the claws as intact as possible for our aesthetic purposes. Some were a little ripped or separated, but I made due by covering those spots with the sauce. Angela of Mead Meadow grew the peas herself, on my request, to make sure we would have the pods and tendrils for our shoot. In spring and early summer they are plentiful in most markets these days.

Lobster Pea Crostini.jpg

Recipes

 Maine Oysters on the Half Shell with Mignonette of Chives, Minced Cucumbers and Crushed Pink Peppercorns

 Ingredients

·      24 small Maine Oysters

·      1 Lb. Coarse Sea Salt for presentation

Mignonette Sauce

·      1 cup of Moscatel or Sherry Wine Vinegar

·      Small Bunch of Chives

·      1 Tablespoon of Pink Peppercorns

·      One small Persian Cucumber

·      3 Medium Lemons to Make 24 Lemon Wedges

Directions

1.     Sort oysters to discard any dead.

2.     Wash oysters of any sand.

3.     Finely chop Chives.

4.     Finely mince Persian cucumbers, keeping the skin

5.     Crush the Pink Peppercorns

6.     Mix the Chives, Cucumbers and Crushed Pink Peppercorns with the Vinegar

7.     Open Oysters, reserving all liquid.

8.     Lay oysters on a bed of course salt and add the oyster liquid to the oysters.

9.     Spoon a small amount of the Mignonette sauce onto each oyster shell

 Serve immediately while cold with sparkling sangrias.

Lobster Claw Crostini with Fresh Pea Pureè and Lemony Hollandaise Sauce

 Freshly Purchased

 ·      20 Small Fresh Maine Lobster Claws

·      1-2 Sourdough Baguettes Sliced into ½ inch Diagonals

Pea Puree

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound of Fresh English Peas

  • 1 Quart of Water, Vegetable or Seafood Broth, or a mix of your choice

  • 2 Medium Shallots

  • ¼ cup of Amontillado Sherry

  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt

  • ½ Teaspoon Ground White Pepper

Directions

  1. Thinly slice the shallots.

  2. Sort the peas for any withered items.

  3. Wash the peas.

  4. In a medium large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil.

  5. Add the shallots and peas.

  6. When the peas are tender and still bright green, remove them & shallots to cold water to stop the cooking and preserve the color. Reserve a cup of the cooking liquid in a measuring cup.

  7. With a slotted spoon or spider add the cooled peas back into the cooled empty pot with the sherry and pepper.

  8. With an immersion blender pureè the peas, shallots and sherry, adding in cooking liquid as needed, until smooth.

  9. Season with additional sea salt & white pepper to taste, being very careful to allow for salt in the lobster and hollandaise.

Marilinda’s Hollandaise Sauce

 Ingredients

  • 4 free range organic egg yolks

  • ½ cup or more of plu gras (European Style) unsalted butter

  • ½ freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste

  • 1 Tbs. Amontillado Sherry

  • 1/8 tsp of ground cayenne pepper

  • Pinch of sea salt to taste

Directions

  1. Beat egg yolks, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt together.

  2. Melt butter in a small pan over very low heat.

  3. Slowly whisk the butter into the egg yolk mixture until it is all incorporated.

  4. Keep whisking constantly until the egg yolks thicken the sauce to the desired consistency.

  5. Briskly whisk in warm sherry to flavor the sauce.

  6. Use the warm sauce immediately.

Tip: To thin and reheat congealed sauce, whisk in a tiny bit of warm water. Garnish             with fresh pea shoots and tendrils.

 To Assemble Crostini

  1. Slice the baguettes.

  2. Spread each slice with about 1-2 tablespoons of pea puree, depending on their size.

  3. Add one claw to each pureè topped slice.

  4. Spoon hollandaise over each of the claws

  5. Garnish with peas shoots and/or tendrils.

Stay tuned for my next post, Part 3 of our Picnic at Coastal Maine’s Mead Meadow. It will feature the main course of cheesy portobello burgers crowned by pickled red onions, avocado mash and baby arugula. The grilled vegetable sides are asparagus, fennel and leeks, accompanied by Moroccan spiced, grilled in their husks, corn on the cob.

Part 4, the finale to the feast, is homemade Maine blueberry cheesecake ice cream popsicles with a do-it-yourself dark chocolate magic shell coating.

 

 Mead Meadow Boat House  A special heartfelt thanks to Angela Olsen Matthews and her husband, Peter Matthews, at  Mead Meadow  for their thoughtful and gracious generosity and hard work in hosting our scrumptious and serene summer picnic. You can visit Angela’s Instagram page @ MeadMeadow   About Mead Meadow   We were invited to historic Mead Meadow, in picturesque Kittery Maine, to shoot our delightful summer outdoor meal. This water front paradise is a restored 140 year old farmstead, originally a 20 acre estate, was called Mead Summer House. Included: the main house, a horse and buggy carriage house, which is now a guest cottage, a boat house and the original well. The lovingly restored buildings are now nestled on 4 acres of manicured grass surrounded by wild and cultivated flowers, raspberry bush stands

Mead Meadow Boat House

A special heartfelt thanks to Angela Olsen Matthews and her husband, Peter Matthews, at Mead Meadow for their thoughtful and gracious generosity and hard work in hosting our scrumptious and serene summer picnic. You can visit Angela’s Instagram page @MeadMeadow

About Mead Meadow

We were invited to historic Mead Meadow, in picturesque Kittery Maine, to shoot our delightful summer outdoor meal. This water front paradise is a restored 140 year old farmstead, originally a 20 acre estate, was called Mead Summer House. Included: the main house, a horse and buggy carriage house, which is now a guest cottage, a boat house and the original well. The lovingly restored buildings are now nestled on 4 acres of manicured grass surrounded by wild and cultivated flowers, raspberry bush stands

A Jubilant July Picnic at Coastal Maine’s Mead Meadow

Part 1: Red, White & Blue Sangrias

 

 Photos by Michael Marquand  Recipes by Marilinda Hodgdon  Welcome to our Southern Maine picnic, inspired by the glorious fresh bounty of July by the sea. We begin with sparkling fruity Prosecco and Lambrusco Sangrias to sip with fresh oysters on the half shell, adorned with a colorful mignonette sauce, stunning Crostini appetizers of fresh pea pureè topped with local lobster claws and lemony Amontillado Hollandaise sauce. The main course is scrumptious cheesy Portobello burgers crowned by pickled red onions, avocado mash and baby arugula. Garden fresh grilled vegetable sides of asparagus, fennel and leeks are accompanied by Moroccan spiced corn on the cob. The finale to the feast is homemade Maine blueberry cheesecake ice cream popsicles with a do-it-yourself dark chocolate magic shell coating.    In this post, I am introducing my  Red, White and Blue Sparkling Sangrias  with their descriptions, ingredients and preparation directions. Each subsequent blog post will feature the next course of the meal.  Part 2  showcases the picnic’s appetizers, toasted by these sensational sangrias.

Photos by Michael Marquand

Recipes by Marilinda Hodgdon

Welcome to our Southern Maine picnic, inspired by the glorious fresh bounty of July by the sea. We begin with sparkling fruity Prosecco and Lambrusco Sangrias to sip with fresh oysters on the half shell, adorned with a colorful mignonette sauce, stunning Crostini appetizers of fresh pea pureè topped with local lobster claws and lemony Amontillado Hollandaise sauce. The main course is scrumptious cheesy Portobello burgers crowned by pickled red onions, avocado mash and baby arugula. Garden fresh grilled vegetable sides of asparagus, fennel and leeks are accompanied by Moroccan spiced corn on the cob. The finale to the feast is homemade Maine blueberry cheesecake ice cream popsicles with a do-it-yourself dark chocolate magic shell coating.

In this post, I am introducing my Red, White and Blue Sparkling Sangrias with their descriptions, ingredients and preparation directions. Each subsequent blog post will feature the next course of the meal. Part 2 showcases the picnic’s appetizers, toasted by these sensational sangrias.

  Red, White and Blue Sparkling Sangrias     Sparkling wines are so very festive and refreshing. I am particularly fond of  Prosecco , a white Italian favorite from the Veneto region. It is not too sweet, not too dry, and not too expensive. Perfect for fruity summer sangria. I added  Lambrusco , a light and bubbly red Northern Italian wine, to balance the party’s colors, flavors and personal pleasure.    I paired the Prosecco with strawberries and ripe nectarines. The Lambrusco is paired with ravishingly beautiful freshly picked raspberries and blackberries. The nectarines are cut to bite sized pieces and skewered with small strawberries to adorn the white wine glasses. The raspberries and blackberries are whimsically skewered to bejewel the red wine glasses. Remaining fruit medleys from each group bathe in their own separate saucers of cognac to macerate for an hour or two.    The skewers and macerations can be done ahead, covered and refrigerated, until ready to serve. I used one pint of each berry and 4 nectarines for one bottle each of the bubblies. For the maceration, use just enough cognac, or your favorite unsweetened spirit, to cover the bathing fruity beauties in their shallow bowls.    When serving, add a small ladle of the red or white maceration concoctions to the bottom of their designated glasses, and garnish with a skewer of the same fruits. Fill each glass, upon request, with the desired fizzy flavor.

Red, White and Blue Sparkling Sangrias

Sparkling wines are so very festive and refreshing. I am particularly fond of Prosecco, a white Italian favorite from the Veneto region. It is not too sweet, not too dry, and not too expensive. Perfect for fruity summer sangria. I added Lambrusco, a light and bubbly red Northern Italian wine, to balance the party’s colors, flavors and personal pleasure.

I paired the Prosecco with strawberries and ripe nectarines. The Lambrusco is paired with ravishingly beautiful freshly picked raspberries and blackberries. The nectarines are cut to bite sized pieces and skewered with small strawberries to adorn the white wine glasses. The raspberries and blackberries are whimsically skewered to bejewel the red wine glasses. Remaining fruit medleys from each group bathe in their own separate saucers of cognac to macerate for an hour or two.

The skewers and macerations can be done ahead, covered and refrigerated, until ready to serve. I used one pint of each berry and 4 nectarines for one bottle each of the bubblies. For the maceration, use just enough cognac, or your favorite unsweetened spirit, to cover the bathing fruity beauties in their shallow bowls.

When serving, add a small ladle of the red or white maceration concoctions to the bottom of their designated glasses, and garnish with a skewer of the same fruits. Fill each glass, upon request, with the desired fizzy flavor.

Prosecco Sangria.jpg
 Stay tuned for  Part 2  of our  Picnic at Coastal Maine’s Mead Meadow  featuring freshly shucked Maine oysters on the half shell, adorned with colorful mignonette sauce, and stunning local Lobster Crostini appetizers of fresh pea pureè topped with lemony Amontillado Hollandaise sauce.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Picnic at Coastal Maine’s Mead Meadow featuring freshly shucked Maine oysters on the half shell, adorned with colorful mignonette sauce, and stunning local Lobster Crostini appetizers of fresh pea pureè topped with lemony Amontillado Hollandaise sauce.

 A special heartfelt thanks to Angela Olsen Matthews and her husband, Peter Matthews, at  Mead Meadow  for their thoughtful and gracious generosity and hard work in hosting our scrumptious and serene summer picnic. You can visit Angela’s Instagram page @ MeadMeadow     About Mead Meadow   We were invited to historic Mead Meadow, in picturesque Kittery Maine, to shoot our delightful summer outdoor meal. This water front paradise is a restored 140 year old farmstead, originally a 20 acre estate, was called Mead Summer House. Included: the main house, a horse and buggy carriage house, which is now a guest cottage, a boat house and the original well. The lovingly restored buildings are now nestled on 4 acres of manicured grass surrounded by wild and cultivated flowers, raspberry bush stands, shrubbery and original trees. The garden shed was torn down and its beautifully weathered old New England stones have been transformed into a spacious patio surrounded by potted herbs and flourishing flowers, with a bucolic view of the rear grounds and cove.

A special heartfelt thanks to Angela Olsen Matthews and her husband, Peter Matthews, at Mead Meadow for their thoughtful and gracious generosity and hard work in hosting our scrumptious and serene summer picnic. You can visit Angela’s Instagram page @MeadMeadow

About Mead Meadow

We were invited to historic Mead Meadow, in picturesque Kittery Maine, to shoot our delightful summer outdoor meal. This water front paradise is a restored 140 year old farmstead, originally a 20 acre estate, was called Mead Summer House. Included: the main house, a horse and buggy carriage house, which is now a guest cottage, a boat house and the original well. The lovingly restored buildings are now nestled on 4 acres of manicured grass surrounded by wild and cultivated flowers, raspberry bush stands, shrubbery and original trees. The garden shed was torn down and its beautifully weathered old New England stones have been transformed into a spacious patio surrounded by potted herbs and flourishing flowers, with a bucolic view of the rear grounds and cove.