Wednesday March 9, 2011
Taste of the Season: Maine Shrimp-Lobster Linguine
At this time of year lobster tends to get expensive, even for citizens of Downeast Maine. The guys have their traps hauled up on land to protect them from loss in vicious winter storms. But, we DO enjoy juicy divers scallops and sweet Gulf of Maine shrimp being harvested right now off the Bar Harbor coastline in Frenchman Bay.
Fresh shrimp found in Maine are a cold water shrimp (see left). The shrimp are harvested with trawlers from depths of 100 to 200 feet and deeper feet. When caught and brought onto the boat they are immediately iced and then delivered to shore. The color of pink shrimp comes from the nutrient-rich cold water of the Gulf of Maine. The season generally runs from December until early spring but is subject to change every year. Fresh shrimp sold at a fish monger or by the side of the road are best. But, these shrimp freeze well so don't worry. You can order it online. Unless you have LOTS of free time, order the shrimp meat -- shrimp that are already cleaned. More expensive but worth it!
Visitors to The Bass Cottage Inn may recall our breakfast entree, Shrimp on a Raft - herbed biscuit served with Maine shrimp sauce (with those very same sweet little buggers) and poached eggs.
Here's a dinner treat Jeff and Teri enjoy at home during the winter which showcases our local Maine shrimp with an important cameo appearance by local lobster (thanks for the cookbook "Dishing Up Maine" by Brooke Dojny for providing a great point of departure). We've added some of Maine's signature lobster (including the flavorful liver known as the tomalley) and piquant pickled peppers.
Maine Shrimp/Lobster Linguine
- 1 --1.5 lb lobster, partially steamed, meat removed, 1-2 teaspoons tomalley reserved (optional)
- 6 tablespoons of butter
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 large shallots, minced
- 1 bottle, clam juice
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 teaspoons, angostura bitters
- 2 teaspoons, lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 hot cherry pepper (seeded) or 2 pepadew peppers, minced
- 1 lb, Maine shrimp meat
- 12 oz. linguine, fettuccine or tagliatelle
- fresh parsley, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
Fill pan with water deep enough to cover the lobster's head (3-4 inches). When boiling, put the live lobster in the water, headfirst, and cover the pan. Steam for 10 minutes (the meat will finish cooking when you saute it later).
Remove partially cooked lobster and set in a colander to drain. Use the same pot to cook your pasta...fill and put on the burner.
When the lobster is cool enough to handle, break the tail off the body. You'll see the green tamale in the carapace. Spoon out 1-2 teaspoons of the tomalley and put in a small dish. (If tomalley bothers you you can omit it.) Remove the lobster meat from the tail, claws and knuckles. Cut into bite size pieces, refrigerate while you make the rest of the dish.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. When melted, add the garlic and shallots. Saute for 5 minutes (do not burn!). Whisk in the tomalley. Cook for 1 more minute.
Add the clam juice and wine. Turn heat to high, bring to a boil and reduce by about 1/3. Then, add the lemon juice, zest, bitters and minced peppers. Take it off heat while you prep the pasta.
Cook the pasta al dente. Reheat the sauce in the saute pan, add the raw Maine shrimp and reserved lobster meat. Cook the seafood about 1-2 minutes taking care not to overcook it. Check for seasoning...add salt and pepper to taste. Then, add the pasta to the saute pan and toss to coat. If it's too dry, add some reserved pasta water.
Plate pasta, taking care to have some of the shrimp and lobster arranged on top of the noodles. Top with the fresh parsley. Enjoy your taste of Maine, Italian-style!
Monday February 28, 2011
WHERE TO STAY: Location is Everything!
(We're republishing and updating this blog post from a few years ago because everything is still true...and especially helpful when you're planning your first trip to Bar Harbor)
Mount Desert Island is a magical place -- the only place on the US Eastern seaboard where you have mountains, forests and the ocean all cheek by jowl in the same place. But there are lots of accommodation options if you are planning your trip to visit us. What's the best place to pick? Like lots of things in life - LOCATION IS EVERYTHING.
Bar Harbor is the center of activity on the island. Some folks in other towns say that our town is full of hustle and bustle. We think of it as "positive energy"...and you'll be saving energy by walking - not driving -- to most of the things you want to do. Shops, galleries, waterfront activities, the free Island Explorer shuttle to get to Acadia National Park, a multitude of fine dining choices - it's all here in Bar Harbor.
Bar Harbor is your ideal home-base for accommodations so you can avoid unnecessary car trips.
Bar Harbor itself has literally dozens of lodging options to choose from. There are 'big box' motels that are at or along the shore. They are lots of things, but 'quaint' ain't one of them.
We believe the best location blends proximity to the things you want to do with the peace and quiet you deserve. That way you can avoid unnecessary car trips when you sample Bar Harbor's fine dining, shopping, ocean excursions or visits to Acadia.
You'll find what you're looking for in area in the heart of Bar Harbor known as "The Field" The Field is a quiet enclave nestled between Bar Harbor's Main St. and the scenic oceanfront Shore Path. The Bass Cottage Inn is located in The Field on a quiet private road, but you're close to everything Bar Harbor has to offer. "Central, yet serene" as we like to say.
So, when choosing a place for your romantic getaway to Downeast Maine, LOCATION IS EVERYTHING.
Sunday February 27, 2011
What's Cooking? (Feb/Mar)
"Creative New England Table"
By now the notion of farm-to-table, organic, seasonal and regional is standard fare for chefs, restaurants and the dining public. I answer yes, to all above!
When I think about The Bass Cottage Inn’s dining style and our guests’ feedback, three words generally crop up. “Interesting, fresh and elegant.” Jeff and I have interpreted this into the following three words which we think say it all:
Creative ... New England ... Table
What does it mean? Here goes…
CREATIVE - enhancing the essence of ingredients by applying a unique culinary point of view based on classical cuisine and technique. Whether for breakfast or dinner service, formal training adds tremendous value to the quality of our guests' meals. At least that's what they told me during my professional chef's training at The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. And, who's to argue??
NEW ENGLAND – the birthplace of America’s global melting pot, heavily influenced by Italy, Portugal, France, Asia , Canadian Maritime. We combine these influences with a Down East emphasis on freshness, purity, and, simple elegance and presentation. If it's local, it's bound to be more authentic and fresher.
TABLE – sharing the dining experience with others; being respectful of the seasons and what the region can most naturally provide.
Here’s a look at our “Creative New England Table” idea for a mid-winter evening:
** Creamy Leek and Potato Bisque with Smoked Scallops ** (shown in picture):
Leeks = a good winter root vegetable. Potato = from Aroostook County, Maine. Smoked Scallops = harvested in Frenchman Bay off the shore of Bar Harbor, smoked by Grindstone Neck in Winter Harbor near Acadia National Park on the Schoodic Peninsula.
Thursday January 20, 2011
Well, the warm months of our Maine summer and fall seem a distant memory now! Winter has fully enveloped Acadia, with a foot of snow on the ground now and more coming tomorrow. Snow seemingly every 2-3 days...but punctuated by cold sunny days with blue skies.
This is our season for rest and rejuvenation. Even as we plan new things for the upcoming inn-keeping season (more details to follow...we open May 13, 2011), we are taking the time restore body, mind and soul.
Certainly, a 4 mile hike through the snow around Little Long Pond with Teri and Riley is great for conditioning and maintaining a sunny disposition. Here you see Riley reading the signs, deciding where he'll take us next.
Now that the holidays are behind us and New Year's resolutions have come to the fore, we've embarked on many new initiatives to tone up body and mind.
That loud screaming noise you may hear coming from Bar Harbor once a week is Jeff at yoga class. I'm not the most flexible person in the world, so those relaxing poses are not always relaxing. But, I'm making strides.
Teri has embraced Mark Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook to improve our diets here at home. The basic premise is to greatly reduce unhealthy processed ingredients and excessive animal proteins from the diet. Uh, we've been eating lots of vegetables...but that's a good thing. Don't worry - dining at the inn will still feature all the indulgences you've come to expect.
Finally, we took the plunge and have tried acupuncture to alleviate some of those middle-aged aches and pains. Guess what? It works. Now, I'm a believer.
So, we're thriving in Acadia's winter wonderland: reading, seeing some good movies, eating better, getting exercise and getting stuck with pins. As local summer resident Martha S. says: "It's a good thing."
Saturday January 8, 2011
What's Cooking? (January)
“Do you have a Bass Cottage Inn Cookbook?”
While attending culinary school to obtain my chef’s diploma, I fell in love with a wonderful shop called "Books for Cooks" in London. The tiny storefront in Notting Hill led to annual pilgrimages to browse, eat and to figure-out how to open a similar business in the US. I met wonderful chefs from Italy, Ireland and France who inspired me with their passion for their craft, teaching and the fun of writing about it. When I came back down to Planet Earth, Jeff and I, ever practical, plunged headlong into restoring and reopening The Bass Cottage Inn in the heart of Bar Harbor, Maine.
Return guests already know the story. The Inn was destined for the wrecking ball and instead was restored in 2003 after a 12-month restoration marathon, involving over 100 skilled craftsmen and women (and quite a few George Washington’s) to put the pieces back together. Operating the Inn is a privilege, our passion, and we think our dining philosophy “Creative New England Table” sets us apart from the rest.
So what was the question? Oh right, after 7 years, you’d think The Bass Cottage Inn Cookbook would be on our bookshelf by now. Instead, guests receive photocopies of recipes so it’s time to start doing something about it.
Watch this space…but please know nothing I do very well usually happens very fast!
I owe a special "Thank You" to recent guest Judith Olney Smith, author of “The Joy of Chocolate” and other classics, for encouraging me on this path.
Monday December 20, 2010
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ALL US AT THE BASS COTTAGE INN
A short but heartfelt blog entry this week:
We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday and a prosperous New Year. Cherish the authentic and enduring things that make life special. Celebrate the value and charm of what is real and good. Be good to one another. Eat more lobster. Let us all hope for more peace and goodwill in 2011.
All the best from Bar Harbor,
Jeff and Teri Anderholm, Innkeepers
Wednesday December 15, 2010
Off Season Escape
We're here on snow-dusted Mount Desert Island, Maine getting ready for the holidays. Jeff made some spiced pecan cocktail snacks and Teri is planning to whip up a batch of chocolate biscotti for celebrating the holidays.
After a busy inn-keeping season, things have wound down for us. We read with bemusement a very odd review on Tripadvisor wherein we were chastised for spending the entire winter 'in the tropics.' Strange review. Enough said.
So, what did we do? Took off for those very-same "tropics" for a 10-day getaway to recharge our batteries.
Anguilla is a lovely, quiet island in the Leeward Islands just northeast of St. Martin. First time we'd been there but we had an excellent recommendation on a place to stay from Bass Cottage Inn guests John and Candace (thanks, guys!!). The island is low-key with very friendly locals. Anguilla is blessed with some good restaurants (a rarity in the Caribbean all too often), splendid beaches (the best we've seen in the Caribbean) and a wide array of lodging alternatives. You might have heard of some Anguillan resorts such as Cap Jaluca and Cuisnart. We didn't want to 'blend in' with hoi-polloi so we looked for someplace quiet and right on the beach.
Our base for 10 days were the Shoal Bay Villas located on Shoal Bay East on the north coast of the island. Kathy and her staff were great to us! The view you see at above is right off our balcony - only 30 steps to the powdered sugar sand of the beach. Teri and I had an unambitious agenda: eat, sleep, read, swim. We succeeded.
Shoal Bay Villas offers kitchenette units, so we got some provisions at the local market. But there were some excellent beachfront barefoot bistros if we didn't feel like cooking. We also tried Valley Bistro (in the main town known as "The Valley") on Kathy's recommendation...and we went back for seconds. The kitchen is manned by a French ex-pat who previously was a chef on French St. Martin.
Of course, we had a few special dinners out, notably at Blanchard's on Meads Bay. Bob and Melinda Blanchard opened their restaurant 16 years ago, chucking their life and careers stateside. The food was very good, the setting lovely. We thought we were crazy back in 2002 when we left the corporate world to open a B&B in Maine. Nothing compared to the Blanchard's saga which is documented in their book "A Trip to the Beach". Good, frothy beach read with lots of insight about living on a Caribbean island. We recommend the restaurant and the book.
So, we're back in Maine getting ready for the holidays. All the best to you and yours from Bar Harbor...
Saturday October 30, 2010
Thoughts and Thanks...end of our 2010 season
Tomorrow (Halloween morning) is the last breakfast of our 2010 season, our 7th as owners/innkeepers here at The Bass Cottage Inn, Bar Harbor. Almost 6 months, hundreds of guests and over 3000 breakfasts served, we are about to enter our seasonal hiatus. Guests ask "what will you do all winter up here in Maine?" My stock answer: "As little as possible!"
The other day as Teri and I were driving to the inn around 6am through a pretty dense fog we talked about our season and the things for which we were thankful. I thought I'd share them with you.
Our Guests - People who stay at B&Bs are just nice people. They aren't adverse to interaction and sharing their personalities with us as hosts as well as other guests. It's been our pleasure to help them unwind, enjoy Downeast Maine and enjoy each other. This was our best season ever by far - lots of returning regulars and new faces we hope become regulars.
Our Staff - Chef Chris is a stalwart and he managed to take this kitchen game to another level this year. Greg joined us on the front desk five days a week and really added value by helping guests enjoy the Inn, Bar Harbor and the Park. His critical eye on room inspections was much appreciated as well. Finally, Ani, Manuela and Donika from Bulgaria did an outstanding job keeping rooms clean and complete. They showed up for work everyday with a smile...and, thankfully, they are eager to return to Bar Harbor and The Bass Cottage Inn in 2011.
Events - Weather was so splendid for the vast majority of this season that it was an event every day. While cities on the East Coast, South and Midwest were sweltering Bar Harbor was clear, clean and comfortable. Also, President Obama's visit to Bar Harbor this summer helped turn national attention to Bar Harbor as a unique holiday destination....the phones were ringing and we expect this kind of publicity will pay dividends next year and beyond.
Success and Recognition - 2010 was our best year ever. During high season (June to October) we were 98% full - an unprecedented occupancy rate for us and we're grateful for it. This season we were also pleased to receive dozens of "Excellent" reviews on Tripadvisor and Bed&Breakfast.com. Finally, getting recognized by Yankee Magazine as "Best of New England - Editors' Choice" was truly a feather in our cap - gratifying to the entire staff.
The Innkeepers - Innkeepers Teri and Jeff started The Bass Cottage Inn with a vision in 2004. But the next year, Teri returned to her financial services career as part of our retirement strategy. For 5 seasons we were separated each summer and Jeff ran the Inn flying solo. This year Teri returned to The Bass Cottage Inn and was key driver in taking our food and hospitality to yet another level. No longer separated half the year we are once again full time innkeepers and partners...and for that we are truly thankful.
Tomorrow the doors close, innkeepers and staff hoist a glass of champagne and then a nap or two. Plans are already afoot for the 2011 season and it's not too early to book your visit:
Bass Cottage Inn Online Availability and Reservationsr
This blog continues year-round. We'll share recipes, news of places we visit and snapshots of winter life on Mount Desert Island.
Monday September 20, 2010
Autumn in Bar Harbor
When most people think of Northern New England they think of mountains, hills and valleys colorfully shrouded in the reds and golds of Autumn. It's like that here in Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island as well. Except, we also offer the sparkling blue of the Atlantic to complement colors of Acadia National Park.
In my book, Fall is perhaps the best time to visit Bar Harbor and The Bass Cottage Inn. While things are still quite busy and all the shops and restaurants are open, there's a certain calm in the air that you seldom find in, let's say, August. Daytime temperatures are balmy and usually dry and sunny. Pack a sweatshirt or a fleece and you'll be just fine. Overnight it can get a little nippy - 40's are pretty common - so you can pull the covers over you and sleep snugly to be awakened by the smell of rich coffee brewing.
Everything that Acadia offers is on tap throughout September and October. Whale watching and water activities are offered deep into October (or as long the whales continue to feed and play in the Gulf of Maine). Among the fun events in the weeks ahead you'll find an outdoor art show in Bar Harbor and the MDI Marathon.
While much of Northern New England fall colors peak early, here in Bar Harbor at the coast our colors are forecast to peak later in October. Here at The Bass Cottage Inn you can book in the last 10 day of October for a quiet, romantic stay, enjoy an unhurried downeast fall holiday AND get our lowest rates of the season.
To view availability and book online visit:
Bass Cottage Inn Secure Online Reservations
An excellent source for monitoring and predicting peak colors within New England is found on the interactive ; Yankee Magazine Foliage Map
Friday September 10, 2010
Fantastic Fall Foods with a Flourish!
A slight chill is in the air here in Bar Harbor. August's dog days have given way to September's crisp autumn weather with warm, dry days and cool nights. That means it's time for your romantic getaway to coastal Maine. That also means it's time to change to our fall breakfast menu
Teri and Chef Chris have put their heads together to update our autumn breakfast menu rotation (we do something different every 8 days and then repeat...)
The emphasis is on seasonally-appropriate ingredients, most locally sourced. With the cooler weather on tap fall breakfast at The Bass Cottage Inn is designed to be a bit more fortifying than our summer offerings. Here's a look at some of the items on tap:
* Harvest Frittata with Country Toast and Jam - taking advantage of the bountiful summer harvest of zucchinis and yellow squash.
* Eggs Piperade - a Basque style egg dish served en croute with a piperade sauce made from fresh tomatoes, red and green pepper and smoked ham.
* Cranberry Walnut Pancakes with applewood bacon - Hearty, flavorful and so filling we only put 2 on a plate. Served topped with native Maine maple syrup.
* Downeast Lobster Omelet - delicious and local, filled with lobster meat, bits of fresh tomato, chives from the garden and white cheddar cheese.
* Pumpkin Spice Waffles - what says 'autumn' better than pumpkin? it's like a pumpkin pie, except it's a waffle...get it?
Of course, Jeff's famous Bass Cottage Huevos Rancheros remains on the menu. And rich bold Bass Cottage House blend coffee. And outstanding scones and muffins, baked fresh every morning.
Come on up...it's a good morning to be in Maine.