Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weekend Cooking...Is There a Rule in Blogland About This...Well, I Don't Care

Ok, is reposting cheating? Is there some sort of bloggers list of rules? Well, even if it is against the rules, I am reposting this review that I posted shortly after I started my blog, almost two years ago. But I happened upon it the other day and I remember how much I LOVED this cookbook, what a very attractive book it is and how nice the photographs were. Since it was posted when I think I had two readers...and one was my niece...I though it deserved a bigger audience. Also, I have given up all beverages except water for Lent and without my tea, I can't stay awake long enough after a 12 hour work week to write something else. So, without further ado....

Recipes From A Very Small Island
by Linda Greenlaw and Martha Greenlaw
(Hyperion, ISBN 9781401300739)

Having read all of Linda Greenlaw's, she of "Perfect Storm" fame, other books and having enjoyed them a great deal, I ordered "Recipes from a Very Small Island" to sort complete the Greenlaw set! Well, not least not totally. But I though "it's just a cook book".

So you might be able to imagine my delight when this book arrived and I started to look through it. First of all, the book is just lovely to look at. The photographs of the food by Joseph Deleo and of Isle au Haut, Linda and her parents by Sara Gray are beautiful.

Second, while I admit I have not tested any of the recipes yet, since it just arrived, they look very promising. Many are classics you might expect from a cookbook from 'a very small Maine island' like blueberry pie, chicken pie with herb biscuits, maple flavored baked beans and her mom Martha's famous lobster casserole. But then there are a number of interesting sounding surprises...crab madeleines, braised lamb shanks with dried apricots, grilled salmon with blueberry corn salsa....beef stifado.. Actually, there is not a recipe in this book that does not sound interesting and worth trying.

Another very nice part of the book is that each recipe is preceded by a brief introduction from either Linda or her mother Martha. Sometimes, it is just a few lines and sometimes it is an amusing little story about some incident with the dish in the past. Every one enhances the recipe that follows.

If you are a fan of Ms. Greenlaw's other books, especially "The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island", I think you will find the ten or so short essays throughout the book, filled with Ms. Greenlaw's ever present dry humor, a lovely addition. The subjects range from "The Beginner's Guide to Clambakes or How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Lobster" to an introduction to "The Pie Lady".

I am sure this will be a treasured book in my library, not just for the food but for another of Ms. Greenlaw's charming views into life and family on a very small island on the beautiful coast of Maine.

and now, as a reward for reading an old review...I will include one of her favorite recipe. And also because I love lobster.

my mom's famous recipe:

My mom taught me how to make this one: "I've never made this for less than six, so you'll have to cut it down. Cook and pick twelve lobsters, or sixteen if they are very soft. Linda, do not boil lobster in my large Le Creuset." Oh, you mean the one in the sink? The one that I have been soaking for two days to get the burned spaghetti out of? The one that I may have to take to Billings' to be sand-blasted? "In fact, do not use abrasives on any of my good pots and pans. I told you that before, right?" Oh, you mean like scraping with a metal spatula? Too late. Somewhere, through all of the marching orders and in the midst of many asides, I managed to pull a list of ingredients from my tight-jawed mother, but had to guess at amounts and temperatures. She was certainly less than forthcoming. The following is what I ended up with, but lacked the confidence to actually try by the time my mother was done with me:

* 8 tablespoons butter
* 8 tablespoons flour
* 4 cups light cream
* a couple of egg yolks
* 1 handful minced onion
* 1 generous splash Madeira
* a little fresh minced parsley
* some salt
* some pepper
* 1 tablespoon celery seed
* 1 good dash cayenne pepper
* 12 cups lobster meat, sautéed
* 4 cups fresh bread crumbs
* Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter, and blend flour, cooking over low heat. Add cream and stir until thick. Remove from heat and whisk in egg yolks. Add onions, Madeira, parsley, and other seasonings. Add lobster meat that you have previously sautéed in butter. Pour into large casserole dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese. Place dollops of butter on top and bake uncovered until you think it's done (about 20 minutes at 400 degrees).

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. Oh Caite, this looks WONDERFUL! Not sure if it would help my dieting, but yum. And not to worry, you are not breaking any rules. I've actually given old posts (when three people read it) to others for guest posts. It is shame to waste the post, you know?

  2. Wow, I didn't even realize Linda wrote other than her mysteries. The cookbook sounds great.

  3. Sandy, it really is a very attractive book.

    Kaye..yes..her mysteries. I read the first one...and can't say I liked it. But her other books, her non-fiction books about her career as a swordfishing boat captain and running a lobster boat with her father and her life on Isle au Haut are excellent! Hmmm...I guess I am going to have to write a sort of collective review of her books.

  4. Well, I know nothing about official blogger rules --- but since I didn't even know what a blog was 2 years ago, I am glad that you reposted this great review for those of us who missed it the first time :)

  5. I'm very glad you re-posted this one. I haven't heard of the author but her books sound very interesting. I say that if TV shows can do reruns, why not blog posts? The casserole looks like a winner.

  6. I wouldn't know what to do with a lobster if I ever got my hands on one. Sounds like a wonderful dish.

  7. Margot, I totally agree. I am going to repost the whole first year.

    just kidding..

    Heather...just let me take that lobster off your hands then. :-)

  8. This sounds just wonderful; I'm going to try it. Thanks Caite

  9. I thought I knew all her work (not that I've read it all) but somehow missed this cookbook. We go to Maine quite often; I'll have to look for this one at the local bookstore. The recipe isn't for the faint of heart, but sounds fabulous! I'm so glad you re-ran this post.

  10. That looks delicious, and I love the fun intro to the recipe--another cookbook that's great just to read, it looks like.

  11. Diane, I think you will enjoy it.

    Beth F, I too am a fan of Maine...and of Greenlaw. I have read everything she wrote...except the last mystery. But that is another story.
    No, that recipe is not for the faint of heart. But then any recipe that starts "get 15 lobsters" is going to be a bit over the top.

    Ali, it is a great read and very beautiful book, even if you ignored the recipes.

  12. That's it ... you are outta here! No more blogging for you!

  13. I knew someone would find the rule book....darn....goodbye...



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