Immigrant Kitchens: Panamanian Arroz con Pollo

In the latest entry on Immigrant Kitchens Lindsay Sterling learns how to make Panamanian Arroz con Pollo from Gina Barria (read the recipe and see the photos).

“Panama,” she said, breaking into a smile. Her answer was particularly thrilling to me because a dish from Panama was a missing puzzle piece on my world culinary tour. The prospect of what might unfold from here gave me the butterflies. Learning my first dish from a country, even if I never step foot out of Maine, feels like a major geographic feat, a country traveled, a grand vista earned. So…would she teach me to cook her favorite dish from home?

RealFood Project & Knife Sharpening

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes an interview with chef Frank Giglio. Giglio is teaching a series of classes at the Public Market House on healthy eating and food preparation. The first class takes place tomorrow night and they run through to September.

The series of six cooking classes that kicks off tomorrow at the Public Market House in Portland will emphasize nutrient-dense whole foods and provide food preparation techniques that maximize nutrition and flavor. Called the Maine RealFood Project, the classes will run through the end of September.

“Food is medicine; we need to use it as medicine,” Giglio said. “The point of these classes is to get people inspired so they realize that cooking is fun.”

The Food and Dining section also includes an article about knife sharpening. David Oberton from Wicked Sharp features prominently in the article. Oberton is trying to get approved to set up his knife sharpening operation at the Portland Farmers Market.

“People would bring one or two knives in, and I think they were testing me,” Orbeton said. “And then the following week they’d come in with (L.L.) Bean bags of knives, whole chef rolls. It was overwhelming. We actually had to turn people away.”


Scramp Bakes Scratch Style Bagels

Food photographer Stacey Cramp reports on using the recipe in Scratch’s Baker’s Notes to make her own batch of Scratch Baking bagels.

I made bagels. Impressed, aren’t you? Okay, to be honest, I had some help. Perhaps you’ve heard of the fabulous Scratch Baking Company, which happens to be located in my wonderful, little neighborhood? Well, they have just come out with the first edition of a gorgeous new bi-annual publication called Baker’s Notes, which contains stories, photos, illustrations and, most importantly, recipes for some of their popular offerings…including, yes, bagels!

O-Rama: The Ideal Burger

Our group survey of Portland area burgers is drawing to a close for now. The first three months were reviews of the burgers on tap at local diners, fine dining restaurants, and pubs. This month the tables are turned and the food bloggers are dishing up their own recipes for you to try and taste at home.

Chubby WerewolfBurger with Bacon, Cheese and Mushrooms on a Brioche Bun

When it comes to your burger blend, don’t be afraid to experiment. Want a fattier burger? Try using short rib in lieu of the brisket or the chuck. Looking to hit a grand slam in the flavor department? Consider using oxtail in your blend. With a half-dozen or so cuts of meat to choose from, the possible combinations number in the thousands. And there are very few “wrong” combinations. read the full article

Edible ObsessionsMozzarella Stuffed Burger

…I have also dreamed about sitting with the Missus and enjoying a seemingly endless plate of Foie Bon Bons at Bresca (This was a few days before we were going to celebrate New Years there). There was also the dream I had of cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen in an Italian country home (Damn you Lidia Bastianich for invading my dreams!). But, I cannot recall ever dreaming about a hamburger. the full article

From AwayThe From Away Burger

Beginning to organize your thoughts on a perfect hamburger can be more difficult than you’d think. We decided to immediately forgo more “exotic” burger toppings. While delicious, they’re not always accessible; a great burger should (hopefully) come together based on ingredients you already have in your fridge. We tend to keep things a little more classic, preferring lettuce and tomato to foie gras and black truffles. When the hamburger craving hits, it’s the meat and cheese that immediately spring to the full article

The Blueberry FilesHomemade Burger

But here is my attempt on the eve of a great late spring Sunday Funday in Portland. I sourced good ingredients: Seaside cheddar (described by the cheese guy at Whole Foods as the perfect burger cheddar), a mix of ground sirloin (Whole Foods) and local ground beef (Farmers’ Market), maple dry rub bacon (Whole Foods), and Claussen the full article

Vrai-lean-uhGrass-fed Beef with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese

I also used my favorite burger toppings, which is sort of where I shine. Some of my fellow burger bloggers are purists. I am not. When I make burgers at home, I have them with caramelized onions and goat cheese on sourdough bread. I know, you have your tomato and your lettuce and your ketchup, but you can pry my little ball of meat with onions and chevre stuffed between two hunks of bread out of my cold, dead the full article

While this is the end of the burger series, it isn’t the end to our group reviews. Tune in next month when we’ll start a new set of Summer themed reviews. If you’re still hungry for more burger reviews then keep reading Portland’s food blogs and you won’t be disappointed. Just last week The Blueberry Files posted a short review of the burger at District, Chubby Werewolf has his ongoing Burgerwatch series, and there will be others. May is National Burger Month and the weather is looking good so get out there and grill.

Immigrant Kitchens: Ghanian Peanut Soup

In the latest entry on Immigrant Kitchens Lindsay Sterling learns how to make Ghanian Peanut Soup from Ebenezer Akakpo (read the recipe and see the photos).

Ebenezer, born in Ghana, and I, born in Wisconsin, met one day in Roxbury, Massachusetts, at Tropical Foods Supermarket. I’d heard this was the place to go for a foufou stick (a stirring tool) and discovered that this is also the place where all the animal parts go that have gone missing from other supermarkets! Here were some of the labels in the meat section: “Chicken feet, beef neck, beef tongue, pork stomach, pig tails, pig snout, and beef feet.” Ebenezer must have seen me, the only white person in the crowded store, trying to guess my way through what looked like 100 different, boxed foufou mixes. He offered to show me how his family did made it in Ada.

Immigrant Kitchens: Sudanese Small Potatoes

In the latest entry on Immigrant Kitchens Lindsay Sterling learns how to make Sudanese small potatoes from John Yanga (read the recipe and see the photos).

John Yanga’s love for small potatoes doesn’t come from some gourmet trend in glossy magazine. It’s just the way his favorite dish was done when he was growing up in a grass roofed, mud-hut in a village in Southern Sudan. The story of how he made it from there to here, cooking batatis all the way, really inspires me. If his life were a fable, the moral would be: the world is horrible and chaotic, yeah, but not too much so for you to bring some good.

Lindsay Sterling is teaching a cooking class on April 8 in Freeport. On the menu is Miso Soup and Oyakodon. For more information visit

The Spiced Plate & Mystery of the Matzah

Lauren Montanaro Norster and her blog The Spiced Plate were profiled in today’s Press Herald,

Her blog, which launched in January, has a very specific focus – all the recipes and dishes Norster shares on the site are vegetarian, gluten-free, soy-free and ayurveda-inspired. The combination represents the way Norster and her husband, Andrew, eat every day in the spacious Portland apartment they share with cats Pepper and Basil.

also in today’s Food & Dining section is a feature story about matzah and the Mystery of the Matzah program taking place this weekend in South Portland,

Rosenberg and other members of Congregation Bet Ha’am in South Portland are inviting the public to learn about these rare heritage grains at a special weekend event called “The Mystery of Matzah.” It’s two days’ worth of study circles, and includes a Sunday workshop where participants will be able to actually bake some matzah made with organic flour from two ancient wheats, einkorn and emmer, in a wood-fired oven.

Immigrant Kitchens: A Traditional Japanese Family Meal

In the latest entry on Immigrant Kitchens Lindsey Sterling learns how to make “A Traditional Japanese Family Meal” from Chieko Miyake (read the recipe and see the photos).

Chieko Miyake and I met in our daughters’ elementary school. I noticed she had an accent. I asked where she was from. And then, I asked if she would teach me how to cook her favorite dish. She was more surprised than others have been at the question (if that’s possible) because usually it’s her husband that everybody wants to cook with. He’s a famous chef. She joked, “But the kids like my food better.”

Chef’s Favorite Things & Loans for Farms

The Press Herald asked 20  Maine chefs to share their favorite, thing, idea or technique from the past year, and have compiled the results in today’s paper.

The newest technique that I have found to be very helpful in the kitchen is using my food processor in some of our charcuterie processes. Before I read about this technique, I relied solely on my meat grinder for processing meats, which works great for coarse, country-style sausages and pates. But when I want to make something a little more refined, with a smooth, delicate texture, I will grind the meat first and then use the food processor to finish the process. Doing this helps me to make beautiful mortadella, which has become a favorite on our daily charcuterie board.

— Peter Sueltenfuss, chef, District, Portland

Also in today’s paper is an article about the No Small Potatoes Investment Club which provides low interest loans to farmers.

So far, the group has made three loans. In addition to the Thirty Acre Farm loan, the club has loaned money to Heiwa Tofu in Camden and Lalibela Farm in Dresden.

“I love aligning my beliefs with my investments,” said Eleanor Kinney of Bremen, another founding club member. “This is a different model than having stock in companies that make products which I’d never feed my children.”

Immigrant Kitchens: Azerbaijani Meat with Chestnuts and Sour Plums

Immigrant Kitchens writes about learning to make Azerbaijani Meat with Chestnuts and Sour Plums from Tarlan and Zemfira Ahmadov (read the recipe and see the photos).

Tarlan and Zemfira spent the morning before I arrived peeling chestnuts together. This strikes me as extremely romantic and charming. If people propose in restaurants, can I ask my spouse on a Valentine’s date through the newspaper? “Wanna peel chestnuts together hon?”

Immigrant Kitchens blogger Lindsay Sterling will be teaching cooking class this Friday in Freeport. Sudanese Okra, Meat, and Potatoes is on the menu.