Tomorrow I’ll be at the Decatur Book Festival near Atlanta for a cooking demo and book signing. Excited to cook Chicken, Corn, Squash, and Poblano tacos from the summer squash chapter of The New Southern Table; it’s a Mexican-inspired take on summer squash so prolific on farms and in gardens all over right now. If you’re nearby and don’t have big Labor Day weekend plans (other than the festival itself), come by and say hello!
My final stop in Portland last week was Empire Chinese Kitchen, a Chinese restaurant right downtown, that calls itself “Portland’s first deluxe Chinese Restaurant.” They specialize in dim sum, and also do great renditions of traditional Chinese soul food — but with a strong preference for cooking with the bounty of Maine’s local produce and seafood.
I could go on and on about my recent culinary shotgunning of Portland, Maine. Here’s a quick snapshot of a beloved spot in Portland that’s doing great things with the best ingredients from the waterways and farms nearby.
I kind of fell in love with Portland, and its progressive, rugged, Nordic feel, cool summer weather, beautiful harbor and island views, and packed, pedestrian-friendly urban scene brimming with amazing restaurants, both high and low.
There’s all kinds of eating in Portland, but I especially sought out Maine seafood, and beautiful local produce which was at its peak.
Last week in Maine, I taught two days of cooking classes at Stonewall Kitchen’s Cooking School, alongside Warren Bobrow, author of Apothecary Cocktails, among other books. We had a blast. Warren shook up some beautiful cocktails with grilled fruits and a wide variety of interesting bitters, and, with lots of help from the Stonewall kitchen staff, I made a few dishes from my cookbook.
It was a lot of fun talking with New Englanders about deep Southern ingredients like okra, field peas, and collard greens. The first day, I made an heirloom tomato salad with field pea dressing and fried okra, a seafood gumbo filled with beautiful Maine seafood, and roasted figs with Grand Marnier, lemon, and mint. On the second day I made a peach, arugula, and goat cheese salad, a chicken, collard, and country ham saltimbocca, and buttermilk pecan ice cream. You can find the recipes in the book, but meanwhile here are a few shots from both days (click “read more,” below).