We’re just back from our annual summer pilgrimage to Mt Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park and some of the most breathtaking ocean-meets-woods scenery you’ll ever see. On our way there, we usually meander up coastal Route 1 from Freeport on north, and we have a few must-stops along the way. One of them is Maine State Prison store in Thomaston. Yes, that’s right, a prison store. At first I had expected to find a strange collection of outsider art made from license plates and chewing gum wrappers, or perhaps a male version of Orange is the New Black‘s lingerie shop. While there is a bit of quirk, the showroom is mostly filled with finely crafted wood items at great prices. This year we snagged a very hefty and solid cutting board, $30, and a molded bowl, $40. It makes you appreciate the time and craftsmanship that must go into smoothing and sanding down the wood. Though the pieces aren’t signed by their prisoner makers, you can feel the pride put into them. I highly recommend you adding this to as GPS via point if you’re driving along Maine’s coast. It is worth detour.
Maine State Prison Showroom, 358 Main St (Route 1), Thomaston, Maine. (207) 354-9237
It’s hard to believe the 4th of July is already upon us! Here’s a few of our favorite, no-fuss, serves-a-crowd recipes to get you out of the kitchen and enjoying yourself.
What are you cooking over the 4th? Tell us about your favorite recipes!
I like to wait until last week before Christmas to make cookies for the holidays. I have a few that I insist on making, like pizzelles, and always throw in a new recipe just for kicks. Here’s a round up of some of the ones that I use again and again.
Aunt Jean’s famous Pizzelle cookies – time to dust off the waffle pan!
Wendy Gaynor’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe – still the best ever!
Oatmeal Maple Cream cookies — a new kind of sandwich via my neighbor Jane
Salty Sweet Peanut Butter Cookies — just typing their name makes me crave them
This is the week! The week where we celebrate our favorite culinary holiday, Thanksgiving. We love it so much we celebrate it twice! First, we go to a dear friend’s house on Thursday. This year our plan is to contribute a dessert and a salad. We know the host will have a pumpkin pie handy, so we’re adding a something non traditional to the mix this year. I’m going to attempt to make Crack Pie, made famous by Momofuku Milk Bar. More soon on how that goes. Then, on Saturday we will have our own mini Thanksgiving, because we cannot survive a winter without turkey soup, and turkey soup cannot be made without roasted remains. Though we usually opt for a simple, dry brine, this year we’re going to do something new. We are going to spatchcock our turkey — which means to remove its backbone and splay it out flatly in the pan. We’ve had great success doing this with whole chickens, so I have confidence this will be great. It’s fast (45 minutes!) and the skin is super crispy.
Now you know our plans for this week, here’s a handy link list of learnings from year’s past. Good luck with your feasts this year. Tell us what you’re cooking up!
The most yummy Brussels sprouts, ever.
And, don’t forget to polish grandma’s silverware
There’s something so charming about ceramic and porcelain pieces that mimic the look of toss-away items. We love putting berries in ceramic “cardboard” containers or sipping hot coffee from the I Am Not A Paper Cup mug. Spotted at Provisions, Food52’s e-commerce shop that is brimming with foodie treasures, are these delicate serving fool-the-eye plates. Molded porcelain that looks like the most common of paper plates, they are both sturdy and beautiful. Made by SIN, a Brooklyn-based design company, they have received accolades from the design world, and will no doubt create pleasant sensations for dinner guests and gift recipients a like. $77 for an 8″ plate.